James McAlister (Taylor Swift) and Noah Dickie (Coastwest Unrest) announce new indie rock project The Tell; anthemic debut single “Clap Clap” out today

April 16, 2021 – Indie singer-songwriter Noah Dickie of Las Vegas duo Coastwest Unrest and LA-based composer, producer, and multi-instrumentalist James McAlister who’s worked with everyone from Sufjan Stevens and The National to Taylor Swift, have joined creative forces to create a new project defined as The Tell. They debut their captivating first single “Clap Clap” today on Reclaim Records, a timely indie-rock anthem that reflects the ranging emotions felt by so many over this last year.
There’s a story being told
Do you want to be part of it?
There’s a story being sold
Do you want to be part of it?
So appropriate, so appropriate
Clap clap in the halls
We can feel it through the walls
“Clap Clap” was created specifically by Noah and James to curate a shifting, sonic world of metaphysics and magic that becomes increasingly urgent as it goes along. The lyrics start with a question and ignite a rhythmic journey for the listener. The two hope that the song will break through peoples’ insular cocoons to ultimately bring everyone closer together. Even though many people are still separated and at home in quarantine, they can all connect through music. The Tell strategically used the Zen sound of one hand clap-clapping throughout the new song to evoke music’s power to heal and transport audiences to new places.
Noah shares, “It’s hard to describe…but after writing ‘Clap Clap’, especially lyrically, it felt like such a release. Something being let go of… There’s this feel like the song is in full-blown chaos…a darkness…pandemic, George Floyd, a rioting country, political and social upheaval. Describing these things, not in a generic way, but with a personal story to coincide with this underlying buzz of turmoil. Musically, James and I created this tension in the song’s verses and pre-chorus with the release coming in the chorus…’There’s a way through the trap but we can never go back’… Only by letting go (‘going through the trap’) can we move on.”
The Tell is a long overdue venture for Noah and James, who have been friends for quite some time but have been working on various projects throughout the ages. Originally starting on this collection of tracks in 2018, 2021 seemed prime to complete the record together and share it with the world. Noah brought the songs and the collaboration bloomed from there. They recorded a majority of the forthcoming album, due out later this year, by themselves between their respective home studios – Noah in Henderson, NV and James in Eagle Rock, CA, adding producer Luke Vander Pol for two tracks on the record via his home studio in Burbank, CA.
Noah and James decided to name themselves The Tell as a double entendre, that includes the behavior of a poker player (the antithesis of a poker face) and the sonic narrative of their musical work, an aural journey from borderline despair to well-being, using music – and its creation — to try to heal psychic and physical wounds. The music combines Dickie’s narrative songcraft and folk roots with McAlister’s sprawling, buzzing soundscapes, wrapping the former in a fully realized interior world that inadvertently reflects the pandemic everyone has had to face over the past year.
“Clap Clap” is the first hint towards a string of releases to come from The Tell in the coming months; a refreshing take on the modern world, with the ability to bring new energy and thoughtfulness to trying times, in search of a better tomorrow. James and Noah are already established innovative forces as individual artists, but as The Tell, have reached new creative heights in their artistic partnership. Stay tuned for more music and updates by connecting with them on Instagram and Facebook as @TheTellMusic.
Noah Dickie formed Coastwest Unrest in 2009 with his older brother Josh on drums, releasing a series of indie albums on their own Reclaim Records label, the last, The Crazed Ones, in 2017, juxtaposing the desolate sands of the desert with the neon glitz of the Sin City strip to create an uneasy balance between roots Americana and stripped-down punk-folk. James McAlister, the touring drummer for The National and a much sought-after programmer, worked with that band’s Aaron Dessner (most notably on Taylor Swift’s last two critically-acclaimed albums) and Sufjan Stevens, while currently releasing an album as a solo artist on Bon Iver principal Justin Vernon and Dessner’s prestigious 37d03d label. Among his recent accomplishments are contributing to the soundtracks for Oscar nominees The Big Sick, The Two Popes and Call Me by Your Name, and his 2017 collaboration with Stevens, Nico Muhly, and Bryce Dessner entitled Planetarium released by 4AD.
With its multi-layered themes, The Tell’s new music evokes the awe of the human condition and a shift in perspective to appreciate the beauty and magnitude of this world and our place in it. Consider it the perfect antidote for these times, as we stumble out of the darkness into the light at the end of a long tunnel. The Tell celebrates the beauty and magic of the creative gesture, a supreme organizing principle in a world threatening to come undone.
Instagram: @thetellmusic
Facebook: @TheTellMusic