These lists are everywhere, so you’ll be excused if you just roll your eyes and skip on. But, that being said, we always seem to be way off the mark when it comes to our Top 50 Albums of the Year. Sure, we have some of the sure fire hits on this list like Angel Olsen and Sharon Van Etten, but don’t even read on if you’re look ing to see where Run the Jewels made it…they’re not there. Sorry not sorry. So, if you’re into arbitrary lists by people who like to push their own agenda, then this list is for you! Read more
It’s still rather early in the year to start talking about best records of the year and what not, but as we’re midway through 2014, every one is doing it…so why not join in the fun. But, with this in mind, remember that these lists are arbitrary, and if anything, pretty meaningless in the long run; you never know if your thoughts will change in six months…and really, they’re just like, our opinions man. We’ll have two sections…one for national albums and another section of Austin albums released up to this point in 2014. Read more
When I first began listening to Porchpuddles, the last record from Dylan Shearer, I could tell that something special was brewing in his craft. Now, a few years later, we come to Garagearray, and I don’t even have the words to describe what he’s accomplished. It’s an album so special at every turn that you’re not likely to hear anything of this sort this year.
“Time to Go” opens Garagearray with a piano ballad with Shearer’s deep vocal tones draped all across it. What’s interesting to me is that despite the structure of the song appearing quite traditionally, there’s a twist to his approach. Where others before him would simply press forward, and continue the song as normal, Dylan slows things to a crawl on various occasions, encouraging listeners to hang on every note. The melody he creates at 2:57 is so special that it’s possibly my favorite moment in music this year. Then he brings in “Meadow Mines” to offer another intimate performance for listeners. The recording is done in a manner that allows you to hear the buzz of the strings in the mics, while Dylan performs with his forlorn angelic voice. Ugh. That voice.
While I typically identify with clarity in the vocals, there’s something enchanting about the way Dylan Shearer sings. Take the track, “Garagearray Lookout,” where his vocals hold the track together. When he sings, he seems to connect melodies together, rather than worry about proper enunciation. It brings about an emotion that can’t easily be described, but suffice it to say, you’ll be sucked into every whispy note. Another such example can be found in “Everyone Accept You” where it sounds as if the vocals were meant merely as an instrument, almost harmonically mumbled in the distance. It might not be for everyone, but it works for my ears.
I think one of the possible detractors on Garagearray might be that as a listener, you’re asked to completely immerse yourself in listening to the record. You can’t haphazardly skip through songs; each track has something unique to offer the listener. You’ll probably waiver back and forth over your favorite, as I have, but you simply don’t want to skip ahead. If you have the dedication, then you’ll find pop masterpieces in wait during the latter half of the album. “Before You Know It (Its Over)” is a six minute adventure of rising and falling melodies, carefully designed to follow the careful guitar work and additional musical accents. Shearer follows it up with another spectacular piano-laced ballad, “Barely by the Waterslide.” There’s a guitar sliding throughout too, running parallel to the pitch Dylan’s created with his voice; I’m sorry, but moments like this just don’t exist often enough. It then comes to a sublime end with “Tough on Grease (Carillon),” which might be the most pop-centric song on the album, if we’re to listen to the suggestions from the guitar.
The current musical climate often curates music that’s disposable. You listen, you love, you discard. But, if you’re looking for a record that’s worth sinking your teeth into for the duration of a lifetime, then I couldn’t think of a better piece of work than Garragearray. The musical stylings are current, yet timeless. The structure and progression of each song is dynamic, yet far from ordinary. Dylan Shearer, simply put, is at the top of his game, and that only makes you better by listening to it.
The album is available now from Castelface/Empty Cellar Records.
I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying the Dylan Shearer record for the last few weeks, and it’s one of those records that’s going to be hounded by everyone when it’s released. Shearer has this soft vocal delivery that begs for the attentive ears of listeners, yet the construction of his songs match that in their ornate quality. Those of you looking to indulge your quiet listening experience will surely fawn over every second of recorded music within the listen. Garagearray will be released as a co-release by Empty Cellar and Castleface, two very reputable labels. Be prepared for the wonderment herein.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/10-mold-in-the-fold.mp3]
I thought Dylan Shearer was a great secret, and after spending a lot of time with his last effort, Porchpuddles, I was happy to keep it that way. But, like all great things, you can’t keep them to yourself for long, which is great for Dylan. He’s signed on with Empty Cellar and Castleface to do a joint release for his new album, Garagearray (what’s with the lack of spaces?). Dylan’s one of those artists that I think doesn’t need a lot of discussion about the tracks details and what not. Once you listen for a few times, you’re hooked. It’ll see a release on April 15th; be prepared to have yourself a new favorite artist.
Not being from San Francisco, I haven’t been let on the great secret of the city: Dylan Shearer. Luckily, that changed today when this exquisite track landed in ye olde inbox. Dylan’s got a new record titled Porchpuddles, which is being released by Empty Cellar Records on June 19th. Sonically, it harkens back to the earlier days of pop music, with a smooth approach to the delivery of the vocals and the music itself. You get the feeling that this song sounds best in some sort of coffee house with hordes of people swaying as they sit cross-legged on the floor. Pleased to meet you Dylan.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/SideA_01_Afterwhile.mp3]
Download:Dylan Shearer – Afterwhile [MP3]