“It All Feels Right” by Washed Out
There is a wistful, folkish, almost otherworldly sound to the songs of Georgia (USA) native Ernest Greene who records under the rather world-weary-sounding moniker Washed Out.
Rather aptly named “chill wave”, his music is a languorous excursion into lazy summer afternoons, chilling by the pool and switching off from the past pace of modern life, its rich melodies the perfect backdrop to life in the slow lane.
What makes it so compelling is Greene’s unique voice which wraps itself slowly and carefully around his thoughtful lyrics, delivering with chilled, careful deliberation, pushing you ever so gently, and yet firmly, along in his musical wake.
“It All Feels Right” is a warm, sunny feel good delight, utilising some of the 50 instruments that Greene’s label Sub Pop says he used in the production of his gloriously lo fi songs.
If ever there was a soundtrack to dropping out of the rat race, and simply soaking up the goodness of simply living life without agenda or coercion, it’s the beautiful, uplifting and thoughtful music of Washed Out, a reminder that simply soaking up the flow around us is a fine way to spend any amount of time.
“The Bride” by Bat For Lashes and TOY
The amazingly talented Natasha Khan aka Bat For Lashes, who has raised exquisitely sung, melodically-drenched ethereal quirky pop to a high art form has teamed up with up-and-coming British electronic outfit TOY for this cover of “Aroos Khanom”, a track by Iranian Amir Rassaei, a song full of wailing and gnashing of teeth and heart rending lines like “Hey, children, don’t throw stones through this broken heart!”
But lest you think it’s all crushing, depressing sadness, which true lyrically it is, be advised it is also transcendentally beautiful, with TOY’s remarkable piano and guitar work elevating it far above the dirge-like music the lyrics might suggest it should have.
Rather it’s a cathartic tale of love lost set to a psychedelic musical backdrop which pays homage to its Iranian roots while creating something fresh and new that you can help but wallow in, in the best possible way.
You can listen to the tune here.
“Memorium” by Midnight Juggernauts
I can still remember standing with my friend Jason in what was a massive HMV store in the centre of Sydney city in 2007 and hearing Dystopia, the first album from Midnight Juggernauts, who hail from Melbourne, Australia, and falling headlong, hopelessly in love with their gloriously epic, larger-than-life universe-spanning psychedelic dance-driven electropop sound.
While the love affair dimmed a little with The Crystal Axis in 2010 which was great but not as brilliantly engaging as its predecessor, it has come bursting back to full, passionate life with their new album Uncanny Valley and the lead single “Memorium”.
As unmissably epic as anything on Dystopia, and yet refreshingly its own 2013 beast, “Memorium” is as majestic as they come, lifting you up and out of your usual surrounds to somewhere otherworldly and enervatingly alive, an anthemic tune loaded with a heady mix of brooding vocals and melody-soaked synth beats.
It is everything I ever loved, and continue to love, about the band who have proved once again that their ability to craft utterly unique, soul-stirring music is alive and well, and coming to a giant stadium near you sometime soon if there is any justice in the world.
“Waste of Time” by MØ
Dane Karen Marie Ørsted is one gutsy artist.
With inevitable but wholly deserved comparisons to Grimes and Purity Ring, Mø, recognised as one of radio station DR P3’s P3s Uundgåelige (P3 Unavoidable) this year, isn’t afraid to push the boundaries both lyrically, musically and visually.
In “Waste of Time”, this talented artist boldly, and without apology, tackles an unfaithful boyfriend who has “broken his vows” without flinching demanding to know “where is the love we had? Huh?”
Musically, it is a rich mix of R & B influences, slick guitar work, and the staccato beat of finger-snapping which coat this tale of fractured love with a deliciously melodic sheen that doesn’t detract for one second from the scornful interrogative nature of the lyrics.
It is that perfect mix of light and dark, warm and desperately cold, and well worth every last speck of time you want to devote to it.
“Gun” by CHVRCHES
Someone took the “U”!
No, they didn’t, silly! It is in fact a stylised way of writing the name of CHVRCHES (the “V” was substituted for the “U” to make Googling a whole lot less frustrating), an amazingly talented Scottish electro pop outfit consisting of Lauren Mayberry (lead vocals, additional synthesizers), Iain Cook (synthesizers, guitar, vocals), and Martin Doherty (synthesizers, vocals).
Since forming in 2011, they have attracted a lot of attention with their shimmering synth-driven pop with second single being described by the BBC as possessing a sound that “positioned [the band] somewhere between Robyn and The Knife”. (source: wikipedia)
That’s great company to keep, and their latest song “Gun” will likely keep them there for some time to come.
It’s bright, energetic with pitchfork.com noting that it “follows in the tradition of “The Mother We Share” and “Recover” while also cranking the tempo and sociopathic, bitter notes embedded in Lauren Mayberry’s high-fructose melodies”.
It’s that rare kind of song that manages to skilfully marry a accessibly skip-through-the-fields upbeat sound with dark vengeful lyrics, and it presages what I think is going to be a long career for these talented Glaswegians.