Music and fashion have always been close counterparts, filled with quick-change divas like Cher and Lady GaGa, and radical lookers spanning from Bowie to M.I.A. Now, slowly, the showmanship in the rock scene is turning back from the effects to the performer, and the whole scene is changing to fit this radical new attention.
No longer synonymous with spandex and never-ending power chord licks (a mixed blessing at best, if you ask me) rock has become a subjective term, more used to describe the persona behind the music. Songs have been broken down into countless categories and subgenres, but the attitude remains constant across all boundaries and borders.
It is now, as it always has been, about making your own way on your own terms, from the music to the look. On that note, there are a few under-the-radar groups who should definitely get some credit for their progressive sound and style:
First, there is Maystar. Comprised of sound maverick Abe Deleon and front woman May Jacob, this duet is a far departure from the brazen guitar riffs of days past. The icy and sometimes haunting melodies grasp more at a raw heart than rock soul. It is, at best, a unique sound that captivates and resonates to the core. More than a musician, May also designs her unique stage fashions (along with modeling, promoting, and a slew of other activities). She creates her own, characteristic look to accompany her distinctive sound, and the result is nothing if not unique.
Next there’s the dirty synth-rock sounds of Dolls House. A London quartet comprised entirely of raw attitude and unrefined energy, Dolls House uses their quick licks and driving rhythms to crash against pop orthodoxy. What’s more, they do it with style. Front woman Camilla Romestrand bleeds panache with her eclectic garb and sonic stare, while the ensemble follows suit in vibrant hues, dark eyeliner and eccentric garnishes. This is a band that’s not afraid of color, cosmetic, or accessory; and certainly not afraid of noise.
Finally, there’s Ferras. Probably the most prolific name in this post, the LA based singer-songwriter is known for both his melancholy melodies and simple, suave style. After the release of his debut album, Aliens and Rainbows, this songsmith went from unknown to unstoppable, bringing with him his faded jeans, dress shirts, and blazers. His presentation is flawless, both in album and on stage. For Ferras, a degree of sophistication is necessary in everything he does, and he stands out as a man willing to express it.
So maybe rock is no longer synonymous with roll. Maybe the sound and the life have become two different things. Indie, pop, hip-hop (whatever!) can all embody that unique my way in my time attitude that was once exclusive to the most hardened bands and beats. Certainly these artists have their own sound, and a style to accompany them, but they’re not the only ones. Music is always evolving, and with it goes rock.
Got any favorites? I would love to hear them! Leave their names and let me know.