This week, the Paste Music team did some screaming of our own over the Screaming Females’ (pictured above) fantastic new album, All at Once. We also dug into great new songs by Janelle Monae and Nathaniel Rateliff, hosted stunning live performances by Soccer Mommy and Shawn Colvin, and asked George Washington to rank his 10 favorite songs in honor of his 286th birthday. Catch up with Paste’s favorite albums, songs, performances and features of the past seven days.
Screaming Females: All at Once
Much of Screaming Females’ appeal, and even their greatness, is their esotericism—in particular the impenetrable world of Marissa Paternoster’s hermetic guitar, lyrical poetry and visual art. Their new album veers from that world sharply, collecting some of the most conventionally anthemic and melodic rock songs of their career. The ironic twist is that for the New Jersey trio, this is their experiment, one for which their six previous albums spent developing their own inimitable sound has well prepared them. All at Once, dares to adopt the structure of existing rock genres. They fully commit to the majestic (punk) power ballad on “Black Moon.” “Agnes Martin” is a transcendent ode to the abstract visual artist, rendered in towering fire whirl of psych rock. “I’ll Make You Sorry” is hooky power pop stopping just short of handclaps. It could have ruled the alternative airwaves in the ’90s. —Beverly Bryan
Caroline Rose: Loner
Caroline Rose’s 2014 album I Will Not Be Afraid was an eclectic roots-rock album, but you got the sense that it was the sound of an artist bursting at the seams. “I’m never going to consider myself an Americana artist,” she told American Songwriter in 2013, “because eventually I’m going to branch out and do other stuff.” The time for “other stuff” has arrived. LONER finds the NYC-based singer-songwriter exploring an entirely new musical aesthetic without sacrificing any of the mischievous spark that coursed through her earlier work. She has ditched roots-rock in favor of a punchier, studio-powered pop sound, packed with danceable beats, prominent synths, big choruses and plenty of swagger. She remains unafraid of singing about serious subjects (capitalism, sexism, death, etc.) but on LONER, she delivers it through a bold, candy-colored filter that’s always intriguing and often irresistible. —Bren Salmon
S. Carey: Hundred Acres
Sometimes you just need to close your eyes and let your ears find beauty and comfort. This year’s model is Hundred Acres, the new album from S. Carey, known to his family as Sean and to most of the music-loving masses as the other honeyed voice in Bon Iver. This is his third solo album, and it’s well-written, breathtakingly pretty and as edgy as a cue ball. Repeated listens reveal a commonality among the album’s highlights: percussion. Thanks to pitter-patter drums and a slightly sturdier pace, the mid-album stretch from “True North” to “More I See” leaves a deeper impression than the ethereal wisps that surround it. “Meadow Song,” an earth-toned hymn-meets-deep breathing exercise, is a fitting closer. —Ben Salmon
Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats: ‘Coolin’ Out’
The soul-filled act out of Denver, Colo., dropped the latest single from their forthcoming album, Tearing at the Seams, set to release on March 9 via Stax Records. The rhythmic new “Coolin’ Out,” which features backing by Lucius and some hip-shaking horns, is the third single off the album, following the releases of ‘Hey Mama’ and lead single ‘You Worry Me.’ —Abdiel Vallejo-Lopez
Janelle Monae: ‘Make Me Feel’
After years spent building a successful acting career, Janelle Monae revealed the details of her third studio album, Dirty Computer, out April 27 via Atlantic Records. The first single, “Make Me Feel,”showcases Monae’s greatest strengths: It’s a funky, soulful, slightly left-field pop song that would fit right in on the INXS back catalogue. Led by Monae’s luscious, strong lead vocals, the song is sprinkled with glittery synth riffs and a wide range of sound effects like finger snaps and tongue clucks. —Lizzie Manno
Media Jeweler: ‘Motivate’
L.A. DIY mainstays and self-proclaimed “electric guitar-based music group” Media Jeweler are releasing a new record, 1-800-SUCCEED, on March 30. The follow-up to 2015’s $99 R/T Hawaii, it’s a hypnotic blend of tense post-punk and math rock precision. Highlighting prickly guitars and subtle-yet-feverish rhythms, 1-800-SUCCEED expels intermittent bursts of cool, agitated calm. This week the band shared a new video for “Motivate,” the album’s jumpy lead single, which repurposes a found-item video of a bygone casting call. —Loren DiBlasi
Soccer Mommy is 20-year-old Sophie Allison from Nashville, whose enchanting bedroom pop releases first garnered her much attention. Her debut LP, Clean, takes Soccer Mommy’s intimate vibes a step further, adding layered instrumentation, gorgeous production and lyrics that are bolder and more biting. When Soccer Mommy sings of love and longing, she possesses a youthful power that is stunning to behold.
The Grammy-winning singer’s new album, The Starlighter, is wholly inspired by the children’s book “Lullabies and Night Songs,” which Colvin loved as a child growing up in South Dakota. Watch her perform the title track with pianist Bryn Roberts.
The Norwegian folk outfit has been wowing their native listeners for years now, but new album While I Was Asleep is bringing them across the pond. Watch Tor Egil Kreken and Mari Kreken beautifully entwine their voices on “Rolling On.”
Why Hüsker Dü—Not Nirvana—Were the Real Kings of Punk’s Second Wave
Nirvana sold more records and got more press coverage, but everything they did musically, Hüsker Dü did earlier, better and longer. The genius of Hüsker Dü’s Mould, drummer Grant Hart and bassist Greg Norton was to turn punk’s initial strategy inside out. By curdling the guitar sound until it was more oppressive than buoyant, Mould made the guitars represent the stifling reality they were complaining about in their lyrics. In other words, the guitars became the antagonist rather than the ally of the voice and thus allowed a richer drama to be acted out within the song. —Geoffrey Himes
Renata Zeiguer: The Best of What’s Next
Brooklyn singer Renata Zeiguer is not much for self-congratulation, even though she would be entitled to brag for days about having recorded Old Ghost, a quiet stunner of an album—full of catchy, well-constructed indie-pop songs that are more complex than they seem. The stories on Old Ghost, which comes out Friday via Northern Spy Records, are in many ways autobiographical. Zeiguer, 29, wrote the nine tunes over a two-year stretch as she worked to shed lingering adolescent angst, deal with social anxiety and find ways to express the anger she feels as a woman becoming more conscious of the sexism and hypocrisy all around her. —Eric R. Danton
George Washington’s 10 Favorite Songs (by George Washington)
Thursday was my 286th birthday, and let me just say, fuck Alexander Hamilton. When that guy was alive, I’m telling you no one cared about his taste in music. But nowadays, to hear his name in New York, you’d think the man invented music. Most people under the age of 110 don’t even realize he wasn’t a rapper at all. Me, I’m a aesthete, a true lover of culture. I’m a sick dancer, you know. And I’m getting a little tired of all this fawning over Hamilton, especially since the best line about me in his stupid songs is ripped off directly from Gilbert & Sullivan. That’s the thanks I get. To even things out a little, I thought I’d let my fellow Americans in on just what makes old George—the father of our country—tick. Here are the songs I’m jamming to right now. —George Washington