Atlanta three-piece Shepherds’ full-length debut, Exit Youth, is said to address “getting old and realizing your dreams aren’t gonna come true” -- in other words: coming of age. And what captures youthful malaise better than contemplating what could’ve been over a bed of noisy guitars?

That’s what frontman Jonathan Merenivitch, bassist Peter Cauthorn and drummer Adrian Switon (Cauthorn and Switon double as members of Atlanta’s Mood Rings and George Bataille Battle Cry, respectively) do on “King of Wasted Potential” -- the latest track to emerge from the forthcoming Exit Youth -- which Diffuser is happy to premiere today.

“It’s pretty much the story of me dropping out of law school to play music only to end up broke, trapped in the service industry with a college degree leaking out of my ears,” Merenivitch tells Diffuser. “The song is a pure representation of the desire every band has -- some will deny this, but it’s true -- to make a shameless, universal pop song that even the coworkers at your dead-end job might enjoy.”

According to Merenivitch, “King of Wasted Potential" channels Dinosaur Jr. while still incorporating the more soulful tendencies of the band’s work to date.

“This song was a sincere attempt to push our sound forward,” he says. “It’s a sweeter, more sophisticated verison of the plodding, monochromatic tones we explored on our first EP, Holy Stain. But honestly, we tried to make something that sounded like a collaboration between Stevie Wonder and Dinosaur Jr.”

Exit Youth is slated for an Oct. 23 release via Muckman Records; pre-orders can be made at Shepherds’ Bandcamp. The band have a handful of upcoming tour dates, including stops in Atlanta; Durham, N.C.; D.C.; and New York City. Find more information, along with Exit Youth’s track list, below:

Exit Youth Track List
1. "Tension"
2. "Courtesy"
3. "King of Wasted Potential"
4. "Reverie"
5. "Drudgery"
6. "Kick From Beyond"
7. "I’m Too True"
8. "Brevity"
9. "Faith in Soul Pt. II"
10. "No Morality"
11. "Dark Surfaces"
12. "Never Been"

Shepherds Tour
Oct. 24: Atlanta, GA - The Earl (with Diarrhea Planet & Concord America)
Oct. 25: Durham, NC - The Pinhook (with Crocodiles & Lilac Shadows)
Oct. 27: Washington D.C. - the Paperhaus (with Passing Phases & UVF Rays)
Oct. 28: New York, NY - Cake Shop (with Huh)
Oct. 30: New York, NY - Secret Project Robot (with Tiny Hazard)