Strawberry Skies Monthly Jams: August 2021
Long time no see!! August was a chaotic month for me. I went to five shows, bringing my total for 2021 to 13, already surpassing 2020's 12.
I hung out with friends and family, got cookies from the Hello Kitty Food Truck when it stopped in New Jersey, took a weekend trip to Nashville, Tennessee to find all the Taylor Swift landmarks, played Pixar-themed mini golf in New York City, and, most notably, moved into my dorm for my first year of college. Now that that recap is over (I wanted to catch you up! It's been a while!), here's a more exciting recap of the month through the songs I've been listening to as summer has drawn to a close.
You can listen to this month's playlist on Spotify here. If all goes as planned, I should have a lot more to share with you very soon, so get excited!
"Chrysanthemum" - One Step Closer
I would've been beyond excited for One Step Closer's debut full-length "This Place You Know" even if they had been radio silent for the years leading up to it (that's just how good this band is), but their most recent single titled "Chrysanthemum" might be my favorite thing that they've ever done. The Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania natives' album drops on September 24th via Run For Cover Records (pre-orders available here).
"27s & 10 on 2" - Rare Candy
I mentioned in the intro that I went to Nashville this August, and while I was there I was able to see my super talented friend Alex Wieringa (Belmont) play a set with his solo project Rare Candy, supported by Joey Fleming (In Her Own Words), Sierra Annie Band, and Sideline Heroes at The End. These are all such kind people and amazing musicians, so be sure to support them - Belmont just released a cover of "Stay" by Justin Bieber and The Kid LAROI which is streaming everywhere now as well!
"South Station" - Never Coming Home
We've been waiting for new music from Rhode Island's Never Coming Home since March of 2020, and their new single "South Station" certainly didn't disappoint. There's an evident improvement from their past releases in just about everything, from frontman Anthony Hefler's stronger vocals to the vibrant cover art to an overall cleaner, more polished sound; if this is just the beginning, big things are coming for this band.
"Kick" - Spanish Love Songs
I saw Spanish Love Songs for the first time supporting Rise Against and Descendents at Pier 17 in New York City at the end of July, and it made me appreciate them so much more. Listening back to 2020's "Brave Faces Everyone" after seeing how strong their live presence was made the record that much better. Please support this band by picking up some merch via Pure Noise Records.
"Fruition" - Inclination
August saw the release of the fifth volume of the America's Hardcore Compilation (which you can order on vinyl here via Triple B Records), featuring 29 songs by 28 of the best bands in the genre today, a huge chunk of which have remained in my regular rotation (and a smaller chunk of which will be listed on this playlist). Inclination has been teasing new music for what seems like forever, but this new track was most definitely worth the wait - be on the lookout for their new LP, which seems to be coming soon as well.
"Still Breathing" - Green Day
The first show that I went to this month was Green Day supported by The Interrupters and Weezer at Citi Field in Queens, New York. Seeing Green Day for the first time from a general admission pit with one of my best friends (hi Nick!) who loves them just as much - if not more - than I do was an experience that I will treasure forever.
"Light At The End" - Magnitude
Magnitude's "To Whatever Fateful End" has become one of my favorite albums of all time since its release in the spring of 2019, and if we can't get a new full-length from them just yet, this song certainly serves as a good bridge between new releases. This is another track from the AHC Five Compilation, and you can catch Magnitude on tour supporting Knocked Loose with Gatecreeper and Kharma this fall, as well as on a few off-date shows with One Step Closer, Koyo, Soul Blind, Burning Strong, and Point of Contact.
"Moriches" - Koyo
Speaking of Koyo, this was the band I had been waiting the longest to see and probably had the most fun seeing. Their "Drives Out East" EP release weekend shows at Shaker's Pub in Oakdale, NY and Amityville Music Hall in Amityville, NY were a great way to make their official live debut and the perfect way to spend my last weekend as a Long Islander (for now). Huge shoutout to Stand Still who played their first-ever set at the AMH show, as well as all the other bands who played (Yesduke, Shackled, Rule Them All, Living Weapon, Victory Garden, Soul Blind, Life's Question, and Regulate) and everyone who had a hand in making the shows happen for making the weekend as amazing as it was. You can support this band by picking up some merch and/or seeing them at a show with Soul Blind, No Pressure, Magnitude, or One Step Closer this year.
