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

Despite the amount of releases slightly starting to taper off before this year’s end, Paste’s music section had a busy week covering the best in new music. We had chats with Elle King, Greta Van Fleet, Strand of Oaks’ Timothy Showalter and My Morning Jacket’s Carl Broemel. We jammed out to fantastic new records from LA singer-songwriter Miya Folick and Aussie folk-pop duo Oh Pep! We also compiled some great lists of our favorite albums from 2008, favorite Mom+Pop releases, and albums from this century that we’d like to hear live in full. And last but not least, Paste launched a new podcast called Live at Paste Studio where you can listen to our favorite studio sessions every Monday and Thursday. You can listen or subscribe at iTunes, GooglePlay Music or listen right here at PasteMagazine.com. Without further ado, here are some of our favorite songs, albums, performances and features from this past week.

BEST ALBUMS

Miya Folick: Premonitions

After releasing two EP’s—2015’s Strange Darling and 2017’s Give It To Me—Los Angeles singer-songwriter Miya Folick has shared her debut album in the form of the starkly titled Premonitions, which is characterized by her jaw-dropping vocal range. Her larger than life vocals derive, in part, from her classical training, but she also has the kind of pipes that just don’t seem teachable. On songs like “Stock Image” and “Thingamajig,” she exhibits an otherworldly, operatic beauty, while on “Freak Out” and “Cost Your Love,” there’s a bouncy, sugary and simple joy marked by frenetic synths, grounding guitars and spry percussion. Even the largest songs have a clear sense of intimacy while introspective tracks like “Baby Girl” and “What We’ve Made” are distinctly grand. A lyric from “What We’ve Made” is a perfect metaphor for the album. She sings, “We make tiny happinesses in each moment,” which is exactly what this record feels like. She handcrafts everyday situations into something angelic yet relatable and celebratory yet poignant. Her appeal extends well beyond the realms of pop as there’s a distinct, developed lyrical voice and a dynamic, extraordinary literal voice that makes 2018 feel much less scary and isolating and much more pure and magical. —Lizzie Manno

Oh Pep!: I Wasn’t Only Thinking About You…

The sophomore release from Aussie folk-pop duo Oh Pep! is irresistable pop bolstered by the pair’s talented musicianship. Olivia Hally, who plays guitar and sings, and Pepita Emmerichs, who masters both fiddle and mandolin, met while attending a performing arts high school in Melbourne nearly a decade ago, and they could easily have had careers as studio musicians. But, instead, they write pop songs—some of the year’s best at that. On I Wasn’t Only Thinking About You…, Oh Pep! seem to take cues from both Taylor Swift’s 1989 and First Aid Kit’s The Lion’s Roar, the latter an obvious comparison considering both FAK and Oh Pep! are female folk duos. But Oh Pep! exist in a sphere all their own: Songs like “Your Nail And Your Hammer” recall Swift’s sparkling pop production while also playing up First Aid Kit-worthy bluegrass sounds and lyrical metaphors. “Cold little heart breaks apart with your nail and your hammer,” Hally sings. From their ode to rock bottom on “Hurt Nobody,” to their tremendously fun tribute to girl-gabbing on “What’s The Deal With David?,” Oh Pep! cover a scope of emotion on I Wasn’t Only Thinking About You…, that’s part breakup album and part coming-of-age opus. —Ellen Johnson

BEST TRACKS

Steve Gunn:New Moon

Steve Gunn has announced a new album, The Unseen In Between, with the arrival of its lead single “New Moon.” The Unseen in Between is Gunn’s first album since 2016’s Eyes on the Lines. “New Moon” grows gradually, layering instruments as it wanders toward its pinnacle: the final minute and a half-or-so of the track. Enlisting an upright bass and tremolo-heavy guitars, the track feels as though it’s meandering—with intention—instrumentally. This theme is present lyrically, as well, with the lines, “I see a glimmer / Across the wall / Through the mirror / Out past the streets / Beyond weather / To that place / No one seems to know.” Tony Garnier, musical director for Bob Dylan, provides the bass on the track and serves as a frequent collaborator on the album along with Meg Baird, who provides harmonies. —Emma Korstanje

Whim:Mouths

Singer-songwriter Sarah Isabella DiMuzio, who records under the alias Whim, is gearing up to release a new full-length LP on Fluff and Gravy Records sometime next year, which will be the follow-up to her debut album, 400 Days. The first song from the forthcoming record is a siren call that begs the listener to use their “mouth” and make their voice heard. “Mouths” surfaces as a bouncy, riffy guitar tune, but listen carefully, and you’ll find DiMuzio is making a strong statement on top of all that shine. It’s a catchy indie-rock anthem arriving just in time for the midterm elections, which is a great time to make one’s voice heard. “What is this silence about?” DiMuzio sings. ”’Cause we are the people who shout.” “Mouths” sounds like the spirited soundtrack to a bipartisan effort to encourage voter registration. DiMuzio reminds us that it’s okay to be a little unsure, as long as you use your voice when it becomes imperative to do so. “Everyone has doubts when they’re screaming out into the void,” she sings. —Ellen Johnson

