(Merch)ants

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There’s nothing quite as exciting as pouring into a venue to see your favorite band and discovering the merch table is filled with unbelievably tasteful, fun, or unique clothing that you can wear entirely too much, just to make sure that EVERYBODY knows you’re really into that particular band (i.e. my Modern Baseball beanie that never leaves my head). Seeing as buying merch is the best way to support a band, as they often see very little money from their actual music sales, you want to make sure your investment is a fair exchange: They get gas and food money, and you look great. Simple enough, right?

To be honest, my personal merch collection isn’t truly complete until the men of Hatebreed decide to reprint basketball jerseys in a size smaller the XXL, which may never happen, so instead I’ll have to salivate over these goodies that actually exist for me to purchase.

Below I’ve listed some great items being sold by bands at the moment. Haven’t heard of who I’m mentioning? Look them up! Great merch comes from all styles of music.

1. Mixtapes

There’s nothing as great as a properly executed humor shirt, and Mixtapes have pulled off everything from Metallica spoofs to Grimace-themed digs to purposefully tacky shirts that mock various counter-cultures. Who could forget Mixtapes’ cackle-inducing ironic print of “Down with Soupy, Way more Radke!” shirts from Warped Tour? (They didn’t even feature the band’s name on them.)

Mixtapes printed an Adventure Time/Gay pride themed shirt, thus making possibly the happiest tee in existence.

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Photo from mixtapesohiomerch.bigcartel.com

2. Best Coast

I’ve spoken of her incredible style so much I have no voice anymore, so naturally it’s correct to assume that her merch is utterly fabulous. Her album artwork is minimalistic and trendy and translates well on everything from tees to crew necks, and her use of her adorable cat Snacks will surely convince every cat lover to throw down some money on BC merch. Not to mention, she actually sells plush stuffed animal versions of Snacks! My favorite item for sale (and that I own) is her “Our Deal” video-inspired crop top. It’s edgy, it’s cool and it’s perfect for summer, the very season that Best Coast’s music represents.

ImagePhoto from bestcoast.merchtable.com

3. Title Fight

This band just knows how to utilize great artwork for everything from album art to iconic logos and more. I don’t think there’s a single shirt in Title Fight’s webstore that doesn’t tickle my fancy. The simple look is always safe, not to mention the variety of hats and classic tattoo artwork-inspired shirts seem classier than the average band tee. Maybe I just really love Title Fight?

This particular shirt’s design is placed perfectly so that you could slap some high-waisted shorts on and tuck it in and look hella hip.

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Photo from titlefight.limitedrun.com

4. Arcade Fire 

The band is known almost as much for its incredibly audacious style as it is for its amazing and powerful music. The AF merch store is quintessential to minimalist hipsters, with very subtle and crisp designs on all the merch in the store. The best item in this store is by far the tie-dye/acid wash shirt with the class Arcade Fire logo on it. Swoon!

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Photo from arcadefirestore.com 

5. Odd Future

Aside from being one of the youngest, buzziest, and funniest crews in rap right now, Odd Future also has its own clothing line. The merch in this store is too fun to handle, featuring everything from patterned button-ups to bucket hats to clever tees and boxers. The sock collection in and of itself is composed of utter masterpieces. This is a store worth speculating for sure.

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Photo from oddfuture.com/collections/spring-2014

6. The Front Bottoms

These fellas are goofballs, even if the music they create is relatable and heart wrenching. Their cleverness is oft seen in their merch, mostly composed of tasteful and comfortable tees with fun designs or logos. I can’t say much more about this shirt besides it being possibly the most clever use of the D.A.R.E font ever.

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Photo from shop.thefrontbottoms.com

7. St. Vincent

Annie Clark’s style is fairly simple, be it a bit bizarre at times, and her merch matches that mantra perfectly. If you’re not into wild graphic tees, you’ll fall in love with her collection, but if you are searching for a surprise element of oddity, it’s definitely to be found.

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Photo from St. Vincent’s Bandwear Store

8. Sleigh Bells 

Loud, noisy guitar pop fueled by distortion and fiery, energetic performances make for a formula that can only mean one thing: Sleigh Bells are afoot. The two artists that make up Sleigh Bells, Alexis Krauss and Derek Edward Miller, are incredibly slick people. I’d kill to look half as badass as Krauss. And boy do they have the merch to back it. Check out this absurd basketball jersey and weep.

