What We’re Vibing With (July and August Edition)

We hope you had the opportunity to enjoy some warmer weather this summer. Here are fifteen tracks that the team felt left the biggest splash during the past two months. 

This is our fourth post, meaning we’ve surpassed the halfway point of 2021! You can view our previous “Songs We’re Vibing With” posts below:

January & February 2021
March & April 2021
May & June 2021

“Hawks” – Jodi
Release date – July 16

Jodi is a singer/songwriter from Chicago whose debut record Blue Heron was released on Sooper Records earlier this summer. Blue Heron is almost completely composed of Jodi’s voice over acoustic guitar, drums, and some sweet, sweet pedal steel. It really hits the spot if you’re in the mood for some smooth indie folk, like Christian Lee Hutson for pedal steel fans. On “Hawks,” a dizzying, syncopated bridge accompanies the above elements, making for an amazingly satisfying tune. – Brittany

“Miles” – Jake LeMond
Release date – July 28

Jake LeMond is a member of Staged Haze staff favorite Michigander’s band. You can hear a bit of Michigander’s fast-paced pop influence in LeMond’s 2020 single “Illusion,” while his recent release “Miles” is a little more laid-back. Despite its spacious folk bent, the song’s chorus “I’m miles / and miles / and miles / away from you” makes it a gentle earworm and I hope it heralds an upcoming album or EP. – Brittany

“Oxytocin” – Billie Eilish
Release date – July 30

“Oxytocin” nearly knocked me off my seat the first time I popped it on. I simply couldn’t fathom that Billie Eilish had created a BPM jam—and nailed it, too! Billie relies on her whisper-like lyrics, but the polarity between said lyrics and the fast-paced instrumentation takes this track to new levels. Not only that, this is one of Billie’s most confident and dominant efforts up unto this point. She commands the mic with finesse and coasts effortlessly with the revamped speed. This is a dime and I’ll surely be returning to this track for months to come. – Sean

“333” – Tinashe
Release date – August 6

While I only enjoy a select few songs off of Tinashe’s new album, 333, those select songs are ones I am truly obsessed with. 333 is Tinashe’s first album released as an independent artist after her seven year run signed to RCA Records, and I definitely think this shift in her career changed her music for the better. “333” takes the listener on a journey of what feels like multiple different songs compressed into one three-minute track: ebbing and flowing in unexpected ways that sonically remind me of FKA Twigs’ most interesting work. I definitely suggest taking a listen to this album, including my standout tracks of “333,” “Undo (Back To My Heart),” and “The Chase.” – Kristin

“All Of The Time” – Jungle
Release date – August 13

“All Of The Time” gives me retro diner vibes, probably influenced by the scratchy radio vocals at the beginning of the track. The momentum of this track is unparalleled. A brief synth solo breaks the mold in the latter half of the track before swinging back to the chorus, which is catchy enough but lacks any lyrical depth. For a quick and infectious jingle like this song—that’s not the worst thing. I’d recommend “All Of The Time” and the rest of “Living In Stereo” to anyone. – Sean

“Lights Out” – Madeleine Mayi

Release date – August 18

We profiled Madeleine Mayi earlier this year when she released her album about loss and grief, 2/14, on Valentine’s Day. Mayi mentioned in her interview that she had more material coming later this year, and she indeed returned in late August with the extremely listenable single “Light’s Out.” The uptempo track about wanting to punch a back-stabbing ex shows how she’s matured musically since 2/14 and I’m excited about what it heralds for things to come from Mayi. – Brittany

Release date – August 20

One of the more jarring additions on Visuals, “FLUX” focuses on a mainly synthetic buildup followed by brass instrumentation and quippy lyrics. It’s definitely an outlier on KUNZITE’s latest album release, but it’s a strong addition nonetheless. For nearly an hour’s worth of mostly instrumentation, it’s important for the songs to be both unified to a degree while holding a sense of individuality. “FLUX” will take you on a five minute long tour, leaving each turn a surprise along the way. – Sean

