Gold Star (aka LA troubadour Marlon Rabenreither) makes timeless music. Forthcoming third album 'Uppers And Downers' is a collage. “The idea was to achieve a deeper scope: slow songs, fast songs, less genre specific, capturing all the moods,” he says. It starts with the sadness of 'Crooked Teeth', which reminds of Richard Ashcroft. On 'Baby Face', Rabenreither channels Beck. 'This Is The Year' is a pub rock number you can imagine Noel Gallagher on. The songs stem from conversations with friends. “There's no narrative arc,” he notes. “It was meant to be a little bipolar.” Recorded at LA's Valentine Studios, Rabenreither worked with producer friend Nicolas Jodoin. “Old studios are like churches. It forces you to meet these expectations that you wouldn't push yourself to under less pressure.” Jodoin was key in making sure the songs formed a seamless soundtrack via lush arrangements and vintage-sounding keys and chords.
While cagey about the songs' meanings, they span the personal and observational. “It's about the highs and lows of life." On 'Where Will I Be' he expresses guilt about making music a lifestyle choice. On 'Half The Time' – the album's most autobiographical tune – he makes a remark about “kicking the junk”; a reference to heroin use. It's about growing up in LA, a city that's constantly changing and has a deep-rooted underbelly despite its outward beauty. “I don't intend to romanticize sorrow or depression,” he says. “Why would anyone do that?”
The one thing that does connect the songs is LA. The album contains many vignettes of the city's neighborhoods. Approaching his late twenties, Rabenreither's thoughts have become heavier. Though you could argue he's always been on the hunt for meaning. Music is his lifelong endeavour. “It's like being blindfolded. A lot of it is just working in the dark. You try to evolve and be honest. When everything is about consumption and violence, any kind of simple small gesture is radical.”