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Photo from sleighbells.gomerch.com

What’d you think? Would you buy any of these digs? Let me know who else has sweet digs for sale!

 

Note These Looks

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All semester I’ve been going on and on about how great these artists look, but I’ve only dabbled in explaining where exactly to get the looks I’m mentioning. Today is a one-stop-shop for two very different looks of artists, both relatively inexpensive and easy to acquire.

1. Kreayshawn

Love her or hate this Oakland “Gucci Gucci” viral star, she’s tons of fun and always pushing fashion boundaries. To start, acquire a pair of high waisted shorts, whether they’re thrifted or perhaps easily purchased at stores such as Charlotte RusseImagePhoto from team liquid.net

Next, you’ll want to pick up a sweet crop top. It can be simple, patterned, form-fitting, or loose. Any of these looks have been rocked by the rapper, and all of them look incredibly good with the high-waisted shorts. Crop tops of all styles can be found on Forever 21‘s web store, and some cost under $6.00! This incredibly versatile gray crop top is great for dressing up with a big cardigan or left on its own for hot summer days.

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Photo from forever21.com

Since the Kreayshawn look begins with a simple palette, it’s up to you to accent the look however you choose. She’s often pictured wearing wedge sneakers or very unique heels, but she’s also notorious for wearing some comfortable Nike sneaks. Be sure to rock the cat eye eyeliner, and the cherry on the top could be some fun jewelry, even from Kreayshawn’s own jewelry line via OK1984. I really want this alien set!

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Photos from OK1984.com

2. Angel Olsen

This beautiful songstress has the vocal control of a goddess and an undeniable talent for melodies and personal songwriting. You may never be Miss Olsen, but you definitely can acquire her look easily.

Start off with a great base of stockings; they can be any color, but Olsen definitely has a penchant for black or red stockings. These can be picked up at any local Target or Walmart if you’re really in the red.

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Photo from DKNY.com

 

Next you can toss on a very comfortable midi skirt, one that hits either right below the knee or halfway down the calf, that way we get a lovely view of the stockings. These skirts aren’t terribly expensive, but they are a little tricky to find.

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Photo from Forever21.com

For your choice of top, you have a lot of wiggle room. She’s been spotted in everything from simple but catchy sweaters, plaid flannel, button ups opened over fitted tees, and more. I personally love the flannel look with the pairing, as it remains casual but very put-together. Flannels are ideal as well, as they can be acquired very inexpensively at various stores, especially Target.

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Photo from Target.com

To complete this look, shoes like simple flats, oxfords, and black combat boots are all great options, so you really can’t go wrong.

Which look do you prefer? Can they be realistically acquired on a budget? Lemme know what you think!

 

Modern Baseball: The Anti-Social Boys Next Door

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As Lester Bangs (played by Philip Seymour Hoffman) in Almost Famous says, “The only true currency we share in this bankrupt world is what we share with someone else when we’re uncool.”

What does this quote have to do with my blog, you may be wondering? Well, for one, it’s my favorite movie and if you haven’t seen it yet, let’s plan a date to sit down and watch it. And second, most importantly, sometimes the most relatable bands are those bands that don’t exude “cool” but are rather accessible and average.

For example, up-and-coming emo/pop-punk darling Modern Baseball seems like four average college guys. While they may look normal and even a little dorky, their music is exceptional and wise beyond its years. The wit, charm, and prettiness of their deeply personal tunes is irresistible. You’re Gonna Miss It All, released in February, topped the Billboard vinyl charts and even broke into the Billboard Top 200.

Modern Baseball’s music is undeniably made of gold, but what makes the group so magnetic is its composition: four very normal college guys who just love making music with their close friends. They’ve got a taste aversion for douchy bros and DIY-obsessed crust punks, and they would rather just be goofy and natural. I honestly don’t think these fellas know how huge they are. Aren’t they cute?!

ImagePhoto from Run For Cover’s Youtube channel

Founding members/guitarists/vocalists Jacob Ewald and Brendan Lukens are joined by bassist Ian Farmer and drummer Sean Huber, and the four have a style that is so attainable it’s absurd. On the sophisticated end, Jacob Ewald can be seen layering simple fitted zip-up hoodies with button ups or under denim jackets that pair well with the cuffed flood jeans. On the other end, the band is well wise and aware of the fact that comfort is way more vital than image, so the band dresses just like you and I: comfortable sneakers such as Converse, Vans, even running shoes, and crew necks and band tees.

