“Lean N Mean”: Near Tears Premieres Her Peppery & Unbridled Debut EP ‘Get with the Program’

Near Tears © Kristina Stanton Reisbeck
Near Tears © Kristina Stanton Reisbeck
Peppery indie pop and sparky rock set a radiant tone on Near Tears’ debut EP ‘Get with the Program,’ a record of warm revelry and cool reflection, unapologetic self-expression and unbridled charm.
for fans of Blondie, Alvvays, Talking Heads, Lauran Hibberd
Stream: “Love Under Surveillance” – Near Tears

An impassioned and driving affair, Near Tears’ debut EP is quite a lot of things at once – all of which makes for an exhilarating introduction: Peppery indie pop and sparky rock set a radiant tone on Get with the Program, a record of warm revelry and cool reflection, unapologetic self-expression and unbridled charm that invites us to bask and dwell in life’s fury all at once.

Get with the Program - Near Tears
Get with the Program – Near Tears
I know who you call
I know when you sleep
How you get money
All your fantasies
And your history
When you’re loving me
We make our plans and send our messages
It’s so insidious
They’re always watching us
Correcting us, so algorithmic
– “Love Under Surveillance,” Near Tears

Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering Near Tears’ debut EP Get with the Program, independently out October 22, 2021. A diverse, yet powerfully cohesive first look at a punk- and new wave-influenced talent on the rise, the Blake Sennett-produced Get with the Program arrives just over a year after Near Tears’ first two tracks “Was It Worth the Love Song” and “Jaded” introduced her evocative lyricism, exceptional vocals, and sweet rock-influenced sound. The moniker for Whittier, CA singer and songwriter Justine Dorsey, Near Tears identifies with the in-between – whether in relation to physical geography, genre, or emotional states, the blurred lines define her art more than any crisp black-or-white boundaries every could (which is funny, only because the term “crisp” so wonderfully captures the punchy, dynamic nature of her music).

Near Tears © Kristina Stanton Reisbeck
Near Tears © Kristina Stanton Reisbeck

For Dorsey, Get with the Program is a long time in the making. “It’s the culmination of a lot of creative self-discovery,” she tells Atwood Magazine, “so it’s a piece of work that I really stand by and love! Finally. I wrote some of it at home in LA, and the rest of it with my producer Blake Sennett out in Nashville. I stayed in an Airbnb and had no car and took a frigid walk along the side of the road every morning to go to the studio. I loved it. What’s funny is a lot of the references are like – ’70s New York punk and new wave. There’s some Blondie in there. There’s some Talking Heads. There’s even a little Nico. But everything was written and recorded in LA or Nashville, these driving cities. I think this is a great driving record.”

“My demos had more synth-y electronic stuff going on. In the studio this record became a lot more live-sounding, simpler, and it really pushed me to make the songs as strong and as tough as possible. They’re also a lot more playful lyrically, which I think is testament to how much freedom I felt to take risks and choose the weirder option. Blake is great for that.”

The EP gets its name from the penultimate track of the same name – a fiery, cheeky outburst whose expressive vocal performance and wily guitars, churning beats and tasteful harmonies are all too easy to fall in love with. “It’s my favorite song on the EP,” Dorsey says. “It’s a missive fired off to myself – get with the program, Justine!!!! It really grabs a girl by the throat.”

Will says
“You all wanna sell out
Tell me what that’s about
In my day
We all resisted money
Now everybody’s gunning
for the same spot on TV, ha!”
I look at him and say
“Ads are the only thing that pays these days
Get with the program!”
– “Get with the Program,” Near Tears

For Dorsey, this EP is her attempt to showcase her many sides all at once – both musically and thematically. “Get with the Program says – hey, I’ve got a lot on my mind. Are you concerned about the surveillance state? Do you wanna fall in love? Let’s go for a drive. Let’s yelp and cry. I’m so anxious, babe, but I sure have fun with you.”

“I would like to point everyone to ‘Awhile’ because she’s the quietist,” Dorsey adds, “and I think would make a very good song to play while you look dramatically out a window and pretend you’re in a movie.”

She goes on to cite the EP’s lead single, the beat-driven “Head Gonna Hurt,” as housing some of her favorite lyrics of the entire project. Hearty and fresh, “Head Gonna Hurt” is an easy standout that likens Near Tears to past rock acts like Blondie, while also seeming to trudge fearlessly into rock’s undying future:

My love we’re headed for a cliff
staring into pink sunset
your knuckles white, my face is fever red
Never thought I’d have a love like this,
I kiss you through a screen
You’re the animal and I’m the blushing bride
You weren’t the one in flames. Anyway.

Whether you’re drawn more to the bright, boisterous tones of “Love Under Surveillance,” “Head Gonna Hurt,” and “Get with the Program,” or the tender nuance of “Letters on Sunday” and “Awhile,” Near Tears has us hooked. Get with the Program is as fun and frisky as it is charged and confident, introspective and emotional. A soundtrack for sunny days and rainy ones alike, Near Tears’ first extended player hits in the very best of ways.

of all the things
to tell you forgot
just what to say
you might as well
keep running
and o- ver here i’ll stay
don’t turn around dear
don’t let me down dear
i will lie down here
and when you get lonely
don’t call upon me
think of me fondly
– “Awhile,” Near Tears

“I feel like a warped and wonderful version of myself singing and performing these songs,” Dorsey shares. “I hope these songs do what my favorite songs do and transport you into some warped and wonderful version of yourself, your life! Go forth and make it all strange and gorgeous.”

Experience the full record via our exclusive stream, and peek inside Near Tears’ Get with the Program EP with Atwood Magazine as the artist goes track-by-track through the music and lyrics of her debut EP!

— —

:: stream/purchase Get with the Program here ::
Stream: ‘Get with the Program’ – Near Tears
[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/playlists/1279913977?secret_token=s-cRNNNd67e2G” params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=true&hide_related=false&visual=true&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”450″ iframe=”true” /]

:: Inside Get with the Program ::

Get with the Program - Near Tears

— —

Love Under Surveillance

There’s a third party to your relationship when you fall in love online. It’s Big Brother! Do the entities that surveil us fall in love with us too?

Letters on Sunday

The phrase “letters on sunday” popped into my head one day like it was an old saying. To me it says – you always want something most when you can have it the least.

Head Gonna Hurt

This is a song about the moment when you commit to falling in love the way you commit to having the drink that’ll for sure give you a hangover the next day.

Get with the Program

A song about nostalgia and feeling like it’s the end of the world – and how everybody’s felt like the world is ending, in every era. Only this time it feels like it really is.


A cinematic shimmering Nico-esque song for the scene in the movie when two lovers walk away from each other.

— —

:: stream/purchase Get with the Program here ::

— — — —

Get with the Program - Near Tears

Connect to Near Tears on
Bandcamp, Twitter, Instagram
Discover new music on Atwood Magazine
? © Kristina Stanton Reisbeck

:: Stream Near Tears ::

More from Mitch Mosk