TOP CHILL MUSIC - WEEK 21
Hello, everyone, and welcome to the latest edition of We Are: The Guard's Top Chill Music. If the gray skies that are currently blanketing much of Los Angeles have resulted in you having to cancel your plans this Memorial Day, don't worry as the team and I are here to keep you company with all of the chillest vibes to arrive on the blogosphere over the last seven days. Just pull on your headphones, as it's time to ease into the rainy long weekend with the following selection of chill songs from Lana Del Rey, Emmit Fenn, Cuco, Raveena, Röyksopp, and plenty of other artists.
LANA DEL REY – DOIN' TIME (SUBLIME COVER)
While we wait on Lana Del Rey to release Norman Fucking Rockwell, the Hollywood sadcore artist returns this month with a cover of “Doin' Time” by ska band Sublime. Okay, so it's a combination that doesn't read right on paper, but trust me when I say that this cover actually makes perfect sense, with Lana's dappling melancholy lending itself with ease to this sun-kissed ode to California summers.
EMMIT FENN – HIGHER
Every once in a while, a song comes along that seems to tap into the primitive part of the brain that's capable of inducing a trancelike state. Case in point: “Higher” by Emmit Fenn. With mantra-esque vocals riding an increasingly urgent wave of glitches and percussion, this cut from Emmit's recent EP The Last Dance is a meditative hymn that'll leave it up to your subconscious to take the steering wheel.
YAGYA – FYRSTI STORMUR
Reykjavík producer Yagya is sending us into the eye of the storm on this atmospheric cut from his recent album Stormur. With synth arpeggios swirling like nimbus clouds over frantic, echoing beats, “Fyrsti Stormur” is a brisk, bracing listen that nevertheless manages to maintain a sense of calm at its cavernous center.
CUCO (FEAT. JEAN CARTER) – BOSSA NO SÉ
Just in time for the end of cuffing season, Hawthorne's Cuco returns this month with the hazy heartbreaker “Bossa No Sé.” With bossa nova guitars coming set against a bed of trap beats, the Jean Carter-featuring cut is the ultimate summer soundtrack for lovesick millennials everywhere, with Cuco singing in the chorus: “Don't play with me/You broke my heart/But I'm also so obsessed with you/I don't know if I love you/I don't know if I hate you.”
KEVIN GEORGE – LAY IT ON ME
Coinciding with the announcement that he's set to release his album My Darlings a Demon in August, Kevin George has shared “Lay It on Me.” It's a darkly atmospheric cut that hears the Island Records signee continuing to blend elements of hip hop and rock production, with trap beats and grunge riffs backing Kevin as he sings about questioning a friend and lover's loyalty: “Would you say it for me?!/Started out as homies/Till you went and told me.”
SUBLAB – YOU SEEMED SO INNOCENT
Sublab is taking us on a late-night drive through the city on “You Seemed so Innocent.” With synth melodies flickering like skyscraper lights over an endless road of asphalt, this chillstep-meets-future garage cut from the German producer's forthcoming EP Garden of Oblivion is an essential addition to after-dark playlists.
RAVEENA – MAMA
Raveena pays tribute to immigrant mothers on her delicately hushed latest single “Mama.” “Immigrant mothers are so strong, and I felt like I needed to write a song about my own strong and creative immigrant mama,” says the New York soul artist of “Mama,” a gauzy haze that comes paired with a stunningly intimate video that focuses on the lives and loves of first and second-generation immigrant families.
UMI – DOWN TO EARTH
This is my first time featuring Seattle-via-Los Angeles artist UMI in this column, although something tells me that it won't be my last time, at least if her latest single “Down to Earth” is anything to go by. “Can't get no sleep/The moon, it knows I/Don't want you to leave,” begins the nostalgically lo-fi piece of soul music, which successfully captures that feeling of falling in love in all of its dreamy vulnerability.
RÖYKSOPP – CHURCH (LOST TAPES)
Röyksopp are taking us to “Church” on this cut from their ongoing collection of rarities and B-sides Lost Tapes. Clocking in at just over seven and a half minutes, “Church” is a Balearic-inspired banger that the Bergen duo say was recorded six years ago, with Röyksopp transforming the club into a place of worship while zigzag synths and four-on-the-floor beats pulse deep into the dance floor.
GLIMMER OF BLOOMS – RUN MY CHILD
As much as we pride ourselves on keeping our fingers on the pulse here at We Are: The Guard, every once in a while, a song inevitably flies under our radar. “Run My Child” by Glimmer of Blooms is one such song. Despite coming out over seven months ago, however, this ode to childhood has an air of timelessness about it, with Glimmer of Blooms channeling José González with his delicate folk balladry.
P.S. Life Is Strange, anyone?!
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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.