Starting out under the head-turning moniker Starfucker, STRFKR is an indie electro band formed by Josh Hodges (Sexton Blake), a songwriter with an aptitude for breezy hooks. The project's dance-friendly eponymous debut appeared in 2008 and led to a record deal with Polyvinyl. Amidst regular lineup changes, the group cracked the Billboard 200 with their third full-length, 2013's Miracle Mile. A spacier fifth album tempered Hodges' catchy synth pop inclinations with a soft-focus palette that incorporated acoustic guitar. Titled Future Past Life, it arrived in 2020.
After Hodges returned to Portland, Oregon, following a four-year stint in New York City, he released two Sexton Blake records on Expunged, including Plays the Hits, a lo-fi album of '80s covers. Looking to convert his musical endeavors into a more lighthearted project, Hodges recruited Mr. Fredrick's Shawn Glassford and formed a new group with Junkface's Ryan Bjornstad. With notable live performances that featured some instrument swapping, dual drumming, and stage diving, as well as some outlandish costumes, Dylan Magierek's attention was drawn to their set and he signed the band to Badman Recording Company. Hodges and Magierek took some of their home recordings to the Type Foundry to round out their eponymous debut record with some intricate layering, and in September 2008, the album was released to the public and hailed by critics for its abundance of dance-friendly hooks. Multi-instrumentalist Keil Corcoran joined in 2009.
Experiencing some mainstream success in the form of a mass-market-retailer campaign that sampled "Rawnald Gregory Erickson the Second," the band wrestled with a name change, considering PYRAMID and Pyramiddd in their short list of options. Ultimately, they decided to embrace the absurdity of their moniker and stuck with Starfucker for 2011's Reptilians, which was released on Polyvinyl. Some lineup changes ensued as time went on, with Bjornstad leaving the band and touring guitarist Patrick Morris taking his place as a full-time member in late 2011. The group continued to grow in popularity, and again grappled with a name change. They opted for the shortened STRFKR in 2012, and between tours completed work on their third album, Miracle Mile, which was released in early 2013. It marked their debut on the Billboard 200, where it reached number 178.
Slimmed down to the lineup of Hodges, Glassford, and Corcoran, STRFKR returned with Being No One, Going Nowhere in November 2015 on limited-edition "early bird" vinyl, with a full release following in 2016. It landed on several Billboard charts, including vinyl, rock, alternative, independent, and the Heatseekers Albums chart, where it hit number one. Early the next year, Polyvinyl began releasing a three-volume series of demos rescued from Hodges' dying laptop, with Vault, Vol. 1 arriving in February 2017. Vault, Vol. 2 followed in July, and Vault, Vol. 3 wrapped up the 64-track set that December.
For STRFKR's fifth long-player, Hodges revisited material from sessions in 2014 with Mathias Janmat and David Hoogerheide in Amsterdam. With input from Janmat and Hoogerheide, Hodges, Glassford, and Corcoran worked on fleshing out the initial recordings with an atmospheric, lo-fi-leaning approach rooted in acoustic guitar and synths. The resulting Future Past Life arrived on Polyvinyl in April of 2020.
© Jason Lymangrover & Marcy Donelson /TiVo