 

ImagePhoto from highlightmagazine.net

So why am I highlighting the fashion of normal people? Because I’d venture to say that most people out there would rather dress in jeans and a Ramones tee and slip-on Vans than drop hundreds of dollars on a flawlessly tailored leather jacket, Dr. Marten boots, and Sam’s Club packs of American Crew hair gel. This is a band whose music connects on a deeply human level, so it only makes sense that they would look just like the fans that adore them. Modern Baseball is the same as most of its fans: anti-social unless it means goofing with dear friends and emotional and reflective as many college students are.

What do you think of these boys? Are you into their music and ability to make what’s normal charming? Let me know!

 

HAIM All About It

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Last summer I spent three dreamy days in Dover, Delaware at a beautiful music festival called Firefly. We often didn’t head up to the actual venue until around 3 p.m., although music did start at noon, mostly to savor the shade and snacks our campsite had to offer. On the final day, however, I made demands that we arrive to the venue earlier for a little band called HAIM playing at 1:30. I had been drooling over HAIM’s sparse releases to date, including the tracks “Falling,” “Don’t Save Me,” and “Forever,” and I was anxious to see them perform live.

Not only did they perform those tracks, but they also dropped previews of late 2013’s Days Are Gone with additional wild percussion soloing. The three sisters, Este, Alana, and Danielle Haim, were hilarious and enthralling, their great personality and energy paired with their danceable, neo-’90s R&B tracks to make for one of the best performances I saw at Firefly. Which, by the way, is quite a feat since I also saw Grizzly Bear, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Kendrick Lamar.

What could be better than three dynamic gals and their wild music? Three dynamic gals with wild music and flawless style of course! That is what this blog is all about, right? Each sister has a unique edge to their style, but their crisp, mod looks look incredibly cohesive, especially when they’re all donning leather jackets. It doesn’t hurt that all three sisters have rockin’ bods, confidence to spare and the best legs on the whole entire earth. Their cover photo for Under the Radar’s interview piece is exemplary of how dang good they look all the time.

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Photo from undertheradarmag.com

The best way to break this down is sister by sister, because each has quite the look to emphasize. What better way to go about this than eldest to youngest?

Bassist Este Haim, the first born child of the very talented Haim family, has long flowing locks of hair with a golden hue. Her look is often very feminine with an edge, and she utilizes simple pieces to make big statements. Este wears a lot of black dresses, and can you go wrong with a  black dress? In the VH1 Sister Superlatives video Este is seen killin’ it with a black dress that had an accented neckline and a delightful hat. The dress she wore at Glastonbury had tight black lace sleeves fit for a queen, and her signature cherry-red lipstick looked impeccable. She is often seen in a dress that features see-through black film with dainty floral embroidery and a strong black collar, and the skirt of the dress is black, high-waisted and features the cutest white polka-dots. Este’s look is a very classic one; she always looks hella chic.

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Photo from abc.net/au

The middle child of the Haim family is Danielle, the guitarist and usually lead vocalist, who has an air of quiet authority and is declared to be the most fashionable by her siblings. Her live looks often embody the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll, wearing leather vests or jackets over simple tees and letting her middle-parted endless pin-straight locks flow freely. She often wears pants or shorts, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen her wear a skirt or dress before. Her pointed boots are to die for, and she uses little touches like the boots or a solid belt to add a bit of mystery to the look. Her style, much like her personality, isn’t overly flashy. Rather, it commands respect and exudes cool through honest simplicity.

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Photo from philly.com

Last but not least is the always spunky, very goofy Alana, the lady manning guitar and keys. She sometimes sports an athletic jacket with “Baby Haim” embroidered on it (like in the video for “Falling”), and her style is by far the sexiest. She adorns her long legs with perfectly tailored high-waisted shorts and skirts, and flowing crop tops are another common staple in her fashion. Alana’s love for letterman jackets is a love we share, and she always looks so incredibly fresh in them. Just like her personality and Twitter account, Alana’s fashion is youthful, fun, and spunky.

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Photo from nypost.com

When you mix these three styles and each sister’s musical talents together, you end up with the delightful baked good of sound that is HAIM. If you haven’t yet checked out their debut full-length Days Are Gone, you’re seriously messing up. And once you listen and read this blog, you best report back to me on your thoughts about these queens!

