Tucson-based Steff and the Articles are giving Phoenix fans a first listen of their new album, Timekeeper, ahead of its September 15 release.
The band will host a free listening party with a DJ set starting at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, August 27. You'll have three chances to hear the album that night, playing on the hour at 8, 9, and 10 p.m. Steff and the Articles will be there for a meet-and-greet at 9. This includes two new members who will be joining for the official album release show at Club Congress on September 15.
They even have a special "Timekeeper" cocktail on the menu for the evening. While they're keeping the mix a surprise for Sunday, we got to hear a bit about how it was developed.
"It's a fusion of one of my personal go-to cocktails and some added ingredients in collaboration with bartender Kitty McCauley at Valley Bar," hints singer/pianist Steff Koeppen.
That kind of personal touch is true of the new album, which explores how Koeppen has grappled with the passage of time.
"Timekeeper is from a lyric in the opening track," she says. "It helped me umbrella the songs into a post-college time in my life where I felt especially overwhelmed by anxieties associated with time."
This includes themes like accomplishing goals (or when to just give up on them), how long to wait around for a relationship to change, and how long love could possibly last.
The album's first single, "Keep You Around," grappled with complex relationships, with the official video featuring Koeppen struggling to understand her partner's quirks.
"I realized, as I was trying to name the album, that I was my own 'timekeeper,' and that this anxiety I felt about what my personal timeline should look like was created by societal expectations as I perceived them," says Koeppen.
They began working on the album in December 2015 at Red Mountain Studios in Tempe with producer Curtis Douglas. After completing about half of the tracks then, they waited until summer 2016 to tackle the rest.
"This way, we got to focus on a particular few songs at a time and give each one proper attention," she says.
They enlisted other local musicians to contribute and sent the album to Ralph Patlan (Jamie Foxx, Phunk Junkeez, Megadeth) to mix and Mike Kalajian (Senses Fail, Saosin, The Bouncing Souls) to master. Having a team with such an eclectic background was important to the band.
"I’m really glad the album had a few different ears on it, and I think the combo paid off," says Koeppen.
New Times is excited to premiere another new song from the upcoming album called "Fate is Fame." Listen below.
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"It points at how easy it is for us to define and redefine ourselves through social media profiles and the way many of us creatives frame our worlds to make them look a certain way," Koeppen says.
The plucky track teases those obsessed with obtaining fame. The sweeping chorus is a bold reminder to keep things real.
That's certainly what Steff and the Articles have set out to do by creating a deeply personal album and celebrating one on one with the fans this Sunday and at a few more to-be-announced listening sessions. Following the album release show, they're planning on a string of new dates, including a performance in Phoenix in the fall.
Steff and the Articles' Timekeeper listening party is at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday August 27, at Valley Bar. The 21-and-over event is free.