pillar point’s sophomore full-length marble mouth is already among this year’s stand-out bodies of work, with scott reitherman fastidiously doubling down on his dark yet invigorating brand of dance music. one of the album’s sturdiest singles, “dove,” was recently tapped by director jacob krupnik to use in a vogue-centric music video that follows kia labeija through the streets of bogotá, colombia in pursuit of an elusive lover. the video premiered on the creators project earlier this week; navigate there to read more about the project’s history and then watch the clip for “dove” below.
scott reitherman’s self-titled debut as pillar point in early 2014 read as a successful reinvention. a dark undercurrent coursed through equally-murky pop constructs, molding an ominous presence that all but dared listeners to either furiously dance or studiously absorb its lyrical content; multi-tasking was not a feasible option. but it turns out that pillar point was just the tip of that particular iceberg. on his sophomore follow-up, marble mouth, reitherman plunges into the depths of his aesthetic and emerges with a refocused and incredibly urgent end result.
disconnected relationships are still very much a central tenet of reitherman’s lyrics, but he’s more direct about these issues on marble mouth; the very title of “part time love” is a concession of the limitations geographical distance can put on even a committed romance, while “dove” fleshes out the subsequent strain and exhaustion from both parties. these melancholic expressions soak into most of the album, though reitherman allows himself moments of catharsis on the sprightly penultimate cut “underground,” re-routing emotional weight to third-person narratives before letting loose with the resounding hook of “give me what you need / i’ve been working overtime.”
if pillar point was a pop album that occasionally ceded to reitherman’s dance-floor urges, marble mouth feels like the opposite. pop constructs exist insofar as most songs have a discernible verse-chorus structure, but they’re routinely padded with firm indulgences into experimental textures and static harmonies. tracks like “black fly on a white wall” and “lafayette” funnel observations on new surroundings through robotic vocal deliveries and punishing ostinato bass grooves before wandering off into uncharted musical territories, while “gloomsday” is a dreary homecoming built around radio samples and a frenetic amalgamation of agitated synth motifs and steadfast percussion.
outside production from of montreal’s kevin barnes and percussion contributions from members of washed out and kishi bashi help to keep marble mouth from becoming an insular extension of its predecessor, but reitherman of course deserves the lion’s share of credit. if there’s any cop-out hedonism on this album, it’s buried miles-deep beneath extensive self-examination and an adventurous, eclectic sonic palette.
even the most accessible songs benefit from this meticulous writing process; “dove” rests its laurels on the polyrhythm interplay between strings and a four-on-the-floor beat while “playtime,” the album’s filthiest cut, uses its titular sample to foreshadow both the track’s eerie descending vocal melodies and its irresistible syncopations.
still, the most impressionable aspect of marble mouth is arguably its biggest outlier. after an exhausting half-hour dance odyssey, reitherman slows the tempo and eliminates much of the accumulated textures for “dance like you wanna die,” a poignant finale for lilting hearts that wonders “is there a love song that cares / whose mind she’s on?” this sudden juxtaposition is jarring, but it’s an integral piece in supporting the argument that scott reitherman has crafted the most earnest, and honest, album of his career.
the advent of scott reitherman’s second full-length as pillar point, marble mouth, has been prefaced by two excellent singles that double down on the dark, brooding aesthetic that peppered his self-titled debut. add “strange brush” to that list. the album’s third single completes a trifecta established by “part time love” and perpetuated by “dove,” but this time, reitherman leans on a pulsing krautrock groove and a mournful, descending vocal melody to convey his message. what’s truly special is the organic piano motif that somehow blossoms from the depths of the song’s texture. dive into “strange brush” below.
kanye snubbed us in 2015. frank ocean snubbed us in 2015. rihanna snubbed us in 2015. james blake snubbed us in 2015. for every high-profile album that did emerge this year, there seemed to be one that was withheld; as we inch closer to 2016, we’re taking a look at fifteen albums that will hopefully see the light of day in the new year. alphabetical order is your friend. dig in after the jump.
chairlift – the two singles chairlift released this fall indicate that the brooklyn duo’s forthcoming album moth, due out january 22nd, will be a bit darker and more ominous than its predecessors, but still more than capable of delivering a smattering of memorable hooks.
