The 10 Albums We're Most Excited About in August

Featuring Big Red Machine, Indigo De Souza, Turnstile and more

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The 10 Albums We're Most Excited About in August

We’re over halfway through what’s been easily the most exhausting year since 2020, and though time’s inexorable march can be confusing and terrifying to experience, it does at least bring us another month of new albums, to which we are eagerly looking ahead. In one particularly high-profile case—that of Kanye West’s Donda, which he’s purportedly finishing as we write this—perhaps “anxiously” is more accurate than “eagerly.” Other major blips on our release radar include the second LP from Aaron Dessner and Justin Vernon’s Big Red Machine, Indigo De Souza’s Saddle Creek debut, the much-anticipated new Turnstile album and more. Look ahead to August’s most notable releases below, as selected by the Paste Music team.

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Kanye West: Donda

G.O.O.D. Music

Kanye West is a man who erects the same towers he quickly knocks down, leaving fans wondering about the large graveyard of projects West has cast aside. With the surprise rollout of Donda, which arrives after 2019’s Jesus Is King, West dips his toes back into secular music with a sparse, experimental foray into pain and healing following a highly publicized divorce, mental health struggles and the approaching 15th anniversary of his mother’s passing. What fans were left with following the artist’s first livestreamed listening party was a half-baked album with no official release. West ended up staying in Atlanta’s Mercedes Benz Stadium with the intent to rework the album and will unveil the finished product in another livestream tonight (Aug. 5). If this sounds ridiculous, it is. However, West has challenged the permanence of his albums, seeing Donda as an ongoing project similar to the ever-changing The Life of Pablo, which saw several changes to lyrical content and its tracklist over time. From what was revealed, Donda shares the sonic sparseness of Ye with the imperfect autotuned croons of 808s and Heartbreak. West’s talent and passion shine in the wake of his heartaches, driving himself to perfection as a means of healing. As West embarks on a new chapter of his life and artistry, let’s hope the final iteration of Donda is a reflection of that growth. —Jade Gomez

August 6

Laura Stevenson: Laura Stevenson

Don Giovanni Records

Laura Stevenson’s self-titled is the songwriter’s exploration of anger, heartache and healing as a result of a life-changing year. Alongside veteran producer John Angello (Sonic Youth, Kurt Vile, Waxahatchee), Stevenson reels in her anger and fear in the soothing, effortless style she’s best known for. As she ruminates on keeping her newborn baby safe following the near-death experience of a loved one, Stevenson balances the guilt of wanting to be selfless for friends with the instinctual urge to protect her child first. Stevenson weaves together an honest exploration of the complicated role of being a mother, friend and woman as she figures out what her roles are and the pressures that come with them. —Jade Gomez

Lingua Ignota: Sinner Get Ready

Sargent House

Following her titanic, devastating mesh of metal, opera and noise, Caligula, Kristin Hayter (aka Lingua Ignota) retreated to the desolation of central Pennsylvania for her new album, Sinner Get Ready. Steering in the opposite direction of her previous work, Hayter embraced the isolation of her environment for a comparatively sparse, minimalist album that loses none of its emotional potency. The songwriter’s lyrics are dark and calamitous, foretelling hellish prophecies and painting brutal pictures almost as a form of worship, frequently recalling familiar religious icons in devotion. Sinner Get Ready, out this Friday, Aug. 6, thrives in these profound feelings, achieving something hauntingly beautiful. —Jason Friedman

More notable August 6 releases: Catbite: Nice One, Colin Hay: I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself, Foxing: Draw Down The Moon, Hippo Campus: Good Dog, Bad Dream EP, Homeboy Sandman: Anjelitu EP, Kississippi: Mood Ring, Liam Kazar: Due North, Liars: The Apple Drop, Nas: King’s Disease II, RZA: RZA vs. Bobby Digital, Sparks: Annette (Cannes Edition – Selections from the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack), Zachary Knowles: tendency to be a loner

