The 10 Albums We’re Most Excited About in August

Music Lists
The 10 Albums We’re Most Excited About in August

The first Friday of August is already here, and with it, two of the albums we were most looking forward to, from Americana darling Amanda Shires and Chicago indie band Campdogzz. But with five release days in August, there’s a ton of great music still to come. Here are the 10 albums we’re most excited about, along with a list of other notable releases this month.


Amanda Shires: To The Sunset
“Leave It Alone,” the splashy first single from To the Sunset is the first new piece of solo Amanda Shires music we’ve gotten since her 2016 record, My Piece of Land. Since then, she’s been balancing solo shows with projects for Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit, namely their fantastic 2017 record The Nashville Sound. Shires and Isbell are both husband and wife, and a songwriting team—their duet from The Nashville Sound, “If We Were Vampires,” is a strikingly beautiful and stripped-down love song for existentialists. On “Leave It Alone,” however, the singer combines more highly produced beats and riffs with twangy, Shania Twain-esque vocals, a complete sonic break from anything in the 400 Unit’s catalogue (or, for that matter, Shires’). Watch her perform the song live in the Paste Studio below. —Ellen Johnson

Campdogzz: In Rounds
The first time Chicago’s Campdogzz graced my ears, I couldn’t help but feel similarly to when I first heard Hop Along. The Jess Price led quintet has a knack for writing driving, powerful music, evocative of sonorous midwest roads and stopovers. They notched a moderate hit with 2015’s “The Well,” off a promising debut record that sees Price delivering with Frances Quinlan-like fervor. In Rounds will be the first new release on Cursive’s recently established 15 Passenger label and Price’s commanding vocals are already on full display atop the dizzying riffs and consonance of “Souvenir.” —Adrian Spinelli

YG: Stay Dangerous
While it’s on the tip of just about everyone’s tongue these days, Compton’s YG immortalized the “Fuck Donald Trump” call out, on his hit “FDT.” Few rappers have been as consistent as the Def Jam signee has been on 2014’s My Krazy Life and 2016’s Still Brazy. Both records pushed towards the top of year end best of album lists (not to mention Billboard charts) and featured a veritable hip-hop who’s who of features including, but not limited to Drake, Lil Wayne, Kendrick Lamar, Jeezy and Schoolboy Q. This kind of resume brings immense expectations and Stay Dangerous — with it’s mysterious and drawn out lead-up — is bar none one of the most anticipated hip-hop albums of the year. —Adrian Spinelli

More notable Aug. 3 releases: Houndsmouth: Golden Age, Jim Lauderdale: Time Flies, Lucero: Among the Ghosts, Shamekia Copeland: America’s Child, The Love Language: Baby Grand


The War and Treaty: Healing Tide
One of the breakout hits of the Newport Folk Festival was the infectiously joyful husband-and-wife duo of Michael and Tanya Trotter. Two gorgeous, powerful voices harmonizing in a way only two people in love can. Michael, who wrote all the tracks on The War and Treaty’s debut album, spent part of his childhood in and out of homeless shelters before joining the army at 19 and serving in Iraq. An captain heard him singing and playing a piano that had survived the bombing on Saddam Hussain’s palaces and encouraged his musical talent. When that same captain was killed, Michael wrote his first song honoring the officer. That tribute got him pulled from the front lines and tasked with writing more songs to fallen soldiers. When he returned home, he continued writing and playing and met Tanya at a festival. They now have a six-year-old son and new album on the way. Watch them perform “Hearts” in the Paste Studio below. —Josh Jackson

More notable Aug. 10 releases: Dawn Landes: Meet Me at the River, Jason Mrza: Know, Lola Kirke: Heart Head West, Nicki Manaj: Queen, Robbie Fulks and Linda Gail Lewis: Wild! Wild! WIld!, Shooter Jennings: Shooter


Animal Collective: Tangerine Reef
As the planet’s coral reefs are under attack from climate change, pollution and other man-made threats, Animal Collective has partnered with Coral Morphologic—an art/science collaboration helping to protect the world’s corals—to create an audiovisual album, the band’s second visual album after 2010’s ODDSAC. Animal Collective teamed up with Coral Morphologic’s marine biologist Colin Foord and musician Jared McKay for an art installation last year. The macrophotography of the diversity of sea life, with its fluorescent colors and bizarre structures, is a stunning backdrop to the psychedelic, atmospheric soundscapes of the Baltimore experimentalists. —Josh Jackson

