premiere – clay beds

– featured image courtesy of adrian estrada –

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.

premiere – muldue

– featured image courtesy of zac bowen –

max ramsden makes music that sounds like exploring a forest at twilight. as muldue, ramsden has spent the past handful of years recording loosely ambient music, pulling liberally from other genres while honing a rather hypnotic aesthetic.

on march 1st, muldue will release a place both foreign and familiar, his debut effort with the seattle-based label hush hush records and his third overall; the extended play’s five tracks together are sprawling, traversing the haunted terrain of ramsden’s inner mechanisms while bathing his voice in a distant sea of reverb.

a wide tremolo pulsates across the stereo fields of the EP‘s lead single, “i tried,” a five-minute meditation deserving of its status as centerpiece. coupled with an eerie, dissonant ostinato and anchored by a hushed but confident lead vocal, “i tried” is an enticing glimpse of things to come for muldue, comfort food for the dead of winter.

“i tried” premieres here today on the dimestore. listen in below.

premiere – shelf nunny

– featured image courtesy of the artist – 

the seattle producer christian gunning has blossomed into one of the pacific northwest’s most reliable architects of evocative electronic soundscapes.  under his shelf nunny moniker, gunning will release his third extended play, different light, on november 16th via his longtime label home, hush hush records.  different light deftly flexes shelf nunny’s growing sonic muscles over just a handful of tracks, showcasing his ability to make meaningful textural contributions from the backseat while vocal collaborators take center stage.

the extended play’s centerpiece, “time to waste,” finds shelf nunny linking up with hush hush alum lostodyssey; the eugene, oregon, vocalist’s work might be familiar to some of those reading this article, and his featured presence is the perfect compliment to shelf nunny’s polychromatic textures.  “time to waste” is methodical in its development, syncopations gradually slipping in as the narrative takes shape around its airy contours, lostodyssey’s central, pleading refrain of “it’s not too late / there’s time to waste” grounding the track in an alternate pop music universe.

“time to waste” is premiering today, right here on the dimestore.  check it out below.

interview – hush hush records

– featured image courtesy of the artist – 

Frequent patrons of this space already know that the dimestore has been enamored with the seattle-based label hush hush records since last summer.  the label’s aesthetic is fluid with seemingly endless permutations; a loose nocturnal regulation has yielded ambient projects, glitchy electronic experiments, and pristine dream-pop albums among other releases.

on friday, hush hush will release HH100, a centennial of sorts that highlights and celebrates its growth over the past six years.  the compilation features fourteen brand-new tracks that are all collaborations between hush hush artists past, present, and future, a compelling distillation of the label’s “night bus” ethos.

we recently touched base with the label’s founder, alex ruder, to chat about the history of hush hush, its hundredth release, and how ruder’s work at the iconic radio station KEXP informs his approach to the label.  streaming alongside the interview is the premiere of “wait too long,” the captivating collaboration between vivian fantasy and quiett that serves at the compilation’s penultimate track.  click the play button and digest the interview below.

hush hush began back in 2012 with kid smpl’s skylight.  what sustained you in the early days of cultivating the label, and has that driving force changed at all over the past six years?

when i launched the label, i honestly didn’t have any big-picture or long-term goals, the main thing was just to work with joey butler (aka kid smpl) to help present his debut album.  but a major motivation to cultivate the label beyond that release in those early years was bearing witness to the relative success of skylight.  it wasn’t necessarily the most successful release financially, but there was some nice momentum around it.  kid smpl was accepted into the red bull music academy just after the announcement of the album and months prior to its eventual release, his live shows were consistently memorable affairs and each performance showcased his quickly growing sonic evolution, and positive press coverage about the album all made it feel like the time and energy we collectively put into the album was a worthwhile effort.

during this early period of the label, i was also hosting a monthly hush hush DJ night in seattle, and those monthly events kept a complimentary aspect of the label moving forward and allowed the label to connect with more artists, as each monthly DJ night featured a special guest DJ to showcase their own “night bus” soundtrack.  thanks to the support we received for skylight, both local artists and non-local artists began reaching out with demos to consider for release on hush hush, and hearing exciting demos from new, unknown, or overlooked artists and wanting to help them share their sounds continues to be the driving force behind the label.  it’s still based in that desire to share quality sounds from artists that i feel deserve a bit more of a spotlight.

the hush hush catalogue feels like a curated playlist on an album-sized scale, if that clumsy analogy makes any sense: each release is complimentary to its predecessors but explores a fresh facet of the label’s aesthetic.  does your experience in radio at all inform how you sequence releases and approach hush hush as a whole?

aside from wishfully trying to align releases with a season that makes the most sense (ie: darker ambient/drone releases in winter, brighter sounds in summer), i’m not trying to be too intentional with the sequence of releases, but i’m super focused on the sequencing of songs on each release and frequently geek out when taking a collection of songs and figuring out the best sequence to paint the most captivating picture possible.

my experience in radio definitely comes into play in these situations.  with every radio show i put together, i try to play and transition songs in an order that feels natural and smooth, but also sneaks in challenging segues and allows the narrative to grow and expand with each new song, and that’s how i view each hush hush release.  i’ve never released a stand-alone single on hush hush; i’ve always been focused on fleshed-out EPs, mini-albums, or full-length albums, as i’m still a huge fan of LPs and EPs that showcase a clear vision from the artist.

