Turn It Up: New Releases for August 2019

August. Hot. Hot. Hot. That’s all I think of in this month. That and summer shows, which my calendar is severely lacking this year, but hey, there’s still time for more music! Speaking of which, that’s why we’re here– let’s listen in!


The Rocket Summer – Sweet Shivers
Release date: 8/2


I am not going to lie to y’all– I had to look up and remind myself why I knew this band name real quick. The root, I realized, was a few summers back, when I saw this band open for the Goo Goo Dolls! Hooray, mystery solved!


But now, down to the music. The Rocket Summer is a one-man act (thank you so much Google). Bryca Avary writes, mixes, and plays everything on his own albums. This time around “Shatter Us” was the first single to hint at for this upcoming release with a pop feel but a dang harsh lyrical content that you can be all kinds of angsty about. Apparently you can be angry about it all but still hold something together if you try.


I swear I thought “Mr. Brightside” was about to play when “Morning Light” came on, but it’s actually just the little plucking away as we build up and launch into this moving number. This is further proof of an incredibly poppy album but that’s in production only–Bryce has a lot to say to us in his words.

I want to take a second to say that you guys should check out the art attached to these singles. That album cover doesn’t do the sound justice, but the singles do. They’re just a barrage of colors that compliment the sound so well. “Peace Signs” is the last single we get leading up to release, and this is just a trippy summer track that is to well placed to the hazy heat.

Other 8/2 releases:
Volbeat – Rewind, Replay, Rebound
Ty Segall – First Taste
Skillet  – Victorious


Tori Kelly  – Inspired By True Events
Release date: 8/9


I was very excited to see Tori Kelly pop up on my Release Radar a few weeks ago and even moreso to find out she has a new album coming out. It’s becoming rarer and rarer to find someone with a pure voice to sing out, and Tori has managed to handle all sorts of genres with grace and style in her vocals.


Her second album is sure to impress once again.“Change Your Mind” is just as soulful as you’d expect Tori to deliver. It’s backed at first by a simple snare and harmonic tones, and then she builds into the magnificent singing out this girl hooks us with. In a song professing love and asking for acceptance from the outside, she’s begging without being sad. It may just be her voice itself, but there’s nothing weak about this girl’s desire here.


The recording style on these songs feels so raw. “Sorry Would Go A Long Way” is so simple and you feel like you’re right there in the studio with Tori while she sings. And what a plain and real concept. Just be sorry and mean it.


“Language” is the song I got a taste of the new release through before the rest, and the one that pulled me in. It’s so intensely soulful with this range at the get-go that you can’t help but close your eyes and lose yourself in. Then the beat kicks in and you just want to sing and feel this through and through.


If Tori is about to pull our hearts apart with this album and feelings, I’m here for it like a stormy summer night home alone.


Other 8/9 releases:
Slipknot – We Are Not Your Kind
The Regrettes – How Do You Love?


Killswitch Engage – Atonement
Release date: 8/16


I’ve been writing this column for a couple of years now, but I don’t remember if I’ve ever shared my love of wrestling with you guys. The connection here is that this band did Edge’s theme song for a few years and it was great. So, there’s the choice explanation, if anyone was interested.


Anyways, here we are, August 2019, and Killswitch Engage is back on tour with new music. The first lead we have on this one is “Unleashed,” which came out just in June. It begins classically angry and will wake you up immediately. The words speak for themselves appropriately (“Welcome to the
madness…”) which I assume is exactly what we’re in for on this whole ride.


The band maintains the right balance of hard rock and intense lyrics that drag you all around in any darkness you need to just drown yourself in. “I Am Broken Too” does the same trick, complete with the vocals you may recognize as a signature sound of theirs. This is an incredible dark feeling yet somehow you can’t stop listening.

Other 8/16 releases:


The Hold Steady – Thrashing Thru the Passion
Frank Turner No Man’s Land


Taylor Swift – Lover
Release date: 8/23


Okay, this is it folks. This is the one that’s been anticipated since Reputation. Taylor is happy– so we’re holding out collective breath and praying that this isn’t going to be the Alanis story all over again. Lover has already given us three track that are beyond poppy and bouncy. The videos are full of color and light and we can run, play, skip and bop along to them all. It started with the infectious “ME!” with Brandon Urie that is adorable and, even in a way, smart. The two actually mesh together incredibly well, and the song is a perfect kick off to the introduction of yet another iteration of Taylor.


She followed this up with “You Need to Calm Down” which has become an LGBTQ theme as of late. It’s catchy as hell, of course, with a video chock full of cameos and celebrations of freedom. Regardless of your stance, taking a breath and chilling out may be completely vital to any situation. Taylor’s just giving downright good advice here.


The latest song released was “The Archer.” This was meant to just be a promotional single, not a full-on release, and wouldn’t have a video accompanying it. Instead, it’s released to show a different side of the album that maybe the casual fan wouldn’t expect. To me, this was a lot like “Out of the Woods,” where it’s a bit more understated, but is meant to live that way. Taylor is does a great job at balancing these kinds of songs together in her album collections and I can’t wait to see how she does it in this go around as well.

Other 8/23 releases:
Justin Moore – Late Nights and Longnecks
Vince Gill Okie


Sheryl Crow – Threads
Release date: 8/30


Full disclosure.

I am not a Sheryl Crow fan.

I found her music in the 90’s to be pretentious and kind of annoying, and though it was catchy it just never hit me right. But I respect her position in music and if she’s going to do a duets album then I am here to see who she can bring on board.


The first single released to promote the comping album was actually a re-release of a song with Johnny Cash from her second album, “Redemption Day.” There is certainly a younger sound here, and if this is the hint at what’s to come, we’re in for just as much of a ride down memory lane in Crow’s career and friendships made. And hey, it’s always good to hear The Man In Black again.


Bonnie Raitt and Mavis Staples makes sense other collaborators here, and “Live Wire” is just folk country enough for them to work and crossover together so well. They bring a little grit and a little class to the sound together and become a seamless balance.


Oh no, now I might have to be a fan. Maren Morris and Stevie Nicks bring on the Fleetwood Mac sound with a new deep country tone, jammed into Sheryl’s signature 90’s girl sound for “Prove You Wrong.” Dang it, I know that was a lot of words, but just listen to the song and try to tell me I’m wrong!


Joe Walsh joins in for “Still The Good Old Days” and the two play off each other with a more rock feel here. I’m really appreciating the meshing of styles Sheryl’s managed to bring together here, without sacrificing her own sound as well. The song here remains fun for the road with awesome harmonies to


We end our little preview session with “Everything Is Broken” and Jason Isbell as I’ve never heard him before. This is fast paced with more energy than I’ve ever heard from his song. It’s a Bob Dylan cover and the two handle it magnificently.


All right Sheryl, I may not have loved you in the 90s, but I am ready for the other half of this album. Stapleton, Carlile, Taylor, Gill… just to namedrop a few. Bring it on.


Other 8/30 releases:


Bon Iver – I, I
Common – Let Love
Tool – Fear Inoculum

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