I’ve known Jason Spiewak for many years. At one time he was working for TVT Records and then over at Rock Ridge Music as its president. He is also head of Noble Steed music (and JLS Management), which has produced and managed artists such as Gene Harding, Brian Dunn, Sariah, Mele Kalikimaka, Constantine Maroulis, and others. The one thing about Jason that I always know is that whatever he puts his mind to gets put into the visual field of number one, and he continues that with Golden Dimes, a band that he now actually plays in.
Suburban New Jersey has long been a hotbed breeding ground for humbly inspired counter-culture music. There must be something about sitting in traffic on your way to a strip mall that allows for such inspiration to catch and be captured, written, and recorded for posterity.
Golden Dimes is the collaboration of five suburban dads, all lifetime musicians brought together by fate and a mutual love of great food and drink, tasteless jokes, and positive vibes. On their debut EP Uncommon Cents, the band offers six songs carrying messages of unity, self-awareness, and responsibility thoughtfully viewed through the lens of Generation X-ers wishing to do good in the world. The band’s music is contemporary with classic sensibilities, blending keys, guitars, and organic drum sounds with vocal harmony.
It has never been easier for people to connect with one another, and yet, so many of us are lonely, unhappy, disconnected, depressed, and feeling hopelessly lost. Golden Dimes is writing and performing music that is meant to answer that call—bringing people together in a way that is focused on awareness and love, saying “Join us.”
The band is made up of Avi Dimes on drums and vocals, KS Dimes on guitar and vocals, Sonny Dimes on keyboards and vocals, Van Dimes on guitar, and Jo Dimes on bass guitar.
Jason sent me a link to Uncommon Cents, and I thought I would share it with you this week. First up on this six-song EP is a tune called “Ghost Town.”
Blending melody with pristine backing vocals and bridled arrangement, “Ghost Town” hands us a combination of lazy, hazy summertime grooves with the charged attack of bands such as Counting Crows and Jack Johnson. Guitars charge the gate with melodic riffs and licks before singer Avi Dimes comes into the mix. With a vocal command based off of singers like Adam Duritz and even Dave Mathews, Avi Dimes is a magnificent crooner. His spatial approach is perfectly timed, and he doesn’t step on anyone or draw attention to other areas of the band if it doesn’t call for it. I especially love the way he handles his phrasing. Everything clicks as it should, and his vocal presence adds toned brilliance to the overall piece. This isn’t a song that’s rushed or heavy in nature. It languishes at the moment as the band pumps along and makes things happen the old-fashioned way, which is with talent, and less attention devoted to modern day technique. The guitar lead is jazzy and clean as hell, blending the influential likes of Dean Bailin from Rupert Holmes recordings with some early recordings of Jeff “Skunk” Baxter. Bass and drums hold down the end as keyboard work featuring Sonny Dimes blends into the song, giving everything a jazz-tinged twist. The song itself is a fabulous arrangement of parts, blending straight-ahead verses with complex bridges and addictive choruses that will hold the listener for days. What a great starter for a record!
“Alaska” is up next. Acoustic guitars weave complex webs as bass notes stand out in contrast and drums brush us all into the vocals. Keyboards offer lush appendages as Avi Dimes sails into his vocal. Soothing, melodic, and filled with anticipation, Avi Dimes takes the listeners into the band’s universe with style and panache. Once again, his phrasing and charge are what I really love here, as he lays his lyrical journey on us all. Sonny Dimes puts ethereal layers on top of laid-back guitars as bass and drums stretch wide open. Backing vocals are also crucial here as they literally melt into the mix. If you are a fan of easy listening rock, this is definitely going to be your cup of tea. It’s not typical, easy listening shit because it has soul and passion, illustrating the song’s heartfelt, original concept and style. I love it!
“Paper Skin” is next and it’s another winner. Acoustic guitars bounce as bass and drums pump rhythmic and percussive delight behind them. If you dig Gordon Lightfoot, then this is your thing. I’m actually surprised I left that out initially, as Golden Dimes definitely has that Lightfoot vibe. Pianos lend a Charlie Rich lilt as the rest of the band cooks behind Avi. Harmonies are outstanding here as well. The chorus is fantastic and should be one of the reasons this band gets the notice they deserve. Avi is sound in his emotional context, and the group backs him all the way. Another outstanding tune!
Moving around the disc, I came to a song called “Calling Out.” Acoustic guitars once again chime bright as percussion takes a back seat and Avi sings his heart out. The lyrical content is deep and spiritual. Avi once again shares space with the guitar work of Van Dimes, who plays like a flowing brook. Copious amounts of complex chords and intricate riffs swirl under the vocal from Avi, as the rest of the band holds fast to the theme. Backing harmonies also come back into play and lend an exotic flair to the overall piece. Van and Sonny blend tight and interlocked phrasing as Avi comes back in with the chorus.
Uncommon Cents was recorded in the Fall of 2018 at Restoration Sound Studio in Brooklyn, NY, and was produced by Jason Spiewak (Benjy Davis Project, Pat McGee, Ernie Halter, Chris Volz) and Lorenzo Wolff (Edie Brickell, Steve Forbert, Steve Earle, Randy Newman). The EP was mixed by Nate and Dan Monea of Hey Monea fame at Little C Studios in Canton, OH, and then mastered by Cass Anawaty at Sunbreak Music in Scottsdale, AZ.
I enjoyed this entire set of songs. Though Golden Dimes may be a new band, trust me when I say that you will be hearing a lot more about them soon.