In addition to playing bass in The Velvet Teen and fronting The New Trust, Josh Staples fronts the newer band Mare Island, whose lineup also includes Loma Prieta members Sean Leary and Derrick Chao. Loma Prieta may be stylistically different than the music Josh Staples is best known for -- and Mare Island is more on the Velvet Teen/New Trust side -- but these guys actually go way back and Josh has guested on Loma Prieta's music as far back as their 2008 debut album, so it makes sense that they've already got great chemistry together.

Mare Island released their self-titled EP -- which also features orchestral arrangements recorded by Magik*Magik Orchestra -- in 2017, and like The New Trust, it's a great example of Josh Staples' ability to craft adventurous, hard-hitting, and very catchy indie rock. The guitar interplay by the Loma Prieta guys gives it a nice edge too.

Since that EP's release, the band's lineup has shifted a bit - it used to include former Velvet Teen/New Trust member Matthew Izen, and drummer Evan Sarna, and it now includes Paul Haile. We're premiering their first new single with the new lineup, "Fortuna," which features drums, backing vocals, and cello by Paul, who also recorded, mixed and mastered it. It's a little crunchier and more driving than the stuff on the 2017 EP, but it otherwise sounds like classic Josh Staples, even though the writing process in this band is significantly different for him, as he explains:

Mare Island for me is completely different for me than working with The New Trust and The Velvet Teen, firstly because I only sing and don't play another instrument (terrifying), but mostly because I don't even get started writing lyrics or melodies until the music is completely finished. In every case, the instrumental song has been a total surprise when I get to it, and it's an approach I really enjoy. Derrick and Sean - and now even more so with Paul - write these lush and intricate puzzles of songs, too, so it takes a while for me to figure out how a Mare Island song goes. One of my favorite parts of the process is getting to know the music without coaching from the rest of the band, figuring out what they've put together, and how I can fit words and melodies into what is, essentially, already a finished work.

Like all bands, Mare Island's 2020 plans have been put on hold, but they do have more new music in the works and they hope to get back on the road too. Stay tuned for all that, and listen to the new song below.

If you haven't already heard it, check out Mare Island's 2017 EP too: