Baker's Dozen: 2 Chainz, Empath, and Metalcore Red Herrings

Baker's Dozen: 2 Chainz, Empath, and Metalcore Red Herrings

Baker's Dozen is a weekly thing for paid subscribers—who get two this week, along with the free BD that was published earlier this week! Lucky you. All revenue is currently being donated to the National Network of Abortion Funds as long as I can continue to afford to do so; we've raised $2,563.52 so far.

Adekunle Gold, "Dior, Dior, Dior" [ft. Fousheé]

A standout—the standout?—from the latest Adekunle Gold album, which hits kind of mid as far as Afrobeats albums go. Fousheé sounds so good on this, she basically floats on it; if it weren't for the way Adekunle delivers the chorus, I'd say she upstages him entirely.

ME REX, "Skin, It Itches"

ME REX did a thing a few years ago where they released an album that could be played in any order—like, you can put the whole thing on shuffle and it'd still be a cohesive experience. It's the type of gimmick that scans more as "cool" instead of carrying the possibility to yield engaging music, but luckily they are very adept at straightforward rock music as well. At their best, they kind of resemble a cross between Frightened Rabbit and Los Campesinos!, which is a peanut butter-and-chocolate type of combo for a specific type of listeners.

Knuckle Puck, "Lonely Island"

These guys were just on tour with Heart Attack Man recently, who were featured in the BD earlier this week; I like them a tad bit more, perhaps because their pop-punk style is a little (just a little) sweeter and less overtly macho to my ears. The title references the lyrics, but hey, you don't call a song "Lonely Island" without thinking of the Lonely Island too, right?

Junglepussy, "CRITIQUA"

A suffocatingly stoned-sounding cut from the latest Junglepussy album, when she's in her bag ‎‎no one sounds better. Lot of chatter around Support the Girls again recently because of Regina Hall's stellar performance in the fascinating-but-doesn't-always-hit-its-mark Honk For Jesus, Save Your Soul; Junglepussy was great in that too! Wonder if she's got any future acting gigs lined up.

2 Chainz, "10 Bracelets" [ft. YoungBoy Never Broke Again]

Adam Corolla would be furious about this. ‎2 Chainz has delivered a few really amazing guest appearances over the last year, so it's a little disappointing—but not totally shocking—that Dope Don't Sell Itself sounds very clocked-in and mediocre as a whole. He sounds like he can kind of barely keep up on this breezy, briskly paced but still a little laid back beat, right? YoungBoy sounds energized and excellent on this, at least.

Mass Worship, "Specular Void"

Scandanavian metal strikes again! The latest Mass Worship album rules so hard, channels a real bruising intensity and never really lets up, I simply love shit like this. Can't ask for a better opening track, too.

Karlae and Coi Leray, "I Like"

Another cut from the YSL comp, will probably share one more next week. Both of them sound great on this, beat reminds me of something that would've been on Kodie Shane's very underrated Young HeartThrob. Where's Kodie Shane? Serious question!

Rolo Tomassi, "Almost Always"

I like metalcore, but I don't really like Rolo Tomassi. Can't really explain why, I think I'd have an easier time explaining why it's weird that I don't...they strike a real M83-ish vibe when they're not doing the scream-y stuff, real wide-open expanse Porter Robinson's Worlds stuff that usually hits me very hard. And it's not like you can't combine the beautiful with the brutal! Loathe did an excellent job of that with one of 2020's best rock records, I‎ Let It in and It Took Everything—but Rolo Tomassi seem to have a harder time threading the needle. This track is pure Porter to me though, throw a huge EDM beat in the background and the Ultra kids would go nuts for it.

Ainsley Hamill, "The Lyceum"

Ainsley Hamill is a Scottish singer who typically works in traditionalist UK forms—not my type of thing at all, but this is an original from her and I find it slyly intoxicating, it 100% has to do with the minor-key change that she dips in every now and then that adds some interesting texture to everything. Good British stuff to engage with when you're done shitposting about the Queen.

Karen Peris, "I Would Sing Along"‎

I'm old enough to remember when this was what we were talking about when we talked about "indie pop"...just kidding, kind of, but not really. Karen Peris is also the principal songwriter of long-running indie-pop band the Innocence Mission, whose music I've truthfully never engaged with because of their whole (cringes a little) religious thing. Her latest solo album is basically very much like this, all Belle & Sebastian-isms that make you wonder if we'll ever get another Taken by Trees album again. Nice stuff for a foggy day maybe.

Ivy Sole, "What You Deserve"

Ivy Sole reminds me of Phonte above all else, someone who's very adept at switching off between rapping and singing. They both clearly work in t‎he same sonic environment beat-wise, too. Ivy's third album Candid is a very solid listen, lots of lush production to dive into and above it all they're always in command of the proceedings.

Biosphere, "Infinium"

Geir Jenssen, one of the undisputed greats when it comes to ambient techno—a subgenre that also is a bit perilous to operate within, there's always the danger of heading too far into sleepy-bye territory on the "ambient" end of things. Sadly, I this his latest dips into dull territory once or twice more than it should, but this track is a decent exception.

Empath, "80s"

The general concensus seemed to be that the latest Empath album was a bit of a letdown, I kind of hear it as a continuation of the first with no real dip in quality—this is keeping in mind, though, that they both to me are promising albums with one or two stellar songs with plenty to continue building upon if they're interested in doing so. They're just so good at this shambling shitgaze sound though, and their approach feels a tad different than their forebears.

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Jamie Larson