Happy Monday! Here's a small sampling of what Mercury editorial staffers are listening to lately...

Jenni Moore, Music Editor
Megan Thee Stallion, "Big Ole Freak," and Fever
Houston rapper Megan Thee Stallion has had my attention ever since dropping the single—and sexed up visual—"Big Ole Freak," which flawlessly samples "Is It Love this Time," by R&B band Immature. In fact, lately I listen to "Big Ole Freak" at least once a day, right before busting open her debut album Fever. The album artwork promises that Megan is bringing "thee heat," and looks like a movie poster that's obviously inspired by Pam Grier-starring Blaxploitation films. Throughout the project, the XXL Freshman slides in and out of her handful of dominant personas (Tina Snow, Megan Thee Stallion, and Hot Girl Meg), proves she's got bars, a new rich-girl lifestyle, and a slew of major producers in her corner. While the sex-positive lyrical content may get a little repetitive, it's Megan's delivery and fierce wordplay that makes it repeatable, and the perfect vibe for when you're driving fast, turning up, or feeling yourself. There are LOTS of highlights here, including the heavy-hitting "Realer," as well as "Hood Rat Shit," "Pimpin," "Money Good," and "Sex Talk." BRB, listening to "Big Ole Freak" again.

Bobby Roberts, Calendar Editor
The Meters, "Find Yourself": It's kinda weird how legendary and essential the Meters are, and how consistently underrated they are, and have always been. Yet there is almost no more surefire way to make any cookout or backyard jam exponentially better than to add the Meters to it. I'm not going to front like I had the original album that "Find Yourself" is on ("Trick Bag, 1976")—I'm not a snob about owning Greatest Hits compilations—but this came up and it was like summer had finally, legitimately begun. Normally a Meters jam is some gut-bucket FUNK, but this is a much smoother groove of theirs. Once again, even if you've never heard this song, you've probably heard it: Naughty by Nature sped it up and flipped it about 25 years ago for "Feel Me Flow."

Robert Ham, Copy Chief
The Grateful Dead, Dave's Picks:
Much to my surprise and the chagrin of my family, I’ve been spending a lot of time lately in the land of the Grateful Dead. It’s not anywhere I thought I would find myself considering my previous 30 years of indifference toward the jam band. But the recent acquisition of two volumes of Dave’s Picks (an ongoing series of live documents of the group chosen by their legacy manager David Lemieux), and getting an advance listen to a 1993 live recording of the Jerry Garcia Band have all started to turn me around on the subject. Maybe it’s me getting soft in my old age, but I’m starting to find some comfort and delight in the discursive playing, the penchant for turning taut R&B classics like “The Hunter Gets Captured by the Game” into slow melting soft serve meant for formless dancing, and Garcia’s barely-on-key vocals. And the experimental music geek in me found moments of discordant, droney nirvana in the “Drums>Terrapin Station>Space” section of the Dead’s performance at the University of Oregon from 1978. Or it could just be the weed talking.

Free, Fire and Water
Free, Fire and Water Island/ A&M/ Polydor 1970
Ned Lannamann, Senior Editor
Free, Fire and Water:
I’ve been listening to Free’s Fire and Water, an also-ran in the longhair-rock canon that somehow escaped me until a few months ago. “All Right Now” is the song everyone knows, but the title track is better, a slow-grooving, almost minimalist howler that epitomizes the best of what British rock musicians were able to do with American blues. Andy Fraser treats his bass like a rhythm guitar during the chorus, unconventionally plucking out clusters of notes, while guitarist Paul Kossoff turns a simple sustained note into a mind-blowing guitar solo. The version on the US album is a different mix and is sped up for some weird reason, so go for the ultra-slow UK version, easily found on Spotify.

Erik Henriksen, Executive Editor
The Lonely Island, The Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience

I've been repeatedly listening to—or repeatedly watching? both?—the Lonely Island's The Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience on Netflix. Billed as a "Lonely Island visual poem," the 30-minute musical saga tells the tumultuous tale of baseball/steroid superstars Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire, AKA the "Bash Brothers," played here by Andy Samberg and Akiva Schaffer. Canseco and McGuire, the text at the start of Bash Brothers reads, "were known for their towering home runs and mind-bending play, but what many didn't know... is that they recorded an album... of raps." These are those raps. Visually, Bash Brothers is somewhere between Terrence Malick and VHS Jane Fonda workout tapes; musically, it fits alongside the Lonely Island's previous stuff, while also boasting "Uniforms On," a track that might be the best Beastie Boys song since Hello Nasty. ("Uniforms On," by the way, is followed by soulful shots of Canseco wandering the wilderness, wondering, "Where will we hide from the sun/When all the trees are dead?" and "Oakland Nights (feat. Sia)," a slow jam about McGuire and Canseco attempting to seduce Jenny Slate and Hannah Simone. Sia is played by Sterling K. Brown, with no explanation.) I honestly have no idea who Bash Brothers is for: super intense baseball nerds? Lonely Island comedy fans? Cinéaste devotees of "visual poems"? Or is it just for me? All I know is that the second The Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience ended, I immediately started it again.