grebes – house creature

– featured image courtesy of malcolm donaldson –

house creature, the debut effort from jacob ungerleider’s new solo project, grebes, is an intimate affair. across a sparse setting of eight songs, ungerleider navigates a more muted realm of pop, one populated by soft vocal hooks, enveloping synthesizers, and faint percussion.

the album’s opening third houses its singles; “one trick pony” is the syncopated prelude providing misdirection before “wyd” and “beleev” land, each of which use synths as means to subtly different ends.

“crown” and “halo” function as similar complements, another indication of ungerleider’s attention to thematics and sequencing. “halo” is the more fleshed-out of the two, easing in to a smooth backbeat punctuated by a lead vocal that flirts with falsetto and a crystalline synth motif that wanders in and out of the foreground.

the final section of house creature begins with an about-face: “always home” trades electronics for delicate, finger-picked acoustic guitar, an organic palette for ungerleider’s whispered vocal that’s eventually answered by a soulful, brassy countermelody. with “plum” and the standout closer “always new” in tow, house creature leaves its mark as an exemplar of introspective isolation, an aural companion for late nights of solitude.

house creature is out now via broken circles. listen in below.

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grebes – “one trick pony”

– featured image courtesy of malcolm donaldson –

when he’s not putting in time as a member of natalie prass’s backing band, jacob ungerleider records warm, enveloping pop songs under the moniker grebes. after releasing the swirling, downtempo “wyd” earlier this year, grebes returned last week with a follow-up single, “one trick pony,” ahead of a full-length release.

brushing up against the two-minute mark, “one trick pony” grounds itself in aqueous synths, stuttering percussion, and ungerleider’s tender lead vocal, percolating to the surface before suddenly dissipating. as the album’s lead track, it’s the perfect introduction to grebes.

house creature, the debut effort from grebes, arrives june 28th via broken circles. listen to “one trick pony” below.

premiere – manatree

– featured image courtesy of the artist – 

after trimming its membership in half, the richmond, virginia duo manatree approached their next album slowly, methodically recording tracks in various locations over the span of many months.  the end result is engines, a new collection of songs as intricate as they are accessible.

on engines’ first single, “on and on,” jack mayock and alex elder disrupt a straight-ahead pop landscape with stuttering subdivisions, guitar and bass motifs percolating before releasing tension in agitated spurts.  with a fluid lead vocal that seems to burrow in the contours of the arrangement that envelops it, “on and on” becomes an irresistible three-minute groove, one that drums up further intrigue and anticipation of manatree’s larger forthcoming project.

engines is due out july 12th; for now, absorb the nuances of “on and on,” premiering right here on the dimestore, below.

juliana daugherty – light

– featured image courtesy of tom daly – 

there are myriad quaint moments on juliana daugherty’s impeccable debut album light, ones of such commanding stillness and solitude that stand in stark contrast to the three-alarm fire that is the current collective everyday existence.  the charlottesville, virginia, resident largely eschewed the macro-level political trappings on her latest, but its message is still radical: the reclamation of self from mental illness.

the mildly propulsive opening tracks ease gently into daugherty’s intimate world, “baby teeth” especially, aided by its steady, syncopated guitar and warm keyboard interjections amidst daugherty’s meandering lead vocal.   a ten-track collection that sees no merit in trafficking in conciseness, light rewards the listener who engages critically from start to finish, hitting its stride halfway through and becoming truly powerful in its final third.  in particular, the rhythmic playfulness of its title track is the perfect segue into the home stretch, the pensive “come with me” pairing with the sparse “california” to present daugherty at her finest.

armed with a classical music upbringing, a multi-instrumentalist’s ease, and an mfa in poetry, daugherty is uniquely poised to turn in an album of this caliber.  light is chock-full of arresting moments – the cinematic majesty of “sweetheart”; the slow-burning assurance of “bliss”; the rich, unexpected vocal harmonies throughout “easy” – but what endures is daugherty’s unparalleled confidence, charting its course to emerge from the darkness.

light is out now via western vinyl; stream the album in full below.