Words by Tom Dickinson
I’d like to introduce to you to a very personal release from a very personable boutique label and very possibly one of the most delightful minimalist electro-pop sprites you may hear this year. Sarah Ann Kelleher, or Misfit Mod when she’s tinkling the synth and breathing melody into the microphone, finally releases her debut ‘Islands & Islands’ on Stars & Letters this month; and it almost didn’t happen. Mark Roberts, founder of Brooklyn’s boutique label ‘Stars & Letters’ sent out an email outlining the story of Kelleher and how the album came to be released. After 7 years of friendship, worrying that the music he’d heard might never get out there (and receiving a few punches in the arms in the process) he started up Stars & Letters with a view to share the album with the world and as of February 2013, he has succeeded.
The album ticks all the boxes, just listen to ‘Valleys’, available free on the labels Bandcamp. Dreamy, gyrating synths, warm, fuzzy beats and Kelleher singing “It’s alright baby, baby it’s alright” with an air of lamenting in her voice. Quickly you begin to release how someone could start up a label almost purely to release her work. Whether it’s distant echoes of ‘Tribes’, the subtly provocative ‘Sugar C’ or the distorted retro styling of ‘First Aid’ I think it’s safe to say Mark Roberts made a good move.
In this current climate, boutique labels need all the support they can get and when they’re releasing work like this, there really is no excuse. Check out the album sampler below, order the record here.