April 23, 2009

Stephen Steinbrink "You Are Dead" cdr

I wouldn't feel right about enjoying this CD as much as I have and not write smething about it. I planned to write about it anyway, but now feel that I am actually obligated to do it as a way of giving back. It is that good. This is how the songs made me feel.
The style is not any serious departure from the style of prior releases, it is still Stephen Steinbrink relating deeply personal stories and feelings with the sweetest voice and catchy pop arrangements. the best parts about these songs are the subtle effects which are layered in the background, the occasional lapse into a snotty lyrical attitude, and those catchy fucking bass lines.
The first song/title track makes me feel dumb for making the same mistakes and hoping for different results. It is kind of patronizing in that it sounds approprite for a long thoughtful car ride, but it urges that my thoughtfulness is misguided and futile. The fuzzed out acoustic guitar is still comforting nonetheless. "A Tiny Seed" makes me think of a really aggressive person who is angry because nobody understands/loves him. What will the seed of resentment grow into I wonder? the waves of vocal humms and long pronounced howls that are mixed into the background contribute to the feeling of being stuck inside of one's head.
the next three tracks are very to the point. "No More Night Driving" and "Growing Up is Easy" are frank and honest songs about exactly what the title suggests. "The Cops" is a super graphic song about murder and the boys in blue clean-up-crew, and how it doesnt feel right eating after you watch a corpse get scraped off the sidewalk. these tracks remind me of Jonathan Richman if he was more cynical, and laughed at inapropriate times.
After the true to life narratives of the the middle three songs, the album reverts back to the deeper complexities of the beginning. "Warning" is a sweet Bri White cover that is by far the most cryptic track on the album. It is probably about suicide. and "Wet Cloud" is my favorite track because it is absurd and beautiful, "If i fell through a wet cloud, i would be very wet. to the bones i would bet. then if i kept falling through another wet cloud, it was wetter than the first wet cloud." what does that mean? if you consider that the "sky holds a power and this is the hour to fall," then maybe it makes more sense. or not. it basically begs you to come to your own conclusions about its meaning, and make it your own. and so in that way it is like a gift from Stephen to the listener for listening to the whole album.
The entire album was a gift figuratively and literally, to me. i sent him five bucks (the cost of one) and he sent me three as well as an issue of manys #4 (a thoroughly fucked up cartoon zine) the art is great on everything (see picture) and i have been able to play it for strangers who liked it and subsequently sold my extra copies. when people get pumped on something they have never heard before it is always a good sign. and it probably means that the release diddnt necessitate a review (as it is limited to 100 anyways) but here it is anyways.


read what stephen thinks about all sorts of random shit on his blog Holy Smoking.
check out his Myspace.


Anonymous said...

between steinbrink and peaking lights, i got two new summer jamzzz. thanks man. god shit.

Anonymous said...

***good shit***

Family Time said...

god shit could be appropriate too, i think you just made up a new phrase. fuck yeah