Songs of beautiful melancholy, soft rumination on all things heart-broken and lovely. - The Big Takeover
Relying much on calm guitars and plenty of warm ambience, it’s largely a hypnotic listen, but with plenty of melodies and hooks under dark, ethereal vocals. There’s a tense moodiness matched by sonic beauty that echoes, wanders and settles adjacent to awe inspiring.
- New Noise Magazine
The stunning result is enough to make you wish it were night all day long.- Pitchfork
A soothing, celestial sound that makes full use of a hushed vocal, shimmery guitars, an ethereal aesthetic and a near-constant quest for quiet contemplation. For all Crushed Stars’ sonic indulgence, there’s a host of sensual delights to focus in on when it comes to achieving that zen-like gaze. Wishing upon these Stars is wholly encouraged - BLURT
a fuzzy sleepwalking gem that’ll bring to mind drops of dew on blades of grass and other similarly clichéd romantic moments, but it effortlessly avoids any sonic cliché - CMJ
With a voice that’s an instrument all its own, Gautreau paints a serene picture of daydreaming through an overwhelmingly emotional and honest melting pot of guitar, piano and heart... creating an atmospheric and mystic experience that is both genuine and mesmerizing. - Magnet
A mood record, casting a hypnotic spell with a strict yet bountiful set of sounds. mesmerizing atmospherics ....lightly strummed electric guitars, ethereal vocals, and lots and lots of reverb - The Onion AV CLUB
Gautreau's voice sounds has a drunken slur to it which contrasts nicely with the pristine instrumentation: guitars chime with infinity, cymbals crash with luscious echoes and keys puncture the melodies beautifully; a finely constructed album .- under the radar
milk-coated with warmed, plinking keyboard patterns and texturizing, rising guitars, keeping everything ... very ... dreamy. - stereogum
Lush, intricate, and sonically fascinating - Consequence of Sound
Hushed and romantic, made to be heard in the early hours of morning -
Like music that moves through a movie that you remember in your dreams, playing in the flashbacks,the clouded memories of lost loves and that indescribable ache for a perfect moment. - the big takeover
Interview in Vinyl Magazine
New track HATERS recently premiered on CMJ.
Flowerbomb recently featured on RollingStone.com
Interview at Ground Sounds
Interview in Philthy
Mannered, reflective, often pastoral indie pop. The album’s overall mood, though, is one of world-weariness
and almost incredulity at the passing of time and what it has left in its wake - Popmatters
Some of the best melodic pop tracks packed into one album in years. Hypnotic tracks like “Permafrost,” “Celia in Her Constellation”,
and “Slow Parades” are close to perfect... a mesmerizing experience - Spill
A dreamy trip into the furthest reaches of space where every bed feels just perfect and there are no nightmares, only pleasant dreams.
These songs float and drift perfectly with a million melodies that will tickle your brain with jangly guitars and textured keyboards - Dagger
Rainy-day tranquility steeped in soft-spoken eleganceA quivering equilibrium between mild-mannered melancholy and candle-lit bitterness, Crushed Stars’ beautifully mired mirages disappear into twilight hindsight - Maximum Ink
Farewell Young Lovers
Every time I listen to this album I fall in love all over again.
