Baker's Dozen: Denzel Curry, Camila Cabello, and Hiding in Plain Sight

Baker's Dozen: Denzel Curry, Camila Cabello, and Hiding in Plain Sight

Baker's Dozen is a weekly thing for paid subscribers where I share a bunch of music I've been into, along with some thoughts around that music.

Camila Cabello, "Hasta Los Dientes" [ft. Maria Becerra]

I sat through at least half of Camila Cabello's Cinderella, can any of you say the same? So I have the right to refer to her as "distinctly untalented," even though her latest album Familia had some minor heaters on it. Every time she turns out a song that isn't terrible, you have to assume it's because of who's involved; in this case, it's Argentina's Maria Becerra and Ricky Reed, whose stamp you've heard all over Lizzo's biggest hits. (I think this song is better than most of Lizzo's biggest hits, though.)

Sheppard, "Somebody Like You"‎‎

"Are these guys Christian?" That's why my wife asked me when I played her this. I...still can't tell, but they sound Christian, right? Here's an interview with one of their members in an Australian ‎faith-based media publication, so it seems likely, but it also seems likely in the "a lot of pop musicians are secretly cult-y Christians because being braindead and religious is the only way to be successful in the music business" way. They sure sound Christian! Apparently Sheppard have been huge for years in Australia, which is a monolith-sized asterisk to follow "huge for years" with; Scooter Braun was an early champion, which means nothing. I like the female backing vocals on the chorus here, song is like something a milquetoast country act like Lady A (gulp) would probably kill.

Ashley Monroe, "Til It Breaks"

Another song where I love the backing vocals on the chorus, only this time I really do love the whole song. All the love to Ashley Monroe as she currently battles blood cancer, really sad stuff.

Cadence Weapon, "Connect"

All the love to the Polaris Prize-winning ‎‎Rollie Pemberton, too. When I was at VICE, one of the several stupid things I was doing was helping generate editorial content to "support" the VICELAND shows no one was watching; one of the things we did was an interview with Rollie, who was the narrator for one of our shows. The phone chat was good even though the interview was a waste of time, Rollie also used to work at Pitchfork so we ended up trading war stories from, if you'll forgive the extended metaphor, the frontlines of a different battle. What is working in media if not finding yourself constantly caught by the bullshit of past jobs and whatever bullshit you're currently dealing with?

Denzel Curry, "Troubles" [T-Pain]

Melt My Eyez See Your Future might've been the nicest surprise of 2022; Denzel's Zuu was a late-2010s classic, all air-raid synths and teeth-rattling bass and the kind of Miami sound that, honestly, is always in too short of supply. So pivoting from that to a thoughtful-with-the-word-in-quotes "it's not rap, it's hip-hop" style so Robert Glasper-y‎ that the opening song literally features Robert Glasper, hmm, not something I was really asking for! But I think the record actually reveals Denzel as someone who's extremely good at taking a style and making it fit his approach, rather than the other way around; more importantly, it's still fun to listen to, and his actual rapping didn't take a nosedive (remember "Ricky," he's always been a strong writer) in a Cordae-esque fashion. T-Pain also floats on this song so perfectly, the kind of verse that accidentally takes the whole song over.

Overmono, "Gunk"

The best dance song of 2022? Whenever I hear Overmono do something like this, I'm like, "How are they so effortlessly good at doing something like this?" The upcoming full-length is, obviously, highly anticipated.

billy woods, "No Hard Feelings"

Aethiopes didn't really land for me in the end, although I appreciated the style it was going for—in terms of billy woods albums from last year, I preferred Church—but this song is obviously awesome, the type of beatless noise-menace you'd find on some Def Jux stuff back in the day too.

Bowerbirds, "Seems Impossible"

I recently tweeted about how good the most recent Bowerbirds album from 2021 was, and several people were like, "There was a new Bowerbirds album?" I do think we've lost something internet-wise when it comes to a place where you can regularly find out information like a new Bowerbirds album...anyway, if you liked Bowerbirds before (I did) you'll like this one a lot too, great melodic songwriting, sounds very much of their time of origin but not dated, just maybe kind of timeless.

Syd, "Missing Out"‎‎‎

I was going to say that Broken Hearts Club ‎felt like a step down from Fin, but I also think both records function better as a "collection of songs" than as cohesive statements—which is fine, in the lead-up to Fin she was saying that her solo stuff was at that point more a side deal when the Internet weren't doing things. Anyway, she's still good, great production on this one done by herself, kind of curious about where she goes next and hoping she doesn't take as long next time.

Lykke Li, "5D"

Lykke Li said she was gonna slow it down for Eyeye, but she did so in an excellent way. Great production throughout the record courtesy of Björn Yttling, this song sounds almost like a Chromatics song maybe. Any time a European sings about love, the movies, and love in the movies, it's a direct hit.

Hatchie, "The Key"

Hatchie's deeply in underrated territory at this point, Giving the World Away was a great record showing yet again that she's doing the dream-pop sound and all that comes with it an extremely faithful job, engaging in texture and style with a level of aesthetic purity that nonetheless doesn't just come off as pure mimicry. It's kind of crazy how well she does this...makes you think she was beamed in from the early '90s or something.

Calling All Captains, "Friends & Family"

Calling All Captains' Slowly Getting Better, was shocked by how many songs I liked off of's obvious mall-punk on a level, but delivered with thickness and some toothy hooks. I can literally envision the Wetzel's Pretzels stand across from Hot Topic in my mind right now.

Swim Camp, "Melt"

I do a lot of "Listen first, context later" listening in general, so I was surprised when I looked this one up and found an absolutely brutal review of the album it comes from...mostly because I didn't think people wrote brutal reviews anymore. Anyway, nice song, pleasant if unremarkable album, we are at the point where too much indie sounds "like this" and if you aren't a master of the sound (Alex G, Hovvdy, maybe one or two others but also maybe that's it), you might want to think about switching it up.‎‎‎

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Jamie Larson