"The Long Spring" - Anxious
Another band featured on AHC Volume Five, Anxious also announced their signing to Run For Cover Records this month with a new single titled "Call From You," which is available on vinyl along with a new shirt via RFC. I can't wait to see them in Connecticut for the first time later this year.
"Poison Peddling" - Broken Vow
I started listening to Broken Vow almost exactly one year ago this week, and it wasn't long before their 2020 demo was constantly on repeat for months. Their new promo for 2021 via Sunday Drive Records and New Morality Zine includes one original song and one cover, and both are already a huge leap forward for them. I can't explain how inspiring it is to see a hardcore band full of kids my age and living in the same state as me doing such cool things. The promo is available on pink cassette (you already know I was all over this) via NMZ and SDR!
"PMA (feat. Pale Waves)" - All Time Low
I fell in love with Pale Waves when a friend of mine played them for me on a New Jersey Transit train earlier this summer, and I fell in love with All Time Low when Nothing Personal came out in 2009. Very different origin stories, but this collaboration works beautifully and is undeniably catchy. A pop-punk song of the summer candidate for sure. If you haven't seen All Time Low yet this year and want to, you can check out their tour dates for the rest of 2021 here!
"Come Around" - Joey Fleming
Joey Fleming, vocalist of pop-punk band In Her Own Words, released two indie-pop/electronic solo songs this month, titled "Drop A Pin" and "Come Around." His versatility as both a high-energy frontman and dedicated musician is impressive, and he seems so happy every time he's on stage.
"Famous" - Sierra Annie Band
Self-proclaimed "punktry" (punk + country) artist, Nashville's Sierra Annie opened for Joey Fleming and Rare Candy when I saw them this month and I absolutely fell in love with her sound. She is exactly what Taylor Swift would sound like if she had her "Reputation" era while she was still playing country music and I am obsessed.
"GLITTER" - Save Face
If you follow me on social media, you already know that Save Face is one of my favorite bands of all time, but I'll say it again here: they are one of the greatest bands to ever do it. Their new single "GLITTER" has been stuck in my head since it came out and I can't wait to hear their upcoming album!
"Gemini" - Penny Bored
I got to work on the campaign for this single with Vibe Check PR and had so much fun doing it. Faith Alesia of Penny Bored is so talented in so many ways and they truly are using their platform as a musician to talk about things that matter to them, like gender identity and mental illness. Get on the PB hype train now before it's too late!
"Carbon Mono" - Boston Manor
While, admittedly, Boston Manor's 2020 album "GLUE" didn't scratch the musical itch I was hoping it would, this new single feels like a huge step forward for them - it's the cinematic feel of "Welcome to the Neighbourhood", the catchy hooks of "Be Nothing", the hard-hitting lyrics of "Saudade" and the uniqueness of "GLUE" all at once. Their upcoming EP will be their debut on Sharptone Records, and it's definitely one of my most highly-anticipated releases for this year.
"Never Yours" - DARE
While this particular song has been out for a while, DARE's debut LP "Against All Odds" came out at the end of August, and there's not much I can say about it other than it absolutely rocks. Listen to this band if you don't already. You can pick up a copy of the record through Revelation Records here.
"No Silhouette" - Movements
I was able to see Movements at Toad's Place in New Haven, Connecticut on September 2nd for my first show as a college student and they certainly did not disappoint. These b-sides from "No Good Left To Give" didn't disappoint either - I think I might like them better than some of the songs that actually made the album? Regardless, Movements has been consistently amazing as a live and studio act for years now and these tracks were no exception.
"Secrets from a Girl (Who's Seen it All)" - Lorde
I saw a lot of hate for Lorde's third album "Solar Power" when it first came out at the end of August, which initially made me not want to listen to it, but I'm glad that I finally did. Though it slightly differs sonically from her previous work, I don't think this is a bad album at all; in fact, I really, really enjoyed it. This track might be my favorite - Lorde calling it a response to fan-favorite "Ribs" off of her debut is heart-wrenching in the best way. You can find my review of the title track and lead single here, and you can get merch for the new album, including vinyl, on her webstore.
"But Not For Me" - Never Ending Game
Never Ending Game's "Just Another Day" is one of my favorite hardcore albums ever, and Never Ending Game is one of my favorite hardcore bands ever, so you can imagine how happy I was that a) they released new music and b) it sounded like this. Their new EP "Halo & Wings" (due out September 25th) is available for pre-order through Triple B Records, and if it's anything like the "five new tracks of ass-beating hard-hitting hardcore" that the label's website promises, I'm sure it'll be on repeat for months to come. They are featured on AHC Volume Five as well.
