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

After rounding up the albums we’re most looking forward to this month, we’re now getting the first taste of those today (March 6). Madison power-pop upstarts Disq and dynamic, rootsy singer/songwriter Jonathan Wilson have both impressed us with their new full-lengths as have new Fat Possum signee Lightning Bug and Paste favorite Courtney Marie Andrews with their new singles this week. Whether you’re in the mood for an incredible live session from Real Estate, a ranking of the best Bond themes or a curated cooking playlist, Paste has you covered.

BEST ALBUMS

Disq: Collector

Even when they were young teens, it was obvious that Disq knew how to write great pop songs. Starting out as a duo of Isaac deBroux-Slone and Raina Bock in Madison, Wisc., the band self-recorded their first release—an EP titled Disq 1—in deBroux-Slone’s basement and released it in 2016. Its sweet psych and power-pop weren’t fully cooked, but it had palpable charisma and contained seeds of the wide range of sounds they’d explore in the future. After recruiting three more full-time members—Shannon Connor (guitar, keys), Logan Severson (guitar/backing vocals) and Brendan Manley (drums)—and signing to Saddle Creek for their debut album, Disq were fully equipped to bring their distinct charm and varying influences to life. While earning their stripes as an opening band, playing with acts like Shame, Jay Som and Girlpool, it was hard to determine which direction they would go since their shows were much punkier than any of their recordings up until that point. Now that their Rob Schnapf-produced (Beck, Elliott Smith) first album Collector has arrived, we have an answer: It’s perhaps more uniform in sound than their debut EP and live shows would suggest, but it shows off their dynamic guitar triple-threat, down-to-earth lyrics and instantaneous pop know-how that made them so enjoyable and relatable in the first place. —Lizzie Manno

Jonathan Wilson: Dixie Blur

North Carolina-born, Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Jonathan Wilson—whose work you, as a Paste reader, are all but certainly familiar with whether you recognize his name or not—shares his fourth album Dixie Blur this week via BMG. Wilson knows his way ‘round a tune, as his resumé reflects. As a producer, he’s worked with the likes of Father John Misty, Conor Oberst, Laura Marling, Dawes and Karen Elson. Wilson recorded Dixie Blur in Nashville in order to reconnect to his Southern roots, working with producer Pat Sansone of Wilco and recording everything live in-studio with a stacked supporting cast, a stark contrast to his previous albums, on which he handled most of the instrumentation himself. —Scott Russell

BEST TRACKS

Lightning Bug:The Onely Ones

Lightning Bug, the project led by Brooklyn singer/songwriter Audrey Kang, have announced their signing to Fat Possum and the reissue of their 2019 album October Song. Last month, Paste featured Lightning Bug on our list of NYC bands to know in 2020, complimenting Kang’s “cleansing voice and their generous appreciation for details.” This week, Lightning Bug have also shared a brand new single “The Onely Ones,” which you can hear below. The song’s comforting otherworldliness is exactly what makes Lightning Bug so intoxicating. Its windy electro-shoegaze is both choppy and ascendant, and Kang’s vocals are piercingly beautiful. —Lizzie Manno

Ohmme:3 2 4 3

We’ve hailed indie-rock duo Ohmme as both a Chicago band to know and an outstanding live act, so you could say we’re pleased to report they’ve announced a new album, the follow-up to their 2018 debut Parts. Fantasize Your Ghost, coming June 5 via Joyful Noise Recordings, is preceded by lead single “3 2 4 3,” which arrives alongside an arresting music video somewhat reminiscent of Jordan Peele’s Us. —Scott Russell

Courtney Marie Andrews:If I Told

Big-hearted Americana singer/songwriter Courtney Marie Andrews has announced her next album. Old Flowers, a follow-up to 2018’s May Your Kindness Remain (one of our favorite releases from that year), is set to arrive June 5 on Mississippi indie powerhouse Fat Possum. “I learned to love the worst parts of you,” Andrews sings on “If I Told.” It’s a Dolly Parton-esque country song tinged with regret and curiosity in regards to the serendipity of relationships. —Ellen Johnson

BEST PERFORMANCES

Real Estate

Following their new album The Main Thing, which Paste praised for its “warmth” and “subtle changes,” indie rock favorites Real Estate dropped by our Manhattan studio to perform songs from it: “November,” “Paper Cup,” “Falling Down” and “Also a But.”

Zoë Keating

Canadian cellist and composer Zoë Keating stopped by the Paste HQ in Atlanta to perform one of our most stunning studio sessions in recent memory. These layered cello selections are all untitled and overwhelmingly beautiful.

