two meters – two meters

– featured image courtesy of margo dellaquila – 

tyler costolo’s earliest offering as two meters was a force to be reckoned with.  when we premiered the florida songwriter’s debut track, “left behind,” at the end of april, costolo’s ability to transform profound grief into a cathartic was readily apparent, and he was able to subvert that catharsis – donning the millstone again – on the haunting follow-up, “captive audience.”

last friday, costolo released his self-titled debut extended play via the houston label very jazzed.  three additional tracks accompany the aforementioned singles, altogether providing a cohesive introductory statement for his whispered brand of bedroom pop confessionals.  “current sequel” is a weary interlude, paying homage to its title by repurposing the harsh, grating textures of “left behind” for its own mourning metaphor, while the distant arpeggios that populate “trapped inside” are perfect conduits for costolo’s spare exploration of loneliness and isolation.

closing out the project is the slightly macabre yet endearing “web,” its idiosyncrasies bottled up in the angular piano motifs perched atop the texture.  additional production from label mates get a life and pastel feature throughout two meters, and the latter lends their vocals to the finale, wordless echoes that accentuate the project’s haunting thesis.  at just under fifteen minutes, two meters is a compelling debut best – and easily – consumed in one sitting.  listen to the extended play, streaming in full below.

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premiere – why bonnie

– featured image courtesy of jen lee rachid – 

austin’s why bonnie started 2018 off well with their intimate, inimitable in water extended play, a four-track collection that has propelled the band towards a new set of tunes due out later this summer.  nightgown is an apt title for these cozy bedroom pop songs that feel like they were all written around twilight, and perhaps none embody this description more closely than the release’s centerpiece, “stereo.”

“stereo” avoids the grandiose tendencies of a traditional break-up song by instead honing in on the staggering vulnerability that pervades the moments immediately following a break-up, parsing every emotion with excruciating care.  “looking at you through my screen and you’re smiling back at me / you’re stuck in a silent movie but to me you seem so real” sings blair howerton, her alto lilting as normalcy’s disappearance becomes apparent.  bolstered by organ swells and swooning, reverb-drenched guitars, “stereo” gradually builds to crescendo, its inherent haze suited for introspective summer evenings.

nightgown is out june 20th via sports day records.  its first single, “stereo,” premieres right here on the dimestore; listen in below.

hana vu – “cool”

– featured image courtesy of alexandra adcock –

count us among those intrigued by hana vu, the los angeles-based songwriter behind “crying on the subway,” one of this year’s most enduring singles.  after dropping off the aforementioned track and its accompanying music video in january, vu caught the attention of the folks at luminelle recordings; the fat possum offshoot will release her debut extended play later this summer.

“cool,” featuring languid production and an elastic guest verse from fellow angeleno satchy, is a second glimpse into vu’s aural cocoon, her melismatic delivery of the titular word enveloping the sparse soundscape around her.  equal parts murky, aqueous, and warm, the exterior of “cool” is an invitation to bear witness to the solitude vu prefers to explore as she descends deeper into the track’s cavernous depths.

vu’s seven-song collection, how many times have you driven byis due out june 29th.  disappear inside “cool,” below.

a beacon school – “it’s late”

– featured image courtesy of the artist – 

after years of collaborating with other artists in a handful of projects, the brooklyn-based multi-instrumentalist patrick j. smith recently struck out on his own, recording his debut solo effort, cola, under the moniker a beacon school.  at eight tracks in length and clocking in around twenty-five minutes, cola is a concise inaugural outing, equal parts contemplative and polyrhythmic.

not quite at the center, but close enough to feel like a centerpiece, lies “it’s late,” a six-minute pillowy odyssey that alternates between the pulse of a four-on-the-floor drum beat and that of multiple metallic timbres coalescing.  atop it all is smith’s soothing lead vocal, wordlessly ruminating on a concept for close to a fourth of the entire album’s length.

cola is out now via grind select.  check out “it’s late,” below.

why bonnie – “practice”

– featured image courtesy of the artist – 

austin upstarts why bonnie are eyeing the release of their debut extended play, in water, due next friday via the wonderful sports day records.  after announcing their arrival with the propulsive jaunt “made of paper,” the texas quartet deftly switch gears on a new single, “practice.”

“practice” stakes its claim on a collective mid-tempo ostinato, one that allows vocalist blair howerton ample ground to develop her narrative and follows her lead as she shifts into the track’s mantra: “the rest is practice / it’s not the real thing.”  after appearing to wrap up just past the two-minute mark, “practice” blossoms into a gorgeous coda saturated with extra textures to make its resolution that much more triumphant.

why bonnie will drop their four-track effort in full on february 16th.  disappear into “practice” below.

why bonnie – “made of paper”

– featured image courtesy of the artist –

austin-based relative newcomers why bonnie are slated to release their debut extended play, in water, february 16th via sports day records.  a glimpse of the succinct, promising four-song collection comes in the form of “made of paper,” a three-minute indie-pop jaunt that finds vocalist blair howerton ruminating over a coursing bass line and angular, ascending guitar riffs.

it’s an indelible earworm packed full of relatable nostalgia, a potent cocktail that leaves a lasting impression.  take a listen to “made of paper” below.

fog lake – “side effects”

– featured image courtesy of david aaron mitchell –

aaron powell’s work as fog lake has been perennially sparse yet affecting, and occasionally downright haunting.  ambient collages of static and drones merged with bedroom pop sketches on 2014’s masterful virgo indigo, and powell duplicated that feat on last year’s follow-up, victoria park.