daughter – not to disappear will most likely be the first impressionable full-length of 2016. both “doing the right thing” and “numbers” double down on the themes of isolation and incredible sadness explored on if you leave, and the trio’s instrumentation is as lush and expansive as ever.
field division – 2015 was a quiet year for the nashville-via-iowa duo, but we’re hoping that field division drop off their full-length follow-up to 2014’s excellent debut reverie state sometime very soon.
florist – emy sprague’s appropriately-bucolic quartet florist popped up on our radar earlier this fall with holdly, a compact ep crammed with sharp songwriting and memorable melodies that thankfully serves as a placeholder for the birds outside sang, a full-length coming january 29th via double double whammy.
frank ocean – who knows where frank ocean is at? the follow-up to his profound 2012 album channel orange is still missing-in-action, and probably will be for some time. here’s to hoping that 2016 is the year that it finally surfaces.
james blake – radio silence was due in the spring of 2015, then the fall, and now the album is promised in the early months of 2016. we’ll wait; hopefully it arrives in the dead of winter and provides solace for those cold, cruel months.
kanye west – yeezy season is perpetual. kanye teased snippets of what could be on swish – “all day,” “fourfiveseconds,” “only one,” “wolves” – throughout 2015, but the album’s name could change again, and its release date certainly isn’t set in stone. expect the internet to collectively lose it when new kanye material does drop, though.
memoryhouse – one of the more pleasant surprises of this year has been the reemergence of memoryhouse. the canadian dream-pop duo are prepping their sophomore album, soft hate, for a january release, and sneak peaks “dream shake” and “arizona” suggest the two have picked up right where they left off in 2012.
mick jenkins – the healing component is the end game that mick jenkins has hinted at all along. 2014 delivered a very well-received mixtape in the water[s] followed by a new ep this year, wave[s], so it stands to reason that a proper full-length would come next.
pillar point – scott reitherman will continue to hone his signature brooding electro-pop on marble mouth, out january 22nd via polyvinyl. “dove” is already pillar point’s best work to date, accentuating both extremities of reitherman’s timbral spectrum; the rest of the album should at least be on par.
pity sex – michigan quartet pity sex effortlessly blended shoegaze with bits of pop-punk and emo on their excellent 2013 debut feast of love, and now the band is gearing up to drop white hot moon this coming spring via run for cover records. be ready for ample amounts of forlorn looks.
the 1975 – if you want a huge pop record in 2016, you probably won’t have to look any further than the 1975. matt healy’s manchester outfit is slated to release i like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it in february, and its early singles hint at a massive, killers-esque synth-pop romp.
tycho – scott hansen and company have decamped to work on the follow-up to 2014’s excellent awake. if analog synth-driven ambient soundscapes are your thing, you’ll be particularly enthused when the new tycho album drops.
vancouver sleep clinic – the vancouver sleep clinic camp was frustratingly dormant all year, but project architect tim bettinson has promised something substantial in 2016. whether that something is an album or an ep remains to be seen, however.
wild nothing – jack tatum will deliver a new wild nothing album, life of pause, february 19th via captured tracks. it’s the band’s first record in nearly four years, and will be a welcomed addition to an already-stellar discography.
scott reitherman is slated to release his sophomore full-length as pillar point, marble mouth, on january 22nd via polyvinyl records. after sharing the album’s brooding lead single,”part time love,” in late october, reitherman has deposited a second offering to digest before the year’s end. “dove” is every bit as haunting yet cathartic as its predecessor, with dizzying arpeggiated cellos and a resolute drum beat pulsating through an eerie vocal sample of the song’s title. its lyrics feel cleansing and therapeutic as well, perhaps a preview of thematics reitherman will suss out across the album’s duration. check out “dove” below.
scott reitherman’s self-titled debut effort as pillar point was one of the more captivating releases of early 2014, capable of sating even the most voracious of synth-pop appetites. now reitherman is back for round two; pillar point’s sophomore album, marble mouth, drops january 22nd via polyvinyl records. its pulsating lead single, “part time love,” premiered on stereogum yesterday and showcases an astute, full-blown execution of the darker dance passages reitherman flirted with throughout his debut. the track is the first of an album’s worth of collaboration with of montreal’s kevin barnes, who produced marble mouth at his studio in athens, georgia. take a listen to “part time love” below.