FEATURES

Presenting: The Perfect Cooking Playlist

As our friend Alex Delany once said in an article very similar to this one, over at Bon Appetit: “A restaurant without a soundtrack isn’t one worth being in, and a silent kitchen isn’t one worth cooking in.” We cannot help but concur. Music, like many hands, as the old saying goes, just makes light work. And while spices and smells are certainly key to inspiring creativity at the stove, so are sounds, and, no, this isn’t just true for the Christmas music your mom plays on the radio when you gather to frost cookies. Cooking is just more fun when you’re listening to something good, all year round. It’s science! With that theory in mind, we set out to make the ideal cooking playlist, something that will help move the work along, but still keep chefs entertained. Satisfied, but not overwhelmed. We polled our office for multi-genre, multi-generational choices for the best songs and albums to cook to. Everything from Donna Summer and the Alabama Shakes to Caroline Polacheck and Miles Davis are welcome across our metaphorical threshold onto the checkered tile of our metaphorical kitchen. What we got was a mixtape so perfect for kitchen listening you’ll want to keep it on all the time, in every room of the house. —Ellen Johnson & Paste Staff

Every James Bond Theme Song, Ranked

A staple of the franchise since 1964, the James Bond opening credits song is as integral to the brand as the gadgets, the Bond girls, the shaken and not stirred martinis, the “Bond, James Bond” line, and the occasional sexual assault that’s played down as romantic horseplay. The back-to-back combo of the cold open action set piece that’s barely tied to the main plot, and the suave and/or assertive song that accompanies the stylish credits sequence full of babes, guns, and babes wielding guns, serve as a sort of hype man for the main act. If these elements fail to make the audience feel as if they’re in their navy tux, nonchalantly keeping tabs on a bad guy in a high-stakes casino, when in fact they’re plopped in front of the TV, wearing nothing but their dirty underwear and a “Who Farted?” shirt, then that Bond flick starts off with a handicap. Of course this doesn’t mean that a Bond installment with a sub-par title song is automatically going to result in a bad movie. But it will stumble a bit until it gets on its feet. On the other hand, a fun and engaging song can at least give us some warm and fuzzy feelings about a Bond flick that’s otherwise pathetically inept—looking at you, A View To A Kill. With Billie Eilish’s eponymous new song for the new Bond, No Time To Die (whose release date was pushed to November due to the coronavirus), recently released to boost interest in the film, let’s rank all Bond opening title songs from the last six decades. First, some ground rules: We’re ranking only songs, with lyrics, that play over the opening credits. —Oktay Ege Kozak

The Most Iconic Commercial/Song Pairings of the Last 20 Years

No one loves watching commercials. Typically, they’re just an annoyance—a distraction from whatever it is you’re actually trying to consume. However, they’re becoming a scarcity in many people’s lives. These days, more and more of us are cutting cable and switching over to streaming-only when it comes to our entertainment avenues—and if a particular streaming outlet has ads, more often than not we’re inclined to pay the extra few dollars a month not to have to endure them. Point being: commercials, they’re a dying breed! While we’re not going to cry over a loss of distracting advertisements, it is worth looking back through the history of commercials—the last two decades in particular—and thinking about which ones felt culturally significant. For many people in the MP3 generation, brands like Apple and Volkswagen introduced us to hip new songs by artists who would later blow up—or even become our favorites. Now we have Shazam, and if we hear a cool tune we don’t have to quickly memorize lyrics so we can later plug them into Google and find the song at hand. Throughout most of the 2000s, however, we discovered commercial songs the good ol’ fashioned way. Read on for the Paste Staff’s favorite song/advertisement moments from the last 20 years. Don’t worry—we won’t try to sell you anything. —Ellen Johnson & Paste Staff

10 Bands to See at NYC’s 2020 New Colossus Festival

The second edition of New York City’s New Colossus Festival will take place March 11-15. This Lower East Side fest offers showcases with up-and-coming bands, many of which are on their way to SXSW, plus an accompanying industry conference with panels featuring music industry vets. This year’s artist lineup has over 100 bands, many of whom are international acts or prominent NYC groups. Paste Magazine is hosting a showcase at this year’s festival, which features a curated lineup of some of our favorite on-the-rise bands, plus longtime indie favorite Tim Burgess of The Charlatans. If you live in New York and are looking for a taste of this exciting new crop of musicians, New Colossus is the festival for you. We’ve listed 10 artists we’re excited to check out at this year’s event, five of which are playing our sponsored showcase at Berlin on March 13 and three of which are filming live sessions in our Manhattan studio (Ali Barter, Honey Lung and Ducks Unlimited). Click here to purchase a festival badge, which gives you access to all the festival events, or click here to purchase tickets for Paste’s showcase—just $10! —Lizzie Manno

The 10 Albums We’re Most Excited About in March

This year has already provided us with dozens of albums we’re going to be listening to for a while. Judging by the release schedule, next month will bring more enduring records to add to our collection. Some of today’s finest songwriters are set to release albums in March, like U.S. Girls’ Meg Remy, Stephen Malkmus and Waxahatchee’s Katie Crutchfield, and we’ll also receive records from exciting newer names looking to climb the ranks, like Disq, Deeper, Overcoats and Porridge Radio. Whether you’re seeking familiar comforts or something new, you’ll have no trouble finding something you like this month—especially if you read this guide of albums that we at Paste are looking forward to. —Paste Staff

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