Baker's Dozen: Molly Nilsson, Billie Eilish, and the Return of the Real Music Revival

Baker's Dozen: Molly Nilsson, Billie Eilish, and the Return of the Real Music Revival

Baker's Dozen is a weekly thing for paid subscribers—but not today, I'm doing a free one for everyone so that free signups can get an idea of what the paid tier entails. Don't worry paid subscribers, I'll be doing another one on Friday, too.

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Lucy Dacus, "VBS"

Sometimes I wonder what the point is of sharing my opinions about an artist like Lucy Dacus, who certainly isn't wanting for press at this point. What am I adding? I guess that's the question that looms over most music writing in general. So it goes! This is an incredible song obviously, the chorus ("But all it did‎/ In the end/ Was make the dark feel darker than before") is a truism that cuts deep. I think Lucy Dacus is still not quite there in terms of making an album that is really top-to-bottom solid, but she's getting there.

Bad Bunny, "LA NOCHE DE ANOCHE" [ft. Rosalía]

Another couple of artists who no one's heard of...I kid, I kid. Bad Bunny works in two distinct modes at this point (save for the occasional nü-metal diversion), and both are dominating pop music as a whole—and we're the better off for it. I feel like I'm constantly drawn to his more downcast-sounding music, like this one, but that's just me. We'll see how that Rosalía album is this Friday, seems like there are bad vibes circling the air above it but who really knows.

Molly Nilsson, "Obnoxiously Talented"

Molly Nilsson is an example of someone who I feel like I'm often at arms' length with regarding their music, even though what they do—decayed, intricate synth-pop—is 100% in my wheelhouse. Extreme is not bad, though, something like this is very appealing to me on a basic level, sounds like John Maus covering Unicorn Kid. (Pour one out, as ever, for "Hey Moon.")

Pi'erre Bourne, "Poof"‎

Gotta give it up for Pi'erre Bourne keeping it going with the rap thing. He's a prodigious producer, one of my favorites from the last five years easily, and the beat on this as well as the whole of The Life of Pi'erre 4 carries that same sneakily melodic video-game music magic that he's become so known for. Obviously, the rapping leaves something to be desired, but that's not really what anyone is here for, so.

Chastity, "When You Go Home I Withdrawl‎"

Found myself a little surprised by the new Chastity album, which sounds way more anthemic than I remember this project being in general. Not a bad thing! This song sounds like Catherine Wheel covering the All-American Rejects maybe, apologies to any Catherine Wheel fans in the chat who feel that is inaccurate. A bit of a problematic sentiment here, maybe? You can be the judge of that.

The Lumineers, "BRIGHTSIDE"

Ugh, these fucking guys. Chose this one because this sounded a little rougher-edged than what I think most of us have come to expect from the Lumineers. ‎Do most of us expect anything from the Lumineers? Longtime subscribers will recognize this as the flipside of when I shared a Kings of Leon song because it vaguely sounded like a Mumford and Sons song from that album where they went "electric." Maybe I'm using "flipside" wrong here, more of a snake eating itself thing. Now I'm just getting confused.

FKA twigs, "darjeeling" [ft. Jorja Smith and unknown t]

The last FKA twigs album was one of the most overrated pop albums in years (what a drag!) but Caprisongs really pops, it's the most I've liked her since the EPs easily and possesses an emotional generosity in its playful positivity that, quite frankly, is a little needed at this point in time. Shades of Pop 2 throughout, I hope she continues down this path. Jorja Smith really goes hard on this, who would've thought?

Nihiloxica, "Busoga"

Some very cool stuff going on in this Nihiloxica album from 2020, highly recommended—love the way the synth ripples through the drumming here, sounds like the kind of thing that would be very entrancing live too.

Obongjayar, "Carry Come Carry Go"

Obongjayar's been a secret weapon on records from people like Danny Brown and Little Simz for a minute now, hadn't checked out his solo work too closely before 2020's Which Way is Forward?, which this great song appears on. Apparently he's got a full-length coming this year? I might be wrong about this.

L'Rain, "Two Face"

Fatigue, great record. This song has that upwards motion vibe I asscociate with Oneohtrix Point Never's Replica, very entrancing. I talked to Taja for the newsletter last month, you can check that out here.

Young John, "Idunu"

Python Syndicate's Taxi Sampler 01 is full of lush grooves and hard rhythms, very good stuff overall. I'll be sharing multiple songs from it over the next few weeks.

Billie Eilish, "Male Fantasy"

Astonishing song on an astonishing album, as I've said before Happier Than Ever seems to get better with every passing month. I would've selected "Oxytocin" instead but, like, we've all seen Kimi at this point, so.

King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, "Catching Smoke (Dam-Funk Instrumental Re-Freak)"

I typically run hot and cold on ‎‎‎this band whose name everyone hates, but I've enjoyed more than a few songs from their recent remix album (which I will also be sharing a few songs from in the coming installments). Dam-Funk, someone whose music really only just fully connected with me recently, have liked the streak he's been on over the past few years in general and he gets slightly out of his comfort zone here, too.

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Jamie Larson