Shy Girls, the project of Portland's Dan Vidmar, has been on our radar for over three years, and his debut album is out now. Rather than rushing out an album after the success of dreamy, hazy R&B tracks like "Under Attack" and "Second Heartbeat," Salt gives the impression that Vidmar has taken the time to sharpen his songwriting and become more confident in his own vocals.

Singles "Trivial Motion" and "Say You Will" are bold statements of pop intent, the former a slinky electronic-R&B jam and the latter an urgent call to a lover. This variety, both in the way Vidmar sings and in the production, continues throughout the album, meaning you never know whether to expect layers of jagged guitar and bold strings or bare-bones percussion and soothing keys. Throughout it all however, Salt retains its intimacy and personality—each one of the nine songs will become someone's personal favorite, with lyrics memorized and melodies hummed over and over. 

The music is excellent, but Shy Girls pays attention to the whole product with the incredible album artwork (above). Not just a memorable image, the artwork has meaning behind it too, and Vidmar told us the following by email. "A giant block of ice sits on a concrete floor, its molecules melting and evaporating as tiny deaths. Over time the rate of death accelerates and the hydrogen bonds disintegrate with a  rhythmic pulse. In this exact moment it would be easy to see equilibrium in the system. We cannot, in this moment, see the tiny, tiny deaths and so the cube appears in stasis. But it is not in stasis. It is moving away from itself and someday it will move so fast that it will completely tear apart."

Salt is out now via Hit City U.S.A., and you can stream it now via Spotify. Read further explanation of the project from Dan Vidmar below, too.


Shy Girls' Dan Vidmar on Salt:

In my short life I have experienced thousands of tiny deaths. They accumulate. And as matters transition rather quickly to memory, I push back. I ache. Not right away, though, but as time rips me away from the scent and away from context and away from those who share the memory. That’s when I throw salt on the wound by reminding myself of the finality of death and by stupidly replaying the memory over and over and over again for people who will never experience it. I fantasize about having spent my entire life alongside the same person or people so that each of my tiny deaths became our tiny deaths and then I am never alone.

A giant block of ice sits on a concrete floor, its molecules melting and evaporating as tiny deaths. Over time the rate of death accelerates and the hydrogen bonds disintegrate with a rhythmic pulse. In this exact moment it would be easy to see equilibrium in the system. We cannot, in this moment, see the tiny, tiny deaths and so the cube appears in stasis. But it is not in stasis. It is moving away from itself and someday it will move so fast that it will completely tear apart.

It continues to occur to me that if there are all these tiny deaths, there must also be tiny births. And in moments of conception, death leaves the mind. I am aware that time erodes me, like salt on ice. But absurdly, I choose to love and laugh and dream and birth, this time with others so that they are our births and we are never alone.

shy-girls
Image via Shy Girls/Credit: Jaclyn Campanaro