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Submission Accomplished | Five Fine Finds From The Digital Mailbox

Jared Grabb Among Thieves, Dexter Dine, Thomas Hine & more new goodness.

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Thanks to the inexplicable popularity of my Submit Music page, I always have a digital backlog of albums, EPs, singles and videos awaiting my perusal. Here are the latest submissions that caught my ears and eyes. It’s a good crop: You’ve got Jared Grabb Among Thieves’ rough-hewn, rousing hybrid of alt-country, indie-rock and punk; Dexter Dine’s enchantingly eccentric pop experimentation; Digital Resistance’s confrontational fusion of politics, poetry and powerful music; Thomas Hine’s mellow roots meditations; and Somasu’s striking, personally revealing EP. At least one of them oughta butter your biscuits. To that end, I’ve included Bandcamp links wherever possible so you can buy the music straight from the source. Tell ’em I sent ya. And if you’ve got something I need to hear, send it my way. If I think you’re half as good as you think you are, I just might include you next time.

 


Jared Grabb Among Thieves
Among Thieves

THE PRESS RELEASE: “In 2013, I returned to my hometown of Peoria, Illinois. I quickly realized how deeply connected I felt to the people and places. Among Thieves is an album paying homage to this connection. It speaks of what it means to be from this place via the histories of those who came before. These histories can be difficult, and their subjects can be highly flawed. However, understanding the past is the first step to planning our futures. It can be said that Peoria has been home to its fair share of tragedies. Peoria was born out of the ashes of a French community after it was raided and burned by American militia during the War of 1812. During America’s bloody Civil War, the city hosted two camps of Union soldiers with a total troop population which accounted for more than a third of the city’s population. In 1918, as World War I was winding down and the temperance movement was winding up, the Columbia Paddle Steamer sank into the Illinois River killing more than eighty men, women, and children. Prohibition then proceeded to destroy the city’s primary industry of whiskey production. In recent years, more affluent populations have left the city’s borders and taxation, leaving those remaining to cope with failing infrastructure, a struggling education system, and more than a century of industrial pollution. At the same time, Peoria is and has been a place of hopes and dreams. I wish for the stories contained in this album to hold all of these conflicting realities. May these stories help us to see where we are now, and how our path may best lead us forward.”


Dexter Dine
Symmetrics

THE PRESS RELEASE:Dexter Dine is an experimental musician and composer. He is currently the music director of the Brooklyn-based dance company Roxy + Company, and is in the band Hanging Stills. The 12 songs on Symmetrics were written on an acoustic guitar and then deconstructed: the chords mapped out, sequenced and played back through a collection of sampled instruments. Inspired by the cheap midi soundtracks of games like The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, Symmetrics brings fake saxophones, flutes, pianos and choirs to the fore, with each song showcasing a unique and sometimes bizarre arrangement. The vocals are melded into these arrangements through the warping effects of auto tune, pitch shifting or other less noticeable refractions. The only song to break from these methods is Still, a short acoustic number that sits at the center of the album — the guitar and vocals radiate out from this point.”


Thomas Hine
Ledgers & Stones

THE PRESS RELEASE:Ledgers and Stones is the latest album from Thomas Hine, a Folk/Roots musician from Colorado. It follows the well-received Some Notion Or Novelty (2016). Ledgers and Stones consists of nine songs written mainly in 2017. Unlike past albums which had themes heavily rooted in the folk history of Colorado and certain other regions of the US, this album is more personal and literal with most of the songs being rather more “banging one’s heart against the wall” in subject. There are also more generally reflective songs about the past, such as 52, which explores changes within the author coinciding with an evolving city and a cross-town bus route, and a lamentation of modernity and impermanence found in Barren Daughters. The title track focuses on change as well, and may be considered stylistically reminiscent of early Leonard Cohen. The song and theme were based on a visit to an actual reconstructed post office in Colorado from a mining town in the 1800s, and also a meditation on the absurd idea of legacy that David Bowie somewhat humorously considered on many of the songs on his final album. Overall, Ledgers and Stones is Thomas Hine’s most mature project, lyrically and musically and collaboratively, and vocal melodies were really an area of focus in the creation of these songs.”


Digital Resistance
Oligarchical Collectivism

THE PRESS RELEASE:Digital Resistance is a fiercely political band from Cardiff. It was formed in 2019 by left-wing academics who view music as a platform for political messages, and whose friendship comes through bonding on issues of human rights and social justice. Our songs are a mixture of poetry/spoken word against a backdrop of eclectic sounds, subdued in parts and angry in others depending on how the story unfolds. All our songs are against oppression. Oligarchical Collectivism is written in Newspeak to honour George Orwell’s 1984. The other songs are: Pillars of Oppression: each verse tells a real life story of a life lost at the hands of political and police brutality in a different part of the world (we wrote and published this before the US protests, heartbreaking that it stays relevant). Pale Blue Dot: a view of fascism on Earth throughout history, it gets angry about halfway through (2:17) when it shifts from past to present. Economic Conscription: comparing varying war efforts and how the elite escapes and enriches itself at the cost of the lives of the poor.”


Somasu
8 Years A

THE PRESS RELEASE: “My name is Somasu and I am a singer, songwriter, rapper, and poet from Oxford (united Kingdom). The EP is called 8 Years A and it is a four-song summary of my eight years suffering from clinical depression and anxiety. The EP also tackles topics such as isolation, uncertainty, spirituality and hope. My major influences are Nick Drake, Elliott Smith, Jeff Buckley, Nine Inch Nails and Radiohead. The EP was self-produced and recorded in my bedroom.”