- The Courage To Be Great
- Lost in a Dream
- Fall Back Down
- No Time for Me
- Light Years Away
- Same Old Story
- I Think You Should Know
- Now and Always
“Eclipsing Binary Star”
Released April 2001
Produced by Dan Villanueva
This is the critically acclaimed 2nd LP now featuring the bands then new line-up: Dan Villanueva, Angelique Everett, Keith Vanetta, and Wendell Nicholes. The album featured the now classic pop tracks: "Lost In A Dream," "Light Years Away," "I Think You Should Know" and more! Two of the cuts were featured on MTV's "Real World" - "Revenge" and "Same Old Story." The band played two mini east coast tours in support of the LP, with support slots for The Judybats, Mascott, Boyracer, Crooked Fingers and more.
Popmatters / October 2001
Are you a music fatalist? After all, there's only so many permutations of notes, such a limited number of genres, so few feasible combinations of instruments. Signs everywhere point gloomily to the end of song, the end of audience and hell, the end of criticism. It's enough to make a girl like me want to give up, trading in my laptop and taking up a new hobby -- maybe writing about dog shows or boat races. But then again, there's the revelry of the familiar, and the intrigue that erupts when a form of the past is suddenly brought into the present. This is the territory of Astropop 3, a four-piece out of Virginia who play airy, fresh pop music with a sincerity and directness that's sometimes hard to find. Eclipsing Binary Star is a 12-song collection that at first seems like nothing more than a bootleg of rare, early Velocity Girl b-sides. The songs are temperate in tempo and terrain; per their name, the lyrics bounce into the cosmos but largely keep at least one foot on the ground. The guitars are clean but not particularly noteworthy; the drums keep time but not much more. Dan Villanueva and Angelique Everett share the vocals, both offering sugary, digestible tones that are miscible with the laid back musical landscape of the album. And the tracks tend to run into one another, as few sharp edges stick up from the smooth surface to either amaze or offend. But with a careful listen, it's clear that this smoothness is rather like a pearl, and rises out of an appreciation for the exquisiteness of simplicity. That becomes most clear on "No Time for Me", the first song on the album where Angelique and Dan trade off vocals. Their play is so sweet and earnest -- like lovers or friends who've written verses for one another -- that it's nearly impossible not to find it endearing. Accompanied by a rolling organ and those noisy-yet-pleasant guitar chords, the song ends warmly, delightfully. This mood reverberates throughout "Starscream", a wide open, twinkling tune that continues the singing pair's bright, vocal volley. So rehear the opening track, "The Courage to Be Great Lies in Every One of Us" as the first page of a familiar fairy tale -- which you may be able to predict, but you read over and over again anyway. Or the straight-ahead rhythms and happy-go-lucky melody of "Lost in a Dream" as a pointed effort to be nothing more than what it is are -- a refreshing visit to pleasant memories. It may not be totally new, but who said anything had to be? There's plenty that sweet and just plain right about a love song, the poetry of a starry night, an ode to a good friend. And even in those predictable moments, as Astropop 3 sing, "there's gotta be something more". - Devon Powers PopMatters Associate Music Editor
Fufkin / October 2001
Low to mid-fi pop record that doesn't go in the Elephant Six direction that so many seem to heading these days, instead investigating influences that come from relatively recent British indie-pop. "Fall Back Down" sounds like the Trembling Blue Stars meet the Go-Betweens, while "Starscream" builds a nice head of steam that nestles between the early Cure and The Stone Roses. And "Agatha" is American shoegazer rock with its expansive guitar sound, dreamy melody and relaxed urgency. The band will hopefully graduate to more sophisticated production which these songs and talent clearly.
Dagger / Fall 2001
Don't know where these folks hail from but Dan Villanueva (vocals & guitar) and Angelique Everett (vocals) and the rythm section seems to dig 60's pop (lot's of bah-bah-bah's, which is fine w/me) but on the same token you can tell they spent a good portion of their time grooving to the Mary Chain and MBV (My Bloody Valentine)too. Still, songs like the Monkees-ish "Lost in a Dream" and of "Fall Back Down" (w/MBV-sih drumming) are too catchy to believe, especially when their vocals blend together (esp. on "No Time for Me"). Let's hear more!
All Music Guide / February 2002
On their second full-length album, Astropop 3 has painted a picture of sadness and happiness intertwined. The band has been through various lineup changes during the years, but the new lineup (Dan Villanueva on guitar and vocals, Keith Vannetta on bass, Wendell Nichols on drums, and Angelique Everett on vocals) has produced favorable results. The CD begins with the albums longest song title, The Courage to be Great Lies in Every One of Us. The song is composed of a simple series of guitar strums, with Villanueva's haunting vocals overlapping. The second track, "Lost in a Dream" instantly brightens the mood, complete with hand claps and an upbeat melody. On "No Time for Me" and "Light Years Away", Villanueva and Everett trade vocal duties back and forth, allowing for both singers to shine. Everett gets a chance to shine on her own on "So" and "I Think You Should Know", displaying her own lead vocal talents in a sweet, serene style. On the album closer, "Now and Always", Villanueva returns, acoustic guitar in hand, to calmly close the door on the disc, with one more somber series of anecdotes to the listener. The songs are all short, and as a result, none of them are overbearing. As a whole, the 12 songs on the album is a solid effort, with a few diamonds in the rough. In the end, the band's power pop stylings are adequately featured on this album, clearly the strongest of their career. Stephen Cramer
Amplifier / Fall 2001
Norfolk, Virginia's Astropop 3 has been through countless lineup changes in their 6 1/2 year history, but one member has been constant: vocalist, guitarist and songwriter Dan Villanueva. As such, the band has also been through more than a few musical transitions, although most of them fell rather underneath the banner of "indie pop." With Eclipsing Binary Star (amazingly only the band's secound album), the group has successfully blended their lo-fi production techniques with their love of good old-fashioned pop hooks. The result is 12 songs, all comfortably less than four minutes in length, and most catchy enough to stick with you. The opener, the lengthily titled "The Courage to Be Great Lies in Every One of Us," is a bit innocuous. The album would've been better served by having "Courage" switch places with the following number, "Lost in a Dream"; it contains handclaps galore and has the listener bouncing along from the get-go. Alternating boy-girl vocals serve the majority of the songs as well, with "No Time for Me" and "Light Years Away" of particular note. "So..." gives Astropop's singer, Angelique Everett, the best opportunity to shine on her own; with its dark pop jangle, the song is reminiscent of the Smiths. As catchy and fluffy as anything that charted during the '60's, but just as grungy and fuzzy as anything that emerged from garages during the sme period. Astropop 3's sophomore effert eclipses their debut handily. -William Harris
Vendetta #18 / Summer 2002
Virginia Beach's Planting Seeds Records is definately a label to keep your eye on. Between this and the latest releases by Pinkie and Astroblast (see reviews elsewhere), these guys are certainly making me a believer. Fronted by the super talented Dan Villanueva on guitars and vocals, Astropop 3 are probably the poppiest of the Planting Seeds stable, dishing out a soulful melodic sound that comes off as a cross between infectious '60s acts like the Buckinghams, Beau Brummels, and the Lov'in Spoonful and sadly forgotten early '90s UK acts like the 14 Iced Bears and The Sea Urchins.