sometimes you just need to spend the morning in bed.  our newest mixtape provides the perfect half-hour soundtrack for those lazy sessions, running the gamut from downtempo electronica to cozy chamber pop.  press the play button above and dig in.


the japanese house – “sister”
baby blanket – “i never liked my birthday anyways”
morly – “seraphese”
washed out – “a dedication”
beach house – “bluebird”
the postal service – “brand new colony”
gem club – “sevens”
tycho – “epigram”


out october 2nd via cascine

break-up albums are a dime a dozen; there’s no skirting around that fact.  the bevy of emotions available for dissection are second only to perhaps the subject of death, but the prospect of lost love can at least offer some more surface-level optimism.  rarer is the good break-up album; wallowing in self-pity tastes stale very quickly, and male artists have the capacity to rely on extended misogynistic passages that all but incriminate them in the relationship’s demise.  throughout chad valley’s gorgeous new album entirely new blue, hugo manuel is on the outside smartly looking in at lost romance, offering up a mixture of soft apologies, poignant reflections, and firm resolutions.

manuel meets this complex spectrum of emotions head-on almost immediately with “true.”  the second cut on the album is its first cohesive thought and is predicated on the returning phrase “my mind is all but made up,” the key portion being the word “all.”  manuel shifts from pleas for forgiveness to a proclamation of unclouded vision throughout the song; by the end of “true,” his principle statement is adamant.

entirely new blue should also be commended on the quality and diversity of its production, which runs the gamut from spectacularly downtrodden to joyously buoyant, not necessarily in tandem with its lyrical counterpart.  the sputtering backbeat and intermittent synth stabs throughout “arms away” seemingly ready the track for the dance floor, though it – along with fellow earworm “not that man” – feature testaments of self-examination that bely their major-key exteriors.  a more predictable alignment occurs on ballad centerpiece “seventeen,” though through the outward gloom emerges a rather surprising and encouraging phrase: “i’m much happier than you think.”

chad valley has always felt like a detail-oriented project, and entirely new blue is no exception.  the vocal layering gets more and more impressive with every listen, be it manuel harmonizing with himself over the same lyrical material, slowly bringing simultaneous and contrasting thoughts into the foreground of the mix, or dueting with someone else entirely on “labasa” and “good brains.”  the album’s concise nature has already been touched on, but this attribute extends down to the tracks themselves; even longer cuts like “seventeen” and “labasa” retain freshness with sudden introductions of pulse and subtle shifts in timbre.

by the time album closer “alisa” hits, entirely new blue seems like it should have traversed the waters of a break up and emerged on the other shore victorious; instead, “alisa” is manuel’s most impassioned, direct plea yet, its vulnerability contrasting the track’s surging, anthemic qualities.  and maybe that’s the whole point; maybe entirely new blue is a stark reminder of the harshness and non-linear progression of reality, but the beauty of chad valley is manuel’s ability to saturate these faults in warm, soothing polychrome.  entirely new blue is entirely therapeutic.  listen.

anna of the north

photo courtesy of the artist

norwegian singer-songwriter anna of the north broke a nine-month vow of silence today with “the dreamer,” her first offering since last year’s excellent coupling of “oslo” and “sway.”  the new track’s relatively tame origins soon blossom into large swaths of exultant brass, which would feel downright pastoral if not for the cacophonous low-end that lurks beneath the surface, waiting to spill over.  anna’s delivery of the song’s main thesis, “it’s not about you anymore,” grows more confident and defiant in tone as more instruments are added to the fold, culminating in a rich, thunderous anthem.  take a listen to “the dreamer” below.

hipster girlsummer has all but faded into autumn, traditionally one of the strongest seasons for new music.  september has certainly set a promising tone for 2015 with a plethora of new albums and tracks emerging; as always, we’ll start with full-lengths of note and work our way down to single servings.

september 18th: astronauts, etc. – mind out wandering

september 25th: chvrches – every open eye

it’s possible that we didn’t shower astronauts, etc. in enough accolades in our review of mind out wandering.  the oakland outfit’s debut full length gets better with every listen and still feels tame in comparison to their live show, which proved to be an incredibly raucous yet tight psychedelic affair.  the middle of the month also saw strong releases from a reinvented mac miller and an even more confident lana del rey, whose honeymoon should wind up short-listed on many year-end roundups.

chvrches ushered in the end of the month with an acceptable sophomore effort, while julia holter, kurt vile, youth lagoon, and disclosure contributed some big-name albums of note.  slipping somewhat quietly under the radar was milo; his latest, so the flies don’t come, is perhaps his most visceral to date, an album meant to outwardly challenge his more circumstantial fans.  what a time to be alive.


september also posted a strong showing the the singles department; day wave kicked the month off with the promising a-side off of his upcoming 7″ and finished it with production credits on “fix,” an excellent new offering from hazel english, while cascine signee chad valley served up the final two previews of his stunning forthcoming album entirely new blue.  the startling caliber of october’s release calendar continued to be foreshadowed by pure bathing culture and majical cloudz, both of whom turned in stellar second singles ahead of their respective full-lengths.

we kept tabs on a pair of young, emerging artists this month as well; minneapolis singer and producer baby blanket premiered his downtrodden debut single on our site the other week, while the japanese house let go of a pair of tracks slated to appear on her highly-anticipated clean ep, out november 6th via dirty hit.


turning the calendar ahead to october, we’re expecting to hear some substantial full-lengths from the aforementioned artists, along with solid campaigns from both deafheaven and foxing.  as always, check this space at the end of next month to catch up on new and notable releases.  thank you forever and ever for reading.

