Strawberry Skies Monthly Jams: July 2021
Happy July! Summer is in full swing, and so is summer concert season, after a crazy year off.
This month's playlist is made up of new releases, new discoveries, artists I'm seeing live this month, and albums with July birthdays...this is your perfect mid-summer soundtrack. Listen on Spotify here!
"You're So Cool" - Family Dinner
At Golden Hour Booking's spring flea market back in May, I was lucky enough to get to meet the lovely people behind the super fun pop-rock band Family Dinner. Their music is full of energy and made for a live setting, and I finwas able to see them live at Amityville Music Hall's reopening party with Vinnie Caruana, Innerlove., and Victory Garden. Check out my interview with the band here!
"Without a Trace" - Sam Pollet
Another one of my "first shows back" this month was seeing Sam Pollet with Matt Stoll and Bitters and Distractions at Amityville Music Hall, my favorite venue to see shows at. It was great to get to see her play after such a long time, and I can't wait to get the chance to see her do it again, hopefully soon!
"seven" - Taylor Swift
The first of two surprise albums released by Taylor Swift in 2020, the magical and emotional journey that is "folklore" turned one year old this month. While I wrote a blurb about this album for my "favorite releases of 2020" listicle via Legends of Tomorrow, I never got a chance to review it in full. Maybe there'll be a retrospective mega-review for Miss Swift's sister albums in the future?
"No Roses, No Skies" - Have Heart
One of my favorite albums ever and one of the greatest hardcore albums ever, Have Heart's second and final studio album, the instant classic "Songs to Scream at the Sun", became a teenager this month, turning 13 years old. Give this one a spin today if you haven't listened to it in a while.
"Flower" - Vanna
Vanna's "All Hell" was the soundtrack to my summer last year, and "Flower" became one of my favorite songs of all time, both of which I wrote about in my "Top 10 Albums Discovered This Year" listicle via Legends of Tomorrow. The album turned five years old at the beginning of this month and is still one of my favorites.
"Bad Habits" - Ed Sheeran
I am a proud Sheerio and I will say it with my whole chest. I loved Ed Sheeran's first three albums, and while I didn't really vibe with his record of collaborations, this new single feels like a true return to form for him and I've had it on repeat since its release. Definitely hoping to hear more music from him this year, and definitely wouldn't be mad if it all sounded like this.
"Rough Terrain (Reprise)" - Born Without Bones
I was a million years late to the Born Without Bones hype, only listening to their breakout record "Baby" this past winter, but it immediately became one of my favorite albums as soon as I listened to it. My look back at this LP, in the form of an interview with the band, can be found here!
"Tricky" - Fitz & The Tantrums
At the beginning of the month, my mom and I took a mini-road trip to Ridgefield, Connecticut to see one of our favorite bands, Fitz & The Tantrums. We hadn't seen them since their November 2016 show at The Paramount in Huntington, New York, so it was nice to jam out to their super fun, super energetic music together once again.
"Chuck Coleman" - Regrown
When I say it's a Regrown summer, I mean it. Summer 2021 belongs to New Jersey alternative-emo band Regrown. Their "Closed Casket Material" EP release show in Philly at the end of June reminded me why I fell in love with live music, and their house show with Fever Dreams, Bottom Shelf, and Am0ra this month was just as much fun if not more. I absolutely adore this band. My review of the band's single "Deep End" can be found on the site here!
"Kids of Summer" - Mayday Parade
Mayday Parade was always one of those bands that I couldn't quite "get" - I knew the hits, I loved the other bands that made music that was similar to them, but they were just never one of my favorites. This new single from them, however, is undoubtedly one of my favorite songs of the year. Just a straight-up, super fun, pop-punk summer love song, nothing more and nothing less.
