Baker's Dozen: Beyoncé, Blood Orange, and New Versions of the Same Old Thing

Baker's Dozen: Beyoncé, Blood Orange, and New Versions of the Same Old Thing

Baker's Dozen is a weekly thing for paid subscribers where I share a playlist of music I've been enjoying along with some stray critical thoughts around it. Until further notice, 100% of paid subscription revenue will be donated to the National Network of Abortion Funds.

Ada Lea, "The Party"

Wasn't too into Ada Lea's album from 2019 overall, but this song is spectacular to me—instantly conjures some Feist vibes, would feel equally feel at home on Pleasure or The Reminder I think.

YoungBoy Never Broke Again, "Expensive Taste"

As ever, a thousand reasons not to like this guy, who also happens to be one of the biggest rappers alive and capable of turning out music that is, as a friend recently admitted, impossible not to hear and be like, "Unfortunately, this is fire." (Lot of YoungBoy shirts at Hot Topic and Spencer's these days, btw.) I wonder if David Brooks likes this one.‎‎‎‎

Guitar Fight from Fooly Cooly, "Teens//candle"

Man, I love this record so much—feels like a nerdier Japandroids a lot of the time, complete with Kingdom Hearts samples. It's funny how this stuff goes overlooked by some because of the emo leanings, throw in a few more chiptune/noise elements and this would be indistinguishable from an Alien8 release or, like, early Deerhoof.

‎Kicksie, "Half-Hearted"

What a lovely little yearning gem of a song, something that Kicksie can be quite good at. Someone I know remarked that there's simply too much stuff that sounds like this lately, and while that is true I simply cannot deny when it's executed this well.

Bleached, "Somebody Dial 911"‎

Bleached are always good for a solid tune or two, I actually think 2019's Don't You Think You've Had Enough? might be their best album, though. There's a wistfulness that runs through it, looking back specifically at the feeling of ‎going to shows, being in a band, the ups and downs of doing what they do—it's sweet and endearing, and I think that's hard to pull off effectively.

Thank, "Very Cool"

Speaking of stuff there's too much of! So, I tend to play my wife the Baker's Dozens in advance while driving her to work‎, since I don't expect her to read this newsletter (having to hear me talk all the time is enough). For the first-two thirds of this, she was like, "This song sucks" and I was like, "I know, but there must've been some reason why I put it on here," and then that weird delay thing with the guy's vocals kicked in and we both were like, "OK, that's pretty good." But not that good!

Palace, "Lover (Don't Let Me Down)"

‎These guys have been a minor irritation for some indie lifers on the TL, who are like, "Don't we already have a band called Palace?" Fair enough, and Palace Music are certainly more distinct than these guys (side note: I just found out they're British, of course). Palace's third album has an aqueous Fleet Foxes-ripoff thing going on here to my ears, literally nothing original about this music at all—and if you think this type of thing doesn't net massive opening slots and a surprisingly high tour following, I entreat you to get acquainted with similar acts like Lord Huron. "Invisibly huge" is what we call this type of music, and I'm sure this will not be the last we hear of them.

glaive, "icarus"

‎Real heads will remember when I interviewed glaive for the newsletter two years ago, back when he was 15. I also ended up writing his press bio several months later (stop making that face, you know how all of this works) and he told me that he'd been getting more into Post Malone and was very interested in making traditional pop music. Sadly he wasn't lying! Then again, anyone who knows me knows I do love Posty a decent amount of the time...I have found glaive's recent output to be disappointingly straightfoward, but I love when he sounds like this, even if it's less distinct than what he started out with.

Beyoncé, WizKid, SAINt JHN, and Blue Ivy, "BROWN SKIN GIRL"

‎Absolutely wild how Beyoncé made two of the most paradigm-shifting pop albums of the last 25 years and has since spent her time shilling for corporations. We do not love to see it! Maybe we'll be getting something new soon, maybe never again. I find THE GIFT risible solely because of the Disney connections, but I cannot deny this song. "Pretty like Lupita when the cameras roll in/ Drip broke the levee when the Kellys roll in" is such a good line.

Blood Orange, "Happiness"

‎Weirdly feel like Dev Hynes is underrated at this point? He's one of our premier sonic fabulists at this point, constantly spinning out beautiful collagist music that's infused with pure emotion and a strong cultural sense of "now"-ness. Does that sound stupid? Whatever. I feel like he's been shooting nothing but 3's since Freetown Sound, we're long overdue for a new album from him.

Mungbean, "What You Find"

I really like the main guitar figure in this, the rest I could take or leave. One of many albums that I otherwise have no memory of listening to at all, despite my hearing it last month.

Rapsody, "Ibtihaj" [ft. D'Angelo and GZA]‎

Obvious nostalgia bait here, but since I'm otherwise not too grabbed by Rapsody's music, I'll take it.

Worst Party Ever, "False Teeth"

Still need to listen to their debut LP that came out at the end of last year but I think this song is just swell, scratches a particular itch very satisfyingly.‎‎

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Jamie Larson