Baker's Dozen: Moodymann, The Tallest Man on Earth, and Reflecting With Nick Jonas

Baker's Dozen: Moodymann, The Tallest Man on Earth, and Reflecting With Nick Jonas

Baker's Dozen is a weekly thing for paid subscribers where I share a playlist as well as a bunch of assorted thoughts about the music in that playlist. This week it's free, but if you want to receive this weekly you gotta subscribe.

ZULI, "Tany"

The Law of Breaks (if there's a wild drum break, it's probably good) more than applies here. This whole EP knocks pretty hard, some interesting contextual stuff going on in it that someone who's smarter than me could explain.

The Tallest Man on Earth, "I Love You. It's a Fever Dream."

Guys like The Tallest Man on Earth get some indie pub attention for a brief spell, maybe a BNM or two, and then even if their stuff continues to get reviewed they become less of an across-the-board concern regardless. But guys like The Tallest Man on Earth don't really ever stop making good music! I really liked the latest record, devastating closing track here, he's still doing his thing really well and if anything has escaped the Bob Dylan jokes and just sounds like some rock-solid folk songwriting now.

Pool Holograph, "For Years"

These guys sound so much like Deerhunter that I'm tempted to believe it's some sort of practical joke? They're from Chicago and they're also not the first band from there as of recent that sound like Deerhunter (see: Deeper). Not a knock necessarily though! This record was one of the better low-stakes indie rock LPs of last year I reckon. Tangentially related, was talking with someone recently about what the Halcyon Digest of this current era of indie is, I think it's probably Soccer Mommy's Color Theory? They posited Mitski's Be the Cowboy but if anything I think Puberty 2 stands more as representative of that—but who knows what either of us were talking about, really.

The Best of the Worst, "Glass Hands"

This is what happens when most of my music recommendations come from BrooklynVegan these days. I didn't care for this album on the whole but this song is solid, even if the slight ska inflections make me occasionally go "What the fuck am I listening to right now." Getting used to it!

Moodymann, "Let Me Show You Love" [ft. Guevara]

Vibes. Moodymann is simply one of the best to ever do it, what more else is there to say.

Rio Da Yung Og and Louie Ray, "Movie"

I believe Rio just started a five-year jail sentence which fucking sucks. Great song, I know it's from last year but I'm constantly playing catch-up with everything at this point, don't blame me blame something else.

Ambar Lucid, "Fantasmas"

Shout out to Little Ferry. New Jersey stand up.

Kornél Kovács, "Rocks"

This guy's LP from 2019 is really good, but I'm also a mark for the foggy and playfully stoned aesthetic that Studio Barnhus-affiliated people often work in. I also loved "Szikra" from 2014, might still be my fav of his at this point but this track is also beautiful.

Maxo Kream, "Work"

I really love Maxo Kream's music in general and need to revisit Brandon Banks, was running through Punken again recently and this opening track hit me like a ton of bricks. The beat switch is phenomenal, there's a good kid, m.A.A.d city thing going on here too I think but it doesn't feel like pure imitation.

Nick Jonas, "2Drunk"

I have slightly more opinions about the latest Nick Jonas album than I was expecting to, although I'm sure others would expect this amount of opinions from me. It's music on autopilot, essentially, not dissimilar to Justin Bieber's Changes—an album that I loved, of course, because it sounded smooth like an undisturbed lake and sounded pleasing to the ears in a white-boy R&B type of way. Spaceman does the trick similarly, only the vocals aren't as good because it's Nick Jonas and not Justin Bieber.

There's a few "boo-hoo I'm in lockdown" tracks on here, and this is one of them; typically I find the pop-star approach to complaining about this shit to be reprehensible because they have plenty of money and space to live in and basically just have to worry about resisting the impulse not to be too stupid on social media (a test that most of them have ended up failing regardless). Something feels a little too real about this song though, despite the fact that I don't get the sense of familiar melancholy from Nick Jonas' perspective that the song happens to trigger for me. I hear him sing "I think I just hit my stride" and I immediately recognize the feeling of the right amount of liquor hitting your bloodstream, as well as the subsequent impulse to take it further. I hate listening to this song because of the way it makes me feel and the things it brings back for me, and it's stuck in my head all the time to the point where I rarely feel like I can escape it. I guess that's pop music for you.

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, "Head of the Lake"

Took me ten listens of this song to realize it reminds me of Cassandra Jenkins' "Hard Drive." But it does! Not a bad thing obviously.

Maria Arnal i Marcel Bagés, "Alborada"

This whole album is really interesting and you should just listen to it in full really. This track is an interstitial thing that I really just thought sounded cool to highlight after a few run-throughs, but it's not really indicative of the record as a whole. No one song on it is. Just go listen to it!

The Jazz Butcher, "Party Time"

My wife said this band sounded annoying when I was playing them earlier this week. I don't disagree but I also don't really "get" what they were doing beyond some sort of meta-Jonathan Richman thing, which is a hard sell but also when I don't "get" something I'm more interested in figuring it out at this point. Anyway she didn't hear this song though, maybe she'll like it.

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Jamie Larson