BEST CHILL SONGS - WEEK 47
Ah, Black Friday. From elbowing your way through the discount-hungry crowd for that final cheap television, to waiting in line for 10+ hours to purchase the damn thing, what's not to love about the most-anticipated shopping day of the year?! Jokes aside, if you're planning on braving the sales (or you're one of the poor souls working in retail #ThoughtsAndPrayers), well, you're probably going to need help with keeping your stress levels to a minimum this Black Friday. Before you hit up the mall for some serious bargain hunting, then, why not take 30 minutes or so out of your schedule to relax this morning with the latest edition of We Are: The Guard's Best Chill Songs, featuring RAC, King Princess, Beach House, and seven other favorites?!
ROLE MODEL – PLAY THE PART
The perfect man doesn't come around too often, but I might have just found one in the form of ROLE MODEL's Tucker Pillsbury. The 21-year-old has completely stolen my heart with his latest single “play the part,” which finds Tucker taking on the role of the ultimate Nice Guy™, although not in a creepy Ed Sheeran-type way, but in a genuine “You're in a toxic relationship and I want to help you”-type way.
FRAKKUR – SFTLB2
Sigur Rós frontman Jónsi reminds us that there's no end to his talents on the hypnotizing “SFTLB2.” The five-and-a-half-minute instrumental, which forms part of an upcoming collection of electronic recordings that were made by Jónsi between 2000 and 2004 under the Frakkur moniker, finds the Icelandic artist in full-on producer mode, with Jónsi getting in touch with his inner-Aphex Twin as he blends twinkling music box samples with propulsive programmed beats.
GENESIS OWUSU – WIT' DA TEAM
Australian-Ghanaian artist Genesis Owusu is bringing the funk on his sumptuous latest single. Produced by Callum Conner of Free Nationals – whose song “Beauty & Essex” I featured in last week's column – “Wit' Da Team” is a luxurious, opulent groove that, beneath the blankets of slap bass and guitar noodling, conceals an important message about cultural appropriation and, more specifically, “the exploitation of black culture along with the simultaneous neglect of black people.” Listen.
MAC AYRES – GET TO YOU AGAIN
This YouTube comment puts it better than I ever could: “I want to smoke your voice.” I mean it, I don't even smoke weed (to quote Empress Of), but Mac Ayres has precisely the kind of voice that I can imagine taking a hit off after a long, stressful day at work. Smooth, soulful, and entirely effortless, the 21-year-old has totally won me over with his latest single “Get to You Again,” an R&B ode to a distant lover that features on his recent debut album Something to Feel.
GORDI – CAN WE WORK IT OUT (RAC REMIX)
When it comes to remixing indie and dance, nobody does it better than RAC. The Portuguese producer is working his scintillant magic once again on this version of Gordi's “Can We Work It Out,” which hears André Allen Anjos extracting the original from the depths of autumn and placing it in a more summer context, with humid guitars and samples of rolling waves making for a perfect accompaniment to Gordi's vocal and songwriting skills.
BEN ZAIDI – CHERRYPICCING.
If you're like me and spend more time than you care to admit mindlessly scrolling through your Instagram feed, only to come away feeling worse than when you started (gotta love FOMO), then you're sure to relate to this latest single from Ben Zaidi. The Seattle poet takes a critical look at the fake lives that people curate for themselves online and the impact that this has on mental health on “Cherrypiccing.,” a pensive electronic missive that'll have you hitting “log out” across social media before its three minutes are even through.
KING PRINCESS – FEMME FATALE (RISE RECORDING) (THE VELVET UNDERGROUND & NICO COVER)
Everything that King Princess touches turns to gold, including this cover of The Velvet Underground's “Femme Fatale.” Don't get me wrong, the Nico-fronted original is a classic, but Mikaela Straus genuinely has me feeling like I'm floating on cloud nine with this hopelessly dreamy, longingly breathy reinvention, which was recorded by the queer artist for Spotify's RISE.
DARCI – WON'T
Darci remind us of the importance of living in the moment on their latest single. “Please leave us alone yeah/Won't/Won't pick up the phone yeah/She young and she grown yeah/Won't/Won't pick up the phone yeah,” sing the enigmatic electronic R&B duo and all-round vibe connoisseurs through a haze of vocoder on “Won't,” a mesmerizing ode to putting down our handheld devices that Darci tell Ones to Watch that they wrote one night in the studio when their phones were “blowing up, stressing us out, and distracting us.”
THE JAPANESE HOUSE – FOLLOW MY GIRL
Following on from the release of “Lilo,” her ode to her ex-girlfriend Marika Hackman, The Japanese House's Amber Bain has shared “Follow My Girl.” The second single to be unveiled from her forthcoming album Good at Falling was produced alongside BJ Burton and The 1975's George Daniel and hears Amber experimenting with beats and textures like never before, with the layers ultimately combining into an electro-organic pop groove that's as warm as the morning sun on an uncovered shoulder.
BEACH HOUSE – PAY NO MIND
Whenever I listen to Baltimore duo Beach House, it's like I'm no longer part of this earth, but floating somewhere among the stars with Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally. This feeling is turned up to 11 on 7 cut “Pay No Mind,” a dreamy shoegaze transmission that, on the same week that The Chainsmokers released a song named after Beach House (no, really), comes paired with a video comprising of tour footage that was shot by director Michael Hirsch between 2015 and 2018.
Follow We Are: The Guard's Best Chill Daily! on Spotify for more! Happy bargain hunting! 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.