on friday we published a list of our ten favorite songs of 2014. naturally, we’ve compiled those tracks into a concise mixtape for your listening pleasure, which can be experienced above. our picks run in reverse order and feature offerings from alvvays, caribou, ricky eat acid, fka twigs, and more. check back tomorrow for continued coverage of our year-end best-of lists.
welcome to day three of our year-end best-of week, an especially interesting day in which we attempt to choose, dissect, and justify our favorite songs of 2014. obvious pop heavyweights like sia’s “chandelier” and taylor swift’s “shake it off” were removed from consideration in order to recognize some lesser-known artists, the ultimate ethos of dimestore saints. we’re pretty satisfied with the following ten tracks, but we’d love to hear arguments for any we may have neglected in the comments section below.
scott reitherman’s first solo venture as pillar point touched on nostalgia in all the right ways, with sleepy pop music powered by vintage roland synths and drum machines that still retained an acute sense of originality and inventiveness. all nine songs on pillar point are earworms in their own right, but the album’s third track, “cherry,” particularly stuck with us throughout the year. a punchy, fluid bass line pulsates underneath a stuttering vocal sample before finally giving way to the song’s verse, which finds reitherman’s understated approach to lyricism thrust into the spotlight. an influx of rich, gorgeous textures often distracts from pillar point’s lyrical content, but the hesitant, poignant examination of a blossoming relationship found in “cherry” just can’t be ignored.
the xx have been taking their sweet time writing and recording the follow-up to 2012’s coexist, but apparently jamie xx is very skilled at multi-tasking. the brooding sound architect has yet to release a solo full-length of his own, but the three tracks he did offer up this year were nothing short of monumental. while “all under one roof raving” drew the most attention, jamie xx’s absolute best work came in the form of “sleep sound,” an aptly-titled nocturnal journey with a punishing subterranean bass line countered by very patient drum programming, which waits nearly four minutes before guiding in the song’s crucial segue to its b-theme material. if “sleep sound” is any indication, both the xx and its most prolific member are slated to have a very rewarding and important 2015.
molly rankin’s apathetic drawl is one of the most endearing traits of fast-rising toronto upstarts alvvays, but it’s not the band’s most important. the quintet’s wonderful self-titled debut largely hinges on the stellar guitar interplay between rankin and alec o’hanley, and “adult diversion” sets the tone. it takes multiple close listens to discern where the song’s main riff splits off into separate countermelodies, and rankin & co. move on to new ideas and arpeggiations before true appreciation can set in. and then the final component of the alvvays trifecta settles in: rankin’s blunt, polarizing lyrics. “adult diversion” clearly outlines unrequited love – at best a crush, at worst a full-blown case of stalking – but its delivery is tongue-in-cheek, its trajectory unpredictable, its content slightly morose. after all, not many college-radio bands can get away with singing about dead girls in closets, even if it’s only a passing reference.
dylan baldi is dangerously close to becoming an infallible voice in the modern alternative rock climate. whether or not that voice is discernible is another question entirely. baldi’s fourth round at the helm of cloud nothings yields an intense but concise result, and “just see fear” is a perfect snapshot of the visceral nature of here and nowhere else. seemingly over before it even starts, the song finds baldi singing confidently, almost gently at times, though the accompanying onslaught of buzz-saw guitar and drums immediately offsets any potential vulnerability. the fact that cloud nothings has slimmed down to a power trio doesn’t seem to phase baldi, either; he points to the absence of a second guitarist with the unabashedly thin melody in the first half of the chorus before reminding listeners that a wall of distortion is truly the only indispensable member of cloud nothings. oh, and his screams never fail to send shivers down spines.
vince staples has come a long way from his earliest role as earl sweatshirt’s especially vulgar side-kick, far enough to coax def jam into releasing his excellent debut ep hell can wait earlier this fall. despite its warm reception, staples’ pivotal fourth mixtape, shyne coldchain ii, was arguably his most critical effort of 2014. staples paints blunt, vivid images of less-than-ideal experiences throughout the mixtape’s ten tracks, and it peaks with “nate.” visceral accounts of an abusive, drug-dealing father resound in his lyrics, but an inner conflict arises inside staples; though he concedes that “all i wanted was a hundred grand,” staples aptly recognizes the consequences of his father’s lifestyle. the bridge on “nate” is crucial, as james fauntleroy essentially functions as an objective third party, summing up the cyclical hopelessness staples witnesses and examines in his music.