 

In the mean time, check out this wonderful music video for “If I Could Change Your Mind” and revel in the flawless choreography.

Be A Body- With As Cool A Style As Grimes

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Claire Boucher, a Canadian much better known by her stage name Grimes, has been making waves in the electronic community and musical realm with her undefinable style and experimental tunes. An artist who thrives on making art whilst avoiding sleep for days, even weeks, in absolute solitude is one with an eccentric mind, and obviously an eccentric wardrobe and style. The combination of Grimes’ undeniable presence and ethereal and diverse tunes make her an absolute treat to experience, and her feminist ideals and “take no shit” attitude makes her a role model for young women and female musicians everywhere.

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Photo from rockthetrend.com

Boucher is clearly identified by her sharp, hyper-short bangs that are often paired with wild colors and challenging up-dos or wild bed head. The absolute range of styles that can be achieved with such a simple cut is absurd. The cut plays up her sharp and unique features; a mix of soft youthfulness and edgy touches of makeup and strong brows. She also has the cutest nose in existence.

Boucher’s style is a mix of artsy and fun. Like Bethany Cosentino, she’s not afraid to rock sweet patterns, and she also has a great grasp on the perfect blend of fun and hip, making her looks distinctly cool rather than campy. As featured below, she’s also a big fan of wearing baseball caps and urban wear, rocking big camo jackets and boots on many an occasion. The diversity, much like the diversity in her music, allows her to experiment without anyone placing expectations on her.

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Photo from Tumblr

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Photo from Oystermag.com

While Boucher is seen being refined in some settings, it’s hard to deny that both her music and artful music videos are hella weird in the absolute best way. In her video for “Genesis” she’s pictured with many medieval weapons, a snake to juxtapose against an incredibly preppy rich look with a plaid schoolgirl skirt, mile-high wedges, and many hair colors. Her video for “Oblivion” features her in a great button up poncho-esque dress coat; another scene reveals a splendidly bedazzled crew neck and yet another a windbreaker with perfect gold accents over a cosmos-patterned shirt. I’m also obsessed with the jumper dress she wears over a simple black long sleeve. While most people would look awful in the clothing with which Grimes adorns herself, Boucher just looks incredible. Maybe it’s because she’s got the art to back it up or a unique facial structure naturally, but either way, I would love to pull off her look.

Her live looks reflect the need for both comfort and artistic presence, never wearing the same thing twice and often appearing as if she didn’t even think twice about it. Many artists spend a lot of time nitpicking, but Boucher feels incredibly authentic. I think that’s what makes her so special- her style, music and personality are all distinctly her own.

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Photo from beatroute.ca

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Photo from blogs.villagevoice.com

Who else is obsessed with Grimes? Let me know what you think about her music and her tunes!

Adore You (A Blog Post About My Undying Love For Miley’s Style)

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Whether you love her or hate her (and I love her), Miley Cyrus is one of the most talked about performers in pop music right now. Her “controversial” use of provocative clothing and displays of drug culture paired with her irresistibly catchy tracks have turned many heads, even earning her a cover piece in Rolling Stone.

I could argue for days about how uncontroversial Miley is, seeing as artists such as Madonna, Lady Gaga, and Britney Spears have all done absurd and shocking things in performances: see Madonna’s very offensive “Like A Virgin” video, Gaga’s thong unitard at the VMA’s, and Britney Spear’s transparent sparkly jumpsuit. But I digress. This post is all about Miss Miley, after all.

Over the years we’ve watched Miley Cyrus evolve from Hannah Montana to an innocent pop artist by her own name. While her latest look may seem extreme, some of the best pieces of her style have been popping up for a while now. For example, Miley’s use of grunge elements in her style is subtle and very fun. You honestly cannot go wrong with a flannel and denim shorts, and her platform Dr. Martens are to die for. From the days of her brunette sock bun to her current blonde pixie, this style still looks great.

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Photo from celebitchy.com

Speaking of that hair, Cyrus is the queen of short-maned ladies everywhere. Whether it be fluffed into a faux hawk, longer and swooped sleekly across her head, or kept dark on the sides, it always looks great. And maybe it’s just that I’m looking, but since she chopped her mop it does seem like a lot of girls are venturing to walk on the wild side of short hair. I myself adopted the pixie first and faux mohawk cut after seeing how many ways she styled that look.

