Baker's Dozen: Kali Uchis, BENEE, and Tom Morello For Some Reason

Baker's Dozen: Kali Uchis, BENEE, and Tom Morello For Some Reason

Baker's Dozen is a regular thing for paid subscribers where I share some music I've been enjoying as well as some thoughts on it. I did one for free yesterday, and this one's just for the heads.

‎‎Joyce Wrice, "So So Sick"

Joyce Wrice's Overgrown was one of my favorite records of 2021—a go-to for hanging out, or when I'd need to throw on a few great albums on a playlist for a long car ride. The production and songwriting is really solid throughout, this is just one of a few big standouts.

Boise Cover Band, "Strange"

Built to Spill released this side project as a CDR on tour back in 2003, and they re-released it last year. Of all the bands to do covers albums, they're certainly a good choice for it...Doug Martsch's voice is one of those that sounds effortlessly good and yearning on almost anything. I love this take on The Delusions' "Strange," the David Bowie and Pretenders covers are also excellent.

Conway the Machine, "200 Pies" [ft. 2 Chainz]

A lot of Griselda releases last year were better for the production than they were for the rapping, but 2 Chainz pairing up with them hit pay dirt twice—once with Benny the Butcher's "Plug Talk" (which I featured on a previous BD) and this too, which isn't as good as "Plug Talk" but finds The Artist Formerly Known As Tity Boi getting vulnerable. 2 Chainz continues to be...underrated? Maybe properly rated, who knows, but he's become surprisingly reliable over the last several years.

pretty/normal, "Self Harm Career"

A lot of this record didn't sound great to me, but there's a melodic burn to this one that I find really appealing—similar to that Timelost track I posted a month or two back, kind of a vaguely shoegaze-y texture (but not too much), mostly just some searing emo for the fire.

BENEE, "Snail"

For the next few years, we're going to be awash in albums that try to capture the magic of Clairo's Immunity, especially since Clairo isn't interested in doing that sound at all right now. There's been good attempts (Claud) and bad attempts (Gus Dapperton), and BENEE's 2020 LP landed somewhere in the middle (it also featured Dapperton, haha). I love this song, something punchy and appealing about it that reminds me of the mid-late 2000s, I don't have a ton of hope for BENEE in the long run but who knows, anything can happen.

Loski, "Black"

Loski's Music, Trial & Trauma: A Drill Story was as heavy-handed and conceptual as that title implies, and whether any of it connects is likely depending on your own personal relationship with British drill and their rap culture in general. This song is good though! He's best when he gets a little loose.

Safety, "Civilized"

Great example of something where I'm like, "Is it emo or is it pop-punk?" But at this point it just sounds like indie rock to me.

Roc Marciano, "Pimps Don't Wear Rabbits"

I'm constantly ambivalent about Roc Marciano. A lot of my peers respect and even deify him as someone keeping an eternal flame burning, which I certainly get; his legacy leads straight towards Griselda, really, and his nearly workmanlike dedication towards his own style and approach is to be respected, I suppose. His discography is also littered with more homophobia than you'd find on a typical rap record these days, which is, to say the least, unfortunate. (Another thing he shares in common with some of Griselda, too.) Mostly, his music just doesn't grab me all that much, but when he hits on a tricky dusty-ass beat like this I find some appeal.

FLOHIO, "Booby Traps"

Back to British rap for a second. FLOHIO is what I call an Enjoyable British Rapper; the beats go hard and she can spit with aggression. A few sick cuts like this on No Panic No Pain, looking forward to her doing more in the future too.

Tom Morello, "Driving to Texas" [ft. Phantogram]

Me posting a Tom Morello song on here is like taking a picture with yourself holding a newspaper in a hostage situation: You were wondering if I actually listen to everything, and here's the proof. Obviously the Tom Morello album is Avoid At All Costs-level stuff, just the worst music you can imagine—except for this, which is essentially just a better-than-usual Phantogram song (capable, if often forgettable, band) with some Morello-izing at the end. There's a great piece of Always Sunny trivia about his wife, but it's too complicated for me to explain here so maybe go listen to the official podcast about the show, it's very funny and you can trust me on that because I don't even really like podcasts.

Year Twins, "Re-Animated Bones"

The debut album from these Ohio emo guys is very promising and scrappy, they have tons of energy and find a lot of points of inspiration in that clearly. This is just a brief instrumental from the album but I love how Godspeed-y it is in just a short amount of time, very cool.

Kali Uchis, "//aguardiente y limón ᴗ‿‿ᴗ"

I love this as well as a lot of the Spanish-language Kali Uchis album that came out last year—a surprise, maybe, since I wasn't too into her last one, but the production really pops on this and the vibes are right. Just sounds like a better time overall.

Lil Keed, "On Everything"

Something I loved about Lil Keed's Long Live Mexico is how bright it sounded—lots of candy EDM-ish textures, he clearly has a taste for those kind of beats. It's also very long and spotty at points, but with this song and the other standouts, you can cobble together at least a collection of heaters.

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Jamie Larson