"HOLIDAY" - Turnstile
Turnstile is the gift that keeps on giving. After the release of their single "MYSTERY" at the end of May (review by me here), they dropped an EP titled "TURNSTILE LOVE CONNECTION" in late June including "MYSTERY" and three more new songs. They also announced "GLOW ON", their first full-length since 2018's "Time & Space", due out August 27th, will include all of the tracks from the EP, along with 11 more new ones.
I'm beyond excited for this record for a number of reasons; it's no secret to anyone who knows me that I love the color pink (and even if you don't, I mean, just look at the colors on this website), so I already love this album's aesthetic, but it's also really cool to see this band staying true to themselves and experimenting while never straying too far from their hardcore roots. I would link the pre-orders, but the vinyl sold out in less than a day - wow, this band is amazing.
"Cake" - Pom Pom Squad
I had no idea who Pom Pom Squad was until the release of their album "Death of a Cheerleader" on June 25th, 2021, and I am so beyond glad that they popped up on my radar. There's something dark and theatrical about this album, unfolding more like a cinematic experience than something to stream on Spotify, which is something that music in general desperately needs more of. Would recommend this for fans of artists like GET TUFF, Beach Bunny, Lorde, and chloe moriondo.
"Disappearer" - Born Without Bones
The week of the eighth anniversary of "Baby", Born Without Bones announced that they had signed to Pure Noise Records and would be releasing a new EP titled "Pictures of the Sun" on August 27th. The EP will be filled with re-envisioned versions of some of their past hits, along with one new song, a single titled "Disappearer", a track written for "Baby" that was left off the album. If you don't already listen to them, now is a perfect time to start - PNR has re-issued their first two LPs on vinyl as well!
"Pringle Street" - One Step Closer
The lead single from the Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania straight-edge/hardcore band's debut full-length, "Pringle Street" sets the tone perfectly for "This Place You Know", which is due out on September 24th via Run For Cover Records. I also got to see One Step Closer live this month, at the Philly Hardcore Unity Barbecue, which was a baptism-by-fire of sorts as an introduction back into live shows. No one is doing it quite like One Step Closer right now.
"The World We Claim" - Koyo
Being from Long Island, New York, it's basically a given that I love Koyo. The band released their second EP and first through Triple B Records, titled "Drives Out East", during the first week of July. In short: it's energetic, versatile, and overall amazing, and it's probably my favorite release of 2021 so far. For a much longer version of that, you can find my review on the site here.
"Fragments of a Bitter Memory" - Dying Wish
Speaking of highly-anticipated releases for the rest of the year, Portland hardcore band Dying Wish announced that they will be dropping their first full-length LP, "Fragments of a Bitter Memory", on October 1st, 2021. The title track from this record has been out for a few weeks now, and I'm absolutely obsessed with it. Dying Wish is one of the best bands in hardcore right now, and I can't wait to hear this album.
"Dirty, Pretty, Beautiful" - The Maine
As I've mentioned in previous posts on this site, The Maine was one of those formative bands for me that got me into pop-punk/alternative music, and I'll probably never stop loving them. Their new record "XOXO: From Love and Anxiety in Real Time" is an absolutely magical listen that will remain in my rotation for months to come. My review of the band's single "Lips", track two on the album, can be found on the site here!
"Stay" - The Kid LAROI, Justin Bieber
I was one of the girls that pretended to hate Justin Bieber in elementary/middle school to try to seem cool and different, and all I can say is I'm glad that I've moved past that. This song is incredibly catchy, and there's not much more to it, which is perfectly fine with me.
"Instead" - Rich People
If you checked out last month's playlist (or you're just familiar with who I am as a human being), you know that no band means more to me than Philadelphia's Rich People. Their latest single, released on frontman Rob Rich's 31st birthday, is hands-down my favorite out of the four tracks that they've dropped so far in 2021.
"Re-Up" - A Will Away
Much like how living on Long Island means I'm legally required to love Koyo, the fact that I'll be moving to Connecticut for college next month means that I'm legally required to love A Will Away. This band has yet to put out a song that I don't immediately fall in love with. I can't wait to see them live again soon.
