Noteworthy album & EP releases:
soap water, carwash
The World Isn’t Big When You Know How It Works, Dylan Fraser
Grapefruit Season, James Vincent McMorrow
What We Call Life, Jordan Rakei
MONTERO, Lil Nas X
“Syncopate” – MICHELLE
Release date – September 14
NYC-based supergroup MICHELLE’s newest single, “Syncopate,” feels like a song straight out of the ’90s in the most delicious way possible. The song, one about desire and an undeniable physical attraction to someone, comes ahead of the band’s new album, After Dinner We Talk Dreams, set to drop in early 2022.
“Communicating your desire can feel vulnerable, so we wanted to have some fun with that and show our funky and seductive side. It really feels like we’re hitting the street for the first time by putting this song out into the world,” MICHELLE stated in a press release.
“Valentine” – Snail Mail
Release date – September 15
A couple weeks ago, I was scrolling aimlessly through a Phoebe Bridgers fan Facebook group I’m apart of, and someone made a post wondering where Snail Mail has been. In short, a couple people started criticizing the person who made the post, insinuating that he felt “owed” music by Snail Mail..etc. It was overdramatic, but this is the sort of fandom that exists in this very specific corner of indie rock music. Well…his question seemed to be valid, because Lindsey Jordan popped back up into the universe just a couple weeks later.
“Valentine” comes ahead of Snail Mail’s next album, also announced along with the single release. The song, though not a massive sonic shift from her previous work, specifically on her 2018 album Lush, still feels a bit more palatable than the singles she’s released in the past, and I’m curious to see if it gets any sort of mainstream recognition in the way that her previous music hasn’t.
“I Don’t Live Here Anymore” – The War on Drugs, Lucius
Release date – September 15
Don’t tell Brittany and/or Mitch, but I’ve never really been able to get into The War On Drugs’ music. I’ve liked a couple here and there, butt nothing fully stuck in the way that it has for both of them. That is, until I saw a press release land in my inbox that the band’s newest single featured Lucius: a band that I personally think has been underrated during their entire career.
I know there’s a lot of discourse around current indie rock music and the line it walks between sounding fresh and interesting and simply reverting back to the 2010s of the genre: returning to tropes of breakout acts in the space (see, Pitchfork’s review of Foxing’s 2021 album Draw Down The Moon, which we liked very much).
But I believe this track walks that line perfectly: it makes me think of the bands that truly developed my taste during the formative years in my life, the ones who played the main stage at Lollapalooza at 5pm, where most of the audience only were there for the two or three songs. That nostalgia I feel lives in this song, and at least to me, feels at the forefront of it.
“Make of It” – half alive
Release date – September 16
For as long as I’ve been a fan of Long Beach-born band half alive, I’ve been pretty convinced that they will never release a bad song, and the handful of singles they’ve released this year specifically has only strengthened this as my belief.
half alive rarely strays away from writing incredibly deep and personal lyrics in their music, and that sentiment lives loud and clear in “Make of It” (Therapy saw me naked / for 26 years I’ve waited / life is what I make it / the past is what I make of it).
When announcing the song’s release on Facebook, the band wrote, “’Make of It’ is a story in which worlds not only interconnect but bleed into one another in a messy display of beautiful-humanity. Often, we must drown to land, sink to swim, move to heal, & dive to the deepest depths to breathe again.”
“Only A Fool” – Dylan Fraser, Samia
Release date – September 17
Scottish bred musician Dylan Fraser’s been on the rise for the past year or so, and it helps that he’s gotten co-signs from major artists like THE Elton John, Sam Smith, and Zane Lowe, to name a few. We’ve covered a couple of Fraser’s releases in the past, but I do have to argue that this track, one that’s featured on his new EP, is his best song to date. Featuring one of Staged Haze’s favorite artists, Samia, “Only A Fool” is essentially a love song about a ghost (at least, my interpretation of it), where Fraser’s waiting “for the girl in the white nightgown to cross the road.”
Maybe I listen to too many True Crime podcasts, but to me, this is how I imagine this song playing out in real Samia’s vocals come in at the second verse, harmonizing with Dylan’s, hauntingly so in the way that only Samia seems to know how to execute without any sort of effort. The visualizer above plays into my vision of the song, but we get a real music video for this, please?!