It’s (unofficially) summer and Paste is helping you kick off the long weekend with a look back at our best content from this week. In the studio, we hosted a group of amazing musicians, from England to Philly and plenty in between. On the features side, psych-rocker Rich Aucoin continued his bike tour across America. Plus, new tunes from Oh Sees, Cut Worms, Barrie and more. Check it all out below, and enjoy the beach and BBQ this weekend.
Cut Worms: Hollow Ground
Hollow Ground is the kind of project that could get watered down with too many cooks in the kitchen, so Max Clarke kept it tight: The album was produced by Foxygen’s Jonathan Rado in Los Angeles and Jason Finkel at Gary’s Electric in New York, and Clarke played most of the sounds himself, including guitars, bass, lap steel and keyboards. No surprise, then, that Hollow Ground boasts an impressive sonic consistency across all 10 tracks. —Ben Salmon
Jeremy Enigk: Return of the Frog Queen (Expanded Edition)
Return of the Frog Queen, reissued this week on Sub Pop, conjures a pastoral fantasy world that falls somewhere between childlike whimsy and existential despair—“Lizard,” on the face of it, is a dreamlike account of a lizard that lives in a castle, waiting for some unspecified moment to arrive. It’s as if Jeremy Enigk was trying his best to hold tight to youthful innocence even as it trickled away, like hugging a pile of warm sand. You couldn’t blame him: Enigk was just 22 when Return of the Frog Queen came out, following the unexpected success of Sunny Day Real Estate’s first two albums. The sudden attendant pressure helped break up the band as Enigk converted to Christianity and, apparently, tried to make sense of it all on his first solo album, with the help of a 21-piece orchestra.—Eric R. Danton
Barrie: ‘Tal Uno’
“Tal Uno” has a slow, hazy atmosphere that evokes images of bright lights dimmed by a running fog machine; it is a bleary-eyed look backwards. The lyrics are difficult to distinguish, swirling into the instruments, but the lyrics that stand out most are “I got your message, I left my necklace, I got your picture on my phone.” Framed within the track, these lines conjure thoughts of high school youthfulness while the phrase, “Don’t you think that you can do better?” sticks out like a dagger in the mist of the otherwise gently careening track.—Anna Haas
Oh Sees: ‘Overthrown’
The Oh Sees are responsible for 19 releases in their 20-year existence, and almost as many band names. Among the titles in their word bank are OCS, Thee Oh Sees, The Ohsees and various other descendants of these phonemes. But it’s just as “Oh Sees” that they’ll release a new album, Smote Reverser, on Aug. 17, their second recording under that moniker. The noise rockers shared the news Monday on Bandcamp, also clipping their new track, “Overthrown,” to the page. —Ellen Johnson
Maggie Rogers: ‘Fallingwater’
On her new track “Fallingwater,” produced by both Maggie Rogers and former Vampire Weekend member Rostam Batmanglij, she sings in streams of pure pop perfection, “I fought the current running just the way you would / And now I’m in the creek / And it’s getting harder / I’m like Fallingwater.” If “Alaska” was, for Rogers, a declaration of harmony with the natural world and that which she cannot control, “Fallingwater” feels like its opposite. Rogers admits to feeling stuck in, rather than symbiotic with, her environment, but she nonetheless stands her ground. —Ellen Johnson
Petal, the indie pop project of Kiley Lotz, will release a new album, Magic Gone, on June 8. Lotz visited the studio this week to play four tracks and discuss the themes of mental health, identity, and adulthood that inspired the record.
Los Angeles musician Naia Izumi, winner of NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Contest 2018, brought his innovative and mesmerizing sounds to Paste this week.
British pop singer Aston Merrygold brought his soulful voice and feel-good vibes to our studio, including an impressive cover of Michael Jackson’s classic “PYT.”
Read Rich Aucoin’s Tour Diary as He Bikes Across America: Volume 4
This is my final stretch on Route 66, which runs from Santa Monica, Calif., to Chicago, making the hard left turn north in Oklahoma. I’ll be curving off and heading further south toward Little Rock after Oklahoma City. It’s been very eye-opening to see “America’s Main Street” running through the bedrock of the American town, most of which have a museum dedicated to the Route 66 ideal with preserved relics from its heyday. Here’s one with “The Largest Route 66 Sign in the World”. —Rich Aucoin
Record Time: New & Notable Vinyl Releases (May 2018)
Record Time is Paste’s monthly column that takes a glimpse into the wide array of new vinyl releases that are currently flooding record stores around the world. Rather than run down every fresh bit of wax in the marketplace, we’ll home in on special editions, reissues and unusual titles that come across our desk with an interest in discussing both the music and how it is pressed and presented. This month that includes a collection of Bruce Springsteen’s early ‘90s albums, a boxed set of Jerry Garcia’s pre-Dead work and a criminally under-appreciated ‘70s rock band. —Robert Ham