Baker's Dozen: Chromatics, Ego Ella May, and a Hilarious Drake Feature

Baker's Dozen: Chromatics, Ego Ella May, and a Hilarious Drake Feature

Baker's Dozen is a weekly thing for paid subscribers where I share music I've been enjoying along with some thoughts around it. All newsletter revenue is currently being donated to the National Network of Abortion Funds; we've raised $2,946.41 so far.

Weatherstate, "Current Dose"

Not even sure I like this, it definitely walks some sort of line. Maybe I don't? The guitar on the bridge reminds me of another song that I've had the hardest time putting my finger on...if you're out there and you ‎‎‎can recognize what I'm talking about, let me know.

VEDA BLACK, "Call It Love"

Good shit from South London, VEDA BLACK's 2020 EP Sad Girls Club is definitely worth checking out. A bit of a "Ms. Jackson" thing going on in the backbeat here.

The New Pornographers, "One Kind of Solomon"

The New Pornographers, massively undervalued at this point. Out of fashion perhaps? That's a bit sad to think about, especially since Alvvays (a band I love, but I haven't listened to the new one yet) is out here getting incorrectly called power-pop (they're indie-pop!!!!) while Carl Newman and Co. are over here still very capably banging out the power-pop tunes. I suppose the most damning thing you can say about what they do now is that they've mastered a type of song so well that every song sounds like that type of song, but when the song is still good, well, who cares?

Cousin Stizz, "Star Power" [ft. Curren$y]

I featured Cousin Stizz's very solid City Girls collab ‎‎‎"Perfect" a few months back, here's a great song from his latest. The Bouvé beat is basically perfect for Curren$y, who raps over shit like this all the time—and Stizz, who is very adept at handling any type of beat, sounds right at home here too.

Chromatics, "Twist the Knife"

Chromatics are more interesting to me now than they were at their peak of existence (I'm thinking circa Kill For Love), ‎I can't really explain why. I think that some distance from the hype machine has allowed me to simply love the sounds Johnny Jewel makes, and they're sounds that I've always typically loved—but when you're in the thick of music writing and you've got at least one person over your shoulder practically chewing off their own goddamn arm about how great Chromatics are, you (meaning, me) might have the tendency to be like, "Yeah, OK, whatever." Anyway, Chromatics, good band, sucks we'll never get Dear Tommy although who knows, with all these weird side records and imaginary soundtracks, maybe we already did? Maybe the real Dear Tommy is the friends we made along the way.

Czardust, "Whattup"

Two Philly guys, one of which (Sadhugold) has done beats for Mach-Hommy, Your Old Droog, and the like. You already know what this sounds like even if you haven't listened to it yet. I could listen to this kind of stuff all day at this point.

Summer Walker, "Girls Need Love (Remix)" [ft. Drake]‎

Get a load of this extraordinary Drake verse, a mesmerizing feat of male promiscuity that might be one of the funniest things he's ever put to tape. Summer Walker's lyrical prompt is very Summer Walker-y, and Drake going along with it is utterly hilarious, essentially saying, "Yeah I totally get it, girls want sex too—I'm very down to help you with that." I'm sure you are! "Fucked up/ Shouldn't even have to justify/ I get it, I'm on your side/ Guys get their way all the time," he flutters and preens, like a horny mockingbird. To paraphrase Vin from Gigolos, he's basically, like, a real feminist. My friend recently told me that Summer Walker is "music for dusty bitches," so if she's correct (I don't think I'm allowed to make that call, personally), I guess I'm one of the dustiest bitches around.

Anna Wise, "Abracadabra" [ft. Little Simz]

I guess, also, the question could also be posed as, do you want Summer Walker, or do you want Anna Wise? I suppose that is unfair, but Anna Wise is kind of the other end of the spectrum when it comes to R&B, very wallpaper-y, so ethereal it's basically curtains blowing in the wind. Moments of gorgeousness, yes, but so are wisps of smoke, and those always disappear pretty quick too.

Devon Welsh, "Alongside"

Devon is an interesting guy and a good songwriter to me, I think his thing can be off-putting to some—Majical Cloudz were pretty divisive at Pitchfork HQ—but I find a kind of massive, solitary resonance in what he does, music that is also truly Lynch-ian I believe (yes, I'm saying that with full knowledge of his Twin Peaks connection). His 2019 LP True Love didn't get enough play by people I think, but some very strong songs ‎‎on there as ever.

Teno Afrika, "Where You Are" [ft. Leyla]

I'm a little behind on digging through the riches of Amapiano as a subgenre but I do love this track quite a bit, feels Koze-y to me.

‎Vientre, "Ámbar"

Colombian band, I think this record is pretty solid in terms of doing "this" type of post-hardcore throughout, the songs very intentionally bleed into each other structurally but this is an undeniable highlight to me.

Demae, "Seasons Change"

Gorgeous stuff from London yet again, Demae's 2020 project Life Works Out...Usually is well worth your attention. Lot of good neo-soul coming from her corner of things in general it seems, with collaborations from like-minded UK people like Joe Armon-Jones (who will likely pop up in a future BD) and...

Ego Ella May, "Song For Bobby"

Ego Ella May. I swear I did not plan this segue in advance, until like yesterday these two songs were supposed to be on separate playlists. Ego Ella May's Honey for Wounds is another massively overlooked 2020 release to me, anyone who loves Erykah Badu (how could you not? Well aside from the Hitler comments a few years back...let's put a pin in that one) will find plenty to lose themselves in.‎‎‎

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Jamie Larson