The recent rise in the number of good, alt-hip hop and R&B acts makes me seriously happy. There has been a surge of groups recreating that nostalgic, 90’s feel of the genre that is so savvy and cool, and ASTR is one that does it exceptionally well.
This New York City based duo have kept an impressively low profile since the release of their first single, “Operate”, last spring. The sinister club banger quickly caught the attention of the music blogosphere, and but with only one single available and very little information on the group, many speculated that it would be a while before we would hear more from ASTR.
Thank goodness they were wrong. Just last week, ASTR released their debut EP, Varsity, and it is absolutely divine. The six-track EP is marked by classic hip-hop snares and beats and a touch of eerie darkness that makes it wonderfully intriguing. With everything, including the vocals, lightly filtered through a kitschy, lo-fi effect, the music is as atmospheric as it gets and listening to it is an adventure into the forbidden, underground club across town.