As a midwesterner myself (a Hoosier, to be precise), I love it when a fellow Hoosier hits a home run with their music. And this is more than a home rune. I’m talking about Bloomington native Steve Marino. The first few chords of the album titled ‘Fluff’ had me intrigued, then it had me floored. This song is beautiful in so many ways. It’s thought-provoking, lush, and, honestly, a solid consistent hook.
Most of the time I skim through tracks to get an idea of the song or album as a whole. The track ‘Fluff’ should be called ‘Bait’, because that got me to listen to the whole thing. From the title track to the end of ‘Vat’, the last track. This album is a soundtrack to the home and the heart. Each song has vast and varied elements that I instantly hold on to both as a musician and a music fan. I’m not just saying that as a Hoosier, mind you, but as a musician and as someone who loves music. Steve made a new fan when I listened to this album, which is out today (May 24th).
A word to the wise, these songs are made for vinyl.
“I’ve always liked songs that leave a lot of space and evoke a sense of earnestness. I guess a goal of mine is to accomplish that on recordings.”
– Steve Marino
About Steve Marino
As a vet of the Bloomington scene, Steve Marino has recorded multiple solo albums (as Moor Hound) been in countless bands and toured the country consistently, but his newest full-length, Fluff, is the first collection of songs he’s releasing under his own name. In that sense, it’s his “debut” album.
One might expect such a transition, from the artifice of a band name to the intimacy of one’s given name, to be born of some newfound, inward focus. It makes sense; it’s a story of an artist going back to basics, getting real. It’s also not what happened.
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‘Fluff’ is an album about home, and one’s place in it, love, and intimacy, and it’s the result of Steve marrying his direct, honest songwriting with a deeply collaborative process. He developed the record with fellow Bloomington, Indiana resident, and standout producer Ben Lumsdaine (Kevin Krauter, Major Murphy, Juan Solorzano) and together they open up the songs, giving them tangible depth.
The title track, ‘Fluff’, with its precise drums, layered guitars, and visceral, emotive vocals, captures the power of this collaboration. Paste Magazine said of the track, “The lush guitars and Marino’s candid vocals possess a suburban warmth and epitomize the gaping hole that festers in the absence of a loved one.” It is, like the rest of the album, in perfect balance.
“Like a primal gut-punch that couldn’t have been artificially manufactured”
– Paste Magazine
“Steve Marino’s folksy, Midwestern vibes are genuine. Based out of Bloomington, Indiana, Marino makes music that’s easy on the ear and the soul” – Indie Shuffle
“tender and dreamy…”
“Marino’s heartfelt tunes are ballads for the every-person, stripped to simplicity for repeated enjoyment”
– Austin Town Hall
“A powerhouse in rainy day tracks…relaxing feelings and well-constructed, simple songs”
– Atwood Magazine