Welcome back to New Music Friday! August is sort of a quiet time for new music, and this week’s batch is a mixed bag with some real highlights.
What is New Music Friday? It’s mostly a Twitch stream at twitch.tv/duckthepianowire on Fridays (usually at noon PT / 3pm ET, or thereabouts). During the stream, I use my expertise as an opinionated middle-aged dude to listen to the new music that came out today and give my unfiltered thoughts.
I bestow one of four possible verdicts on each new song after one listen: SKIP!!, Add to Playlist, Play the Whole Album, BUY THE VINYL!! SKIP!! is the worst designation and BUY THE VINYL!! is the absolute best.
Here are the highlights from the August 27, 2021 New Music Friday stream:
And here are some thoughts on the songs covered in this week’s stream:
Song 1: “I am not a woman, I’m a god” by Halsey
Final thoughts: The thrumming synth bass makes me feel like I’m playing an old-school video arcade racing game. Catchy, but kind of generic. Add to playlist
Song 2: “justified” by Kacey Musgraves
Final thoughts: Musgraves is an artist I’ve really wanted to get into, based on her critical acclaim. This song is a little too lightweight to do the trick for me though. Add to playlist
Song 3: “Go Bad” by Blu DeTiger
Final thoughts: Reminiscent of everything from Olivia Rodrigo’s “brutal” to ’80s new wave tracks from Devo, but without enough of a new personality. I liked the instrumental bridge that momentarily slows the tempo down before zipping back up to full speed, but it doesn’t inspire me to give this track another spin. SKIP!!
Song 4: “California” by CHVRCHES
Final thoughts: This song features the kind of West Coast nihilism that would surely make Brett Easton Ellis proud. Bummed-out lyrics and candy-coated synth-pop music: what a great combo! Play the whole album
Song 5: “DIAMOND” by Niko Moon
Final thoughts: Another country/hip-hop hybrid we can thank “Old Town Road” for. Niko Moon’s voice is inviting, and the overall sound ain’t bad. When it comes to crass commercial calculation, this is an inoffensive example. But what’s up with the music video that just stops after a minute and goes to a still frame?? Add to playlist
Song 6: “History of a Feeling” by Madi Diaz
Final thoughts: Wow. What a great example of raw, emotional songwriting and singing. The gentle arrangement frames Diaz’s yearning layers of vocals perfectly. The best track of the week, hands down. BUY THE VINYL!!
Next week is promised to no one, but most likely I’ll be back September 3 for another edition of New Music Friday. Follow the New Music Friday livestream at twitch.tv/duckthepianowire to find out when you can join in live!
Justin Remer makes movies, directs music videos, and plays in the bands Duck the Piano Wire and Elastic No-No Band when he is not writing movie reviews. His folk-rock documentary MAKING LOVERS & DOLLARS is currently streaming on Amazon.