August 13

Provoker: Body Jumper

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The act of leaving one’s self behind to inhabit a fictional character is key to Body Jumper, Bay Area four-piece (and Paste Best of What’s Next pick) Provoker’s forthcoming debut album. Lyricist and vocalist Christian Petty told Paste he finds “songwriting so much easier” when he can seek emotional truths through the eyes of fictional characters—he estimates he does so on about half of Body Jumper’s 13 tracks—but as founder Jonathon Lopez points out, “with any kind of writing, a portion of the person writing it comes out anyway, little parts. So in a way it is relevant to what’s happening within our lives.” That frequently manifests as what percussionist Kristian Moreno calls “a common emotion in goth music [...] ethereal love mourn,” with Provoker’s characters animated by powerful feelings for another, but dreading the dangling axe of rejection—Petty’s smoky R&B vocals, set to the band’s doomy, yet propulsive instrumentals—menacing and danceable, part post-punk, part R&B and part synth-pop—perfectly reflect this in-between state of impossible passion and inevitable pain. —Scott Russell

Wednesday: Twin Plagues

Orindal Records

The first sounds that grip you on Asheville, North Carolina, rock quintet Wednesday’s new album are its guitars: The opening moments of Twin Plagues fill with earsplitting feedback and a dark, slow-moving rock riff that shambles towards you like a zombie; as the clamor bears down on you, you think you’re done for, and only then does it recede, with Karly Hartzman’s angelic vocals arising in its place. Wednesday meld spacey bombast with college-rock crunch, thoughtful Americana and indie-pop serenity, keeping you on your toes without ever seeming to try to—more an act of confident, honest synthesis than one of maintaining a distance from the listener. Twin Plagues is a work of shocking generosity, each track overflowing with ideas and inspiring a litany of feelings, the kind of album where the journey is more life-affirming than any destination could ever be. —Scott Russell

More notable August 13 releases: A Great Big Pile of Leaves: Pono, alexalone: ALEXALONEWORLD, Boldy James and The Alchemist: Bo Jackson, Chorusing: Half Mirror, Devendra Banhart & Noah Georgeson: Refuge, Jade Bird: Different Kinds of Light, The Killers: Pressure Machine, Media Jeweler: The Sublime Sculpture of Being Alive, Meet Me @ The Altar: Model Citizen EP, Quicksand: Distant Populations, Watchhouse (fka Mandolin Orange): Watchhouse

August 20

Deafheaven: Infinite Granite

Sargent House

San Francisco’s own Deafheaven have taken metal to interesting heights, slowly turning their searing black metal into gentler territories. 2018’s Ordinary Corrupt Human Love paved the way to 2021’s Infinite Granite, further laying the groundwork for a genderless expansion upon darker roots. Infinite Granite features signs of optimism, as evidenced by “The Gnashing” and “In Blur,” ushering the band into melodic, ‘80s-inspired landscapes as vocalist George Clarke abandons screaming in favor of challenging himself in other ways. It’s a testament to the band’s impressive artistry and malleability as they invite even the most puristic of metal fans to join in their experimentation. —Jade Gomez

Lorde: Solar Power

Universal

Lorde’s esoteric brand of blunt, euphoric pop music has captured audiences around the world since the release of her 2013 debut Pure Heroine, and the emotional heights of the Jack Antonoff-produced Melodrama continued to catapult the young star and her vision to success. The singles released ahead of her new album Solar Power find the songwriter in a happier, but still introspective place, noting the pleasures in daily life. Produced in collaboration with Antonoff once again, the singles are built primarily around guitar and Lorde’s vocals, finding the singer shining the light that burst out of her earlier singles inward. Out Aug. 20 on Universal, Solar Power is a statement of positivity from one of the world’s biggest artists at a crucial time. —Jason Friedman

