In celebration of the 20th Anniversary of their breakthrough album Set Yourself On Fire (SYOF, 2004 via Arts & Crafts), Montreal's Stars announce they will embark on a select North American tour this fall and release a special 20th Anniversary Vinyl Reissue on Arts & Crafts arriving in July, which will feature two bonus tracks not widely available on other releases. The album has been lovingly reimagined on 140g opaque red vinyl, housed in a special die cut jacket with printed inner sleeve, 12x24" pinup poster, and a temporary tattoo featuring the iconic flame design. New liner notes written by album producer Tom McFall also accompany the re-issue.

Stars' Set Yourself On Fire 20th Anniversary live dates begin September 18 in Asbury Park, New Jersey, ahead of a two-night stand at Brooklyn, NY’s Music Hall of Williamsburg. The tour will then work its way to three Canadian dates in Montreal, Ottawa, and Toronto; after a two-week break, the dates will resume south of the border in California and traverse throughout the west, including a stop in Vancouver. All dates are listed below. An Artist Patreon-exclusive Ticket Presale is confirmed for Wednesday March 6 @ 10 am local time, and a General Onsale of this Friday March 8 @ 10 am local time.

Artists of effortlessly accessible complication, on Set Yourself On Fire, Stars took our worst fears - both personal and global - and slayed the anxieties with their perfect pop music. Widely lauded as amongst their most ambitious, accomplished, and affecting works of their storied existence, Stars’ Set Yourself On Fire (20th Anniversary Edition) carries the torch of the magical songs that have set so many hearts alight. 

Set Yourself On Fire drew international praise from the likes of Pitchfork, The Guardian, NME, Rolling Stone, Q, Entertainment Weekly, and Spin, amongst many others. The album, also regaled across Canadian music press, was nominated for Alternative Album of The Year at the JUNO Awards in 2005, and certified Platinum in 2006. SYOF has seen continued praise and recognition at its 10th and 15th year anniversary marks - a true testament to the album’s staying power. Add to that, a longstanding reverence for the way Torquil's father, Douglas Campbell's voice ushers in the timeless, anthemic words “when there's nothing left to burn, you have to set yourself on fire” a now iconic phrase in the band’s discography, at the LP opening of “Your Ex-Lover Is Dead” - a telltale and powerful beginning for Stars on that album, as well as decades and decades later. The continued love and fervor for this record and their extensive discography alongside the many career accomplishments; from continuous releases to international tours and festivals, to theatrical stages, all attest to the power of Stars. 

Rewinding to 20 years ago, a press release from Arts & Crafts reveals a glimpse into the texture of the musical landscape of that time. The heartbeat and heartache the band experienced in crafting this seminal LP is palpable not only in the songs, but all the words that told the story then.

“By all accounts, the process of creating Set Yourself On Fire, Stars’ third full-length album – for Arts & Crafts, home to their dear friends and sometime collaborators and bandmates Broken Social Scene – played like scenes from The Shining. During one of the coldest winters on record, the soft revolutionaries set up shop in a cabin offered to them by an odd man they’d met in a local pub, a chap named Alan Nicholls. Turned out he used to play in a classic Montreal garage band in the sixties and currently writes tunes for Robert Altman. Over the mixing board in his country home studio, there was a photo of Alan giving John Lennon a hug. While the snow fell outside, Stars nestled in their cocoon, drank rivers of booze, smoked things they shouldn’t, had bloody arguments, slid down icy hills on the bellies of their snowsuits, kissed and made up and nearly went insane. They steeped themselves in Sam Cooke and the Super Furry Animals, hash cakes and champagne, DuMaurier Lights and library books, the Apostle of Hustle and skating. Serious emo shit went down. When they were done letting themselves completely fall apart, Stars channeled all that cabin feverish intensity into writing brilliant songs. James Shaw, their old pal from Metric, showed up to help record some tracks. They think he survived unscathed.

(Editors Note: Flash forward to today, it’s no wonder Stars’ Amy Millan was asked to serve as consultant for the hugely popular 2023 hit show, Daisy Jones & The Six)

“Our valiant heroes finally returned to Montreal when the world woke up. In May, they invited a fantastic British engineer named Tom McFall to visit, and finished the record, fuelled by vegan food from up the street. Tony Hoffer, a fine fellow whose production skills have helped folks like Beck, Grandaddy, Air and Phoenix make blissful pop albums, lent a hand mixing the record.

