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.
the brooklyn-based quartet crumb has been honing a vaguely psychedelic, undeniably infectious repertoire for the past few years, one with roots in lila ramani’s songwriting but that’s blossomed into an effortless collaborative venture. on june 14th, the band will self-release jinx, their first full-length that serves as a logical conclusion to a stellar pair of extended plays.
on “ghostride,” ramani’s stuttering, warped vinyl guitar motif dictates the mood, heralding a deep-pocketed two-minute groove populated by a wobbly synth line and an ethereal stream of consciousness. joining predecessors “nina” and “part III,” “ghostride” is another strong indication of the import of jinx, one that gently demands to be in heavy rotation. listen in below.
the tacoma, washington duo clay beds have found a fitting home for their self-titled debut release in hush hush records, the seattle purveyor of nocturnal music that flitters between electronic, pop, and ambient.
for proof, look no further than the project’s second single, “apple pie,” which finds the duo – boston transplants john anderson and hailee rogers – navigating an aqueous, gauzy choral landscape populated by reversed swells and percolating keyboard motifs. a potent snapshot of things to come from clay beds, “apple pie” pairs well with its predecessor “one old horse in the dirt and sun,” offering a pensive glimpse at the duo’s more atmospheric side.
clay beds is due march 29th on cassette and digitally via hush hush. listen to “apple pie,” premiering right here on the dimestore, below.
anthony ferraro has undergone a subtle transformation in the three years since the release of mind out wandering, his first full-length as astronauts, etc. while that album allowed the oakland singer-songwriter to filter his classically-trained piano chops through the prismatic lens of outwardly-sunny, falsetto-tinged pop structures, his subsequent work has been decidedly more cosmic.
“shut my mouth,” the third single off of ferraro’s forthcoming follow-up living in symbol, is the sonic antithesis of its predecessors: comparatively sparse, devoid of piano, and prominently featuring ferraro’s natural vocal register. interstellar percolations quickly give way to a simple, descending guitar melody, fed through an aging tape machine and fleshing out the contours of ferraro’s lead vocal. a prominent bass line augments a lyrical rumination on silence, sculpting “shut my mouth” as a muted exercise in the left-field psychedelia astronauts, etc. has gravitated towards under the watch of producer chaz bear.
living in symbolarrives july 27th via company records. listen to “shut my mouth” below.
it’s been about three years since anthony ferraro released the excellent astronauts, etc. album mind out wandering, a ten-track collection that paired the bay area musician’s penchant for sharp pop songwriting with psychedelic meanderings. later this summer, ferraro will return with a follow-up full-length, living in symbol.
co-produced by toro y moi’s chaz bear, living in symbol appears to fully embrace those swirling polychromatic tendencies of its predecessor. lead single “the border” is awash in eerie strings and soft acoustic guitar strums that ease into the syncopated bass and drum groove as ferraro’s sonorous lead vocal floats by. it’s a careful and methodical track, one that hints at a further refinement of ferraro’s already-robust songwriting with a tinge of deepened introspection.
living in symbolarrives july 27th via bear’s company records. watch the spaced-out music video for “the border” below.
kadhja bonet gained acclaim with her 2015 extended play the visitor, reissued the following year by the oxford, mississippi label fat possum records. the los angeles-based singer-songwriter has spent the subsequent time hard at work on a follow-up full-length, childqueen.
the album’s lead single, “mother maybe,” is a vibrant slice of elastic soul, a rubbery bass line bouncing through the contours of bonet’s lead vocal. bonet’s diction is likewise snappy throughout, and she effortlessly stretches into the stratosphere of her vocal range as the track reaches its apex.
childqueenis out june 8th via fat possum records. listen to “mother maybe” below.
whitney is the end result of an effortless songwriting partnership between max kakacek and julien ehrlich; the chicago-based duo works primarily within a medium of soothing, psychedelic-tinged folk rock so lush it necessitates four additional members when performing live. while earlier singles “no woman” and “golden days” read a touch somber and reflective, the band’s latest effort, “no matter where we go,” is comparatively breezy, as ehrlich’s falsetto and kakacek’s deft lead lines intertwine atop a light yet propulsive foundation.
all three songs will appear on whitney’s debut album, light upon the lake, out june 3rd via secretly canadian. watch the accompanying music video for “no matter where we go,” directed by alan del rio ortiz, by navigating away to this link, or stream the audio directly below.
niklas kramer’s work as still parade has been headed towards a psychedelic renaissance; the berlin-based songwriter will release his debut album, concrete vision, on june 3rd, a collection of songs that feels like a stark departure from his earliest offerings. on “chamber,” kramer’s lead vocal deftly shadows a syncopated bass line while an indelible groove and cascading synth melodies round out a bucolic, technicolor palette. it’s easily the strongest still parade single offered to date. take a listen to “chamber” below.
sam perry’s solo output as zen mantra touches on his collaborative work with the venerated yumi zouma, but pop constructs are often instead filtered through a distinctly darker, more pensive lens. on “second skin,” the first single from his forthcoming self-titled album, perry weaves melancholic hooks through an infectious psychedelic texture, one that outwardly flirts with optimism but is ultimately grounded by a series of unanticipated dissonances. zen mantra is out april 15th via flying nun records; listen to “second skin” below.
our year-end best-of week comes to a close with our favorite albums of 2015. we’ll spare you from reading any more; click on each album cover to navigate away to a review – more often than not from this site – that adequately portrays our opinions. as always, our picks will run in alphabetical order, and you can listen to each album by clicking on the link in its title. dive in.