HH100

HH100 is, as the name suggests, your 100th release.  congratulations!  it’s also a pretty unique release: fourteen brand-new tracks, all collaborations between artists that have called hush hush home at some point.  what gave you the initial idea for this kind of project?

thank you!  i thought it’d be a fun challenge to coordinate another hush hush compilation for the 100th release.  i’ve done a couple bandcamp-only compilations in the past, more as a thank-you to fans, featuring new unreleased songs from hush hush family and friends (presents vol. 1) or a combination of new unreleased songs as well as select songs from the past year’s catalog (presents vol. 2).

but this was the first time trying to do an “official” compilation, and i thought it’d be exciting to tap into the generous collaborative spirit that so many hush hush artists possess and try to do something unique for the compilation: pairing up artists, sometimes from different sides of the planet, to bounce ideas off each other and see what they could come up with.  i’ve always been amazed at the talent of the artists that have released music on hush hush, yet i was admittedly a bit shocked to hear how strong and seamless the collaborative tracks turned out, especially from two artists that had most likely never communicated with each other before.

were there any collaborative pairings that took you by surprise, or any memorable anecdotes about the various processes that made their way back to you?

honestly, i don’t think any of the collaborative pairings came as a “surprise” to me.  although their styles may vary widely, i feel there’s a common thread to every hush hush release and each artist tapped into that shared vibe for their track.

i was thrilled that cock & swan and TZECHAR were able to collaborate on a new track; they’ve both been strong admirers of each other’s work for years now.  they’ve previously remixed each other’s tracks, but to have them work together on something new felt really special.

hanssen and secret school teaming up on a track is another collaboration that has led to some wonderful results.  both of them live in seattle and are big fans of each other’s work.  working together on “felt” was quite pivotal, as it’s not only a stunning track that shows them creatively pushing each other, but it also planted the seed for them to continue to work together on new tracks, so there may likely be a bigger collaborative release from them down the road.

Vivian-Fantasy-Photo-1-Credit-Bee-Cardoso

– vivian fantasy (bee cardoso) –

today we’re premiering “wait too long,” the collaboration between vivian fantasy and quiett.  can you share the label’s history with these two artists?  how did this particular collaboration come to be?

yeah, i was stoked when vivian fantasy and quiett decided to work on a track together.  each of them bring a cool “live band” feel to their songs.

vivian fantasy is richmond, virginia-based musician danny bozella. he had been self-releasing music on bandcamp, but then last year he came across hush hush via asking/bearing, an album by seattle-based artist olive jun (aka lushloss) who previously lived in richmond, so danny was familiar with her music and was excited to see her music released on a label.  he reached out to me with a handful of demo tracks that turned into the dreamy psych-pop EP deep. honey. that came out late last year on hush hush.

quiett is actually a duo comprised of sam leffers and kevin hake.  sam reached out to me in early 2017 with some demos he had done with kevin as well as manchester, UK DJ/producer two tail, and i was immediately impressed with the set.  i ended up releasing their fountains EP during the summer last year.  both vivian fantasy and quiett create such magnetic, romantic, gauzy sounds, it was exciting to hear their styles mesh together so smoothly on “wait too long.”

what does the future hold in store for hush hush?

the future is still driven by the initial motivation to do what i can to work with new/underground artists, help share their music in the way that feels both good for the artist and the label, and be able to foster a family/community through it all.  there’s still lots of releases in queue, so the future holds many more hush hush sounds that will continue to explore the genre-less yet distinctive vibe that originally birthed the label.

HH100 arrives august 3rd on bandcamp and later this month on cassette.  you can pre-order the compilation now.

whitney ballen – “rainier”

– featured image courtesy of sofia lee – 

on the off-chance that whitney ballen’s previous single, “go,” left any unanswered questions about her singularity, the washington songwriter’s follow-up solidifies her status as one of the most distinctive voices to emerge this year.  “rainier,” keeping with ballen’s theme of writing an extended ode to the pacific northwest, aches with nostalgia, a transmission of longing delivered in her unmistakeable soprano.

like its predecessor, “rainier” flourishes in the build-up to and execution of its refrain; ballen’s dead-simple admission of “i wish you were here” loops as a mantra, frankly framing the antecedent anecdotes and staging the track’s soaring, melismatic concession of “i’m sorry.”  a bucolic soundscape crests as ballen stretches out that apology, receding during verses and providing mournful slide guitar swoons before sprawling out into a vast, contemplative horn-driven bridge.  these tinges of americana align with those of melancholy, echoing the wistful vestiges of familiarity and permanence in an ever-changing life.

