Growing up in the middle of nowhere, you can wind up spending a whole lot of time in your imagination. Maybe it can skew positively, like all the open nothingness around you translates to endless possibilities. Perhaps likelier, though, is that numb boredom, the feeling of looking around and seeing only dead ends and lack of progress and needing to conjure up more vibrant worlds to escape into. Jules Hale started Den-Mate in her bedroom in rural Virginia, and fittingly enough the music she makes under the moniker comes from that latter tradition, leaning on the aesthetic of dream-pop to render interior emotions in giant, widescreen compositions bursting with color.
Last year, Hale released an EP called Entropii, and today she’s announced her follow-up, Den-Mate’s official debut full-length Loceke. Positioned as an album built on cycles of “death and rebirth,” many of Loceke’s songs emerge from past darkness in search of their end destinations, climaxes driven by Hale’s otherworldly melodies and fireworks of gleaming guitars. Along with the announcement, Den-Mate has shared the album’s lead single, “Sick.” It’s a good representation of the collection as a whole, a song that scrapes the sky with a giant chorus. It’s also a little reminiscent of Japanese Breakfast stylistically, which certainly puts Den-Mate in good company.
Here’s what Hale had to say about the track:
“Sick” is a song that is really defined by how you interpret it. It could be looked at as a big love song, but I personally see it more as a self-love song through making difficult decisions. When you’re upset and you lose sight of yourself, it isn’t a pleasant experience but there’s a sense of relief once you get something off your chest and express yourself earnestly. It’s self-love through a hurdle of a harrowing experience.
“Sick” also comes with a video courtesy of Robin Groulx and Eli Sinkus. It follows a man as he takes a bath, mulls over childhood memories, and then dresses up to perform a drag webcam show. Check it out below.
06 “DC Junkie”
10 “Still Life”
Loceke is out 9/28 via Babe City Records. Pre-order it here. Den-Mate has a show in Brooklyn on 7/25, at Elsewhere’s rooftop.