TOP CHILL MUSIC - WEEK 11
What with Storm Stella, aka Snowmageddon, aka Snowpocalypse, bringing the Northeast to a halt this week, perhaps I got ahead of myself when I said that spring was in bloom. Winter may be far from done with us yet, but fear not as We Are: The Guard is here to rescue you with a warm, fuzzy blanket in the form of the latest dose of Top Chill Songs. Simply hunker down with a pair of headphones and some snacks and, in the words of Shaun of the Dead, wait for all of this to blow over with the following tracks from Vancouver Sleep Clinic, SYML, TREGS, Keaton Henson, XYLØ and more.
VANCOUVER SLEEP CLINIC – UNWORTHY
Vancouver Sleep Clinic creates the kind of music that resonates deep within the soul. The Brisbane native's latest single hears him put a more hard-hitting electronic spin on his ethereal folk sound. Over propulsive percussion and soaring string arrangements, Tim Bettinson's breathtaking falsetto vocals will make you feel all of the feels on “Unworthy” – undoubtedly Vancouver Sleep Clinic's most heart-stopping production yet.
SYML – WHERE'S MY LOVE (ACOUSTIC)
Gulp! If you thought that the original was stunning, then wait until you hear this. It's as if Brian Fennell, aka SYML, is plucking at my very own heartstrings with his tender acoustic version of “Where's My Love.” A majestic bird that gradually spreads it wings and takes flight into the vast sky, it's one of those rare type of songs that can reduce you to tears if only out of appreciation for its sheer beauty.
TREGS – BREATHE
Stop what you're doing for the next three-and-a-half minutes and enjoy some freshly served beats courtesy of TREGS. The Wollongong producer delivers some positively groovy yet blissful vibes on his latest single “Breathe.” Listen as TREGS combines lush synths and funky basslines on the instrumental – an invigorating electronic tableau that's sure to appeal to fans of Kaytranada and Pomo.
UNIVZ – THE END OF ETERNITY
Ukrainian singer-songwriter and producer Univz takes us to truly otherworldly heights on her latest single “The End of Eternity.” Inspired by the works of science fiction author Isaac Asimov, it's an ethereal future bass composition that rides high on a mixture of dazzling synths and Diana Reb's almost childlike falsetto vocals, resulting in what Univz so perfectly describes as an “apocalyptic lullaby.”
KEATON HENSON – THE PUGILIST
You can keep your Father John Mistys. For me, the singer-songwriter of our generation is without a doubt Keaton Henson. The London folk troubadour touches a nerve like no other with his tortured, poetic lyricism and sweepingly evocative soundscapes. About artist insecurity and the need to be loved and validated by your audience, his latest offering “The Pugilist” is a cathartic, gut-wrenching and emotionally charged four minutes that – alongside the rest of his album Kindly Now – is certain to stand the test of time.
XYLØ – I STILL WAIT FOR YOU
Oh, they're just infallible, aren't they?! The music blogosphere's favorite brother-sister electronic pop duo Paige and Chase Duddy, aka XYLØ, return to make us melt all over again with their brooding latest offering “I Still Wait for You.” “Lately I can't sleep/I flip the pillow/Tossing and turning/Checking my cell phone,” aches Paige during the moody ode to unrequited love in the digital age, which opens with a sultry spread of pianos and finger snaps before giving way to a truly euphoric drop in the chorus.
DEM YUUT – DAWN/SEA
Minneapolis band DEM YUUT introduce us to their beat-driven breed of modern pop and bedroom R&B on the smooth first single to be unveiled from their forthcoming debut album Liberator. Complex percussion and warm synths brood beneath frontman Danny O'Brien's intimate vocal melodies on the idiosyncratic “Dawn/Sea,” which Danny explains is “a song about the curiosities of affection. Physical, emotional, but mostly physical.”
MARY LATTIMORE – WAWA BY THE OCEAN
10 minutes of utterly gorgeous, indescribably serene and positively dreamy harp playing to start the day, anyone?
THE PREFIX – MMMURDER
The Prefix attempt to numb the pain of a breakup on their debut single “Mmmurder.” Listen as the Perth trio plunge deeper into a dreamlike state with every passing second on the future soul composition, which finds frontman Aaron Malone comparing the loss of identity that accompanies the end of a relationship to that of homicide: “It's kind of of like murder/This feeling that you felt for so long.”
HELH – ANOTHER DELILAH
Concluding with a truly hypnotic piece from HELH, the Gothenburg artist who follows up “Body” with “Another Delilah.” Showcasing her melancholy-laced vocal melodies against a palette of sparse beats and bright steelpans, HELH tells Radar that “Another Delilah” is inspired by unrequited love: “How is it possible that feelings are not an exact reflection of reality? How can the creation of a whole world be based on nothing? And why can't they break you in a more obvious way, instead of leaving you with this strange vacuum?”
Until next week, stay chill (unless you're in the Northeast, in which case, stay warm. Stay VERY warm!). x
About Jess Grant
When Jess Grant isn't writing on music, she can be found playing it – on her guitar, on her ukulele, and on her recently acquired mandolin. Playing it hideously, she ought to add. Jess also studies. She studies the English language, to be precise. Jess is currently on her way to a degree in the subject, and enjoys starting and never finishing novels, screenplays, and poetry in her spare time. She also likes dogs. Lots of dogs.