rf shannon – “wild rose pass”

– featured image courtesy of the artist –

shane renfro and company are less than a year removed from the excellent trickster blues, but rf shannon has already set their sights on their third full-length, rain on dust, due out in august via the austin-based label keeled scales.

“wild rose pass,” the first taste of rain on dust, is a muted affair, its slow pulse and underlying tremolo more so felt than heard, the titular refrain delivered with a gentle sigh. vaguely psychedelic with wisps of americana swirled throughout, rf shannon’s blend of mellow folk music is on full display with “wild rose pass,” a snapshot of an album preoccupied with the vistas of the american southwest.

listen in on “wild rose pass” below.

erin durant – “islands”

– featured image courtesy of sarrah danziger –

remember erin durant come year’s end. the new york-based songwriter has been releasing a steady stream of impressive singles in anticipation of her forthcoming album, culminating in the recent unveiling of its title track, “islands.”

framed around durant’s clear-eyed piano progression, “islands” is vivid in its introspection; when a soft choral echo emerges halfway through its six-minute duration, the track blooms into something radiant, more than the sum of its various lilting components.

islands, produced by TV on the radio’s kyp malone, arrives june 21st via the austin, texas label keeled scales. listen in on its title track below.

sun june – “monster moon”

– featured image courtesy of the artist –

after a memorable debut campaign last year, the austin quintet sun june are positioning themselves for a victory lap in 2019; their impeccable full-length years will see a second pressing via keeled scales later this month alongside a new four-song extended play, younger.

on “monster moon,” one of two brand-new cuts that feature on younger, sun june float in the ether of laura colwell’s lead vocal, a robust low-end foundation pairing with washed-out guitar chords and melodic flourishes. the track’s soul-infused core reaches its apex in the third and final minute, the aural output of all five members coalescing in a warm collage of sound.

listen in on “monster moon” below.

reddening west – deltas

– featured image courtesy of nicola gell –

the diligence of reddening west cannot be overstated.  the austin-based quartet has toiled for the past couple of years over their self-released debut full-length, deltas, its vibrant swaths of americana a sprawling, existential treatise on the inherently transitory nature of life, honing a particularly fastidious approach to their songwriting and cinematic arrangements in the process.

anchored by the lead single, “even if” and its opening number, “marjorie,” deltas finds reddening west picking right up where their 2016 extended play, where we started, left off, with spacious vistas punctuated by niamh fahey’s swooning fiddle textures and matt evans’ soaring vocal melodies.  on the early standout “holding hours,” evans paints a bucolic backdrop for his pondering, with syncopated guitar lines and back-beats rolled together, in search of an apex never quite discovered.  “different now” finds evans waist-deep in reverb, again weaving observations of personal change through pristine turns of phrase and beautiful imagery.

the majesty of deltas is contained in its sweeping gestures as much as it is in its most minute intricacies; the palate-cleansing instrumental “inverness” is doused in nuance and contrapuntal wonders, a perfect segue to the album’s extended third act.  the penultimate cut “diffuse” is especially affecting and tender, its propulsive nature the perfect foil for the album’s finale, “late summer grass,” itself a vivid and measured punctuation mark on reddening west’s rich, slow-burning debut.  full of nooks and crannies ripe for exploration and vast canyons of elegiac introspection, deltas is a perfect autumnal vessel, a fine companion for changing times.

deltas is out tomorrow, available via reddening west’s bandcamp page, but you can experience it in its entirety a bit early right here on the dimestore.  tuck in below.

 

molly burch – “to the boys”

– featured image courtesy of kelly giarrocco –

the texas songwriter molly burch only released her stunning debut full-length, please be mine, last year, but its follow-up is already slated for arrival.  first flower picks up right where its predecessor left off, its eleven tracks packed with whip-smart lyrical observations set to jazz-inflected, country-infused guitar pop; for a primer, digest the album’s lead single, the lilting “wild.”

“to the boys,” the latest offering, is quintessential burch, the contours of her smoky contralto dovetailing in conversation with a contemplative, wandering guitar line, a gently syncopated rhythm section in tow.  brimming with a cool confidence, burch subverts the generally accepted stereotypical portrayals of power, quipping “i don’t need to scream to get my point across / i don’t need to yell to know that i’m the boss,” her unabashed assuredness reverberating throughout the track.

first flower is due october 5th via captured tracks.  listen to “to the boys” below.

premiere – reddening west

– featured image courtesy of nicola gell – 

a well-received debut project can be both reaffirming and a motivating tool to expand on its most resonant features.  the austin quartet reddening west latched onto this philosophy, using the framework of their 2016 extended play where we started as a reference point as they meticulously crafted their saturated, sprawling debut full-length, deltas, an intimate album preoccupied with existential thoughts on transition and change.

matt evans wrestles with the aforementioned themes throughout “even if,” the first preview of deltas, a reflective narrative couched in hesitation, reservation, and self-doubt.  enveloping evans’ sometimes-desolate imagery is the bucolic warmth so recognizable in reddening west’s arrangements.  a loose, organic heartbeat is a comfortable foundation for niamh fahy’s cinematic string counter-melodies, an affecting punctuation to the track’s lyrical sentiments.

