LISTEN: Steven Marshek’s Cure for the Summertime Blues

Is rock n’ roll relevant? It’s a question worth asking. One argument against: contemporary Christian church services.

That the idea of guitar-bass-drum music is sterile and safe enough to serve as a segue between collection plates, sacraments, and some slick, young pastor’s prosperity gospel, is certainly an argument for putting the genre out to pasture.

Also, have you seen/heard Switchfoot? How horrible is this?

Switchfoot’s existence alone should be enough to prompt the replacing of any and all guitar-based music with more interesting relevant music. Might I suggest some Soundcloud Rap?

But certainly rock n’ roll retains some redemptive qualities. For members of a generation destined to be defined by social-media induced isolation, what could be more rebellious than picking up an instrument, congregating with actual humans in some dank garage and cranking it to eleven?

It’s exactly this primal, analog-ish approach that makes 28-year old Steven Marshek’s music both nostalgic and wholly refreshing. Often accompanied by guitarist Nishant Ghose, bassist Thomas Pritchard, and drummer Leroy Copeland Jr., The Steven Marshek Group’s live shows are appropriately rowdy, with Marshek often leaping from the stage into the crowd, breaking shit, and falling to his knees — à la the late Chuck Berry — to deliver impassioned solos.

When I interviewed Marshek for the Folio a while back, he told me he performs and creates music in part, to wrest his generation from its digital slumber.

“It’s the problem of having choices,” he said. “You can do whatever you want, but you choose to just stay on your couch watching YouTube. A rock ’n’ roll show has got to give people something more than they get from their computer screen.”

Earlier this summer, Marshek released “Sounding it Out” a high-quality batch of sunny songs that seem of the late-60s and simultaneously current. The EP’s final track, “Summatime,” with its dancy groove, squeeling guitars, and cheeky hook, is broadly representative of rock’s abiding resonance, while Marshek’s live performance of the tune — which is known to prompt its fair share of hip shaking — proves the form’s ability to connect with the youngins.

As long as you are being lazy and staring at your computer screen, we invite you to give Mr. Marshek’s newest tunes a listen below. Beyond that, we encourage you to get off your slack-ass and go see a show!

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