Stephen Steinbrink: Ugly Unknowns

A couple weeks after telling us about Towncraft, Jason Woodbury checks in again with some insight on another Phoenix musician. Check out Jason in Cardiac Party and Hands on Fire.

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Ugly Unknowns, the new album from Stephen Steinbrink and the first released under his given name, is now available from Tempe, Ariz.-based Gilgongo Records. If you aren’t familiar with Steinbrink’s work, now is a perfect time to get acquainted with his low-fi bedroom pop. While he’s put out a ton of releases in varying formats over the past few years, his 2008 full-length French Quarter garnered some pretty serious press: hard-earned praise from Doug Mosurock at Dusted Magazine in his “Still Single” feature, a glowing review over at Coke Machine Glow and even a sanctimonious write-up from Thurston Moore (!) and Byron Coley in Arthur Magazine.

While the term “singer/songwriter” usually calls to mind polished production and boring presentation, Steinbrink’s work is far more varied, often balancing out biting lyrics with gorgeous harmonies and lively, Built to Spill-like arrangements. Ugly Unknowns finds Steinbrink expanding his range ever further; the intertwining guitar work bares the influence of former tourmates and local stunners My Feral Kin, and tracks like Overpassing reveal a shared heritage with Neil Young & Crazy Horse.

Steinbrink with be performing at Modified with Anni Rossi tonight (Feb. 9); at the Trunk Space with Jason Anderson on Feb. 18; and will do a live on-air interview and set on the Basement, on the Blaze 1260 AM on March 1.

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