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

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Though they’re not the sunniest albums you’ll hear, Thom Yorke’s highly-anticipated new solo record ANIMA and Horse Jumper of Love’s slowcore odyssey So Divine, which both arrived this week, are must-hear albums for this summer. Yorke also released an accompanying Netflix short film of the same name directed by long-time Radiohead collaborator and Phantom Thread director Paul Thomas Anderson, and it’s nothing short of a stark sci-fi spectacle. In other music news this week, we heard standout new singles by Ceremony, Boy Scouts and Friendly Fires and witnessed two impressive acoustic sessions in the Paste Studio—one from Florida emo veterans Dashboard Confessional and another from Portland indie-pop group Pure Bathing Culture. Once you’re fully briefed on some of the week’s best new releases, revisit the best albums of 1989, which Paste ranked this week. Keep scrolling for all the highlights from the last seven days.

BEST ALBUMS

Thom Yorke: ANIMA

Thom Yorke’s biggest fault—if there is one—on ANIMA, his first proper solo album since 2014’s Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes, is his inclusion of “Dawn Chorus,” a song so devastatingly gorgeous it threatens to overshadow the eight other tracks’ ingenious advances in glitchy electronica. “Dawn Chorus” is so mind-numbingly beautiful it doesn’t just distract from the rest of the album—it places the listener in a different world entirely, one seemingly hundreds of miles away from the late-night dancefloor occupied by tracks like “Not the News” and “Traffic.” If it seems like I’m wholly disregarding ANIMA in exchange for a single song that has already forced its way into the best songs of the year conversation, that’s beside the point. Yorke knowingly chose “Dawn Chorus” as the record’s centerpiece, a respite from the darker electronic tones populating the four tracks on either side of it. There’s a good chance ANIMA will be remembered as “The Album With Dawn Chorus On It,” and that’s not a bad problem to have, just one that unfortunately makes it much easier to ignore the other incredible tracks on here. It’s just what happens when you make the centerpiece of your album one of the best songs you’ve ever written. —Steven Edelstone

Horse Jumper of Love: So Divine

On their second album and first for Run For Cover Records, Horse Jumper of Love perfect their driving slowcore while discarding some of the moping that characterized their self-titled debut. This time around, the Boston trio’s desolation is mostly confined to the dejected guitars, which exude as much angst as a pop-punk chord progression, as much muscle as a metal riff and as much sonic weight as a shoegaze solo. Frontman Dimitri Giannopoulos doesn’t just make passing, strange moments of insignificance feel like the center of the universe, but when his specificity connects with you, you’ll feel an intersection of happiness and sadness that’s hard to articulate: “Passenger seat floors a graveyard for / Puddle walkers soaked and ruined shoes.” The unhurried sonics of So Divine may not be a great record to put on when you’ve been blessed with the aux cord at a party, but it is the perfect record to listen to on headphones when you’re laying in bed at night, lonely and staring at the ceiling, trying to decide what shade of white said ceiling is. —Lizzie Manno

BEST TRACKS

Ceremony:Turn Away the Bad Thing

“Turn Away the Bad Thing,” the first cut from Ceremony’s newly announced album and Relapse Records debut In The Spirit World Now, begins and ends with flanging—a see-sawing of noise cut by a razor-sharp guitar lead and a drifting synth. Its chorus transforms Ceremony’s post-punk edge into new wave before leading into a glimmering break of gentle female falsettos, hazy synth and piano. —Savannah Sicurella

Boy Scouts:Get Well Soon

Taylor Vick, the voice behind the Oakland-based indie-country outfit Boy Scouts, just wants you to be alright. Her music is defined by its warm tenderness—twangy guitars, cooing vocals, supportive keys—but she doesn’t necessarily want to be your caretaker. Boy Scouts’ latest track, “Get Well Soon,” feels like a weighted blanket. Through the song, Vick works through the difficulties of helping someone you love who doesn’t want to accept the help; “Got a thought of you / Do you have one too? / I hope you think of you / ‘Cause we all want you to,” she sings with one foot out the door. —Harry Todd

