The Stars Explode, led by drummer/ part-time vocalist/ contributing songwriter turned guitarist/ frontguy/ sole songwriter Doug Edmunds, has been around since late 2007, but the four-piece never got a proper introduction. And even if it had, some lineup changes this year would be enough to call for a reintroduction. In February, lead guitarist Eric Peterson signed on, joining Edmunds and bassist/ supporting vocalist FJ Ventre. And in August, drummer Will Rigby (The dB's, Steve Earle's Dukes) came aboard after relocating to Chapel Hill.
Having drummed in bands since he was 13, Edmunds is comfortable with his move to the front of the stage. He credits Jeff Carlson, his bandmate in '90s hard-poppers Gladhands, for schooling him in the arts of writing and arranging. He's also quick to cite those around him now. "My job is made easier by the caliber of guys I'm playing with and the fact that we've all been at this awhile." He's less comfortable with the power pop tag—"It brings to mind really twee, lame-ass bands from the '80s." He prefers "pop rock," thank you. The Stars Explode is preparing to take that pop rock into the studio with Mitch Easter for #2 Record. "Just the working title," says Big Star fan Edmunds with a laugh. —Rick Cornell