all good things must come to an end. for wetter USA, embracing that mantra means the minneapolis quartet will hang it up after the release of their second full-length, late bloomer, as lead singer melissa jones departs from their point of origin. the band’s final album is a veritable swan song, its seven tracks showcasing jones’ lyrical prowess and the well-crafted arrangements cinched tightly just beneath the surface, a suitable bookend to wetter’s short but potent tenure.
for proof, look no further than “bug on the wall.” dual, dueling guitar lines decamp to their respective left and right channels, enveloping jones’ crystalline lead vocal as its tenor moves between contemplative and confident for the duration. never succumbing to the full potential of its catharsis, “bug on the wall” nevertheless finds release in the admissions of its final minute, a temporary weightlessness punctuated by jones’ stratospheric octave jump.
late bloomeris due out july 27th via forged artifacts. its intricate, affecting second single, “bug on the wall,” premieres today on the dimestore; listen in below.
the st. paul-based musician con davison has spent time playing in various twin cities bands, most recently bad bad hats and dreamspook, the latter of which turned in one of our favorite albums of 2017. after years in a supporting role, davison has struck out on a solo venture under his own name, and the project’s debut single proves fruitful and intriguing.
“somebody else” is anchored around an ambling, ascending piano progression, with swift descending interjections occasionally jarring its progress. the presence of davison’s lead vocal is immediate, a warm tenor that’s as effective dry in observations as it is doused in delay and reverb during more ruminative passages. “somebody else” really comes into its own when the track’s main motif is introduced, a woozy melody that winds its way around vocals and worms its way into ears.
groove-laden and impeccably arranged, “somebody else” is a resounding opening statement that hopefully presages a larger body of work to come. take a listen below.
jordan gatesmith recently packed up and moved west, trading the deep freeze of minneapolis for the comparative warmth of los angeles to work on a new project, wellness. after a pair of extended plays, gatesmith has linked up with the ever-reliable forged artifacts for his third release, a six-track collection entitled mall goth.
despite a cross-country move, it seems like wellness’ aura still retains vestiges of frozen origins; lead single “fake flowers” is icy and metallic in the classic post-punk sense, gatesmith’s outsized baritone washing over the track. its third dimension comes from an irresistible guitar motif woven throughout, adding depth and nuance that compliments a powerful linear pull.
add in a carley solether-directed clip chronicling the escapades of a quartet of mall goths, and “fake flowers” is rounded out into a vessel that fully announces gatesmith’s aesthetic for this release. mall gotharrives april 6th. watch the video for “fake flowers” below.
“album of the fortnight” is a bi-weekly feature that digs into a recent release of note. the articles will run roughly during the middle and at the end of each month, always on a friday; the album or body of work in question will have been released at some point during that two-week span. this column focuses on art that resonates deeply, on pieces that necessitate more than just a knee-jerk reaction. next up: nadine.
Collaborative projects maintained from a distance are rather commonplace in today’s musical climate, but few retain the intimacy and ingenuity of nadine. the three-piece is the creative byproduct of nadia hulett, part of the collective phantom posse, and julian fader and carlos hernandez, both of ava luna. though spread out across the country in different cities at different times, the trio linked up outside of austin to cut oh my, an effortless, adventurous pop exercise in the form of a debut album.
woven throughout eleven tracks are equal parts playful exploration and introspective rumination, with fader and hernandez’ arrangements fleshing out hulett’s central thesis, or pulling back to a spartan existence when the moment strikes. few albums can turn on a dime from the swirling, ethereal drone of “that neon sign” to the polyrhythmic, polychromatic “pews,” but such is the cool collective confidence of nadine. this about-face is perhaps most evident in miniature on penultimate cut “can’t be helped,” with hulett drawing more and more components into the texture as she gradually expounds on the main hook.
three incredibly strong singles anchor oh my; “ultra pink” is a buoyant, breezy quip on nonconformity; “not my kinda movie” is a social commentary that turns on the cutting plea “tell me there’s more to you than what you like”; the aforementioned “pews” is groove-laden, folding various textures inside one another. good thing, then, that the supporting cast of songs is not only equal in strength but also able to contextualize those singles and maximize their impact. the fleeting finiteness of opening number “nook” seems to feed into “ultra pink,” while the spoken-word-centric “contigo” serves as a companion piece to “pews” so searing and topical that its vestiges reverberate throughout the album’s final third.
