The Week in Music: Paste’s Favorite Songs, Albums, Performances and More

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The Week in Music: Paste’s Favorite Songs, Albums, Performances and More

The first week of August brought with it tons of music, with new tunes from Dead Cross, Billy Strings, Randy Newman and many more. We also ranked Arcade Fire songs in honor of their newest record, and thought about the lack of folk music at the Newport Folk Festival. Check out Paste’s favorite albums, songs, live performances, and feature stories of the week.


Dead Cross: Dead Cross
To hear Patton and Lombardo celebrate their fifties with their most visceral work yet is absolute magic. And what a bucket list moment for Pearson and Crain to bookend these two pillars of metal evolution, a dream come true that can be enjoyed vicariously by anyone who ever wished to jam with their heroes. It’s albums like Dead Cross that keeps hardcore so exciting for those of us beyond its tight-knit community. — Ron Hart

Randy Newman: Dark Matter
Randy Newman has enjoyed one of the more charmed careers of any composer or pop singer from the 20th Century. It’s a rearview full of GRAMMYs, Emmys, Oscars and so much more. Yet it’s Newman’s drive to out-Newman himself that keeps audiences enraptured. Such is the effect found throughout Dark Matter, the 73-year-old’s first record of new material since 2008.—Ryan J. Prado

Amy O: Elastic
With her new album, Elastic, Amy O makes a serious case for Bloomington’s place alongside cities like Olympia, Boston and San Francisco on the grunge-pop/Riot grrrl-offshoot map. Her finely-crafted, kinetic sound smacks you right in the face with the opener “Lavender Night.” Over big guitars and an urgent beat, Oelsner invites us into her private thoughts. “Another bullet dodged for now” she sings, “Back to the realm of stereo.”— Madison Desler


Billy Strings: Turmoil & Tinfoil
On his new song “Turmoil & Tinfoil,” the title track off his forthcoming debut LP, Apostol goes heavy on the instrumentals. Billy starts singing after a minute or so, but the extended jams encompass most of the six-and-a-half-minute song. And just like the curving trees on the cover of the new album create a sense of tunnel vision, delving deep into those lyric-less musical holes and solos can lead listeners into a world of tension and otherworldly apparitions.—Hilary Saunders

Hamilton Leithauser: Road to Nowhere (Talking Heads Cover)
Hamilton Leithauser of The Walkmen has released a cover of Talking Heads’ “Road to Nowhere.” The cover is a part of Amazon Music’s series of new artists giving their own takes on road trip-themed songs. On Friday, Amazon Music released an original playlist of these tracks titled Open Road.—Grant Sharples

Myke Bogan: Gravy
Coming up fast is Myke Bogan. This 30-year-old rhymer has been honing his skills over the last five years or so, releasing a smattering of mixtapes along the way and stirring up a nest of buzz with every live performance in his hometown. Now he’s poised to break out worldwide with the release of his first full-fledged album Pool Party on August 18 (via Eyrst Records).—Robert Ham

Marc Broussard: Please Please Please
The album as a whole sees Broussard sporting a bit of a heavier roots/Americana influence than he has in the past, but don’t worry—he still sounds soulful as ever, and on “Please Please Please” he channels that passion into begging his kids to “please please please remember to dream dreams bigger than you are.”—Bonnie Stiernberg


The Spinto Band
The Spinto Band visited us at Paste to celebrate the reissue of 2005’s Nice and Nicely Done. Check out the indie rock band’s rousing performances of “Oh Mandy,” “Direct to Helmet” and “Summer Grof.”

Midnight North
Country rock outfit Midnight North performed four tracks for Paste this week. The first three were “Playing a Poor Hand Well,” “Roamin’” and “The Highway Song,” and in honor of the upcoming “Jerry Day” in San Francisco on August 6, and on Jerry Garcia’s 75th birthday, the band ended their set with a Grateful Dead cover, “Ripple.”

Phoebe Bridgers
Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter Phoebe Bridgers stopped by to perform a few tracks ahead of the release of her debut album, Stranger in the Alps, out September 22. Bridgers started off with “Georgia” from her 2015 EP Killer, then performed her two latest singles, “Smoke Signals” and “Motion Sickness.”


The 2017 Newport Folk Festival Was Rarely Folk, And That’s OK
In this century, the Newport Folk Festival has been dominated by electric guitars, most often played by rock bands with no apparent connection to Virginia hollers or Delta farms. That was especially obvious this year. Among my favorite Newport acts this past weekend were the Drive-By Truckers, Aaron Lee Tasjan, Ben Gibbard and Robert Ellis—none of whom I would ever describe as folk musicians. I love these guys, but if the word “folk” refers to a particular subset of the musical world, it doesn’t refer to them.—Geoffrey Himes

The 5 Best Albums of July 2017
Musical mainstays are dubbed as such for a reason. Indie favorites like Arcade Fire and pop queens like Lana Del Rey both released albums in July 2017 and, unsurprisingly, found both critical acclaim and positive responses from fans. While most of our highly-rated albums from last month came from widely recognized musicians, there are a few surprises.—Paste Staff

The 15 Best Arcade Fire Songs
When Arcade Fire finally released their fifth studio album Everything Now last week, we all celebrated the comeback of the loudest kids in the ‘burbs. The band that has set themselves apart countless times for their impressively orchestrated hits, their ability to drum anthems from whispers of children’s adventures and their young-at-heart rally against the big guns of the world.—Paste Staff