Baker's Dozen: Another Michael, Van She Tech, Coldplay, and My Favorite Rap Verse of 2021 So Far

Baker's Dozen: Another Michael, Van She Tech, Coldplay, and My Favorite Rap Verse of 2021 So Far

Baker’s Dozen is a weekly thing for paid subscribers where I share a playlist and some thoughts on the music I’ve been listening to. (It's free this time because it's been a while. Trying to do another one for paid subscribers at the end of the week, too.) In terms of things that aren’t streaming, I would strongly recommend checking out and picking up the new album from Black Dresses, Forever in Your Heart.

TV Priest, "Slideshow"

So where are we at with this whole never-ending post-post-post-punk revival? Backlash to the backlash? Backlash to the backlash to the backlash? (Don't bring Dry Cleaning into this—I've only listened to that record once so far anyway.) Music like this with lyrics like this is plentiful these days, but to paraphrase that judge from a million years ago when he ruled on a pornography case, I know a good riff when I hear one, too.

Tebey, "See You Around"

This guy's only charted once in the U.S., like almost twenty years ago. He's also 37, so that in itself is pretty impressive. This song and a few others on this album have that summertime Sam Hunt flavor, another Canadian songwriter doing the whole "Actually, country can sound however I want it to be" thing which I always find intriguing.

Typhoon, "Two Birds"

Huge Neon Bible energy from this album at times, get Markus Dravs on the phone. Whole album scratches a mid-2000s indie rock itch, fittingly they've been around since the mid-2000s and I've just never listened to the other albums (I think). Maybe I'll check those out too! Who knows.

Another Michael, "What Gives?"

Philadelphia band (aren't they all, at this point?), this whole album's been a balm for me recently. Can you tell the Roches are an influence here? One of my favorite albums of the year so far no question, they're making magic out of the quotidian, like watching dust spiral in the sunlight.

Jusblow600, "Toxic"

A song about being toxic. Didn't know when I put this song on the playlist that Jusblow600 was charged with murder at the end of last year. Now I do!

Guapdad 4000 and !llmind, "Stoop Kid"

Clearly doing a "Last Call" thing here, it's the last track on this record too. Weird one to isolate maybe but my big problem with this album as a whole was that the personality wasn't really there, Guapdad 4000 (what's next, Guapdad 5000?!?) is clearly talented on a level but I don't think he's really found what makes him stand out yet. There's a level of intimacy here that cuts through the diffidence, though.

Widowspeak, "The One I Love"

Yup, these guys again. Nothing remarkable about that cover and I find that weirdly remarkable: Just a meat-and-potatoes take on a song you can probably cover yourself if you know how to play music. Doesn't sound too bad, either! Simple pleasures, etc.


Whole project this is off of is pretty good, production here reminds me of Madeon whose fifth-wave French Touch approach should've stuck more than it actually did back in 2014.

Benny the Butcher and Harry Fraud, "Plug Talk" [ft. 2 Chainz]

Instead of the jokes and handwringing that accompanies anything Griselda lately, let's just marvel at 2 Chainz' verse on this, one of the finest this year has seen so far: "Put you in the hospital, put logos on the stretcher." "I only care about me, tell you happy birthday on the wrong day." Great stuff! 2 Chainz continues to be the John Mahoney of rap: He may have started hitting his stride later than others, but what a stride he's hitting.

Van She Tech, "Same Girl"

Another one from the Magician compilation, I'll likely post a few more in the future too. Purely pleasurable and sounds like it's ripped from a different era that not so much went away as it did stopped receiving coverage. (That's the less-stupid-sounding way of saying "Bloghouse is back for the twentieth time.")

Coldplay, "Higher Power"

What a nakedly beautiful and sincere song about being in love with Dakota Johnson. "I'm so happy that I'm alive/ Happy I'm alive at the same time as you" is one of the loveliest sentiments Chris Martin has put to tape. Max Martin is in his After Hours bag here, killing it like only he can. The whole thing comes out like M83 covering "The Boys of Summer." What's not to like? What's not to love?

BOBBY, "RocKstaR"

Beat on this is crazy, sounds like something Diplo would try to rip off and subsequently take credit for.

Yu Su, "Xiu"

Hard to pick a standout from this very nice record but I did keep coming back to this one. Kind of sounds a little like Grimes' "Oblivion," or maybe it makes more sense to say that Grimes' "Oblivion" sounds a little like music like this? Either way. Whole album has an IDM-from-another-decade vibe to it, worth checking out if you haven't already.

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Jamie Larson