The current has us now, it's OK
Reflecting on music, menswear and more for the weekend
Today’s newsletter header has particular resonance right now — it’s a wonderful lyric from the stellar song “Who Knows Who Cares” by Los Angeles-based rockers Local Natives, one of my favorite bands. We’ll get to more on the song in a moment (much more!), but the premise is an important one that I keep turning over in my mind — so thank you for bearing with me! Taking stock of life’s changes, what to take with you, what to leave behind, and where the current is taking you … it’s vastly important to keep perspective at the forefront. I try to do that daily, whether listening to records on my turntable or walking through my neighborhood in Brooklyn. As I write this post, I’m reflecting on the seventh anniversary of launching my blog, if you can believe it.
Grounding me during these times of change? It’s my family and friends, right off the bat. But it’s also the music I love and yes, the gear I’m wearing every day. A great watch or a favorite shirt can hold just as much resonance as a timeless song, guiding you and pushing you forward into the future (while reminding you of the importance of the past). Hopefully, that’s not too deep for a pre-coffee read this weekend. With that being said, here’s the music I’m listening to, and the essentials I’m using for inspiration, right now.
What To Listen To This Weekend: “Who Knows Who Cares” By Local Natives
As I sat down to write today’s post, with this track in my headphones, I had to stop and pause to let the song play through. And then, I played it again. And again. It’s just that good. This anthemtic, melodic track is a soaring sing-along, a meditation on life and its many changes. In fact, Local Natives recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of “Gorilla Manor,”the iconic, beautifully crafted album from which “Who Knows Who Cares” emerged. As it were, I’d be remiss not to mention this stunning acoustic performance of this modern indie classic. It’s a great source of comfort, and the studio version is just as essential.
These SoCal indie rockers are an exceptionally important band in my life, dating back to my college radio days spinning tracks at Michigan State University. That’s where I first discovered this wonderful song, a live staple of Local Natives shows in years to come— and one I immediately loved, long before I saw them play in person (September 2013 in Royal Oak, for those keeping score!). It’s an all-too-fitting song these days as I reflect on my recent decision to take a leap into full-time writing. In a Q&A on the album, lead singer Taylor Rice said the track perfectly summed up the band’s passion for making a life out of music: “I’ve always seen it as a reckless leap into unfathomable depths.”
The album itself was named for a house the band members shared in Los Angeles’ Silver Lake, where they worked on and built a record that would take them across the country and land them spots opening for the likes of The National (who else??). It’s this album that helped turn them into my second-favorite band — you know who tops the list, of course. I adore this song, and “Gorilla Manor,” to this day. Whenever I feel turbulence or uncertainy in my life, I put on this song, I sit back and reflect, and I hear these words: “The current has us now, it’s OK, take into account that it’s all about to change.” Change, indeed! Onward.
What To Shop This Weekend: Shinola Number Two Watch
If ever there were a connecting thread between music and menswear, to me, it just might be a brand like Shinola. Bear with me. From the brand’s inception as a Detroit-built watch company in 2011, I’ve admired the craftsmanship, quality and durability of its products — in fact, a Shinola timepiece made my menswear Christmas wish list on my blog way back in the day. Around the time I dove deep into Shinola’s offerings, Local Natives made another very important entry into my life, with January 2013’s deeply emotional and moving album,“Hummingbird.” To put it mildy, I spent that winter and that year pining after a Shinola watch and listening to Local Natives in my college bedroom (as I had done the prior year … and as I often do now).
Home, the cold Michigan air in winter, the music of Local Natives, dreaming of a Shinola watch and a brighter future … to me, it’s all on the same mood board. These days, the Shinola Number Two Watch is still the kind of eye-catching, versatile piece that you can wear every day — even as you work from home, Local Natives spinning on your turntable. Still with me? Good.
Shop Shinola at Bespoke Post
What To Sip This Weekend: Pabst Blue Ribbon
Before you chuckle at this beer inclusion (I write about craft beer, I swear!), I’ve got to pay homage to a ice-cold, still-tasty beer that shaped my time listening to Local Natives in college. I can picture it now: Many a summer 2013 evening started with a PBR and Local Natives playing on the stereo (when I could convince my roommates, that is). It might seem silly, but PBR is still a cold brew I enjoy to this day — light, refreshing, good flavor, easy to drink out of a can … and readily available at many concert venues. Plus, it pairs mighty fine with whiskey. Heck, my spring 2019 trip to Portland, Oregon to see Local Natives in concert was fueled by PBR and delicious coffee (not in that order). It’s the small things that ultimately build magic and memories, and for me, I can’t help but think of one of my favorite bands when I enjoy this beer.
The Final Pick: Myles Apparel Tour Pants
Join me as we close out this journey with a blast from the past (or at least, 2012-2013). In my menswear trek, one of the first items I looked to add to my new wardrobe was a pair of reliable everyday chinos. With that mission accomplished, my worldview continued to expand, eventually shifting toward finding a pair of performance pants that mimicked chinos, yet delivered the comfort and quality of stylish stretch pants. A tall task, no? I think I finally figured it out, though. In recent times, then, the link to the past and the present is the Myles Apparel Tour Pants. Stylish and durable enough to wear on a trek around Brooklyn, comfortable enough for me to wear when I fly back to Michigan (whenever that might be next!), these are some of the coolest pants you can buy now. I know 2012-2013 Beau approves (I hope!). Still with me? Thanks for sticking around.
As I come to the end of this post, I’m still thinking about (and listening to) songs about change, songs about the past and the present and the future (as I type, it’s “Helplessness Blues” by Fleet Foxes). Has today’s post given you some cause to reflect (or at the very least, pause and listen to Local Natives)? I hope so. I think the past, the music that we love, and what we chose to wear, can all provide building blocks or a bridge forward. That’s my goal, at least. For now, I’m off to enjoy Saturday — I hope you do the same! As always, thanks for reading, and of course, you can find plenty more of my writing over at my blog, The Style Guide. Until next week, I wish you safety, health, plenty of time for reflection and music … and plenty of chances to enjoy some cold beer. Cheers.