Album art for the six singles comprising SLUG's Local Music Singles Roundup for September 2023

Local Music Singles Roundup: September 2023

Local Music Reviews

Does your playlist need a refresh? Switch it up by listening to some of our favorite singles in this month’s Local Music Singles Roundup! Get ready for the seasons to change with these late-summer jams. Whether you’re into funk, indie rock or anything in between, SLUG Mag has got you covered with September’s roundup. We can’t think of a better way to say goodbye to summer and hello to fall.

“Safety Hammer Young America”

Street: 06.09
Backhand = Off! + Black Country, New Road

If you are experiencing an overheated, late-summer malaise, Backhand’s “Safety Hammer Young America” is just for you. The track has a repeated rhythm of bass riff, stop. Guitar riff, stop. Thrash! Backhand also offers a spoonful of funk to get you on your feet with a wild, fantastic surf-guitar run that weaves into the rhythm. Vocally, there is a brave, bonkers trade-off of styles overlapping each other with raw, punk-rock screams and a dry, sardonic delivery. If you stop to process all this, it probably wouldn’t work—though Backhand beautifully turns “Safety Hammer Young America” into an explosive, over-the-top, nutty burner. Listening to the song makes my teeth hurt, like biting into an ice cold popsicle—a shock to the system followed by a sensational, summertime treat. I hungrily look forward to more from Backhand. In the meantime, turn “Safety Hammer Young America” up to 11. –Russ Holsten

chase ford & the gummy boys, Fake Nice
“amsterdam hilton”

Street: 06.30
chase ford & the gummy boys = The Backseat Lovers + The 1975

If you’re looking for a fresh, crisp, indie-rock track, “amsterdam hilton” is the song for you. The track by Salt Lake band chase ford & the gummy boys tells the story of a rocky relationship through a sound that is upbeat and funky, with lyrics referencing famous lovers John Lennon and Yoko Ono. “amsterdam hilton” alternates between soft, gentle sounds and harsh, loud guitar solos with faint drums throughout. The vocals sound a bit drawn out and dreamy, giving the song an otherworldly feel. It sounds nostalgic, like something you would have heard on the radio back in 2013 alongside The Vaccines and The 1975. It makes for a great track to add to your summer playlists and is perfect for road trips or relaxing by the pool. chase ford & the gummy boys are absolutely a band you want to see live—their music makes for a good time with good vibes. –Cherri Cheetah

Gelatin Skeleton

Street: 07.08
Gelatin Skeleton = Kimya Dawson x The Mountain Goats

Anti-folk singer-songwriter Gelatin Skeleton proclaims to be no weatherman. For a deceptively simple acoustic track, “Weatherman” is a surprisingly touching reflection on the futility of planning for the future and the necessity to struggle in the face of failure. Between the bare-bones chord progressions, there’s a certain tenderness in the vocals that complements the unabashed earnesty of the lyrics: “I saved my cash despite my desperation / To get my fortune read / But I never paid the time to hear what could be said,” he sings ever-so-gently. “Weatherman” seems tailor-made to be a campfire song—I can almost hear the faint sound of crickets chirping and feel the warm glow of crackling embers. Gelatin Skeleton may not be able to predict the future, but I predict that this song might be the perfect companion to a contemplative, starry night in the wilderness alone with your thoughts. –Asha Pruitt

 Le Country Club
“the economist”

Street: 07.26
Le Country Club = Daft Punk + Talking Heads + David Bowie

I don’t think I’ve ever heard such a perfect blend of lo-fi production and new-age sound. The newest single from the solo project of Noah Lefgren is the perfect blend of retro synth, auto-tuned vocals and staticky bass. “the economist” feels like it came straight from the garage, in the best way possible—I can practically see the thrifted quilt muffling the drums, and the toned-down presence of the vocals really gives the instrumental a space to shine. The synthesizers remind me of David Bowie’s clubby tracks, which provides an interesting contrast to the DIY-sound of the bass riff and drums. You wouldn’t think all these different influences could fit so nicely together, but Le Country Club wraps it all in a neat, little bow. All in all, “the economist” has me incredibly hyped for the upcoming album it’s attached to, le country club ii. –Elle Cowley

Scott Lippitt
“Better Friend”

Street: 06.23
Scott Lippitt = We Speak in Colors + Death Cab for Cutie – Cage the Elephant

Salt Lake City–based artist Scott Lippitt continues his melancholic, guitar-driven sound with his latest single “Better Friend.” Reminiscent in tone of his 2022 single “Insight In Time,” this new release has a more Jack Johnson-surf sound with a chirpy keys section. Once vocals enter, though, the Johnson comparison ends. Lippitt has a breathy, almost strained quality to his voice which reflects the longing for meaning-making in music. There’s a pacing to Lippitt’s melodies that feels metronome-esque. Released as instrumentals, I imagine his music would make a great soundtrack to some indie, single-player video game where a character wanders through a world experiencing many emotions. Ultimately, this is what Lippitt does with his music; there’s a journey toward self-knowledge within his discography. Like his other songs, “Better Friend” has wisdom to share, exploring the balance between setting boundaries and making sacrifices while maintaining friendships. –Katie Hatzfeld

Vulture Wolf
“Chompsky Honk”

Street: 07.20
VultureWolf = Death Grips vocals x Noise/Girl

“Chompsky Honk” is track two on VultureWolf’s Boing Boing EP. It is an unnerving and spartan cut, mostly playing off of one continuous, screeching synth loop. A drum-and-bass rhythm rushes into the mix and adds direction to the track’s force. It’s the sonic equivalent of Newton’s second law of motion: force = mass x acceleration. The mass is the bleak, anxious energy of the track accelerated by the jittery, restlessness of the rhythms. Halfway through the song, the beat is supplemented by a mysterious sample. Is it from a movie? Original audio? It’s a question without an answer, an itch in the brain that can’t be scratched, adding another layer of discomfort to the short, strange piece of music. The song is fun and enigmatic, but for all its noisiness and erratic drumming, it could have benefited from a few additional production flourishes. –Tín Rodriguez

Read past Local Music Singles Roundups here:
Local Music Singles Roundup: August 2023
Local Music Singles Roundup: July 2023