While guitar magazines are generally better reading up on artists you already know than discovery, I must thank the UK’s Guitar Magazine for introducing me to New Jersey’s Long Beard via a feature last year that declared Leslie Bear “dream pop’s rising star,” so obviously I had to investigate.
The record Guitar was enthusing about was Long Beard’s second – Means To Me – released in September 2019. And while the “dream pop” adjective is appropriate, anyone looking for Cocteaus-esque shimmer might be disappointed. Instead, Long Beard wraps Bear’s clear, personal songwriting in reverberant atmosphere and woozy guitars that enhance the emotional quotient of the songs rather than overwhelm them; the only official video from the record for “Getting By” is an excellent showcase of how well that aesthetic suits Bear’s voice and words.
Oh, and as it turns out I didn’t entirely need the introduction by the press – I had seen her playing bass for Japanese Breakfast in May 2017 at the Danforth opening for Slowdive.
IMPOSE and SPIN had interviews with Bear circa her 2015 debut, Sleepwalker.
Long Beard: Assertive and Quietly Introspective Singer-Songwriter @ SPIN
In addition to the Guitar article mentioned above, The Fader and UPROXX leaned into the “dreamy” apellation in their features:
Meet Long Beard, dream pop’s rising star who explores nostalgia on new album Means To Me @ The Guitar Magazine
Long Beard makes dreamy indie rock that embraces our insecurities @ The Fader
Long Beard Unpacks The Long Wait Behind Her Aching, Dreamy New Album, ‘Means To Me’ @ UPROXX