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open letter

lake jonas 2i received a gentle reminder the other day that it’s been four years since i started this website.  truthfully, my ambitions surrounding this project were scant; it largely began as an outlet for occasional thoughts about music, usually poorly-constructed and often completely unwarranted. soon, it blossomed into something fulfilling, a project i could constantly work on, tweak, and improve.  for some reason, a few people read the content i churned out, and others soon christened my inbox with music submissions.

the dimestore started in eau claire, wisconsin, while i was in college, and grew in tandem with my exposure to and participation in the town’s local music scene.  for context, think more sloslylove, less bon iver.  the blog followed me after graduation out to the pacific northwest for a year, and then back to rural central wisconsin when life inevitably mandated the return to a more familiar network.

2016 was a marvelous year in all of the ways that absolutely don’t matter.  against a backdrop of social unrest, staggering losses of creative life, and the complete manhandling of democracy, the dimestore flourished.  traffic was good, the inbox was heavily-saturated, and phenomenal music was arriving in quantities that was damn near impossible to keep track of, let alone digest and think about critically.

i lost the urge to run this website sometime in early july.  i’ve given up trying to figure out why.  i’m sure some of it has to do with the general state of the internet; the less i’m on it, the better.  amidst truly wonderful publicists and individual artists pitching me was an increasingly large amount of tasteless digital servicing, promotional mass blasts in attempts to commandeer blogs as vessels for streaming revenue.  the frantic scrambling to put as much music in front of as many people as possible, with complete disregard for individual tastes and tendencies, has been off-putting for some time.  maybe it just caught up with me.

the biggest component is arguably the most boring: i work full-time now, and coming home to sit in front of a computer for hours after sitting in front of a computer for hours has become less and less appealing.

this is a long, roundabout way of saying that the dimestore is closing.  if you follow the site on twitter (or me, for that matter) this is not news, but now it’s in writing.  it’s official.  the past four years have been fun, but i just don’t have it in me anymore.  i toyed with leaving the site up and writing occasionally, but that approach runs counter towards everything the dimestore has stood for.  i think it’s best that it goes out on a sort-of high note.

so, thank you for reading.  thank you for pitching.  thank you for following me on twitter, saying something nice to me about the site on twitter.  this has been an incredibly valuable experience, one that extends far beyond simply writing about music i like.

a special shout out to all in the eau claire music scene, past and present, who let me premiere their songs and blabber on and on about the virtues of small-town independent music.  another special shout out to the labels that have been so nice to the dimestore over the years: forged artifacts, cascine, sports day records, orchid tapes, and many more.  a final shout to the fellow bloggers that weather this perpetual storm and have served as genuine inspiration: tom at gold flake paint, jeremy at hi54lofi, dante at all around sound, steven at heartbreaking bravery, lauren at the grey estates.

what’s next?  well, there is one more dimestore piece on the way, and it’s a big one.  probably the longest piece i’ve ever run on this site.  keep your eyes peeled for that mid-january.  after that, things get a bit more hazy.  i’d like to continue writing about music, but at a pace that’s more conducive to my present lifestyle and still allows me to put substantial thought and detail into each piece.  i’m still ironing out the details, and unfortunately that leaves me without a definitive answer to the question posed at the beginning of this paragraph.

for now, though, i’m going to enjoy this hiatus, however long it winds up being.  so thank you, once again, to each and every one of you who has stumbled upon this goofy website and didn’t immediately navigate away to something better.  i’m proud of what i’ve created, despite its flaws and limitations.  stay in touch, keep the conversation going.

cheers,
sam

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lake jonas 2three years is a long time for me to commit to anything.  i’m really happy that the dimestore has lasted this long, and i’m proud of what i’ve been able to accomplish using only a free platform, social media, and word of mouth.

2015 felt a bit different.  i didn’t feel the urge to write multiple articles a day, or even daily articles for that matter; writing only occasionally allowed me ample time to digest works that resonated deeply with me, and i hope i relayed each one’s importance adequately.

i’d be remiss if i didn’t give a hat tip to all of the phenomenal artists, labels, and pr firms that sent excellent new music to my inbox all year long, so shouts out to andi over at cascine, the folks from hit city u.s.a., and the entirety of lowkey radical; shouts out to jackson phillips from day wave, to isaac vallentin, and to anthony ferraro from astronauts, etc.; shouts out to paul from whiteboard project, noam from toast press, and to everyone who pitched the dimestore in 2015.  i’m trying to get better about reading and responding to emails in a timely manner.

the dimestore will be laying low until the new year, barring any major developments.  in the interim, spend time with your family, catch up on our year-end lists, catch up on other websites’ year-end lists, watch more netflix than is probably healthy.  we’ll be back the first week of january with a handful of premieres you won’t want to snooze on.  until then, thanks for reading; i’m flattered that so many of y’all still stop by on a regular basis.

