Maxwell Stern, known for his roles in bands Signals Midwest and Meridian, just put out his self-released solo record There’s A Time For Everything, tearing apart the fabric of acoustic emo to include large sounds and even larger problems.
The self-described “mini-record” takes six tracks to explore “six real people, two imaginary people, five different cities, and two dogs” as written by Stern. Recruiting friends like Polyvinyl OG Fred Thomas and local folker Shannen Moser expands the album beyond Stern’s quintessential emo-revival voice and bouncing guitar work, perfectly capturing the extremely personal stories and anecdotes presented.
Intimacy comes from the lack of a full drummer, as a drum machine adds a touch of loneliness to powerful ballads “Half For Dogs, Half For Justin” and “Box Fan Blues.” “Never Ending Equals Sign” cuts deep with a surprising yet hear-wrecking trumpet, exploring Stern’s revelatory move from Ohio to Philly before that anxious drum machine shines on the final track of “Spanish Yellow Orange.”
The record leaves a familiar yet foreign taste in my mouth, as Stern’s continued foray into solo music progresses further into non-generic sounding bedroom pop, a sound that is well overdue for this city.
Listen to the record below, and if you like what you hear, check out Stern and friend Fred Thomas at Boot and Saddle on March 28th (tickets/more information can be found on the XPN Concert Calendar).
Maxwell Stern, Meridian, Signals Midwest