"Open Season" - Christian Sparacio
I got to work with Christian Sparacio during my internship with DIMM Entertainment this past summer, and he has become one of my favorite artists since. His new single is undoubtedly one of my favorite songs of the summer, and it's accompanied by a super fun music video directed by one of my good friends (and noted day-one supporter of Strawberry Skies), Abby Clare.
"Reds & Blues" - Highwind
Highwind is another band that I was lucky enough to get to work with while interning with DIMM, and watching this release come to life alongside frontman Chris Russo Jr. was a magical (though sometimes chaotic) journey. Every time there's new Highwind music, I swear it's the best thing they've ever made. Pick up a physical copy of this song along with the other new single "Never Sitting Pretty" on cassette via Solidarity Club Records now!
"Teeth" - Real Friends
Real Friends and I go way back; I wore a t-shirt with the cover of "The Home Inside My Head" on it from Hot Topic on my first day of high school, Dan Lambton was one of the first band members I ever met, and their show on November 18th, 2018 at Irving Plaza in New York City with Eat Your Heart Out, Grayscale and Boston Manor was so important to me for so many reasons. I am already certain that I will love this band forever, but them consistently putting out new music definitely helps the cause. You can pre-order their upcoming EP "Torn in Two" (due out September 17th) via Pure Noise Records now, including vinyl, cassettes, new shirts, and more.
"BLACKOUT" - Turnstile
When Turnstile released "MYSTERY", the first single from their new album "GLOW ON", I already knew this would be one of my favorite records of all time - partially because the song was so great (read my review here), partially because the album's cover was my favorite color (yes, pink). This record is more of the same amazingness we've come to know from Turnstile, I can't stop listening to it. You can pick up album-related merch here.
"Self-Help" - Rich People
Including this band on every monthly playlist is essentially tradition at this point. Rich People is my favorite band in the world, and they put out a new song, and I loved it. Nothing new! They have another new track called "Shine" out on October 1st, which you can pre-save here.
"Golden" - Bearings, Ryan Woods
Harry Styles has been my favorite member of One Direction for as long as I can remember, but somehow Bearings has topped his original version of "Golden" with their cover featuring Ryan Woods. Vocalist Dougie Cousins sings these words so perfectly you'd think he wrote them himself. The deluxe edition of the band's sophomore LP "Hello It's You" is due out September 15th, and you can catch them on tour with State Champs, Real Friends, Four Year Strong, and Just Friends this fall.
"honey" - Halsey
Halsey's fourth full-length "If I Can't Have Love, I Want Power" has completely blown me away over the past few days. There are tons of hits on this album (it's safe to say the Nine Inch Nails collaboration worked out), but the drums by the Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl on this track take it to a whole new level. You can pick up new album merch, including vinyl, on Halsey's website.
"King of Everything" - Grayscale
I still think that I have to give many of the tracks on Grayscale's new album "Umbra" time to grow on me, but "King of Everything" stood out to me on first listen and I've streamed it countless times every day since the record dropped. Sonically, it reminds me a lot of some of my favorites from their earlier albums, like "Slipping Away", "Just Right", and "Twilight (My Heaven)", but lyrically I'd say it's some of their most profound work to date. You can grab your "Umbra" merch, including vinyl (and light pink hoodies, notably) on the band's merch site.
"Just Sound" - State Champs
I've made far too many jokes about this song being instrumental due to its title, but I was extremely pleasantly surprised by the first full-band song from State Champs since 2018's "Living Proof." I wasn't necessarily excited or not excited for new music from them before this, but they definitely have my full attention now - this track feels so much fresher and more energized than their last few efforts. As mentioned before, you can see them on the Pure Noise Tour later this year with Just Friends, Bearings, Real Friends, and Four Year Strong.
"Deliver Us More Evil" - Can't Swim
Can't Swim's "Someone Who Isn't Me" EP was one of the most underrated releases of 2020 to me, so I'm beyond happy to be getting more new music from them already. Their new album "Change Of Plans" is due out October 22nd via Pure Noise Records (pre-orders available here) and the lead single "Deliver Us More Evil" is already one of my favorite songs of this year.
What were your favorite songs this month? Let me know by tweeting me at @JENSESSlON or the blog at @StrawbSkiesBlog! The blog can also be found on social media @StrawberrySkiesBlog on Instagram and Strawberry Skies Blog on Facebook.