J DiMenna

J DiMenna

BandAlternativeRock

"airy, wafting melodies; mellow hooks; discreetly adventuresome guitar - David Gilmour meets Jeff Buckley" --Harp Magazine

Biography

J. DiMenna may be a singer who writes songs, but don't be quick to write him off as another 'singer-songwriter.' In fact, the 13 expansive tracks on his debut Awkward Buildings have next to nothing in common with the guy with an acoustic guitar at your local coffee shop. Instead, these tracks establish DiMenna as a talented musician who has an uncanny ability to recontextualize his influences - which range from folk artists like Nick Drake to Belgian Sinti jazz guitarists like Django Reinhardt - into a unique amalgam that's simultaneously vaguely familiar and difficult to place.

Recorded and mixed over the past year-and-a-half in Asheville, North Carolina, and Brooklyn, New York, and featuring musical collaborations from a host of co-conspirators (including a Theremin cameo from the late Bob Moog), Awkward Buildings is a difficult album to categorize. The opener 'Prayer Flag' is a driving 4/4 rock song with a solid backbeat and a vocal hook that ought to be illegal; 'Peas In A Pod' is a heartfelt confessional track that displays DiMenna's impressive finger-style technique and graceful tenor; and the shimmering 'Preacher' features jangly pianos and orchestral flourishes that bring out the subtle intricacies in DiMenna's writing.

'I like to cross over into a bunch of different places,' DiMenna replies when asked if he feels a kinship with any specific scene. 'People have called my music chamber-pop, art-pop and indie folk-rock and I can't really say any of those are wrong,' he continues. 'In some ways I almost feel like a composer in addition to a songwriter because I do all the arranging for the parts, even though I can't communicate that type of stuff with traditional notation,' he adds. A listen to the haunting ragtime number 'Raggedy Ann' not only confirms this statement; it will also send shivers down your spine.

Lyrically, Awkward Buildings centers on both the hypocrisy of organized religion and, moreover, the core facts that simply make us human. 'There aren't really any traditional love songs on the album,' DiMenna explains, carefully sidestepping another traditional singer-songwriter cliche. 'The songs are more inquiries of humanity and those types of things; flawed relationships, whether it's romantic or familial those types of dilemmas exist on every level.'

However, despite the heady nature of his lyricism, DiMenna is careful not to be too heavy-handed or pretentious when it comes to his music - after all, the main goal of the Awkward Buildings is to make a tangible connection with the listener. In fact, most people who have heard the record seem to discover at least one song that they can endlessly listen to on repeat - and for this writer, it was the stripped-down title track, 'Awkward Buildings.' 'It's funny, that's the most simple song on the record,' DiMenna responds, 'but somehow it sums everything up in a way that people seem to be able to universally relate to.'

Chances are you'll have a similar experience listening to Awkward Buildings. It may not be during the same song - or it may simply be a quick turn of phrase or musical moment - but we guarantee there'll be something on the album you'll be able to unconditionally identity with.

After all, we're all only human.

Lyrics

Better Walk Down

Written By: J DiMenna

BETTER WALK DOWN


"I'm too young to die", morphine do you think i'll pass right through?
Leave my folks to batter their love in two
I ain't got a home, headin’ for that stone..


Better walk down through wind that's blowin’ gold in your hair
Better walk down through throngs of orphaned eyes at the fair
Better walk down this nightmare in style


I ended that boy's life in the fairground was the Last Supper for him
His eyes lost the light in the lamp grew dim
Now i'm lyin' on this bed, full of fuckin' dread..


Better walk down through wind that's blowin gold in your hair
Better walk down through throngs of orphaned eyes at the fair
Better walk down this nightmare in style

Prayer Flag

Written By: J DiMenna

You invent all the new ways to keep us duped of the truth
Cursing all of the heathens steeped in the sayin’ of sooth
Endorsing versions of love that suit your intent to act as though above
Devising this labyrinth with words you've blindly bent
Your aim to breed the fear, no way this storm will clear

Waving your old prayer flag
Stamping your tag on the moon
Sing your God songs blessing the well heeled
Smart dressed killer disguise
Feeding lies in your ordained silver spoon

Front, Back light has it's darkness and we have your vows to deceive
Pledging your whole existence to force all around to believe
Endorsing versions of love that suit your intent to act as though above
Devising this labyrinth with words you've blindly bent
Your aim to breed the fear, no way this storm will clear

Waving your old Prayer Flag
Stamping your tag on the moon
Sing your God Songs blessing the well heeled
Smart dressed killer disguise
Feeding lies in your ordained silver spoon


Why play this game to fuse the walker of love with your clear intent to kill?
Why play this game to fuse the walker of love with your clear intent to kill?
Why play this game to fuse the walker of love with your clear intent to kill?

White robed armies of soldiers march to the beat of your drum
Wearing the tool of torture strung round their necks till they’re hung
Endorsing versions of love that suit your intent to act as though above
Devising this labyrinth with words you've blindly bent
Your aim to breed the fear, no way this storm will clear

Drowning in the pages of old leather bound ways wrinkled in rhyme
There is no boat to stay afloat when you are sinking in a sea for all of your time

Comfort

Written By: J. DiMenna

A widow heard the bells
The tracks of broken shells
The coal heaved darker than ash and dried blood

He left her in the rain
A brakeman on a train
And all that should remain lost in some flood

She wanted Comfort it gave them Comfort
She wanted Comfort it gave them Comfort..

It was a world so bleak
Such hell in one work week
And still they grind away at their life game

And he had been a friend
Who worked until his end
And faded from this world fingered out flame

She wanted Comfort it gave them Comfort
She wanted Comfort it gave them Comfort...

Discography

Awkward Buildings
release date - October 3rd, 2006

If He Could Speak Now
release date - April 3, 2007

Set List

for when we fall
raggeddy ann
dirty book
peas in a pod
getting all you want
comfort
given what we know
chopin
awkward buildings
to meet you
preacher
better walk down
prayer flag

new unreleased songs
bright black case
still a fish
girlfriends
below the belt
doomsday