This week saw the return of Paste favorites like Julien Baker and Nilüfer Yanya, plus promising releases from up-and-comers like Arlo Parks and Erika de Casier. Scroll down for seven of our favorite songs from the past week.
Arlo Parks shared several surprises for listeners this week, including new song “Green Eyes” and the announcement of her forthcoming debut album Collapsed In Sunbeams, out Jan. 29. “Green Eyes” stands out for Parks’ calming vocals and the light presence of a drum beat. It also features credits from another indie peer Clairo, who plays guitar and sings backing vocals. —Lexi Lane
Caroline Polachek shared “The Gate [Extended Mix]” to mark the one-year anniversary of her debut solo album Pang. Released via Perpetual Novice, the new 10-minute version was mixed by Polachek and features contributions from Oneohtrix Point Never and Danny L Harle. —Paris Rosenthal
Earlier this week, 4AD announced their latest signing: Copenhagen-based singer/songwriter Erika de Casier. de Casier shared her debut album Essentials last year via Independent Jeep Music. She released her first single with 4AD this week, “No Butterflies, No Nothing,” an ornate, harp-laden R&B track, marked by her satiny vocals and art-pop soundscapes. —Lizzie Manno
Julien Baker announced her third studio album Little Oblivions, which will arrive on Feb. 26 via Matador Records. In conjunction with the announcement, Baker revealed the album’s lead track “Faith Healer” alongside its music video. “Put most simply, I think that “Faith Healer” is a song about vices, both the obvious and the more insidious ways that they show up in the human experience,” Baker says. —Paris Rosenthal
London-based artist Nilüfer Yanya announced a new EP Feeling Lucky?, out on Dec. 11 via ATO Records. This EP follows her 2019 debut album Miss Universe, which resulted in a spot on our Best New Artists list. This week, she unveiled the first single/video “Crash.” The song, which was co-written and produced by her labelmate Nick Hakim, features bold, garbled guitars and her stylish, layered vocals. —Lizzie Manno
The Staves announced their first new album in six years, Good Woman, which will arrive on Feb. 5 via Nonesuch Records. Following the release of “Nazareth” and “Trying,” the trio shared the album’s title track. —Paris Rosenthal
Atlanta-based producer Stranded announced a new EP titled Post Meridian, out Dec. 4 via HOMAGE, and shared its title track. Post Meridian follows the release of 2018’s debut EP Celine’s Dilemma and 2020’s Long Dusk EP. Celine’s Dilemma even featured a remix from Rob Smith of U.K. trip-hop group Smith & Mighty. “Post Meridian” thrives on ’80s British post-punk guitars, disco-meets-house beats and unassuming yet melodious vocals. It also dips its toes into dance-punk and techno, making for an exuberant swath of danceable sounds. Its thrumming, neon-colored spirit is contagious. —Lizzie Manno
Valley Maker (aka singer/songwriter Austin Crane) shared “Mockingbird,” his first new music since 2019’s “Supernatural” and his 2018 LP Rhododendron. It’s a calming, folky rumination about shifting sands, and much like his previous work, “Mockingbird” thrives on Crave’s intuitive vocal cadence, subtly accenting words to draw the most passion out of his songs. “It’s a song about trying to settle in while feeling quite unsettled,” Crane says. “My wife, Megan, and I had just bought a small, historic house that needed (still needs!) a lot of work, and wanting to do something tangible and forward looking, I planted my favorite tree in the yard: a Japanese Maple. There’s a line in the song that acknowledges how I’ll ‘sit for a while and watch it grow,’ as a way of accepting that season of uncertainty and transition.” Revisit Valley Maker’s Paste Studio session here.