premiere – clay beds

– featured image courtesy of adrian estrada –

the tacoma, washington duo clay beds have found a fitting home for their self-titled debut release in hush hush records, the seattle purveyor of nocturnal music that flitters between electronic, pop, and ambient.

for proof, look no further than the project’s second single, “apple pie,” which finds the duo – boston transplants john anderson and hailee rogers – navigating an aqueous, gauzy choral landscape populated by reversed swells and percolating keyboard motifs. a potent snapshot of things to come from clay beds, “apple pie” pairs well with its predecessor “one old horse in the dirt and sun,” offering a pensive glimpse at the duo’s more atmospheric side.

clay beds is due march 29th on cassette and digitally via hush hush. listen to “apple pie,” premiering right here on the dimestore, below.

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premiere – caicos

– featured image courtesy of the artist –

last summer, alex frenkel released promised lands, his first effort under his caicos moniker, a vibrant debut that fused electronic soundscapes with frenkel’s signature guitar playing and vocals. it appears he had more left in the tank; a five-song extended play, dream machines, is due out this spring.

on “genesis,” the EP‘s opening number and lead-off single, palm-muted motifs skitter off of compressed electronic backbeats and acoustic guitar chord progressions, an organic foundation warmed by frenkel’s conversational baritone.

his lead vocal sits comfortably in the foreground, gradually enveloped by the accompanying arrangement until the very final moments, when most timbres exit stage left and frenkel remains with a surprisingly tender sentiment to deliver. an initial glimpse into a project that shows the measured progression of an incredibly assured songwriter, “genesis” is a placid cut, particularly well-suited for chilly days that require a bit extra aural warmth.

dream machine is out may 31st via very jazzed. listen to “genesis,” premiering right here on the dimestore, below.

premiere – bill waters

– featured image courtesy of the artist –

william smith is real; bill waters is a character. the hudson valley singer-songwriter first slipped into the chronically tired persona on 2017’s excellent extended play humid, and is sitting on a companion piece of sorts, honey hi, due next month via the esteemed forged artifacts.

conceived in waters’ home studio below a brooklyn bar, the six-song collection embodies an appreciation for the pop songwriting tenets of the late 1960s and early 1970s, turning on pensive themes of romance and existence and funneled through jangly mid-tempo melodies.

on “it’s true,” the first glimpse of honey hi, waters and his percussive compatriot ian dwy sculpt an ambling five-minute centerpiece musing on relationships, its spritely drums and shaker slotting behind a woozy slide motif that winds throughout the track. a minute of respite kicks in at the end of the lead vocal, the duo biding their time before building a comparatively agitated extended outro, sustaining for some time and driving home the thesis that these tunes are meant to be felt more so than understood.

honey hi arrives march 29th; listen to “it’s true,” premiering right here on the dimestore, below.

premiere – teen daze

– featured image courtesy of paulina isaak –

jamison isaak has been recording and releasing music for nearly a decade as teen daze, a moniker he almost hung up a couple of years ago. after taking the last year to breathe and reflect, isaak has approached teen daze in a rejuvenated state of mind, crafting the eight songs that appear on his forthcoming album, bioluminescence, outside of some of the confines that dictated previous efforts.

on “endless light,” the album’s closing number, isaak explores some of that freedom through the vessel of a six-minute enveloping, meditative dance number, its percussive pulses felt more so than heard, its glimmering synth motifs pinballing through glassy soundscapes. we recently caught up with isaak via e-mail to discuss his new album, self-releasing music, and the genesis of “endless light,” which premieres below.

press play on the track and then scroll down for the full transcript, which has been lightly edited for clarity.

2018 seemed like somewhat of a year of recalibration for you, especially with the release of two extended plays under your own name. did you glean anything from the experience of writing and releasing those particular songs that has transferred over into your latest work as teen daze?

it certainly was a year of recalibration. i think i had exhausted a lot (if not all of my) energy over the course of 2017, and i needed to spend a substantial amount of time to regroup, and address some of the things that i had neglected in my busy previous year of touring. this applied to both my creative life, and my personal life, and both were healed immensely by taking the year to refocus.

honestly, when i started writing and recording those releases under my own name, i was ready to move on from teen daze. i thought i had accomplished as much as i could with it. if both themes records were the last thing i were to ever release as teen daze, i would certainly feel like i was going out on a creative highpoint.

but as the year progressed, i was (gently) presented with the idea of doing another teen daze record by my manager, and i’m so glad that she did. i began to take a lot of the sounds i was working with for those releases as jamison isaak, and look at them through a teen daze lens (sorry for so much third person use).

