DELICATE STEVE
Positive Force

Label: Luaka Bop
Release Date: 3rd September 2012
Tracklisting: 
 
01. Ramona Reborn
02. Wally Wilder
03. Two Lovers
04. Big Time Receiver
05. Touch
06. Positive Force
07. Love
08. Redeemer
10. Tallest Lights
11. Luna
 

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DELICATE STEVE
HEADLINE'S Shacklewell Arms THIS FRIDAY
Debuts 'Afria Talks To You' remix by Oorutaichi
Positive Force released 3rd September via Luaka Bop
 
"crystalline and futuristic, gently boisterous and squirty… a rapidly forming philosophy of positive vibes and inspiringly innovative playing, it's hard to want to pick holes in a record that more than lives up to its title." Pitchfork

"Delicate Steve slings his (mostly) instrumental guitar-pop into deep space." - SPIN   
  
"...albums like this don't only become living memories for the artists, but for the fans who listen  as well." - FILTER     
     
"There are few electric guitar masterminds putting their expertise to such unique ends as Steve Marion does..." - Consequence of Sound
 
 
 
DELICATE STEVE's the rather fabulous new album will be released on 3rd September in the UK, coinciding nicely with his appearance at this year's End of the Road Festival and HEADLINE London show at Shacklewell Arms THIS FRIDAY, 31st August 2012. 
 
 
To kick off his short European run of shows,  Marion has released an experimental version of "Afria Talks To You," reworked by Japanese cult artist Oorutaichi. The original single is taken from his critically second album, Positive Force, via Luaka Bop, which NPR describes as "world music, prog, reggae, surf-rock and more...bursting with eccentric ideas." Marion and his band will also play End of the Road Festival on 2nd September in the UK.

Delicate Steve has been touring with Yeasayer, tUnE-yArDs, and Givers this summer, including an incredible appearance at last month's High Sierra Festival where he joined Built to Spill onstage and replaced Doug Martsch'slead guitar during the last song of the band's set.
 
Earlier this summer, 10 bands including Yeasayer, tUnE-yArDs,Ra Ra Riot and Givers, premiered a different track from Positive Force across their social media channels. The album stream followed his public installation listening event where playbutton devices housing one of Positive Force's ten songs were placed in ten locations across Brooklyn and Manhattan.
 
The first time I heard any of this music, Steve was giving me a lift home after a Nat Baldwin show. We were going up Allen Street in Manhattan, and I'd finally convinced him to play me something from the new album. "This is going to be the last song," he said, and put on "Luna." OK, maybe I'd had a couple of beers, but in the dark of night the lights of passing cars and neon signs glowed molten and forlorn just like Steve's guitar, and there was a serene space in the music as if it were the eye of a storm. It was one of those times when surroundings, moment and music combine to make a powerful impression. I'll always remember it.

And that's a big part of Delicate Steve - the mystical synergy that music can have with life. It's why the new album is called Positive Force. "I want to put out a positive feeling," says Steve. "It's so much more fun to get people all excited and uplifted."

 
And like its predecessor, 2010's also aptly titled Wondervisions, Positive Force really is uplifting, straight outta the idyllic, tree-lined streets of Steve's hometown of Fredon, deep in rural New Jersey, where he wrote and recorded this album. (Listen closely and you can hear the local crickets in a couple of songs.) Maybe it's a little more burnished, leisurely and cunningly layered this time, but there's still that winsome Delicate Steve charm, by turns tender and triumphant, of songs like "Big Time Receiver" or "Afria Talks to You." These are eleven soulful, unabashedly heartfelt variations on the theme of joie de vivre, and each of them is kind of irresistible.
 
Steve not only played all the instruments on the album - very much including the lyrical and virtuosic guitar that defines the album - but he recorded the entire thing, and mixed it too. And that's all very impressive, but the thing to remember is, Steve is first and foremost a songwriter. His compositions have verses and choruses and sometimes even bridges. It's just that he doesn't happen to be a vocalist. So he gets his guitar to do that. That's why, funnily and miraculously enough, this is instrumental music you can sing along to.
 
But where on earth does this wordless music come from? Steve says the inspirations for Positive Force included a bunch of classic rock, like Jimi Hendrix, the Beatles, Crosby, Stills & Nash, and the Kinks. You can hear the Beach Boys in "Love," the title of "Afria Talks to You" is a deliberately misspelled reference to Sly Stone, the guitar playing on "Tallest Heights" is Steve's tribute to Michael Jackson's vocal style, and "Luna" is a tribute to Miles Davis. Steve's ultra-expressive, melodic slide work hails back to Derek & the Dominos and George Harrison, and I hear some serious proto-Delicate Steve in Santana's sublime "Samba Pa Ti," not to mention various Afro-pop and all reggae's sunsplashed variations.
 
 
But there's a futuristic gleam to Delicate Steve that deletes all comparison to just about anything except maybe contemporaries like Yeasayer, Ratatat and the late, great Ponytail. Yeasayer's Anand Wilder, a big Delicate Steve fan, said the music reminded him of early '80s stuff by French-Beninese musician Wally Badarou, who also made bright, upbeat music drenched in ecstatic sunshine. (That explains the title of "Wally Wilder.")
 
You might notice the hot licks all over Positive Force. Or you might not, since they're so tastefully deployed. That's a big reason why Steve has become a go-to guitarist in the New York-area underground. One night in December last year, he played at downtown NYC avant music club the Stone with a riveting side project by Anand Wilder - and he was so great that the next band, which featured members of Javelin, Man Man and Cibo Matto, asked him to sit in. In 2011, he did an exquisite collaborative single with the great Brooklyn band Callers, sat in with Nat Baldwin from Dirty Projectors, Akron/Family, Fang Island, Janka Nabay, Yellow Ostrich and Ra Ra Riot, and that May, the Delicate Steve live band backed up Sonic Youth's Lee Ranaldo and Les Savy Fav's Tim Harrington on some smokin' Minutemen covers at yours truly's Our Band Could Be Your Life tribute concert in New York.
 
All this stuff happens not just because Steve is a splendid musician but because he and his music exude what we call in the business "a good vibe." That feeling permeates every nook and cranny of this record. In a world that does its level best to validate every bitter, cynical thought you've ever had, Positive Force is, in its own delightful way, provocative - it challenges you to accept unqualified sweetness and warmheartedness. "The world is already so full of stuff," Steve observes. "So if you're going to put something in, why not make it something good, instead of adding more negativity. That's part of the mission statement."
 
 
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