Keep away that June gloom with another edition of New Music Friday!
Hi, I’m Justin. If you don’t know me, I’m a filmmaker and musician who is also a pop culture know-it-all. But I’m old, something like 755 years old. And sometimes the new music you whipper snappers listen to confuses me. Hence: New Music Friday. I listen to brand-new music, mostly geared to people younger than me, and do a Twitch stream where I react to these songs live.
I’ve been doing the streams at twitch.tv/duckthepianowire at noon PT / 3pm ET on Fridays. But, since everyone can’t tune in, I have also made Youtube videos of highlights from the streams so far. Here’s the one for today:
I’m sure you will agree that I have an incomparable screen presence and a quick improvisatory wit. But how is my writing? Well, how do these capsule reviews strike you?
(All songs are given verdicts based on a scale of SKIP!!, Add to Playlist, Play the Whole Album, BUY THE VINYL!!, where Skip!! is the worst designation and BUY THE VINYL!! is the absolute best.)
Song 1: “Lost Cause” by Billie Eilish
Final thoughts: With this new tune, Billie Eilish has decided she’s no longer the bad guy — maybe you’re the bad guy, jerk. Instead, she’s a fun gal able to gather hot friends together for twerking-and-Twister slumber party. The groove is slinky and sassy. She’s having fun, and we are too. Play the whole album
Song 2: “taking the heat” by Joy Oladokun
Final thoughts: A pop ballad with a classic singer-songwriter twinge and a lead vocal that has a confident modern attitude. Play the whole album
Song 3: “Late at Night” by Roddy Ricch
Final thoughts: I like the song much better than the kitschy video. It’s a booty call slow jam with some fun turns of phrase. Not a lot of depth, but maybe this isn’t the tune for that. Add to playlist
Song 4: “Who Loves the Rain?” by Frankie Sunswept
Final thoughts: I’m not totally impartial, since Frankie is a friend of mine, but this rock tune has great folk-meets-psych vibe. Sweet, clear vocals and unusual harmonies float over gently trippy backing arrangements. It’s great. BUY THE VINYL!!
Song 5: “House Burn Down” by King Princess
Final Thoughts: If Cyndi Lauper was more fond of digital distortion, it might sound something like this. That key change on the final chorus is unexpectedly exquisite. Play the Whole Album
Song 6: “Paprika” by Japanese Breakfast
Final Thoughts: Makes me think of Natalie Merchant being backed by a happy marching band, but that’s because I seem to only think in references to other music. Great tune. Play the whole album
Song 7: “The Game” by Liz Phair
Final Thoughts: Far from the most promising single released from Phair’s new album, Sober-ish. With its middle-of-the-road sound, it feels like coffeehouse filler — if that’s even a thing anymore. I’m going to give the album a chance because I’m a lifelong Phair fan, but when I get to this tune again… SKIP!!
The next New Music Friday livestream will be at noon PT / 3pm ET on June 11 at twitch.tv/duckthepianowire. See you there?
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.