More notable August 20 releases: Anderson East: Maybe We Never Die, Badge Epoch: Scroll, Bnny: Everything, Daneshevskaya: Bury Your Horses EP, David Duchovny: Gestureland, girlpuppy: Swan EP, James McMurtry: The Horses And The Hounds, Justus Proffit: Speedstar, Kool & the Gang: Perfect Union, Mae Powell: Both Ways Brighter, Maggie Rose: Have A Seat, Martha Wainwright: Love Will Be Reborn, Morly: ‘Til I Start Speaking, Orla Gartland: Woman On The Internet, Shannon & The Clams: Year Of The Spider, Sturgill Simpson: The Ballad Of Dood And Juanita, Telethon: Swim Out Past The Breakers, Tropical Fuck Storm: Deep States, Villagers: Fever Dreams, Wolves in the Throne Room: Primordial Arcana

August 27

Big Red Machine: How Long Do You Think It’s Gonna Last?

Jagjaguwar / 37d03d

Neither The National’s Aaron Dessner, nor Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon are artists one readily associates with experimentation—though the latter act has strayed from its folk roots and trended towards electronic sounds in recent years, both bands have fairly well-defined sounds that may not surprise, but still satisfy. That’s what makes Dessner and Vernon’s Big Red Machine project so vital: It allows them the freedom to pursue what they called “structured experimentalism,” placing their emphasis on community and collaboration—making space for their music to surprise them. On How Long Do You Think It’s Gonna Last?, the follow-up to their 2018 self-titled debut, Dessner and Vernon make a bigger space than ever before, welcoming an eye-popping array of contributors into the fold, including Taylor Swift, Fleet Foxes’ Robin Pecknold, Sharon Van Etten, Anaïs Mitchell, Naeem, Ben Howard, This Is the Kit, Lisa Hannigan and My Brightest Diamond’s Shara Nova. Their creation is tender and open-hearted, a sprawling, generous tapestry of acoustic and electronic elements that feels not constructed, but rather grown. —Scott Russell

Indigo De Souza: Any Shape You Take

Saddle Creek

Asheville, North Carolina, singer/songwriter Indigo De Souza clears the sophomore slump by Olympian leaps and bounds on Any Shape You Take, the follow-up to her 2018 self-released debut, I Love My Mom, and her first LP for Saddle Creek. Any Shape You Take, a fitting title for the multitudes that De Souza and her new songs contain, is about the difficulties and joys of pushing through the growing pains of change: “I’ll be here to love you / No matter what shape you might take,” De Souza sings on “Way Out,” an all-encompassing declaration of unconditional love. De Souza and her co-producer Brad Cook (Bon Iver, Waxahatchee), who recorded Any Shape You Take at Sylvan Esso’s Chapel Hill studio, couch the album’s confessionals in vivid, dynamic sonic rollercoaster rides, from the vocoderized synth-pop of opener “17” and the palm-muted harmonics on “Darker Than Death” to the peaks and valleys of “Late Night Crawlers” and the explosive emotions of the closing cut, “Kill Me.” De Souza’s singular voice is the invaluable core running through it all: She can do pure pop on “Die/Cry,” get downright operatic on “Bad Dream” and slip into an effortless falsetto on “Pretty Pictures,” taking any shape she likes. —Scott Russell

Turnstile: Glow On

Roadrunner Records

It has been three years since Turnstile released Time & Space, breaking hardcore’s boundaries with their lo-fi production and power-pop melodies. On their much-anticipated forthcoming album Glow On, Turnstile lean fully into their spacey, pop euphoria with chugging guitars and filthy breakdowns to further bridge the gap between the fundamentals of punk and how far they can take it. Whether taking it slower on “ALIEN LOVE CALL,” featuring fellow genre-bender Blood Orange, or taking it back to their older work with “BLACKOUT,” Turnstile have perfected their balancing act. —Jade Gomez

More notable August 27 releases: Baba Ali: Memory Device, The Bug: Fire, Chubby and The Gang: The Mutt’s Nuts, CHVRCHES: Screen Violence, E.VAX: E.VAX, Halsey: If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power, Madi Diaz: History Of A Feeling, Nite Jewel: No Sun, Penelope Scott: Hazards EP, Steve Gunn: Other You, Tré Burt: You, Yeah, You EP, TSHA: OnlyL EP, Water From Your Eyes: Structure