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Photo from Pinterest

Cyrus understands the impact of simple statement pieces to a T. For example, when performing on Ellen, she wore an incredible pair of simple black overalls with statement buttons that I’ve been perseverating on for at least a week now. Her unitards and the spandex pants with straps in her video for “Can’t Stop” were so playful and fun, and using statement pieces, such as overalls, with a sports bra or bandeau makes for layering with subtle, alluring sexiness. I’m all about it.

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Photo of spectacular overalls from Tumblr

Although Miley’s music screams “Excess!” her style usually is fairly simple, especially in her day-to-day looks. Her outfits are at most three pieces and rarely more than three different colors. This simplicity commands respect, especially when attending formal events. Many of her dresses are black and white and accented with simple touches to spice up the look, like the great accents on the skirt pictured below.

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Photo from Tumblr

While Cyrus can look absurdly classy and put together, many of her performance outfits and even press looks are incredibly fun and kitschy. Miley can pull off anything from twee ensembles, ’90s-inspired digs, and even pot leaf patterned unitards. Her sporty looks, especially that Bulls jersey, make her look casual yet put-together. I’m also very into wearing very short tops and shorts as Miley does, and with legs like those, who can blame her? It conjures a modern manifestation of the extremely short dresses of the ’70s. No matter what she’s wearing, there is a really good chance I can justify how cool it is.

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Photo from Tumblr

What do you think of Cyrus’ style? Let me know your favorite look, and if you have any idea where to buy those overalls alert me immediately.

 

The Patron Saint of Style

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The legacy of Annie Clark’s solo career as St. Vincent began with the beautiful Marry Me in 2007, and from day one both her musical and artistic vision has grown and morphed into many faces and characters. Her eclectic and theatrical style constantly takes me on a musical adventure, as if I were floating in a zero gravity room. I’m a sucker for any multi-instrumentalist who can create rich, deep scores and pair them with perfect imagery; it’s the mark of a true artist.

Clark’s music has changed from Marry Me to Actor to Strange Mercy to her latest self-titled release, but that’s not the only thing that has changed. With each evolution of the St. Vincent sound comes a different look and a different visual scheme to pair with it. Let me tell you, all of these looks are flawless in every single way.

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Photo from Wikipedia

Beginning with Marry Me and Actor, Clark’s personal style featured a more simple approach, wearing clothing that utilized cap sleeves and elegant lines to create interesting silhouettes. She wore a great deal of cardigans and very few bold colors, with each outfit carrying a feminine softness. A mark of the Clark style that remains today is its impeccable tailoring, especially in those button-fraught trench coats. This era of style and music certainly expressed an artistic subtlety that was haunting and beautiful, graced by small touches for effect.

At the dawn of Strange Mercy in 2011, Clark’s style grew edgier, beginning to feature elements such as lace appliqués and leather shorts. The crisp style remained evident, as seen throughout her wardrobe in the video for “Cruel.” Thrashing tunes like “Surgeon” were matched by all black outfits featuring that absurd tailoring (seriously, where is she getting her clothing? It’s all seemingly made for her body. This is something I want.) and small touches in her makeup, like bright lips or bold liner.

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Photo from kinlosangeles.wordpress.com

Speaking of make up, Clark has mastered the strong eyebrow game to accompany her subtly accented doe eyes, and those brunette curls are always as bouncy as a newly assembled trampoline. Knowing what lip colors are perfect for you is a very difficult task, yet Clark has figured out the perfect shade of red, pink and even pale and nude colors that suit her sharp features.

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Photo from SPIN Magazine

Her latest record, St. Vincent, dropped yesterday, and woooo-eee is it full of bangers. For this album, Clark has dyed those dark locks white and electrified them to voluminous heights. The outfits are bright and subtly extravagant, and all the lines are almost as mesmerizing as her impeccable bone structure. Image

Photo from NME

Perhaps it was her work with David Byrne that served as a catalyst towards more theatrical and experimental clothing, but no matter how she arrived here I am digging the straight lines, monochromatic color schemes and menswear touches. Clark’s bold moves in the fashion and music world are forcefully establishing her as a musical and artistic force with which to be reckoned.

Are you as crazy about Annie’s style? What do you think about the switch to white hair? Let me know what you think!