The Best Tracks of August 2018 & Monthly Spotify Playlist

Posted: by admin

Graphic by Julia Carbone

Just when I felt like I was starting to get a feel for what albums would make my year end lists, August came in and shook everything up. Take a quick read and a listen below to my personal favorites from the month and then get streaming our best of the month staff Spotify playlist below which includes all these tracks and many more!


I had never really been a fan of Travis Scott’s work in the past, but the strength of his new album ASTROWORLD, is undeniable. Slow bouncing trip hop beats, along with his sporadic and autotuned bars, sounds like a mess, but it works. Each track has development within it, often with multiple beats and interludes on the same track. This album *famously* outcharted Nicki Minaj, and yeah, it’s obvious why… it’s lit. If you want more info on the album, I suggest PF’s video review (come write for us Rory).

Maybe the most critically successful indie pop album of the year, Mitski’s new record Be the Cowboy, also dropped this month and it surpassed even our high expectations. We’ve been big fans of Mitski’s emotionally intimate and cutting lyricism since 2014’s bury me at makeout creek, but you may not not realize that was already her 3rd album. Prior to that she had been making bigger sounding pop records, while her rock band sound took off, she never forgot her original inspirations, and we get to see some of that on Be The Cowboy. Dancey disco arrangements, poppy, and other instrumentals matched with her strong vocals and again these lyrics (jesus), she has produced perhaps her best work. I could see some of these songs getting huge airplay, and they should.

Speaking of emotional indie bands taking a turn toward accessibility, Foxing released their stunning 3rd LP, Nearer My God, and it’s as shockingly beautiful as the prior 2 records but for a completely different reason. Foxing dropped their emo/punk side almost completely and veered into the world of stadium indie pop. Them and Mitski came from a different start but somehow ended up in almost the same place. Miraculously, the sound works for them as well. Their unique vocal styles and the catchy songwriting make for emotional bangers, that pop fans might even enjoy as much as Foxing’s past audiences.

And then there are 2 more lowkey very successful records, that I think sound just as beautiful as any of the others I’ve mentioned. Alien Boy’s hazy new album Sleeping Lessons might be my most listened to record of the fall. The fuzzy vocals, and beautiful melodies, matched with some emo lyrics keep me coming back again and again. Similarly, Nothing’s new shoegaze record, Dance On The Blacktop, finds a way to bury some hooks and addicting lead parts in the web of gazey guitars. It’s also a record in part about the songwriter’s post concussion brain damage, which is one of my greatest fears, and that adds a wave of seriousness to the whole record. I feel that both of these are their best works to date, and establishes both for some end of the year contenders.

With all these successful dropping this past month, you definitely had a few cool albums fall through the media cracks, indie band Tomberlin, emo Jersey band Hit Like A Girl, and west coast g-funk rapper YG released very solid records, and oh yeah there was a new Death Cab For Cutie record.

And we haven’t even gotten to the real stunner of the month. ICYMI Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus, 3 of the best rock songwriters, collaborated on a 6 song project under the name BoyGenius. They’ve released 3 songs so far, and they’re all jams. There’s “Bite The Hand” led by Lucy Dacus, “Me & My Dog” led by Phoebe Bridgers, and “Stay Down” led by Julien Baker. Somehow all 3 are excellent and portray the best aspects of each’s songwriting. Personally I think “Bite The Hand” has the slight lead, but to each their own.

Probably the most amazing collaboration of the month doesn’t even go to BoyGenius though. Young Thug working with Elton John on a remix for “Rocketman” is truly a show stopper. Young Thug’s spaceman flow, and straight up sung chorus is beautiful. If you listen closely, at 2:10 you can hear Thugger ad-lib “that’s deep” after his own bar! Play this shit at my funeral. Seriously, you better.

Grace Vonderkuhn and Fire Is Motion both played Audiotree live sessions this month, I was able to tune in live, and even unmixed these sounded gorgeous. This should be no surprise, Grace played a live session for us a few months ago, and Fire Is Motion is one of our favorite new indie bands. Be on the lookout for both live sessions in the near future.

There were also great singles from Jersey’s own Well Wisher, the always classic Joyce Manor, and the now almost electro-shoegaze It Looks Sad, that have to lead me to believe the end of the year is going to drop a few more gems on our head.

That’s it for this writeup, but there were so many more great songs than that this month. Take a listen to our playlist below via Spotify and tune in to all these gems. Remember to follow us on Spotify for a new playlist every month.

Best of the Month Spotify Playlist


Writing by Henderson // @HendoSlice

Playlist curated by Steven Lalonde // @StevenLalonde

The Alternative is ad-free and 100% supported by our readers. If you’d like to help us produce more content and promote more great new music, please consider donating to our Patreon page, which also allows you to receive sweet perks like free albums and The Alternative merch.