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

It feels like May 2020 has lasted a lifetime. We can just about see the light at the end of the tunnel, and hopefully, better times are ahead. If you need something to lift your spirits, why not check out some of our favorite music from the past seven days? This week brought new albums from emo veterans Joyce Manor and experimental indie rockers Deerhoof, plus an exceptional orchestral pop song from Gregory Uhlmann, which features Meg Duffy of Hand Habits. Check out all of that and more, including a performance from Grouplove and a list of great music documentaries, perfect for the upcoming weekend.

BEST ALBUMS

Deerhoof: Future Teenage Cave Artists

A nearly three-year gap between Deerhoof albums is a modest wait by most standards but a century in Deerhoof years. The veteran art-rock band seems to operate with an accelerated understanding of both time and creativity. Its last proper album, 2017’s Mountain Moves, was an eclectic affair with excursions into rap and opera and an enviable slate of guest stars—even at just 40 minutes, it’s perhaps the closest Deerhoof will come to its own Sandinista!. For the follow-up, Future Teenage Cave Artists, Deerhoof follows the opposite path, eschewing outside contributors and retreating into its own insular world of noise: explosive rhythms, serrated guitar riffs, damaged fragments of melody and sweetness. The band says it was “borne of self-isolation and deprivation,” which is just as well, because self-isolation is where you’ll be listening to it. —Zach Schonfeld

Joyce Manor: Songs From Northern Torrance

If you didn’t know that emo-punk rockers Joyce Manor are from Torrance—or, more specifically, Northern Torrance—you do now. And if you didn’t know anything else about them at all, this record will tell you everything you need to know. Songs From Northern Torrance is the Californian four-piece’s chance at reviving old material. The band recently pulled their gritty compilation album Collection from streaming apps, upsetting punks everywhere. It contained fan favorites like the explosive “5 Beer Plan” and the eccentric “Chumped.” Joyce Manor have never been the type of band to ignore past albums, so there had to be an explanation for this. And the explanation turned this loss into a celebration: The dudes have remastered stuff from Collection, along with unreleased gems recorded between 2008 and 2010, to create Songs From Northern Torrance. Joyce Manor’s retreat to their stripped-down punk roots on Songs From Northern Torrance after the gradual cleaning-up of their emo-pop-punk with latest records Million Dollars To Kill Me and Cody is a genius and refreshing move. —Danielle Chelosky

BEST TRACKS

Skullcrusher: “Day of Show”

Skullcrusher, aka L.A. singer/songwriter Helen Ballentine, is back with a new single called “Day of Show.” It’s taken from her forthcoming debut self-titled EP, which arrives on June 26 via Secretly Canadian. The song is serene and beautiful, following in the steps of her previous single, “Places/Plans; The album is sure to have more soft, enchanting, shoegaze-meets-folk tunes. —Danielle Chelosky

Gregory Uhlmann: “Santa Fe”

Singer/songwriter and guitarist Gregory Uhlmann (a member of Perfume Genius, Fell Runner and Typical Sisters) shared a new single, “Santa Fe,” from his forthcoming album Neighborhood Watch, out on July 24 via Topshelf Records. The new single features vocals from Meg Duffy of Hand Habits, and it follows his lead single “Spice Girls.” “Santa Fe” is doused in wonder and brimming with imagination and possibility. Palatial strings and gentle synths cascade around Uhlmann and Duffy’s vocals, which intertwine with beautiful hums. —Lizzie Manno

Mìch Cota / Kìzis: “In Our House”

Algonquin electronic artist Mìch Cota / Kìzis has shared a new single, “In Our House,” via Tin Angel Records, her first new music since 2018’s “Nibi/Water” and “Kija/Care.” With buzzing, melodious synths, glockenspiels and an intoxicating beat, “In Our House” is the sound of radical joy. Its experimental pop glistens, and the rumble of unflinching jubilation underpins it all. This is the kind of euphoria that’s transformative and fully immersive, and you can tell by Cota’s emotive dancing that she feels this unspoken rush. —Lizzie Manno

The Paste Happiest Hour

This week we caught up with Grouplove, Dulcé Sloan and more. Watch every episode—future and past—on our YouTube page.

FEATURES


What Our Staff Is Listening to This Week

More time on our hands means more time to dive deep into music, both old and new. In case you were wondering what the Paste staff has been listening to this week, we’ve got a few selections for you. Sample new albums from Carly Rae Jepsen and FACS, older works from The Walters and Splashh and more. Check out last week’s recommendations here. —Paste Staff


The 20 Best Punk Albums of 2020 (So Far)

Punk music, more so than other genres, is rooted in the desire to physically vent, so it’s weird writing about such a visceral and alive style when live music is in hibernation. But on the other hand, there’s never been a better time to air grievances and exorcise demons. Temples of punk via hard-nosed bars might be largely closed right now, but punk albums continue to trickle from a wide range of outcasts, rebels, artistic spirits and generally loving souls. As we did back in 2019, we’re rounding up our favorite punk releases at the mid-way point of the year—but fear not, if your favorite punk-adjacent record of 2020 didn’t land a spot here, perhaps it will surface on our forthcoming list of best post-punk releases from the first half of this year. Check out Paste’s favorite punk LPs, EPs and compilations of 2020 so far. —Lizzie Manno & Paste Staff


Comfort-Core: 10 Mood-Boosting Albums We’re Revisiting During Quarantine

I don’t think it’s a stretch to say we could all use a little extra happy right now. Whether you’re stuck at home or bravely heading out into the workforce everyday as an essential worker, these are unsettling times for us all. And as it has been throughout history, music is often a light in the darkness and a constant in an otherwise unsteady era. We’ve already recommended some great TV shows and movies to binge during quarantine, and while music is a much more vast pool from which to pull, I decided to go ahead and share some albums that have been a comfort to me personally during this time. We return to music for different reasons at different times, and there is undoubtedly some nostalgia clouding my love and appreciation for these records. But they’re also great albums that I think have the capacity to bring joy right now, be it through escapism, jubilee, humor or hope. Looking for more albums like this, but customized to your taste? Email our columnist Patsy at mailbag@pastemagazine.com, and we may respond to you with some personalized recommendations. But, for now, here’s a starting point. These albums have almost nothing in common, but they’re all just happy music. —Ellen Johnson


10 Music Documentaries to Watch During Quarantine

If you love music and have some time to kill during this strange stretch of social distancing, we’ve got some fine recommendations for you. If you’re willing to take a break from your Spotify account or stack of vinyl records, we suggest digging into some music and concert films. Now that live music is on temporary hiatus, music doesn’t seem as tangible or alive as it once was—because it’s quite literally cooped up inside. So why not watch beautifully-directed footage of Beyoncé’s famous “Beychella” set or stunning archival clips of Miles Davis in his prime? Plenty of people are also using this time to learn something new, and what better way to do that than watch a documentary? So kick back, put your feet up and dive into one (or all) of these music documentaries, as chosen by the Paste staff. —Paste Staff