New Music Sunday

The Best Songs Released in August 2023

Happy September!!! Today is one month until my 29th birthday and also a reminder that the months left in 2023 are quickly dwindling. We’re already getting our ‘best of’ list together!

August album releases:
I Came Home Late, Ama Lou
The Dark, The Band Camino
I Love My Girl, She’s My Boy, Between Friends
Haunted Mountain, Buck Meek
Here Forever, Buffchick
99 Nights, Charlotte Cardin
the space between, Christian French
Dancing in The Dark, Daniel Seavey
Dizzy, Dizzy
You Are Who You Hang Out With, The Front Bottoms
Welcome Home, Gareth Donkin
Prestige, Girl Ray
Well Here We Are, Grace Enger
Appaloosa Bones, Gregory Alan Isakov
Unreal Unearth, Hozier
Club Romantech, Icona Pop
For Everyone, Joe Vann
World Music Radio, Jon Baptiste
Afterlife EP, Juliana Madrid
Volcano, Jungle
The Maine, The Maine
And Southern Star, Mikaela Davis
wear your heart out, Nightly
Piggy, Peter McPoland
The Window, Ratboys
Snow Angel, Renee Rapp
everyone is alive, Slowdive
SUGAR EP., Tash Sultana
Head Noise, Tia Gostelow
JAGUAR II, Victoria Monet
Zach Bryan, Zach Bryan

In chronological order:

“HOT TO GO!” – Chappell Roan
Release date – August 11

If you have ever talked extensively with me about music, specifically pop music, you probably know that I’ve had my fair share of critiques for Dan Nigro, an insanely talented songwriter and producer most known for his work with Olivia Rodrigo, and the discussion of how the artists he works with tend to make music that is (in my opinion) interchangeable with each other. However, I’m pleasantly surprised to say that I find his work with rising pop artist Chappell Roan to be totally immune to that problem (whether that’s due to her uniqueness as an artist is another discussion).

As I’ve been anxiously awaiting the release of Chappell’s debut album, which drops on 9/22, I’ve been meticulously obsessing over each single she’s released ahead of the project: with “HOT TO GO!” as my latest victim. There’s something about this song that just scratches a part in my brain so satisfyingly, I love the way that the song crafts a narrative around “taking [me] hot to go,” a hilarious and simplistic way of Chappell saying she’s ready to leave with her muse whenever her muse is ready. It’s fun, cheeky, sexy, and overall an incredible pop song. – Kristin

“Give It A Week” – Daniel Seavey
Release date – August 11, 2023

As a fan of Daniel since his early Why Don’t We days, his surprise EP Dancing In The Dark brought both happiness and sadness to my heart. It was a new start for him, finally free from the mistreatment and unfairness he received from his band’s management team, but it also was a step further away from the good old days where I was (healthily) obsessed with my little tiny boy band. However, because of the growth shown on this project and the quality of the music itself, I couldn’t help but feel like an incredibly proud mom.

“Give It A Week” is probably my favorite song from the EP, and it’s also one of the two songs I hadn’t heard before, since he’s already beene performing the rest of them on tour this year. It’s interesting to see him actively move away from the boy band person he’s had for years now: his sound is still super poppy—the perfect amount—so I’m hoping and praying that he includes it on the setlist once he goes on tour this fall so can experience it live. – Javi

“Satisfied” – Juliana Madrid
Release date – August 11

22-year-old Juliana Madrid’s sophomore EP Afterlife just dropped on Neon Gold Records (HAIM, Christine and the Queens, Charli XCX), with songs written by GRAMMY-nominated talents Benjamin Ruttner (of The Knocks), and Matthew Koma (Zedd, Carly Rae Jepsen). One of the standout tracks, “Satisfied,” tells the story of hitting on a stranger while under the influence and being embarrassingly shut down. The track, similarly to other songs on the EP, tows the line between country pop and ’90s indie, making her sound and artistry one to watch in the coming months. – Kristin

