Sorry for the lateness of today’s post, but it might be Wednesday somewhere so on today’s post about new music on a Wednesday, I’ll be talking about J. Martin (You can find his music here, and follow him on twitter here). Here’s a bio on him!
Formed in 2009, the Tacoma group Oh Dear! has enjoyed local success due to their sharp, incisive songwriting and driving indie pop melodies, which drew comparisons to bands like Pedro the Lion, Bright Eyes, and Minus the Bear. As guitarist for Oh Dear!, J. Martin has had years to hone his stagecraft, and his debut EP shows the fruits of his efforts.
Awake or a Dream finds J. Martin exploring his folk-rockier side, his voice delicate and clear riding over a sturdy bed of rippling drum patter and winsomely strummed guitar. “Everything” opens the album on a melancholy note, instantly reflecting the sort of diary-entry style of songwriting that defined Oh Dear!.
The momentum of “Misery Loves Company” and the bouncy “Concrete Designs” help the album not sink into deeper sadness, buoying the album with bright instrumentation.
It’s on “What Makes a Melody” that Awake or a Dream takes a turn, diverging into melodramatic Radiohead-esque territory. From then on, J. Martin seems intent on exploring and experimenting with his sound, journeying into areas of gentle psychedelia. Album closer “Don’t You” is the most explicitly experimental, swallowing J. Martin up in a wash of reverb and echo, growing deeper and swirling faster as it marches off into the distance.
It’s a compelling moment for J. Martin—and if Awake or a Dream is as much a transitional album as it seems, then this moment may help to telegraph the direction in which J. Martin may continue in the future. At this point, the sky’s the limit.
I asked him to answer two questions for me, since I could, and here are the questions and his responses:
Me: What does music mean to you?
J: Music means a lot me. It allows me to express myself, travel the world and make new friends. It’s full of endless possibilities and I’m constantly studying to grow as a musician. Music is powerful. It can bring me up when I’m sad or bring me down depending on the music. The best songs evoke emotion.
Me: What do you want other people to take away from your music?
J: I hope people interpret the song lyrics and meaning in their own way and take something away from that. My songs are open to interpretation and I’ve always liked the idea of that. Hopefully it moves, inspires and makes people feel something. In the very least, I hope it makes people dance.
The reason I chose to profile J this week is because his music is fantastic, and when we first started talking, he was so nice and approachable- we ended up liking similar music styles and he truly is an inspiration to me now! He has a show Thursday, December 4th at the El Mocambo in downtown Toronto, and if you can make it, you should go! I’ll be there, it starts at 8 pm, and tickets are $7! Could you ask for more?