dan snaith spoke of the profound impact stevie wonder had on the creation of our love, his latest effort as caribou. though their work couldn’t be more different from an aesthetic standpoint, snaith did manage to capture the sheer grandeur that wonder routinely brought to pop music. our love is an unabashed pop record, and its title track is the surging centerpiece. hell, the back half of the song is better than 95% of music released this year, but the importance of the front half’s static build elevates “our love” into the ninety-ninth percentile. the bass line that snaith twists and warps into the song’s prevailing theme is just a measly four notes, but it’s his treatment and intense delivery that make it stick to whatever crosses its path. ever the master of tension, snaith refuses to resolve the theme at the song’s close and leaves the fourth and final note hanging in the balance, forever tonicizing the figure in everyone’s heads.
lana del rey played us all. an artist once dismissed as vapid and of middling talent was, conversely, lauded this year, thanks in part to her excellent sophomore effort ultraviolence. but focus also shifted towards the understanding that lana del rey is a character, interested in exposing gender-based double-standards by fully indulging in them, forever daring us to critique her, to tear her to shreds. most took the bait. ultraviolence largely found del rey moving away from the technicolor hip-hop that dotted born to die, instead favoring a more nostalgic monochrome aided by dan auerbach’s production. amidst ballads and grandiose ambitions lies “west coast,” an understated yet compelling song that is by and far del rey’s best piece of work to date. she pushes ahead in earnest during the verses, but a little palilalia and a descending guitar lick is all it takes for her to lay back into a gorgeous half-time chorus, laden with reverb that figuratively recalls the hazy, beach-centric imagery conveyed on the single’s cover.
the entirety of ricky eat acid’s arresting three love songs is emotive, but “god puts us all in the swimming pool” is especially heart-wrenching. the song is a polarizing contrast to its predecessor, the drake-sampling, house-indebted “in my dreams we’re almost touching,” with its static motion pumping the brakes on any semblance of momentum the album had managed generate up to that point. this poignancy is crucial, as it allows ricky eat acid’s mastermind sam ray to a moment to breathe before ushering in the erratic final quarter of three love songs. all functions aside, the manipulation of the vocal loop on “god puts us all in the swimming pool” is one of the most beautiful musical moments of the year.
in theory, about half of the ten tracks on fka twigs’ stunning debut lp1 could occupy this slot; only one song really stood in the way of her total conquest of this segment. tahliah barnett’s artistic persona transcends both her initial career as a backup dancer and the current temptation to lump her in with other singer-songwriters. her output is largely autonomous, sure, but what sets her apart from those who might be considered her peers is her unabashed dedication to center her music around female sexuality. and as a wonderful article on no fear of pop pointed out earlier this year, that focus on sex and sexuality is so large that it can’t be confined to twigs’ lyrics; it has to consume the rhythm and tonality of her music and the visual aesthetic and tone of her videos. “pendulum” winds up in this slot because it directly embodies so much of that mentality. the even-keeled, predictable beat that pans from one speaker to the other is as repetitive and reliable as a pendulum, while the song’s opening lyric clearly establishes sex as the lyrical catalyst. but there’s a searing presence of cynicism as twigs ultimately is using “pendulum” as a platform to call a vapid, unresponsive lover on his shit.
milo’s career over the past two years has been fairly well-documented here at dimestore saints. from his pair of eps to his cavalcade mixtape to his side-project scallops hotel, we haven’t missed much. while milo’s first proper album, a toothpaste suburb, delivered some incredibly satisfying moments, it ultimately felt drawn-out and a bit uneven, perhaps because we’re used to consuming his thoughts in more concise doses. that being said, the highlights of a toothpaste suburb are some of the finest works found in milo’s catalogue. “objectifying rabbits” arrives just past the half-way mark of the record, and is the second part of a sequential triptych milo previewed before the album’s release date. following the positively tender “you are go(o)d to me,” “objectifying rabbits” immediately reintroduces momentum into a toothpaste suburb with swelling synth progressions, setting up milo to deliver the finest opening line of 2014: “echolalia / lisztomania / i played my ukulele on the way to la grange, bruh.” the non-sequiturs are there, but the lyrics are best-examined as an introduction to the song’s subject matter, which seems to find milo advocating for an appreciation of art and a positive outlook on life above all else. milo dissents against hedonists and plato in his never-ending quest to convey his philosophical views, and open mike eagle’s closing verse compounds these thoughts in falsetto. milo is a young artist with very complex thoughts, thoughts undoubtedly watered down to fit within the lyrical confines of a song. although intensely personal songs radiate across a toothpaste suburb, “objectifying rabbits” is milo’s best effort in proclaiming his philosophical ethos.
