BEST CHILL MUSIC - WEEK 48
Now that Thanksgiving is over, we can all relax and enjoy what's left of the holiday season, right? Right? WRONG. Unless you live under a rock with a poor Wi-Fi connection, then you'll be well aware that today is BLACK FRIDAY, aka the most stressful shopping event of the year. As for me, I've opted out of fist-fighting my way through the local mall for a half-price television set to instead chill at home with some good tunes and a serving of cold Tofurky. And since you're reading this, I'm going to assume that you're a sane, sensible human who's chosen to do the same. On that note, grab another plate of leftovers, as it's time for this week's dose of We Are: The Guard's Best Chill Music, featuring The Japanese House, PARTYNEXTDOOR, Gracie Abrams, Burial, SOAK, and more.
THE JAPANESE HOUSE – CHEWING COTTON WOOL
The Japanese House just keeps on getting better and better. Following on from the release of the brilliant Good at Falling earlier this year, the Dirty Hit signee is back today with “Chewing Cotton Wall” – a devastatingly raw, pensive ballad about Amber Bain's inability to escape the memory of an ex-lover, even in life's most banal, everyday details.
PARTYNEXTDOOR (FEAT. DRAKE) – LOYAL
It's been a hot minute since we last heard from PARTYNEXTDOOR, but the OVO Sound signee returns today with “Loyal.” A collaboration with label boss Drake, it's a hazy dancehall dreamscape that resembles the audio equivalent of a balmy summer night, with PARTY delivering his signature dose of melancholy vibes over the hip-shaking trap beats.
GRACIE ABRAMS – STAY
Gracie Abrams gears up for what's undoubtedly going to be an incredibly successful 2020 with the release of “Stay.” It's a heart-wrenchingly beautiful ballad that positions the 20-year-old wunderkind's vocal and storytelling chops front and center, with a spartan electric guitar backing Gracie as she tenderly begs an ex-lover to spend one final night with her.
ESSENGER – AFTER DARK
Essenger is taking us on a late-night drive through the city lights on his atmospheric latest single “After Dark.” It's a nocturnal transmission that sounds as if it's bubbling up from the synthwave underground, with Gesaffelstein-style sub-bass lurching and lurking beneath Essenger as he delivers arguably the most commanding vocal performance of his career.
FATHER – ICEMAN
Just in time for winter, Awful Records head honcho Father has shared “ICEMAN.” With chimes drip, drip, dripping like perfectly formed icicles behind the Atlanta rapper's low-key albeit effortless flow, “ICEMAN” is a glistening lullaby of a listen that hears Father declaring in the second verse: “Look at them birds, they shiverin'/Ice-cold, Draco like a Slytherin.”
BURIAL – OLD TAPE
Coinciding with the release of HyperSwim, a joint venture between Hyperdub and Adult Swim, Burial returns today with “Old Tape.” It's a crackly, static-caked opus that hears William Emmanuel Bevan putting an intensely ambient, explorative spin on Italo-disco, resulting in an eight-minute meditative masterpiece that you'll want to get eternally lost in.
PLUKO, MANILA KILLA & ILO ILO – ON THE WAY
pluko, Manila Killa, and ilo ilo? It doesn't get much better than this, let me tell you. Having met on tour this spring, the three producers unite to close the year in truly ecstatic style with “on the way” – a song that dexterously fuses each artist's style to create a glitchy, rapturous banger that genuinely left me feeling like I was floating through the firmament.
BENJI LEWIS – NEW DAY
The nights are starting to draw in around us, but Melbourne native Benji Lewis is here to inject a much-needed dose of Vitamin D into our lives with “New Day.” The follow-up to “Hold On” is a sanguine slice of Australian sunshine about seeing every day as a fresh start, with Benji bringing a playful sense of youthful freedom to the bouncy synth-pop bop.
BENNY MAYNE – FAKE IT
Tissues at the ready, as benny mayne is aiming straight for the feels with his brand new single “fake it.” Listen as the Toronto singer-songwriter pleads to a former lover to pretend that they still have feelings for him on the cut – a dark, smoky, echoing piece of R&B that hears benny making full use of his stunning falsetto vocal in the soul-crushing chorus.
SOAK – BLOODBUZZ OHIO (THE NATIONAL COVER)
It's not even been eight months since she released Grim Town, but SOAK is already back today with a devastating cover of The National's “Bloodbuzz Ohio.” Listen as the Derry artist transforms the song from a propulsive indie-rock swirl to a softly strummed crusher, with SOAK's Northern Irish lilt imbuing the cut with a whole new meaning and emotionality.
Until next time, follow We Are: The Guard's Weekly Chart on Spotify for more good tunes! x
Jess Grant is a frustrated writer hailing from London, England. When she isn't tasked with disentangling her thoughts from her brain and putting them on paper, Jess can generally be found listening to The Beatles, or cooking vegetarian food.