powell’s pop chops have developed into a formidable tool over the past three years; on “side effects,” the second single from his forthcoming album, dragonchaser, powell effortlessly culls an unforgettable melody from a skeletal structure, weaving in and out of the track’s hypnotic, ticking pulse with a reedy falsetto in tow.

dragonchaser is out february 10th via fog lake’s longtime home, orchid tapes.  press play on “side effects” below.

harley alexander – “staring at photographs”

– featured image courtesy of the artist – 

harley alexander’s retreat from halifax to a remote cabin in quebec has yielded harland, an eight-song collection of woozy, wandering bedroom pop that’s due out next friday via sports day records.  framing the album’s aesthetic is “staring at photographs,” its breezy, clave-like chord progression bolstered by saturday-afternoon guitar noodling and alexander’s surprisingly commanding voice, flipping between his natural register and a reedy falsetto with incredible ease and immediacy.

“staring at photographs,” like much of harland, recalls a home recording taped off of a transistor radio: warm and unassuming, its edges carefully smoothed and rounded.  alexander’s awareness of such a nostalgic manipulation extends into his lyrics, as he comes to grips with the fact that an idyllic snapshot from the past often belies the true nature of a present-day relationship.  it’s an uncomfortable reality housed in a comforting vessel, a gentle hand that guides towards realization.  take a listen to “staring at photographs” below.

premiere – alexei shishkin

Alexei_press_3
photo courtesy of adam smith

the consistency of alexei shishkin’s output has made him a regular fixture on the dimestore since early 2015, when singles from the dog tape began floating listlessly through inboxes and headphones.  shishkin creates the kind of bedroom guitar-pop still capable of turning heads in what’s become a very saturated market of home-recorded music; this past february’s excellent yucca street is a testament to this fact, and we’ll let our review of that album do a bit more talking.

we recently caught up with shishkin via e-mail for a quick chat about the general state of things; as a constant creator, it comes as no surprise that he’s been slowly honing a collection of seven cover songs over the past year, a multi-decade snapshot of influences filtered through his signature aesthetic.  we’re more than happy to help shishkin send it off into the ether today.

the aptly-named covers premieres below, after the interview transcript. dig in.

how are things?  your twitter location puts you in new york these days; has the city been conducive to songwriting?

yeah, good good.  i am indeed in new york now – moved here in december.  it actually hasn’t been very conducive for me, believe it or not.  i’m not very comfortable making too much noise where i live right now, so that means when i practice i try to keep it down, and that’s especially shitty for trying to sing.  i felt most comfortable singing and playing back in portland.  while i guess that’s not actually “songwriting,” i tend to improvise most of the words anyways, so i wouldn’t say i do much songwriting, to be honest.

yucca street has been out for a few months; are you the type to let a release percolate for awhile, or have you started picking away at a new project?

if it was up to me, i’d put out everything immediately when i think it’s done.  luckily, matt (at forged artifacts) tends to act as a filter, so fortunately he keeps me from releasing a bunch of half-baked garbage every week.  but yeah, the next full-length thing is due out this fall, the one after that probably spring 2017. (i hope?)  obviously, there’s this covers thing; i’m also doing a weird little side project called celebrity drum circle and cooking up something with my buddy connor of fjord explorer.  i’m hoping to make a trip to rhode island sometime this summer or fall to big nice studio to actually properly record some stuff, maybe – that’s still up in the air.

this might be tangential to your last response, but i’ve gathered via tweets that you’re not too enamored with performing with a live band.  is your sense of artistry more grounded in the act of creation and refinement of a collection of songs?

haha!  that’s a very articulate way of putting it.  honestly, it would be cool to have a band to write and record with, but yeah, touring and shit just seems like such a hassle: coordinating everyone getting off work at the same time, booking all the dates, finding someone with a van, hauling gear around, etc.  it just seems like a logistical pain in the ass with little to no return.  if i had to be part of a band, i’d rather hang around with a group of friends and write and record and just have a good time.

i listened to the original versions of the list of cover songs you sent over.  some were familiar to me, but most weren’t, yet i could pick out their influence on your work pretty easily.  could you speak on the significance of a couple of them and why they wound up in this collection?

yeah, definitely.

“the only one” is a tune my friend ryan (pollie) of los angeles police department wrote.  in a nutshell, ryan is the reason i even got hooked up with forged artifacts in the first place.  without him, i didn’t even realize it was possible to release the music i recorded.

“tell me when it’s over” is a tune by the dream syndicate, a band from california that was around in the 1980s doing the jangle pop stuff (paisley underground) and they had a really great record called days of wine and roses.

“sunny” is just a fun one to noodle around on; infectious progression.

“heaven is a truck” is because i’m a pavement fanboy (sorry not sorry.)

fog lake – “rattlesnake”

Fog Lake rattlesnake 1.jpg
photo courtesy of the artist

aaron powell has provided a steady output of sparse, affecting bedroom pop over the past couple of years as fog lake, yielding 2014’s virgo indigo and last year’s victoria park.  the st. john’s-based artist will release an as-yet untitled full-length this fall, again via orchid tapes; today, powell shared “rattlesnake,” a new single from the project featuring angular melodies spliced into a warm, more inviting backdrop that is eventually swallowed up by the crinkling sounds of an aging tape machine.  take a listen below.