We're closing out the month of September with some incredible music!
Today, we've got a flurry of new sounds, specifically a lot of fresh new pop, led by the new LANY album, a brand new Jorja Smith record, an incredible new album from Del Water Gap, new music from Jonah Kagen, Windser, Johnny Orlando, DLG., Tulsa artist LEX, a new single from MS MR's Max Hershenow, who is now performing solo as alexmaax.
Jump in below and enjoy! (Note: This article may be updated in the future.)
Earlier this month, Paul Klein and Jake Goss (aka LANY) shared the new song "Home Is Where the Hurt Is," and quickly thereafter confirmed they were changing their album name and reverting to what they originally intended to call it—A Beautiful Blur.
"I’m not sure why this all came rushing back to me when it did, but I’d like to think it’s because this is a very special time in history for us," they said.
Today, the 13-track album is finally here, and it comes in the middle of a barnstorm of a week for LANY, who announced this week they're performing a handful of pop-up acoustic shows in four cities: Phoenix (Sept. 29), Salt Lake City (Sept. 30), Tulsa (Oct. 1) and Nashville (Oct. 2).
The album, which is possibly the duo's most personal to date, includes previously released tracks “XXL,” “Alonica,” and “Love At First Fight.”
Hear the album now above.
Back in May, British singer Jorja Smith revealed her new album Falling or Flying was coming this month. Now, it's finally here.
While Smith has already cemented her standing in the musical landscape, this new record further proves why she is a real powerhouse, as she delves into new levels of emotion and vulnerability, navigating relationships and ups and downs.
"And despite it all,” she says of the record. “It's definitely a journey I've just started. That's what's crazy. It's only just begun.”
S. Holden Jaffe (aka Del Water Gap) has been teasing this new record for months, and let's be honest: even before it was actually released, it was already one of our favorites.
The album, titled I Miss You Already + I Haven’t Left Yet, was co-produced by Del Water Gap alongside Harry Styles and Halsey collaborator Sammy Witte as well as Ethan Gruska, known for past work with Phoebe Bridgers. The record is light on features, but Clairo actually plays the clarinet on the song “Gone In Seconds,” and Arlo Parks co-wrote and is featured on the previously released track “Quilt of Steam.”
When Del Water Gap released the song "Coping on Unemployment," a song we absolutely loved, he said it was a song "about sleeping late and fucking and listening to indie music—the life that happens between life, when you’re waiting for real life to happen. This song is about how drugs and sobriety change the way we make art, and how our culture puts the artist’s suffering on a pedestal. I used to worry that if I got sober or medicated I wouldn’t be a good artist anymore.”
That is actually somewhat of a thread running throughout the rest of the album as well, making for a stunning sophomore record.
Hear it now above via Mom+Pop Records.
Since releasing his debut georgia got colder EP last December, 23-year-old Georgia singer Jonah Kagen has continued demonstrating his strength as an artist.
While he clearly has a versatile style, it's on his more tender, vulnerable tracks where he truly seems to shine. That is certainly the case with today's release, "Pollution," which is out today via Arista Records alongside a video, shot in one take by director David Od.
“’Pollution’ is about nostalgia, but more specifically, it’s about the desperate craving to get back to a time of simplicity and innocence,” says Kagen. “I think there’s something especially heartbreaking about losing your innocence as you grow up, and it’s something that I think about every day.”
Watch the video now.
Indie artist Windser is capturing some real magic on his new single "TV," which arrived this week along with a beachside-shot video reminiscent of the not-so-distant summer past.
“'TV' was inspired by romance and the progression of spending an entire day with someone you’re obsessed with,” says Windser. “The Sunday Netflix and chill. It is probably the most celebratory song I’ve ever written, in this case celebrating someone who you don’t mind staying in bed with all day watching 90’s sitcoms.”
We just love it!
Is summer really over? We're not sure anymore! Of the new track, DLG. says: "'Over My Head!' is about having tunnel vision on a goal, and all the wonderful chaos that comes along with that."
Check out the new track above.
