Baker's Dozen: Future, Fort Romeau, and Barely Phoning It In

Baker's Dozen: Future, Fort Romeau, and Barely Phoning It In

Baker's Dozen is a weekly thing for paid subscribers where I share a playlist of music along with some thoughts around it. I didn't send one last week because I was on vacation, sorry! But I'm back now. I'll probably do two next week too since I have a lot of playlists building up again. All revenue from the newsletter continues to be donated to the National Network of Abortion Funds; we've raised $2,946.41 so far.

Forests, "Jazz Ruined My Life"

These Singapore emo guys' third album sounds math-y and sugary to the absolute most possible ‎‎‎extremes, so it doesn't always work for me—but the energy they bring is undeniable, just get a load of that breakdown near the end.

Yume, "Knight of Wands" [ft. Jason Magid]

Another good breakdown here, although firmly more in the screamo/post-hardcore territory‎. These Baltimore bros are very good at building their own sonic expanses that both feel vast and charming, you can hear a bit of Los Campesinos! and Godspeed You! Black Emperor here. Almost makes you think they should add an exclamation point to their band name too. Man, that smoke detector sound in the end though—what is this, a Yaya Bey record?

MAVI, "Moonfire"

New MAVI released recently, I gotta check it out. ‎Here's a good one from 2019 though, I've posted him before here—his greatest strength beyond being talented in general is that voice, which sounds like he's either on the verge of crying or just straight-up crying through it. Very compelling, a different kind of intensity.

Jacques Greene, "Serenity"

(Smokes cigarette and looks out in the distance) I'm old enough to remember "Another Girl"...Jacques is obviously a true talent when it comes to making blissed-out and highly melodic rave-adjacent electronic music, I'd call it dance music (and it is) but there's something texturally psychedelic about what he's been up to in recent years, kind of saucer-eyed stuff a la The Field or even The Orb. I believe I featured something off his most recent EP a few months back too, go check that out if you haven't already.

Future, "WAIT FOR U" [ft. Drake and Tems]

Get a load‎‎ of this gorgeous PBR&B-ass hook from Tems, would've been Best New Track material in the early-to-mid-2010s on sight. The Law of Future Albums is that they always sound boring right when they come out, and then you dig through six months later and find at least five or six extremely solid songs, and his latest is no different—even if the album art of him literally asleep in the backseat is a bit too thematically on-the-nose when it comes to the perceived effort that went into it. But, like, what Future does at this point seems fairly effortless, right? When does that stop being a virtue and start being a detractor? Can it be both?

Chief State, "Deciduous"

A song about being so despondent that you'd rather be a simply does not get as explicitly emo as this, folks. "Wish I could be an evergreen/ Wish I could see the changing of the leaves‎." Word.

Calvin Harris, "New to You" [ft. Normani, Tinashe, and Offset]

If Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1 was a surprisingly enjoyable low-stakes collab-fest, the second volume of Calvin Harris' real-music pivot is a total snooze, like an AI spitting out "if 'Uptown Funk' touched fentanyl" as a prompt. The 21 Savage collab is quite possibly one of the worst and least passionate pieces of music from this year, the act of releasing it into the general public consciousness seems like a deeply embarrassing decision for the both of them. "New to You" comes closest to being engaging, the hook is not terrible and the strings provide some low-key lushness that is, at worst, unobtrusive. That's the bar, I guess. Calvin, please go back to making big-tent stuff! You were much better at that!

Payroll Giovanni, "Tell Em Pay" [ft. Icis]

Extremely hard beat here, the Detroit sound is just so appealing to me. This release from 2021 in general further establishes Payroll as an extremely consistent rapper, ‎he is frequently fully engaging to listen to as a writer and is making the kind of music you could just listen to constantly.

Mozzy, "Can't Let You Go" [ft. Eric Bellinger]

"Ms. Officer" vibes, I dig. Love Mozzy, what else is there to even say.

Patricia Wolf, "Letting Go"

Patricia Wolf's I'll Look For You in Others is a really solid drone album from this year, made at a time when her life was surrounded by loss and death. It's staring-into-something-to-see-what-is-there music, both as a piece and in broken-up tracks it's really enveloping stuff.

Mick Trouble, "The Bleeding Downs"

Of course the guy from My Teenage Stride is making music like this, which kind of straddles the line between pure retro fodder and a solid evocation of the real thing but, thankfully, ends up on the latter end more often than not. It's hard not to hear this type of music as costume-y more than ever, quite possibly because "indie" doesn't really have a heavy interest in it being made anymore—I feel the same way about Young Guv, who will be featured in a future installment too.

Fort Romeau, "Untitled IV"‎‎‎

I kind of put Fort Romeau in the same category as where I attempted to slot Jacques Greene in earlier, and that's a compliment really—they're both just really good at going full hypnosis-effect on dancefloor material, this is especially Axel Willner-y to me.

Hudson Mohawke, "Furnace Loop"

Another one from the rarities dumps from Hudson Mohawke back in 2020, which contained some very enjoyable found pleasures to tuck into. The last track I shared was more day-glo rave-y, this is more what people expect from him of late obviously—croak-y and massive bass stuff with an odd sense of melody that feels at once aggressive and totally inviting in its hugeness.


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Jamie Larson