Friendly Fires:Silhouettes

Taken from Friendly Fires’ third album and first in eight years, “Silhouettes” is a bossa-disco boogie, textured with polyrhythmic drums and several layers of melody. Spaced synths flitter over a locked in bass groove, creating a vibrant palette for the propulsive tune. Ed McFarlane’s gauzy vocals glide over the track, sunnily singing of a revitalized former flame. —Harry Todd

THE PASTE PODCAST

Joe Hill, Zachary Quinto & Jami O’Brien Talk NOS4A2 on The Paste Podcast Episode 14

On the latest episode of The Paste Podcast, host Josh Jackson discusses the new AMC show NOS4A2 with author Joe Hill, showrunner Jami O’Brien and star Zachary Quinto. Jackson also rounds up some of the best craft breweries in Denver, and LA indie folk band Run River North plays us a song from their brand new EP Monsters Calling Home Vol. 1 live in the Paste Studio.

Listen below, or better yet, download on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, Spotify or the new app from our podcast partner Himalaya, and subscribe!

BEST PERFORMANCES

Dashboard Confessional

Chris Carrabba, frontman of Florida emo mainstays Dashboard Confessional, performed a selection of songs to celebrate the release of Now Is Then Is Now, a collection of three re-recorded and reimagined Dashboard albums: 2003’s A Mark, a Mission, a Brand, a Scar, 2006’s Dusk And Summer and 2009’s Alter The Ending. Carrabba performed acoustic versions of three tracks: “Get Me Right,” “Stolen” and “As Lovers Go.”

Pure Bathing Culture

Portland indie pop duo Pure Bathing Culture (aka Sarah Versprille and Daniel Hindman) came to the Paste Studio to perform tracks from their third studio album and first original release since 2015, Night Pass. Sounding a bit more woodsy than the dreamy textures of the studio recordings, the two performed stripped-down versions of two songs from the album, “Devotion” and “All Night,” plus, “Ivory Coast,” one of the first songs Versprille and Hindman ever wrote together. They dedicated their performance to their “late, great friend” and beloved producer/musician Richard Swift.

FEATURES

Thom Yorke’s Best Non-Radiohead Songs

Radiohead was never enough for its members, as if being in one of the most critically acclaimed bands of all time was limiting in some way. Thom Yorke, perhaps more than any of his bandmates, needed to break free from his long-running band to explore his other musical interests, particularly his brand of downbeat electronica, influenced by the many artists he included in his “Office Charts” he’d routinely post to Dead Air Space, the very same acts he eventually collaborated with, including Flying Lotus, Gesaffelstein, Modeselektor, Burial, Four Tet and more. At times, Radiohead actually tried out these styles—particularly on King of Limbs’ “Feral”—but it was always better suited for Yorke’s various side projects, where he had the freedom to experiment on his own. His career outside of Radiohead has taken a number of twists and turns, including writing film scores, hopping on Björk and UNKLE tracks, collaborating with Brooklyn Youth Chorus for fashion runway soundtracks and much more. In celebration of Yorke’s new album, ANIMA, released this week, we decided to pull together a list of his best non-Radiohead songs to date as a primer ahead of his first proper solo record in five years. —Steven Edelstone

The Best Albums of 1989

As the 1980s came to a close, pop music ruled the radio with hits like Madonna’s “Like a Prayer,” The Bangles’ “Eternal Flame” and Phil Collins’ “Another Day in Paradise” topping the charts. But there was plenty of weirder and wilder stuff bubbling underneath, from De La Soul to the Pixies to the Kate Bush. The Cold War was ending—Paul McCartney began the year releasing a version of “Back in the USSR” in Russia, and acts like Bon Jovi, Ozzy Osbourne and Motley Crüe would all play the Moscow Music Peace Festival. By year’s end, Andrea Gardner Swift would give birth to a little girl and name her Taylor. In the meantime, there were a lot of great albums released. The Paste music editors and writers voted on their favorites, and they range from pop to jazz, with a healthy dose of college rock and even a few latter works from icons of the 1960s. I was just starting my senior year of high school and discovering one new favorite band after another on MTV’s 120 Minutes. Many of them are represented here. —Josh Jackson & Paste Music Staff

