Baker's Dozen: Charlie Puth, Baroness, and Some Stuff I Don't Like

Baker's Dozen: Charlie Puth, Baroness, and Some Stuff I Don't Like

Baker's Dozen is a weekly thing for paid subscribers where I send out a playlist as well as some of my stray thoughts on the music in the playlist itself.

Mamalarky, "Fury"

The Mamalarky record from 2020 was quite good, the type of spiky indie rock that, were it 2018, I would say "really doesn't exist anymore"—but thanks to recent records from bands like Pom Poko, Goat Girl, and, well, Mamalarky, I can no longer say that, so. This sounds like Apple O-era Deerhoof a little, which will always perk my ears up.

Iceage, "Love Kills Slowly"‎‎‎

Every great band has an eventual "miss," and that was what Iceage's Seek Shelter was for me. Not a bad record, mind you, but just not hitting the level of appeal they have in the past. The fury seemed to be gone, as their sound becomes more complex and accessible at the same time—which is fine, I think they're still heading in interesting directions, I just prefer it when they take me by the throat. Good song though, kind of encapsulates the Nick Cave-iness of this era of the band.

RuPaul, "Catwalk" [ft. Skeltal Ki]‎

RuPaul makes mostly terrible music, this shouldn't be a surprise to anyone who's ever listened to RuPaul's music o‎r has sat through the seasonal Drag Race episode where the contestants have to make a music video based on one of Ru's songs. (Personally fell off of Drag Race, which I'd previously and faithfuly watched every season of, because of the Sherry Pie thing. Kind of poisoned the viewing experience for me!) "Catwalk" is the least abominable concoction on the new RuPaul album, very straightforward house-pop, some mildly engaging production details. (There's a song later on in the playlist that does this a little better, we'll get there.) If you haven't heard Ru's absolutely horrible "hyperpop" ripoff "Smile," you should (or shouldn't) and then you should read this piece on it.

Twin Atlantic, "Haunt"

Twin Atlantic—just the name brings to mind a band created in a lab. They're Scottish (not that that lets them off the hook for anything)‎ and quite boring, and for most of their career they've put out albums on Red Bull's label. You can't make this shit up! "Haunt" sounds like it'd be huge if it gets the right amount of traction, strong Lukas Graham "7 Years" vibes here. Ugh, gross.

The Silver, "Ward of Roses"

The Silver's debut album is beguiling and moody, I'm not sure I really vibed with a good deal of it, but this track is sick—love that rolling beat in the background, there's some serious post-rock stuff going on here in the midst of what is otherwise a sufficiently bonkers metal album.

Starflyer 59, "Sunrise"‎

Starflyer 59, one of those bands I've "known about" for my entire life as a music listener but never really checked out. Prior to me listening to their latest album, if you asked me what they sounded like I probably would've guessed they were some Elephant 6 thing, and I would've been wrong. They were shoegaze guys for a while (cool), then they started doing some religious stuff (boo?), or maybe it was just because they were on a religious label (who cares). Someone could probably throw this song on the closing credits to a teen drama and find some success sync-wise, seems built for that type of emotional impact.

thanks for coming, "In My Pockets"

Really like the new album from thanks for coming, aka Rachel Brown from Water In Your Eyes. The K Records sound is strong with this one, obviously fits into the re-emergence of twee and hyper-intimate indie rock that's rippled through the underground over the last few years. (I think that stuff is always happening, tbh, it's typically just a matter of who's paying attention and when.) This song reminds me a bit of Built to Spill's "Twin Falls."

Vic Spencer, "Norbit's Revenge"

Just recently started getting into Vic Spencer's music more—he shares a hometown with previous Baker's Dozen star (too much self-branding?) Chris Crack and has a similar energy, short songs and funny, conversational rapping, colorful music that still sounds a little dusty too. Feel like this is a pretty good representation of what he does, in terms of old-head music the appeal is not unlike Griselda, but with a more distinct display of character.

William Tyler, "Pisces Backroads"

Still enjoying William Tyler's very hauntological New Vanitas from 2020—if you missed my interview I did with him around it, check it out here.‎

Charlie Puth, "Light Switch"

In a very early edition of the Baker's Dozen, ‎I shared Charlie Puth's Subway jingle and was like, "This is fire." No regrets! It was. Anyone who knows me knows I'm a Puther, he has an incredible voice and is a great songwriter in general, Voicenotes was extremely underrated in general. I suspect many confuse him for Shawn Mendes, similar to an editor who shall remain nameless once did after I pitched a Voicenotes review to them—what, do all white boys look alike to you?!? Anyway, glad to have him back, hope he keeps bringing this energy.

UP10TION, "Give Love"

Here's the song I was gesturing towards in the RuPaul blurb re: doing house-pop a little more decently. The production gew-gaws tucked within are more appealing than the actual song itself, I do love the breakdown in the chorus too.

Baroness, "I'm Already Gone"

Baroness are so good at "this sound"—slightly doom-y but quite pop-y heavy rock-slash-metal, perhaps they're undervalued for it at this point? Gold & Grey on the whole was a bit of a miss for them, but it had some tunes, this is certainly one of them.

Cassius, "Walking in the Sunshine" [ft. Owlle]

Man, RIP Philippe Zdar—just profoundly sad how he went out, feels fucked up to even talk about it. What ended up as the final Cassius album is pretty good for what they do; you could call it "bloghouse" if you're being unserious, but it's really just a continuation of the big-beat sound that they were tangentially near in the beginning of their career. Lots of casual jams but this closer, which sounds like a melted cassette, rules all.‎‎‎


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Jamie Larson