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STEREO EMBERS VIDEO PREMIERE – “Dream Slow” Off of Upcoming ‘Here & There’ Album From the black watch

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As certified lovers of supremely well-crafted pop songs and unexpurgated dictionaries, that we here at SEM would develop an abiding fondness for the work of John Andrew Fredrick, dba as the devotedly lowercase band the black watch, is a foregone – and glaringly obvious – conclusion. Weaving rich and nimble pop tropes like some kind of (lowercase) god that can create breathtaking tapestries while blindfolded, the work of JAF (as we shorthand him around here) is a force of Beatlesque nature that infiltrates both heart and mind simultaneously with an almost profligate ease and thus finds a very welcoming embrace here at SEM Central. However, even though, unlike most sustained relationships, ours has been quite pacific (no pun intended as regards Mr Fredrick residing near the Southern California oceanside all his adult life or at least we don’t think there was) there is one notable exception: the black watch’s unwavering, damn near punishing prolificacy. It’s an issue that comes up quite often as it has no choice since seemingly every new album – Here & There will be the band’s twentieth – arrives with the shadow of the next one already looming up behind it. Now, while this ‘challenge of abundance’ would almost certainly doom lesser artists, it’s a point of nonchalant, it-is-what-it-is pride with JAF. It isn’t the goal, it’s just the songs keep rolling of the guy’s psyche like it’s not just a brain we’re dealing with here but a conveyer belt of pith and melody as well and what else is there to do with all those songs but release them into the wild. And so here we are with the next bunch on the brink and lo and behold and no surprise, it’s another adroit doozy of irrepressible songcraft, another ten tracks of the pop impeccable. As before, when listening to Here & There (released November 19th on Atom Records), there’s that wonderful and not a little eerie sensation where whatever’s come before falls into silence in the face the new.

Whether it be the title track with its skein of strings seducing your heart into the autumnal, the astute garage chug of “another for C” which is more or less the pop version of The Metamorphosis but instead of Gregor waking up as a giant insect it’s GBV rolling ineluctably into TBW right before your ears, “days when the rain” that may possibly be the best song Fredrick’s ever written or any of the other seven tracks that make up the latest gently pulsing gem, the hooks and impermeable melodies throughout make one realize that when a record is called ‘timeless’ it doesn’t simply mean that, as an artifact, it’s not likely to age but as well the simple fact that, while listening to it, Old Man Time himself just steps to the side and decides to not go by, so entranced is he. So, though we’re here today to premiere the video for Here & There‘s second single “Dream Slow,” directed by the estimable CK Sumner (known for their work with Throwing Muses and the Bevis Frond among others) and as fine a slice of wistfully orchestral pop as we’ve heard this year or last and likely next – as with so many black watch songs, we find ourselves being whisked away to our own romantic enclaves from the past, faded waves of yearning revisiting for the first time in years – we can’t help but take the opportunity to alert you to the album entire. Why? Well, why else? Because it’s all as good as what you hear here, to which we can’t help but say – because we’re not half-clever bastards that can’t resist an obvious ending – “Hear here!!”