It does not get more elegant than the Crushed Stars - Selective Memory
The ‘80s shoegaze sounds even better than its influences and the songwriting is top notch; what we have here is the first great album of 2014 - Inforty
Poetic, descriptive lyrics, intricate melodies, Understated and unassuming - Audio Femme
A beautiful album that has set a high benchmark, not to be missed - popstache
Brooding and creative. One of the best releases of the new year. - Caught in the Carousel
Understated, gauzy and slightly shoe gaze-y songs that seem to live in the hazy netherworld that exists between sleep and waking - Campus Circle
Lives up to the implied promise of the title, with small snapshots of relationships in various states of disarray and a balance of hopefulness and hopelessness consistently maintained. It’s like a break-up record for someone who doesn’t want to break up. It’s a neat trick in that the characters seem more resigned than sad, looking back with a bit more perspective. It’s that little tweak that keeps the record from being an emo, navel-gazing bummer. Crushed Stars have pulled together various elements in a very elegant, thoughtful, and satisfying way - Agit Reader
Plays out like most young relationships. It starts out strong, heavy, and exciting with the opener “Flowerbomb” and the following track “Fantastic Birds.” The album then falls into a dreamy lush state. ...does a splendid job of intermixing melodic guitar tones, reverb-heavy vocals, and hazy backgrounds with Jeff Ryan’s mixture of thunderous and often times appropriate quiet drumming. a solid cross between a dream pop and shoegazing record - The Owl
Languid and simply beautiful. Everything should move in slow motion while this album is playing -Vinyl Mag
Fuzzy, calm indie-pop has never sounded so dreamy, so radiantly textured and they even insert some of their most forceful work to date as well. The hazy shoegaze Gautreau is so known is as alluring as ever and the heavier emphasis on synth works well with his soothing vocals and Jeff Ryan’s fluid drumming. Indie-rock, post-rock, ‘80s dream rock – these tags are all unnecessary. This is just great music from a creative, prolific mind -New Noise
In the Bright Rain
So quietly beautiful that climbing back down to what's commonly called reality can feel achingly disruptive 9/10. - Blurt
Drags you into a hazy world of bittersweet memories and the wish of what always lies beyond your ability to perceive. - Groovemine
His push toward sonic impressionism results in an outright musical alternate reality - Popmatters
Every cymbal roll and keyboard plink shimmers and gleams with irresistible loveliness. Songs like “Pretty Girls Are Everywhere” and “Copenhagen” are irrefutably gorgeous. - Delusions of Adequacy
Sophisticated gems of dreamy, wistful, and gentle soundscapes that are often dark in nature, yet pays an extraordinary amount of detail to gorgeous melodies that are nearly hypnotic. Gautreau’s vocals remain subdued, buried under ambient and ethereal layers of beauty and drenched in reverb- often approaching shoegaze tendencies - Bykerack
A great quiet pop masterpiece and one of the most achingly beautiful things we've heard in a while.
- POP Stereo
Ethereal layered soundscapes, melody and lyricism... exquisite alt-pop artistry in a world of echo and melancholy. - LIT
Delicate instrumental flourishes, hushed vocals and subtle melodies pervade the nine, wonderfully crafted songs on the album. ghostly vocals atop drums, guitar, keyboard and bass from an all star cast of musicians including Jeff Ryan (St. Vincent, War on Drugs), Howard Draper (formerly of Okkervill River), and Buffi Jacobs (Polyphonic Spree) who help paint lush soundscapes drenched in reverb and ambiance. - Migrate Music
Soothing, consoling, settling, and soft..intricately arranged, simply orchestrated harmonics and melodies.
One of the most painfully beautiful albums of 2012. - The Owl
A gorgeous album...a thick, lush world, and every song seems to occupy a different space. - Donnybrook
Shimmers with new life, though it's still laced with the overcast tone for which Crushed Stars are known.
- The Observer
Convalescing in Braille
Bathed in gorgeous guitar washes, this effervescent offering is just right for this rainy day, as it would be for hung-over Sundays, drives through tree-lined highways, and lakeside picnics - Blurt
A lush but still subtle dash of moody piano pop, Crushed Stars’ leader Todd Gautreau is a delicate but evocative lyricist whose voice lolls when others roar. There’s no overreaching, no forced bombast, just a supple and elegant explication of pain and sorrow Takes the best of Nick Drake and Ryan Adams and splits the difference right down the middle.- emusic
moody, dark and extremely beautiful. a melodically delicate and enchantingly moody album.
a gray, emotional album that eventually makes good on the promise of a rainbow. By all means, let it rain. - The L Magazine
Oft descriptive words associated with Gautreau and his Crushed Stars may relate to the night hours, overcast days, or infinite soundscapes. These words fit — there’s something oddly spacial about the dreamy pop of Crushed Stars, and that’s what makes the band, and an album like Convalescing In Braille work so well. Beyond the chill strums of guitar strings and emotive piano, beyond the shuffle in the percussion, is Gautreau’s beautifully melancholy vocals. A song like “Black Umbrella” can break your heart one moment and lift it above your troubles the next. -Fensepost
a smooth combination of elegant melodies...extremely sincere and incredibly moving... sorrowful perfection -stereo subversion
Eerily brilliant. Textured, soothing, chill-out rock that perfectly suits gray drizzly days or droopy-eyed late nights.
