Baker's Dozen: The Body, H.E.R., Mouse on Mars, and That Time Neil Young Went Punk

Baker's Dozen: The Body, H.E.R., Mouse on Mars, and That Time Neil Young Went Punk

Baker’s Dozen is a regular thing where I share music I’ve been enjoying along with some stray thoughts. I guess Bandcamp Friday is tomorrow? I recently bought Mush’s Lines Redacted, kind of extroverted post-punk vibes, maybe you’ll like it.

The Sonder Bombs, “Play It By Fear”

Had an emo Mandela Effect thing with these guys recently where I could’ve sworn I heard their music on a ska compilation last year—specifically, a song called “That’s What Friends Are For.” Don’t think it was them, although they do have a song called “What Are Friends For?” that’s decent. I like this one better, the album as a whole didn’t blow me away but songs like this keep me interested.

Fredo, “Back to Basics”

Usually don’t go for UK rap that sounds relatively trad, but this is a nice cut. The album as a whole is not bad, there’s a good Summer Walker feature on there too.

Stereolab, “Variation One”

From the Switched On Vol. 4 comp, the kind of sound that made me fall in love with Stereolab back when I heard Emperor Tomato Ketchup for the first time at my friend Mike’s house (his dad owned it on cassette). Shame about Laetitia Sadier and the whole Jordan Peterson thing—continuing to give her the benefit of the doubt and just assuming she was having trouble cleaning her room.

The Body, “Tied Up and Locked In”

Love how these guys are always doing their thing. The screaming vocals in the background of this track that anchor so much of The Body’s music…it’s like a calling card for them at this point, perhaps one of the only constants as they constantly make subtle shifts to their style. I really love how the textures get crazy on this track near the end.

H.E.R., “Damage”

Funny whole thing about H.E.R., who has gained a rep as an industry plant simply by becoming ubiquitous at award shows. (Full disclosure: I did her bio for RCA a few years back.) She does seem to be very omnipresent on Biggest Night-type fare, although as ever we’re just calling people industry plants because we quite possibly do not understand the appeal of the music. That said! H.E.R. also has a hilariously ridiculous role in the climax of the Jennifer Garner kiddie film Yes Day on Netflix that I suggest you go to Wikipedia and read about right away. (You probably shouldn’t watch Yes Day unless you are, like, four years old.) Anyway, I actually like H.E.R.’s music and think that most people at this point are cracking Grammy jokes about her instead of, y’know, actually listening to the music. I heard this booming from someone’s steps a few weekends ago and it sounded great.

Tha God Fahim, Your Old Droog, and Mach-Hommy, “Tha Poverty Bothers Me“

Made a joke on Twitter earlier this week about how Your Old Droog has been around just long enough that he has to change her name to Your Slightly Older Droog now. Pretty good imo. Remember when people thought he was Nas? Different time on the internet, wish we could go back.

Mouse on Mars, “Artificial Authentic”

Feel like Mouse on Mars have had a creative renaissance of sorts over the last decade, they’ve delivered some of their most interesting work to date and at times have sounded surprisingly accessible (as they do here). Other times, of course, they still sound inscrutably MoM, but that’s why we love them.

Lia Ices, “I’m Gone”

Lia Ices used to get more press coverage, and now she doesn’t. I have no idea how to explain these type of things anymore, because coverage in general doesn’t really make any sense to me. Her latest album got a Pitchfork news item, highlighting that it was produced by late Girls member J.R. White, but no review. Again, the logic doesn’t add up to me, but no matter. It’s a shame primarily because this is probably her best album, and it’s not just because White’s involvement provides a news-y hook; the songwriting is just stronger than it was before, and I had always thought she was at least pretty good to begin with. Love the vocal layering on this one.

Neil Young and Crazy Horse, “Sedan Delivery” (Live)

New Neil Young and Crazy Horse live archival release is amazing, because of course it is. Always thought of “Sedan Delivery”—one of my favorite Neil songs—as some sort of response to punk, because it shares that energy. Neil Young: One of the greats!

Gacha Bakradze, “Impression”

The new Gacha Bakradze feels very early-2010s at me to times, splitting the difference between bass workouts, Planet Mu-ish IDM, and dreamy Vangelis stuff. This? Some of that dreamy Vangelis stuff. Hey, remember Kuedo? What’s he been up to?

Jessie Ware, “Please”

Get a load of Jessie Ware, just casually dropping a new song that’s just as good as anything from her incredible latest album. Every year there’s a few records where it takes a minute to be like, “Hey, wait, this is really good, like really good,” and I feel like What’s Your Pleasure? is that record from the 2020 crop. Astounding that she made a disco record that actually sounds like the good stuff and not like, I don’t know, Pharrell.

The Besnard Lakes, “The Dark Side of Paradise”

There are rock-ier songs on the new (and great) Besnard Lakes album, but I love how gently devastating and spacey this one is. They deserve a place amongst the slowcore/dream-pop greats at this point, no question.

Marteria, “Paradise Delay”

Great DJ Koze production under this song from German rapper Marteria. Wonder if Koze’s got a nine-minute version of the instrumental lying around somewhere.

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Jamie Larson