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Stephen Steinbrink – “Bad Love”

Stephen Steinbrink has spent the last couple years, since the release of 2016’s Anagrams, playing with the likes of Dear Nora and Girlpool. In that time, he also recorded a brand-new album by himself called Utopia Teased, mainly put together in the wake of the Ghost Ship warehouse fire that killed 36 people right in the Oakland community that Steinbrink calls home. As a press release puts it: “Steinbrink ate LSD daily, bought a synthesizer, and locked himself in his shipping container studio, refusing to sleep for days as he wrote and recorded what would become Utopia Teased.”

That’s a striking origin story for an album, and it’s just the sort of spontaneous creative burst that could arise out of such a tragedy, as a means to cope and a way to start to heal. Indicative of the circumstances under which it was made, lead single “Bad Love” has a kind of scrunched-up compactness to it. Steinbrink songs usually have some space to breath, but “Bad Love” is sticky from end to end. “No one’s gonna give you the bit/ You gotta fight for yours,” he sings. “Fake your way through the ivy and red brick/ When all you’ve got is bad love.”

Listen below.

TRACKLIST:
01 “Bad Love”
02 “I Wanna Be Free”
03 “A Part Of Me Is A Part Of You”
04 “Empty Vessel”
05 “Maximum Sunlight”
06 “Zappa Dream”
07 “Coming Down”
08 “Mom”
09 “In Another Kind Of Dream”
10 “Become Sphere”
11 “You Could Always Leave”
12 “I’m Never Changing Who You Are”

Utopia Teased is out 11/9 via Western Vinyl/Melodic Records. Pre-order it here.