...at once melancholy, nostalgic and cheery -The Observer
In a year deluged with jangling guitars and vocals drowning in enough reverb to kill a Olympic swimmers, please summon the strength to listen to Crushed Stars’ Convalescing in Braille with fresh ears. Like The Radio Dept. or, before them, Yo La Tengo, the band’s lonely pop places craft first. Even its simplest moments seem examined for maximum headphones richness: how the lightly clipping drums of “Spark” contrast with singer Todd Gautreau’s distant, wounded vocals; reaching the bottom of of the 10-foot-deep cymbals of “Black Umbrellas”; the firmness of piano keys against warbling synthesizers on “A Day Without You.” It’s less treble-heavy and propulsive than the Radio Dept.’s latest efforts, but the songs also explore feelings of landlocked loneliness. - rawkblog
the songs don't try to create sonic landscapes, the landscapes just happen as a result of songs that make you wish that nighttime lasted throughout the day. absolutely beaming from hushed sentimentality that seems to be missing in so much popular music today. one my favorite albums of the yearSongs that have the air of a deep sigh on a rainy day. Gautreau sings softly behind a mix of acoustic guitar, sepia piano and brushed drums on “Black Umbrellas,”On “Eyeliner,” a claustrophobic guitar part repeats as other instruments and Gautreau’s voice swirl around over it.- one word titles
Gautreau’s melodies find a way of slowly but surely winding their way into your mind, and his arrangements and atmospherics add just the right amount of tonal color in just the right spots. I’ve mostly listened to this album on long drives, and when the afternoon sun illuminates the empty cornfields and colorful trees as it only can in the Nebraska countryside, well… Convalescing in Braille makes for a pretty nice soundtrack for such scenery.- opus
Todd Gautreau's voice is the one you hear in your head as you drift off to sleep. It's the one you hear when you zone out on a long road trip. It's your own voice after drinking about 12 beers alone. constructs dreamy songs to suit his voice, breathy confessions that can be uncomfortably honest and always mesmerizing. The low, buzzy groan is an instrument from its own world.
Enamored of refracted sunlight and beams through leafy trees; it’s careful, considered, graceful, and in love with the feel of warmth on eyelids. In addition to Gautreau’s hushed vocals — he continues the line from Nick Drake to the Clientele — Gossamer Days features a lot of softly-tumbling guitar lines and slow-motion moments that allow for everything to unfold at its own speed. Pretty damn dreamy throughout; with its knowing solitude and broadly romantic lyrics, it features the sort of sound you’d imagine as the score to your fantasy autumn relationship with a pretty college professor. “We talked about Camus, we listened to Burt Jansch…the collars on our sweaters got in the way of our kissing.” — Detour
Glossy pop music. Deliberately paced tempos are set by finger-picked guitar patterns augmented by sustained keyboard chords, and Gautreau calmly and indistinctly intones his lyrics within the mix. It's all dreamy and gauzy and vague, music meant to create (or accompany) a sleepy mood rather than to listen to carefully, like the earnest mumbling of Michael Stipe in early R.E.M. if the band were being produced by an ambient-minded Brian Eno - all music guide
The aptly named Crushed Stars are the indie pop project of Todd Gautreau and in the past, his music has been very, very quiet. While the ten songs on Gossamer Days could hardly be described as such, they do possess a richness that he had only hinted at previously. That might be in part thanks to the production of Stuart Sikes, who also worked with Cat Power on The Greatest, but it is also reflected in Gautreau’s songs, which manage to carefully walk the line between bleak and beautiful. There are hints of Red House Painters and the Clientele, but they are closest in spirit to nearly forgotten Sarah Records band Brighter, who also produced this kind of wonderful melancholy. When it comes to quiet indie pop, Gossamer Days is pretty much as good as it gets - exclaim
You won't find a more truthfully evocative Artist - Title pairing, anywhere. Listening to, say, the opening track "Spies," is a little like watching celestial bodies shooting up a hazy night sky, stardust in slow-mo. Like a less enunciated Red House Painters. "Life Until Now," meanwhile, introduces slightly more insistent snares and hi-hats, but by verse two that's milk-coated with warmed, plinking keyboard patterns and texturizing, rising guitars, keeping everything ... very ... dreamy. - stereogum
a facilitating warmth, one that easily brings you back to soft and tender moments that are long past.
