Reflections you used to see
Never look alike to me
Thanks for clicking on this E-mail newsletter (or clicking through on Twitter!) as we take another deep dive into the “world-within-a-world” that is The Style Guide In Brief, a shorter and more varied take on my OG blog, The Style Guide. Per tradition: Be sure to tell all your friends about both! And be sure to give today’s featured track a good listen, because Scottish synth pop masters CHVRCHES — as seen at the top of the page — are going to start your Tuesday with a bang.
Before we get into it, a refresher: Last Saturday, we talked about New York indie rockers Wild Pink and the band’s phenomenal, lyrically rich and introspective new album “A Billion Little Lights.” While I was tempted to feature another favorite track from one of my top 2021 releases today, I managed to hold off. In fact, in writing this newsletter, my mind wandered from Florida (where I’ve been spending a few weeks dog-sitting and imbibing local craft beer) across the pond to Dublin — it’s been two years and one day since I trekked to Dublin on a winter getaway, highlighted by a majestic concert at the Olympia Theatre by the powerful, wonderful CHVRCHES. Funnily enough, they haven’t yet been featured in my music and menswear newsletter!
That being said, perhaps you know them from 2018’s terrific single “Get Out” (keep scrolling) or more likely, from two other acclaimed albums, “The Bones of What You Believe” and “Every Open Eye”. If not, you’re in for a treat today, because these are powerful, sad-and-yet-uplifting indie pop songs that are cathartic enough to make you want to get on a plane, enjoy a whole lot of Guinness and wander around a new favorite city. Here’s to (future) travel, to fine music and to the gear to help get you there (someday, someday).
What To Listen To This Week: “Get Out” By CHVRCHES
Powerful lead singer Lauren Mayberry, one-third of the Scottish synth pop trio, has a knack for pairing searing, emotional lyrics with soaring, leaping synths from bandmates Iain Cook and Martin Doherty. It’s all on display in “Get Out,” a song that jumps and swirls like a kaleidoscope (listen carefully to the song!) as it details an ever-shifting, unstable relationship. It’s a fitting lead track considering that the trio’s third LP was graced with the title “Love Is Dead” — and it made for one heck of a powerful opening song at the decades-old Olympia Theatre (an entire crowd surging to its feet from red velvet seats is a powerful sight!). I’d nearly forgotten the so-called anniversary date of the concert until a timely reminder from my Instagram. I’m glad I chose to revisit this song, and my trip to Dublin, which involved putting in plenty of miles on foot, plenty of Guinness and a tough waxed jacket in tow — more on each in a minute.
If it’s your first time entering the magical world of CHVRCHES, I hope you enjoy. These songs could change your life, or at the very least, they could prove an enjoyable change of pace if you’re bored with your at-home playlist. But here’s hoping for the former, ehh? Now, about that travel-ready waxed jacket…
While I wasn’t quite wearing a jacket at the level of the rugged and iconic Belstaff Patrol Jacket as I got around Dublin (I happened to be wearing a waxed field jacket from Orvis), this sleek and rugged number from a master outerwear maker is a fitting homage to my winter trip. It was cold, cloudy and rainy when I visited Dublin (ideal for walking from pub to pub, with plenty of time spent at each!). Assuredly, a water and wind-resistant waxed cotton jacket would also have come in handy as part of my outerwear rotation. Think of this piece like a go-anywhere waxed jacket for back home, with handy pockets to hold souvenirs, trinkets, a notebook and more for your next great adventure (someday, someday).
Would it really be a newsletter focused on Dublin without mentioning the always-iconic Guinness? Specifically, the lauded Guinness Foreign Extra Stout? No, sir — not in the slightest. Now, I talked last fall in this newsletter about one of the best cold-weather beers (that’d be the iconic Guinness Extra Stout), and I certainly enjoyed plenty of that classic beer with a full Irish breakfast and more when I was in Dublin. On that note: Be sure to add the Lord Edward Tavern, an Irish pub of traditional design and great repute, to your travel bucket list (I know it’s a ways off, and it’s tough to deal with, but trust me on that!). For a taste of Dublin right on your doorstep these days, get Guinness Foreign Extra Stout delivered quickly via Drizly.
The Final Pick: Bellroy Slim Sleeve
If there’s anything I hope this newsletter can provide, it’s a deeper look into the idea that, just like the trips you take, the music you listen to or the beer you imbibe on a daily basis, the seemingly little or overlooked things can provide some great joy. Take the well-made Bellroy Slim Sleeve, the kind of wallet I could have used to slip into my field jacket pocket in Dublin. This stylish leather bi-fold wallet is an upgrade to an everyday essential, done up in a handsome leather and featuring convenient, compact construction. You’ll come to appreciate how sturdy and efficient this Bellroy wallet happens to be, and you’ll certainly never forget a wallet this nice when you dash out the door, either. To me, that’s the ideal example of a small daily upgrade that can make a world of difference — after all, you *never need a wallet that you’ll never leave behind* until you realize you left your house without cash or cards. Are ya with me on that?
Draw up a checklist for the week, and then start ticking off your to-do list with some high-energy, emotional synth pop from CHVRCHES as your soundtrack — after all, that’s what I’m doing today as I reflect on my Dublin trip! No matter what you add to your digital shopping cart, be it a stylish leather bi-fold wallet or a waxed cotton jacket, let’s focus on the upgrades that can turn a week (or an overseas trip, or a trip to get some more beer) from good to great, ehh? And let’s take the time to plan for the future while being grateful for the past. If you like what you hear from CHVRCHES in the meantime, let me know on Twitter or Instagram. Here’s to a new week!