Stars started from the roots up with Set Yourself On Fire, pushing and tormenting each other to make their most ambitious and collaborative album yet – this time, Torquil, Amy, Chris and Evan brought drummer Pat McGee along for the ride. Although Pat’s provided the band’s live heart- beat for the past two years, this is the first recording he’s made with Stars. Sources say he made ice cream and brought utter hilarity to the fold, and all were thankful.”

Patty McGee, recalls of that time, “For four years I'd avoided joining the band. They were nuts; delusional; dysfunctional; alcoholic. The comedy was relentless and debilitating; the heartache steady. Burgeoning metropolis after burgeoning metropolis. Pommes mit mayo; chicken fried chicken. But they just kept pushing. Steely Dan, De La, The Doves, The Dears... more drinking. Alone on the floor in the Motel 6, up super late in the Super 8. We are driving. We are smoking. We are having. East into the sun, West into the sea. Forever focused on the horizon; forever full of heart. We wrote the record in the snow and released it in a flame. Once recorded, resistance was futile. It was time to sign. So I did, and I set myself on fire.

“Your favorite band from high school” is still doing it all for the fans. Stars stay in a direct relationship with their fans, via Patreon. This year especially will show Patreon-exclusive afterparties for the SYOF shows, along with exclusive merch items, band talks (with surprise guests!) and more. They have introduced an annual membership granting access to all things SYOF in 2024.


 “This fateful line, read by Torquil Campbell's father before the strings begin, sets the tone for a song that would land in many perfectly matched melodramas: Season 2 of The O.C.; the Season 5 finale of Degrassi: The Next Generation; the soundtrack of twee film Daydream Nation. The lead track on Stars' third album, Set Yourself on Fire, "Your Ex-Lover is Dead" is overflowing with feelings.” - CBCMUSIC 

 “Set Yourself on Fire, is a great example of sonic efficiency. Its songs are packed like a Geo Tracker for a cross-country road trip, yet nothing gets crushed or stuffed or buried. It might be the best orchestral pop album of the past year, only it doesn't sound orchestral, at least not according to the outsize string-and-reverb model favored by bands like Oasis or Spiritualized. If you find me a recent album that towers higher with fodder so virtuosically managed and manipulated, I'll give you 20 dollars and jump in a foreboding body of water from a height.” - Pitchfork

 “Set Yourself On Fire is an album so good, they made it twice: 2007’s Do You Trust Your Friends?Turned over the tracklisting to their musical friends and relations to cover, remix, or rip to shreds and start again. No other record in Star’s catalogue could withstand that kind of treatment and come out sounding as good the second time around. One-off singles sprinkled throughout subsequent releases hit similar highs, but Set Yourself On Fire remains the definitive Stars record fifteen years on: tightly focused arrangements, sterling songwriting, and the best distillation of male/female call-and-response singing ever.” - Dominionated SYOF 15th Anniversary Review

 “What positioned Stars so uniquely in 2004 is still true to this day: the band's brilliant decision to have two lead singers (Torquil Campbell and Amy Millan) and make the first track on their second album a devastating call-and-answer duet that ripped open the hearts of a whole new crop of music fans and critics, including CBC Music's own Andrea Warner and Melody Lau.” - CBC SYOF 15th Anniversary Feature

“Brief thrills and murdered passions turn glossy in a warm glow of harmonies and a cascade of hard synths and feathery strings. Through this sticky-sweet tangle waltz vocalists Torquil Campbell and Amy Millan, their half-whispered words speaking cold truths. Guitars chime in Reunion, while Your Ex-Lover Is Dead swings between wordy whimsy and a pounding, aggressive rhythm.” -  The Guardian

 “ This is the band at their clearest and most direct: espousing the "soft revolution" and spinning tales about nearly every aspect of love, lust, and heartbreak. The record's full production — sumptuous orchestral arrangements and programmed synths — is melded with traditional indie rock to develop a versatile pop sound. Each song on the album is lyrically vivid and sincere in a way that's undeniable, a testament to the group's vision.” -  Exclaim Essential Guide To Stars


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