New York act Peel Dream Magazine, the project spearheaded by Joseph Stephens, will release a new album called Pad on October 7 through Slumberland / Tough Love. It finds Stephens eschewing the shoegaze overtones of his previous work and using cleaner sounds to tell a bed time story about being kicked out of the band by his bandmates.
As an introduction to the album, he’s shared the title track, which immediately turns the tables on sonic expectations. A churning organ remains intact, but atop it is plenty of space, where Stephens’ sighing and cartoonish vocal can really shine. His whimsical delivery suggests someone sad and self-involved, but not getting too down about his loneliness – “I can’t even tell if I miss my life”. All the while, little flourishes of melody, hand claps and tinkling atmospherics suggest a rosy world shining all around his self-involved bubble. “Pad” is an odd track, but it certainly has us hooked.
“Pad” also has a video, with Stephens saying: “We filmed this video in Bed-Stuy at the home of a director friend Ryan McGlade, on a day off from the Soccer Mommy tour in New York this past March. That apartment is supposed to be my pad. In the story of the record, I’m just stuck there, having been kicked out of Peel Dream Magazine. I wanted to frame it as a fairytale, where everyone gets to meet this aggrieved character, and read excerpts from the actual story about how I arrived at this place. It’s just a beginning, though. The song is one of my favorites from the new record, it’s just got a really unusual feel to it for me, and I think some folks might find it surprising.”
Watch the video for “Pad” below or find the song on streaming platforms.