“rainier” is the second single off of you’re a shooting star, i’m a sinking ship, which will enjoy a joint release via father/daughter records and substitute scene on august 24th.  listen in below.

whitney ballen – “go”

– featured image courtesy of sofia lee – 

whitney ballen’s debut full-length album serves as an ode to the pacific northwest; after recording two extended plays steeped in the region’s geographic imagery, the washington-based songwriter struck out for elsewhere, only to find herself waxing nostalgic about the familiar.

“go,” the lead single culled from you’re a shooting star, i’m a sinking ship, latches onto the sentiments of the larger body of work, its titular verb used again and again as a defiant command.  ballen’s lead vocal begins hushed and appears stilted, only to blossom into a soaring, crystalline sustain as the chorus arrives, its lush rolled chords sprawling out in the track’s expansive soundscape.  as “go” gallops towards its finish line, dueling guitar motifs in tow, one begins to realize that ballen’s debut might be one of the summer’s most-needed cathartic releases.

you’re a shooting star, i’m a sinking ship arrives august 24th as a collaborative effort between father/daughter records and substitute scene.  listen to “go,” below.

premiere – lostodyssey

– featured image courtesy of the artist – 

jameson williams’ solo output is about as far removed from the the thrash and technical death metal bands he cut his teeth on in the pacific northwest.  as lostodyssey, the eugene-based musician crafts cinematic electronic soundscapes that are bucolic and meditative to the nth degree.

on june 22nd, williams will release his third extended play, the first with seattle’s hush hush records, dont mind me.  its five cavernous, downtempo tracks swirl with intricate production and more prominent vocal treatments, ones that particularly excel at melding themselves into already-rich, substantive textures.  case in point is closing number “good god,” its static field recordings dissolving into a lush dreamscape populated by manipulations of the titular phrase, williams marveling at his auditory surroundings.

taken with the rest of dont mind me, “good god” is a finale full of catharsis, a wide-open expanse of pastoral impressions that nestle comfortably in ear canals.  the track is premiering today, right here on the dimestore; listen to “good god” below.

premiere – ocean hope

– featured image courtesy of the artist –

angeliki and serafim tsotsonis craft intimate snippets of expansive, dreamy pop in their respective home studios in greece; the sister-brother duo carefully piece these fragments together and offer up the final results under the moniker ocean hope.  a 2015 extended play, chamber dreams, suggested contentment with the secluded, a quiet exploration of their aesthetic’s intricacies, but upon further review this approach seems to be a mere foundation, the duo’s ceiling still far out of sight.

later this month, ocean hope will release rolling daystheir first full-length effort.  its ten tracks burst wide open with a technicolor aural palette, thick analog synthesizers and prominent lead vocals filtered through its kaleidoscopic lens.  earlier singles “devotion” and “my baby” are a testament to this newfound boldness, a tendency that certainly extends to the album’s third offering, “holy bound.”

“holy bound,” with its familial lyrical tinge, is a capsule of the nostalgic escape ocean hope provide throughout rolling days, seasick guitars stumbling into a cascading synth melody while angeliki’s vocals resonate throughout.  paired with a robust bass line and a contemplative saxophone outro, “holy bound” is saturated but not overflowing, a bounty of textures that continue to reveal new facets of themselves upon repeated listens.

rolling days is due out may 25th via the ever-reliable folks at hush hush records.  listen to “holy bound,” premiering here on the dimestore, below.

premiere – trevor ransom

– featured image courtesy of sarah grunder – 

seattle native trevor ransom returned home last year after voyages to rural england and sweden, pastoral impressions in tow.  the producer’s third extended play, aptly titled spring, is six tracks of panoramic bliss, an amalgam of acoustic timbres, delicate electronics, and weightless, wordless vocals.

closing number “vent” is a suite in miniature, with three distinct movements presented in succession.  in the first, frosty piano chords descend over a persistent drone and swelling string pads; this sputters off into a collection of found sounds, a babbling brook of percolating motion that embraces a distant wordless melody and bleeds into the finale, a gorgeous choir of clarity backed by acoustic guitars and a plaintive violin.

taken together, all of these components provide the perfect vessel in which to get lost, a true meditation on and reflection of the changing seasons.  spring is out february 23rd via the impeccably curated hush hush records.  listen to “vent,” premiering right here on the dimestore, below.

premiere – shelf nunny

– featured image courtesy of daniel glynn –

christian gunning’s production as shelf nunny has always been methodically downtempo, a gorgeously chilly tapestry with pelagic undertones fitting for a project in close proximity to the puget sound.  next friday, gunning will release little time we have, his sophomore extended play, that ventures to an outpost on the hazy border between electronic and pop music.

for a primer, enter “washed out.”  the extended play’s third track (and, consequently, its centerpiece) is one of two offerings to feature toronto-based audioopera on vocals, a partnership spurned by a previous, positive collaborative experience.  his airy, ethereal falsetto nestles somewhere in the middle of the texture, right alongside a sparse rhythm section and flittering snippets of melody, an initially hesitant union that blossoms into something spectacular during the song’s second half.

little time we have is out september 29th via hush hush records.  take a listen to “washed out,” which premieres here on the dimestore, below.