Baker's Dozen: Charli XCX, Romy, The 1975, Polo G, and Why I Can't Escape Moby

Baker's Dozen: Charli XCX, Romy, The 1975, Polo G, and Why I Can't Escape Moby

Baker’s Dozen is a recurring weekly franchise in which I share a playlist of songs I’ve been enjoying lately, along with commentary on said songs and artists, as well as whatever else I want to comment on.

The 1975, “Nothing Revealed / Everything Denied”

I promise I am not contractually obligated to mention the 1975 at least once a month. This is my favorite song on this album, it was the first time I heard it while scaling a hill on my horse in Red Dead Redemption 2. Reminds me of something you’d hear off of George Michael’s Listen Without Prejudice, Vol. 1. I reviewed this album for Entertainment Weekly if you want to read that too. As of now I think it’s their best album.

Romy, “Lifetime”

Really wistful and high-energy song from Romy Madley Croft. New textures for her obviously, aided by the fact that it’s her solo debut—but her voice has this soaring quality that she hasn’t explored too much in the xx. Love it, can’t wait to hear more.

Annie, “In Heaven”

My favorite song on the great new Annie album, this one specifically reminds me a little of M83. She really changed it up on this new album and it works great for her. Read my interview with her from earlier this week, it was a lot of fun to talk to her.

Jeff Rosenstock, “The Beauty of Breathing”

Along with “Leave It in the Sun,” the “2” in one of the best “1-2 punches” on any album this year. No one makes feeling a little miserable sound so good, no one’s as good at turning hopelessness into a call to arms. Still one of the best albums of the year in any genre hands down.

Retirement Party, “Runaway Dog”

This song does one amazing thing, and then it switches it up and does another amazing thing. Love when a song does two amazing things.

Julie Byrne and Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, “Love’s Refrain”

I loved Jefre Cantu-Ledesma’s original version of this song, and generally think he’s one of the more interesting ambient artists working right now—I love what he does with texture and melody, everything’s always in constant motion with him. This version of “Love’s Refrain” with Julie Byrne is just as beautiful, I loved her first record on Orindal and enjoyed her most recent album too—can’t wait to hear more from her in the future.

Infant Island, “Stare Spells”

Very sick stuff, lots of screaming and post-rock drama. Cool.

The Magnetic Fields, “Castle Down a Dirt Road”

The latest Magnetic Fields album is like most Magnetic Fields albums from the last decade: a few songs that sound nice in the moment, one or two stone-cold classics, a few I don’t care for too much but appreciate the approach regardless. “Andrew in Drag” is a good example of a recent stone-cold classic, and so is this song, which reminds me of my favorite Magnetic Fields album, The Charm of the Highway Strip. Stephin Merritt was one of the first concerts I ever saw—it was some sort of songwriting awards showcase in New Jersey, I was just exiting middle school(?), I went with my friend and his mom to see Ben Folds. Stephin Merritt played before him, I bought The Charm of the Highway Strip at the merch table after, and I haven’t stopped listening to it since.

Charli XCX, “detonate”

We’re likely to hear a bunch of pandemic-themed music coming out over the next year or two, but it’s still impressive how early on Charli nailed the approach with how i’m feeling now. It’s not as good as Pop 2 was, but it’s certainly a rebound after Charli, which I considered to be mostly a disappointment save for the perfect “Gone.” Weird Charli is always better than Major Label Charli, Weird Charli allows her to be the A&R she truly excels at, and this album only further cements those truisms. I still think the way the internet treats her is nearly Mitski-level in terms of farm-team standom, but that’s par for the course these days. Anyway, I’m always impressed when she turns out pretty little gems of songs like this one.

Polo G, “Flex” [ft Juice WRLD]

I like the new Polo G album, not as much as the last one but he’s good regardless. Mostly like this song because Juice WRLD said “See you later alligator” on it.

Moby, “Rise Up in Love”

This entire goddamn year, I have been listening to Moby. Let me elaborate: this song or some other song from his bland and fine new album all visible objects will pop up on some playlist I’ve made of music to check out, or music to revisit, or maybe even music that I like. And when it comes on I’m like, “Oh shit, this is kind of stupid but I’m into it.” Then I realize it’s fucking Moby. Don’t get me wrong, Moby has some jams—if anything, what makes this song even remotely listenable is the fact that he’s channeling serious “Go” vibes on it. It’s expensive hotel techno, whatever, sometimes that does the trick. I interviewed Moby at EDC Vegas, he was very nice but he seems like a guy who’s very weird and has seen some shit. I highly recommend reading his memoirs, and I’m 100% serious about that.

Golden Retriever and Chuck Johnson, “Sage Thrasher”

Gorgeous, I could listen to this for hours. Nothing but sparkling drone, you could clean your teeth off of this music.

Future, “100 Shooters” [ft. Meek Mill and Doe Boy]

This guy, with the goddamn flutes all the time. In all seriousness, it suits him. I love Future in some lights—Pluto is still his best album, his guest spots are truly outlandish sometimes—but his post-Monster projects tend to run beige straight out of the tap to me, just kind of a bunch of blurry bummers with not a ton of variation. He’s probably both the most overrated and the most influential rapper of the last decade, and those points of convergence improbably make him one of the most important figures in the genre, too. Anyway, every album of his has like one or two songs I’m into, this is one of them from High Off Life.

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Jamie Larson