Baker's Dozen: Rufus Wainwright, Nuvolascura, Jasmine Infiniti, and Good Songs on Bad Albums

Baker's Dozen: Rufus Wainwright, Nuvolascura, Jasmine Infiniti, and Good Songs on Bad Albums

Baker’s Dozen is a recurring weekly feature 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. A brief respite from the negativity of Wednesday’s installment!

The Beths, “You Are a Beam of Light”

Always a few disappointing albums every year, and the second album from The Beths is one of them. It’s a shame, because I really loved their debut, and when I managed to see them in the U.S. in 2018 they were excellent as well. But Jump Rope Gazers felt like a misstep just in the sense that the songs weren’t very strong—it happens. I still believe in them, especially when they can still turn out a tune like this. Ironic that they were so good at hook-y, peppy guitar pop on the last album, but this standout slows things down a lot. It still works, though, and I’m still interested in hearing what they do next of course.

DJ Taye, “Green/Lean” [ft. Heavee]

Footwork is still going strong, years after electronic music fads started paying attention to other things. My favorite cut on the latest DJ Taye release, Teklife releases are always worth checking out.

Conway the Machine, “Lemon” [ft. Method Man]

Sick of Griselda yet? I won’t blame you if you are, their aesthetic is pretty unchanging and in terms of volume they’ve dominated a certain sector of 2020 rap. My favorite Griselda release this year was probably the Armani Caesar album. This song’s good though.

Jasmine Infiniti, “<3 (Heart)”

Really intense-sounding album in terms of how it rubs up against your ears, a lot of cool stuff going on but a little hard to handle as a front-to-back listen. Probably why I gravitated towards this slightly turned-down track. But very cool record.

Rufus Wainwright, “Damsel in Distress”

Great song, I used to listen to Poses all the time when I worked at the local library in high school.

Taylor Swift, “invisible string”

I made this playlist two weeks ago (I’ve been putting these together in advance now as a “responsible time-saving” maneuver) and put this on here without knowing that this would be going out when another Taylor Swift album was coming out. Anyway, I’m not sure how well folklore is sticking with me beyond a few songs, this one is an all-timer for her though.

Gábor Lázár, “Excite”

Of course this guy’s released stuff on Lorenzo Senni’s label. His first album for Planet Mu is very much one idea worked out through a set of tracks, but it can be aggressively engaging (and, like the Jasmine Infiniti album, sometimes too aggressively engaging).

Jacob Cooper, “Expiation”

Buy this music on Bandcamp.

Philadelphia composer, I love how everything on this album just stretches into eerie but really pleasing melodic shapes. It feels like it’s tickling the ears.

Greg Foat, “Symphonie Pacifique”

Really pretty stuff, kind of sounds like jazz-as-electronic music to me. Maybe that’s an obvious observation to make, but whatever. It’s jazz! Right?

Matt Berninger, “All For Nothing”

Christ, another evermore connection. I swear I didn’t do this on purpose. Anyway, as I’ve mentioned a few times, the biggest 180 I’ve done in the past decade is become a fan of the National’s music. This guy’s album didn’t sound too great overall but this one did, he and the National can write bangers like these in their sleep at this point (a compliment, I guess?).

Nuvolascura, “Essentially a Vivisection”

Fascinating record with very sick production from Jack Shirley, who does Deafheaven and Jeff Rosenstock’s records too.

Apollo Brown & Che Noir, “Winter”

Liked a lot of songs on this album from Apollo Brown and Che Noir—lush production, the whole thing has a classic sound to it. Great storytelling, too.

ML Buch, “Can’t Get Over You With You”

Reminds me of Caroline Polachek. I heard this record late in 2019 when it was supposed to come out earlier in 2020 I think? Then I heard it again much later on when it finally came out. Good stuff!

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Jamie Larson