the album’s title is an appropriate exclamation upon completion of consumption. oh my is sonically and lyrically rich, a covert operation that slowly sinks into the consciousness to leave a strong, lasting impression with many new stones to be unturned with each subsequent listen. come for the effortless push and pull of the instrumental interlude “new step,” stick around for the sparse, introspective “little self in the garden” and everything in between, before, and after.
after a string of impressive standalone singles, ness nite became fully realized on her debut extended play, last summer’s nite time. the title served as both a declaration of arrival and a nod to a decidedly nocturnal aura; there are sly bits of swagger inserted throughout, but nite time is largely tender and mood-oriented, the soundtrack to a comedown.
shortly thereafter, ness nite signed to the nascent passion of the weiss recordings and decamped to new york, her sights set on a full length. relocation proved fruitful; ness nite retained the services of co-producer mike frey throughout the writing process, and enlisted alex tumay to handle the mixing and mastering of dream girl, her first album-length collection of songs.
ahead of the album’s arrival lies “expectations,” a chilly, potent cut that distills ness nite’s aesthetic into an easily-digestible concoction. two subsequent hooks develop over sparse, atmospheric production; a quick pause to steady herself, and ness nite dives into the verse, leaning back on her triplets before leaning in and subdividing her delivery as the content becomes more confident. if “expectations” is any hint, dream girl should find an incredibly gifted artist meticulously honing her craft even further this time around.
dream girl arrives in early 2018; get acclimated with “expectations,” streaming below.
ryan gebhardt recently began crafting a singular songwriting persona under the mononym stanley, sculpting a warm, lived-in iteration of guitar pop perfect for the changing seasons. though the public unveiling of this project aligns rather nicely with his relocation to minneapolis, gebhardt actually wrote and recorded his self-titled debut full length in various locations on the east coast.
perhaps that’s why tracks like album standout “don’t you know i’m alright,” which comes on the heels of previous singles “daylight sun” and “brewin’ up,” feel like a pair of worn-in shoes, a troubadour’s foresight into a cross-country voyage.
at the forefront of most stanley compositions is a tandem force: gebhardt’s easy-going lead vocal and the bleary guitar melodies that meander in and out of the conversation. “don’t you know i’m alright” is no exception; a mournful slide guitar swoops and slides across the verses before tightening up into a motif that’s as memorable and assured as the titular refrain. warmth and ennui rarely collide in such a manner.
stanleyis out september 22nd via the joint forces of forged artifacts and king forward records. “don’t you know i’m alright,” the album’s third single, premieres below. explore.
ryan gebhardt has recently put down roots in the midwest, but he recorded his self-titled venture as stanley in various boston and new york studios. if its lead single is any indication, the album would be a perfect soundtrack to such a cross-country move.
“brewin’ up” coalesces around a meandering, bucolic guitar motif that brackets breezy vocal snippets, permutating slightly with each new iteration. the end result is a four-minute soft pop gem, delicate am-radio sparkle that is remarkably assured in its delivery.
stanleyarrives september 22nd via the tag-team efforts of forged artifacts and king forward records. sample its offerings with “brewin’ up,” below.
katy morley’s work has always been arresting. under the mononym morly, she has thus far produced two swirling, ethereal extended plays, 2015’s in defense of my muse and last spring’s something more holy, collections that paired a strong pop sensibility with the catharsis of sparse, minimalist dance music.
next month, morly will release sleeping in my own bed, a three-song 12″ single that gravitates towards a more organic approach to songwriting. the end result is gorgeous; “sleeping in my own bed” finds morly’s aching lead vocal more prominent than it’s ever been, working in tandem with a sprawling acoustic piano accompaniment to create a plaintive, comparatively straightforward pop song.
despite a new focal point, morly’s sonic touchstones continue to be integral to this permutation of her aesthetic: the rhythm section takes a supporting role this time around, but still stretches out when necessary, and choral pads swell to add a celestial veneer to the track’s more expansive moments. regardless of which facet she explores, morly proves time and again that the precise combination of simple ingredients will yield a downright magical product.
sleeping in my own bed is out august 25th via cascine. take a listen to its title track below.
space mountain is the artistic vessel for boston’s cole kinsler, one that has yielded a handful of introspective, folk-rock-oriented albums over the past few years. kinsler will return with his latest, supermundane, out august 4th via the always-reliable forged artifacts.
an early sampling of supermundane suggests that the album will do anything but live up to its name; “white light” is a rambling, compelling introduction, one that fuses kinetic acoustic guitars and swirling organ leads with gusto before kinsler’s deep, distinctive warble consumes the track. his baritone, replete with the slightest twang, is a compelling narrator, although the fuzzed-out melodic figures that percolate to the surface momentarily give the lyrics a run for their money.