The Mattson 2: Mattson 2 Play A Love Supreme
Look, one does not simply cover John Coltrane’s seminal 1965 masterpiece, A Love Supreme, without a wildly imaginative creative ethos, certain that there is an opportunity to bring more to the table to a work of art that is already universally perfect. Twin brothers Jared (guitar) & Jonathan (drums) Mattson (who put out last year’s criminally underrated Star Stuff collaboration with Toro y Moi’s Chaz Bundick) have attempted exactly that on their Spiritual Pajamas-released record. “Our goal was to showcase our own reinterpretation of the piece, to really push forward and try to evolve the art form of jazz,” said Jonathan in a press release. They’ve already added nuance and psychedelia to “Resolution,” the video for which further illustrates the depth and dexterity that the brothers posses. —Adrian Spinelli

Mitski: Be the Cowboy
Whereas Mitski’s previous work has been characterized as emotionally raw and confessional, Be The Cowboy, which Mitski recorded with her long-time producer Patrick Hyland, promises to employ a few new personas for the Japan-born, New York-based singer/songwriter who last released one of our favorite albums of 2016. “For this new record, I experimented in narrative and fiction,” she says of the new characters which include “a very controlled icy repressed woman who is starting to unravel. Because women have so little power and showing emotion is seen as weakness, this ‘character’ clings to any amount of control she can get. Still, there is something very primordial in her that is trying to find a way to get out.” —Scott Russell

More notable Aug. 17 releases: Adriana Grande: Sweetener, Blue October: I Hope You’re Happy, Cults: Motels, Death Cab For Cutie: Thank You For Today, Great Lake Swimmers: The Waves, The Wake, Oh Sees: Smote Reverser, Papa M: A Broke Moon Rises, Trevor Powers: Mulberry Violence


Blood Orange: Negro Swan
This one really goes without saying, but Blood Orange’s Dev Hynes is one of the most fascinating musicians making music today. Cupid Deluxe and Freetown Sound showed an artist unafraid to speak on behalf of underrepresented voices, just as much as it showed one of the best pop songwriters and guitarists in the business. The Domino-released Negro Swan promises to be perhaps his most pointed effort thus far: “My newest album is an exploration into my own and many types of black depression, an honest look at the corners of black existence, and the ongoing anxieties of queer/people of color,” Hynes said in a release. Listen to and watch the video for the jazzy, sensual and strappingly assertive “Jewelry” below. —Adrian Spinelli

White Denim: Performance
One of the most prolific American psychedelic rock and roll bands are back at it on their 7th LP, the City Slang-released Performance. White Denim are an Austin staple and have come to represent the sound of the city over the years through James Petralli’s sleek guitars, Steve Terebecki’s bass groove and Petralli’s seemingly impossible vocal range. The album’s early singles harken back to the band’s finest material, especially “It Might Get Dark,” a bluesy jam with a flawless melody that is just a flat-out fun endeavor for the ears. —Adrian Spinelli

More notable Aug. 24 releases: Alice in Chains: Rainier Fog, Candi Staton: Unstoppable, Devil Makes Three: Chains Are Broken, Devon Welsh: Dream Songs, Interpol: Marauder, Mark Lanegan & Duke Garwood: With Animals, Neil and Liam Finn: Lightsleeper, The Lemon Twigs: Go To School, Tuung: Songs You Make at Night


Amos Lee: My New Moon
A new collection of Amos Lee’s soulful folk is like an arm around the shoulder on a rough day. My New Moon is Lee’s seventh album since his 2005 self-titled debut and his first on Dualtone Records. Recorded in L.A. with a band that includes studio legends Benmonth Tench and Greg Leisz, the album kicks off with the ambitious, polyrhythmic “No More Darkness, No More Light” before settling into intimate tunes like “Hang On, Hang On.” But the range of sounds is tied together by Lee’s instantly recognizable voice. —Josh Jackson

More notable Aug. 31 releases: Aaron Lee Tasjan: Karma For Cheap, Anna Calvi: Hunter, Mass Gothic: I’ve Tortured You Enough, Meghan Trainor: Treat Myself, Wild Nothing: Indigo.

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