Record Store Tries Turning Bros onto Emo

by Kevin Sterne
A Chicago record store recently rolled out a new marketing campaign targeted at an underrepresented demographic—The bro and more specifically, the emotional bro. Or even more nuanced: bros who are emotional but don’t know it yet. This untapped closet-emo-bro market, particularly Chicago’s Wrigleyville area, is one swathe with potential. Bros have trust-fund money.

Iconic Bro phrases such as “Love you Bro,” “I feel you, bro” or even “bruh” are—at their core—emotionally-laden. Still, the best conduit to reach a bro (and a bro’s trust fund money) is through sports. Bands like Modern Baseball and American Football make obvious sense, but one employee told me she sold half a dozen Say Anything albums purely off the song “Baseball but Better” from 2002’s Menorah/Mejora. (I know what you’re thinking, and the answer is yes, they have already reached our Jewish fraternities).

Cleverly feeding bros their emo vegetables is nothing new. Queen was really the first to do it with “Bicycle Race” in 1978. Then there’s the cover art to Bleed America by Jimmy Eat World. Recently: Explosions in the Sky’s music on the hit show Friday Night Lights. And in Chicago specifically, “soft” music has been synonymous with sports i.e., the 2005 Chicago White Sox and fucking Journey.

Some bros have expressed interest in heavier “sports” music. Great, because POD’s Boom song is annoying. For those bros looking for something heavier, there’s “Football Season is Over” by Bring Me the Horizon and “Pulmonary Archery” by Alexisonfire. Want heavy without the screaming; A war anthem of sorts? How about Coheed and Cambria?

Longing to give your bro friend the musical equivalent of a butt-slap for a good play? Taking Back Sunday’s “There’s No ‘I’ In Team” and “Ghost Man on Third” will leave his cheeks raw. Other rousing, high-five, sports titular tracks include: “The Game Needed Me” and “We Are Not a Football Team” by Minus the Bear; “The Boy Who Blocked His Own Shot” by Brand New.

To be sure, upselling sports references to turn bros onto emo music is can only work until they actually listen to the music. Which is why there’s a strict no return policy. If things go well, this record store could be as big as Bar Chair Sports (or whatever that thing is called)—minus the misogyny and overt Confederate Flag color scheme. Admirable stuff.

There’s still one unanswered question: Do you even emo, bruh?

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twitter: @kevinsterne
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Ryan Adams’s Taylor Swift Cover Has Sent Me Down a Path of Spiritual Enlightenment

by Kevin Sterne


As much as I preach about mindfulness and finding your true self, would you believe that I wasn’t always the centered yogi I am today? There was a time when my practice was mostly down-dogs and happy baby pose with my cat. I couldn’t even do a 12-hour detox without wanting to cheat (#cheeseandcarbs4eva!) But now I can hold at least a 30-sec plank on my yoga mat—and you’ve obviously seen my Snap story meditation series, so you know I’m serious about my inner peace, and my chi tea latteJ (Butter and cheese-covered noodles are still a work in progress).

It took some time (and hard work!) to get #MindfulChic trending online and in my Chakras. So how did I do it? Taylor Swift, of course. Like most impactful changes in my life, Tay Swift has largely been the inspiration. Ignoring all my haters? I learned that from T in her song “Shake it Off.” Taking an impromptu trip to New York? You guessed it, “Welcome to New York.”

But finding my inner Buddha? T surprised me by channeling a different form: a man who looks like a shaggy dog (or kind of like Jack White). Hearing Ryan Adams’s “Blank Space” in my yoga app changed my life. It was like I was listening to Tay in a completely new way. Like T was speaking to me directly through Ryan Adams through my yoga app. The song was more chill than the original. It was acoustic!

In that moment on the mat, in my studio apartment, with my cat I realized my practice (and everything else in my life) needed to be all or nothing (so it’s gonna be forever or it’s gonna go down in flames). I devoted myself to brunch with friends at least twice a week (pics on Insta!). No more flaking! If not for brunch at Berry n Batter I would not have seen the super cute diffuser and essential oils in the shop next door. Yes, the same one I feature in my 5-minutes of mindfulness, which I live Tweet every day.

I got a blank space, baby. And I wrote “Inner Peace.”

It’s been a long journey, but I couldn’t have done it without my girl T. I know her music will always be with me, especially next week when I finally get the Henna infinity sign tattoo—because it’s gonna be forever.

To wrap up this post, here’s my flawless tip for achieving #MindfulChic in the upcoming week:

  • Detox, detox, detox. I can’t stress it enough. And speaking of stress, don’t. I get stressed just thinking about stress. And when this happens, I listen to Tay. And do a lotus.

Kevin’s zine LeFAWN is available at Shuga Records
Check out Kevin’s other work at
twitter: @kevinsterne
instagram: @lefawnzine