BEST CHILL SONGS: THE 10 TRACKS YOU NEED THIS WEEK
Photo by Dimitra Tzanou
Summer is here, Beyoncé is back, and life is good. If you need help with "releasing ya anger, releasing ya mind, releasing ya job, releasing the time, releasing ya trade, releasing the stress, releasing the love, and forgetting the rest," however, then I'm pleased to tell you you're in the right place. Just pull on some headphones and check out this week's edition of We Are: The Guard's Best Chill Songs, featuring Σtella, MICHELLE, Honeywhip, and plenty of others!
ΣTELLA & REDINHO – NOMAD
Hailing from Athens, Greece, Sub Pop's Σtella pairs the traditional folk music of her upbringing with a retro pop sheen on her alluring sophomore album, Up and Away. Case in point: "Nomad." Produced alongside Redinho, "Nomad" is a smoky ode to commitment that aims straight for the hips. "If there was something I could do for you/I swear I would've, I would've," croons Σtella – her Sade-esque siren call at its most intoxicating. "Battle the monsters in your head/The nightmares of your childhood."
MICHELLE – SEA SHANTY
They recently announced a run of headline shows, The Lavender Tour, and today, New York City's MICHELLE is celebrating getting back out on the road with the brooding "SEA SHANTY." Featured on their recent EP, THE SIDE DISHES – a two-song collection that follows on from March's AFTER DINNER WE TALK DREAMS – "SEA SHANTY" is a crisp, soulful meditation that MICHELLE describes as "the calm before the storm – the moment before a journey, the moment after a sobering realization."
HONEYWHIP – IT'S ALL IN UR HEAD MAN
A couple of months on from teaming up with Katzù Oso on the sumptuous bit of bedroom-soul "Thinking Too Much," Los Angeles act Honeywhip is returning today with "It's All in Ur Head Man." According to Honeywhip, "It's All in Ur Head Man" is "about trying to rise above the anxiety, insufficiency, imposter syndrome, stress, etc." With Honeywhip's vocal harmonies defying the laws of gravity against a smooth backdrop of cosmic pop, "It's All in Ur Head Man" is a psychedelic affirmation of self-love.
COLDROSES – FADE AWAY
There isn't a whole lot I can tell you about coldroses, but it really doesn't matter. The Playroom Recordings signee is letting the music do all of the talking on the softly radiant "Fade Away." With synths sparkling like sunspots over an undulating ocean of guitars, "Fade Away" is sure to put you in the mood for a sunset drive along the coast. The gently dappling vocals only add to this appeal, even once the key change hits in the closing moments of the song. FFO: Real Estate, Beach Fossils.
BENJI LEWIS – DREAMER
While much of his brand new EP, Floating, finds him working through a breakup, Australia's Benji Lewis is still caught in a place of blissful denial on "Dreamer." Produced alongside Tom Eggert, "Dreamer" was written on a rainy afternoon in Montville, Queensland. "I began thinking about what it would be like to be in this moment with that person I was still very much into," adds Benji of the track – a love fantasy that hears his pillowy voice of gold coming swept up in a rapturous dose of soul.
MICHL – Y
Despite choosing to remain relatively anonymous across social media, Michl has been dominating the Spotify algorithm ever since he first arrived on the scene six years ago, with the Los Angeles artist continuing to immerse us in his alluring cinematic universe this Friday on "y." "Painfully honest song, wrote a few years ago. Glad to finally be able to share it," explains Michl in a characteristically brief note on Instagram. An ode to emotional battle, "y" makes for a crushing, compelling listen.
GRENTPEREZ – DON'T GROW UP TOO FAST
Back in January, grentperez made his debut on We Are: The Guard with the Latin-tinged summertime stroll "Absence of You." Now, the Australian act is back in our ears and our hearts with "Don't Grow Up Too Fast." "I wrote this song about two people slowly losing time for each other, whether it be your best friend, family member, or partner," says grentperez. A tribute to treasuring the precious moments, "Don't Grow Up Too Fast" is a tender, stunning acoustic lullaby that showcases his agile vibrato.
AYLEEN VALENTINE – HEAVEN
She recently dropped out of Boston's Berklee College of Music to pursue music full time, and today, Ayleen Valentine is proving she made the right move with the emotive "heaven." Featured on her recent EP, tonight i don't exist – a seven-song collection as mixed by Devon Corey and mastered by John Greenham – "heaven" is a minimal piano symphony that channels Radiohead circa A Moon Shaped Pool: "Is there a heaven/Some place we find peace/I hope that you're there saving my seat."
NAME CHANGE – MONSOON HEART
Just in time for the summer solstice, Los Angeles indie-pop upstart Name Change is getting us in the mood for the sparkling days ahead with his euphoric, optimistic latest single, "Monsoon Heart." Coming after "All I Need" – his recent collaboration with Chuck Sutton and Kaiya Crawford – "Monsoon Heart" is a glistening surf-pop bop that details the start of a relationship: "Still I find a little hope/And I know that you feel it too/We don't have a lot to lose/So walk through walls and let me through."
AGUAVA – IF I
Concluding this Friday with a humid house heater courtesy of Aguava's Allen Chen. Born in Shanghai, China, Aguava grew up surrounded by a mixture of traditional folk music and the works of Mozart, Chopin, and Beethoven, with Allen bringing together these various influences on the Majestic Casual-released "If I." With rattling beats and echoing vocal samples uniting in a kind of sultry symphonic unison of dance, "If I" is best listened to as the sun sets over the city. FFO: Four Tet, Bonobo.
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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.