taken as a cohesive unit, “even if” is a sonic embodiment of the wide-open vistas the mind’s eye occupies in a contemplative state such as this, a powerful rumination on complacency and vigilance indicative of reddening west’s slow-burn approach to songwriting.

deltas arrives september 21st; it is currently available for pre-order and can be pre-saved on spotify.  its lead single, “even if,” premieres today on the dimestore.  listen in below.

sun june – years

– featured image courtesy of bryan parker –

the debut full-length from sun june would be formidable on the strength of its four singles alone.  the lilting “discotheque,” the churning “slow rise ii,” and the understated “young” combine for a veritable triple threat right out of the gate, while the impossibly wistful “records” sets the bar for the album’s flip-side.  spread across years, howeverare six more gems of equal strength, a testament to the austin quintet’s effortless ability to sequence an album as melancholic as it is instantly memorable.

rounding out the a-side is “johnson city,” its contemplative slide guitar work further broadening sun june’s already-spacious horizons, and the nesting behavior of “homes,” a low and slow saxophone undercurrent dovetailing with warm vocal harmonies.  the album’s final four tracks rest comfortably in the vestiges of “records,” each latching on to a certain timbre or cavernous echo and exploring it fully.  the light four-on-the-floor pulse of “baby blue” and the descending turnarounds that populate “apartments” in particular work to provide respite, subtle gestures that drape sun june’s aesthetic with nostalgia and comfort.

while years registers primarily as a guitar-centric album, michael bain’s motifs and interjections pasted to a wall of reverb, laura colwell’s electric piano treatments don’t deserve to be overlooked; the instrument’s chiming vibrato is the linchpin of penultimate cut “i’ve been,” stretching into its upper register as the song swells to a conclusion.  taken together, years is a compelling inaugural outing, its ten tracks calibrated for optimal contemplation.

years arrives on friday via keeled scales, but you can stream the album in its entirety early, courtesy of hype machine.

sun june – “records”

– featured image courtesy of bryan parker – 

it takes laura colwell less than thirty seconds to conjure a snapshot of aching nostalgia on “records,” the sixth track and fourth single off of sun june’s forthcoming debut album, years.  the austin quintet has skimmed the surface of soulful melancholy on their three preceding offerings, but “records” is the first to dive headlong into the description.

tastefully spare and reveling in the space that results, “records” finds sun june sprinkling a bass-and-drums foundation with interlocking guitar lines and warm vocal harmonies, cresting towards a false ending that dissolves into a minute-long instrumental coda.  with its remarkable restraint and wide-open voicings that evoke the texas landscape, “records” is perhaps the band’s most cohesive encapsulation of its aesthetic yet.

years arrives june 15th via keeled scales.  spin “records” below.

premiere – why bonnie

– featured image courtesy of jen lee rachid – 

austin’s why bonnie started 2018 off well with their intimate, inimitable in water extended play, a four-track collection that has propelled the band towards a new set of tunes due out later this summer.  nightgown is an apt title for these cozy bedroom pop songs that feel like they were all written around twilight, and perhaps none embody this description more closely than the release’s centerpiece, “stereo.”

“stereo” avoids the grandiose tendencies of a traditional break-up song by instead honing in on the staggering vulnerability that pervades the moments immediately following a break-up, parsing every emotion with excruciating care.  “looking at you through my screen and you’re smiling back at me / you’re stuck in a silent movie but to me you seem so real” sings blair howerton, her alto lilting as normalcy’s disappearance becomes apparent.  bolstered by organ swells and swooning, reverb-drenched guitars, “stereo” gradually builds to crescendo, its inherent haze suited for introspective summer evenings.

nightgown is out june 20th via sports day records.  its first single, “stereo,” premieres right here on the dimestore; listen in below.

premiere – pearl crush

– featured image courtesy of daniela galindo –

the houston-based musician mandy kim clinton creates lush pop music under the moniker pearl crush, a vessel well-suited for navigating her dual identity as a korean-american.  clinton will release her debut extended play, coax me out, next month via poison moon records, a label she co-founded.  “bend until u break + 원주시,” the project’s lead single and closing number, is an invigorating glimpse into clinton’s rich sonic habitat.

an elastic bass line exists in a parallel subterranean realm from the dreamy fm synths twinkling above, but clinton’s lead vocal astutely straddles the dichotomy, musing about the physical manifestations of emotional exhaustion in warm harmonies.  elements of the track appropriately bend and break, be it the fractured synth motifs that chime in in between verses or clinton’s well-placed elongations of certain words or phrases.

as an added bonus, “bend until u break + 원주시” gently dissolves into a swirling instrumental coda, orchestral swells propelled out of the woodwork by intricate percussion for a moment of pure catharsis.  “bend until u break + 원주시” is premiering today on the dimestore; listen in below.