Taylor’s Favorite Musicians (Who Just Happen to Be More Famous for Acting)
From indie to indie rock!
by Taylor Malone
I have a type.
When it comes to movies, my type is a warm, cohesive aesthetic and a killer soundtrack.
When it comes to men, it’s those who look like they could play Ringo Starr in a biopic.
And when it comes to celebrity crushes? Well… it’s those who also make music.
Come along as I explore some of my favorite musicians, who just so happen to be more famous for acting.
Djo: Joe Keery
You know him, you love him. But did you know that he’s an incredibly talented musician, songwriter, and singer?
I was first introduced to Djo when a TikTok creator I follow made a video with one of his songs (I’d heard it before and really enjoyed it, but never looked into the artist) and called out that the artist was actually Joe Keery of Stranger Things fame. I flew to Spotify to devour his entire discography.
Often with Spotify, an artist’s best songs are, in fact, the most popular. While I’d love to get on here and tell you to dive deeper than his top five, I’d be steering you in a dishonest direction. Djo is an artist that I play on a daily basis now, but it’s his top songs that I find myself re-visiting the most frequently.
Djo has a really interesting sound. It’s indie, it’s a little synth, it’s a little soft rock. All genres and attributes I like in music, so I was all in from the first listen. Similar artists include Mac DeMarco, Peach Pit, and TV Girl.
The four songs I’d like to recommend are so good that I literally transcend when I hear them. I play them each 5+ times during my 90-minute commute to work. Those are:
Chateau (Feel Alright)
End of Beginning
To be completely honest, I could have done this article with exclusively Stranger Things cast members. Finn Wolfhard and Maya Hawke both create their own music, and Sadie Sink and Gaten Matarazzo both have backgrounds in musical theatre (we just saw Gaten in Parade at New York City Center!) That said… none of them do it for me like Djo.
I can’t recommend Joe Keery’s music enough, and I find myself regularly choosing it over everything else right now. I think he could even end up being my top artist of the year!
Coconut Records: Jason Schwartzman
If your parents were anything like mine and allowed you to spend every waking moment on the black hole that is Tumblr from roughly 2009 to 2012, then you have heard of Coconut Records. And if you’re thinking to yourself, “I was on Tumblr then and I haven’t heard them,” then I implore you to listen to the song “West Coast” (see above) and get back to me.
Told you so.
I have been a big fan of Coconut Records ever since, throwing a couple of songs here and there on my playlists. Never once did I know whose music I was listening to.
Over the past two years, I have developed a questionably large crush on Jason Schwartzman. Remember when I said my type in men is those who vaguely look like Ringo Starr? Well, I was being hyper-literal because 1) it’s the truth and 2) he literally played Ringo in Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story.
I knew that he had a musical background with Phantom Planet, but it wasn’t until I saw an interview with him where he did a deep dive into his love for music and mentioned Coconut Records. I. Was. Floored.
Since then, I have obsessively listened to it. Similar to Djo, it’s very indie, but unlike Djo, stays very grounded and earthy. I would consider it in the Twee category of music, which is on-brand because he dated the queen of Twee, Zooey Deschanel. Similar artists include Voxtrot, Peter Bjorn and John, and Fruit Bats.
Once again, a lot of his top songs are my personal favorite with Best Coast being an easy number-one pick. Maybe it’s the nostalgia, or maybe it’s because that song kicks ass. If you want to discover the wonder that is Coconut Records, I recommend:
It’s Not You It’s Me
Coconut Records is the perfect music to just throw on and vibe to. It puts you in a good mood, and might just even take you back to your adolescence a little bit.
She & Him: Zooey Deschanel
I couldn’t possibly write this article without giving a shoutout to She & Him, who I’ve been listening to for about as long as I can remember.
Zooey Deschanel is and has always been one of my biggest crushes. I would die for this woman. While I may have stumbled upon Coconut Records, I went out of my way to devour everything she had ever worked on and found this quickly. I love them so much that I bought their record in a vinyl store when I was a kid… and I didn’t have a record player.
If you don’t already know, She & Him is indie, warm, vintage coffee-shop core, leaning very heavily into the Twee of it all. They do a mix of original songs and covers, with their most popular songs actually being from their various Christmas albums. Similar artists include the bird and the bee, Feist, Regina Spektor, Bright Eyes, and Belle and Sebastian (all of my favorite artists!)
My favorites are:
Why Do You Let Me Stay Here? (Which has the BEST music video EVER! Watch it above!)
You Really Got a Hold on Me
In The Sun
CAUTION: Listeners may experience the desire to wear red lipstick, cut their own bangs, and exclusively wear clothing with Peter Pan collars.
If there’s one thing about me it’s that I adore Michael Cera. His boyish charm gives me butterflies. I will support everything he does.
He makes some pretty fun music beyond his involvement with the masterpiece that is the Juno soundtrack, of which his originals are similar.
He primarily makes diddies and instrumental songs, but they’re all beautiful and calming. I know Wes Anderson loves to use Mark Mothersbaugh music in his movies, but I’m dying for a Michael Cera x Wes Anderson crossover. Please, universe!
Similar artists include (unsurprising to anyone who listens to the Juno soundtrack), Kimya Dawson and The Moldy Peaches, with a sprinkle of Simon and Garfunkel.
My favorite song by him is actually a cover of “Clay Pigeons” by Blaze Foley, but other favorites include:
Anyone Else but You (obviously)
Love an actor? They may just make awesome music that you should totally support!
Is there anyone I missed? Musicians who act rather than the other way around? I’d love to hear your own suggestions!
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