New Music Friday: This week’s essential new projects

Albums from L’Rain, Helena Deland, and MIKE lead this week’s new releases.

October 13, 2023
New Music Friday: This week’s essential new projects

Every Friday, The FADER's writers dive into the most exciting new projects released that week. Today, read our thoughts on L'Rain's I Killed Your Dog, Helena Deland's Goodnight Summerland, MIKE's Burning Desire, and more.

L'Rain, I Killed Your Dog
New Music Friday: This week’s essential new projects

“The dog is a metaphor,” L’Rain said before playing the title track of her third studio album, I Killed Your Dog, at Gary’s Electric Studio earlier this week. For what, it’s not entirely clear, but the imagery is powerful regardless of its meaning (“I felt the blood drip from my teeth / It happened sometime in my sleep / I killed your dog / I killed your dog / I killed your dog / I killed your—”).

The track is one example of what the Crown Heights-born, -raised, and -based artist does so well: sneaking unsettling messages into beautiful music, and vice versa. On “Pet Rock,” another highlight, she delivers poison-laced lyrics over a gummy guitar progression (“Like a dead girl with shades on propped up by captors / I’m fire”).

Across 16 songs, I Killed Your Dog switches effortlessly from R&B to noise-rock to hard bop, each pocket of sound opening a new window into L’Rain’s shape-shifting soul. Other standouts include “I Hate My Best Friends,” “5 to 8 Hours a Day (WWwaG),” “Uncertainty Principle,” “New Years UnResolution,” and the brilliant 21-second skit “What’s That Song?” — Raphael Helfand

Hear it: Spotify | Apple Music | Bandcamp

Helena Deland, Goodnight Summerland
New Music Friday: This week’s essential new projects

Goodnight Summerland was written by Montreal singer-songwriter Deland in the immediate aftermath of the loss of her mother. Feelings of grief and uncertainty permeate the album at every turn, from "Swimmer," a song about how death robs us of quality time with loved ones, to the simple call of "stay, just a little longer," in "Spring Bug." The heaviness of the subject matter stands in direct contrast to the light touch in the music, which sees Deland sidestep the ambient moods she has employed in the past in favor of full pastoral folk songs. Goodnight Summerland is an impressive feat of tone, reassuringly calm but with its cracks clear and visible. — David Renshaw

Hear it: Spotify | Apple Music | Bandcamp

MIKE, Burning Desire
New Music Friday: This week’s essential new projects

Getting a MIKE album on a day that isn't summer or winter solstice is a pleasant surprise, and it also feels like the mark of a new era for the Brooklyn rapper. After a joint album with The Alchemist and Wiki called Faith Is A Rock, Burning Desire feels like MIKE stepping into his role as a leader of left-of-center rap in the East Coast, but not without help as he boasts features from Earl Sweatshirt, Liv.e, Larry June, and more. He uses the 24 tracks — making this his longest album yet — to be completely real and vulnerable in his most self-assured work to date. — Arielle Lana LaJarde

Hear it: Spotify | Apple Music | Bandcamp

Squirrel Flower, Tomorrow's Fire
New Music Friday: This week’s essential new projects

“Taking it easy is a full time job / One I'm tired of / One I'm tired of / Doing my best is a full time job / But it doesn't pay the rent,” Squirrel Flower’s Ella Williams croons as guitars come crashing down on “Full Time Job.” Across her new record Tomorrow’s Fire, Williams grapples with the existential crises that naturally come with being a touring musician and trying to strike the balance of work and play amidst the doom of capitalism. The album employs a stellar roster of studio musicians from her strong community of musician friends that include Bon Iver’s Matt McCaughan and MJ Lenderman, all the while strengthening the notion that the Midwest is producing some of the country’s best indie rock bands today (Ratboys, Slow Pulp). Life sucks, but at least we’ve got Squirrel Flower. — Cady Siregar

