Stephen Steinbrink, “Anagrams”

Amelia Pitcherella

Stephen Steinbrink

Photo by Hannah Klein.

Olympia’s Stephen Steinbrink isn’t one to keep things fixed for the sake of simplicity: he has a way of asking questions, leaving things open and mutable. The Olympia songwriter’s 2014 LP Arranged Waves is a pop album that’s at once comforting and complex, with lyrics that seem half in cipher over soothing cycles of guitars and synths. With regard to his writing process between that last record and now, he told DIY, “I try to be more concerned with being open, to imagine myself as a rock or a wrapper or nothing at all.”

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His forthcoming full-length, Anagrams, appropriately refuses fixation. The title track brings us a sunny Americana array of sounds, with Steinbrink’s doubled vocals riding on the clean jangle of lapping guitars. Still, under the gorgeous light of the music there’s an underlying ache as Steinbrink questions whether what’s going on is “simulation of the deepest kind of truth.” In a dizzying moment of honesty he admits, “I want to dream / that reality doesn’t need to make me bleed.” The lyrics are characteristically loose but call to mind the pangs of relating to someone and wondering how much of the connection is purely illusion. Then again, maybe that’s just a sliver of what he’s getting at. After all, you can rearrange nearly anything and convince yourself it’s something else.

Anagrams is out July 1 on Melodic Records and available for preorder now. Stephen Steinbrink will be touring the West Coast this summer and Europe this fall, dates below.

Stephen Steinbrink tour dates

June
15 Clinton, WA at Bailey’s Corner Store
16 Seattle, WA at The Future
17 Port Townsend, WA at Uptown
18 Anacortes, WA at Maya Shakti
19 Olympia, WA at Stable Studio
20 Portland, OR at Turn! Turn! Turn!
21 Astoria, OR at Albatross
23 San Francisco, CA at Sylvan Annex
24 Oakland, CA at Badger Claw Castle
25 Santa Cruz, CA at Hanover Hideout
26 Santa Barbara at Dashain Co-op
29 Los Angeles, CA at Bootleg Theater
30 Pomona, CA at Acerogami

September
26 Denmark, Copenhagen at Beta
27 Denmark, Aarhus at Atlas
28 Germany, Hamburg at Clubheim Im Schanzenpark
29 Germany, Berlin at ACUD
30 Belgium, Antwerp at Trix (with Pinegrove)

October
02 The Netherlands, Rotterdam at v11
03 UK, Leeds at Headrow House
04 UK, London at The Lexington
07 Switzerland, Luzern at Neubad
09 Italy, Varese at Twiggy
10 Italy, Livorno at Ex Cinema Aurora
11 Italy, Misano Adriatico at Wave Club
12 Italy, Roma at Na Cosetta

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