Baker's Dozen: Lil Nas X, Anaïs Mitchell, and Turning a Corner on Bad Artists

Baker's Dozen: Lil Nas X, Anaïs Mitchell, and Turning a Corner on Bad Artists

Baker's Dozen is usually a thing for paid subscribers, but today it's free for everyone. As long as I'm financially able to, all revenue from paid subscriptions is being donated to the National Network of Abortion Funds. Don't worry, paid subscribers—there'll be another Baker's Dozen on Friday, too.

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Marissa Nadler, "Seabird"

I first heard the Alessi Brothers' "Seabird"‎‎ as the opening track on a Late Night Tales compilation back in, it must've been 2013? Lovely song, what a classic. Marissa—who is typically reliable and has been for quite some time—does it justice here, and offers what sounds like to me a lighter sound than she typically works in. She hits the vibe of the verses so well, too.

Maxo Kream, "Meet Again"

Here's a great song from Brandon Banks. Real heads will recall that this isn't the first time I've featured Maxo, who is one of my favorite current rappers; I feel like Punken is still his high water mark in terms of full-lengths (I need to revisit the most recent one and will end up doing so soon), but the flow is undeniable here.

Resavoir, "Woah"

A nice, gently oceanic slice of jazzy post-rock from Chicago (of course) trumpeter Will Miller's band. Album in general is very solid, I believe Sen Morimoto (another Chicago polymath who occasionally dips into jazzy stuff himself) pops up in there too.

Cordae, "Thousand Words"

This fuckin' guy, always coming through with the most basic opinions of all time. How does one take themselves this seriously when having so little of substance to actually say? The mind boggles. Anyway, the beat is nice, right? That counts for something, I guess. This is the second Cordae song I've posted in the last few months, I suppose you could say that it's the other Cordae song that I actually don't hate based on sonics alone. At this rate, he'll have an album's worth of decent material in (does terrible math) 15 years?

Soichi Terada, "Marimbau"

Soichi Terada did the music for the Ape Escape games ('memba those?) and his latest album for the always-reliable Rush Hour label ‎‎‎is lovely. You can hear the video-game-iness in his stuff, but it's also deceptively lush techno music that sounds great while, well, playing video games. Who woulda thought!

Anaïs Mitchell, "Real World"

Beautiful little song that captures what it feels to be wide-eyed early in the morning. Can't wait for the new Bonny Light Horseman album, btw.

Tony Molina, "I'm Not Down"

Despite being a thing I would normally be into, I've ran hot and cold on Tony Molina in the past—but his rarities collection Songs From San Mateo County does hit the spot. This song kind of sounds like Ozma, which is to say that it kind of sounds like Weezer. Don't get mad!

Cherubs, "Tigers in the Sky"

I'll confess that I've never liked Melvins, which are a band that I think are slowly being phased out in terms of generational influence/awareness anyway. I'm sure there are some 40-plus-years-old lapsed music critics that are uncommonly bitter about this, but who cares. I know Cherubs have almost nothing to do with what Melvins do/did, but I just thought I'd say that anyway because sometimes this kind of sound is what I imagine people who like Melvins must hear when they listen to them. So! Good song here, I guess I should listen to more Cherubs but also Immaculada High as a whole just skirts what I'm typically into when it comes to extreme music. So who knows what I should do.‎‎‎

J Balvin, "UN DIA (ONE DAY)" [ft. Dua Lipa, Bad Bunny, and Tainy]

A song so nice, it's appeared on three different releases (a J Balvin EP, and deluxe versions of the latest Balvin and Dua albums). Everyone delivers here, it's far from my favorite J Balvin song but it's the perfect kind of thing to listen to right now as the sun starts showing its face more again.

Sam Smith, "Too Good at Goodbyes - Live at Abbey Road Studios"

I can't stand Sam Smith—scratch that, I couldn't stand Sam Smith. I've made no business of hiding my displeasure for their music in the past; in 2014, I referred to them as "the most boring new pop star of the year" within a review of someone else's work that was equally scathing.‎‎ But I threw on their recent live-at-Abbey-Road record because, well, I listen to everything, and I found myself struck by how strong and heavy their voice is when it comes to certain ballads. This one in particular seems undeniable to me, people will be performing it at American Idol auditions for years and, unbelievably, I mean this as a compliment. Am I becoming a Sam Smith stan? No! Yes! I don't know! Just going to ride this one out for now.

ATEEZ, "Take Me Home"

We probably don't talk enough about the enduring influence of "Midnight City," but it indeed endures. Not that M83 invented this sound or anything—but when you hear this sound, you definitely tend to think, "Huh, that sounds a little like M83."

Sakurako Ohara, "miss you tonight"

Speaking of things that never go out of style! I'd fucking crush this on an old-school DDR mat. Love that 2step rhythm just underneath it all, too.


Did anyone think Lil Nas X actually had MONTERO in him? It's truly wild to think about how far he's gotten from "Old Town Road"—‎‎‎to say nothing of the shiftless and inconsequential EP that followed—and the emotional chords his music sincerely strikes now. He's so fascinating to me, no one is better at purely being famous, but MONTERO is also another recent pop album about the perils of being known, and how no amount of success can keep past pain at bay. It's a better album than it got credit for, this song is very sweet and melancholy, and I'm looking forward to more from him in the years to come in a way that I simply wasn't before.

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Jamie Larson