This week at Paste, the first official week of summer featured some incredible live performances and fresh tunes from new albums. Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever released a killer new record, and we highlighted new singles from Florence + The Machine, Sean Henry, and more. In the studio, Lomelda debuted a brand new song, and Rafiq Bhatia treated us to his innovative sounds. Check out everything you might have missed below.
Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever: Hope Downs
“I kept my head down, two eyes on the paving,” Fran Keaney sings in “An Air Conditioned Man,” as Joe Russo’s bass runs wild and guitars squall in the background. “Caught in a necktie. A lifestyle in single file.” R.B.C.F.’s lyrics tend toward impressionism, with common themes that hover around the madness and the mundanity of modern life. Songs like the relatively breezily beautiful “Cappuccino City” and the barbed “Exclusive Grave” touch on issues of privilege and class by contrasting satin sheets and stinking streets, while “Mainland” intones “We are just paper boats, bobbing adrift. Afloat while winds of fortune shove us where they will.” —Ben Salmon
Jim James: Uniform Distortion
Uniform Distortion, while not quite living up to its title in sound or substance, finds Jim James pulling back on the atmospheric embellishment that characterized his earlier solo work and revving up the energy and intensity. Nearly every offering boasts an elevated level of drive and determination, a fervent exuberance that makes no apologies for lack of restraint. At times James recalls Neil Young in the company of Crazy Horse, even though he lacks Young’s plaintive wail. Even so, there’s no denying that the ardor characterizing such songs as “Better Late Than Never,” “Just a Fool,” and “You Get To Rome” add to the overall mix. Even a playful pop tune like “Over and Over” enhances that compulsive zeal. —Lee Zimmerman
Eyes of Love: ‘Homeowners
Eyes of Love’s debut full-length, End of the Game, is out Aug. 17 via Wharf Cat Records. “Homeowners,” the record’s opening track, is a wobbly masterpiece of taut, post-punk guitars, pulsing rhythms, and earworm melody. Andrea Schiavelli says: “I wrote the song in my head at 4am walking through downtown Brooklyn on the way home from work as a sound engineer. At the time I was reading a lot of JG Ballard shorts. I was obsessed with the inner state of rocking out that can take whatever external form. Like air guitar or something doesn’t actually have to generate sound to be potent.” —Loren DiBlasi
Florence + The Machine: ‘Big God’
The band’s previous music has an opulent, anthemic quality that is missing from their new track. “Big God” is sparser, but gorgeously so. If Florence Welch’s ethereal vocals made her sound like a goddess on previous tracks, she’s a distinctly grounded one on “Big God” as she sings of messages left on read and a lopsided relationship. “Is it just part of the process? / Jesus Christ, it hurts,” she asks, and the small wounds feel all too real. —Katie Cameron
Sean Henry: ‘Imperfection’
Sean Henry expands and matures on new album Fink, but on latest single “Imperfection,” he’s consumed by anxiety. “Lately, maybe, it’s like you hate me,” he sings. “Why?” The song’s warm, poppy melody and cushy beat is the ideal backdrop for Henry’s insecure and wholly relatable musings. —Loren DiBlasi
Hannah Read is the force behind Lomelda, an intimate folk rock project known for stellar, intimate songwriting. Lomelda debuted a brand new track, “Hannah,” during their Paste session.
Rafiq Bhatia of Son Lux has a brand new solo record out called Breaking English. Bhatia played songs from the record, which draws from such diverse influences as jazz, electronic, rock, and Indian music.
English singer-songwriter Lucie Silvas visited Paste to perform four songs from her forthcoming record E.G.O., out Aug. 24.
The 12 Best Dawes Songs
California rockers Dawes are, first and foremost, incredible storytellers. Though they make chill music— drawing comparisons to bands like The Eagles— they’ve concocted a code for artfully emotional rock that combines elements of folk, arena rock, Americana, and country. Singer Taylor Goldsmith is a vivid lyricist, comparable to the likes of Josh Tillman and Jason Isbell. Through his words, Dawes explore an ever-evolving sensitivity. —Ellen Johnson