Oakland-based singer-songwriter Stephen Steinbrink has announced his eighth studio album Utopia Teased, coming Nov. 9 via Western Vinyl / Melodic Records. Steinbrink, a touring member of both Girlpool and Dear Nora’s live bands in addition to his prolific solo work, shared “Bad Love” on Thursday as an advance taste of his latest LP.
Steinbrink wrote Utopia Teased between stints on the road with Girlpool and Dear Nora, and in the wake of the tragic fire that claimed 36 lives at Oakland art collective Ghost Ship. Wracked with grief, the singer-songwriter gobbled LSD daily, eschewed sleep for days at a time and locked himself in his shipping container studio to write and record the new album, working through his crushing feelings of loss and cynicism in the process. “I was driving the preamps a little too hard, mixing down to tape, bouncing back to the computer, and repeating the process over and over again,” Steinbrink recalls. “I wanted it to reflect how fried my brain felt at the time, totally pulverized.”
Utopia Teased’s experimental lead single is miles from Steinbrink’s 2016 album Anagrams, with a lo-fi drum machine beat, busy bass line and zonked-out synths in place of his last album’s more accessible, acoustic guitar-centered sound. Steinbrink’s still-pretty vocals have a newfound edge as he reminds us that the only way out is through: “No one’s gonna give you the bit / You gotta fight for yours / Fake your way through the ivy and red brick / When all you’ve got is bad love,” he sings.
Stream “Bad Love” via SoundCloud here, and see the Utopia Teased tracklist and album art below. You can preorder the record right here.
Utopia Teased 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
09. In Another Kind of Dream
10. Become Sphere
11. You Could Always Leave
12. I’m Never Changing Who You Are
Utopia Teased Album Art: