Baker's Dozen: Baby Keem, Ed Sheeran, and Music That Brings People Together

Baker's Dozen: Baby Keem, Ed Sheeran, and Music That Brings People Together

Baker's Dozen is a weekly thing I do for paid subscribers where I send out a playlist, along with thoughts on the music I've been listening to lately.

Reptaliens, "In Your Backy‎‎ard"

Reptaliens' new album is called Multiverse—tres chic, very Doctor Strange of them. They're kind of doing a Broadcast-y/Stereolab-y thing with a little more New Zealand jangle and a little less hauntological fuzz, it works very well.‎

Che Noir, "Bless the Food"

Longtime Donut Heads (sorry—or am I?) will recognize that I shared a Che Noir track back when she made a record with Apollo Brown back in 2020. Not as into her new album as I was into that one, but this track is solid and there's a nice Wu-reminiscent posse cut tucked away on it, too.

DJ Python, "Angel"

Very wistful and airy techno from the great DJ Python, sounds like a less enveloping spin on The Field's "‎‎A Paw in My Face."

Low, "The Price You Pay (It Must Be Wearing Off)"

As a long time Low fan, I haven't been into their BJ Burton era the way many others have—but this isn't about Low, it's about Leighton. Leighton is our downstairs neighbor who does lighting on Billions, we've known him since moving into the building last March. At first, our relationship was slightly tense because I wasn't aware of how loud our speakers were bleeding into his apartment at night, but when I became aware and made things right, we got off on a much better foot. Sometimes he blasts Bob Dylan and drinks beers in the hall, he hosted a holiday party this past Christmas in which him and another guy recited fake Shakespeare(?) at each other loudly for hours. I've heard that he makes his own whiskey; sometimes he gives me random objects when he sees me, like a little shovel or an extension cord that he made himself. ‎At least once a week (sometimes more), he listens to Low's Things We Lost in the Fire at a high enough volume that I can feel every bass line through the floor, and I do not mind it at all; he usually follows it up immediately with Coldplay's Parachutes, which I also do not mind. When I recently told him that I'm also a fan of Low, his eyes lit up as he started to rattle off all the records he's a huge fan of. We both agreed that this current era fits in more with Drums and Guns (and we both like that record more than these recent records), he also saw them on the Double Negative tour and said it was great. Last night, around 10:30 pm, we received a furious knock on our door followed by what sounded like an attempt to open it; I immediately prepared for the worst (home invasion) and asked who it was. Then I looked into the peephole—it was Leighton. I opened the door as he was waving around ear drops that he needed me to put in his ear for an ear infection. He came into the apartment and braced himself against the wall, tilting his head, as I applied one-two drops per ear, then he ran (ran!) back downstairs. I love him.


What's going on with KEY!? Asking mostly just because I'd like to hear new music from him soon. I love his style, it's not totally left-field or anything but what he does is very pleasant to the ears.

Moon Byul, "Shutdown" [ft. Seori]

Good shit here from Moon Byul, who's also in the K-pop group Mamamoo. (Regular readers have probably noticed that I'm trying to keep up more in general with non-Western pop these days.)

‎‎Mr. Muthafuckin' eXquire, "RumbleFish"

The Mr. Muthafuckin' eXquire album from 2019 was more or less what you could expect from a Mr. Murhafuckin' eXquire album in 2019. There's a song where he basically goes full InfoWars (he actually samples Alex Jones), another song where he jokes about not being woke enough to stop listening to R. Kelly, and a song called "I Love Hoes." There's also this song, which feels like a wistful and sweet breather amidst all the uneven chaos. Maybe this is what closure sounds like for once-buzzy city rappers? Who knows.

Kacey Musgraves, "hookup scene"

Beautiful song on a record that I otherwise just could not connect with, not that I'm holding that against it. star-crossed felt personal and introspective for an artist who was already very good at doing both, and it's one of those things where, even as a fan, I don't think it matters what I think of it. She had some shit to work out, and I hope it helped.

Baby Keem, "cocoa" [ft. Don Toliver]

I'm tempted to say Baby Keem is overrated, but is Baby Keem overrated? The critical reaction thus far seems to have been a shrug, I personally am not really a fan of his music so far save for a few moments here and there. He reminds me a lot of Travis Scott in that I don't sense a ton of originality going on, and also his music quite often sounds like Travis' own psych-pop spin on rap. Anyway, this track bangs just because of Don Toliver, who is an excellent addition to anything and also has this mesmerizing line: "I love to spend it/ She coppin' levitators/ I took her out to eat/ I took her out to Denny's." That's real!

Purple Mountains, "Darkness and Cold"

I've been connecting with the Purple Mountains record a lot lately, which I'm sure will prompt some to do a wellness check similar to what happened when I tweeted this video several weeks ago with the caption "Sad song." I'm fine! A lot of wisdom here and elsewhere, what else do you even say about music so sad made by someone who felt the need to leave this world. Sad song.

Anxious, "Call From You"

One of my favorite songs of the year on what sounds to me like one of the best rock records of the year so far? Undeniable, the second verse kills me, emo does not get better than this folks.

Sada Baby, "Aktivated"

Imagining the David Letterman Oscars "Oprah-Uma" bit, only about Sada Baby and SahBabii. It'd be funny!

Ed Sheeran, "I Don't Want Your Money" [ft. H.E.R.]

Ed, banging out the tunes. Obviously I've been a low-key Sheerio for a minute now, I think a lot of my critical compatriots find him to be absolutely detestable which I can only categorize as an overreaction. His Greatest Hits will be an undeniable collection, every album has a few straight-up classics that hang with the best of them. This is probably my favorite off the collaborations album he did in 2019, H.E.R. does the damn thing, no Grammy. Kind of like a Justin Timberlake song, only I suspect Ed's actually going to vaccinate his kid.‎‎‎‎‎‎‎

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Jamie Larson