The 10 Albums We’re Most Excited About in August

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The 10 Albums We’re Most Excited About in August

With four album-release Fridays packed to the brim, August is going to be a huge month for new music. Chris Farren and Girl Ray kick things off this Friday, while Ratboys and SPELLLING close out the month with some of the best work of their careers. Here are the 10 albums we’re most excited about for the next 31 days.

August 4

Chris Farren: Doom Singer
The latest record from handsome and very cool rock star Chris Farren is his best yet. Doom Singer rides in on a gilded horse and then blows your mind with sneaky riffs and shimmering electronic production. You can thank Farren and producer Melina Duterte for that, as songs like “Bluish” and “First Place” showcase the unbelievable sonic range that Farren has long cultivated since his days making punk rock in Antarctigo Vespucci. Lead single “Cosmic Leash” is bound to be the song of the year for many, as its blistering riffs and towering vocals make the track a centerpiece in Farren’s long, still-growing catalog. The singer/songwriter’s pension for making bold, perfect power-pop continues with an added emphasis on harnessing cinematic pastiches. Farren might just be the most exciting rock star in the world right now. —Matt Mitchell

Girl Ray: Prestige
Prestige, the third album from London pop trio Girl Ray, is our favorite dance record of the year so far. The album is near-perfect and damn polished, as it was recorded with Ben H. Allen and takes cues from everybody and everything from Pose to HAIM to Hot Chip. Led by the vocals of Poppy Hankin, Prestige is a disco record for indie fans, as it blends boisterous guitar work with irreplicable electronica. Songs like “Up” and “Love Is Enough” are some truly great, funky numbers, but it’s “Hold Tight” that continues to be an earworm in all of our hearts here at Paste. You’d be remiss to start your month off with anything other than the glittering, neo-disco and old soul inflections of Girl Ray’s Prestige. —MM

August 11

Hurry: Don’t Look Back
August is the month of power-pop, and no band is doing it better than Hurry. Their upcoming LP Don’t Look Back is an immaculate stretch of rock ‘n’ roll, as it arrives like a collage of ripping Byrds melodies and late-‘90s chart-topping sensibilities. Singles “Beggin’ For You” and “Parallel Haunting” are all-timers we’ve had on repeat for weeks, and we can’t wait for everyone to see what vocalist Matt Scottoline and co. have brought to the table on the rest of the album. Delicious horns, glossy guitars and poised singing comes aplenty on Don’t Look Back, making it a standout project in a sea of many, many great rock records hitting our libraries this summer. —MM

Laura Groves: Radio Red
Laura Groves, the artist once known as Blue Roses, is releasing her first record under her own name. Radio Red is a brilliant, meticulous, piano-driven album full of crystalline synthesizers and wide, airy soundscapes. It’s a pop record at the core, with nods to electronic sub-genres throughout. “D 4 N,” her single with Sampha, is one of most beautiful tracks of the year thus far, and “Sky At Night” and “I’m Not Crying” achieve the same euphoria juxtaposed with subdued melancholia. Groves is a compelling voice that commands attention without shouting over anyone else. A finesse like that is the mark of any songwriting genius, and we can’t wait for everyone else to hear Radio Red in full. —MM

August 18

Diners: DOMINO
The latest record from LA singer/songwriter Blue Broderick—who performs as Diners—is set to be one of the best, if not the absolute best, rock records of 2023. Teased by singles “The Power,” “Domino” and “Someday I’ll Go Surfing,” DOMINO is a beautiful amalgam of everything that made power-pop chart-topping and accessible in the 1960s. But the sound doesn’t stop there for Diners, as the record is a lesson on shredding with a modern imprint. Broderick is one of the best singer/songwriters working today, and her finesse and penmanship on DOMINO. From beginning to end, there are no fractures. It’s a record glossed over with an immense bubblegum foundation hiding a dream-pop skeleton that’s shining inside. —MM

Genesis Owusu: STRUGGLER
Ghanaian-Australian musician and budding superstar Genesis Owusu has his sophomore LP STRUGGLER coming out this month, and we couldn’t be more amped about it. As Owusu’s name is becoming a household fixture on a much more global scale nowadays, the hype around STRUGGLER has never been greater. Early singles “Leaving The Light” and “Tied Up!” are great blends of catchy 1980s new wave, experimental pop and distorted hip-hop. The record explores fear and spiritual survival, and it is sure to solidify Owusu as one of our very best curators of the intersection between technicolor sonic vibrancy and methodical, introspective lyricism. —MM

August 25

Buck Meek: Haunted Mountain
The newest solo effort from Big Thief guitarist Buck Meek is a truly wondrous sight to behold. As a follow-up to his 2021 album Two Saviors, Haunted Mountain is a wide landscape of rock ‘n’ roll. Meek might not be the center of attention while sharing a stage with his Big Thief bandmates, but on Haunted Mansion he has the legs to explore every type of mood he can conjure. With three teaser tracks out already, the singer/songwriter has already proven that his solo work is daring, contemplative and spiritual. From the bluesy guitar leads on “Haunted Mountain” to the pensive balladry of “Paradise,” Meek is on another level. Beyond August, as far as folk-rock records in 2023 go, Haunted Mountain is the one we’re most excited about. —MM

Crooks & Nannies: Real Life
The major label debut for Philadelphia duo Crooks & Nannies, Real Life is an entire spectrum of musical wonder. Songs like “Temper,” “Country Bar” and “Weather” are already some of our favorite tracks of the summer, but Real Life doesn’t end there. It’s a complex portrait of transness, grief, loss and romance’s deep, wandering potential and ache. Max Rafter and Sam Huntington have been friends since high school, and their lifelong bond can be felt through every inch of Real Life. Fusing power-pop, synth-rock and country, the album is ambitious and lands on two feet with a crooked smile. It’s one of our most anticipated albums of the year across the board, not just in August. —MM

Ratboys: The Window
The fifth album from Chicago quartet Ratboys is by far their best. The Window is not just an ambitious, poised masterwork; it’s the product of a decade-old band being so far in their own bag that they can’t do anything but sock certified dingers. Early singles like the title track, “It’s Alive!” and “Black Earth, Wi” are some of the best rock tracks of the year already, but album cuts like “Morning Zoo” and “I Want You (Fall 2010)” are so gorgeous and layered that you’d think a 10-piece band made them. Orchestral in attitude and precise in execution, The Window is a record that demands your attention and excitement. It’s vocalist Julia Steiner’s strongest outing to date, and the rest of the band—Dave Sagan, Marcus Nuccio and Sean Neumann—have never felt more in-sync with each other. —MM

SPELLLING: SPELLLING & the Mystery School
Oakland singer/songwriter and experimentalist SPELLLING is following up her 2021 masterpiece The Turning Wheel this August with SPELLLING & The Mystery School, a collection of tracks that surf between minimalism, glitchy percussive rhythm and hypnotic pianistic patterns. Full of mysticism and drama and haunting, evocative exploration, The gravity of SPELLLING’s songwriting is immense and, in turn, she makes left-field pop music that is both alien and ambitious. SPELLING & The Mystery School is on our radar because, after teaser singles “Cherry” and “Under the Sun,” it’s shaping up to be one of the best things she’s made—which says a great deal, given that The Turning Wheel was one of the very best records of 2021. —MM

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