A liquid reverb ripples off of Todd Gautreau's vocals, lapping against the quietly seductive instrumentation. Yes... quietly seductive... even when you turn the volume up on Crushed stars you're simply moving
closer to a purring cat. This is the kind of music that relaxes me, I don't even have to understand the
lyrics, they could be Portuguese for all it matters... it's the vibe borne out of the various elements
that makes this music magical. - sixeyes
can very much be likened to a dark star-scattered sky; beautiful, melancholic and awe-inspiring.
Filled with lush, dreamy songs, “Gossamer Days” is its own little galaxy, ready to be explored,
star by star - i am the crime
one of the most lush and expansively beautiful albums I've ever had the pleasure of day-dreaming to. I'm almost at a loss for words, or maybe I just can't think of words that are as beautiful as the music I want to describe them with.- it covers the hillsides
Fans of Air and the Clientele will enjoy Crushed Stars’ third album, Gossamer Days, whose tunes play like a lullaby, inviting — or perhaps entrancing –– the listener into an alternate dream world in which beauty is personified through tender, elegant music. Each song masterfully creates an emotional journey, as in “In Parallel,” or the instrumental “Snow Day,” where the delicate keyboards echo the first flakes of winter snow, transporting the listener to the white landscape in songwriter Todd Gautreau’s mind. - music connection
Crushed Stars’ reverb-heavy vocal patterns and liquid-like guitar/organ melodies make for the perfect late night bedroom-pop listen...radiates in purity, basking in its calm nature. Relaxing and rejuvenating, Gossamer Days will slip into your soul with ease, breaking down that which is bad and replacing it with something a little bit better. -fensepost
a sweet and fragile bit of bedroom pop…though the burning soul flickering away at the center of these starlit cuts is obvious enough. On this, his Stuart Sikes (Cat Power, Whiter Stripes, Modest Mouse) produced third album, Grutreau prefers to present the bare embers of his heart…as if any inferno of thought and emotion would be too much for the delicate silky strands of guitar and voice to handle. The result is an album of uncomplicated beauty. Glossy yet downtrodden, precious yet ultimately headstrong; Gossamer Days is a strikingly honest piece of music in the vein of Red House Painters and Kings of Convenience. – baeblemusic
Crushed Stars = Grizzly Bear + Red House Painters + Calla
"Closing my eyes, sleeping away, these gossamer days:" The soft tones and guitar chords of the album's namesake song create an image of a wet, glistening, rainy day. You can hear the pitter-patter of rain drops emanate from piano keys and see the image of a cold fall season as she brings forth a soft, falling snow: a sparkling, twinkling scene trapping musicians and lovers indoors. This is the scenery from "Snowy Day," an instrumental ode to dreary weather. Not weather necessarily freezing or causing apathy, but slowing the hours—perhaps even the mood and musical crafting of Todd Gautreau. Gautreau's vocals are often muffled but deep, like Mark Kozeleck or Marc Lanegan. Gatrueau's guitar style is also like Lanegan’s—expertly sounding like lap steel and giving dreamy electronic numbers a folk show; also similar to the popular indie-dreamer Sam Beam (Iron & Wine). Crushed Stars give you another soft, romantic album for those days when you just want to gaze out a window. – slug
can very much be likened to a dark star-scattered sky; beautiful, melancholic and awe-inspiring.Filled with lush, dreamy songs, “Gossamer Days” is its own little galaxy, ready to be explored, star by star. – rocksellout
This is one of the best records so far this year, and definitely leaves me wanting to check out its predecessor Obsolescence. It's a perfect record for the end of winter. It's the little things here and there, like the fact that the guitar lick in "Amherst Incident" is insanely catchy and that the last track is called "Clare Grogan's Scar." - heaven is above your head
easily one of my favorite albums of the young new year. Slow and sad in ways that recall more
than a few of my other favorite albums, it's an introspective soon-to-be classic that's perfect
for these long winter nights - rawkblog
Gautreau continues to hone his brand of polite indie-rock, recording with Stuart Sikes (Cat Power). It's the sort of album that starts in the background of a relaxing day, and seeps through the cracks of scattered attentions, attaching itself with careful guitar hooks and an absolutely pleasant mood. This album is a contradiction: dense and delicate, minimal and complicated, atmospheric and striking; It bends the singer-songwriter genre with spatial colorings and patient unraveling.
