Compact disc in a 4-panel Digipak, featuring beautiful artwork hand-drawn by Trystan Mitchell. This album was carefully duplicated, printed, and assembled with love at Swoon Records in Tacoma, WA, USA.
Includes unlimited streaming of Awake or a Dream
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Streaming + Download
Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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.
-Rev Adam McKinney
released August 3, 2013
All songs written by J. Martin Recorded February - June 2013 in Tacoma, WA
Produced by Jacob Gosselin and Brandon Sagnella
Mixed & mastered by Jeff Southard at Swoon Records
Artwork by Trystan Mitchell
Justin Martin: Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar on "What Makes A Melody," Beatboxing
Jacob Gosselin - Drums, Bass
Brandon Sagnella - Electric Guitar, Keyboard, Beatboxing, Vocals, Bass
Sam Franklin - Percussion on "Misery Loves Company"