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The Silent Generation

The Dimes

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Album Review

The Dimes started a buzz with a bright, poppy 2006 EP that featured a "hit" single, "Catch Me Jumping," the story of a friend who enlisted in the navy, went a bit crazy, and jumped off of his ship in the Persian Gulf. The tune has a bright, bouncy beat, driving acoustic/electric guitars, a slightly surrealistic lyric, and the bright, breezy vocals of guitarist, songwriter, and bandleader Johnny Clay. The band's restrained performance puts the band's sound halfway between folk-rock and pure pop, while Clay's vocals are simply stunning. Just before they started recording their debut, second guitarist Pierre Johnson discovered a stash of Depression era newspapers hidden beneath the floorboards of his Portland, OR house. Clay began reading the old papers, then writing songs about the colorful stories he discovered. The songs he produced maintain the band's folk/pop feel. Even when the subject matter is grim — the St. Valentine's Day Massacre, the hard times families faced in the Great Depression — Clay brings a ray of sunshine to the tale with his upbeat melodies and optimistic singing. "The Jersey Kid" gives us the brief outline of a murder trial that ends with a death sentence. Crisp acoustic guitars, a bright wordless chorus, and the playful rhythm of flamenco handclaps give the tune an upifting feel, despite the grim subject matter. "New York, 1930" tells the story of a pro-Sacco-Vanzetti demonstration that became a vicious riot. Clay sings "The Reds are rioting in Times Square..," to the strum of an acoustic guitar, a chorus of angelic overdubbed harmonies, and what sounds like a Baroque recorder tooting in the background. It's another beautiful, surrealistic moment. "Letters in the Sea" is a song about a box of 300 letters that washed up on the Jersey shore. Clay wonders about the effect the undelivered letters had upon those who never got them. His poignant vocal and the band's quiet modern rock arrangement — think of a brighter, lighter New Order — give the song an aura of ambiguous mystery. While the songs provide snapshots of a bygone America — an obituary of Emmy Destinn, the top opera star of her day; the tale of a man who survives a bullet to the head only to find that he can't sleep, and stays awake for the rest of his life — the Dimes' soft rock delivery is completely modern, investing the tales with the humanitarian romance of a Frank Capra movie. The Dimes have done what most bands dream of, creating an alternate universe of warm pop music with a sunny vibe that'll keep toes tapping and plaster a sunny smile on every listener's face. ~ j. poet, Rovi

Customer Reviews

Cool and fun to listen to

I read that the inspiration for this album came from preserved depression-era newspapers found under the floorboards in bassist Pierre Kaiser's Portland home. Pretty cool. Every song has a story behind it. This is a truly interesting and entertaining album.

Refreshingly Incredible

Indie pop/rock/folk that is exactly what you have been missing in recent music. Music with soul, emotion, fun, enjoyment, and pleasure. Brings back the feelings the first time I listened to Simon and Garfunkel, CSN(&Y), The Beatles, Hot House Flowers, U2, and Coldplay. Fuse those all together into some extremely talented musicians that have fun playing together and you get pure, enjoyable, listening pleasure... You get The Dimes. The Dimes shoot it straight from the heart, soul, and mind. The entire album is worth owning. Most of the songs are inspired by history and convey a story and are very enjoyable. I have only been a fan for a short time and I can't stop listening to them and I am seriously looking forward to the next album.


This album is one of the best i've ever heard!!! I've been t 2 of their concerts, and they rocked!!! This band is awesome!!! I Think that the best song by far is "letters in the sea." The album is worth it!!!


Genre: Pop

Years Active: '00s

Indie pop quartet the Dimes was formed in Portland, OR, after singer/songwriter/guitarist Johnny Clay met the other members, guitarist Pierre Kaiser, bassist Ryan Johnston, and drummer Jake Rahner, in 2002. While performing extensively in their local area, the Dimes self-released a six-song self-titled debut EP in 2003, followed by another, Atlanta, in 2005. They next released four-song EP The Long Arm Came Down on January 15, 2007. Their first full-length CD, The Silent Generation, had songs based...
Full Bio