Baker's Dozen: Declan McKenna, Ana Roxanne, BUMPER, Lorenzo Senni, and Big Sean Without Big Sean

Baker's Dozen: Declan McKenna, Ana Roxanne, BUMPER, Lorenzo Senni, and Big Sean Without Big Sean

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.

Declan McKenna, “Humongous”

I recently asked my Twitter followers (specifically, the ones in the UK) if Declan McKenna was “landfill indie revival,” and didn’t get much of a response. Oh well! I liked McKenna’s new album pretty well on first spin and am looking forward to revisiting it. This is the only song from the last album that I liked. I like it a lot, actually—my wife, not so much. When I played this for a year ago, her response was “You like how this sounds?” Well, yeah.

Sufjan Stevens, “The Ascension”

The best song of the year so far from the best album of the year so far. I went long on The Ascension in last Friday’s newsletter, check it out.

Beyoncé, “Before I Let Go”

My pick-me-up song lately when I need it. I guess Beyoncé’s Coachella set is the last iconic live performance that happened before the pandemic, huh? The other day I was grocery shopping and this song came on while the sun was setting, and I thought to myself, “It’s nice to be alive.” A few hours later, Ruth Bader Ginsburg died. It was fun while it lasted, I guess.

Big Sean, “Friday Night Cypher” [ft. Kash Doll, Payroll Giovanni, Royce da 5'9", Sada Baby, Drego, Boldy James, 42 Dugg, Eminem, Cash Kidd & Tee Grizzley]

It’s almost too easy of a punchline: my favorite song on the new Big Sean album is the one that has as little of Big Sean as possible. But this nearly ten-minute showcase of Detroit rappers is also just very pleasurable to listen to, even if it ends with Eminem (whose verse here is, for what it’s worth, decent).

Lorenzo Senni, “THINK BIG”

Lorenzo Senni’s whole thing—“pointillist trance,” which is essentially trance refracted and with serrated edges—can be aggravating to some, but when he hits on something special it’s like heaven to me. This one reminds me of Unicorn Kid’s “Boys of Paradise.”

BUMPER, “Red Brick”

As the pandemic rages on, there will be no short supply of projects like BUMPER, which is comprised of Japanese Breakfast’s Michelle Zauner and Crying’s Ryan Galloway. Their first EP is low-stakes and sometimes lovely, this track being a clear highlight to me. If they continue to refine this New Pop sound on “Red Brick,” BUMPER could evolve into something greater; if this is it, that’s ok too.

Anthony Santos and Romeo Santos, “Bellas”

Bachata is hypnotizing to me when it’s hitting, and it’s the theoretical soundtrack of the city for me sometimes. Good stuff.

Peel Dream Magazine, “Pill”

Great band, the way they often combine Stereolab’s weightless motorik and classic shoegaze sounds is like chocolate and peanut butter. This song is very strongly reminiscent of My Bloody Valentine’s Isn’t Anything—not enough is.

Chucky73 and Fetti031, “Colombiana”

From the Bronx, the beat on this is bonkers—very psychedelic and woozy to me, I’m a sucker for stuff that sounds like this.

Sunwatchers, “The Earthsized Thumb”

Sunwatchers rule. At their best, they come across as a free-jazz Godspeed! You Black Emperor, sometimes they jump right into the chaos and other times they’re clearly building up to something massive and bewildering. This track, running almost 20 minutes long, is clearly of the latter variety. A few months ago my wife had me put this record on so she could freestyle over it on her theremin, it sounded very cool.

Trouble, “Uh Huh” [ft. 2 Chainz]

Yabba dabba doo!

Ana Roxanne, “Immortality”

From last year, definitely one of the most exciting ambient artists doing it right now. I think she has a new album out soon-ish? I can’t wait to hear it.

White Poppy, “Hardly Alive”

Crystal Dorval seems to be doing a few different things on her latest LP as White Poppy, I like this thing the most. Sounds like Chromatics to me a little, or maybe if Beach House tried the Drive soundtrack on for size.

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Jamie Larson