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The best kept secret in music


"Best Dressed And Expressionless"

Rarely can a band combine guitars, bass, drums, piano, trumpet, trombone, vibes, xylophone, and strings to create an indie rock record that doesn’t sound disjointed or at the very least overambitious. Southerly, however, have accomplished this somwhat impressively. The band’s first full-length is anything but disjointed. Best Dressed and Expressionless works as a cohesive whole allowing Southerly’s songs to envelop the listener for the duration of the album, primarily through the use of a recurring melody labeled “Accidental,” which opens the album and seamlessly reappears between every two songs from there on out. Such grandiose instrumentation coupled with subdued dynamics and introspective lyrics place the band somewhere in that class of interesting and thought provoking indie outfits such as Ida side project, Nanang Tatang, to whom Southerly bear a slight musical resemblance. The concept is an interesting one, and overall, it’s well executed. However, something suggests that Best Dressed and Expressionless is probably not the band’s breakout album. Instead, consider it a step in the right direction. Like The Shins Oh, Inverted World, the album promises good things to come but doesn’t quite deliver on them. In short, Southerly’s best songs are yet to be written, but Best Dressed is worth the listen while you’re waiting.
- Red Is All The Rage

"Best Dressed And Expressionless - Pick of the Week!"

I have to admit, I was intimidated by the task of reviewing this album. Southerly is unlike anything I've ever heard before, without being so experimental that it's unlistenable. The songs are breathtaking and carefully sculpted--hard to believe they're the work of someone so young. Krist, the mastermind behind Southerly, started this project in his basement in 2001 after being in a handful of bands and running an independent record label. His bio says, "It is music to be enjoyed at home with headphones on by candle light, but with company near by." And that's exactly what it is.

Rating: BUY!

"Best Dressed And Expressionless"

People deal with pain and loss in different ways. Madison’s Krist Krueger (Dharmakaya, Attacca), deals with the losses in his life through the vehicle of his solo project, Southerly, whose folksy and conceptual debut album Best Dressed and Expressionless serves as an artistic tribute to Krueger’s four friends and relatives whose lives and deaths serve as the inspiration for the album’s content.

The album is composed of eight main tracks separated into four pairs by the 1:25 minute tracks “Accidental I” through “Accidental IV.” The four “Accidental” songs themselves, while short, are beautifully composed and help tie the album together both conceptually and musically. Krueger sings in arching harmonies as the delicate plucking of his guitar strings echoes throughout the sonic space, creating a sad yet charming ambiance. “Rise” serves as the first main track on the album (following “Accidental I”) and lilts along mischievously before exploding into a rousing chorale of “Rise!” “Naomi Ruth” is also lushly composed, and features many stirring poetic descriptions of the titular woman. “Purple candles of royal tea/ Stepping closer to the embodiment of memory/ I know that Tuesday changed everything/ No other day will be the same,” Krueger sings in a nasal voice over lulling choir parts. “Ceremony” joyously lopes along with boisterous trumpets in sections (somewhat reminiscent of a Badly Drawn Boy arrangement), while closing track, “Goodbye,” builds into the stirring and inevitable realization that “Everything will change/ Everything must change/ Everything has changed,” before reaching the album’s emotional and musical climax with a brilliantly cacophonous chorus of, “Goodbye to you all.”

Best Dressed and Expressionless is a promising accomplishment both musically and conceptually, especially considering that it is the work of one man. Still, the album is only listenable on certain occasions due to its inherently heavy subject matter and the repetitiveness of its instrumentation. The production on the album also seems to obscure the vocals a bit more than is tolerable from time to time. If I were to score it, I would give Best Dressed and Expressionless a 7,600.
- Emmie Magazine

"Best Dressed And Expressionless - Pick of the Week!"

BDAE also made PICK OF THE WEEK on DOA!!!

There are very few albums in recent memory that have stopped me dead in my tracks. This is one of them. The first time I listened to the full-length follow up to the Expressionless EP, I was dumbfounded.

A concept album concerning the deaths of four close friends and family members of Krist Krueger, the man behind Southerly and Dharmakaya Music, Best Dressed and Expressionless manages to pinpoint the emotions that are involved in trying to come to terms with the loss of loved ones. With strings, piano, and guitar, the album is bursting with creatively.

Not every song is mournful, but some of the gut-wrenching ones are those that deal with violent or self-inflicicted ends. "Melissa" is by far the most moving example of this: "Picking up the pieces of your life / like the shards of glass you fashioned as a knife / as crimson's turning pink in this warm bath/pleading for forgiveness for this act." The ability to process the death of someone close with such an eye for detail, imaginary or otherwise, and to take on the voice of someone who chooses to go is among the gifts Krueger has parlayed into one the most intelligently crafted songs I've ever heard. The chorus alone is enough to cement this sentiment: "You did it to yourself / you and no one else."

Delivered via somewhat unconventional song structures (a la Expressionless) and unbelievably beautiful arrangements, every song is breathtaking. The resulting album is an impressive collection of poignant and moving stories, and one that suprises as much as it touches.

Note to incredulous readers: Seriously, Best Dressed and Expressionless moved me to tears.
- Delusions of Adequacy


Monday Morning Mourning, 2001
Expressionless, 2003
Best Dressed and Expressionless, 2004


Feeling a bit camera shy


Southerly is the solo project of Madison, WI native Krist Krueger. It began in April of 2001 with the release of an EP titled Monday Morning Mourning on Krueger’s own independent record label Dharmakayamusic. Shortly after the release of the EP Krueger took a hiatus from the project to focus on his label and booking/promotions company.

Then in July of 2003 Krueger revived Southerly and released a six song EP titled Expressionless and began touring full time throughout the US and Canada.

In January of 2004 Southerly signed a deal with Dead Letter Records (St Paul, MN) for the re-release of the Expressionless EP and the debut full-length album Best Dressed And Expressionless. BDAE was released on July 13th 2004 which marks the one year anniversary of the projects reinstatement.

BDAE is a concept album about death and coping. It is dedicated to three close friends and Krueger’s Grandmother who all passed away in 2003. The record takes you through memories, character descriptions and the process of coping and finding resolve.

The album was recorded in Portland, OR over a hasty three week period between tours in April and May of 2004 at Haywire Studios. BDAE was engineered by Robert Bartleson (Wilco, Desert City Soundtrack) and produced by Bartleson and Krueger.

Krueger has been touring full-time since August of 2003 and has no plans of stopping through 2005.