Indie band STRFKR plays Reno show at Cargo
The indie rock band STRFKR recently reached a milestone in the often impermanent world of their chosen genre -- its 10th anniversary as a group. With a sound that crosses melodic dance-pop with more experimental fare, the band has definitely found a niche for itself and grown in stature over that decade. STRFKR will play on Jan. 21 at Cargo at Whitney Peak Hotel.
Their chosen Reno venue is a step up from when the band played in some of the city’s smaller bars when it was just starting out. Before any road work happened, though, STRFKR was more of a studio project from Portland, Oregon-musician Joshua Hodges. Before STRFKR became a going concern, he was the lead singer and guitarist for a group called Sexton Blake. That band played closer to a straight-ahead rock sound and released two albums on a small indie label in their hometown.
That was until 2007, when Sexton Blake split and Hodges decided to strike out solo and change his sound to something that mixed in more dance music and electronic elements. This led a year later to a self-titled debut on the revered indie label Badman Recording Co. The label also released several EPs and the band’s second album, “Jupiter,” in 2009. Both of these led to some critical acclaim and an expanded audience thanks to a lot of online blog love for STRFKR at the height of the internet’s tastemaker influence.
It also helped that a STRFKR song called “Rawnald Gregory Erickson the Second” was used in a Target TV commercial in 2009, leading to more interest in the group. A second ad-featured song, a cover of “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper, led to a little more attention in 2012.
By the time that STRFKR left Badman records to join another popular indie label, Polyvinyl Records, Hodges had established his project as more of a band, and one that played live all over the country. The current group also includes Shawn Glassford and Keil Corcoran, all of whom like Hodges swap instruments from bass to keyboards to drums depending on the song.
The group’s mainstream breakthrough was with album no. 3, “Reptilians,” released by Polyvinyl in 2011. Pitting dark, dystopian lyrics over brighter melodies, the album earned a lot of acclaim from critics and led to the group being featured at several national festivals. The 2013 follow-up, “Miracle Mile,” did even better, earning a spot on the national Billboard albums chart and reaching the top 5 of the Billboard Heatseekers chart, which tracks the top emerging bands for sales and airplay.
STRFKR’s latest album is 2016’s “Being No One, Going Nowhere.” It also earned rave notices in the press and topped the Heatseekers chart.
The band’s best known songs include “Bury Us Alive,” “Millions,” “While I’m Alive,” “Atlantis” and “German Love.”