The Dimes

Recommended if you like: French Kicks, Voxtrot, The Octopus Project, The Decemberists, Of Montreal, Spoon

“Wildly melodic and inherently quirky, The Dimes’ sunny day indie-pop is born of the same Northwest, um, loins as The Decemberists, The Shins, Ben Gibbard, and even recent Austin to Portland transplants, Spoon. In fact, known for unexpected outbreaks of foot stomping and hand clapping at their live shows, The Dimes boys’ first full-length looks to push them a couple rungs up the ladder, closer to likes of the aforementioned indie royalty – maybe sooner than anticipated.

Early reviews are already gushing with admiration for the new album, The Silent Generation. The Portland Tribune boasts “a fantastic new album from one of the city’s most promising new artists”, while the Stranger coos “The Dimes simply create really lovely, understated but sweepingly beautiful tunes that burrow into your brain, take hold, and refuse to leave.” And the Willamette Week testifies to “lucid, charging pop anthems complete with clap-along beats and considerable harmonic glee.”

However, even with all of the charming comparisons to their Northwest kin, The Silent Generation is built around something undeniably original. While singer-songwriter Johnny Clay insists the record isn’t a full-fledged concept album, he does concede that most of the record draws its inspiration from a series of Depression-era newspapers that guitarist, Pierre Kaiser, found buried beneath the old floors of his 1908 Portland home. At first, the old papers were a novelty item and a good read for a history buff like Clay. But it wasn’t long before he fell in love with the cast of bizarre characters he found, resurrecting them on the new album.

Only a day after unearthing the papers, Clay arrived at rehearsal with two brand new songs in his quiver, including “Paul Kern Can’t Sleep”, a brilliant American pop song about a WWI soldier who didn’t sleep for 30 years due to a stray bullet lodged in his brain. Intrigued by the new material, the four friends started doing what they do best – geeking-out in the studio, creating the gleeful and quirky arrangements that they’ve become known for: stomps and hand claps, punchy guitars, glockenspiels, melodicas, flutes, and their signature statement – perfect heart-warming harmonies that Brian Wilson would applaud.

The result is an album that unravels like a soundtrack to an odd documentary film, bringing to life a world of endearing, yet enigmatic characters from long ago. A film where a 19th Century Czech opera star can hob-nob with Al Capone-era Chicago gangsters, while an 8-year old boy from Kansas can fly high above a cornfield after being sucked out of his home by a tornado. A strange world perhaps… but not to worry. The Silent Generation will rile you up, spook you a bit, romance you some, then ease your mind with happy melodies and unique instrumentation that will bring you back home.”

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