San Jose’s sonic cure-all for the Y2K hangover that never materialized, Duster emerged from a cloud of lonely bong rips to take indie rock to the moon, and beyond. Home recording accidents and blown-out 2 AM studio experiments resulted in the band’s 1998 debut LP Stratosphere. Quickly after the turn of the century, Duster went on an extended break. This hiatus lasted 18 years, until 2019 when Chicago-based archival record label Numero Group reissued all of Duster’s earlier material on the highly successful 4LP boxset, Capsule Losing Contact. The band would also return with a new self-titled LP, also released in that same year.
This rejuvenation and reformation of the band helped grow its popularity, but it was the pandemic and the millions of teen hours spent doom scrolling on TikTok that accelerated the band’s reach. Just as Duster-mania was hitting its stride, the band released their fourth LP — 2022’s Together, via the Numero Group — and soon after could be found on numerous headlining tours, selling out venues all over the US. As of July 2023 “Inside Out” has been streamed 7.2B times on Tik Tok, and picked up an additional 4.2B impressions across other DSPs.
Now in 2023, we find ourselves full circle at the 25th anniversary of the bands seminal debut album, Stratosphere. Best listened to from inside the womb, Stratosphere simultaneously capped off and reinvented the slow core’s first wave. A four-track dreamscape that will wake the neighbors and then lull them back to sleep. Hazy, arpeggiated guitars layer over a deliberate drummer with no real place to be, as semi-inaudible vocals warn of millennial malaise and subtly encourage the listener to “rock out, rock out, rock out, rock out.”
This September, to celebrate its 25th trip around the sun, the Numero Group is releasing Stratosphere in a foil-stamped, numbered edition on LP/CD/CASS. The LP edition will come pressed on 180G vinyl and include a lyric sheet and poster. What’s a birthday without gifts? Socks, totes, and zippo lighters celebrating Stratosphere’s iconic cover will accompany the release.
But wait, there’s more! On September 29, 2023, Duster’s Stratosphere will be sent to space, its launch and descent captured in glorious 4K resolution for future generations to marvel over.
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