U.S. Girls’ Luxuriously Absurd Disco, and 9 More New Songs

Every Friday, pop critics for The New York Times weigh in on the week’s most notable new songs and videos. Just want the music? Listen to the Playlist on Spotify here (or find our profile: nytimes). Like what you hear? Let us know at [email protected] and sign up for our Louder newsletter, a once-a-week blast of our pop music coverage.

U.S. Girls, ‘Tux (Your Body Fills Me, Boo)’

I am willing to bet that this new U.S. Girls song is the first in the history of popular music to be written from the perspective of a tuxedo. (Seriously: “I was born to be worn,” Meg Remy sings in a buttery croon, “custom fit to make you feel legit.”) But the infectious, full-bodied groove helps the track transcend its admittedly ridiculous premise and become a highlight of the latest U.S. Girls album, the upbeat and provocative “Bless This Mess,” which is out on Friday. A thumping beat and elastic bass line give the song a sleek disco sheen, but it’s Remy’s absurdist sense of humor that makes it unique. LINDSAY ZOLADZ

Skrillex and Bibi Bourelly, ‘Painting Rainbows’

Skrillex’s ambitious new pair of albums “Quest for Fire” and “Don’t Get Too Close” overflow with impressive guest appearances (Missy Elliott! Justin Bieber! PinkPantheress!), but perhaps his most simpatico collaborator turns out to be Bibi Bourelly, the German-born musician who is best known as a songwriter for the likes of Rihanna, Demi Lovato and Usher. Bourelly lends her vocals to three tracks, and it feels significant that Skrillex gives her the last word on “Don’t Get Too Close,” shining the spotlight on her expansive personality on its closing track, “Painting Rainbows.” “We still hear when they thought we would die,” Bourelly raps with a growly defiance and unabashed positivity. Her voice is at once cartoonish and deeply sincere, which means it pairs perfectly with Skrillex’s sound. ZOLADZ

Hannah Jadagu, ‘What You Did’

The latest single from the 20-year-old indie-pop singer-songwriter Hannah Jadagu is suffused with a dreamy atmosphere, but her lyrics pierce right through the haze: “I know what you did,” she sings, repeatedly, to the object of her disappointment. Taken from her forthcoming debut “Aperture,” which comes out May 19, “What You Did” showcases Jadagu’s easy aptitude with lilting melodies and her love of deliciously crunchy texture. ZOLADZ

Fishbone, ‘All We Have Is Now’

The ever-peppy ska-punk-funk-rock band Fishbone has persevered since 1979, and most of its original lineup has regrouped for a coming album produced by an admirer, Fat Mike of the punk band NOFX. “All We Have Is Now” is a philosophical pronouncement — “The universe may only consist of a here and now” — briskly delivered in ska form. One thing to enjoy in the moment is the way organ and horns each play just a few notes, placing them exactly where they’re needed. JON PARELES

Ashley McBryde, ‘Light on in the Kitchen’

Ashley McBryde maintains her position as country’s most down-to-earth songwriter with “Light on in the Kitchen,” a compendium of kindly advice punctuated by a down-home dialogue between mandolin and electric guitar. “Your freckles make you pretty/There’s more to life than being skinny,” she sings, going on to say, “Trust yourself, laugh at yourself/If something tries to hold you back, get up and give it hell.” No one should argue. PARELES

Gracie Abrams, ‘I Know It Won’t Work’

“Part of me wants you back,” Gracie Abrams admits on a song from her pointedly titled debut album, “Good Riddance.” Obviously, she knows better. Her voice is whispery, as it is throughout the album, and her backup puts an acoustic veneer on an electronic foundation; two chords pull her back and forth as she weighs her options. Her best choice is clear, but getting there is more complicated. PARELES

Bernice, ‘Underneath My Toe’

The crystalline “Underneath My Toe,” from the Toronto group Bernice, has the tender, first-name-basis intimacy of a letter to a friend: “So, I really wanna know,” Robin Dann sings, “how did Tim’s birthday go?” The song keeps shifting shape unexpectedly — at one point, a funky, new-age keyboard riff enters without warning and disappears just as quickly — but the gentle melancholy and clarion beauty of Dann’s voice is the glue holding it all together. ZOLADZ

Arooj Aftab, Vijay Iyer, Shahzad Ismaily, ‘To Remain/To Return’

The somberly immersive “To Remain/To Return” previews “Love in Exile,” an album of collective improvisations due March 10 from three musicians with South Asian roots and jazz and rock experience: Arooj Aftab on vocals, Vijay Iyer on piano and electronics and Shahzad Ismaily on bass and synthesizer. The music is unanimous in its restraint. Iyer gradually forms rising, modal five-note patterns on piano. Ismaily leans into a drone that evolves from slow tolling to a throbbing pulse. And Aftab sings pensive, hovering phrases in Urdu. In the full nine-minute version, the music wafts up out of near-silence and sustained electronics; a three-minute excerpt gets to Aftab’s melodies, and a beat, much sooner. PARELES

Zoon, ‘Manitou’

In “Manitou,” orchestral and electronic blurs envelop the voice of Daniel Monkman, who leads the Canadian band Zoon. “Manitou” is about memories and mortality: “One foot in the dirt, and one foot in the grave,” he reflects. The music arrives in dusty, amorphous gusts of sound — sometimes revealing a strummed acoustic guitar, sometimes swelling with tremolo strings, sometimes surrounding Monkman with high, delayed vocals — that make every perception sound fragile and precious. PARELES

IzangoMa, ‘Ngo Ma’

IzangoMa, from South Africa, pours everything it has learned from two hemispheres into “Ngo Ma.” This 10-minute track, with most of its lyrics in English, sprints forward with a mixture of electronics and a band. The lyrics detail hard lives, commemorated in long verses; the music rushes ahead, scrambling electronics and hand-played instruments, insisting that a beat can heal everything — but only eventually. PARELES

Source: Read Full Article