Gold Star’s “Half the Time” Is a Celebration of LA’s Seedy Underbelly

Listen to the cracked, joyous first single from his tumultuous third album, 'Uppers & Downers.'
June 5, 2018, 6:15pm

Gold Star is the moniker of Austrian born, LA bred artist Marlon Rabenreither, and it's a fitting one at that—his tunes are anchored in Americana and country-inflected grit, with something a little more timeless and bright around the edges. It pulls you in, immediately familiar upon first listen, but with a momentum that keeps you listening for where his observational lore will take you next.

Today, Noisey is pleased to announce Gold Star's third LP, Uppers & Downers, out September 7 via Autumn Tone Records. It's Rabenreither's most genre agnostic work to date, operating more on the dynamism of its title than the twang and intimacy of last year's Big Blue. Recorded in LA's historic Valentine Studios (former hub of The Beach Boys, Frank Zappa, and Jackson Browne), Uppers & Downers sounds like a snapshot of LA's itinerant spirit, veering from more impressionistic tales of its lesser-known underbellies, to personal reckonings with addiction.

The album's first single, "Half the Time," premieres on Noisey below, and makes for a welcome thesis to both the LP's heart and sound. It's all sun-dusted Stones vibes, loaded with big piano chords, cracked vocals, and a kind of ecstatic ennui. It's probably the album's most personal track, with Rabenreither navigating the road from "kicking the junk" to the white-knuckled reality of daily life in its wake.

"'Half the Time' was probably the first song I wrote for this new record," Rabenreither tells Noisey. "I tend to think of it as the spark that became Uppers & Downers. The arrangement and tempo for this song fluctuated quite dramatically during the recording process, but lyrically it has remained fairly consistent. It is the most autobiographically straight forward narrative on the record, and in some sense it just tells my story, where I came from."

Andrea Domanick is Noisey's West Coast editor. Follow her on Twitter.