as the years tick by, the music video seems to become an increasingly insignificant form of consumption. though youtube is a powerful streaming source, lyric videos and static images accompanied by audio have largely become the norm. amidst the changing landscape lies a handful of artists (check the output of honorable mentions fka twigs and perfume genius for further examples of consistently stunning work) and videographers still dedicated to enhanced storytelling through visual representation; we’ve compiled our five favorite offerings of 2014 below.
5. lorde – “yellow flicker beat”
single-handedly curating the soundtrack to an assured universal blockbuster is no easy task for anyone, let alone a seventeen year-old. lorde went two steps further, shouldering responsibility for the soundtrack’s monstrous lead single, “yellow flicker beat,” and its accompanying music video. numerous comparisons were made to the aesthetic of david lynch, but the video particularly excels at showcasing lorde’s ownership of her artistic identity; her singular form of dancing becomes synonymous with the song’s anthemic chorus, further cramming a very natural artistic expression down the throats of detractors who expect something different from female pop stars.
4. pillar point – “dreamin'”
the surreal implications of the song’s title are aptly accentuated in the music video for “dreamin’.” an early staple of pillar point’s career and the centerpiece of his self-titled debut album, “dreamin'” is forcibly reworked – in its introduction, anyways – to accommodate the contorted dancing style of the video’s protagonist, who seems to be a projection from the mind of the older man who appears at the beginning and end of the sequence. yet despite the jubilance and dedication conveyed in the dance, “dreamin'” retains an incredible amount of poignancy, as the dancer’s feats go largely unnoticed.
3. caroline smith – “half about being a woman”
caroline smith tried her hand at r&b last year and wound up with half about being a woman, one of our favorite albums of 2013. nearly a year later she delivered a music video for the album’s title track that is at once heart-wrenching and uplifting, as smith’s monochromatic character traverses from utter despair to hardened confidence with a bit of help from her döppelganger. raw emotions are rarely captured so effectively.
2. st. vincent – “digital witness”
a wes anderson color palate meets annie clark’s frazzled grey mane in st. vincent’s music video for “digital witness.” clark has to be shortlisted as one of the best artists to emerge in the past decade, and the depth offered by her latest album only strengthens her claim to that exclusive club. social commentary has often been a covert operation throughout st. vincent’s discography, but her views on the strong grip of modern technology are readily apparent on “digital witness.” the martial rigidity of the song’s synthetic horn staccatos is mirrored by the nonsensical militaristic marching in the video, and the uniformity and repetitive acts performed by the cast is a metaphor for the enslaving power wielded by digital technology. even clark, portrayed as a wary outsider, doesn’t seem to be fully free of its grasp. just like the bulk of st. vincent’s output, both “digital witness” and its music video are beautiful at surface level and absolutely compelling once the outer layers are peeled away.
1. vince staples – “nate”
vince staples will be a key player in the immediate future of hip-hop, largely in part due to his visceral storytelling contained in songs like “nate.” the video that accompanies the focal point of staples’ fourth mixtape, shyne coldchain vol. 2, is just as jarring: a domestic dispute played out in slow motion seen through the eyes of an unfazed child. through association, one might assume that the autobiographical material from staples’ childhood directly correlates to the video’s protagonist, but said protagonist encounters staples while en route to a convenience store. the fact that the video’s plot line may exist outside of staples’ personal narrative is critical, as it showcases a cyclical epidemic of violence and drug abuse in urban southern california. it’s not a long stretch; staples has already proven he’s one of the most hyper-aware young minds in the rap game.
i’m exhausted after a three-day wind symphony tour, but there was nothing more relaxing than coming home to pillar point’s brand new music video for “dreamin’.” the video features an extended introduction to the song before a slow-motion dance takes over, perfectly complementing the aesthetic defined by pillar point. true visual art like this is a rarity in the realm of music videos; take the time to check this one out.