The Week In Music: The Best Albums, Songs, Performances and More

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The Week In Music: The Best Albums, Songs, Performances and More

We thought this week would never end—in the words of the Titanic’s Old Rose, “it’s been 84 years,” or at least it felt like that. But it’s almost the weekend, so hopefully you’ll be able to set aside some “me time” and allow yourself space to unwind. To accompany your time of relaxation, we recommend diving into some of the best music from the past week. Our picks include new albums from Yves Tumor, Scott Hardware and Thundercat, and while you’re at it, why not read about our most-anticipated albums of April or dive into the return of our Best of What’s Next column? We hope you stay well and enjoy the latest edition of Paste’s weekly music roundup.

BEST ALBUMS

Yves Tumor: Heaven to a Tortured Mind

Yves Tumor’s new album opens with Sean Bowie shouting “I think I can solve it / I can be your all.” Later, on “Medicine Burn,” they claim “I can’t lift my own troubles,” then shout a reversal on single “Kerosene!”: “I can be anything / tell me what you need.” Heaven to a Tortured Mind is emphatically about what Tumor can and can’t do, because what else are pop anthems about? “Creep” is about how Radiohead is incapable of fitting in with mainstream society, while “I Will Always Love You” is a declaration of Whitney Houston’s enduring love amid crisis. Yves Tumor have long skirted the line between pop candor and experimental psychedelia, often landing somewhere far away from both in a wonderland of threatening, dagger-sharp guitar riffs and gossamer vocal production. In many ways, 2018’s Safe in the Hands of Love was Tumor’s official rockstar moment. Listening to Heaven for a Tortured Mind will make you question your own memories of the singer, because they’ve never sounded more immediate, more relatable or more desirously messy. —Austin Jones

Scott Hardware: Engel

Engel, the sophomore album from Toronto singer/songwriter Scott Hardware, was inspired by Wim Wenders’ 1987 film Wings of Desire, which follows angels in pre-unified Berlin as they listen to the thoughts of humans and comfort them. “I sought with this album to capture the film’s velvety feeling—funny, depressing, dark and mundane—in LP form,” Hardware says. “These songs imagine Wenders’ angels buzzing around my friends, my family and I. Writing from their point of view allowed me unfettered access to my own thoughts about them and myself.” Engel is filled with touching, elegant art-pop that evokes the flaws and triumphs of everyday people. Plush strings and piano are perfectly suited to this brush with angels while the occasionally jarring electronic textures that adorn this LP point to the world’s beautiful yet cruel disarray. Hardware’s rich vocals are so gorgeous that they embody the noble, supernatural and biblical qualities of these winged healers. —Lizzie Manno

BEST TRACKS

caroline:Dark blue

London-based band caroline, who Paste recently highlighted as a British band to know in 2020, released two new tracks, which coincidentally are perfect for easy listening while working from home. New from Rough Trade Records, caroline’s two singles, “Dark blue” and “BRJ,” are available across DSPs now and will be released as a 12” single on April 24. The new songs are musically beautiful as the members of caroline play everything from cello, violin, electric guitar and even the trumpet. —Daniella Boik

Thundercat:Innerstellar Love

This week, Thundercat released the final single from his new LP, It is What It Is, out now on Brainfeeder. “Interstellar Love” is a harmonic journey with contributions from Flying Lotus, Kamasi Washington and percussionist Ronald Bruner Jr. The instrumentals in this track create a quiet galaxy with Bruner’s whispering falsetto leading us through. Listening is a peaceful experience tempered by Washington’s passionate saxophone solo. —Jarrod Johnson II

Happyness:Ouch (yup)

British lo-fi rockers Happyness have shared a new single, “Ouch (yup),” from their forthcoming third album Floatr, out on May 1. Following previous singles “Vegetable” and “Seeing Eye Dog,” “Ouch (yup)” also maintains their lo-fi roots, but it’s not an empty pastiche. It grapples with the personal and political defeatism that’s so easy to slip into these days—wondering how long we can (and should) tread water and marveling at how we convince ourselves that things are set in stone when they really aren’t. But it’s not overly bleak, thanks in part to their enlivening guitar passages and Jonny Allan’s trustworthy vocals. —Lizzie Manno

