Today, Philadelphia-based indie rock figurehead Shamir has shared a vivid video for new single “Running” from his upcoming album, Shamir out October 2. Animated by Faye Orlove (known for her work with Mitski, Palehound, Vagabon & more), the track follows previous single “I Wonder” and quarantine pop anthem “On My Own.” “‘Running’ is a song I wrote about a time in my life when I was a part of a toxic friend group where I was the only non-cis person,” Shamir explains. “The song is from the perspective of me now realizing how much it affected my mental health after being a few years removed and realizing how much I was dulling myself down so I did not stick out any more than I already did — and also how that directly made me experience gender dysphoria for the first time ever.”
Shamir’s new album reimagines 90’s Pop & Rock for the modern world, in what he alludes to as his most accessible album since 2015’s debut Ratchet. “I felt like it didn’t need a name, cuz it’s the record that’s most me,” Shamir says. It’s been a long road, over the last six years, to finally make the album that matched his vision – from becoming a globe-trotting touring act, taking a hard left turn stylistically, confronting his mental health issues and moving from his native Las Vegas to Philadelphia.
Coming together when Shamir met up with a songwriting hero, Lindi Ortega, this full-length (with some tracks produced by Kyle Pulley – Hop Along, Diet Cig, Adult Mom, Kississippi) is his most intimate, most crafted and a huge step forward in a transfiguration for the artist. Having adopted the iconography of the butterfly, the chrysalis has fallen away, and Shamir is floating. And he’s barely 25 years old.
Even though Shamir launched a label in 2019, Accidental Popstar Records, the LP will be released on no label at all. For becoming widely known for R&B dance pop, the one constant through his move back toward guitar-driven indie pop — through the critically acclaimed and ever-relevant Resolution, Revelations, Be the Yee, Here Comes the Haw and all the way to this year’s surprise release Cataclysm — has been his unmistakable voice, a countertenor piercing straight to the heart.
Though there are still flashes of synth and punctuated drum beats, ala his early releases, Shamir has taken a turn toward the post-hardcore ‘90s for further inspiration – from Olympia, Washington cult heroes Unwound to bands of the Kill Rock Stars orbit, taking everything into his own hands in the DIY tradition. Having delved into outsider music, country and punk, Shamir continues to create raw and vulnerable tunes, stripped down to their emotional core.
Earlier this year, Shamir also appeared in the Netflix documentary I’m With The Band: Nasty Cherry and has toured with indie giants like Stars and Unknown Mortal Orchestra. A multi-talented artist, he acted as the voice of Draca on the Tiffany Haddish Netflix show Tuca & Bertie, appeared in a group cover of Document Journal shot by Ryan McGinley for Dior Homme, runs a TV column for Talkhouse – with much more to come.