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

Let's review: Eleanor Friedberger, Born Ruffians, Courtney Barnett and more

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

February is flying by (it is the shortest month of the year, after all). It’s been easy to miss all the great new music floating around. With Valentine’s Day (thankfully) over and done with, we’re now looking ahead to March, but we want to make sure you haven’t missed anything. Check out our weekly roundup, featuring this week’s best new music from Born Ruffians, Marlon Williams, Eleanor Friedberger (pictured above) and more, plus must-read features and our favorite studio sessions.

Marlon Williams: Make Way For Love
If anyone can straight up tell you “love is terrible,” while still making you crave love terribly, it’s Marlon Williams. His velvet-rich voice is one that’s part lounge smoothie, one part vintage crooner, and one part vampiric Roy Orbison filled to the brim with drama and inherent romance. This ensures that Make Way For Love is more than an album full of weepy torch-songs, but an ode to all the feelings and phases that are the makings of a relationship’s end. — Madison Desler

U.S. Girls: In a Poem Unlimited
On “Velvet For Sale,” though Meg Remy’s voice is petal-soft, surrounded by Donna Summer breathing and the unmistakable wah-wah of ‘70s exploitation-flick soundtracks, she’s got blood on her mind. “It’s all just fiction,” she sings sweetly, “But don’t forget the revenge.” “Mad As Hell,” with its dance-ready beat and Remy’s take on “Heart of Glass” vocals, is straight disco fantasy as she rails against political deception—an ingenious take on anti-war protest meets Studio 54. — Madison Desler

Born Ruffians: Uncle, Duke & The Chief
Described by the band as “going back to the deepest, most satisfying itch to scratch,” Uncle, Duke & The Chief is certainly a return. You can hear the downsizing on “Miss You,” stripped-down guitar and Steve Hamelin’s trusty kick-drum staying out of the way of the soaring chorus. All energy, energy, energy, “Fade To Black” wouldn’t be out of place on the first album. As Hamelin’s propulsive drumming combining with Luke Lalonde’s inherent, punk playfulness, they take things back to when their songs felt like being on a rollercoaster, zooming around corners and dropping, clattering down the wooden track into the exhilaration of the chorus. —Madison Desler

Dr. Dog: “Go Out Fighting”
Their forthcoming LP, Critical Equation, is the first album Dr. Dog have recorded under the direction of an outside producer, Gus Seyffert (Beck, Bedouine). “Go Out Fighting,” the second single released off the album, is said to be inspired by a collection of sources, from reggae music to the Hammond s6 organ. — Abdiel Vallejo-Lopez

Eleanor Friedberger: “In Between Stars”
During a month-long stay in Athens, Greece, Eleanor Friedberger learned of an ‘80s-themed nightclub called Rebound, a “dark and smoky goth disco” where, apparently, “everybody does the chicken dance.” “Rebound proved to be a revelation in terms of finding the sound and energy for my fourth album,” said the artist. — Abdiel Vallejo-Lopez

The High Divers: “Let Your Love Be Known”
A crisp and pretty love song, “Let Your Love Be Known” features sprightly guitar, delicate keys, and swirling background noise, all of which cushion the elegant harmonies of husband-and-wife bandmates Luke and Mary Alice Mitchell. New album Chicora, named for the band’s neighborhood in Charleston, is inspired by the city’s supportive music scene and strong sense of community. —Loren DiBlasi

Walter Martin
Since departing The Walkmen, Walter Martin has made sophisticated songs for both adults and children alike. His new album, Reminisce Bar & Grill, features earnest fare like “The Drummer” and “I’m a Puppy,” which he performed for a captivated Paste Music audience in our studio this week.

The Blind Boys of Alabama
The gospel legends have been singing together in one form or another for EIGHT decades now, leading to their 2017 collection, Almost Home. Original member Jimmy Carter led the Boys through three gorgeous harmonies at Paste.

Kady Z
Pop singer Kady Z comes from a famous Hollywood family, which she opened up about in her Paste studio session. In between gentle ballads like “Treehouse” and an impressive Cyndi Lauper cover, Kady talked about her strained relationship with her father as well as her iconic mom, actress and singer Pia Zadora.

Myles Kennedy
Hard-rock vocalist Myles Kennedy (Alter Bridge, The Mayfield Four) stopped by to promote his new record, the largely acoustic Year of the Tiger. It’s is a noted departure from his signature heavy sounds, and was inspired by the death of his father more than 40 years ago.

The 12 Best Courtney Barnett Songs
Courtney Barnett has invaded the vanguard of modern songwriters in a few short years by painting her weary worldview one insanely catchy, deadpanned song at a time. Self-effacing yet confident, frank yet timid, her four-chord yarns tumble out in bursts of melodic inner monologue, bubbling with quick observations, random ideas and a nervous emotional logic. Here are Paste’s 12 favorite Barnett songs. —Matthew Oshinsky

As Vinyl Records Boom, New Delivery Services Get in the Groove
2017 proved to be a watershed moment for the music industry, which can’t seem to go a decade without one. A report from BuzzAngle found that a whopping 377 billion songs and albums were streamed, a 50% increase overall, and that downloads fell dramatically. If people seem less and less interested in actually buying and owning the music they listen to, one of the small saviors has been the continued increase in vinyl sales.—Robert Ham

The 15 New British Bands You Need To Know in 2018
A gaggle of exciting new British bands are poised to catch fire, hailing from the tiny Scottish town of John o’ Groats all the way to London. The bands we’re highlighting here are eclectic and can’t be described with a handy blanket term like Britpop or new wave, and that’s a good thing. They are some of the best new folk, post-punk, garage rock, experimental, alternative, punk, indie rock, psych and krautrock artists kicking around at the moment. Here are 15 UK bands to watch out for. —Lizzie Manno

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