Minimal percussion and strings compositions are showcased in the album's sixth track, "Amherst Incident," where they support Gautreau's velveteen vocals. Taylor Reed delicately joins in during the chorus, paralleling the male-female juxtaposition on Bonnie ‘Prince' Billy's "The Letting Go," but unlike the Bonnie record, Reed avoids getting into the eyelid-dropping lulls that plague its musical cousin. Gautreau's words have a lamenting immediacy. He sings like a man of experience, delicately whispering ideas not in hope of their vicarious animation, they but as a means to illuminate a world of previous senselessness.."Gautreau's voice is the most striking part of Crushed Stars. The guitar work subtly plays up his rich voice. In the album opener, Gautreau's voice sounds like a downtrodden Morrissey on a lazy day off, timidly bellowing personal thoughts through a tunnel of reverb.
In a display of diversity, the album does have its ambient moment in "Snow Day," providing a Brian Eno-influenced instrumental track. A beautiful Rhodes piano plays a scattered melody over
a pulsing traditional piano. Layers of heavy reverb and guitar ambience flow in and out toward the end of the song, leaving behind visions of cascading white puffs trickling down from the heavens.
In a tired genre of singer-songwriter, Crushed Stars manages to fins its own niche, using elements of ambience, carefully delivered vocals, and thoughtful lyrics. Gossamer Days is one of the budding year's highlights and is something to look out for.
RIYL: Nick Drake, The Sea and Cake A | Glen Elkins -- playback stl
An opus of romantic gloom... a dreamy, whispered collection - The Observer
Quiet, literate pop influenced by everyone from Burt Bacharach to the Sea and Cake - All Music Guide
Perfect rainy-day weather music. Buoyed by clean guitar and warm keyb’s and in his soft, steady voice, Gautreau’s words ring with more truth than most of what passes for today’s alt-rock hit parade. - FW Weekly
A glittery and precious geode whose crystals are etched out of fragility, insecurity, and humanity's emotional underbelly. It transcends limits and expectations, and becomes something more beautiful, sensual, and meaningfulthan the sum of its parts. Has the intensity of a diary. Words seemed plucked from that perfect place of passionate immediacy and desperation. - Pop Matters
Like something beautiful was pulled from the heavens and broken into several tiny pieces-Shredding Paper
A record for a melancholy autumn spent gazing at unreachable stars.-Opuszine
The kind of passion rarely heard on pop records.-Devil in the Woods
ntimate, elegant bedroom pop. Songs that gently go their own way, not expecting you to notice.
If and when you do, you can't turn away. - Observer
Creates a meditative mood and sticks to it. Despite the languid pace of the songs,things don't get dull. Gautreau imbues his sound with such feeling and grace that it's hard to let go. Utterly seductive. That sound. It is the sound that really makes this disc. A certain echo in that guitar, the way the keyboards add just the right touch. music of uncommon elegance. Its muted dramatics are as moving as the most bombastic symphony. Utterly moving.-Aiding and Abetting
a quiet, fragile album with songs that proceed at slightly more than a snail's pace - the upbeat moments are few and far between, and even on songs such as "Exit Wound" there is still a healthy dose of melancholy lurking in the lyrics. Musically, the album is sparse with Gautreau's guitar dominating the majority of the songs, while a few are fleshed out with some keyboards (impersonating trumpets and horns), but it is the quietness of Self Navigation that will stay will you after the CD stops spinning. It doesn't sound unlike the former Sarah Records band Brighter, or Trembling Blue Stars, with songs that walk along the tightrope between depressing and indifferent, never quite falling on one side or the other. Self Navigation is not one of those records that will have you singing along with every song; you might not even find yourself humming the tunes for days afterwards, but as you listen, you'll find yourself completely transfixed by Crushed Stars' beautiful music.-EXCLAIM
What would happen if somebody took one of those jazzy post-rock lead guitar lines -- the sort of inquisitive, repetitive guitar figure practiced by second-generation instrumentalists like 33.3 -- and grafted it onto a low key folk-pop song? Crushed Stars apparently decided to find out, and the results are surprisingly impressive. Rather than hanging loosely on a minimalist framework and struggling desperately to engage your interest, these probing guitar lines find themselves resting on a bed of simple pop strumming, with low-key, confessional male vocals wrapping the package nicely - Splendid