What I’m Listening To…

1. I Break Horses-This Swedish duo is becoming one of my favorite groups very quickly. They are able to produce some of the best beats and rhythms I’ve ever heard. They’re truly a unique group and the following song shows exactly why. It’s called “Faith” and carries a positive message while still containing some chilling lyrics. My favorite of those lyrics “Faith, the only thing you cling on to”. While the lyrics are good, the instrumentals combined with the vocals are nothing short of mesmerizing. It features a layered,  pulsating beat at the beginning and continues throughout. The keyboard playing and synths provide for an exceptional listening experience. THEN you throw in Maria Lindén’s vocals and you have something beyond description, at least by me anyway. This group is going to be big…

2. Death Grips-Whatever I want (Fuck who’s watching)

I haven’t listened to the entire album yet, but their latest release, Government Plates, has received a lot of buzz for the enigmatic group Death Grips. You can listen to it in its entirety here. This track grabbed my attention the most. While many other tracks on this album appear to be all over the place, this one seems to do that while maintaining some semblance of structure. MC Ride’s vicious vocals are the typical in-your-face variety that he’s known for but the rest of the song is quite inviting.  The highlight of this song is the dramatic transition from poppy rap song to a chill, trance-like excursion that hits at 1:25. It goes back and forth two times and it makes for a worthwhile listening experience. Check it out for yourself

3. Jagwar Ma-Come and Save Me

This is a fun and exciting new group. They are another group in the class of bands that are able to have a vintage indie sound while using technology to their advantage by mixing in some electronic effects. This song is one of their more old school offerings with the way the delivery of vocals enter to a 60’s band drum beat. The backing vocals are also a strength of this track, I feel. The “Ah’s” during the verses are harmonic and pulled off well. The female who chimes in during the chorus complements that line perfectly. All of their work on their  latest album, Howlin, is worth giving a listen. But for now, feel free to get lost in the delightfully campy dreamscape that “Come and Save Me” creates.

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What I’m listening to: Chillwave out, bro

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.

I was totally into this chillwave music but it was so deep I ended up in this ocean and then I was just like...Woah

I was totally into this chillwave music but it was so deep, I ended up in this ocean and then I was just like…woah

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.