BEST OF INSTAGRAM - WEEK 15
Pop music never rests. The indie underground never sleeps. Culture has become a 24/7/365 merry-go-round, churning out genius and pablum nearly every second of the day at a whiplash-inducing, lightning-quick speed.
As most diehard music lovers know, by the time music news becomes 'official' it's often yesterday's headlines. So much of music happens on the ground, off-the-cuff, and on-the-fly. Performances, music festivals, new singles, music videos, memes, and documents of an artist's life - these things, which were once considered ephemera, can make up a huge part of a musician's career, and the reason their fans love them.
Luckily, We Are: The Guard also never sleep. We have a team of industrious tastemakers scouring the Internet for the latest, breaking music news. Of course, social media is one of the best and easiest ways to keep tabs on your favorite artists. And Instagram, of course, is the sovereign ruler of social media.
Each week, we'll be bringing you our favorite Instagram posts of the week, from all genres and every corner of the world. Make sure to follow We Are: The Guard on Instagram, as well, to keep up-to-the-second with music news, our favorite jams, styles, and aesthetics.
Purrrrty Hair Zedd … Where ya going?
Russian-born, German-based DJ/producer is dreamy, in that Jim-Halpert-From-The-Office kind of way. He always appears with the perfect three-day-shadowm, often dressed down in a hoodie you want to steal; sometimes dapper as hell, in a James Bond-style tux.
Turns out Zedd makes a damn fine lady, as well, as revealed in one of this week's best IG posts. He enticed his fans to caption a photo of the producer wearing a cotton candy pink bob wig behind the wheel of a car. Zedd looks like a 21st Century Milla Jovovich from The Fifth Element or Run, Lola, Run. Zedd is a modern man, confident in his masculinity and killing it with style. You've got to love someone who could be in either Ocean's 11 or Ocean's 8, and would look killer in both!
Tom Misch Jams With Drummer Yussef Dayes and Bassist Tom Dressler
Tom Misch is best known for delivering smooth, lowdown hip-hop beats and neo-soul guitars. It's a gorgeous swoon, but it's served very chilly indeed. This week, Tom Misch took a break from promoting his brand new (and excellent) debut Geography to jam with some mates - drummer Yussef Dayes and Bassist Tom Dressler, who've previously played together in the furious funk jazz group Yussef Kamaal. Dayes and Dressler are celebrating a reimagination of their own, as the critically-lauded Yussef Kamaal have recently rebranded themselves as Black Focus.
Misch's funky guitar is given a shot of adrenaline with the hot, hot heat of Dayes' insane polyrhythms and Dressler's quaking low-end. It sound like Misch jamming with Anderson .Paak's backing band, and makes us very excited indeed to see what this new talent will get into.
Marshmello Pre-Games With Kevin 'Ninja' Blevins!
Speaking of Zedd, Marshmello first entered the public view remixing Zedd's "Beautiful Now." It seems appropriate that two would be re-united with some of this week's hottest 'grams. In this short video, the iconic marshmallow-headed DJ coordinates a dance routine with professional Twitch streamer Kevin Blevins, aka Ninja. They say they're pre-gaming for Fortnite. If they're multiplayer game is as synced up as their dance moves, the other team is in trouble.
G-Eazy and Halsey In The Wild
G-Eazy and Halsey's hearts are beating in unison in the backseat of some dope ride, if G-Eazy's caption is to be believed. , he states simply, and all of our hearts skipped a beat in unison. Now if we could get some Halsey features on G-Eazy's productions, that'd be great!
Behind The Scenes Of Panic! At The Disco's "Say Amen"!
Music videos are like mini-movies, at this point, frequently having higher production values and budgets than small-run arthouse flicks. It's cool as heck to get a glimpse of the magic behind the magic with behind-the-scenes footage, one of the things which Instagram is best for. Panic! At The Disco shared a short clip of the high-octane action of their new video, "Say Amen", which will drop this coming weekend. The clip shows a bunch of masked robbers wreaking havoc and wrecking stuff. Panic At The Disco! Show themselves to be as adept as action stars as crafting indie electronic beats and sweaty, soulful grooves.
"Hey, Siri! Play Sad Asshole!" - Aminé
As we mentioned at the beginning, sometimes hit singles don't hit the charts. Sometimes they don't even hit the stores. Instagram can be the only place to hear certain bops from your favorite artists, in this instance, Portland-rapper Aminé. We Are: The Guard are wondering where Siri is pulling "Sad Asshole" from, as the single is yet to be released. It's our first chance to hear the sounds, following a Tweet broadcasting the lyrics back in March. Aminé's debut single "Caroline" went all the way to #11 on the Billboard Charts. Perhaps it's time we start featuring a 'Best Of Social Media' category, as well, considering how many releases remain unofficial? We're pretty sure "Sad Asshole" would at least rank, given the quarter-of-a-million views in one week.
Big Freedia Is The Genius Behind Drake's "Nice For What"
You can't turn your head this week without seeing a reference to Drake. Yes, We Are: The Guard are as into "God's Plan" as anyone else with ears this week. Another Drake-related Instagram post raised our arched eyebrows even more, however. Sure, Drizzy is a household name. But do you know Big Freedia? You should, if not, and you will, if you dig into the songwriting credits behind Drake's new new single "Nice For What". Drake has a knack for working with up-and-comers and underground artists. Big Freedia is already a living legend, but still in the underground, as a pioneer of "bounce music" - a style of Southern bass music originating in New Orleans. Bounce is one of the origins of twerking, which Big Freedia is also one of the early champions for and pioneers.
Big Freedia's influence also brings some much-appreciated gender fluidity to Top 40 hip-hop. The Southern rapper/producer is like the RuPaul of the Dirty South. Frequently presenting as female and known as the "Queen Of Bounce," Big Freedia doesn't identify as trans or anything in particular. Seeing Drake and Big Freedia working together is like re-aligning the divergent queer currents of hip-hop and dance music, coming out of the Vogue and drag scenes of the late '70s and early '80s. It's another reason we love Drake - he's not afraid to define his masculinity for himself. The number of people who crush on Drake is a positive sign that stylish, sensitive boys are on the rise!
That's it for this week! Make sure to check with us next week for more of our favorite Instagram posts, to stay up-to-the-second with the latest, breaking-est music news! And follow us on Instagram and Twitter for your daily fill of indie music and culture!
J. Simpson occupies the intersection between criticism, creativity, and academia. Based out of Portland, Or., he is the author of Forestpunk, an online journal/brand studying the traces of horror, supernatural, and the occult through music, fashion and culture. He plays in the dreamfolk band Meta-Pinnacle with his partner Lily H. Valentine, with whom he also co-founded Bitstar Productions, a visual arts collective focused on elevating Pop Culture to High Art.