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photo courtesy of christopher bachmann photography

mackenzie simon has been slowly building electronic soundscapes for the past four years as himehime; the seattle-based producer is gearing up to release his stellar new full-length, bath texts, later this month via hush hush records.  after announcing the album and sharing the first part of its title track last week, simon returns today with “contrail,” the album’s opener, which features additional production from seattle’s wmd.

a glitchy, agitated sample stomps through the first minute of “contrail,” but simon sets the track’s defining tone with a gorgeous about-face, pivoting to a serene piano motif that serves as the foundation of the subsequent wide-eyed, ambient expanse.  as the song’s guitar countermelody collides gently into a slow, swelling vocal pad, it becomes apparent that “contrail” is a perfect vessel for afternoon daydreaming.

bath texts arrives august 25th; get lost in “contrail,” which premieres here on the dimestore, below.

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photo courtesy of brit hansen

lushloss is the moniker of seattle-based producer and songwriter olive jun, who will release her debut album, asking/bearing, on july 28th digitally via hush hush records.  it’s a double-record of sorts; the contents of asking allow jun to introspectively sprawl out as a songwriter and vocalist while traversing weightier topics like the intertwining of death, familial relationships, and identity, whereas bearing delves unabashedly into jun’s affinity for balmy instrumental hip-hop.  bearing closes out the project, but its contents actually came first.  the construction of its seven tracks ultimately compelled jun to venture into a more direct, vulnerable aspect of songwriting; asking is the phenomenal end result.

strung throughout asking is a skype conversation jun recorded with her mother, who lives in korea.  the conversation was a prime influence on jun while sculpting the album, and portions of it appear at the end of tracks, codas of sorts that often explore the album’s overarching themes in more explicit details.  such is the case with “sisters,” the third and final single from asking/bearing, which premieres below.

“sisters” feels as intimate as anything else found on asking, jun’s glitchy, pitch-shifted vocals skittering across a warm, sparse soundscape.  the track’s opening moments evoke a gentle plaintiveness and nostalgia intrinsically linked to music boxes; an innocent, consonant motif chimes throughout, occasionally bolstered by a gentle beat that jun guides through the chorus.  as “sisters” reaches its natural apex, jun correspondingly pushes her vocals into the realm of distorted agitation, an aural foreshadowing of the conversation jun and her mother will have soon after.

“‘sisters’ was the first track i started when writing the asking side of the album,” jun says when reached by e-mail.  “i was staying in a hot room in richmond, virginia at this queer diy house called ‘3 moons’ ran by my friends, and i wrote and recorded this there.  it was the summer of 2016 and very hot.”

cassette orders for asking/bearing have already begun shipping from hush hush records.  listen to “sisters” below.

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photo courtesy of justin sengly

it’s been about six months since dan forke released post-clarity, his latest ep as wealthy relative.  in the interim, forke has been accruing a series of brief instrumentals, submitting them one at a time to his soundcloud page at a steady clip for the public to digest, his angular flow and internal rhyme swapped for deft beats that faithfully emulate his lyrical aesthetic.

today, forke picks the microphone back up for “sage bundle,” the lead single off of a forthcoming wealthy relative ep and the first in a series of songs scheduled for release every wednesday over the next four weeks.  handling production this time around is the elusive relative newcomer goth fieri, who has likewise spent most of 2016 posting beats to soundcloud when he’s not busy collaborating with other underground electronic artists.

“sage bundle” is predicated on a woozy, cyclical sample – a gravitron coming to a halt on an endless feedback loop, its patrons forever trying to steady themselves.  forke is trying to steady himself, too; a pair of wandering verses seek solace in the cascading arpeggios that eventually saturate the foreground, priming isolated moments of clarity as forke delivers the song’s quixotic, mantra-esque hook.  “sage bundle” premieres on the dimestore, below.  try to find some nicer magic.

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photo courtesy of verónica von rathonyi gómez

canopy hands hail from myrtle beach, south carolina, though if you have any preconceived notions about what coastal pop music should sound like, it’s best to check them at the door.  the quartet uses jangly guitars as a touchstone of their aesthetic, to be sure, but equally prominent are robust bass lines, polyrhythmic drum beats, intermittent synth warbles, and thomas hickman’s lax vocal melodies.  the band aptly refers to this deeply-nuanced composite of sounds as texture pop, and it heavily informs their new ep, whelm, out digitally tomorrow and on cassette sometime in july via vacant magic’s nascent tape label.

the closing number on whelm is “lancer,” a formidable whirlwind of a track that premieres here on the dimestore today.  hickman’s vocals are noticeably more fragile from the outset, perhaps a nod to the vulnerability and the state of uncertainty that pervade his lyrics, but it’s the persistent tandem of bass and drums that ultimately dictate the direction of “lancer,” thundering towards an apex of guitars and fleeting synth figures that feels certifiably majestic, if only for a moment.  take a listen below.

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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.)