Tulsa artist Lexi Onyango (aka LEX) keeps dropping gems, and this week, she's back with her new single "How Does It Feel," which follows her debut NOW EP last year and standout tracks "Manifesto" and "Vodka Soda" earlier this year.
“This song has a special place in my heart because it’s one of the first dance tracks I ever worked on with my producer, Logan,” says Onyango. “We were just messing around in the studio and the lyrics started coming to me. It started as a joke but it turned into a pretty good breakup song!”
She notes this track comes as she is continuing to explore new sounds, with more on the horizon, adding: “As an artist it’s very important to me to play with ideas, and that’s what this year was about – just making fun, danceable pop songs with my friends."
Listen to "How Does It Feel" now.
Continuing with the big pop sounds, Max Hershenow (aka alexmaax) is entering his new chapter this week with his new song "100 Nights."
The new track arrived Thursday as the singer-producer (known previously as one-half of the duo MS MR) is officially launching a new era of his solo project. The track comes as MS MR earlier this year celebrated the 10-year anniversary of their own debut album while confirming they were amicably parting ways and saying goodbye to MS MR with one final song, "Saturn Return."
"It’s a fun song about feeling sad," alexmaax said ahead of the song's release this week. Hey, that's actually our favorite kind of song!
Emerging artist Johnny Orlando has been slowly releasing his new project, dubbed The Ride, which he's putting out in three thematic parts. Today, he dropped part 2, which consists of two breathtaking tracks "Man Like Me" and "Party for Two," both out now Universal Music Canada/Republic Records.
"I’d never written about something that I was actively going through," says Johnny of this new music. "And the process really helped me see things clearly and rationalize this experience that was formerly one of my biggest fears. Falling in love almost guarantees heartbreak, but that never seems to stop any of us."
He adds: "Part 2 is the false sense of control I feel when I’ve had time to pull myself out of the initial strong wave of emotions. This part is interesting because superficially I’m doing well; growing and moving on, but the reality is the exact opposite. The control I experience is a fallacy, and usually I’m completely self-destructive.”
Hear the new songs now.
Nashville-based Thomas Day singer today released his new song "I Don't Wanna Leave Just Yet," and like the title suggests, it's a heartbreaker.
“I wrote this song on a really rainy day in L.A. with my good friends Madi Yanofsky and Nick Ruth," says Day."It’s basically about that feeling of not wanting to say goodbye to somebody that you know you have to, and knowing that you're never going to see that person again."
The emotional new track, out via Arista Records, is a preview of Day's upcoming album Love Me For Another Day, which is out on Oct. 27.
Hear the new song above.
We've been riding that wave with 6LACK this year, and he just knows how to bring us back.
Today, he dropped his new song "Homicide," a collaboration with fellow fave Jessie Reyez, the culmination of years of friendship and appreciation for each other's work. The electric new track is accompanied by the equally riveting new cut "Mean It," which once again demonstrates 6LACK's ability to evolve and grow as an artist.
When he previously released "Since I Had a Lover," 6LACK said then: "It’s a note to self, that I’m no longer who I was or where I was, and that there’s a bigger purpose starting to reveal itself in the things I create. We are simply pushing love, because it’s needed. The verses are short and serve as a moment of acknowledgment for how I feel, and the chorus is less of a lyric and more of a feeling. It’s an exhale, it’s relief, it’s trust, it’s happiness, it’s surreal.”
Check out the new songs now.
Tulsa artist KAWN is also back this week with his new single "Your Perfume," a song reflective of a simultaneous sense of heartbreak while still trying to hold on to a toxic relationship in flux. Maybe it'll work out or maybe it's just time to move on? In the newly release track, KAWN seems to be fighting that fight in real-time.
"Crazy how you break my heart and you can melt it too," he sings in the chorus, which might hit close to home for many who have been in a relationship that isn't working but they can't let go.
KAWN's newest single follows his recent track "Figure It Out" and "Complicated," his 2022 collaboration with Juke 21k, both of whom appeared together in the latest episode of "Sharpside Sessions," a collaborative series between Variance with fellow Tulsa establishments Sharpside Barbershop, Ghost Cat Productions and Pop House Music.
Hear "Your Perfume" above.