“white light” is ripe for consumption at any time of day, as is riding this project’s namesake. take a listen below.
welcome back to the dimestore. it’s been a minute. though this site is indeed back up and running, it will be doing so in a decidedly more limited capacity. thank you to all who have returned for this reboot, wherever it may lead; for those who are newcomers, please feel free to peer into our archives should you decide to stick around.
“album of the fortnight” is a bi-weekly feature that digs into a recent release of note. the articles will run roughly during the middle and at the end of each month, always on a friday; the album or body of work in question will have been released at some point during that two-week span. this column focuses on art that resonates deeply, on pieces that necessitate more than just a knee-jerk reaction. next up: dreamspook
Gabriel jorgensen’s soothing, measured vocals are often at odds with a spectrum of mood spanning from ennui to empathy, from intense introspection to intermittent self-deprecation. on king in the folly keep, the minneapolis-based songwriter’s debut full-length under his dreamspook moniker, these myriad moods are just beyond the foreground of each composition, and are more than just isolated, plotted points on a linear graph; they work hand in glove to craft an overarching narrative with comparable depth to the arrangements formed around it.
containing nine songs that collectively clock in at just over a half-hour, king in the folly keep feels decidedly compact, and refreshingly so. lyrics that so explicitly read like a manual to the songwriter’s innermost mechanics have a tendency to skew theatrical, even comically overwrought, but jorgensen seems keenly aware of this trope. most songs pair brief streams of consciousness with a mantra-esque hook, eschewing more formulaic lyrical structures and bombast while introducing an idea and succinctly following it to some sort of conclusion.
take “island castle,” the album’s seasick, pulsating opening number, as a case study of this approach. jorgensen details the construction of an impenetrable fortress of secrecy in a quick succession of verses before honing in on a thesis: “no man’s an island, but no man’s what i am.” an old adage is obliterated by the simple refutation that follows, a destruction compounded by repetition as the music underneath crescendos towards its finale. even tracks like “badlands,” which pulls comparatively towards the abstract in terms of imagery, have momentary returns to reality that are completely grounding; “you’re just a fool who thinks too much” is sure to lurk in the subterranean depths of a universal subconscious.
while most of king in the folly keep adheres to a compact structure, on occasion, jorgensen permits dreamspook to flesh out, to deviate from three-minute explorations of self. “don’t die” doubles in length and halves its lyrical content, swimming in synth motifs and guitar arpeggios that abruptly dissipate, leaving jorgensen alone to deliver a sparse vocal enveloped by a murky bass swell. despite its eventual morbidity, the first half of “don’t die” feels somewhat refreshing, soothing; this one-time allowance for meandering provides previous concepts the space to breathe, a respite before reaching the album’s most vulnerable state.
in spite of a coalescing bleakness enhanced by beautifully tragic imagery, king in the folly keep manages to become a self-aware body of work by its penultimate track, breaking whatever fourth-wall equivalent may exist in the album format. lest his listeners become too put out from the weight of his lyrics, jorgensen squares this tendency towards the morose with “ignorance,” a confessional dotted with concessions and pledges. impermanence can be heavy, but it can easily be interrupted by moments of beauty and eclipsed by feelings of insignificance.
it should also be noted that king in the folly keep is a thirty-three minute groove machine. amidst imploring an unnamed party for unrequited love and offering a brief analysis of an unfamiliar romance, jorgensen and the rest of his cohort – george hadfield on bass and conor davison on drums – lock into a near-impenetrable state of metronomic precision. each piece of every arrangement feels sculpted – if that verb can, for a moment, represent the utmost amount of attention painstakingly paid to every sonic detail: guitar leads alternately chime and warble; synth melodies bubble and percolate, and occasionally spill over into an agitated frenzy; bass lines routinely sound capable of swallowing subwoofers.
with every aforementioned cog, along with the contours of jorgensen’s vocal melodies, already heavily informed by rhythmic interplay, the drum parts are an analog to the icing on the album cover’s cake. deft and tasteful, while confidently staking claim in unused subdivisions, davison’s percussion work makes its presence – and absence – arguably felt more so than heard.
while basking in the seconds of silence that linger after the final drops of water hit on “ogema,” one may feel like one has stumbled across and read parts of a diary mistakenly donated to a second-hand book store; king in the folly keep is an intensely personal – and, consequently, vulnerable – piece of work, somehow delivered with the utmost conceptual and aural clarity. wade in.