“Dominoes” – Lorde
Release date – August 20

Lorde’s latest—Solar Power—is definitely toned down. It’s perfect for a relaxing day on the beach as she lofts easily digestible lyrics, mainly accompanied by sandy instrumentation. “Dominoes” is one of the quicker tracks on the release, clocking in with a playtime of just 2:04, but I feel as if this brief melody enters, gets the job done, and exits quietly. I suppose that same notion can relate to much of Solar Power, but needless to say — the hype was well worth it. Albeit not as pop driven, Lorde channeled a new side of herself on this coherent and breezy project. – Sean

“Codependency” – Orla Gartland
Release date – August 20

Team member Emma M. helped me find one of my favorite albums of the summerWoman On the Internet, the debut album from Orla Gartland. While the project takes influence from the likes of Fiona Apple and others, this is very uniquely Gartland’s own, especially on “Codependency.” I often find myself humming this track throughout the day. The spunky chorus has full earworm potential. Gartland can launch herself onto the main stage if she continues working on projects as impactful as Woman on the Internet. – Sean

“Reese” – Big Red Machine
Release date – August 25

Big Red Machine’s latest project is my favorite album of all time—there. I said it. No, I’m not pulling your leg. Every track on this project is produced to perfection, possesses an impactful message, and highlights the talents of the project’s countless features. “Reese” is the second track on this juggernaut of an album and steals the show. The track focuses on self-reassurance, echoing, “But I’m more than that,” multiple times in the bridge toward the middle of the track. The instrumentation is off the charts and the song brings me to tears—give it a listen. – Sean

“Bells In Santa Fe” – Halsey
Release date – August 25

I’ve admittedly never been too keen on Halsey, with the exception of “I’m Not Mad” from the deluxe version of Manic because I thought a lot of her music was overplayed. My impression of Halsey took a complete one-eighty with her latest release If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power. Halsey channels her inner grunge (looking at you MGK) and slays the vast majority of the tracks on this new drop. “Bells in Santa Fe” offers a sense of distant, far-off maturity that reminds me of a song that could appear on the popular Game of Thrones. Honestly, this is Halsey’s maturation—and she executed it flawlessly. – Sean

“Sugar” – Men I Trust
Release date – August 25

“Sugar” is a wonderfully airy and free-spirited track. The lyrics, instrumentation, and production meld together and the product is pure bliss. I admittedly have to study up on Men I Trust because the Untourable Album has piqued my interest. The entire duration of this product helps promote relaxation and good vibes. The project, and this track, are definitely not suited for a college rager, but could nestle their way into a casual daydrink in the yard, perhaps. – Sean

“Is Heaven Just A Waiting Room” – Elizabeth Moen
Release date – August 26

Chicago artist Elizabeth Moen, originally from Iowa, has been making lounge-singer blues-tinged folk music for years. But in her new single “Is Heaven Just a Waiting Room?” the blues guitar takes a backseat to a more Americana sound and her voice matures into a croon reminiscent of Brandi Carlile. I can’t stop listening to it, and fans of the Highwomen, Courtney Marie Andrews, or John Prine likely will find it irresistible too. – Brittany

“Hold U” – Indigo De Souza
Release date – August 27

It’s very well possible that Indigo De Souza’s sophomore album, Any Shape You Take, becomes 2021’s sleeper hit of the year, but I will do my best to make sure it’s on everyone’s radar ASAP! To me, “Hold U” is a beautiful tribute to friendship: a love letter to your platonic soulmate, filled with heartfelt lyricism that can truly rival the best of Taylor Swift’s journal entries from high school. “Hold U” is a highlight off the entire album, but I highly suggest taking the time to listen to the record from start to end. – Kristin

“Off The Grid” – Kanye West
Release date – August 29

Okay, yes…it took the better part of fifteen months for Donda to make its way to our streaming platform / music source of choice, but wow. Kanye definitely brought some heat along for the ride on this one. He’s been missing a spark for years now and Donda, while controversial for many reasons, seems to be his return to form. “Off The Grid” is one of the earlier tracks on this project and stole the show—it is a banger. I’ve been in the market for a new hype song before races, and needless to say, “On The Grid” snatched my expectations. Fivio Foreign drops bars for what seems like forever (in the good sense of the phrasing) and Playboy Carti adds a needed flair to the song as well. Aside from the entirety of BRM’s release, “Off The Grid” lands as one of my immediate favorites of 2021. – Sean

1 comment on “What We’re Vibing With (July and August Edition)

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