Baker's Dozen: Raveena, Guided by Voices, and Instant Nostalgia Hits

Baker's Dozen: Raveena, Guided by Voices, and Instant Nostalgia Hits

Baker's Dozen is a regular thing for paid subscribers where I send out a playlist of music I've been listening to recently, along with some thoughts around it. There'll probably be a few free Baker's Dozens coming up as I've got a lot of playlists in the queue, but I'll keep the paid-only ones coming too. All newsletter revenue is currently being donated to the National Network of Abortion Funds; $2,860.53 has been donated so far.

LIFE, "Friends Without Names"‎

Good band name, good song title. At this point my patience for "talky British post-punk" is basically non-existent unless you're offering some interesting textures or melodies, and there's a bit of Interpol-iness in this that I do not mind at all.

The Juan MacLean, "Feel Like Movin'"

A bit of a throwback, I suppose. I used to play this one all the time during my brief DJ stints as Richard Pretty (RIP Witness Protection, we had some good times). Ask me about the time my friends and I met Max from Catfish at a Juan MacLean show—or don't, it's up to you.

Raveena, "Endless Summer"

I very much enjoyed the latest Raveena album, which explored a variety of pop textures capably and without forgetting that there has to be some songwriting behind it. She's best in bliss-out mode imo, which this track firmly operates in.

$NOT, "How U Feel" [ft. Joey Bada$$]‎‎‎

$NOT has a considerable SoundCloud-era rep, or at least he put out plenty of stuff before his latest album got a huge promo push courtesy of 300. He gained some notoriety off of "Doja," but the album itself is quite scattershot and uninteresting. Somehow Joey—who I mostly am not really into either—makes for a good foil here, including the dusty production that's typically affiliated with him.

Zeal & Ardor, "Emersion"

Lot of respect for Zeal & Ardor, who seems very dedicated to re-imagining what metal sounds like in his ‎‎vision. This is obviously some starry-eyed "what if Madeon, but blast beats" stuff that is very much up my alley, the entire album has a few similar points of interest but is more something I admire than something I enjoy.

Steel Tipped Dove, "Nft" [ft. The Koreatown Oddity and billy woods]

‎I've posted about The Koreatown Oddity before, whose verse I really like on this cut—especially the bit about Narduwar. billy woods, as ever, does his thing with success.

Karloff, "The Sweetest Candy"

Lol. Music that sounds like it's about to fall apart, or maybe music that sounds as if it is falling apart in front of your very ears. What do you even call this? All I know is that I think it sounds cool.

Don Toliver, "Crossfaded"

Just as I have an embarrassing soft spot for Travis Scott, I also do for his guy Don Toliver—who, honestly, might be better at the vibe-y thing than Travis is, his capable split between R&B-ish stuff and modern rap cadence delivery adds more depth to his music (which is still very surface-level, but that's okay) than Travis usually conveys on his own work. Reminder That Don also had the best guest verse on one of the worst rap albums of last year (that'd be the Baby Keem record, naturally).

Fauness, "It Gets Better"‎‎

Sweet song. Reminiscent, just a little, of Donna Lewis' "I Love You (Always Forever)," although I might just be saying that because Four Tet closed out his massive Forest Hills performance with it last week.

Church Girls, "Surface"

The whole Church Girls record is highly recommended if you heard Pretty Girls Make Graves' "Speakers Push Air" as a teenager and thought, "Wow, I love this immediately." It's a pure hit of nostalgia for me, even as "this type of music" makes up quite a bit of what I am checking out these days. Pretty Girls Make Graves were interesting in that they were a band with a stolidly emo-punk sound embraced by the indie set, and now emo-punk is basically the backbone of what constitutes the rock area of "indie," even though—you know what, this is for another, longer conversation.

Guided by Voices, "Excited Ones"

The BrooklynVegan writeup of Crystal Nuns Cathedral drew an Isolation Drills comparison, and I assume that had at least a little bit to do with the fact that this song is essentially "Chasing Heather Crazy Pt. 1000." Not mad at it! Proof that even in 2022 there's at least one (sometimes, only one) good song on a Guided by Voices album.

Gone to Color, "The 606" [ft. Jessie Stein]

Interesting stuff here, two guys doing the type of electronic-ish thing that you'd usually expect from, like, Third-era Portishead maybe? Or Broadcast? ‎‎‎‎I'm also reminded of Nigel Godrich's Ultraista project, which at its best has produced capably pretty (if texturally anonymous) music. This whole record is worth checking out though, some fascinating collabs and I'm looking forward to where they take the project next.

Robin Guthrie, "Kerosine"

‎Much of Robin Guthrie's first solo album in nine years is pretty to the point of banality—but then there's this, which almost hangs on this perpetual inconclusive melody that just sounds achingly beautiful and reminds you that, yeah, he's still got it to some extent.

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Jamie Larson