Baker's Dozen: Ecco2k, Chester Watson, and Interesting Pop Music That Isn't Quite Good

Baker's Dozen: Ecco2k, Chester Watson, and Interesting Pop Music That Isn't Quite Good

Baker's Dozen is a weekly thing for paying subscribers where I share a playlist of music I've enjoyed lately as well as some stray, mostly focused thoughts around the music in that playlist.

Ecco2k, "In the Flesh"

It's not that I don't get Ecco2k, as much as I suspect that younger people have a better understanding of all things Drain Gang-esque than I do. But I continue to find the collective's sound (as well as the sound of those who orbit around them) very intriguing! Obviously a lot of "hyperpop" DNA in this, but I'm hesitant to even use that word too much anymore since it seems like a lot of people have no idea what kind of music it's actually referring to.

SALEM, "DieWithMe"

That said! SALEM are obviously hyperpop forebears and 100% a huge influence on modern music in general, as they were always destined to be. They're also a touchy subject for me, as some longtime readers of my work might know about—maybe I'll go into that more some day but it will involve burning a few bridges so, putting it off again for now. Anyway! I thought the second SALEM album was largely overrated due to "missing" them rather than engaging with the material itself, but this track is gorgeous.

Demi Lovato, "The Kind of Lover I Am"

The latest Demi Lovato album isn't "good," necessarily, even though it has a few good songs (like this one)—but it's fascinating in a deeply uncomfortable way. She has obviously been through hell and you can hear a very specific recounting of those experiences throughout this album, amidst all the fake-real posturing from pop stars a lot of what's on the record simply seems too real in a way that the Scooter Braun pop machine can't simply just conjure up as a ploy. I wish I had mentioned this song as well as Justin Bieber's "Lonely" in the post from last month about pop's new emotionalism, but that post was already, like, 3000 words, so.

Basside and SOPHIE, "GIRL"

Long live SOPHIE, what else is there to say. I get so sad when I think about her death, she changed music forever and music is less good with her not present on the material plane.

glass beach, "FOREVER!!!!!!!!! [WOW OK Remix]"

Emo bands releasing remix albums isn't a typical thing, but—extreme clichéd turn of phrase alert—glass beach isn't your typical emo band. A few really satisfying cuts on here amidst a lot of stuff that doesn't really land but is still intermittently fascinating, which is the best you could ask for from a remix album really. This sounds like 2013 to me, obviously not mad about it.

Dizzee Rascal, "God Knows" [ft. P Money]

Dizzee's been on a 'memba-when back-to-basics run in the last few years with Raskit and this record, and I do love that grime sound even if the rapping can be pretty suspect (or, more accurately, annoying to listen to) at times. Great bass line on here, throughout E3 AF you can definitely hear a bit of needle-threading between Run the Road-era grime and the wobbly East Coast drill sound that's become so prevalent in North American rap music over the last few years.

Chucky73 and Don Z, "Tutu"

Speaking of drill! I've featured Chucky73 around these parts before, he continues to make very good music.

Fake Fruit, "Keep You"

Most of the Fake Fruit album from this year is far more post punk-y than this track, where they stretch their legs a bit and get slightly Pavement-y while also retaining a sliver or two of the sound they established elsewhere. Good album overall!

Chester Watson, "Nujabes"

You quite simply don't get nerdier hip-hop than what Chester Watson is doing, not an insult. The first few times I spun A Japanese Horror Film I found it to be pretty boring and then it unlocked through realizing that his whole thing is suffocatingly stoned, to the point where you feel like you need to wave your hands around just to get through all the smoke. A vibe.

Home Is Where, "Assisted Harakiri"

Good band, Hotelier-album-title-ass-name. Doesn't sound like the Hotelier though! Even though they're cut from the same cloth (emo). Do I hear some horns in there? The 2000s really are back with a vengenance.

BROCKHAMPTON, "I'LL TAKE YOU ON" [ft. Charlie Wilson]

Still don't "get" BROCKHAMPTON—what their deal is, what kind of music they actually are committing to, the whole "boy band" thing, et al—but they're occasionally capable of turning out a good song. Occasionally! Let's not get ahead of ourselves here.

Diamondstein, "Heaven in Two Parts"

From the latest Doom Trip compilation, good stuff, gonna post a few from this one over the next few weeks. Miami Vice vibes! Or Where You Go I Go Too-era Lindstrøm. Or just vaporwave. So many things get called so many things these days.

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Jamie Larson