People Skills - Former January Ending Through 52 Weeks LP (Sophomore Lounge, 2020)
“Sophomore Lounge gifts us a vinyl reissue of People Skills, Former January Ending Through 52 Weeks, which was quietly released by Saga House in 2016. Inzane Johnny called it “the best tape of 2016, hunting them down is akin to finding an application to an avant ballet on the rings of Saturn”.
People Skills is the recording project of Jesse Dewlow and he’s been recording under the moniker in Philly for almost 13 years now. There’s been a few cassettes and lp’s on Siltbreeze and Blackest Ever Black. People Skills is a great name and frankly when you hear the music you immediately assume whomever made it has none. There is just something so Philly about Jesse’s music. Read about this music you’ll find a lot of people making bold comparisons to mad degrees across the globe, but I’ll save you the finger work. I run it up me dome lit in a lineage so very local: the early woobled Wollensack-era US Girls, those absolutely blunted early Social Junk cassettes, melted Kurt Vile demos in Wharton Esherick’s basement style and you’re getting close. Remember for me, Philly is an exotic local. The eastern seaboard should be so lucky to have that as backyard.
The inner logic here in People Skills, beyond a cloud of ambiguity, is a remarkable balance between the shattered plaster electronics and Jesse’s melodious chording. The blunted ass casio beats and the haunted lonerman vox riding tremble alongside make it perfect. The encased-in dust-for-a-few-winters production value is just gravy. We got a glut of lonerism on tape we do... but none of it is really so expertly and woozily executed as it is here on People Skills, Former January Ending Through 52 Weeks. So thanks to Jesse for the sore-audio vision and thanks to Ryan at Sophomore Lounge for putting it out, with care, on wax.” -Alex Moskos
“The world seems to be catching up to the music of People Skills, as this is the sound of guitar pop under a global quarantine: hopeless and defeated. Former January Ending Through 52 Weeks was first issued as a cassette back in 2016, but Sophomore Lounge wisely granted it a slick vinyl upgrade; whereas a number of People Skills releases have been dropping lately, this is a standout in the pack. This is People Skills mostly in “song” form, but understand that I’m using that term as loosely as the plot of a dream. Slow guitars strum over makeshift rhythmic noises, keyboard murk and undiscernibly affected vocals…Other moments recall the most isolated New Zealand DIY solo projects, although People Skills has his own particular technique, often utilizing what sounds like disconnected rotary lines for rhythm (or rhythmic disruption), or playing piano on what must surely be the furthest little island somewhere off Nova Scotia, after midnight, without cell service.” – Matt Korvette (Yellow Green Red)