Baker's Dozen: Nia Archives, Oso Oso, and Tricky Rhythms

Baker's Dozen: Nia Archives, Oso Oso, and Tricky Rhythms
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Baker's Dozen is a weekly thing for paid subscribers where I share a playlist of music I've been listening to lately, along with some stray thoughts around that music. As long as I can afford to, all newsletter revenue is being donated to the National Network of Abortion Funds; we've raised over $2,300 so far.

Jenny Hval, "Ashes to Ashes"

At this point, I'd place The Practice of Love right below Apocalypse, Girl‎‎‎ and Blood Bitch in terms of my favorite Jenny Hval albums. (The illustration of her on the cover looks like my friend Jenn too.) For someone who is constantly coming from a left-field perspective sonically and structurally, her music has more or less remained very approachable (the Lost Girls project gets a little more wooly, but I love that too). Love this lyric on this great song, especially: "We had a dream about this song/ That I had not written yet/ Like I used to dream of fucking before I knew how."

Drive-By Truckers, "Wilder Days"

26 years! This band's been around for 26 years! I have never been able to really get into Drive-By Truckers, largely because "this kind of music" is the type of stuff that is very a la carte for me—but every few albums or so I find a song like this that just sounds perfect to me. Love when Margo Price's backing vocals come into the mix. Have I posted a Drive-By Truckers song in a previous BD? Quite possibly, I'm seeing they put out two friggin' albums before this album and since I started the newsletter...who knows.

Nia Archives, "Part of Me"

Nia Archives is the kind of artist where I'm like, "Why isn't literally every music critic on earth talking about how good this music is?!?" Real ones will remember that I shared her PinkPantheress remix a few BD's ago, but unlike PinkPantheress (whose music I also adore) she's a true junglist at heart, her approach probably represents one of the best fusions of jungle rhythms and something approaching pop melodies in...forever? I wanted to see her first NYC show earlier this month, but she went on at 2 a.m. and staying up that late on a Thursday is a hard bargain these days. Ah well.

‎audiobooks, "The Doll"

audiobooks sound like real creeps to me, and I mean that as a compliment. Their sound is a bit hard to pin down, similar to other Brexit-era British bands mixing sardonic miserabilia with genre-straddling stuff that would've sounded right at home in the early-to-mid-'80s UK underground. This song in particular sounds a bit like if Sorry collaborated with Adult. They're kind of funny, too!

Courtney Marie Andrews, "If I Told"

Sometimes all there is for me to say about a folk-leaning artist's music is "This sounds nice and sweet and melancholy in all the right ways," and that's pretty much the game here. Courtney Marie Andrews' Old Flowers is a solidly consistent album straight through, recommended if you're a fan of this type of music and haven't heard it yet (it's from 2020).

Constant Smiles, "Spells"

Damn, didn't even realize until right now that this edition has a Jenny Hval song and a cover of a Jenny Hval song. What are the odds!

Alex G, "Gretel"

Took me forever to get into Alex G, something just wasn't clicking with those early releases but House of Sugar broke things wide open for me, seems like his best album by a few miles and showcases just how expansive his sound can be. This might be top five songs of 2019 in general, the opening few seconds of the song are jaw-dropping to me—the way the song bursts forth with a wide-open maw of a guitar line, sometimes I rewind it over and over again just to replicate the feeling of awe.

Raphael Saadiq, "Kings Fall"

Raphael Saadiq, what a legend. I talked to him for The FADER (lol) about the album this song is on, ‎‎reading it back now I think I did just okay with this interview, but it was cool to get to speak to someone whose musical approach I admire so much. I was away with friends this past weekend and one of them put on "Something Keeps Calling," and I was like, "Hey! I love this album too!" Always nice when that happens.

Dengue Dengue Dengue, "Del Alma"

Another cut from that same compilation that I shared the DJ Python song from a few weeks back. "Del Alma" is cool to me even though it's a bit DJ tool-y, it starts out as straightforward four-to-the-floor to me and then twists it up a bit and gets nasty. Love it when that happens.

Rosalía, "SAOKO"

I already wrote a little about MOTOMAMI in this week's newsletter, you can check that out here if you haven't already. I got very personal in it! Fair warning.‎‎‎‎

Oso Oso, "fly on the wall"

Sore Thumb isn't as much of an instant classic as Basking in the Glow was, but it's still packed with solid songs that further establish Jade Lilitri ‎as one of emo's best to be doing it right now. Not much more to say other than that I love what he does with hooks, they always hit you right in the gut.

upsammy, "Overflowering"

upsammy is really good at embracing the melodic side of IDM, ‎his music is all glowing pings and pongs like those showcased here. A talent!

Tove Lo, "U gonna tell her?" [ft. MC Zaac]

Very excited for the new Tove Lo album, Sunshine Kitty is still on repeat over here three years after its release. The second-to-last show I saw before (gestures in pandemic) was her at Brooklyn Steel, when the rippling synth that introduces this song hit the soundsystem everyone went nuts. Hope she brings this kind of fire again.‎

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Jamie Larson