Baker's Dozen: TOBACCO, Megan Thee Stallion, and Slight Comebacks

Baker's Dozen: TOBACCO, Megan Thee Stallion, and Slight Comebacks

Baker's Dozen is a weekly thing for paid subscribers of Larry Fitzmaurice's Last Donut of the Night newsletter, where I share music I've been listening to as well as some thoughts around it.

Cryogeyser, "Foreigner"

More grungegaze, yes, but kind of a little heavier on the grunge and less on the gaze. And despite the fact that I've never really been into grunge, I'm into Cryogeyser! Production courtesy of the always-reliable Jack Shirley, of course.

TOBACCO, "For the Queen"

TOBACCO, what a weird project. Very funny to think that, from the pastoral Boards of Canada-isms of Black Moth Super Rainbow, we got...essentially the same thing, only scuzzier and mostly accompanied by spliced-together footage of wait-is-that-pornography-or-is-it-just-very-weird stuff. He's still very good at this, to the point where he's probably undervalued for how well he's doing the part of this song where everything drops out and you get those eerie, lights-in-the-sky BoC-esque hovering tones‎‎‎‎ that so many try to replicate, but few actually get with such haunting detail.

Youth Code and King Yosef, "The World Stage"

Someone get Holiday Kirk on the phone, because the nü-metal agenda is very much alive and well with this one. Interesting collab LP overall from Youth Code and King Yosef, I honestly didn't know that Youth Code themselves had it in them to do something so distinctly, idk, Orgy-esque? Always associated them with more industrial stuff, but hearing them lean more towards pop is pleasantly surprising. This makes me think of Code Orange, my wife thinks it sounds like Linkin to split the difference.

Big Mother Gig, "The Underdog" [ft. Leah Wellbaum]

I have no interest in Big Mother Gig, an alt-rock band from the '90s that sounds exactly like what that would entail, but this song—featuring Leah Wellbaum from Slothrust, a band I've never heard but heard of a few times—sounded pretty good. I had no idea that the lead singer of this band, Richard Jankovich, was also the guy behind those Pocket remixes in the 2000s...the more you know.

Soot Sprite, "It's Summer and I Don't Feel Like Smiling"

Hey, these guys are British—I couldn't tell before I found that out, honestly. What a trip life is. I've seen Soot Sprite described as shoegaze, I suppose that's what we're going with when people find it too uncomfortable to just write the word "emo" in digital ink. Anyway, good song.

Megan Thee Stallion, "All of It"

"I don't think anyone here actually really likes Megan Thee Stallion's music that much." That's what someone at a major music publication recently told me in conversation, but don't put that on Twitter—I suggested once that her music was largely mid-and-declining and was immediately hit with enough replies to cause me to delete. Guess people aren't really ready for the truth. It's hard to tell whether she's running out of road artistically or if there was road there to begin with; Megan is a formally incredible rapper, and her appeal—for all the NOW that she otherwise screams as a pop star and public figure—is distinctly old head-y, like Griselda for people who post earnestly on BeReal. She's also struggled to put together a coherent, truly solid album, but there's obviously been enough going on in her personal and professional life that some benefit of the doubt must be afforded. Anyway, it's weird that her best album to date, Something for the Hotties, is literally a rarities-and-outtakes collection, but her loosies carrying more overall appeal than her more serious bodies of work kind of fits the anything-goes narrative, too.

Let's Eat Grandma, "Strange Conversations"

I prefer Two Ribbons to Let's Eat Grandma's previous album I'm All Ears, which garnered way more critical acclaim—that happens a lot honestly, it is what it is. I feel like their own take on indie ("indie" in a British sense, not "indie" in an American sense, and if you're music-press-literate enough to understand ‎80% of the other references in this newsletter you know exactly what I'm talking about) is getting more potent, even as the behind-the-scenes stuff seems to be more fraught and tough than before.

Harry Styles, "Satellite"

If I was Matty Healy, I'd be furious that Harry Styles made the closest thing to a good 1975 rip that anyone's tried to pull off—then again, Matty's had plenty of fun trolling Harry Styles too, and he absolutely deserves it. Ugh, Harry Styles, what a drip...I'm sorry, I'm having a decent amount of trouble being charmed by him overall, and I still think the music is largely anodyne, even though he did manage to sneak the most Sarah Records-y pop song in recent memory to the top of the charts. He'll be famous forever, whether he'll ‎ever be interesting is another story entirely.

Jack Harlow, "Churchhill Downs" [ft. Drake]

Speaking of guys who suck...Jack Harlow would be washed on sight even if he didn't have Tory Lanez's back in the same breath that he uses to claim that he's a white guy who, like, really cares about Black women, guys. The less said about him the better, but Drake—a guy who I increasingly feel like we are going to find out some terrible stuff about at some point—inexplicably delivers one of his best 2022 verses here (I need to revisit Her Loss, which had some high points), good beat too. Drake at the end being like, "People say Jack Harlow is nice and I guess I agree" one has sounded less interested in the endorsement they themselves are making at that very moment.

Rosie Tucker, "Habanero"

In terms of thematic alignment, a better song than "So Hot You're Hurting My Feelings." (I won't turn this into a rant about how the Caroline Polachek record could be a flop. I won't turn this into a rant about how the Caroline Polachek record could be a flop. I won't turn this into...)

Belle and Sebastian, "Unnecessary Drama"‎‎

A Bit of Previous and Late Developers are the best and most energized Belle and Sebastian have sounded since The Life Pursuit; they never really had a "down" period, but much of the 2010s output felt more "nice" to me than truly exciting the way their current work does. Of course, you maybe read my interview with Stuart Murdoch that went up this week; if not, you can read it here.‎

Sharon Van Etten, "Headspace"

Sharon, banging out the tunes. Love that she's basically gone full goth-pop now, it suits her well.

Kevin Morby, "Stop Before I Cry"

Kevin Morby, at this point, has proven himself extremely adept at writing a specific type of song, and this, from his latest album, is a very good example of how good he is at doing that type of song. He's doing comfort music to my ears at this point, which is praise even as I have a pretty good idea of what to expect from him these days.‎‎

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Jamie Larson