If you've ever seen him in concert, you're sure to remember the name. Dirt Star is the indie-pop, punk-rocking guy with a Keebler elf haircut and cosmonaut suit. He might have been writhing around in his own spilled beer in front of the stage when you saw him. That might ring a bell.
He and his band of outer-space musicians have been frequent visitors to Spring Scream in years past and semi-regulars at Taipei's Underworld. Now he's returning from his adopted home of Shenzhen, China, to release his debut album The Score here in Taipei.
He's planned a weekend of events, starting with the album party and show at the Living Room tomorrow night, followed by a "Greet Dirt Star mini-show plus interview and autograph session" at Mo! Relax Cafe on Sunday afternoon.
Shino (林曉佩) and Hong Kong hip-hop DJ TKO will make cameo appearances at the Living Room gig.
But why put a DIY punk/indie-rock band in the Living Room?
"My original idea was I wanted to have 50 rockers in one room, really tight and sweaty and packed," Star said in a crackly phone call from Shenzhen. "I've never been there. I'm really excited."
What's the music like? Star says his shows were once described as "a rocket blasting off without a pilot" and that they are "as entertaining as the universe is vast," but even listening to the CD on your home stereo keeps the dopamine flowing.
I could make allusions to half a dozen obscure bands that Dirt Star sounds like (vocals reminiscent of Dynamite Hack!), but the best way to taste the band's fruity flavors is to sample the couple of tracks offered online (http://www.bubblegreentea.com).
Star put The Score together with a little elbow grease from Wan-ting (晼婷), the former Ladybug and current 7" Vinyl Records engineer. They cut the guitars and vocals to tape, "or rather hard disk" Star points out, then he stole away to his secret cave in the verdant hills of Shenzhen and went mad-scientist with it.
"The album was finished over a year ago," Star said. "Then I basically revamped every song like 20 times in a year."
His long-time collaborators K Sauce, Ant, Yen-hui, and Wen Feng provided the riffs, words, drums and squeaks, though not necessarily respectively. Star's not saying who did the squeaking.
The production quality is worth a mention. The Score was mastered at Hong Kong's Noise Asia Records by Dickson Dee, who deserves kudos for bringing the sound out of the box and putting it in the listener's head. He's kept Star's freshman effort from sounding like one.
Lastly, to get The Score in the hands of the multitudes, Star and his friends set up Bubble Green Tea records to "help bring the indie subculture of Greater China to the world."
Their Web site, promotional efforts and the album itself are enough to make you think "Gee, these punk-rock kids have their act together," which isn't something you'd normally think about punk-rock kids.
The launch party for The Scoreis tomorrow at 9:30pm at the Living Room, located at 3F, 8 Nanjing E Rd, Sec 5, in Taipei (台北市南京東路5段8號3F). Entrance is NT$300 and includes two drinks. Star's mini show will be at Mo! Relax Cafe on Sunday at 3pm. Mo! Relax Cafe is at 20, Ln 60, Taishun St, Taipei (台北市泰順街60巷20號).