FEATURES

The 10 Albums We’re Most Excited About in April

At last, April is upon us! There’s no guaranteeing anything any more, but we can at least look forward to the month’s new releases, which, as of Wednesday, includes the long-awaited new Fiona Apple album! Praise be to the indie gods. Also arriving this month is the new release from The Strokes (!!), a spirited album from brother-sister folk group Watkins Family Hour and a few fire new records from up-and-coming groups like Peel Dream Magazine and Why Bonnie. Chaos reigns, but with dark and wild times comes good art, and we’ll be here bringing you the best of it as long as we’re standing. I’d wish you “happy listening,” but “happy” seems like a stretch, so, yeah—just go forth and listen! —Paste Staff

Porridge Radio: The Best of What’s Next

Porridge Radio have the ultimate band trajectory. Step one: Start a band even though you haven’t figured out how to play your instruments yet. Step two: Book your own shows and build up your reputation as a must-see live band. Step three: Spend years perfecting every tiny detail of the songs that will comprise your eventual first studio album. Step four: Release that album to overwhelming critical acclaim and chuckle at how long it took people to realize what you knew from the beginning—that you’re the best band in the world. This Brighton, U.K. foursome recently released their debut studio full-length Every Bad, which follows their 2016 self-recorded first album Rice, Pasta And Other Fillers. After signing to Secretly Canadian last year, it was clear they were going to lose their title as the best-kept secret of their British seaside town. Porridge Radio, led by their entrancing singer Dana Margolin, are headed for the big time. They put out three of the most incredible singles (“Lilac,” “Sweet” and “Circling”) to kick off an album campaign in a very long time and planned a U.S. tour with noticeable anticipation building for their SXSW debut (the festival was later canceled). Margolin is glad people have finally caught up with the band, especially now that they’ve unleashed the grand, dynamic rock songs they’ve always wanted to make after years of uploading experimental, lo-fi recordings to Bandcamp. —Lizzie Manno

The 10 Best Albums of March 2020

For obvious reasons, the beginning of March feels like an entire year ago. But somehow, some way, we’ve arrived at the end of this truly horrid month. If there’s even a single new album from the past 31 days that you can remember, we salute you. If you’ve been busy trying to come to terms with the news lately, we’d like to invite you back into the world of music, even just for 45 minutes, to unwind by listening to one of these great albums. March saw the release of breakout records from bands like Porridge Radio, Dogleg and Disq as well as potential career bests from veterans Waxahatchee and Caribou. Whether you’re a fan of country, electro-pop, punk, indie or art-pop, you deserve some good, old-fashioned escapism. —Paste Staff

20 Band Reunions We Want to Happen in 2020

Live music has been shut down indefinitely. We’re not quite sure how the industry will recover or what the mood will be like when shows resume. But this lengthy period of social distancing has made us realize how important live music is to our lives. We’re so desperate to see a band play that we’d start foaming at the mouth when presented with the chance to overpay for beer and watch literally the worst dad rock covers band in history. Because of this unusual live events hiatus, we thought we’d take the opportunity to create the most insane band reunion wishlist possible—obscure bands and mainstream giants, groups whose last incarnation was recent or more distant and even the most unrealistic reunions around. So here, Paste ponders—perhaps a little selfishly (but we’re sad right now, so let us dream)—which bands we’d most want to trot back on stage when all this chaos is over. These groups probably won’t bring the world together via some “We Are The World” fantasy, but they would certainly bring us and their other fans joy. Fingers crossed that we get at least one of these to happen in 2020 and that you find a band you love listed here. —Lizzie Manno & Paste Staff

The 15 Best Songs of March 2020

March 2020 is one month that will be remembered for generations to come. While it will undoubtedly be remembered for the coronavirus pandemic, I might add with the tiniest possible footnote that it was also the same month that saw the return of Bob Dylan, Bright Eyes and the Dixie Chicks. There’s obviously no equating the magnitude of these occurrences, but it feels significant that several of our favorite artists seemed to pop up when we needed them most. This has been a more chaotic time than usual, but Paste’s regular scheduled music content is still here for you when and if you need it. Here are 15 of our favorite songs from March 2020. —Paste Staff

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