The Week in Music: Paste's Favorite Songs, Albums, Performances and More

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The Week in Music: Paste's Favorite Songs, Albums, Performances and More

This music featured an eclectic mix of great music coming from a variety of places, from smooth R&B fusion of The Internet to Lori McKenna’s twangy folk to the heavy rock of Deafheaven. So no matter your tastes, we’ve got something for you below. Here are our favorite picks for this week.

BEST ALBUMS
The Internet: Hive Mind
On Los Angeles collective The Internet’s first album since the breakthrough of 2015’s GRAMMY-nominated third LP, Ego Death, the vibe is crowd-pleasing—an intelligent, studied mix of funk, hip-hop, R&B and jazz textures. Dynamic but relaxed, each track rolls in on an inherently summery energy, filled with fresh air, an escape from the city’s stifling energy and out onto the breezy fire escape. Hive Mind goes down easy as a whole; an even-keeled, laid-back drift in and out of The Internet’s signature and sophisticated soundscape. Sprinkled with codas and half-songs, the effect is natural, not jarring, like turning down an alley, or rounding a city street and stumbling into another story. —Madison Desler

Lori McKenna: The Tree
Every Lori McKenna album has at least one song that will make you cry—and depending on who you are, and where you are in life, it could be any of them that gets you choked up. It’s not that McKenna is trying to put a lump in your throat. The Massachusetts songwriter is just singing the truth as she knows it, which is well enough: she’s a mother of five who has been married to the same man for 30 years and still lives in the town where she was born. She has a well-informed perspective, then, on growing up and growing older and watching the world change around you. Like most of her work, McKenna’s latest is a family-centered collection of rootsy folk songs, and as usual, she finds profundity in the ordinary moments of everyday life. McKenna’s attention to detail, and the way she makes universal sentiments suddenly, and piercingly, specific, are why her songs are special enough to have earned the deep respect of her fellow folk singers, and to have caught the ear of the big-ticket country stars who have recorded them, including Tim McGraw, Faith Hill and Little Big Town. Wistful songs about love and family would be deeply uncool in the wrong hands, but McKenna seems more interested in being honest than hip. Her voice is warm and frank, and her understated, mostly acoustic musical arrangements never overshadow lyrics in which she almost always manages to say the right thing. —Eric R. Danton

Deafheaven: Ordinary Corrupt Human Love
On Ordinary Corrupt Human Love, Deafheaven gets back to being exactly what it wants to be, and they waste no time diving way down into the deep end. Opening track “You Without End” is more or less a piano-pop song with a vaguely ’80s vibe, adorned with a spoken-word piece by Nadia Kury, decidedly non-blast drum beats and guitars that swoop and soar. Deafheaven, without question, has a distinctive sound. Here, however, they don’t sound like themselves until Clarke comes in halfway through, howling about dark tunnels and glowing orbs and love. Later, “Night People” and “Near continue the band’s explorations; the former a goth-rock duet with Chelsea Wolfe, and the latter a pillowy psych number reminiscent of Pink Floyd. Clarke sings cleanly on both; no snarls, no growls, and so on. The guitars have always been Deafheaven’s bleeding edge, even when they were obscured by black metal vocals or handsome haircuts or bright pink album cover art. Deafheaven is a ambitious heavy rock band, a gathering of innovative musical minds, and one of the very best guitar bands on Earth. Ordinary Corrupt Human Love is strong evidence of all three.
Ben Salmon


BEST SONGS

This Is the Kit: Bullet Proof (Blue States Remix)
Paris-via-Bristol songwriter Kate Stables is revisiting her acclaimed fourth album as This Is The Kit, last year’s Moonshine Freeze, in the form of a new remix EP. “I spent way more time than usual working on it, trying to do it some justice,” Andy Dragazis (aka Blue States) says of the remix. “I love the vocals, so the aim was to keep true to those and add my own bells and whistles around them.” The result is a mesmerizing rework that stands apart from “Bullet Proof” while remaining true to the wistful beauty of the original composition. —Scott Russell

June West: Isle of Women
There’s a sun-kissed glory to June West’s music, something like the Montana landscape amid which she was born, sprawling in glacial panes and desert rays. The budding songstress has since relocated to the comparably sunny Tucson, Ariz., where she’s been gearing up to share her dreamy self-titled debut. Set to release this September, June West sees its namesake glistening at full force. We posted a sneak peek of the album with the exclusive premiere of the album’s opening track, “Island of Women.” Wet guitar strums whir at the start, with West’s voice filtering overhead. “Every man wants a suntan / From the Island of Women,” —Jenzia Burgos


PASTE STUDIO
Erin Rae
Erin Rae maintains the delicate balancing act of catharsis with awareness of how others may respond to that catharsis. “There’s an option whether you want to just listen to the music, and that’s just nice and fun, and hopefully everyone thinks that it’s beautiful like I do,” Erin Rae tells Paste, “or you can just dive into the words.” But you should dive into Rae’s words. —Andy Crump

Houndmouth
Houndmouth’s new album Golden Age is dropping on Aug. 3 and will be the first Houndmouth record to not include Katie Toupin, who left the band in 2016 to pursue a solo career. They played three tracks at the Paste Studio including the album’s first single, “This Party,” which features a much stronger electronic influence than fans might be accustomed to from the indie/folk-rock band. —Anna Haas


FEATURES
Catching Up with Parcels’ Louie Swan
Parcels might not be very well known in America right now, but don’t be surprised when their funky electronic music ends up on some best of the year lists. The Australian band has been incredibly busy this year, touring all over the world and working diligently on their upcoming yet-to-be-titled album, but keyboardist Louie Swain took some of his precious time off to discuss the new record and the band’s changing sound. —Annie Black

Reassessing Paul McCartney’s Solo Career: Successful by Every Measure
The release of more new music by Paul McCartney again puts his solo work into the spotlight, nearly a half century after the breakup of the Beatles. The conventional wisdom is that McCartney’s AM-radio-centric solo career is disappointing and even embarrassing in comparison to his seminal work with the Fab Four. But there’s also a compelling case that it can be fairly categorized as the crowning achievement of the greatest artistic career of our time. —Michael Salfino

10 Fantastic Debut Albums Turning 10 This Year
It’s hard to believe an entire decade has passed since 2008. The year was filled with amazing music from bands like Sigur Rós, TV on the Radio and Girl Talk, but what really made 2008 special was the impact of brand-new artists putting out their first records. Ten years on, these debut albums have kept their luster, and while tacking a 10-year anniversary onto albums like For Emma, Forever Ago might make them feel like they came out, well, forever ago, it also reminds us of a time without songs like “Blindsided” to sink into. —Anna Haas

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