Each month of the year has its own characteristics. Before We Are: The Guard began compiling the August New Artist Forecaster playlist, we wanted to take a moment to reflect—to reflect on what this month has meant to us for as long as we can remember. August comes with the very last days of summer. In hopes of trying to make the most of the season's final hours, the time is packed with those quintessential hot weather activities: weekend getaways to sands, laying horizontal beside a backyard pool, BBQs succeeded by fireworks, surrounded by friends and laughter.

But the beginning of August also means a hangover— from impulsive activities, heat, and summer love on the brink of collapse. There is a haze over what was once clear. We wanted our indie music playlist to portray all of those feelings—that mixture of fun and the fear that comes with the most carefree season's end. It was no easy task.



One artist we knew we had to include was Mura Masa, whose self-titled debut is a current favorite. One of his tracks is called "Helpline," and it makes us want to just let go and dance. Mura Masa was first known as Alex Crossan and he's only age 21. He found his way into the party that is the music industry via Soundcloud with crystalline-like digital-play intermixed with marimbas and African thumb pianos to make a sound that actually excites us. In particular, "Helpline" is complex instrumentally but sounds completely carefree. The emerging artist gets help from another, featured vocalist Tom Tripp —who speaks of preferring a life under the influence and a lack of care for an in-the-negative bank account. More featured songs with those similar escaping, danceable vibes are Elderbrook's "Woman" and Elohim's "Sleepy Eyes."

To illustrate that other, more dreadful August feeling, we interweave more sullen jams that elumate a dwindling romance. For instance, the very first song on the list is Julia Michaels' "Just Do It," which is a firsthand account of the ache at relationship's end. She sees it coming so she pleads that he just get it over with:  "I see it in your eyes / That you wanna tell me something / And I feel it, see the signs." The lyrics—the strains in her voice—are complimented by classic pop instrumentals with long notes. Other almost-acoustic, solemn songs that made the list include Lewis Capaldi's "Lost On You"—another amazing poet—and Chrystal's "Waves."

soundcloudIn between are songs like Dominque's "Use Me." The melody sounds like a rhythmically timed wind chime. We've all been in that almost-relationship that we know is bad for us, but we don't care. We start out by spending sunny mornings with them followed by casual walks on the beach and it just feels that good—so good that we become a bit obsessed.

Did we mention there are 28 songs for you to experience? Other tracks that we think we play as a perfect backdrop to your life are Suzi Wu's "Teen Witch," Kamaliza's "Zanzibar," Opia's "Faded," and Franke's "Home Alone."

With all of our explanation in mind, we hope you enjoy the thoughtfully layered motions of this playlist as much as we do.