disclosure’s sophomore album caracal was middling at best, but still sported some above-average moments.  the brothers lawrence landed a strong collaboration with fellow 2013 wunderkind lorde, and today they’ve released the music video for “magnets.”  lorde’s lynchian fixation runs a bit more subdued this time around, with just a passing lyrical reference to mulholland drive, but her character’s transition from innocence to vengeance still provides a jarring visual experience.  watch the music video for “magnets” below.

pity sex

photo courtesy of the artist

those that have been reading dimestore saints since this site’s earliest days may remember that we were quite enamored with ann arbor quartet pity sex throughout most of 2013.  their debut full-length feast of love coincided with what felt like the apex of the so-called emo revival, though the band’s penchant for gloomy shoegaze taken at punk tempos set them apart from their peers.  pity sex recently wrapped up work on their sophomore effort, white hot moon; it’s due out this coming spring via run for cover records, and today the band shared its lead single.  “what might soothe you?” finds co-vocalists brennan greaves and britty drake furthering the gloomy, hopelessly romantic dialogue drummer and lyricist sean st. charles crafted across feast of love while the underneath accompaniment veers towards the extremes, with clean passages suddenly juxtaposed by fuzzed-out guitar smears.  take a listen to “what might soothe you?” below.

every open eye cover

out september 25th via glassnote

chvrches have always made it a point to exceed expectations.  their strong early offerings landed them both consistent critical acclaim and a record deal with a major label subsidiary, and the glaswegian trio embarked on an ostensibly exhausting world tour following the rave reviews of the bones of what you believe.

lauren mayberry sang pristine hooks over equally-pristine synth arrangements, songs swelled to pre-chorus heights before exploding into the mind-boggling refrain itself, and despite this meticulous attention to detail and production, most of bones retained a raw, emotive component not readily available on the surface of most synth-pop albums.  chvrches spent six months writing and recording every open eye earlier this year, an ambitious follow-up that chases the highs of its predecessor.

it’s a sensible practice to emulate a previous success, but chvrches toe the surprisingly fine line between emulation and replication.  “never ending circles” opens forcefully and soon crests to a chorus as titanic as the trio has ever penned, though the track reads as a slight misdirection.  the strength of “leave a trace” tides the album over for a bit longer, but every open eye eventually wavers dangerously close to mediocrity, a territory previously foreign to chvrches.

nevermind that “make them gold” has a title that seems to exclusively pander to this generation’s optimistic hashtag users; the song’s delivery is flawed, its vocal pacing sophomoric, and the refrain’s melodic contour – arguably the most crucial component of a chvrches song – is painful, a glaring misstep that somehow survived the cutting-room floor.  “make them gold” joins “empty threat” as the chief byproducts of a recording period that was a bit rushed and ultimately suffered from bouts of tunnel vision.  the anthems that dotted bones were almost accidental in magnitude, and chvrches certainly don’t bat a thousand when trying to capitalize on their arena-caliber potential this time around.

it’s a shame that those blemishes are placed at very strategically poor points on the album, because every open eye does host some of chvrches’ finest work to date.  “clearest blue” is the sprawling centerpiece that bones decidedly lacked, and martin doherty’s lead vocal on “high enough to carry you over” makes it one of the album’s most compelling components.  the final third of every open eye is more indicative of the pop anthems chvrches are now capable of constructing, and both “playing dead” and “bury it” tweak the trio’s tried and true songwriting blueprint to refreshing results.

by the time “afterglow” hits, chvrches have completed another victory lap, albeit one less smooth than previously experienced.  every open eye avoids the sophomore slump and provides chvrches with sufficient material for an even more massive tour, but it also suggests that the band should tread lightly and spend considerably more time on their subsequent output.  luck won’t always be on their side.

hazel english 1

photo courtesy of brandon c. long

if the production on hazel english’s new single sounds somewhat familiar, that’s because it probably is.  jackson phillips, the creative force behind day wave, teams with his fellow oakland resident for “fix,” a warm slice of nostalgia that fits perfectly into the earliest days of autumn.  the song blends english’s bleary vocals with phillips’ signature combination of single-note guitar lines and simple drum programming well, but “fix” really comes into its own towards the end, as it slows to a half-time feel to allow english’s cries of “i want to feel alive” to take on a more melancholic quality.  take a listen below.

majical cloudzmajical cloudz will return with their latest effort, are you alone?, out october 16th via matador records.  after showcasing a subtle departure from their minimalist tendencies earlier this month with “silver car crash,” the duo recently shared the album’s title track, powered by swelling organ chords that anchor devon welsh’s purposefully droll vocal delivery.  welsh’s lyrics have always been direct to the point of discomfort, and he adds an extra element of absurdity on “are you alone?” as he jockeys between a first and second-person narrative.  take a listen below.

bb blanket

photo courtesy of the artist

lowkey radical is the arts collective you never knew you needed.  the minneapolis upstart boasts longtime dimestore favorites like sayth and two castles as members, but also plays host to a handful of younger, promising artists.  luke mathison sang the hooks on the sayth and north house collaborative ep body pillow under the moniker baby blanket; his warm, syrupy tone established the mood on “maybe god is afraid of us?” and foreshadowed the aesthetic he toys with on his debut solo effort, “i never liked my birthday anyways.”  on “birthday,” mathison embodies the song’s downtrodden title with a maudlin vocal turn, languidly developing over a nocturnal beat co-produced by north house.  after signing off with the evaluation “we both have some growing to do / me more than you,” the track veers off into a beautiful instrumental coda, replete with a melancholy synth line that pines for the song’s central figure.  “i never liked my birthday anyways” is premiering here on dimestore saints; take a listen below.


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