Marker Starling
Marker Starling

Marker Starling

About Marker Starling

The sole vision of Toronto keyboardist/vocalist Chris A. Cummings, Marker Starling make laid-back pop that draws on soft rock and early-'70s singer/songwriters. Often featuring sparse musical backing that consists of electric piano and a rickety drum machine, the songs are closely drawn portraits of love, loss, and life sung by Cummings in an intimate croon. The project's recordings are stark and beautiful bedroom pop, whether showing off Cummings' skill as an interpreter of other's songs (2016's I'm Willing) or as a songwriter himself (2018's Trust an Amateur).
In 2012, after spending over a decade working under the name Mantler, Cummings formed the Marker Starling Trio, bringing bassist Matt McLaren and drummer Jay Anderson on board. Similar to his work as Mantler, with Marker Starling Cummings investigates his own take on jazz-influenced soft rock à la Steely Dan and Todd Rundgren. By the time Marker Starling released their debut full-length album, Rosy Maze, on Tin Angel in 2015, the band was just Cummings. He followed it up in 2016 with I'm Willing, a collection of cover songs by the likes of Classics IV ("Stormy") and Caetano Veloso ("Lost in the Paradise"). The album is a stripped-down affair with Cummings on piano backed by a drum machine and guest vocals from Laetitia Sadier. Cummings had a busy 2017, collaborating with the German band Von Spar on their Street Life album and writing a song, "Deep Background," for Sadier's Finding Me Finding You. Marker Starling also released another album that year, Anchors and Ampersands, a collection of songs written and recorded by Cummings in the past, redone in a more fully arranged soft pop style that brought in horns and a live drummer, plus covers of songs by the Spinners and Sandro Perri.
The next Marker Starling album reached back to the past for material (a collaboration from 1998 with musician Dennis Frey, tracks begun in 2005, and songs written before he recorded I'm Willing and Anchors and Ampersands) and saw Cummings recording in Berlin with producer Guy Sternberg. Trust an Amateur was a return to the stripped-down sound of I'm Willing and was released in late 2018 by Tin Angel. Cummings traveled to the U.K. to work on the fifth Marker Starling album, High January. The record was produced by Sean O'Hagen of the High Llamas and members of the Marker Starling live band (bassist Joe Carvell, drummer Euan Rodger, and guitarist Andy Whitehead) provided musical backing. The album features a warmer, full-band sound and a guest vocal appearance from Laetitia Sadier. It was released by Tin Angel in April of 2020. ~ Matt Collar

    Toronto, Canada

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