Baker's Dozen: Juicy J, Dawn Richard, and Some Light Trendspotting

Baker's Dozen: Juicy J, Dawn Richard, and Some Light Trendspotting

Baker's Dozen is a weekly thing for paid subscribers where I share a playlist of music I've been enjoying recently, along with some scattered critical thoughts around that music.

Deaf Club, "Catching Flies"

The debut album from Justin Pearson's latest band doesn't pack as much of a kick-in-the-head wallop as, say, The Locust's Plague Soundscapes—but it's a good time, a little more conventional, a little more tuneful, maybe even a little more accessible. Plenty of ferocity to go around.

Dawn Richard, "Jacuzzi"‎‎

Was talking to a friend recently about how Dawn Richard seems perpetually stuck at "almost" when it comes to full-length projects...she's been a critical cause for a long time now, and there hasn't been much proof of her building a serious fanbase beyond that. That friend is coincidentally in New Orleans right now, and Dawn's latest was obviously doused in ‎New Orleans lore, so, yeah, funny coincidence. Anyway, the best stuff on this album—which I enjoy more than most of her previous projects—infuses R&B with an electro touch, seems like she's most at home in that mode.

KAINA, "Green"

Didn't vibe with most of KAINA's album from 2019, but the propulsive swing of this one stuck out—as did the horns that pop in and out of the mix.

The Raconteurs, "Somedays (I Don't Feel Like Trying)"‎

Jack White, funny guy these days! As I've seen many critics turn against him for whatever reason, I have a weird level of respect for him that deepens with every invective tossed his way. He's still doing more interesting stuff with rock, both experimentally and in terms of being a pure formalist, than some of his contemporaries (I'm looking straight at you, Beck). Of course, what he's doing is rarely "cool," which I assume is why The Raconteurs' surprisingly strong album from 2019 was mostly overlooked. There's a too-obvious Beatles-ish thing going on with this song, obviously, but it works because he sells it well enough, and that's all that really has to happen for Jack White to make something work.‎

Cordae, "Sinister" [ft. Lil Wayne]

Is there anyone more boring than Cordae? From a Birds Eye View is undoubtedly the worst major rap release of the year so far, he's turned into what most people accuse J. Cole of being like (in no way a defense of J. Cole). Wayne sleepwalks through this track, which I threw on here because it's the only moderately tricky Hit-Boy beat stashed away on an otherwise Grammy-seeking, aggressively oldhead-courting vessel.‎

Jackson+Sellers, "Fair Weather"

Lovely and aching song from this alt-country superduo, not too familiar with their solo work at all but I thought the record this is off of was a decent listen (my wife liked it a little more than me when I was playing it in the apartment last month).

INNA, "Lonely"

The kind of song that you can imagine closing out a Euro-heavy Essential Mix, perhaps with a more stomping hardstyle (ick) remix—but the hook here is solid, I love trash like this. ‎‎She's a judge on Romania's Masked Singer! Who knew.

Orlando Weeks, "Deep Down Way Out"

Landfill indie plunderers, ah‎oy: This guy used to be the frontman of the Maccabees, whose music I couldn't identify out of a lineup. But this, as well as his (just okay) debut solo bow in general, is very identifiable as a microtrend that's continuing to slowly emerge: A clear and serious debt to Arthur Russell's vocal timbre offset by plush soft-rock tones (I'm thinking Phil Collins). You've heard it in the music from Bullion and Westerman, and now you hear it in this too. I feel like we will hear more of it in the future.

Bongeziwe Mabandla, "zange"

Album as a whole is very varied-sounding, but I love how the backbeat snaps on this—not far off, sonically if not vocally, from the trend I was just talking about!

Eric Nam, "Admit"

This guy's been all over Korean television during the past decade alongside his music career, he did double-duty on SNL Korea at one point. He's playing Terminal 5 later this year, too. I love shit like this, unabashedly—if OneRepublic's "Apologize" goes hard (it does), so does everything else that reminds me of it.

Lee Paradise, "Medicinal Magic"

Never heard this guy's previous band's music (Hooded Fang), has that dark Toronto edge you get from some of the music that comes out of the city though. Wasn't too into this album overall despite aiming to hit some sweet spot between Deerhunter jangle and Soft Moon-esque frigidness, this track is cool though, I like how it opens up as it goes along.

Juicy J, "SHOPPING SPREE" [ft. Young Dolph]

RIP Dolph, love a song that leans so hard on mentioning Barney the Dinosaur in the chorus. I share it with you because it's what Barney would've wanted me to do.‎‎‎‎

Hatchie, "Stay With Me"

My favorite song from ‎the first Hatchie LP, which was relatively low-stakes but featured some very capable genre exercises. A little Saint Etienne going on with this one, clearly. We'll see how the second record is!

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Jamie Larson