Hatchie Defies Dream Pop Tropes on Her Dazzling Debut, Keepsake

When Harriette Pilbeam greets me at the cozy Hendershots Coffee in Athens, Ga., where she’s playing a show with Girlpool later that night, a few people have already spotted her sporting the headlining band’s T-shirt, approaching her with “I’m going to the show tonight, too!”s. It’s finals week at the University of Georgia, so frazzled students and their stained notebooks are sprawled out all over the place, chattering and huffing while we sip and talk. Just a year earlier, Pilbeam was behind the counter: “I was like a barista working in a cafe like this,” she says. That was before Pilbeam, the Australian singer/songwriter who records under the Hatchie alias, descended upon indie circles last year in a pink shimmery bubble not unlike Glinda’s with Sugar & Spice, one of those rare EPs that has the power to jumpstart careers and seemingly sprout a fanbase out of nowhere. Thanks to repeated airplay on Australian radio powerhouse Triple J and those unforgettably lush, saccharine pop songs that owe as much to Robyn as The Cranberries, Hatchie was pronounced dream pop’s savior, and by the end of the year, she was one of our favorite new artists. Now with the arrival of her much-pined-for debut LP, the stunning Keepsake (out now on Double Double Whammy), Pilbeam is poised to join the ranks of indie celebrity. —Ellen Johnson

Hot Chip on the Streamlined Joy of Their New LP, A Bath Full of Ecstasy

When Hot Chip released their debut album Coming on Strong in 2004, rave-inspired, indie dance music had largely gone out of style, replaced with the scrappy garage rock revival that dominated the British scene for the remainder of the decade. But Hot Chip went against the grain with their thoughtful, mercurial dance music, pushing the boundaries of what a dance band could be. As the quirkier British counterparts to LCD Soundsystem, Hot Chip helped make dance music cool again with their nerdy art-pop aesthetic and influences spanning everything from U.K. garage to Detroit house music. With a burning desire to shake things up, Hot Chip’s members—Alexis Taylor, Joe Goddard, Felix Martin, Owen Clarke and Al Doyle—decided to throw away their playbook for their newest album A Bath Full of Ecstasy (out now via Domino Records), their snappiest record to date. Hot Chip self-produced all their previous albums, but this time around the group decided to give two accomplished producers the keys to enter their rich musical metropolis for the first time. Paste caught up with Hot Chip’s synth and drum machine wizard Felix Martin to get the scoop on how A Bath Full of Ecstasy came together. Most notably, Martin described his experience working with Philippe Zdar just before the news of the producer’s tragic death last week. —Lizzie Manno

I Went to Bonnaroo and Now I Finally Understand Phish

The first time Bonnaroo took over the farm in Manchester, Tenn., was in 2002, and the headliners were Widespread Panic and Trey Anastasio. Elsewhere on that initial bill were String Cheese Incident, Gov’t Mule, Moe., The Disco Biscuits, Ween and multiple Les Claypool assemblages. Over the next four years, everyone from The Dead to the Allman Brothers Band played the annual June festival, solidifying it as a destination for jam band enthusiasts. In the years since, Bonnaroo has flip flopped. U2, Chance The Rapper and festival regulars Red Hot Chili Peppers were tapped for the 2017 event, followed by a head-scratcher-of-a-bill in 2018 featuring Eminem, The Killers, Muse, and, as is typical for ‘Roo now, a host of EDM acts. But in 2019, Bonnaroo got its groove back, partly in thanks to one of those very first headliners: Anastasio returned to the main stage with Phish for one set on Friday night and two on Sunday. Going into my first ‘Roo, I had my doubts about the Vermont-formed, perpetually touring jam titans (for the uninitiated, that’s Anastasio, bassist Mike Gordon, drummer Jon Fishman and keyboardist Page McConnell). But, as it turns out, you’re not supposed to find Phish on a playlist. They really are—as their fans will painstakingly remind you—a live band. The beauty and excitement of Phish isn’t necessarily in listening to your favorite recorded tunes on repeat (though there’s plenty of that, too)—it’s in the anticipation, the feeling when you go to show without a clue which of their 300-some-odd songs or spur-of-the-moment covers they’ll play, or how they’ll play them. —Ellen Johnson

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