Paste Favorites with New Records
Years before there was a Paste magazine, there was a website called PasteMusic.com. We sold CDs of independent artists we loved. The idea was that there were a lot of great musicians out there that no one seemed to know about. Each had built a modest fanbase, and we wanted to connect good music to fans who would appreciate it. Early artists included Pedro the Lion, Vigilantes of Love, Over the Rhine, Michelle Malone and Sufjan Steven's first band, Marzuki. Though we had no money, we figured out a way to buy out another website that had a similar vision to ours—WeathervaneMusic.com. I loved a couple of Weathervane artists in particular—John Austin and Claire Holley. Our short-lived record label Paste Records even put out a John Austin record, and Claire signed with Yep Roc.
Both artists have been able to make a modest living off their music. Both have new
independent albums out now and both are well worth a listen.
Claire Holley - Hush
The Mississippi native has been through a lot of changes lately, moving to California and having a baby, and there's a quiet confidence in Hush. The guitar playing is much more interesting than a typical singer/songwriter record without ever getting in the way. And, of course, the vocals are gorgeous throughout. The album is indeed hushed—fans of Mindy Smith or Shawn Colvin will love it. But there's a Jon Brion-esque sensibility to this project that wasn't there before, especially on songs like "Another Day." We'll have video of her recent performance at the Paste offices on the website soon.
John Austin - Satellite Blvd
John is certainly one of the most under-appreciated songwriters writing today, and his latest album is downright tasty, especially in the jangly acoustic songs like "Our Day in the Sun," where he sings, "Other days may come around when you're feeling like a first-rate second-class, third-place hand-me-down." John's first album came out 16 years ago and the life of a talented struggling artist pops up in songs like "Living in the Past" and "Nowhere with You." But the tenor is hope, and it's a pleasure to listen to front to back.