Well Dressed DJ
Two of my biggest loves outside of my acting are music and fashion.
So, as a savvy individual of this modern age, I made a blog that chronicles both of them.
I try to update as much as possible, reblogging fashion I admire or generating music reviews and recommendations.
Hope you enjoy!
Forest Swords- Engravings
Sample Track: The Weight of Gold
Engravings plays as though it has been used as ritual music for hundreds of years. The music is beautifully lived in, sounding as though it will play on with or without your attention. Rhythms are beaten with intention and the voices echo through the songs like cries of a lost city. While the drums and vocals do wonders for the atmosphere (listen to the cathartic minimalism that is “Onward”), the real star on the album is the guitar work. Matthew Barnes, aka Forest Swords, guitar work is hypnotic, richly textured, a fine paintbrush with the colors changing track by track. It’s an electronic album that will intrigue the guitar purists as well one of the more unique albums of the year.
Sample Track: The Fall
Let’s get on the same page here: that is a man singing these songs. Yes. A Male. I couldn’t believe it either. That soulful, sexy croon is half the allure of Rhye, the other being the tastefully subdued production, blended together perfectly, creating an elegant martini for a lover’s night in. Seriously, this album makes me want to describe it like that. With lead single and standout track “The Fall” starting with the words “Make love to me,” how could I not? Woman is stuffed with lush songs, some that you can lazily spend an afternoon cuddling on a lawn, others that have enough groove to get your body moving. Woman is this years make-out album for the indie crowd.
Earl Sweatshirt- Doris
Sample Track: Hive
While Tyler has been making a ruckus anywhere he can, Frank has been dominating the pop charts, the rest of the crew (yes, there’s another handful of musicians under the Odd Future moniker) releasing mixtapes and LPs, Earl was sitting in some boarding school in Samoa, doing who knows what until his 18th birthday. When he got back to the States, Earl wasted no time, appearing on Odd Future highlight “Oldie,” and Frank Ocean’s “Super Rich Kids.” In the wake of his proper debut LP, Doris, it all seems like warm-up. Over fifteen tracks of beats coated in grit and grime (save for album highlight “Sunday,” which could easily soundtrack any lazy morning), Earl rambles off verses packed with vivid images, fierce storytelling and raw emotion with the ease of a twenty year veteran. There are no other rap collectives that are as prolific nor sonically bold as Odd future, and with Doris, Earl has just proved himself the best out of the bunch.
Iceage- You’re Nothing
Sample Track: Wounded Hearts
When I first saw Iceage,I hadn’t listened to many of their songs, but based off my love of punk and hearsay about four 20 year olds making one helluva racket, I knew I had to seize the chance. It was an 11 P.M. slot at, now defunct Emo’s in Austin. There were probably a hundred of us there, bubbling with energy, waiting for these guys to show us what’s what. When they exploded on stage, practically at war with their instruments, the room erupted into a punk orgy; garbage cans being throwing, bodies flailing. However, the tunes on their debut, New Brigade, relied heavily on that ferocious energy and didn’t hold up quite so well on studio recordings. This year’s You’re Nothing finds the band with the same fury augmented with stronger songwriting: drums rouse, guitars slice and singer Elias Bender Rønnenfelt yawps anthemic chants without losing steam for 28 and a half minutes. The real magic of these guys, however, is that they don’t leave you feeling exhausted, they leave you feeling revived.
Sample Track: Paper Trails
The past couple of years have seen the rise of Nicolas Jaar from South American obscurity to indie darling. He’s made a name for himself making slinky, jazz-influenced tunes that turn music nerd stiffs into hip-shakers. His latest project, Darkside, a collaboration with guitarist Dave Harrington, looks to expand his subtle dance domination even further. I was skeptical at first as guitars are not the first instrument that pops to mind when discussing minimal jazzy electronic music, but the duo have created something alien and magnetic. Jaar handles cavernous spaces that Harrington fills with sleek, funky guitar licks. Aptly titled, Psychic feels like diving into the mind of two musicians that are laying a new blueprint for what music sounds like.
Go Back and take a second. We all know and love Midnight City….but this guy has been making beautiful music for years.
Three years ago, in my first lazy summer with my record player, I purchased Gorilla Manor, Local Natives’ debut album. This came after much internal arguing, “No, they sound too much like Fleet Foxes!!” “But “Airplanes" is so good!!!!" In the end, the album didn’t redefine anything in the indie rock soundscape, but their youthful, excited lyrics and raw talent resonated with me more than the convoluted metaphors of other bands (Looking at you Dave Longstreth.)
Now, Hummingbird arrives and with the addition of producer Aaron Dessner (guitarist of the National), Local Natives are still being compared to other bands, namely the National (can they get a little more original?) and Arcade Fire. Here’s the flip-side though: like any maturing band (surprise!) Local Natives are deepening their songwriting ability and have crafted a much more beautiful and heartfelt album.
The first single, “Breakers,” displays a new eye for instrumental detail. Before, their songs were structured around complex and lush vocal harmonies. In “Breakers,” a guitar line starts with a strong strum but, signified by the title, by the end sounds as if the strings are about to snap after being played so harshly. Meanwhile, there is a mournful wash of synthesizer and a propulsive drumbeat going on underneath. Sure, the chorus is an addition to the wordless moans that owe tribute to “Wake Up,” but to reduce the song to that comparison is to ignore the other aspects.
In other songs, Local Natives have learned how to play to their ample strengths, namely their lyrics and vocal talent. “Three Months” has one of the simplest and touching lines in recent memory: “I’m letting you know/ I’m ready to feel you.” Coupled with this earnest and shy line, Kelcery Ayer (who believe is their main vocalist, though they all share vocal duties) carries his voice into the sky, as if he is calling out from the top of a mountain, affirming this loved one of his commitment. You may be able to crib sounds, but you cannot steal smart flourishes such as this.
Later in the album, “Mt. Washington” uses the repetition of a simple guitar strum coupled with a soaring vocal to convey a feeling of rejection. The narrator is staring at his ceiling and longing for his loved one. No matter how hard the object of his affection tries to get rid of him, our narrator will still wait singing out “I don’t have to see you right now.” Feelings of yearning permeate this album; gone is the youthful exploration of the previous album. Now it is replaced by the uncertain grappling with the uncertainty that a life with loss brings.
While some songs do sound similar, Local Natives don’t seem to be interested in changing the indie rock landscape. Sometimes the goal for indie music isn’t in finding a true mark of “originality” or “freshness”, but rather to pen down lyrics and stories that comfort the rest of us in our dark times. They are just four dudes who write great songs reminding the rest of us: “hey, remember when you lost that? We do too.”