Each month, we curate a playlist of our favorite new music. To give you a little context, here’s a five-point deep dive into the songs you can expect to plug up the airwaves for the next 30 days.
1) August’s theme? The return of alternative rock.
Maybe it’s seeing Nine Inch Nails and The Killers headline all these summer fests, but we’re noticing a lot more (nebulously defined) “alternative” bands creeping back into our playlist. Consider this a ‘90s/’00s KROQ special, with new songs from Arcade Fire, Bloc Party’s Kele Okereke, The Cribs, Gogol Bordello, Passion Pit and Black Kids.
2) Who the hell is ... Lawrence Rothman?
An LA performer of groovy orchestral contemplation, Rothman just released his debut album, which explores the singer’s “nine physical and emotional altars.” The record features contributions from Marissa Nadler, Angel Olsen, Kristin Kontrol, Warpaint’s Stella Mozgawa, Duff McKagan, Thundercat’s Dennis Hamm and How To Dress Well, along with videos by Rothman’s wife Floria Sigismondi (The Handmaid’s Tale, American Gods).
3) Curveball pick: “Black Moon” by Black Asteroid
Bryan Black worked at Prince’s Paisley Park, but his brooding techno seems more suited for underground goth parties. Here, on his debut album — featuring tracks released over the past couple of years and new material —he pairs with the like-minded Cold Cave for an existential banger (“there is no past/there is no future/there is nothing left to lose” ... summer singalongs, people!).
4) Best video: “The Chairman’s Intent” by Action Bronson
What ‘70s kung fu perfection is this? The fact that it sounds like a lost Wu-Tang track certainly isn’t hurting its case.
5) The next big thing: Jessie Ware
The soulful English songwriter has already blown up in the UK and worked with Nicki Minaj and Ed Sheeran. “Midnight,” the first single from her third album, is a throwback R&B number that could be the only thing you and your mom will equally enjoy (not an insult).