Baker's Dozen: Some Left-Field 2020 Sounds And Trad Stuff From The Present

Baker's Dozen: Some Left-Field 2020 Sounds And Trad Stuff From The Present

Baker's Dozen is usually for paid subscribers, but today I'm doing a free edition for everyone to read. I've been donating all newsletter revenue to the National Network of Abortion Funds. $2,860.53 has been raised so far, I'm in the process of re-evaluating how much will be donated in the future, maybe nothing will change, who knows, stay tuned regardless.

GLOK, "Process" [ft. Shamon Cassette]

‎Pop the GLOK, shout out to Uffie. (Sorry, but Uffie doesn't actually have anything to do with this song. Would be cool if she did, though.) Ride's Andy Bell has been busy these last few years, which paid subscribers are already aware of because I've been Bell-posting some of the highlights from his various projects over the last few months. The GLOK record is interesting, sometimes quite good—especially when he hits a groove like this, the electronic (not quite dance) textures he plays with are plenty pretty and a little trippy, too. I have no idea what process Shamon Cassette is describing here, but it certainly sounds like a process.

Ras G, "Whom"

RIP Ras G, lovely little loop from the posthumous Raw Fruit Vols. 5 & 6 compilation. One of those producers with tons of material in general to dig into, he was quite adept at bridging the gap between the Brainfeeder/Low End Theory beat scene and the J Dilla-esque approach that so many producers remain enamored with to this day.


If you've spent time swimming through the hyperpop/digicore/whatever seas ‎‎in the last few years, you've probably heard FROMTHEHEART's tag on a few notable songs (like glaive's "astrid," for example). This, from the production collective's 2020 compilation, is almost like the platonic ideal of the hyperpop sound to me—gnarly, broken, catchy, abrasive, here and then it's gone. Bonus points for the Taylor Swift interpolation actually working.

Jelly, "Karma"

This Jelly tape from 2020 is nothing to write home about overall, but goddamn am I a mark for the Pi'erre Bourne sound, all video-game flourishes and soft oceanic synths. I just eat it up!

adammmmmmmmmmmm, "wingdingzsymbol"

Not to be confused with the rapper who's also named "adam" but uses slightly less "m"s. Damn, that's a lot of "m"s! adammmmmmmmmmmm's entire approach is basically the polar opposite of, say, FROMTHEHEART—he re-creates what it might sound like if you tried to send a hyperpop song to someone through dial-up, and then put that sound through a digital shredder. He's more abrasive than most (imagine the harsher Jane Remover ‎‎material with all the pop/emo stuff scrubbed out), but he hits on moments of bliss when he's not mangling Blink-182 samples into weird, thrilling shapes.

Ghouljaboy, "Nancy" [ft. Clutchill and Absolute Terror]

Ghouljaboy, great name. I still have to check out his release from last year, but 2020's El Rascal is plenty fascinating, kind of like someone mashed together musica urbaña with witch house? I'm into it, even when I'm not "into it."

EL PLVYBXY, "Vigilia"

From Buenos Aires, love this of course, has that light trance touch running through it even as it embodies that high-BPM vibe you might find from the NAAFI crew as well as their peers.

Whole Foods Kids, "This Dream"‎‎

The name of the group is Whole Foods Kids, the name of the record is fuck it, we vibe, they're both from Edinburgh, and they give off a digitized Deerhoof vibe at times, or maybe more broadly recalling the type of electro-anarcho anti-pop that Alien8 used to be reputable for back in the day. All in all, the type of thing that could only come out of internet culture's many musical intersections.

Lila Tirando a Violeta, "Dry Season" [ft. Lighght]

Part of why I felt compelled to namecheck NAAFI while talking about EL PLXYBXY is because he also appears on Limerencia, the 2020 release from Uruguay producer Lila Tirando a Violeta—which, check the logo, yup, it's NAAFI. Different vibe here, dig the martial drums.

Lemon Quartet, "Slanted Blue"

Some placid, slightly ominous post-rock-slash-jazz from this Akron quartet. This is what I imagine fans of Sam Gendel are hearing when they listen to him (I'm so-so on his stuff in general, don't be surprised if he pops up in a future BD though).


Strong—like, pungent—resemblance to AlunaGeorge's blog-era classic "You Know You Like It" going on here. Not mad!

Frank Turner, "A Wave Across a Bay"‎‎‎‎

Terribly sad and hopeful song about late Frightened Rabbit frontman Scott Hutchison‎, I find this to be very powerful. I sense that "liking" Frank Turner is probably very cheugy, and I've had zero engagement with his music pre-FTHC—which had a few songs I enjoyed quite a bit. He's good with hooks, I suspect the sincerity (and the British-ness?) of it all is a bit of a scare-off thing but I refuse to turn my nose up at any of it for now.

Cloud Cult, "One Way Out of a Hole"

Cloud Cult have been responsible for enough middling-to-terrible indie music over the last two decades that just mentioning their name feels derogatory. But this, from their latest (bad) album, caught my ear only because it so shamelessly rips off Funeral-era Arcade Fire. Not exactly the best reference you want to draw out, given recent revelations—but, also, people who want music "like this" might need a placeholder, as derivative as this particular placeholder may be.‎

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Jamie Larson