Baker's Dozen: Fickle Friends, Freddie Gibbs, and Good Artists Teaming Up With Bad Artists

Baker's Dozen: Fickle Friends, Freddie Gibbs, and Good Artists Teaming Up With Bad Artists

Baker's Dozen is a thing I do for paid subscribers where I send out a weekly playlist, along with some scattered critical thoughts around what I've been listening to lately.

Khalid, "Scenic Drive" [ft. Ari Lennox and Smino]

Khalid is like the aural version of NyQuil (derogatory). I hesitate to say that he continues to "sound like streaming" because, like, what does that even mean at this point? But there is a sense of tedium to what he does that feels like, say, sitting in traffic. This track from his latest project is good though, mostly because Ari Lennox (who I am a fan of) pretty much just blacks out on it.

Yves Tumor, "Crushed Velvet"

The Asymptotical World was, for me, a bit of rekindling of interest in Yves Tumor—maybe that's not the best way to put it. Safe in the Hands of Love felt titanic and mind-blowing, a truly generational work; but I was mostly left cold by the more explicitly rockist trappings of Heaven to a Tortured Mind, which was still enjoyable but felt less distinctly special. The latest EP seemed to be a fair midpoint between those two works, even as they continue to make more streamlined ‎‎‎‎music. A colleague compared it to Orgy, and you can definitely hear some of that in here.

MIKE, "Stargazer, Pt. 3"

Is Tears of Joy the best MIKE album at this point? I find that he's kind of hard to think about in terms of individual releases at this point, partially because he's been operating on a solid consistency ‎for a while now. Anyway, great beat on this.

Fickle Friends, "Alone"

‎I've enjoyed Fickle Friends' Are We Gonna Be Alright? in a very low-stakes way; it reminds me of Magdalena Bay a little, which speaks less to Magdalena Bay's influence and more to how what they are doing, in the end, isn't all that distinct (even though it's good!). This type of stuff flows freely like cheap beer, or whatever the industry event that bands like this play are serving. I have to imagine this one is about the pandemic, it does capture a familiar vibe in that respect.

Vince Staples, "TAKE ME HOME" [ft. Fousheé]

Vince Staples is getting more interesting to me as he goes, I reckon I liked the self-titled from last year more than a few critics did, good stuff here. As always, a current of melancholy running through what he does.

The Avalanches, "The Divine Chord" [ft. MGMT and Johnny Marr]

One of the best songs in years? ‎We Will Always Love You is like the last ATCQ album to me, something that arrived at just the right time during a period of really rough shit in the world. Already said this elsewhere online but the whole thing feels like getting a hug from an alien.

Kenny Muney, "Role Model"

Sad song! RIP Dolph, I'll be sharing another song from the Paper Route EMPIRE compilation next week too.‎

Zetra, "Call of the Void"

Really expansive and starry-eyed darkwave goth from these guys, I wish the whole album was like this but sometimes just one song does the trick, too.

Kareem Ali, "Night Echoes"

Yeah, what a vibe. Love a song that sounds like it's starting in the middle and then takes you a few other places, too.

Freddie Gibbs and Madlib, "Situations"‎‎

It would be kind to say that I'm a la carte with Freddie Gibbs, but the reality is that I've found him largely overrated across the board since The Miseducation of Freddie Gibbs (which I liked). Ran through Bandana again recently though and found more to like, so who knows. This song knocks, it sounds a little like something Kevin Gates (who I love) would do.

‎Ethiopian Records, "Tigist"

A different vibe from the last Taxi Sampler 01 track I shared, kind of more of a patient floor-filler but it blooms beautifully.

Boy Harsher, "Autonomy" [ft. Lucy - Cooper B. Handy]

There will always be bands like Boy Harsher, thankfully. A sound that never goes out of style, and it sounds incredible when it's done this well.

King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, "Yours (Fred P Journey Mix)"

The last one from Butterfly 3001 I'll be sharing. If you know Fred P, you know what you're getting into here.‎‎‎

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Jamie Larson