"Feels Like Home" - Kelli Faith
New Jersey-based country-pop princess Kelli Faith released her second single of 2021 this month, titled "Feels Like Home." The track is about feeling at home within the world of live music, a far cry from the singer's usual lovey-dovey subject matter, but it's still just as heartfelt and fun to listen to. It's accompanied by an incredible video shot by Kris Khunachak, which you can watch here!
"CORALINE" - Måneskin
I discovered Måneskin after hearing one of their songs in a TikTok video on a long train ride to a house show in New Jersey this month (shoutout Regrown) and other than making me feel better about the little bit of Italian that I do remember from high school, this band has quickly become one of my current obsessions. This is my favorite track from their amazing breakout album "Teatro d'ira - Vol. I" released in March of this year.
"Girl K Is For The People" - Girl K
This month, Girl K announced their signing to Take This To Heart Records as well as their fall tour with Slow Pulp, and I can't think of a band more deserving of success. Please start listening to them if you don't already, you will fall in love with them. This is the titular track from their upcoming EP, which you can pre-order here.
"Renegade (feat. Taylor Swift)" - Big Red Machine
If you're like me and you had never heard of Big Red Machine before this month, let me sell you on them in less than one sentence; the duo is made up of The National's Aaron Dessner and Bon Iver's Justin Vernon, Taylor Swift's collaborators on her 2020 sister albums "folklore" and "evermore." This song feels like a bonus track off of one of those records, with lyrics that cut deep and an intoxicating indie-folk sound, making it an immediate staple for swifties everywhere.
"Dirty Bombs" - Grayscale
Pretty much everyone who knows me knows that Grayscale was my favorite band of all time for years, and that they'll always hold a special place in my heart. This song is the lead single off their upcoming third studio album "Umbra", due out on August 27th.
Sonically, it sounds like the lovechild of the band's previous two records, "Adornment" and "Nella Vita", while lyrically, it's much more mature and insightful than anything they've ever done before. A natural progression and improvement is always something you like to see, especially for a band that you've been so deeply in love with for years. You can pre-order the new LP here.
"Hot & Heavy" - Lucy Dacus
Much like a band stuck in the middle of a killer festival lineup, "Home Video" by Lucy Dacus got lost in the shuffle of a jam-packed new music Friday for me a few weeks back. I finally got to revisit it towards the end of July, fully becoming immersed in the world of Miss Dacus, and all I can say is it absolutely makes sense that she has a side project with Julien Baker and Phoebe Bridgers.
If you like either of those two artists, or their group album "boygenius", or even sad Taylor Swift songs, you'll eat this album up. This track and "VBS" are my favorites.
"Dead at 29" - Year of the Knife
I got to see Year of the Knife for the first time at the aforementioned Philly Hardcore Unity Barbecue at the beginning of July when they performed a mini surprise set in the middle of the day, and it was undoubtedly the highlight of the day for me (the crispy tofu tacos were a close second). Their new song is featured on the second volume of the One Scene Unity Hardcore Compilation, and it has only made me more excited to see them again in the fall.
"Cleveland, OH" - John Floreani
I spent a few days in Cleveland, Ohio at the end of July, which served as the perfect excuse for me to drive around blasting this song, along with "Ohio" by Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness. The way that John Floreani is able to transition from his heavy-hitting work with Trophy Eyes to his softer solo project will forever amaze me, and this song is flawless in every way.
"Nowhere Generation" - Rise Against"
As I mentioned on last month's playlist, one of my favorite summer memories from the past few years was seeing Rise Against with Deftones at Jones Beach in Wantagh, NY at the end of my first year of high school. I was able to watch that moment come full-circle when I saw them on their "Nowhere Generation" Tour, supporting their new album of the same name at Pier 17 in New York City. It really made me realize how much I missed live music, and how much I missed this band.
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.