long beard – “means to me”

– featured image courtesy of nathan bajar –

four years after releasing her debut full-length as long beard, leslie bear returns this fall with a follow-up, means to me. ahead of that sophomore effort, bear has shared its wistful title track.

“means to me” takes a minute to come into focus, its blurry edges becoming sharp and defined as angular guitars and busy percussion work their way into the foreground. the track’s slight push and pull is a boon to bear’s lead vocal, a lilting, steady calm amidst a gradually shifting soundscape.

means to me is out september 13th via double double whammy. listen to its title track below.


long beard – “sweetheart”

– featured image courtesy of nathan bajar –

leslie bear, the new brunswick, new jersey singer-songwriter who records as long beard, has lain dormant since 2015’s sleepwalker, her debut for team love records. the four years in between that debut and its follow-up, means to me, found bear moving back to her hometown and reflecting on past events, eventually transferring that nostalgia to pen and paper and then again to tape.

“sweetheart,” the first single from long beard’s impending sophomore full-length, taps into a plaintiveness that then permeates throughout the track, an account of a past love soundtracked by gently pulsating guitars. bear’s lead vocal ultimately dictates the mood, dovetailing with the underlying arrangement as both approach a glimmering, reflective pool.

means to me is out september 13th via double double whammy. listen to “sweetheart” below.

joseph black – northern exposure

– featured image courtesy of landon speers – 

new jersey’s joseph black has spent the last decade or so at the helm of projects like honeydrum and donovan blanc, the latter perhaps a bit more buttoned-up than the former but both serving the songwriter’s development well in their respective ways.  black recently turned his attention to writing and recording a solo album under his own name, northern exposure, which is set to drop tomorrow.

the ten tracks that line the album’s outer shell drip with the hallmarks of 1980s music; elements of coming-of-age film soundtracks blend with college rock homages and mingle with stadium-caliber spectacle, although northern exposure feels not like pastiche but intense veneration, a full immersion into a decade that evokes a particularly warm variant of nostalgia.

lead singles “be still the light” and “what if it’s all wrong?” are solid points of entry into black’s world, one where the gated reverb crisply evaporates off of each snare pop and brassy synth leads glide in tandem with distant guitar riffs and metallic bass lines.  drill down deeper, though, and you’ll discover the slow tremolo haze of “october blue” and the cinematic grandeur of “hopeless night,” just two of the eight other songs that tie northern exposure into the kaleidoscopic body of work that it is.

black’s first solo venture is reflective and triumphant, a true joy to peel apart and digest slowly, one layer at a time.  northern exposure is out tomorrow via the wonderful folks at chill mega chill records.  it’s premiering in full right here on the dimestore, below.  enjoy.

forth wanderers – “know better”

– featured image courtesy of grace rossi-conaway –

forth wanderers have an unassuming charm and such a degree of relatability that it remains little wonder why their music has already spread to millions of people.  the members of the montclair, new jersey quintet are gearing up for a november 11th release of their latest ep, slop, via the label tag-team of house anxiety / marathon artists across the pond and the inimitable father/daughter records stateside; after dangling the ep’s title track in front of listeners in august, forth wanderers return today with a second single, “know better.”

again built around the tandem of ava trilling’s voice and ben guteri’s guitar, “know better” is an angular cut laden with catchy hooks to help mask the pain and confusion that accompanies past mistakes, along with any residual fallout.  trilling’s lead vocal is particularly biting in certain instances, perhaps no more so than when she deliver’s the song’s mantra: “i can’t be this naïve anymore.”  like other forth wanderers material, this song’s combination of immediacy and poignancy is striking; take a listen to “know better” below.

forth wanderers – “slop”

– featured image courtesy of grace rossi-conaway –

a quintet of pals from montclair, new jersey make music together as forth wanderers, a homegrown affair that blossomed easily from bedroom to stage thanks to an unexpectedly strong and rewarding songwriting partnership.  ava trilling and ben guteri laid the foundation that 2013’s mahogany ep was built atop of and continued construction on the band’s debut full-length, tough love, the following year.  now, forth wanderers have regrouped for slop, a new ep due november 11th via house anxiety and father/daughter records.

the four-song collection ebbs and flows sonically – as most eps are wont to do – but the ear gravitates towards trilling’s lyrics, which navigate the spectra of optimism and gloom with equal aplomb.  trilling gives a masterclass in the latter category on the ep’s title track; “slop” sways easily in compound meter, a guitar lead tracing each pair of triplets as trilling turns in poignant lines like “i dreamt last night you were mouthing my name / under blue skies” that underscore the track’s heartbreaking mantra: “i love too much / to hurt this bad.”

a sobering dose of auditory medicine to start the week, indeed.  listen to “slop” below.