Hear it: Spotify | Apple Music | Bandcamp

New Music Friday: This week’s essential new projects

My favorite moment on GHETTO comes right near the end of the tape, on the Ty Dolla $ign-assisted "Blessed," where a harmonizing choir in the background interpolates "Lisztomania" by Phoenix. It's a gorgeous, thoughtful little flourish on an album that sees Peezy's deliberate flows steamrolling through penthouse apartments and fashion shows alike with slack confidence. Whether you're listening to the wispy atmospherics of "Fashion Week" or the abbreviated glissandos of "Penthouse Views," GHETTO comes across as crisp as a stack of freshly-minted Benjamins. Don't miss the reflective hypotheticals of "What If," where Peezy's stream-of-consciousness unfurls with granular detail, and make sure you've got both ears open when you first hit play — "Intro" kicks off the album with aplomb, like watching Peezy slouch across the red carpet in slow motion ultra HD. — Vivian Medithi

Hear it: Spotify | Apple Music

Chad VanGaalen & Astral Swans, Split EP
New Music Friday: This week’s essential new projects

Even if you didn't know that Chad VanGaalen is a man who enjoys his solitude, you might get that impression from his vocals alone. The Canadian musician sings like the voice you'd hear in your head while reading a message in a bottle from someone marooned and content with it: tender, fragile, and full of life. His new six-track EP with fellow Calgarian artist Astral Swans is a canny unification of their widescreen approaches to underground '60s-indebted psychedelic rock — Vangaalen dances through a tripped-out Kinks-styled shoutalong ("I'm Sick"), an ominous krautrock theme tailored for the latest horror from another universe's John Carpenter ("Frogman") and the sweet and somewhat heartbreaking "Earth People" ("Earth people, we come from / A universe / Of Love" he croons over Silver Apples electronics and fuzzy guitar, no trace of irony in his voice). Astral Swans closes things out strong with a cover of "Filler" that reimagines the Minor Threat song as a Brian Jones production — Jordan Darville

Hear it: Spotify | Apple Music | Bandcamp

Other projects out today you should stream

Aisle Knot, Play Like This
Aphrose, Roses
Bad Bunny, Nadie Sabe Lo Que Va a Pasar Mañana
Bishopskin, Babble
Boygenius, The Rest EP
Chad VanGaalen & Astral Swans, Split EP
CMAT, Crazymad, For Me
Cult of Y, Work In Progress EP
Cupid & Psyche, Romantic Music 
Cybotron, Maintain the Golden Ratio EP
The Drums, Jonny 
Faith Healer, The Hand That Fits The Glove
Fantastic Twins, Two Is Not A Number
G Jones, Paths
Geese, 4D Country
Goat, Medicine
Gotts Street Park, On The Inside
Green-House, A Host for All Kinds of Life 
Gucci Mane, Breath of Fresh Air
Holly Humberstone, Paint My Bedroom Black 
Jamila Woods, Water Made Us 
Jay Worthy, Kamaiyah & Harry Fraud, The Am3rican Dream
Jenn Champion, The Last Night of Sadness
Jontha Links, material love
Kacey Johansing, Year Away
Ken Carson, A Great Chaos
Land of Talk, Performances
Laura Misch, Sample The Sky
Lou Ridley, Hellhound
Manman Savage & MexicoDro, 999
Maple Glider, I Get Into Trouble
Margo Price, Strays II 
Melody Fields, 1901
Mendoza Hoff Revels, Echolocation
MUNYA, Jardin
Muzi, uMuzi
Nadia Struiwigh, Birds Of Paradise
Offset, Set It Off
OT The Real & AraabMuzik, Zombie
Paul Wall & Termanology, Start, Finish, Repeat
Petra Hermanova, In Death’s Eyes
Provoker, Demon Compass
Sarah Morrison, Attachment Figure 
Spencer Krug, I Just Drew This Knife
Super Violate, Peabody Remixes
Supercrush, Blush
Tex Crick, Sweet Dreamin’ 
The Hoodies & Kid Capri, Hidden Gems
The Streets, The Darker The Shadow The Brighter The Light
TOBi, Panic
Troye Sivan, Something to Give Each Other 
Upchuck, Bite the Hand That Feeds 
Veeze, Ganger (Deluxe)
Voice Actor, Fake Sleep
Westside Gunn, And Then You Pray for Me
†††, Goodnight, God Bless, I Love U, Delete.


New Music Friday: This week’s essential new projects