pearla is the vessel for the songs of brooklyn’s nicole rodriguez, an amalgam of closely-woven genre cues that feel intimately familiar. as rodriguez readies her debut extended play, to see release later this year, she’s shared its first single, “daydream.”
“daydream” burns slowly initially, rustic piano chords providing the scaffolding for rodriguez’ lead vocal before cascading into something with a bit more urgency, a restrained catharsis to anchor an impressive inaugural batch of songs.
in the three years since her excellent debut full-length amparo, maria usbeck experienced and ruminated on the prospect of aging, weaving those observations into a complex, more challenging sophomore effort, the aptly-titled envejeciendo.
the album’s lead single, “amor anciano,” bridges the gap between its predecessor’s sunnier affect and the preoccupation and introspection that heavily populates envejeciendo. delivered in spanish and retaining usbeck’s signature sheen, “amor anciano” grapples with long-lost love, the subtle, aching nostalgia becoming explicit as field recordings bubble to the surface.
envejeciendo arrives august 16th via cascine. listen to “amor anciano” below.
2019 finds the los angeles outfit oyster kids poised to release both an extended play and a full-length album, the fruits of andew eapen’s silence over the past couple of years.
the quartet returned earlier this year with “losing my mind,” and recently followed up that effort with “breathe,” an effervescent, cathartic release dripping with sunshine. its busier percussion and tighter vocal harmonies subtly augment the core oyster kids sound, a tandem that provides a discreet sense of urgency.
when he’s not putting in time as a member of natalie prass’s backing band, jacob ungerleider records warm, enveloping pop songs under the moniker grebes. after releasing the swirling, downtempo “wyd” earlier this year, grebes returned last week with a follow-up single, “one trick pony,” ahead of a full-length release.
brushing up against the two-minute mark, “one trick pony” grounds itself in aqueous synths, stuttering percussion, and ungerleider’s tender lead vocal, percolating to the surface before suddenly dissipating. as the album’s lead track, it’s the perfect introduction to grebes.
house creature, the debut effort from grebes, arrives june 28th via broken circles. listen to “one trick pony” below.
after releasing last year’s glimmering EP III and fulfilling their contract with cascine, yumi zouma decided to try something they’d yet to do: release a standalone single.
that single, “bruise,” feels a bit more direct than much of the band’s catalogue, but still very much within their wheelhouse; its origins are in the departure of yumi alum sam perry in 2017 and timbaland’s mid-2000s production cues, a percussion-heavy cut that finds yumi zouma in the foreground on the dance floor.
read more about the band’s new trajectory over at i-d and listen to “bruises” below.
after a string of impressive and infectious singles, the elusive los angeles pop act oyster kids took a minute to collect themselves. centered and focused for 2019, the andrew eapen-led outfit is slated to release both an extended play and a full-length album; “losing my mind” is the first taste of what’s to come.
pristinely produced and crystalline in presentation, “losing my mind” is the perfect introduction, or re-introduction, to oyster kids: ruminative lyrics, glimmering synth counter-melodies, whispered vocals that blossom into anthemic hooks. with an effervescent motif that returns again and again, “losing my mind” embeds deeply to leave a lasting impression.
“losing my mind” is out today; check out the kamell allaway-directed music video for the track below.
last summer, alex frenkel released promised lands, his first effort under his caicos moniker, a vibrant debut that fused electronic soundscapes with frenkel’s signature guitar playing and vocals. it appears he had more left in the tank; a five-song extended play, dream machines, is due out this spring.
on “genesis,” the EP‘s opening number and lead-off single, palm-muted motifs skitter off of compressed electronic backbeats and acoustic guitar chord progressions, an organic foundation warmed by frenkel’s conversational baritone.
his lead vocal sits comfortably in the foreground, gradually enveloped by the accompanying arrangement until the very final moments, when most timbres exit stage left and frenkel remains with a surprisingly tender sentiment to deliver. an initial glimpse into a project that shows the measured progression of an incredibly assured songwriter, “genesis” is a placid cut, particularly well-suited for chilly days that require a bit extra aural warmth.
dream machine is out may 31st via very jazzed. listen to “genesis,” premiering right here on the dimestore, below.
after releasing a handful of sharp one-off singles last year, the brooklyn quintet barrie has their sights set on 2019. the band is slated to release their debut full-length, happy to be here, later this spring and recently shared “clovers,” the album’s lead single, an encapsulation of the harmonically-rich collaborative nature barrie’s music tacks towards.
we recently caught up with four of the five members of barrie via e-mail to talk collaborative creative direction, the significance of “clovers” as a lead single, and how individual members’ experiences have shaped happy to be here. check out the transcript, which has been lightly edited for clarity, below.
