Baker's Dozen: Little Simz, Silverbacks, and a Good Mike Jones Joke

Baker's Dozen: Little Simz, Silverbacks, and a Good Mike Jones Joke

Baker's Dozen is a thing for paid subscribers where I send out a playlist of songs I've been listening to weekly, along with some stray thoughts around those songs.

Hudson Mohawke, "Monte Fisto"

I love Ross Birchard and have stayed in touch with him intermittently since doing a FADER cover story on him way back in 2015, mentioning this for reasons of bias and also just t‎‎yping this out is reminding me that I should get him to do an interview for the newsletter...I'll get on that. He dropped a bunch of beat tapes in 2020 that I've just been getting around to, I'll likely highlight something else from them in the future too but this is vintage Hudson Mohawke in a great way, snappy and forceful and huge.

Silverbacks, "I'm Wild"

Mistakenly referred to this band as British online, someone corrected ‎me that they are actually Irish...sorry. I believe I highlighted "Dunkirk" on here a few years ago, Archive Material is stronger than the previous Silverbacks album by my estimation, this is the closing track and it's been on repeat for a minute now. They have a certain je ne sais quoi that elevates them from most of the post-post-punk scrum, to me—and yet they get half the coverage! Funny how that works out.

Jana Horn, "Time Machine"

I've seen the words "deceptively simple" thrown around to describe Jana Horn's thing, and that seems to about nail it. Really like Optimism, a solid debut that has me interested in where she goes next. At its best, the melodies seem to casually bloom like they do here, unfolding as if you're peeking into the room unknowingly while they do so.‎

Brad Barr, "AUTONOMIE"

Wasn't too aware of Brad Barr's work in the Barr Brothers or solo before listening to The Winter Mission, which truthfully didn't connect with me 100% in the end—but I liked this moment of brief contemplation on it.

Indigo De Souza, "Kill Me"

I've dug into Indigo De Souza's Any Shape You Take several times now, hoping it'll ‎‎reveal itself the way many emo-leaning records tend to do for me over time. Is it like that for anyone else for emo stuff? Where you need to hear it multiple times for the music to really click and connect? We can start a support group. I'm kidding. Bottom line is that I'm still kind of lukewarm on her music so far, something's just not clicking for me as a whole and I can't seem to pinpoint what that is. But this one is a jam, she's got a few others too.

Prize Horse, "Far"

Standout from these Minneapolis guys' latest EP, carries the thread of other stuff I've posted lately that flirts with grunge and shoegaze in equal measure in a way that really nicely mixes the angst part of things with the dreamy, blissed-out crunch of it all.

Proper., "I Spent the Winter Writing Songs About Getting Better"

Need to check out the new Proper. album, which this is not from—but I did find I Spent the Winter Writing Songs About Getting Better to be a really fascinating, energizing listen recently, and I'm looking forward to seeing where they go next. Los Campesinos! recently tweeted a picture of Gareth ‎‎and Erik together promising more to come, which is exciting—a lot of sonic DNA between the two bands, obviously.

Equiknoxx, "Brooklyn"

Another example of a group that recently released something I still have to check out, so for now here's a track from their last project, which I really enjoyed. This happens a lot, if you read this regularly. Hope it's not too annoying.

Vado, "White Toes"

Vado typically releases stuff at a fairly steady clip, but he dipped for a few years and returned at the top of this year with Long Run Vol. 2, which is intermittently enjoyable the way Vado's stuff usually is. (I'd associated him with Cam'ron and the UN for so long that I missed along the way—like, 2013—he signed to DJ Khaled's We the Best label. Not that that means anything of importance.) A good Mike Jones joke caps this one off. Always have to appreciate a Mike Jones reference.

Little Simz, "Protect My Energy"

Little Simz is very prodigious; she was also in Venom: Let There Be Carnage, which is hilarious. (The scene she's in—the infamous rave sequence, where Venom declares the bash to be his "coming-out party"—is iconic.) Sometimes I Might Be Introvert was, like a lot of Mercury Prize-adjacent British rap albums, long and serious and quite important-sounding; she's good in the Serious vein but also not bad at getting loose and having fun on something like this, which reminds me of Dawn Richard's latest attempt at making an Actually Good album (she's still close, but not quite!).

Maria Usbeck, "Secret in Japan"

Cascine is quite good at putting out music like this, and Maria Usbeck ‎‎is quite good at making it. This sounds like flowers growing out of a computer, and I swear I'm not just making that comparison because there's flowers in the above YouTube.

Year of the Knife, "Final Tears"

If this entire album sounded like this, I'd love it—sadly, it's a little less richly textured than this track is. But the mid-song switch-up...what a thrill.

Lute & Omen, "Sleep Deprived" [ft. Mez & DaVionne]‎

The platonic ideal of a Dreamville track—warm, steady, dextrous rapping, none of the weird shit about women that pops up in some of the collective's other songs. Check out the T.I. song on Revenge of the Dreamers III—or, better ‎yet, don't, but as a whole the comp is pleasant and occasionally engaging. Can't say the whole thing doesn't go south every time Cole pops up, though. Are you surprised?

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Jamie Larson