NPR logo Finding Something New on the 'Radio'

Finding Something New on the 'Radio'


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Tuesday's Pick

  • Song: "Radio"
  • Artist: Looker
  • CD: Born Too Late
  • Genre: Indie-Pop

Looker possesses an innate melodic sense and an original take on well-worn topics. Todd D'Addario hide caption

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Todd D'Addario

Punk and its offshoots are hardly the only subgenres of rock 'n' roll that can sound great while still sounding like hell. But they're the only ones that hold up the do-it-yourself ethos as a totem, rather than something borne out of necessity and meant to be set aside at the earliest availability.

New York's Looker embraces the DIY approach on "Radio," and it seems at first that the band's enthusiasm outpaces its abilities. The guitars sound a touch tentative, the drums are too sloppy to provide a rock-solid authority, and the production doesn't do much more than slap the pieces together and pray that they'll stick.

But the song works anyway, thanks to Looker's melodic sense, an original take on a hoary topic (instead of mythologizing radio, the group holds it up as a simple signpost that helps it get its bearings in the wider environment), and the tinge in Boshra Alsaadi's voice as she sings about someone who may be in the process of failing to become a good man. Those subtle virtues are harder to acquire than mere production skill, which suggests that "Radio" represents the first flowering of a band on its way to better things, instead of the lone blaze of one without more to offer.

Listen to yesterday's 'Song of the Day.'

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