Indoor Pets:Being Strange

After signing with indie label Wichita Recordings, British rockers Indoor Pets have announced their debut album, Be Content, out next year on Mar. 9. They shared a new single, “Being Strange,” which follows the release of their previous single “Hi.” Previously known as Get Inuit, Indoor Pets sound like classic Weezer trying their hand at bubblegum pop, or Pixies dropping a pop-punk record. You’ll be surprised to know that frontman Jamie Glass’ voice isn’t manipulated with autotune and he didn’t suck helium from a balloon—those high-pitched harmonies are the real deal. If Indoor Pets were around in the ‘00s, “Being Strange” would’ve spread like wildfire in the U.S.—blasting out of car radios, shopping mall speakers and skate park boomboxes, and with a video all over MTV. That’s not to say that Indoor Pets don’t bring anything different to the table. You’d be hard pressed to find many bands naturally singing like Glass, unironically basking in candy-coated pop hooks while still shredding power chords. —Lizzie Manno

BEST PERFORMANCES

Rubblebucket

Rubblebucket stopped by the Paste Studio to perform songs from their latest full-length, Sun Machine, which came out this August via Grand Jury Music. The Brooklyn pop duo made up of Kalmia Traver and Alex Toth brought some guest musicians to play three Sun Machine tracks: “What Life Is,” “Fruity” and “Lemonade.” —Lizzie Manno

Yonder Mountain String Band

Yonder Mountain String Band returned to the Daytrotter Studio in Davenport, Iowa to play a selection of tunes from their extensive discography. The Colorado bluegrass jam band played songs like “Dancing in the Moonlight” and “Hey Day.” —Lizzie Manno

FEATURES

Elle King Opens Up About Hitting Rock Bottom and Fighting Her Way Back

It’s a moral conundrum particular to our media-savvy era—what happens when your public, online-enhanced persona begins to outshine, even commandeer your private life? What happens when your avatar takes over, becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy in the process? Grammy-nominated old-school rocker Elle King can clearly describe that surreal transition, which overtook her last year, at the height her breaking-artist success. As she releases her hard-won—and boldly confessional sophomore set Shake the Spirit, she shivers recalling her condition only a year ago while struggling to complete it. “I was pretty down and out then,” she sighs. “My skin was gray, I’d lost 70 pounds, I was doing hard drugs by myself, I was just a fucking lost person. So truly, this record and its whole process saved my life and made me a much better person. And—as uncomfortable as it all is—it’s important for me to be open about everything.” —Tom Lanham

The 40 Best Albums of 2008

We’ve been looking back at the music of 20, 30, 40 and 50 years ago with the best albums of 1998, 1988, 1978 and 1968. Now it’s time to look back a decade to a year when Paste was writing about music as it happened and published our own year-end list. Many of the following albums were on that list, but we wanted to see which ones stood the test of time for our current editorial staff. The following list has the advantage of 10 years of hindsight, so it looks quite a bit different. The following 40 albums range from indie folk to loud rock to jazz, hip hop and even country. It contains a surprising number of debuts, especially near the top of the list, as 2008 saw the launch of a number of artists who continue to do great things. These are the albums that we keep going back to, a decade later, and will probably keep going back to for decades to come. —Josh Jackson and Paste Music Staff

Strand of Oaks’ Timothy Showalter Interviews My Morning Jacket’s Carl Broemel About Wished Out

Ever since Strand of Oaks’ Timothy Showalter joined My Morning Jacket on tour back in 2015 following the release of the latter’s Waterfall, there’s always a guaranteed display of fans wearing Jacket T-shirts at every Oaks show. It makes sense—both bands occupy a similar sonic space that emphasizes alt-country/folk-rock and smart lyrics. Even more, they’re friends and sometimes collaborators, citizens of the same musical community. Since My Morning Jacket guitarist Carl Broemel released his third solo record, Wished Out, in September, Showalter has been one of the album’s biggest fans. We had Showalter prepare some questions for Broemel about Wished Out, the follow-up to 2016’s 4th of July and the musical equivalent of a deep soak: fuzzed out vocals, psychedelic effects and Broemel’s expert guitar grooves stretch on for days. —Ellen Johnson

The 10 Best Albums of Mom + Pop’s First Decade

Indie-rock record labels usually have a distinct sound that unites much of its roster. It’s relatively easy to hear a Seattle-based early ’90s alternative rock band and think of Sub Pop. Ditto for 2010’s chillwave acts with a punk edge on Captured Tracks. But with Mom+Pop, things are more complicated. The label—which turns 10 this week, hosted a massive concert at Brooklyn Steel in New York’s East Williamsburg featuring Courtney Barnett, Neon Indian, Sunflower Bean, Sleigh Bells, and more—isn’t so easy to pin down. Their roster makes up an incredibly diverse set of sounds and genres, from the surf punk of Wavves to the skittish psychedelica of Jagwar Ma to Flume’s irresistibly catchy electronica, without losing any of the authenticity of a smaller indie label. Founded by Michael “Goldie” Goldstone in 2008, the New York label is responsible for some of the most acclaimed records of the last decade, one of the few labels out there with something to offer virtually everyone. In honor of their 10-year celebrations, we’re counting down their 10 best records of Mom+Pop’s first decade. —Steven Edelstone

21st Century Albums We’d Like to Hear Live in Full

Most artists would never think to play one of their entire albums live. For some artists with only one record out, it’s their only option, but they usually don’t adhere to the album’s chronological sequencing. Some groups swear they’d never perform one of their classic albums live in full—only to give in to the pressure later thanks to the promise of a big payday. Some artists have no problem with the idea to begin with, and they shamelessly immerse their fans in their wildest dreams. To indulge in our own live concert fantasies, Paste came up with 10 albums from the new millennium we’d love to witness live from start to finish—as the artists originally imagined them in the studio. —Lizzie Manno & Ellen Johnson