eau claire is an absolute hotbed for live music; if you need any convincing, just consult an events calendar. aside from touring bands and established local acts that frequent bars and basements, the scene regularly plays host to exciting one-off collaborations that rarely venture into a recording studio. one such exception is ’58 belvedere, an experimental jazz trio featuring three familiar faces: pat kuehn, who lends his upright bass skills to rivers, dave power, the mustachioed drummer for adelyn rose who moonlights under the electronic moniker of white dune, and dean granros, an enigmatic mainstay of eau claire’s live jazz circuit. the outfit is gearing up to release their debut, rustic libertines, in early january, and we’re excited to share its lead single. “i don’t know” is a seven-minute propulsion of the endless ideas that spew forth from granros’ guitar fretboard, which are accompanied by an insistent bass ostinato and crisp drumming. the trio’s interplay on the song’s back half is particularly engaging and serves as a warm introduction for what the rest of rustic libertines will inevitably bring. dig in below.
teen daze released his stunning, poignant album glacier late last year, snippets of which you’ve undoubtedly heard floating around in mixtapes on this site for quite some time now. after letting go of the excellent tour ep paradiso this past spring, the man behind teen daze took some much-deserved time off before trekking down to tiny telephone in san francisco this fall to record the follow-up to glacier. while details about that album still remain scarce, an entirely different project has come to fruition. teen daze has announced a european tour in january, and he’ll chart his course with a new ep in hand. a world away isn’t set to drop until january 13th – the day before his first show in helsinki – but teen daze has already shared its lead single. “reykjavik, january 2015” is an imagined timestamp, a six-minute odyssey that blends soft and warm synthesizers with muted drum programming while evoking an accurate sonic portrayal of northern europe in the dead of winter. while a world away isn’t correlated to the recording sessions he detailed earlier this fall, any new music from teen daze is always welcomed. take a listen to “reykjavik, january 2015” below, and click through the soundcloud link for a full list of european tour dates.
nick zanca has been making music as mister lies for awhile now, particularly capturing an audience with last year’s mowgli. a follow-up record is due out later this year via orchid tapes, but zanca has released two new tracks to tide over fans and entice newcomers. “flood you” b/w “medusa” is a frenetic nine minutes of impatient vocal samples and positively jittery electronics. you can stream the pair of songs below and download them at a pay-what-you-want rate.
*update: mister lies’ new album is called shadow and will be out in october via orchid tapes.
jamie xx has a new double a-side, “girl”/”sleep sound,” due out may 5th via young turks, and the latter of the two cuts has been floating around the internet for a couple of weeks. “girl,” however, appeared to remain elusive, but it turns out that james blake inconspicuously premiered the track on his bbc radio show back in march under the phony guise of simon tallywhacker. now jamie xx has properly shared the track himself, and it proves to be a perfect complement to the rather nocturnal “sleep sound.” take a listen below.
after stellar offerings from arrange and home alone, orchid tapes has pulled off an admirable hat trick this month with the release of their newest compilation, boring ecstasy: the bedroom pop of orchid tapes. the aforementioned artists each contribute a track, along with label mainstays ricky eat acid, foxes in fiction, happy trendy, and infinity crush. there’s even offerings from julia brown (highly recommended) and the sweater i gave you, who has something in the works for the microlabel later this year. rounding things out is an excellent track from yohuna, “badges,” that has already been covered here at dimestore saints, but it’s still nice to hear the song within the context of the entire album. vinyl copies of boring ecstasy are available for pre-order here, and you can stream and download the album for free below.
sharon van etten is set to return with her fourth studio album, are we there, on may 27th via jagjaguwar records. following up an effort as monumental as 2012’s tramp is no easy feat, but van etten seems poised to repeat with “taking chances,” an excellent new single that flexes a budding electronic muscle along with meaty electric guitars and her signature harmonies. take a listen below, via jagjaguwar’s soundcloud page.
gem club’s intimate breed of chamber pop should be receiving more well-deserved recognition soon. the boston trio are set to release their sophomore album in roses on january 28th via sub pop imprint hardly art records; we’ve already been treated to “polly,” a gorgeous seven-minute synth sprawl, and now gem club has shared “braid,” another exquisite track that favors light percussion and subtle harmonies. take a listen below.
one year ago today, milo released his dual-ep whirlwind of things that happen at day and things that happen at night. those two releases were among the first pieces of work covered here at dimestore saints, resulting in an affectionate soft spot for anyone attached to milo’s music. on this one-year anniversary, things that happen at day producer riley lake has released an instrumental version of the ep, substituting milo’s raps for lush guitar loops and other downtempo, dreamy sounds. the eleven-track effort is bolstered by a handful of brief interludes from iglooghost, another producer that frequents milo’s projects. check out the entire album below.
l.a. duo boardwalk will release their debut album next tuesday via stones throw records; two tracks, “i’m to blame” and “high water” have already surfaced, and now you can listen to a third, “crying.” check it out below, courtesy of boardwalk’s soundcloud page.
after two eps with virginia beach pop outfit we are trees, james nee formed dream shake, a guitar-driven, lo-fi oriented project that writes songs about fictional women. it’s just nee and his friend elliott, but the two still pack a lot of punch on dream shake’s self-titled debut album, out today via frenchkiss records. i caught up with nee via email to find out more about his new band and came away a conversation riddled with video game references instead. don’t worry; there’s still some understated quips about his musical views, too. check out the transcript below.
we are trees was your primary project before dream shake. are the two still running concurrently, or has we are trees been put on the back burner?
i think we are trees is pretty over. i’ve done all i can for it. but then again, you never know with these sort of things.
dream shake seems a bit more gritty and lo-fi than your last project – in a really good way. can you talk about some musical influences that have been prominent as of late?
the ambient music in gta v is really inspiring. it makes you feel like you’re the only person in the world who owns the game. with that mindset, you feel really happy that the hype is real. and all your pent up emotions prior to september 17th are released as you meld with los santos. you almost want to cry.
frenchkiss records is putting out dream shake’s self-titled debut album, and it seems like you’ve had a relationship with them for awhile. what’s your favorite part about working with the label?
i guess it’s the vindication that a group of people somewhat believe in you (even though it’s not transparent most of the time).
let’s talk a bit about the album itself, which consists of nine songs titled after various female characters from television shows. can you talk about your particular attachment to a couple of those characters, and how you tried to portray them in song?
a character in a story is only a character because they show a distinct emotion that gets singled out by the audience. so instead of writing a step by step “what happened on this episode, blah-blah-blah,” i write about the emotions that i perceived from each person. oh, and they’re not all television characters; one is a final fantasy girl.
what would you consider to be the best decade for television and why?
whatever the pre-netflix/hulu/internet years were. there’s something about making an hour/thirty minute commitment to just forget about the world that is amazing.
what’s your plan for dream shake? it seems to be mostly a solo project, but do you have any aspirations for the band beyond the studio?
i think of music as a stepping stone to gain a following for my pro-gaming career. i would like to be in a real band, but one person can not decide that. so we’ll see.
if i had to play the “band + band = band” game, i’d say dream shake is a good foray for people who like early cloud nothings and real estate. it’s also a good foray for people who don’t. the songs on this album are great little nuggets of pop music, something i always seem to be searching for. dream shake will be performing later this month at frenchkiss’ cmj showcase; if you’re not in the area for that, pick up their record to tide you over.