Baker's Dozen: The Killers, BbyMutha, and Music I Get But Don't Love

Baker's Dozen: The Killers, BbyMutha, and Music I Get But Don't Love

Baker's Dozen is a weekly thing for paid subscribers where I share a playlist of what I've been listening to lately, as well as some critical thoughts around it all.

Foxing, "Cold Blooded"

Draw Down the Moon is probably the closest I've come to liking a Foxing album straight through. The first time I checked it out I liked it a lot immediately, but it lost its luster on revisiting. It happens! No matter where you fall on it (who thought this band would be so controversial at one point?), this song rules, absolutely massive ascending guitar line on that chorus. I'm more interested in hearing them continue heading down this path than the ones they were down before, and since this record did seem relatively successful I'd reckon they'll do so.

Dinosaur Jr., "And Me"‎‎‎

Have really enjoyed the reunion-era Dinosaur Jr. albums—in some cases, more than I liked the original run (sorry)—but Sweep It Into Space didn't quite hit for me in the end, too much of a good thing perhaps? Or just not that inspired this time around? No matter. Judging by this one, they're still able to turn out a classic-sounding tune even on a mid-sounding album.

Mega Bog, "Shadows Break"‎

Mega Bog, what's her deal? I say that in an admiring way, seems like a true weirdo when it comes to music, in a way that we just don't see that much anymore. I still need to check out the new one but this track off Dolphine is very cool.

Yeong Die, "Dig Up Dawn"

Beautiful and tense, exactly the kind of nine-minute ambient techno-esque electronic music I want. Weather Z is a pretty interesting record, definitely worth checking out.

AJJ, "Normalization Blues"

AJJ are the type of band that I sense are quite popular in their scene, but I was not aware of at all until I started paying more attention to punk in general about three or four years ago. (At the only show I've been to since the pandemic—Jeff Rosenstock at Warsaw, Thanksgiving weekend—I definitely saw several AJJ jean jacket patches.) Easy to paint "this stuff" as cringe, ‎‎‎and there's more than a few tracks on Good Luck Everybody that potentially scan as such to me, but I also feel bad tagging this stuff as cringe? Look, some kid or adult or whoever is going to hear music like this and maybe connect with it, have it speak to them, or even feel motivated to do something about the world in general. I think sometimes about how a lot of music writing I was raised on instinctively punched down against acts like this, and how that instinct was instilled in me for a while as a result. Sure, it's not always my cup of tea—but when it comes to painfully earnest, socially aware folk-punk, who exactly are they hurting?

Hagan, "Yenkyi"

More fire from the Taxi Sampler 01 compilation.

The Killers, "In the Car Outside"

The Killers are having quite a run right now, huh? After a fairly dismal 2010s that sputtered to a close with music that sounded as if the band were barely in the room at all, they've kicked off this cursed decade with two albums of inspired, unashamedly earnest rock music that are probably the strongest work in their entire career. You could say that they've played the long game in outstripping all of their 2000s contemporaries right now in terms of releasing quality music! Wild stuff, a plot twist no one saw coming. At first I didn't like Pressure Machine as much as Imploding the Mirage, and now I see them as two halves of the same almost-brilliant whole. Listen to the way they open up into such a generous melody in the final third, no one is doing this better than them right now (and, yes, that includes the War on Drugs).

Deafheaven, "Lament for Wasps"‎‎

Infinite Granite falls into the same slot as Draw Down the Moon, unfortunately. First time I heard it I was like, "Hey, this ain't bad!" and on subsequent listens I found myself asking, "But is that enough?" Their first true miss possibly, although I didn't love New Bermuda either. They're at their best when, as on here, they let the guitars really rip and get intricate with it. Otherwise, some noticeable tension has been lost, and now it's up to them to make that back.

SE SO NEON, "Dong"

SE SO NEON's Nonadaptation is worth checking out if you haven't heard it already, a solid reflection of 2010s indie as a whole. You can hear a lot of Tame Impala here, I hear Mac DeMarco elsewhere on the record too.

Kim Petras, "Icy"

Unfortunately I love Kim Petras' Clarity from 2019, a record I have listened to nonstop over the last few months. The "unfortunately" comes from the involvement of alleged rapist Dr. Luke, and the sooner that artists like Kim Petras and Doja Cat can get away from having to work with him at all, the better. Not much more to say than that!

MoMa Ready, "Feel For It"

Here's another MoMa Ready track that just sounds sublime to me, love that bassline. A true talent!

J Balvin and Bad Bunny, "LA CANCIÓN"‎

Feels like I'm constantly posting J Balvin or Bad Bunny songs in here, which is more than anything else just evidence of how thoroughly they are dominating pop music these last few years and, hopefully, beyond. What a time to be alive.

BbyMutha, "Pink Poop Emoji" [ft. Kindora]

I'll go ahead and say Muthaland was one of my favorite rap records of 2020, why not. It's good! Constantly impressed by BbyMutha's ability to do so many different shades of music, ‎‎like something like this—something that bangs and is also funny and silly. "I can't wait to shit on you"? A vibe.‎

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Jamie Larson