cheers,
sam

well, shit.  dimestore saints turns two today, and looking back at the past twelve months feels pretty good overall.  in a year marked by extreme changes in my personal life, this website kept me grounded, gave me something to work on and improve on a daily basis.  isn’t that kind of silly?  but it’s true; from tracking the rise of orchid tapes to devoting six-week chunks to critical album dissection, dimestore saints kept me busy.  so busy, in fact, that i tried to trick you all into thinking this website is run by a collective of people.  all i did was drop the first-person references from my posts, and it kind of snowballed from there.  but it’s still just me, listening and compiling and posting on my own, and it will probably stay that way for as long as possible.

that being said, there are a few people who were incredibly kind and supportive of this endeavor throughout 2014, and i would be remiss not to give them a shout out.  the folks who run orchid tapes and those directly affiliated with the label have been so receptive of my unsolicited coverage of their output this year, and i’ve enjoyed interacting with a group of people who breathe positivity and originality into a music industry inundated with a lot of bullshit and opportunists.  my buddy steven, who runs the ever-wonderful heartbreaking bravery, has also been incredibly supportive, from driving social media presence to forwarding me music to just generally being a pal.  thanks, steven.

it was incredibly difficult to leave eau claire, wisconsin – my home for four years and the birthplace of this website – but the support of dimestore saints by that town’s music scene has been invaluable, and receiving new music and inquiries after leaving has helped me hang on to at least some of that connection.  eau claire was also the common denominator in expanding my freelancing gigs; you might have noticed my byline on sites like hearing gold, bearded gentleman music, and no fear of pop this fall, ones which probably wouldn’t exist without the kindness of fellow eau claire ex-pat johanne swanson, who brought me on board no fear of pop and gave me the courage/confidence to reach out to other blogs.  if 2013 was my year of honing writing skills, 2014 was my year of networking and finding like-minded journalists and music enthusiasts around the country and across the pond.

i’d also like to extend gratitude to every artist who has submitted music to dimestore saints over the past year, be it personally or through a pr firm.  i do my best to get my ears on every track that comes my way, and i’m always overjoyed when something completely out of the blue completely floors me.  please keep doing things like that.

as 2014 sputters to a complete halt, i’ll be spending time with friends and relatives that i haven’t seen in months and consequently don’t plan on posting much in the way of content on dimestore saints.  come january 1st, however, we’re back in business.  i’ve already detailed a handful of albums that are highly anticipated, and with that territory comes the inevitability of countless other strong musical offerings.  look for improvements on existing segments, the addition of new recurring articles, and even more long-form pieces than last year.  i’m excited for 2015; i hope y’all are too.  as always, i can’t stress how grateful i am to each and every one of you for reading this blog, for sharing it with your friends, and for engaging in discourse.  i strive to leave a lasting impression with each post, and your collective encouragement is what keeps this site going.  thank you.

cheers,
sam

dimestore saints turns one year old next week.  a project that started out as a mere extension of a failed tumblr blog has blossomed into something that is read by people in multiple countries on a daily basis; i couldn’t be more surprised or more humbled.  writing about music is one of the few things in life that i truly enjoy, and running dimestore saints has given me the experience of managing every aspect of an operation.  the skills i gained from writing for playground misnomer transferred over quite nicely, and i was quickly able to find my own niche and areas of focus.

while i could toot my own horn about how hard i’ve worked over the past year, the reality is that none of this would mean anything without a loyal following and substantial readership.  i’d like to extend my endless gratitude to the 400 people who subscribe to dimestore saints, whether it be directly through wordpress, or through tumblr, facebook, or even good old-fashioned e-mail (hi dad!).  your feedback and interest gives me the fuel to keep writing.

i’d be remiss not to mention the impact of the various artists i’ve interacted with this year.  milo has driven damn-near a tenth of this blog’s viewership, mostly due to his enthusiastic retweets and shares on facebook.  my interest in milo’s music also led me to reconnect with an old high school friend – his producer riley lake – and exposed me to safari al’s side project mantras.  interviews really picked up in the latter half of 2013; i’d like to again thank ken from little kid, jack from western lows, lauren from september girls, and james from dream shake for their time and good-natured attitudes.  sarah from keep shelly in athens gets her own special shout-out, not only for a great interview but for being one of the nicest people i’ve encountered on twitter this year.  i hope we get to catch up at a show someday.

finally, i’d like to say a big old thank you to all of the bands and artists that personally sent me their material over the course of this year.  i tried to listen to as much of it as i could, and hopefully i’ll have more time to sift through emails over my winter break.  i got turned on to some great artists like dark furs and bambi through this process, and i’m hoping for a continuation in 2014.

i’m excited for dimestore saints to be heading into its second year, mostly because i have no idea what that second year will entail.  i’m back writing for playground misnomer as well, so 2014 will probably see me juggling a fair amount of content.  a new string of interviews for dimestore saints is in the process of being lined up, and i’m ready to hit the ground running with some great upcoming releases from some of my favorite bands.  thank you, again and again, to anyone and everyone who stopped by this year to read an article.  i hope you come back sometime soon.

 

cheers,
sam