LOCAL! Oakland singer-songwriter who writes consistently perfect psychedelic pop songs with melancholy leanings and excellent lyrics. Steinbrink recorded this album as a means of processing his grief in the wake of the Ghost Ship fire. He did a lot of LSD during the recording period, and the resulting sound is bent and a little unpredictable, on the tipping point between exuberance and deep pain. In his own words, “I wanted it to reflect how fried my brain felt at the time, totally pulverized.” RIYL Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Connan Mockasin, Tame Impala, though Steinbrink’s a way better lyricist than all of them. It’s hard not to fall in love with his music. (His previous album, Anagrams, is also amazing.) Favorites: 1, 4, 5, 8, 9, 12. FCC WARNING: 6, 11.|
1. (2:59)—Warped mid-tempo synth pop. Disorienting open. Woozy rave-up chorus.
2. (2:29)—Mid-tempo, sugary, bouncy. Twinkling synths.
3. (2:52)—Slow, kind of funky. Wobbly synth lines, 80s harmonic guitar leads.
4. *(2:05)—Mid-tempo, punchy. Bird sounds. Feels like something that could’ve been on a strange 90s children’s TV show. More harmonic guitars.
5. *(3:27)—Slow, lush. Beautiful guitars. He sings, “I threw my car keys at the moon,” which is now one of my favorite lines of any song. Long fade out.
6. (4:08)—FCC (f***). Cover of a song by local band La Dee Da. Lovely psych-prog miniature.
7. (1:16)—Instrumental. Descending guitar, retro sci-fi feel.
8. *(2:05)—Mid-tempo, gentle. Chintzy keyboard percussion. Reminds me of Simon and Garfunkel? “I understand you / but I can’t talk about the fire tonight / I can’t talk about Christmas plans at Starbucks.”
9. *(4:11)—Mid-tempo, upbeat in an uncanny valley way. This makes me want to cry. I just keep imagining some surreal and emotional retro children’s TV show when I listen. The last 90 seconds are warped-sounding, downcast spoken word.
10. (2:54)—Instrumental. Whooshing sounds, glimmering rhythm guitar, spacey synth lead.
11. (3:31)—FCC (f***). Slow, loping beat. Like Mac DeMarco, but better.
12. *(5:44)—Mid-tempo. Long intro, long outro. Deep guitar fingerpicking. “I heard you talking through the drywall.”