“bad idea right?” – Olivia Rodrigo
Release date – August 11

I’ll admit that I have remained an Olivia Rodrigo skeptic, but the two singles she’s released ahead of her sophomore album Guts have both been received quite well from me. “bad idea right?” doesn’t take itself too seriously, unlike a lot of Rodrigo’s songs do, and it feels like it’s the right direction for her to take stylistically. I preferred the more “edgy” sounding songs from her debut album (like “Brutal” and “Good 4 U,”) over the ballads, and I’m curious to see if the fun, gen z meets alt rock Avril Lavigne / teen coming-of-age film sound sticks. – Kristin

“Make it Stop” – Peter McPoland
Release date – August 11

As a person that cries and breaks down at the slightest, tiniest inconvenience, I automatically claimed this song as my own when it came out. The chorus is “you can try to turn it off, start breaking down to make it stop” over and over again, which is, whether I like it or not, a pretty familiar feeling—asking my brain and emotions to please give me a break but only making it worse by doing so.

Peter’s new album in its entirety very well portrays the overwhelming and inevitable weight of being alive in this globalized, internet-and-social-media-ruled world, and this song in particular portrays that crushing feeling very well but also lets you enjoy the discomfortness. Similar to his song “Turn Off The Noise,” this track is loud and upbeat, representing the tumultuous aspect of our lives, while the lyrics are begging it to stop, but also acknowledging that it’s impossible to do so. Along with “Digital Silence”, this is my favorite song from PIGGY and probably one of my favorites of the year. – Javi

Nothing On (But the Radio)” – Addison Rae 
Release date: August 18, 2023

Lady Gaga’s trash, as it turns out, is Addison Rae’s ironic pop treasure. “Nothing On (But the Radio),” the third track on social media star Addison Rae’s debut EP, was originally recorded by Lady Gaga during the Born This Way sessions. Its glossiness might have been too stifling for its original artist, but for Rae, it’s the perfect addition to her grand re-entrance into pop music. The track is playful, carefree, and reminiscent of a simpler time—and Rae, a scholar of pop music, knows exactly how it plays. – Emma

23″ – Reneé Rapp
Release date – August 18

There are other songs from Snow Angel that I considered adding onto this list, like “Poison Poison” and “Tummy Hurts” (which are both absolute bops), and honestly the entire album hit a little too close to home for me, but “23” is the one that made me feel the most attacked. “Everything looks good on paper, displayed on the shelf, and nobody thinks they should save her, ‘cause she’s doin’ well.”

It feels like this song will apply to every birthday I’ve had and will have, because honestly growing up apparently really means being surprised by how lost and small you still feel year after year. “So, how old do you have to be, to live so young and careless?” it really do be like that. This song was also co-written by one of my new favorites UPSAHL and one of my original favorite indie white boys, Alexander 23 (see how 23 is in his name, it’s all perfectly calculated), so I was already particularly excited about this song even more. – Javi

“Crazy Stupid Love” – LAUNDRY DAY

Release date – August 25th 2023

To be fair, LAUNDRY DAY is one of those bands that I’ve watched grow and become since their beginnings, and I think that makes me want to support them unconditionally (something I do with almost every artist I have ever loved anyway). However, this song reminded me of their old releases, like their “Light Up Shoes” and “LIGHT UP SHOES 2” EPs, the projects that made me love them because of how original and DIY they felt. “Crazy Stupid Love” feels like a trip back to their roots, this after releasing an album that sounded nothing like it.

The production also sounds so much like the early days of BROCKHAMPTON (yes, I naturally went through a BH phase and still hold them dearly to my heart), which makes sense since they’ve always cited them as some of their biggest inspirations, and it made me so happy to hear their influence in the song. It’s a groovy track that reminded me of the LD boys’ range and talent, and I just love that they’re still trying new things with each new song. – Javi

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