the result is a collage, rather than an album with a clear concept, which felt very stretching for me. i usually like to give myself a theme or a narrative to work within. this album simply doesn’t have one. even the narrative of how it came about isn’t really that endearing, if i’m being honest. and yet, i think it’s my favourite album of mine to date.

you’ve released music on your own label, FLORA, for the past few years now. has taking control of your music’s distribution changed how you approach making and releasing projects?

it’s been an incredibly rewarding experience to self-release my music, in huge part to two factors: my fanbase and the team of people i work with.

if it weren’t for the people that continue to listen to, and purchase my music, self-releasing wouldn’t be nearly as beneficial for me.

and if it weren’t for the team of people i work with (my manager – dina young, the people that handle FLORA‘s physical distribution – the business in anacortes, WA, and my digital distributors – believe digital), i wouldn’t have the infrastructure to have self-releasing be a financially viable option.  because i have security in those areas, i feel like i have so much freedom when it comes to what, and how, i release my music.

i don’t really think it’s changed my creative process in any way actually.  i’m thankful to have worked with labels in the past who never pressured me into creating something specific for their agenda.  still, it feels amazing to not be bound by those types of constraints.

we’re premiering “endless light” on the site today; without divulging too much about bioluminescence, can you share a bit about the track’s origins and its place within the album as a whole?

at the risk of sounding cheesy, i have to start by thanking y’all for premiering this song. i feel like you have had my back for a long time, and i love that we can team up in this way!

“endless light” is one of the catalysts for this whole album.  the idea for the song was inspired by the jon hopkins episode of song exploder, actually.  he discusses the idea of creating a collage of single piano notes, panned to different spots, which was meant to create the feeling of having these twinkling notes play all around you.  being surrounded, or enveloped, by the sound.  so the sounds your hearing at the start of the song are my version of this!  the album has a very aquatic feel to it, and i feel like those notes are like drips of water happening around the field of sound.

sequentially, it’s the last song on the album, and i did this because i wanted to leave the listener on a hopeful note, because it feels like a pretty positive song to me. also, my trend has always been to have my albums finish with an ambient/drumless track, and i loved the idea of finishing this one off with a more straight-ahead dance track. there’s plenty of slow, quiet ambient music on the album, but it felt appropriate to end in a place of positivity and energy.

when i think about where i was, creatively and personally, at the end of 2017, and where i am now, “endless light” feels like a great place to end this record, and most likely lead into the next.

bioluminescence is out april 26th via isaak’s own label, FLORA. pre-order a copy here and check out teen daze’s spring tour dates below.

may 16th – abbotsford, BCTBA
may 17th – seattle, WA – central saloon
may 23rd – san francisco, CA – neck of the woods
may 24th – los angeles, CA – el cid
may 30th – toronto, ON – baby g
may 31st – montreal, QC – casa del popolo
june 1st – new york, NY – le poison rouge
june 2nd – washington, D.C. – songbyrd
june 3rd – chicago, IL – empty bottle

premiere – muldue

– featured image courtesy of zac bowen –

max ramsden makes music that sounds like exploring a forest at twilight. as muldue, ramsden has spent the past handful of years recording loosely ambient music, pulling liberally from other genres while honing a rather hypnotic aesthetic.

on march 1st, muldue will release a place both foreign and familiar, his debut effort with the seattle-based label hush hush records and his third overall; the extended play’s five tracks together are sprawling, traversing the haunted terrain of ramsden’s inner mechanisms while bathing his voice in a distant sea of reverb.

a wide tremolo pulsates across the stereo fields of the EP‘s lead single, “i tried,” a five-minute meditation deserving of its status as centerpiece. coupled with an eerie, dissonant ostinato and anchored by a hushed but confident lead vocal, “i tried” is an enticing glimpse of things to come for muldue, comfort food for the dead of winter.

“i tried” premieres here today on the dimestore. listen in below.

premiere – jupiter sprites

– featured image courtesy of bella king –

the olympia, washington, quartet jupiter sprites quietly occupies a small parcel of land on the outer strands of the ether, their lilting dream pop imbued with an extra dose of hypnosis. after testing the waters late last year with “save the mystery,” the band returns today with “only good stuff,” a comparatively drowsy cut that offers up another aural facet on their self-titled debut extended play, due early next month.

