Gold Star

Gold Star – Uppers & Downers (album review)

by Woody on September 11, 2018

Credit: Mic Becker

Marlon Rabenreither, the man behind Gold Star, has been a steady presence in my musical rotation since I stumbled across a set by him and his band at SXSW ’17. On Big Blue, released later that year, Rabenreither’s portrayed someone who’d been through some shit. On every track, the protagonist portrayed someone who was hurting, recovering from hurt or anticipating some hurt.

Uppers & Downers builds on the excellent Big Blue; Rabenreither painting timeless vignettes over mid-tempo Americana. Like the great tunes of Tweedy and/or Adams, the music provides a platform for Rabenreither’s vocals. The album opens with Crooked Teeth, a yearning tune where Rabenreither is at his best. The title track has Rabenreither singing over a faint organ, just enough to his vocals a bottom to keep him from caving in on himself. Lest I forget, Chinatown, a ghostly and ethereal track that just lopes effortlessly to it conclusion.

Rabenreither has a magical voice, one that makes you feel every emotion he’s trying to get across. How he isn’t routinely mentioned with some of the best singer-songwriters out there is beyond me?

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

Gold Star is here

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Credit: Mic Becker

Gold Star is the moniker of LA’s Marlon Rabenreither. We stumbled into one of his set’s during SXSW ’17 and we all were immediately smitten with his music. Big Blue was one of my favorite albums of 2017 and am happy that AutumnTone is set to release the follow up on 9/7. Like Big Blue, these first two tracks do remind me of Tweedy. Here’s some on the new album.

“What artists do is reactionary to what they did before,” Rabenreither reasons. “I wanted to do the opposite of my previous LP, Big Blue, and make this record a collection of songs.” Hence the title, which isn’t a strictly literal reference to different mental states, or even medication, but rather to the diversity of song styles.“The idea was to achieve a deeper scope, a more dynamic range: slow songs, fast songs, less genre specific, capturing all the moods.”

Indeed, Uppers And Downers is a collage that winks at classic eras, but with a modern bite and twist. It starts with the searching drawl and sadness of “Crooked Teeth,” while on “Baby Face” Rabenreither channels a more modern jauntiness. “This Is The Year,” on the other hand, is a freewheeling rock number that could’ve been masterminded in the late ‘90s, and features Cameron Avery of Tame Impala on piano.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

Gold Star is here

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Gold Star – Big Blue (album review)

by Woody on April 10, 2017

GOLD-STAR

Gold Star, the moniker for singer-songwriter Marlon Rabenreither, was someone we just stumbled across during out latest SXSW adventure. For someone who meticulously plans his SXSW; it’s still nice to wander into a venue having with no expectations and be blown away.

Gold Star took the stage on the Thursday night backed by his excellent band and the troubador produced a wonderful set of easy-going twang. At the conclusion of his set, I was happy to learn that Big Blue was being released right after SXSW. And I’m even happier to state, that it lives up the billing of his set. Rabenreither’s music comes across as genuine and soulful, without ever coming across as overdone or over-produced.

The tune below, Sonny’s Blues, really reminds me of the early Wilco days. Rabenreither’s lyrics remind me Tweedy’s observational side. And musically, it could slip onto Being There without a second thought.

I felt sunlight shine right between my eyes/I’ve seen lightning strikes my whole life/I felt the stars outside shining in my veins/I met the big blue light face to face.

Rabenreither also mines heartbreak on a few tracks. My favorite among the bunch being Deptford High St. with the lyrics,

But I left her standing, somewhere on Signal hill, I left my baby, you know she is there still, she is there still.

All told, this is wonderfully written, wonderfully produced and wonderfully executed album. I’d make it a point to take in a set if the opportunity arises.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

Gold Star is here

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