BEST OF INSTAGRAM - WEEK 16
It's been a hot week on Instagram, especially with the media blitzkrieg that is Coachella last weekend in deep Southern California. We Are: The Guard were as elevated and uplifted by Beyonce dropping knowledge and mad style as the first woman-of-color to headline Coachella. We also acknowledge that other things happen. We Are: The Guard, after all. We never sleep in bringing you the freshest, most interesting, most stylish music news, style, and fashion from the Indie music underground.
This last week, Kendrick Lamar majorly disrupted the intellectual community, winning a prestigious literary award. Korean-American producer/songwriter Yaeji updated from her string of sold-out shows, and it was as stylish as a Paris Fashion Week runway. And two of hip-hop's biggest stars got millions of likes, despite not dropping albums (or even using words, in one case.)
Read on, to see some of We Are: The Guard's favorite Instagram posts from last week.
Florence (from Florence And The Machine) and Arcade Fire Jam Backstage
Celebrities can seem as remote and distant as the stars they're named after. It can be difficult to see them as real people. Seeing as how Humanity is so important for Pop Music to be ultimately relatable, this social isolation can take a toll, after a time. Like them or not, it's hard to argue that The Arcade Fire are one of the biggest indie bands in the universe. They've come a long way since The Suburbs first made them a household name. Their production has become increasingly glossy, in the interim. Likewise, Florence Welch, of Florence And The Machine's, artful indie pop is wrapped in an android Art Pop veneer, on record. It's easy to forget how Human, how relatable, both artists can be, which is how they got so famous in the first place. Watch this brief little jam from the Arcade Fire's instagram, of Arcade Fire jamming with Florence Welch, and be reminded of their raw talent and infectious enthusiasm!
Janelle Monae Gets Loose On Dallas K104
Mainstream hip-hop is a curious contradiction. To make it to the top of the charts, you've got to be slick - well-produced and fashionable, as well as creative. It's easy to lose sight of artist's earlier trajectory, coming up from the underground, where they've likely had to fight for their lives in rap battles, on street corners, battling the ennui of bored open-mic goers.
To truly be a great rapper, a wicked flow helps. It's not to say someone couldn't script all of their rhymes, but it's likely to be jilted, jerky, and come off as inauthentic.
It's yet another reminder why Janelle Monae is one of the greatest, and truly one to watch, as she's not only a fabulous pop star with dope videos and a keen fashion sense, but she's also a formidable freestyler, as she showed Dallas' K104 over a tasty, low-down dub reggae beat. This is the real sh*t, from Janelle Monae's mouth to our ears!
Even Yaeji's Tour Diary Is Creative And Stylish!
this week on tour a lil late on this my bad!! 1 - (4/11) DC, Flash w/ No Intimate, Twin Jude 2 - (4/12) Chicago, East Room w/ Ariel Zetina, CZBoogie 3 - (4/17) LA, Echoplex w/ Pax, Chris Hund, Ahwlee 4 - (4/18) Oakland, Starline Social Club w/ Russell E.L Butler, Jasmine Infiniti 5 - (4/19) SF, 1015 Folsom w/ Palace DJs, B-side Brujas *Coachella on 4/14, 4/21
On paper, NYC's Yaeji's lo-fi club/house/synthpop hybrid might not sound that remarkable. There's not exactly a shortage of women detachedly singing over beats and synths in 2018. It's the distinctive way Yaeji cobbles together her knackered house anthems that make her stand out without ever raising her voice. It's cozy, intimate, like she's letting you in on a secret, like you have the other end of a styrofoam cup party line and she's whispering secrets in Korean which you may or may not understand, but comprehend intuitively.
Yaeji takes a similar approach to her Instagram. She's been sharing updates from the road, on her wildly successful American tour to sold-out audiences across the country. She gives a shout-out to some of her tourmates in a multi-page post that looks straight out of 19784
We Salute Beychella!
Unsurprisingly, Beyonce at Coachella dominated the music news last week, like the Queen that she is. Unsurprisingly also, Beyonce's Instagram posts from Coachella also ruled the social networks, as can be seen from the over 5 million likes on her post, showing herself saluting with two other singers.
Beyonce isn't just Queen because she has a wicked hair game and insane upper register. She's Queen because not only was Bey the first woman of color to headline Coachella, but she took the opportunity to educate the World's Whitest Phenomena on African-American culture. Beyonce reference the powerful afrobeat of Fela Kuti, New Orleans, and the Civil Rights Movement, even if a lot of the audience didn't pick up on the references.
