Chillwave is a term coined by the great Carles of Hipster Runoff. If you’re not familiar with that individual, please visit his blog here (WARNING: this site should not be navigated from your workplace). I find his blog posts to be full of humor and insight you cannot get anywhere else. As defined on his site, “Chillwave” is a sub-genre of indie rock where synthesizers/electronic effects are used predominantly over guitars. There’s almost always mellow vocals and it usually features ambience. It has quickly become one of my favorite styles. It doesn’t take somebody with a degree in rocket appliances to figure out that this is great music to unwind to. My introduction to it was through a Clams Casino mix-tape track that featured Imogen Heap (I did a post on them awhile back that can be viewed here). It really takes you to another place, it does.
1. Washed Out-All I know
Washed Out has truly become the face of chillwave. I cannot think of a band that more epitomizes the genre than this project led by Ernest Greene. I first heard of them on Portlandia as their track “Feel it All Around” is played during the title credits. “All i Know” is a newer track off their latest album Paracosm. It features a long, flowing intro that assures you will be listening to something pleasant. After that, Greene’s vocals kick in and the ride begins. Green’s vocals are good at times, and definitely sub-par for others (I think the vocals are the weak point of “Feel it All Around”), but they are stellar during this track. It is my estimation that you will further look into this group after enjoying this moderately-paced, quaint gem of a song.
2. I Break Horses-Denial
In case you have fallen out of the loop on the Swedish indie scene, I’m happy to introduce you to I Break Horses, a wondrous electro group that has produced a variety of tunes I’ve come to like in the recent weeks. They are composed of Maria Linden and Fredrik Balck. These two know how to incorporate electric themes and influences about as well as any more well-known electronic artists such as Daft Punk or Chemical Brothers. What I like about this music is the lack of uptempo beats that techno music features. This isn’t music you can dance to but I think that was far from the intention when it was written. There are plenty of catchy effects both instrumentally and vocally (@ 1:58). I’m going to shut-up now so you can get to listening to this remarkable track. Be sure to check out their work if you liked this one, you can play it right off their website of which the link is provided above.
3. Neon Indian-Sleep Paralysist (Com Truise “Eyelid” Remix)
This last song is a Com Truise remake of a popular Neon Indian track called “Sleep Paralysist”. While I think the original is a good song itself, this remix is an improved effort. The haunting intro is the highlight of the song for me. The bass-sounding synths are also heavily available throughout the song. The chorus is underwhelming and the vocals are just a notch above serviceable. Nevertheless, I generally like Alan Palomo’s vocals, they complement this type of music very well. This is the darker side of chillwave and has a little bit more going on than most tracks of this genre but this does not equate to a less enjoyable listening experience whatsoever.