“the song is sort of an homage to that feeling of gratitude that comes about when you realize how much you appreciate someone,” the band said in a statement via e-mail. adorned with rose-colored glasses and a vernal predisposition, “only good stuff” is a potent distillation to jupiter sprites’ core shoegazing tenets, the perfect introduction to a promising new band.

jupiter sprites arrives february 1st. take a listen to its opening number, “only good stuff,” premiering on the dimestore below.

true blossom – heater

– featured image courtesy of rob lambert –

true blossom is an uncannily accurate moniker for a young band with a debut this polished, this confident. the atlanta-based quintet formed around the collaborative spark of vocalist sophia cox and guitarist chandler kelley in the humid early summer of 2017, accumulating its final three members and writing many of the songs that appear on its first full-length, heater, throughout the rest of the year. across ten tracks, true blossom turns in a vibrant portfolio of pristine synth-pop, one that pays astute homage to its studio-focused forebears while still keying in on diy aesthetics.

after the irresistible lead-off single “baby” and a triumphant bloom of synthesizers on its companion piece, “me & u,” heater hits its stride on “flu punks,” the core aural tenets of true blossom coalescing in a tidy package; prominent, elastic bass lines, brassy synth leads, and crisp guitar bell-tones weave a tapestry atop a robust percussive foundation, a rich template that informs many of the album’s subsequent tracks.

on heater’s title track, cox and synthesist jamison murphy engage in an abstract conversation, a droning synth response coming in reply to cox’s admonition of “i hear you buzzing / don’t want to hear any more of your talking,” along with a more measured, melodic counter to her parting shot of “you think it’s cool / it’s never as cool as you’re thinking.” this fracturing is an excellent precursor to the album’s final trio of songs, a triptych of loss and longing that leans on true blossom’s glossy affect as both the perfect foil to and embellisher of its more melancholic moments.

true blossom’s first nine original songs (the album’s tenth, its functional interlude, is a gorgeous, glassy cover of mount eerie’s “grave robbers”) are formidable in their cohesiveness, their assured demeanor an excellent foundation upon which to construct future works. heater is out now via citrus city records. stream the album in full below.

premiere – shelf nunny

– featured image courtesy of the artist – 

the seattle producer christian gunning has blossomed into one of the pacific northwest’s most reliable architects of evocative electronic soundscapes.  under his shelf nunny moniker, gunning will release his third extended play, different light, on november 16th via his longtime label home, hush hush records.  different light deftly flexes shelf nunny’s growing sonic muscles over just a handful of tracks, showcasing his ability to make meaningful textural contributions from the backseat while vocal collaborators take center stage.

the extended play’s centerpiece, “time to waste,” finds shelf nunny linking up with hush hush alum lostodyssey; the eugene, oregon, vocalist’s work might be familiar to some of those reading this article, and his featured presence is the perfect compliment to shelf nunny’s polychromatic textures.  “time to waste” is methodical in its development, syncopations gradually slipping in as the narrative takes shape around its airy contours, lostodyssey’s central, pleading refrain of “it’s not too late / there’s time to waste” grounding the track in an alternate pop music universe.

“time to waste” is premiering today, right here on the dimestore.  check it out below.

interview – majetic

– featured image courtesy of chris cox –

justin majetich shed his full band and the last letter of his surname in pursuit of his newest album.  club dread features a streamlined palette and a renewed ambition, becoming a vessel to explore the fractured intricacies of life through a dissonant, electronic lens.

after the acerbic, audio-visual one-two punch of “horseback” and “bloodbrunch,” majetic returns today with “tender ums,” the album’s reflective penultimate cut, its subterranean pulses and acoustic piano motif swirling together towards something bigger, more grandiose.  in its final moments, “tender ums” reaches that summit, all of its components coalescing into a perfect representation of majetic’s raw, soulful interior so often shrouded in stabs of angular synths.

we recently touched base with majetic via e-mail for an intimate glimpse inside the creation of club dread, its transcontinental roots, and the sequential significance of its third and newest single.  check out the transcript, along with the premiere of “tender ums,” below.

club dread is club adjacent.  is this a headspace you’ve occupied for some time or one you specifically found yourself in while writing the songs on this record?

when i moved to new york city in 2015, i suddenly had access to a whole range of underground parties — stuff i’d dreamt of in the midwest but that didn’t really exist for me there.  i’d caught traces of it from friends in detroit, but overall, it was totally new and exciting.  i moved to new york for a musical community i’d expected to find in the live venues, but i guess it was on the dance floor that i first felt a sense of belonging in this city.

so yes, for a while my headspace was club-adjacent – preoccupied with its magic, saturated with the music.  by the time i was writing club dread in 2017, i wasn’t going out as much, but i was absolutely referencing that headspace as i wrote.  i was dipping back into those experiences and re-imagining them for the album world.  i still catch a party now and then and have some really great friends who i met through that community.

both oakland and queens factor into your biography – disparate locations geographically, but perhaps ones with some things in common musically.  are you drawn more to the contrasts or the constants of these two cities?  how did working on the album far from where it was initially conceived affect its direction and outcome?

