Photo by ayokay

The weekend is almost here, spring is only around the corner, and society in general is starting to feel relatively *whispers* normal again. What I'm really trying to say is: Life is finally looking up. That's assuming World War 3 doesn't come along to ruin it, of course. Anyways, as we begin the countdown to 5 o'clock, it's time to check out the latest edition of We Are: The Guard's Top Chill Songs. Featuring ayokay & slenderbodies, S. Carey, Burial & Four Tet, and plenty of others, this column has something for everybody!



In January, We Are: The Guard favorites slenderbodies served up an invigorating cup of "chamomile," and today, Max Vehuni and Benji Cormack are making their return on ayokay's "Waiting For." Written during lockdown, "Waiting For" hears Max and Benji's signature slinky, soulful organicity intertwining with ayokay's scintillating electronic palette. "The song feels like the perfect compromise of our two unique sounds, and sonically it launches me into summer every time I hear it," adds ayokay. Enjoy.



Coinciding with the announcement of his first album in four years, Break Me Open, S. Carey has shared the song of the same name. Written while he was dealing with both the death of his father and the dissolution of his marriage, "Break Me Open'' finds S. Carey reckoning with his newfound fragility, while simultaneously marveling at the love he has for his family. "Above the darkness, it's a message of hope, honesty, and growth. It's a call to be vulnerable: 'Break Me Open,'" says S. Carey. Dive in.



Just under a decade on from it originally dropping on a limited-edition vinyl, Burial and Four Tet are finally offering up an official digital release of their collaborative single, "Nova." Accompanied by 2009's "Moth," "Nova" is a beautifully warm listen that still enriches the soul as much as it first did 10 years ago. With vocal samples swirling like specters around a centering bass throb, before a keyboard motif enters to transcend the song into more clubby territory, "Nova'' makes for a gorgeous end to the working week.



Process, the universally adored debut album from Sampha Lahai Sisay, recently turned 5 years old, and to celebrate, the English singer-songwriter has unveiled the bonus song "In-between and Overseas." Originally featured on the Japanese edition of Process, "In-between and Overseas" hears Sampha's soulful fluidity pairing with echoing pianos and preset beats. Lyrically, meanwhile, "In-between and Overseas" is about the revelatory nature of love, with Sampha sounding nothing short of awed.



HYBS continues their meteoric rise this Friday with "Go Higher." Having made their debut on We Are: The Guard in October with "Ride," then followed it up with "Dancing With My Phone" in November, Alyn Wee and Karn Kasidej are winning us over once again today with their glistening third offering. Combining dreamy vocal sighs, crystalline riffs, and danceable digital beats, "Go Higher" is a luminous sonnet to summer love that feels set to crack open the Spotify algorithm. FFO: Fiji Blue, boy pablo.



She recently announced she'll be performing her first headline show at Dream Bags Jaguar Shoes in March, but before all of that, Viji has unveiled "Skin Deep." Featured on her forthcoming EP, Cali, ''Skip Deep'' is an intensely intimate, candlelit grunge confessional that hears Viji purging her trauma over chugging guitars. "If you bite into me, you'd only get skin deep 'cause/I feel so terribly shallow but I am sinking," sings Viji, her voice cracking with vulnerability as she admits to feeling too lost to fall in love.



This is devastating. Ahead of the release of the deluxe edition of his album, Ways To Get Out, later this month, Ireland's Far Caspian has shared "Sun Room." According to Joel Johnston, "Sun Room'' was written following the death of his beloved grandfather. "I wanted to create a song that remembered a person both in the past and in the present, now that they're gone and what that means for those old memories," adds Joel of the cut, a quietly radiant picture of grief that emotionally annihilated me.



Ouri is inviting us to enjoy a few minutes of reflective stillness on her latest single, "figure profane." Following on from her debut album, 2021's Frame of a Fauna, "figure profane" hears Ouri sculpting a lush garden of vocal sighs around an increasingly warped piano loop. "I wanted to offer myself a moment to study the melodic and harmonic features of my music and cut the rest out, allow repetition to happen but always keep the melody as the ultimate leader," adds Ouri of the mediative cut.



Andy Shauf takes time out from his extensive world tour to share "Satan." Released as part of a double single alongside "Jacob Rose," "Satan" is a considered folk ballad that showcases Andy's talents for richly evocative storytelling. Inspired by his Christian upbringing and how his church referred to Halloween as "The Devil's Day," "Satan" sounds like it came straight out of the Great American Songbook: "One long disciplined life and at the end/I'm taking my shoes off and jumping on in/Satan is waiting."



What do you get if you take Abel Tesfaye's Dawn FM and plunge it into a melancholy metaverse? Teflon Sega's "Fornever." Produced by JordanXL, "Fornever" hears this anime character-turned-R&B crooner and all-around We Are: The Guard regular continuing to lick his metallic wounds atop trap beats. "Fight for a little/Fight fight for little/Fuck for a little/Fuck fuck for a little/Stuck in the middle/Stuck stuck in the middle," sighs Teflon, his voice sounding like The Weeknd's as filtered through an Oculus Rift.


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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.