Speck of Dust

After 17 years, the hidden 90s indie rock band Duster makes a come back


“One of us would come home from work and there would be a new sound echoing in the house, like ‘whoa shit what have you been doing?! that sounds great!’ Then the next day it would be someone else’s turn to go to work, every day it seemed like our spaceship was exploring new worlds.”, Parton said.

90’s Indie band “Duster” during one of their earlier performances.

The sound of the band Duster makes you feel as if you are the main character in a melancholy indie movie walking through the train station on a rainy day. In the song “Echo, Bravo” from their first album “Stratosphere,” you feel the most alone. Their music is the ideal road trip soundtrack of getting away from everything and giving yourself a moment to reflect.

Their nuance tempo of guitar, drums, and vocals bring the question what came first; the music or lyrics? In all, the genre space rock and 90s indie that Duster falls into doesn’t necessarily matter. What does matter, though, is the cozy feeling you get from the static waves your ears send to your brain.

Duster formed in 1996, but faded away in 2001 after two albums and a few EPs. As roommates in San Jose, Clay Parton, Canaan Dove Amber, and Jason Albertini influenced this lo-fi instrumental with what was available to them, making it even more unique. They used old microphones, guitars, and amps that have been around for a while. Their instruments would bounce off the walls in their living room while recording on cassette four track machines. Nothing has changed in that aspect. It’s as if they have picked up where they left off before the turn of the millennium.

“One of us would come home from work and there would be a new sound echoing in the house, like ‘Whoa shit what have you been doing?! That sounds great!’ Then the next day it would be someone else’s turn to go to space while someone else had to go to work. Every day it seemed like our spaceship was exploring new worlds,” Parton said.

During this time, the trio and their roommates all worked at the same record store at different times, opening up a plethora of influences like The Stooges, Bowie, T-Rex, High Rise, Flying Saucer Attack, Velvet Underground, Windsor for the Derby, Codeine, KARP, Sleep, and Tchaikovsky. With a consistent flow of records coming through their house, not focused on a particular genre, this seemed like the ideal place to have a beer and smoke a cigarette after a long day while Bowie’s intergalactic voice rang.

“Thematically, space was just interesting to us. We lived close to NASA Ames Research Center, and watched a lot of X-files on vVHS. We didn’t know space rock was a thing, we just thought the moon seemed a lot cooler than here.”

In one of their first interviews since 200 with Noisey, Patron mentions that their authentic recording style on analog is more of an ethereal out of this world studio they nicknamed Low Earth Orbit.

In April, the band announced reunion on an Instagram post saying, “Hi. it’s been a long time but we are recording a little bit.” Their fans instantly gratified this message with how stoked they were or how not stoked they were about them playing at a 21 and over venue.

One of their Bay area fans Brenden Bilbao, 21, Barista, explains how much their lyrics mean to him.

“Favorite lyric is ‘the shade between the day and the darkness of night will last enough time to feel’. [I] started listening to them in like 2016 and I listen to them because their music calms me down and keeps me in a mellow mood,” he said.

With their reunion and now their music being older than some their fans, the band said that in March of 2019, the record label Numero Group would be releasing their discography box-set. Duster is going on tour across the country starting this month in Brooklyn, NY. Next they will be close to home on the west coast in Tucson, Las Vegas, San Francisco, and of course San Jose.

“We have talked about it for a long time, but the three of us are sort of collectively unorganized and terrible at getting our shit together,” Parton said. “All of us have gone through whatever dark shit individually in the meantime too, but somehow now things have aligned for us to at least play some shows. We are playing a bunch of 21 & over venues though, so our new young fans are mad. So we’re still fucking up, sorry kids,” he said.

To stay in touch with what Duster is up to follow them on Instagram @thisisduster or their website to check out tour dates in a city near you https://unrecovery.org