place heavily informs the work i make.  not only does it shape the album’s atmosphere but it is also personified in the work, almost as a character.  NYC was the place-character in my last record, LUV IN THE RUINS, and i wanted something different this time around.  i was spending a lot of time in oakland with my brother and sister, and naturally, it followed to set the record there.

there’s such a complex spirit to the bay area.  so much tension between the awe-inspiring natural beauty and the extreme human disparity, the promise of progress and the dystopian realities…  all the while, there’s this catastrophic fault-line brooding underfoot and the pacific chewing at the coast, violent and massive, an insatiable conduit of dread.  incorporating the bay as a setting seemed like a powerful way to illustrate both the ecstasy and grief the characters of club dread experience in and around a club stricken with tragedy.

that being said — and i realize i haven’t directly addressed your question — there are traces of NYC in the album.  a lot of the experiences i’m filtering into the record took place here, and it’s where i was living when i wrote most of the lyrics.  still, i don’t think being back in NYC for a bulk of the writing process hindered my ability to access my sense of the bay in any significant way.  i’d taken extensive notes, and honestly, i think place can sometimes be better comprehended from a distance.  or at least, better comprehended for the purpose of art-making – the finite, fallible substance of memory naturally lending a tint of mythology to the thing remembered.

as for the the contrasts and/or constants between oakland and NYC, i mostly think about the former.  to me, they’re sort of inverse of one another: one vast, one claustrophobic; one idealistic, one realistic; one circuitous, one direct.  these sort of things require a more nuanced explanation, but that’s the jist.  as for musical contrasts, i feel like there’s a lot more concern with coolness and cleverness in NYC versus a lot of play and theater in the bay.  but if i’ve learned anything over the years, it’s that any scene is mostly what you make of it.

much of your album is centered around an electronic soundscape, but “tender ums,” which we’re premiering today, counts an acoustic piano among its focal points.  can you speak to the genesis of this track and how it fits into club dread overall?

i was visiting my parents in ohio, where my dad pastors a church.  after service, everyone will head to the fellowship hall and catch up over snacks.  on this given sunday, i slipped back into the sanctuary to play the piano while i waited for my parents to wrap up. that’s where i wrote the theme that plays during the song’s first interlude and also lends shape to the vocal melody.  it felt like something you could loop endlessly.  it was soft and small but carried an emotional weight.  i’m actually just realizing it now, but this sanctuary setting in which the song began is preserved in the “airport chapel” of the song’s opening verse.

anyway, i tucked those four measures away for a few weeks, and then one day tried growing them into a song, along with a phrase i’d pulled from my notes: “the body wasn’t made for this sort of placelessness.”  thirty-six hours later, i had “tender ums,” which is a speed unheard of for me.  it just flowed with uncharacteristic ease.  it was the last song i wrote for club dread, and it felt like recompense for an otherwise meticulous process.

though it’s the penultimate track, i see “tender ums” as the album’s final chapter.  the actual closer, “club dread,” looks back over the record in a way, encompassing the events, characters, and themes – a spiritual conclusion.  but “tender ums” sees the speaker at the chronological end, as they make their departure from the bay (airplane imagery a bookend with similar imagery in the first lines of album-opener “chewing tabs”).

it’s perhaps the record’s most vulnerable moment, but still i find a quiet triumph in the song.  take the line, “waking to a kinder sadness….”  those who’ve experienced grief subside might relate to a moment when one first feels the heaviness shift.  it’s the tiniest movement but, nevertheless, a notion of a world beyond grief.  you understand that life can recover, even if you don’t understand how.  that’s the moment from which the song is sung, and i believe it’s a crucial expression of hope in an album frequently given to despair.

club dread arrives november 2nd via winspear.  take a listen to its third single, “tender ums,” out now on spotify and premiering below on the dimestore.

premiere – alexei shishkin

– featured image courtesy of graham w. bell – 

for much of this site’s existence, alexei shishkin has been a constant.  the transient singer-songwriter has been providing understated ruminations on ennui and listlessness for the past few years, turning in a steady stream of releases via the minneapolis tape label forged artifacts.  on october 19th, shishkin will return with his latest full-length, happy bday, a transcontinental batch of songs as geographically beholden to portland, orgeon, as they are to shishkin’s current residence in new york city.

the album’s newest single, “i don’t mind,” finds shishkin squarely in his element, extolling the virtues and unintended consequences of slowing life down in a measured duet with jess n. pierson.  warm, phased guitars augment the relaxing timbre of shishkin’s lead vocal, with arpeggiated melodies and well-placed synth pads drifting in and out of the texture.  ever reliable, shishkin combines these elements to offer up something as unassuming as it is profound, a much-needed, sustained exhalation for the collective mind.

“i don’t mind” is premiering today, right here on the dimestore.  listen in below.