I know no one wins this kind of thing
It's just another way to kill an hour
Folks, turn on your new music radar, if you will, and buckle up, because you’re in for a treat if the emotional indie rock of Julien Baker is your cup of tea. Of course, we’ll also have some gear and beer in the spirit of a winter weekend. If you joined us on Tuesday (where I talked about a Dublin trip, fresh Guinness in Ireland and a throwback concert by CHVRCHES), you know that these three tenets, if you will, are what make The Style Guide In Brief tick (or really, they’re what makes yours truly tick). The quietly beautiful, sad-yet-cathartic music of the one, the only Julien (today’s featured track is called “Ringside") and her new album is the perfect way to ride into the weekend.
Naturally, there’s also a requisite craft beer pick to sip on and some gear to shop all the while. You might recognize Julien from, among many other places, this newsletter here last month, as well as in an October 2020 dispatch, where I talked about the amazing “Faith Healer.” Believe me when I say you’re going to enjoy “Little Oblivions” (perhaps consider picking it up on vinyl if you’re a vinyl buff?) if you’ve enjoyed previous efforts from Julien. Onward to the music itself.
The time has finally come to celebrate this stunning new album and the hard-hitting “Ringside" — it’s a record that lives up to all the hype. Compared to her previous work (which is stunning in its own way), this is a more lush, more richly produced effort that amplifies her sound in all the right ways. It’s got more texture and depth to it than, for example, her 2015 debut “Sprained Ankle,” which was sparse, raw and haunting. Lyrically, “Little Oblivions” still packs one heck of a memorable, contemplative punch (in the best way — I disagree with parts of this Pitchfork review!). Kudos to Julien — and that’s an understatement — for making a record and a world we can all sit in and sit with for awhile. Although her reflections and musings can be harsh (as she notes in this interview here), it’s the perfect sort of music for these times. For me, I’m actually reminded of hope rather than sadness when I listen to Julien’s music, and I hope you feel the same way. With that in mind, let’s cue it up, kick back and ease into Saturday.
What To Listen To This Weekend: “Ringside” By Julien Baker
First things first: It’s been some time since I’ve seen a lyric video this cool (and indeed, the visual design of “Little Oblivions” is way too cool in its own right). On that note, pun intended, the lyrics really are worth paying attention to here, as are the punchy dreams (for some reason, the heavy thump of The White Stripes comes to mind). “Ringside” is my favorite track off the album so far, and a prime example of what Julien does best — deeply personal, emotional lyrics — now blended with heavy percussion and ripping guitar. It’s as if Julien is talking to a friend standing beside her (“So you can either watch me drown/Or try to save me while I drag you down”) and it’s as raw and deep as you might expect from Julien. The fact that it’s all built against a pretty thunderous musical backdrop shows just how far Julien’s come over the years. Add it to your Saturday morning playlist if you want a listening experience that makes you sit up and pay attention.
What To Shop This Weekend: Billy Reid Suede Bomber
We’ve got a new Julien Baker album out right now, we’ve got some rare early inklings of spring in the air (although I wouldn’t be surprised if we get one last snowstorm) and thus … we’ve got a new suede bomber jacket from Billy Reid up for grabs this weekend. This stylish bomber jacket is precisely the kind of coat I’m looking forward to wearing on my walks through Brooklyn this season, and while it’s assuredly VERY expensive, think of it more like style inspiration than a piece that you need to invest in right away. Between the handsome suede, the antique brass zipper and the neat design touches (slanted stitching, anyone?), it’s just way too cool. All of this is to say, if you feel like impressing the heck out of a lot of people with your style and your front-to-back knowledge of the new Julien Baker album this spring, well, this refined and simply incredible Billy Reid Suede Bomber is but one way to get you sorted out.
Shop Billy Reid
The versatility of the delicious and fresh offerings from Funky Buddha Brewery down here in Florida is quite impressive, to say the least. In fact, as I type this post on a fine Florida afternoon and listen to the latest from the one and only Julien Baker, I’m sipping on the refreshing, crispy and easy-drinking Funky Buddha Vibin’ Groovable Lager. Needless to say, with my weekend soundtrack at the ready, I’m definitely vibin’ (sorry, had to go there). And what a fitting name for this beer, right? Now, Funky Buddha can be difficult to track down, but here’s hoping Drizly delivery service has you all set. The variety on hand is pretty impressive, but it’s this modern update of the classic lager that has me in the right weekend mindset. Cheers to that, ehh?
I mentioned earlier that when it comes to this record, you should consider picking it up on vinyl, but if you’re more into streaming, well, allow me to introduce you to your new favorite home audio essential. We’re talking crisp and clear sound done up in a stylish package for extremely high quality all the way through your weekend and your everyday listening. The Marshall Woburn Speaker packs a serious punch (kind of like the lyrical stylings of Julien Baker, ehh?) and it reliably transforms the stage-ready sound of Marshall amps info a stylish Bluetooth speaker for your home. You already know what to play on it, right?
As always, I sit back at the end of every edition of The Style Guide In Brief and I hope that it’s a helpful weekend guide, be it an enhanced listening selection in the form of a a stylish Bluetooth speaker or some of the best indie rock out there at the moment (thank you, Julien!). If you do get a chance to listen to “Little Oblivions”, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. And of course, if you enjoy sipping on a cold beer with a new favorite album playing, here’s hoping the Funky Buddha Vibin’ Groovable Lager is a winner. As to transitional spring outerwear, I’ve already got the Billy Reid Suede Bomber on my wish list, and I wholeheartedly endorse it for your weekend wish list. That’s all for now — I’ve got some new music to play! Cheers.