there’s a bit of ambiguity as to whether barrie is a band or a solo project, which i think is by design. how do you approach integrating your own creative direction with the input and contributions of the other band members?
barrie: we’re figuring it out as we go. everyone in the band is a talented writer and producer in their own right, and has other outlets outside the band. the best way i can think to describe it is we’re running my songs through the filter of this really interesting group of people who have experiences and talents that i don’t. sometimes that plays out through the music (and very much in the live production), and sometimes it’s in ways beyond music, like in the aesthetics or big picture decisions, or who we collaborate with.
although the band now operates out of new york city, each member originally hails from a different part of the globe. can you speak to any individual experiences, musical or otherwise, that were particularly valuable and/or informative to the band as a whole while making this record?
dom: that is a heck of a question. i would say a great thing we did was to play the first set of songs together many times, as for the first few months we were maybe listening to barrie’s demos remotely and coming together was more about meeting and getting a feel for each other. i think that allowed us to imagine what we could each bring to the table.
spurge: almost all of us are on the other side of twenty-five, so we’ve each had our own experiences, in and outside of the music industry, before coming together to start this project. that’s allowed us to have a patience and self-awareness about our band growth and group dynamic that i don’t think is common for new bands. for example, i’ve worked and interned at a few music studios in new york. that experience has taught me about the prevalence of ego in the creative process, sometimes more so than the actual music making. so, we all make sure to always be empathetic and communicative to each other with this in mind.
noah: yeah, everyone in the band is a bit of an old soul type/has been around it all for a while so longevity and sustainability is something that is a constant consideration, both logistically, musically, and emotionally. we want/plan to be around for a long time and make decisions accordingly.
“clovers” is the lead single from happy to be here, and i’m particularly struck by how the synthesizers in its second half juxtapose the piano in its first, how it encapsulates your aesthetic well while leaving other avenues open for exploration. is there anything in particular you’d like to share about the track, its origins, and/or its significance to you collectively as an ensemble?
barrie: i’m happy this is the lead single because it’s one of the songs that was most shaped by others in the band. i made the demo in boston with the original piano and synth sounds, and it was the first song spurge and noah and i worked on together when i moved to new york. spurge and noah added textures and beefed up the synth sounds, and then once we were in studio, noah beefed and polished them even more.
it captures the “fucked up classic” aesthetic that we’re after. and of course, like most of the songs on the album, dom’s drumming on it, and that takes it to another level.
dom: “clovers” for me is a great indication of how we wanted to push the record beyond basic “pop songwriter” territory – a lot of that is down to (co-producer) jake aron giving a lot of space while keeping control of what was at the core of each track. the middle eight is mega hard to play though, scary.
polish that beef brisket!
noah: one of the major guiding principles behind this project is timelessness. we wanted to fill the record with a ton of easter eggs so there’d be something new to discover with each listen and listeners can consume it on whatever level they prefer. in this song, we mostly achieved that through running the MIDI that barrie had written into a bunch of analog synths, and playing with filters and stuff in real-time to introduce some human variation and create some happy accidents.
happy to be here is out may 3rd via winspear. pre-order the album here.
after years of lending her keyboard talents to the likes of the national and phosphorescent – and touring with the latter – the australian songwriter jo schornikow is poised to release secret weapon, a lush nine-song collection influenced primarily by her experiences in motherhood.
on the album’s lead single, “incomplete,” schornikow’s aqueous aesthetic slots perfectly with director ben chace’s accompanying slow-motion visuals, an amalgam of muted electronic percussion and underwater synth pads percolating beneath the warmth of electric piano chords and schornikow’s arresting lead vocal. it’s an unforgettable performance and perfect introduction to an artist inclined to have a stand-out year.
secret weapon is out march 29th via the ever-reliable austin label keeled scales. watch the music video for “incomplete” below.
lens mozer’s foot rides the brake, his lived-in brand of sun-bleached guitar pop coasting smoothly along the california coast. the los angeles native scotty cantino has parlayed this moniker into a conduit for hazy memories with an excellent full-length album, don’t stop, in tow.
“such a drag,” the final single ahead of cantino and company’s debut, is guided by a purposeful – and slightly mournful – tenor, its titular refrain eventually wilting, ceding territory to buzzsaw guitar motifs and gauzy synth countermelodies. a mid-tempo lament fit to accompany myriad montages, “such a drag” is emblematic of the affect lens mozer so effortlessly culls.
don’t stop is out tomorrow via plastic jurassic; listen to “such a drag” below.