Dimestore Scenario

Dimestore Scenario

BandRockAlternative

From upbeat rock anthems to melancholy soundscapes, Dimestore's songs are full of longing --bursting with feeling almost to the breaking point-- but reigned in by stylish indie-pop sensibilities, gritty resolve, and a sense of urgency about the unreal, unraveling world and its realities.

Biography

New York City-indie rock bands are a dime a dozen – so what so what separates the girl/ boy trio Dimestore Scenario from the cacophony of other bands swirling around them?
To start: a wacky mix of influences (from Mazzy Star to Slayer to The Smiths), unexpected backgrounds (Ivy League New England + mean streets of Jersey + a lost childhood in Brazil), catchy yet unpredictable songs, a brand new sound that feels instantly nostalgic, lyrics that really mean something, and a lot of heart.

Dimestore’s latest round of songs are influenced by the end of the earth feel where they practice and record, in a studio steps from the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn. It’s not uncommon for artists to find inspiration in abandoned places; they’re not empty like the cornfields of Iowa or the backwoods of New Hampshire. They’re empty in a different way – colonized by ghosts. On the newly released “The Gowanus Sessions” you can hear the ghosts – the former millworkers, dockworkers, sea merchants, and by contrast, the weight of their absence.

Their album begins with a soulful voice sliding over retro guitars, singing to an unknown listener Laila about “the saddest day.” One never finds out who Laila is, or how she is doomed, but in the carnivalesque bridge when Federman belts out “We’ve got guitars to play, highways to ride and lots of room” part of you can’t help but wish the bridge had been the song’s hook – hopeful and rousing. Instead it’s played only once and the song moves on into the equally alluring, if heartbreaking, refrain. Contenders, a tribute to the band’s first guitarist Joe Nagraj who passed away less than a year before the band began recording, is the most straightforward in terms of meaning, but even here, as in many Dimestore songs, one feels the greatest groundswell of unlimited possibility at the moment of final, true insight into its limits.

For lack of a better description they may be indie-rock, yet they’re not out to break boundaries and instead amiably comply with many traditional pop sensibilities: catchy choruses, memorable guitar hooks, straightforward instrumentation. Even still, they have a way of defying expectation. Just when you think the quiet and restrained final song A Million Times at Least is winding down into a kind of vesper-like outro, the band kicks in with a grand and sweeping instrumental, triumphant guitars replacing the achingly repentant final lines.

Like the history of rock music it can’t help but reflect, Dimestore’s latest music is full of contradictions. Love and hate for the same person, feelings that seem epic but days and nights that race ahead and get lost, defiance and resignation, exhaustion and exhilaration, failure on the brink of what seemed like a breakthrough, and, one time in a billion, the other way around. People, like neighborhoods, that change, and the specters and spectators that may resist that change. Throughout -- a persistent sense of loss but also one of hope. Fitting for songs written by a polluted canal, a canal that leads out to a majestic river, one that leads into the ocean.

What is Dimestore Scenario really? In March of 1996, seven girls (all 19 years of age) gathered around an old beat-up dorm lounge piano and began to chant “See you boys later,” while one of them banged out chords underneath the layered wailings and harmonious variations of the line. The piano player was just days away from leaving for a semester in France and the impending absence set against the snowy campus took on an immense and beautiful sadness as it would mark the groups’ first time apart. Midway through a 20-minute rendition of the song, one girl ran to get the hand-held tape recorder she used for listening to Italian drills, and the impromptu session was recorded. In those final, melancholy days other gatherings occurred, other songs were written – Blue Light Special, The Underwear Song – all on the spot, improve theater with melodies.

Six months later when the girls reconvened, they posted signs on campus– laughing as they did so – “Band seeks guitarist, bassist, drummer” which astoundingly drew attention from talented musicians who backed up the “seven screaming girls” for the next two years. They went by the name You with the Face, put on raucous shows, gained a fair amount of attention on the little New England campus and won second place in a Talent Contest – a Lemon Pie from the local bakery.

Cut to post-graduation, New York, three members find each other among the new and sudden chaos of their lives. They learn to play instruments for real, steal part of a line from a You with the Face song for their name, and launch Dimestore Scenario. They start by playing in their friends’ basement and move on to Luna Lounge, Brownies, the Cooler and other, mostly-East side, joints. The sound morphs from folk/psychedelic to indie-pop to full out indie-rock, the line-up changes, romances are sparked and friendships are strained, the brilliant

Lyrics

The Curse of Bayonne

Written By: Rachel Federman

Hear the sound of the Brooklyn Swingers sing from a broken land.
In desolation we reconcile.
They tell us not to play too loud but we play too loud.

I can’t believe you haven’t given up, I can’t believe you.

If you found something you could count on I’d be ruined.

You live not far from where we say we are sending post cards when we could walk there in one night.

It used to matter but now it doesn’t matter. I’d try to give up if I still had the will to fight.

I can’t believe you haven’t given up, I can’t believe you dream of escape, and we followed you to stormy fates where prophets were untrue.

If you found something you could count on I’d be ruined.
If you found direction without getting wrecked by this slow dissolution then I’d be ruined.

47 Reasons Why

Written By: Rachel Federman

Jimmy’s wired tonight, jacked-up and inspired tonight,
So far beyond tired tonight he’ll try anything.
So let’s give it one more try to name the 47 reasons why,
You never said goodbye, you know you never said goodbye

You walk the same tonight, will you leave without a fight?
We walk the same we talk the same we look the same we are the same tonight.

Where is the soulful frog? You know he’s getting waterlogged,
Amphetamines and fog held up to the light.
These things we cannot find, one night stand bands we left behind,
Let’s give it one more try you know you never said goodbye.

Jimmy’s wired tonight, jacked-up and inspired tonight,
So far beyond tired tonight he’ll try anything.

Atlas

Written By: Rachel Federman

Eventually I’ll stop saying atlas dropped the world and cried mythic.

I want to survey the damage, I want to live in the broken land, I want to see what it's made of, I want to see if I can take it.

Sometimes I find pieces in the morning and I carry them around with me all day.
When I get home I write your name, and send them to the Palisades.

I came willingly to a city where stars don't exist but I remember Orion, the big dipper and Pegasus and

each time I watch the exodus I think that if I followed it I might catch up to what I left behind.
Indulge instead my regret for words I saved in ones and zeros. They won't stay so from now on I'll give them away.

Did you drop the world? Did you cry mythic in your sleep?
Did you drop the world? Did you cry mythic in your sleep?

I told you not to fall asleep, I told you we should stay awake, I said it's breaking.

Discography

Moon Rocks (2001)
Any day we could all just fall apart (2002)
Gowanus Sessions (2007)
The End of May (2007)

Set List

8-10 original songs, 35-40 minutes. 1) Ready to Rock 2) Invisible Light 3) The Curse of Bayonne 4) Woonsocket 5) Laila 6) 47 Reasons Why 7) Return to Guatemala 8) Day of Atonement 9) Descent 10) A million times at least