We were lucky enough to invite a lot of artists to play Paste Studio Sessions last month, so we understand if you’re feeling overwhelmed digging into them. Whether you’re into honky tonk, ‘60s girl groups, singer/songwriters, or clowns covering Tom Jones, we’ve got 10 excellent sessions from February to start you off right here.
10. Banditos, “Old Ways”
Banditos is a honky tonk/rock ‘n’ roll six-piece from from Birmingham, Ala. now based in Nashville. The group released their debut self-titled album in May of last year through Bloodshot Records. We love this video because it shows the band at its most fun, getting into some post-performance rooftop shenanigans.
9. Puddles Pity Party, “I (Who Have Nothing)”
Puddles (a.k.a. “Big” Mike Geier) is the Atlanta-based frontman for musical group Puddles Pity Party. Largely known for his viral YouTube cover of Lorde’s “Royals” back in 2013, Puddles specializes in covering popular songs in his signature honeyed baritone. Check out the nearly-7-foot clown singing this classic tune Tom Jones made famous below.
8. Lucius, “Born Again Teen”
Led by dual lead singers Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig, Lucius’ girl-group power and infectious vocal harmonies caught our attention in 2013, the year their stellar debut Wildewoman was released and we featured the band in our Best of What’s Next Series. Although the band has played for us multiple times, we were stoked to hear a taste of their upcoming sophomore LP, Good Grief, out March 11 via Mom + Pop Records.
7. Rubblebucket, “Carousel Ride”
Rubblebucket ska-reggae influences have faded a bit since its early days. Especially with 2015’s Survival Sounds, the band has been using more synths and electronic elements. The most remarkable transition, however, was that of lead singer Kalmia Traver who defeated ovarian cancer in 2013. Not only does this version of “Carousel Ride” have a sweet intro, but it captures a moment from that album of change.
6. Aoife O’Donovan, “The King of All Birds”
This session features a number of immensely talented musicians all in our space at once. And surprisingly, the result was proggier that we expected. “The King of All Birds” appears on Aoife O’Donovan’s latest LP In The Magic Hour, out now via Yep Roc Records.
5. Ane Brun, “Signing Off”
You may not know Ane Brun here in the States, yet, but in her homeland of Norway, she’s kind of a big deal. When we showed this video to Norwegians, they were shocked we got to work with her. “Signing Off” is from Brun’s latest album, When I’m Free, released last year on her own label, Balloon Ranger Recordings.
4. Trixie Whitley, “Hourglass”
Trixie Whitley may be best known as the singer of supergroup Black Dub, founded by Daniel Lanios who has worked with a list of nobody’s that includes Bob Dylan, U2 and Neil Young. Whitley has also been releasing music under her own name since 2008 and most recently with 2015’s Porta Bohemica, which melds rock and blues with a pop sheen.
3. Emily Wells, “Light Is Drainin’ / Antidote”
There aren’t many people out there who could play a concerto one minute and switch over to something that sounds more Lykke Li than Vivaldi the next. Luckily for us, Emily Wells did just that during her Paste Studio session. Check out this song and others from her latest album Promise, out now.
2. Basia Bulat, “Infamous”
Montreal-based Basia Bulat just released her fourth studio album, Good Advice last month. And while My Morning Jacket’s Jim James produced the record with enough shimmering synths and sparkling flourishes to put up her name in lights, Bulat’s songs work just as well stripped down to their most sparing.
1. Chris Carmack, “Being Alone”
As an actor, you may recognize Chris Carmack from your angsty days of watching The O.C., where he played Luke, Marissa’s controlling boyfriend. Currently he’s in the ABC drama Nashville as Will Lexington, conveniently playing a singer-songwriter. And now, he’s ready to break out and pursue his equal passion: music.
The 35-year old released his EP Pieces of You in December with the label Unbridled and Blue. While not technically a country singer, he told us earlier that there is a lot of country influence.