Similar to the bands coming out of the Halifax scene that produced Sloan, Canadian power poppers Starling formed in Ottawa in 1997 as a collaboration between guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Ian LeFeuvre (ex-Fun for Malakai) and drummer Peter Von Althen (ex-Skydiggers). As the two improved their musicianship (and LeFeuvre his songwriting), they expanded their lineup to include bassist Jon Reilly-Roe. Reilly-Roe left in August 1998 and was replaced toward the end of the year by LeFeuvre's cousin, bassist/guitarist/vocalist Danny Michel (formerly of the Rhinos), whose previous home recording experience proved invaluable; he had already performed some of the material from his solo albums (including 1997's Before the World Was Round and 1998's Clear) in concert with LeFeuvre and Von Althen as his backing unit. Collectively, Starling also had a home-recorded album in the can by the end of 1998 and the result, simply known as Untitled, was given limited release on indie Racecar Records. The buzz surrounding Untitled eventually helped land them a record deal in the U.S. with Time Bomb, a subsidiary of BMG, in the fall of 1999; full-time bassist Maury LaFoy was added to the lineup shortly thereafter. Their label debut, Sustainer, was issued in 2000, with the track "Earnest" appearing on the soundtrack of the film Ready to Rumble and lead single "Don't Deflate" being featured on the television series Providence. ~ Steve Huey
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