11 Songs, 34 Minutes

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About D.A. Stern

Emerging in the 2010s with a songwriting style that draws on '60s pop and '80s college rock, D.A. Stern is singer/songwriter/guitarist David Stern, one-time leader of the Sanctuaries. (He's not to be confused with the horror novelist D.A. Stern, who has recorded music more in the Springsteen-Petty vein.) Stern formed the Sanctuaries after playing with drummer Brian Indig in various incarnations while at Skidmore College. They moved to Manhattan, added keyboardist Alex Northrup to the lineup, and recorded the album Annette, released by the Mecca Lecca Recording Company in 2012. Stern penned all the songs. The Sanctuaries continued to play shows in the New York area throughout the following year.

Around that time, as a former employee of Adam Yauch's film company Oscilloscope, Stern returned to work as an apprentice and, eventually, assistant engineer at their recording studio in the same building. Using some of his newly acquired knowledge, he set to work on a self-produced album recorded in his mom's basement in New Jersey. Stern then relocated to Los Angeles shortly before his solo debut, Aloha Hola, saw release by Brooklyn-based Twosyllable Records in early 2017. While retaining some of the haze and jangle of the Sanctuaries, it spotlighted sunshiny melodies. Slumberland Records reissued the album in late March of 2018, three weeks before following up with the EP Isn't It Obvious? The four-track set included two original songs and covers of Frankie Cosmos and Mannequin Pussy. ~ Marcy Donelson

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