Baker's Dozen: Silk Sonic, Nilüfer Yanya, and Another Questionable Weezer Song

Baker's Dozen: Silk Sonic, Nilüfer Yanya, and Another Questionable Weezer Song
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Baker's Dozen is a weekly thing for paid subscribers where I share a playlist of music I've been enjoying recently, along with some thoughts around that music. All proceeds from the newsletter are currently being donated to the National Network of Abortion Funds; $1,870.01has been donated so far.

The Reds, Pinks and Purples, "Upside Down in an Empty Room"

Glenn Donaldson's brand of indie-pop is a little jangly, a little melancholy, and radiates that same quiet beauty that so much Swedish indie-pop does (he's based out of San Francisco). I was in Sweden for Way Out West back in 2014, and I was almost completely broke so I took a bus tour that was very mercifully free (the Swedish tourism department paid for my trip in exchange for Pitchfork covering Way Out West, in case you're wondering why I often insist that "music writers" not be called "music journalists"). ‎‎The audio tour  on the bus was interspersed with Swedish indie-pop that sounded straight off the Labrador rack, and when I hear Glenn Donaldson's music I remember being on that bus.

Silk Sonic, "Leave the Door Open"

Bet you haven't heard this one! I kid. I'm willing to name "Leave the Door Open" the best Big Pop Song (aka a song that had real chart success and ubiquitousness, so, no, nothing from Renaissance counts) of the 2020s so far—it's sweet, it's funny, it's so unabashedly retro that it kind of evades any nostalgia-based criticism, it's immaculately produced, every time it comes on the radio you're like, "This song again? Ah, well, it's nice, so." It will probably endure, right? Their bit at the Grammys (specifically, winning several Grammys) was endearing, either they were very high (we know Bruno loves his gear) or trying to be as silly as possible. Either way I hope they keep the bit going, there are certainly worse bits in general.

St. Panther, "Infrastructure"

Some capable, distinctively R&B-flavored bedroom pop going on here. The title unfortunately reminds me of the vote-blue-no-matter-who crowd tweeting "Infrastructure Week ‎‎is going great!" every time there was some sort of Trumpworld calamity—but I'll get over it.

Ultraflex, "Olympic Sweat"

Man, I love Ultraflex. ‎(New album coming in October!) At their best, their music sounds shiny and optimistic, and Swedish (they are Nordic though, different white Euro variant). "Olympic Sweat" is the kind of song that is very much tailor-made for me to adore, glistening and melodic and textured and uncannily futuristic. Their last album was called Visions of Ultraflex, which is also a good name for an album.

Nilüfer Yanya, "trouble"

Miss Universe was the better album (maybe), but Painless has the better songs I think; Nilüfer Yanya is an undeniable talent obviously, among many other things she provides some new textural and melodic wrinkles in the King Krule style. This song is structured and paced to perfection, what a songwriter.

Jane Remover, "goldfish"

The artist formerly known as dltzk released what might end up my favorite album of 2021, Frailty—a record that still surprises me with little details and left-turns at every listen. Of all the hyperpop/digicore kids, Jane Remover seems up there as far as the ones most likely to make a real go for it career-wise, and this song seems proof positive of that: intimate and heartbreaking, the kind of thing that stops you dead in your tracks.

Weezer, "Beginning of the End"

As I said when I posted "Bird With a Broken Wing" last year(?), every Weezer album is a piece of shit but there's typically one or two good songs regardless. The worst is when they get stuck in your head.

Charlotte Adigéry and Bolis Popul, "HAHA"‎‎‎

Best-produced electronic album of the year? Would you expect anything less from a DEEWEE release? I know some who have been turned off by the potential didacticism of the album itself, it doesn't bother me, there's plenty of music out there that has absolutely nothing to say too.

Shygirl, "Firefly"

My wife turned me on to this song, obviously it was a direct hit for me. Exists in the same rhythmic thrum as Pinkpantheress (not that I'm comparing the two!).

Lil Tecca, "Ransom"

Perfect chart trifle from (stifles vomit) "the before times." The video is visually impressive and more than a little creepy in a very specific "What's this teenager doing with all these grown women?" way—in other words, it's a Cole Bennett joint.

Uffie, "cool"

My wife sent me this one too, great bassline. I'm a mark for Uffie's whole thing even though most of her thing to date has been getting people like me to say "I'm a mark for Uffie's whole thing." Still ride for "MCs Can Kiss," one of the best-worst sax moments of all time.‎‎‎‎

Frankie Cosmos, "Even Though I Knew"

Since Frankie's got a new album out soon, here's a great one from the last one. Kind of funny to think about the "She has rich and famous parents!" controversy from so long ago. ‎Plenty of indie rockers get away with the rich parents thing, Frankie's just starred in notable movies instead of, like, working for Raytheon. (At this point we all know how many leftists have secret defense contracts anyway.)

Jenny Hval, "Cemetery of Splendour"

Now here's someone who probably would not be caught dead working for Lockheed Martin. ‎When Jenny Hval described her latest as a self-consciously "pop" album, all I admittedly heard from that is "lesser work"—and that's kind of what it is, even though it's far more interesting than most of what her peers in "indie" (who are her peers, anyway?) are capable of. Anyway, I still stan.

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Jamie Larson