Maxwell Stern - "In The Good Light" [Bundle]
Lauren Records

Maxwell Stern - "In The Good Light" [Bundle]

Regular price $75.00 $0.00 Unit price per


Bundle Includes:

  • Vinyl
    • Light Burst / Splatter Vinyl Limited to 600
    • Matte Jackets with Spot Gloss
    • 12"x24" Folded Insert
  • Shirt
    • Two color print on Comfort Colors
  • Hat
    • Embroidered surf cap
  • Book of Matches **US ONLY**

1. Memory Fireworks
2. You Deserve A Great Love
3. How'd You Find Me feat. Ratboys
4. Collinwood
5. Two Magnets
6. Whispers In The Ground
7. In The Good Light
8. Frame By Frame
9. Glad That We're Alive
10. Ad For God
11. Climb
12. Edge Of The End Of The World

Release Date: August 9th, 2024

Maxwell Stern is a singer and songwriter living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; his musical career began and blossomed in his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio with his band Signals Midwest. As Signals grew to become one of the tentpoles of Cleveland’s independent music community, Stern's songwriting prowess grew and his world-traveling continued. His new 12-song LP, In the Good Light, will be out on Lauren Records on August 9, 2024.  

Maxwell released his first solo record, Impossible Sum, in September of 2020. The album showcased the same heart-on-sleeve earnestness Signals Midwest fans had come to admire, while Max opened himself up to new sounds and textures, incorporating the Americana sounds of Tom Petty, Neil Young, and Jason Molina into his sonic sphere. Though he was aided by collaborators like Adam Beck on drums (Into It. Over It., Sincere Engineer) and Magnolia Electric Company’s own Mike “Slo-Mo” Brenner on pedal steel, Max found himself putting extra emphasis on the “solo” nature of Impossible Sum. “The first one was made very much in a vacuum,” he says. “I played bass, almost all the guitars, all the keyboards.” 

Things are different this time around. “This was always going to be more of a band record,” Stern says of In the Good Light, and he tapped friends and collaborators from across the country to bring it to life, starting with his new home base: “I feel as if this is the first record I’ve made with its heart in Philadelphia.”

Stern assembled a line-up with Adam Beck returning on drums, Jon Hernandez—Max’s bandmate in Timeshares—on guitar, and Ian Farmer (Slaughter Beach, Dog, Modern Baseball) on bass. The quartet recorded with producer, engineer, and mixer Andy Clarke (Wild Pink, Spirit of the Beehive, Cloud Nothings) at Retro City Studios in the Germantown neighborhood of Northwest Philadelphia. 

“Andy was with me every step of the way,” Max says of the producer. “We definitely developed a shared language where I’d say something like, ‘I want this guitar to sound like fireworks are going off’ and he’d nail it on the first go. There were a lot of mind-meld moments like that.”

Collaboration did not stop in the City of Brotherly Love. For his part, Adam Beck tapped a number of Chicago musicians to contribute instrumentation, including the horn arrangements that adorn tunes like “You Deserve a Great Love” and “Collinwood.” “Adam FaceTimed me from Chicago and played me the sax solo on ‘Collinwood’ and it sounded absolutely wild,” says Max. “It’s such a gift when people take something of yours and treat it as their own.”

It was also Beck’s idea to bring in Julia Steiner of Ratboys, whose vocal presence is felt on some of In the Good Light’s finest moments like “How’d You Find Me” and “Two Magnets.” “How’d You Find Me” plays like a photo album of a road trip—“Three days’ worth of film in the Pentax/Wound like a sprinter’s leg at the block/Taking over the left lane, racing the Amtrak/Straightening paper clips, resetting the clock.” It’s the feeling of being in motion, in conversation, as Stern sings the call and Steiner echoes the response “how’d you find me?”

“Two Magnets” is a different kind of conversation, a reflection on a relationship between two forces with the same charge, never quite able to meet. Mike “Slo-Mo” Brenner’s pedal steel swells along with Hammond B3 accompaniment from Logan Roth as the song moves to the second verse where Max brings the focus to a memory. “Climbing out on the roof in December/both nursing our wounds/Gave me your jacket, said ‘I want you to have it. It looks better on you.’” Steiner’s harmony punctuates the moment, the stinger, before the band picks up the refrain.

“You Deserve a Great Love” was the first song Max wrote for the record; it’s built around a phrase that proved meaningful for him during a tumultuous time in his life. “I was going through a bunch of big changes at once and that phrase was looping in my head, you deserve a great love,” he says. “As I sat with that phrase, it started to transition into I deserve something great.”

“I didn’t realize you could do that,” Stern reflects. “My songs tend to lean towards critiquing myself and examining my own motivations. With that one, I discovered I could sing a song for my own comfort. That was a big realization for me.”

In the Good Light finds Maxwell Stern embracing love, tenderness, and authenticity. You can feel it in the performances and collaborations. You can hear it in Max’s voice, in the scenes he captures and the moments he memorializes in his songs. The title track speaks to that authenticity:

I wanna see you in the good light, further out where your hope and home can collide
So sing it out into the steep night, I wanna see you in the good light