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Stellar Kart

Word Records Is there such a thing as a ‘power pop punk rock’ band? Could you even describe it if there were? Here’s a plan – forget the labels. Stellar Kart already has. Instead of trying to fit into some preconceived notion of what they are supposed to sound like, Stellar Kart has spent the last year and a half defining, refining, smelting, hacking, merging, polishing, and crafting the 12 songs that comprise their highly anticipated sophomore release, We Can’t Stand Sitting Down. A quick listen will convince even the most lead-eared among us that what you are hearing isn’t
punk rock music, or power punk music, or pop rock music, or whatever other label you might want to hang on it. It’s just great music, performed by one of the hardest working bands in Christian music.

Fact is, averaging close to 200 dates per year, the Stellar Kart trailer has rolled over a lot of miles since the Phoenix, Arizona band—vocalist Adam Agee, drummer Jordan Messer, bassist Brian Calcara and guitarist Cody Pellerin—released All Gas, No Brake in the early spring of 2005. They were named “New Artist of the Year” by Ignite Your Faith (formerly Campus Life) readers; nominated in the same category for a GMA Dove Award, shared the stage with everyone from Jeremy Camp and BarlowGirl to Kutless and Disciple; made appearances on the See Spot Rock Tour, partnered with Interlinc with their music video “Student Driver;” and garnered reviews that could only be described as, well, stellar, from everyone from CCM magazine to - not bad for four kids who still drive their own van to concert venues.

“I think all the people who bought our first record will also enjoy the new record even more,” explains Adam Agee. “I think We Can’t Stand Sitting Down is a more mature record, both musically and lyrically. There are still some songs that are fun and crazy that we can’t wait to play live, but there are also some songs that deal with deeper issues, that explore more mature subject matter than our first album.”

“We want to write music that is universal,” Adam continues. “We feel our calling is create music that says “Jesus loves you” in such a way that a non-Christian can hear it and get it without feeling like they are being preached at. We’re not trying to be a stealth band, but we don’t want to just cater to Christians either. We want our music to be listened to and appreciated by everybody.”

“You almost have to speak in code,” Cody Pellerin adds. “If you just straight up talk about the things of the Lord, non-Christians are not going to have a clue. If you read the Gospels, Jesus often spoke in parables. If a believer hears one of our songs they will immediately say, ‘Yeah, I know what that means.’ But a non-believer will have to think about it, almost like it is a riddle. But when they find the answer, it’s like, ‘Wow, so that’s what it means.’”

“For us that kind of songwriting is a craft, and it is really hard to do,” Adam admits. “It requires bouncing songs off of an extensive network of friends, associates and entors, from the band members themselves, to label reps and management staff, to fans.”

The band wrote 25 to 30 songs in preparation for We Can’t Stand Sitting Down,
throwing away more ideas than they kept before whittling it down to twelve.
When it came time to record, the band enlisted the deft touch of famed producer Ian Eskelin (the man behind Krystal Meyers, Everyday Sunday and All Star United). The vision for We Can’t Stand Sitting Down was as simple as a steakhouse commercial – ‘No rules. Just right.’

“Originally it looked like we were going to have two months to record the project, but by the time it was all said and done, we had eight days in the studio to do the whole album,” Cody says. “Ian brought energy and efficiency to the project. He really worked well with us. If something was good, he would say, ‘That’s great. Let’s move on.’ Stuff that needed work, he would say, ‘Let’s get it done.’ It worked out great.”

“I think this is a pop rock record, but there are some punk moments, some ballads, some rawk. If I had to describe it in one word it would be a toss up between ‘fun’ or ‘diverse,’” Adam says. “We didn’t concentrate on a particular style. We just wanted to write great songs.”

While maintaining their trademark brand of fun, frantic, frenetic music the men of Stellar Kart were intent on avoiding the clichés that attach themselves to every genre of music. Rather than limit their appeal, they decided to use whatever worked best for each song on the album, sometimes blending genres to come up with riffs that are fresh, unique, exhilarating, and insanely difficult to get out of your mind. From the intensely personal, introspective, “Hold On,” to the raucous, youth group fist-pumper, “Activate,” We Can’t Stand Sitting Down effectively showcases the band’s working man approach to songwriting.

We Can’t Stand Sitting Down will more than appease Stellar Kart’s legion of punk-pop fans with tunes like “Procrastinating” and “I’m Pretty Good.” But there are also some surprises in store, from the subtle but powerful lyrical interludes in “Me and Jesus,” to the melancholy lyrics juxtaposes against the driving and intricate punk rhythms on “Only Wanted.”

“This record is different from the first one, but it’s still us,” Adam says. “It’s a rogression.
We’ve grown up some. We’ve matured, and I think our music reflects that. It’s been a really cool journey, one where God reveals Himself to us at just the right moment to keep us focused; to keep us on track. We don’t want to leave anybody behind. We just want to make our music more universally appealing.”

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