We Are: The Guard salute Beyonce, as an endless font of graciousness, inclusivity, style, talent, and fierce beats!
Nicki Minaj As Chun-Li
Much like Drake, Nicki Minaj also rules the charts, the music press, AND Instagram without putting out a proper album. In fact, it's been four years since we've seen a proper full-length from Ms. Minaj. In fact, "Barbie Tingz" and "Chun-Li" are the first offerings from Nicki so far this year. They've both shot to the top of the charts, being named the #1 most Added Song On Urban & Rhythmic Radio? (What is "rhythmic radio," anyway."
This got Nicki Minaj so psyched she posted an illustration of herself as Chun-Li from Street Fighter II. This post, as well as "Chun-li" and "Barbie Tingz", got us spinning like Chun-Li's cyclone kick. Harukan! Release a new album already!
Marian Hill At Coachella
Marian Hill are "the most Shazam'd band in America," according to Rolling Stone Magazine. People aren't going to have to look them up very much longer, after a stunning performance at Coachella last weekend.
The Philadelphia duo got over 6,000 likes on their celebratory post, which is small change for major players like Drake or Nicki Minaj, but amounts to much more than a hill of beans for an up-and-coming Indie band.
Their UNUSUAL tour continues, unabated, following Coachella. Catch 'em in a town near you and learn the names of your favorite songs, for real.
San Holo Pre-Games At Denny's
The life of a superstar DJ is thought to be a non-stop whirlwind of DJ sets, afterparties, various illicit substances, and jetsetting. Anyone who's helmed a pair of decks can tell you that's not the case. Preparing a DJ set to make a crowd of 10 takes total concentration and zen-like focus. Now amplify that by 10,000. What kind of preparation does a high-profile DJ set at Coachella require?
San Holo shows us exactly how much goes into a performance with his preparatory Coachella post. He shows himself getting zen on a rock wall outside of a Denny's with a laptop and pair of headphones. Welcome to the thrilling life of a beatmaster, y'all. Coffee, pie, and concentration.
Kendrick Lamar Wins A Pulitzer For Damn!
The 2018 #Pulitzer Prize in Music has been awarded to DAMN. by @kendricklamar, recording released on April 14, 2017, a virtuosic song collection unified by its vernacular authenticity and rhythmic dynamism that offers affecting vignettes capturing the complexity of modern African-American life. #music #album #albumcover #pulitzer #pulitzerprize
The Pulitzer Prize is the most esteemed recognition of cultural, artistic, or intellectual accomplishment that can be had, in the United States. Previous honorees have included Robert Frost to Steve Reich. Pulitzer Prizes are awarded for works thought to have significant cultural impact. The Pulitzer Prize For Music is generally reserved for modern classical composers like John Adams or jazz musicians who are still breathing, like Wynton Marsalis.
This makes Kendrick Lamar's Pulitzer Prize for Damn a three-way upset. It's always striking for an African-American man to win any kind of major intellectual award, let alone working in a vernacular musical form like hip-hop. It confirms that Kendrick Lamar has been giving voice to regular people of all walks of life but especially the African-American experience, and elevating it to the realm of spiritual jazz and high poetry.
It's a major breakthrough, a true crossover and triumph for hip-hop, coming from the streets and storming the Ivory Tower. Kendrick Lamar doesn't even seem to notice. The acknowledgement comes from the Pulitzer Prize committee, themselves. Kendrick Lamar just keeps posting classy kicks on his own feed, and STILL gets over a million likes. All we can say, at We Are: The Guard, is "daaammmnn!"
Allison Wonderland And Diplo Crowdsource A Band Name
People crowdsource all kind of stuff, these days, from raising funds for medical expenses to hot takes on presidential scandals or McDonald's special sauces via Twitter Polls. Even in this madness of crowds, it's a bold move to ask one's fans for band name recognitions, given how easy it is for trolls to disrupt a perfectly sane conversation.
This last week, singer Allison Wonderland and Diplo did just that, to announce a collaboration. "Wonder Dip" from @bbilliam and "Diplo's Wonderland" from @zsvengeance are some of our favorite, if somewhat obvious, choices.
That about does it for us for this week! Make sure to follow us @ @wearetheguard for even more indie music tips and feedback and tag us with recommendations for tips, news, and killer tunes. We are ALL the Guard!
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.