There's only a few weeks remaining of winter, which is pretty great news, what considering this entire season has proved to be all kinds of fucking shitty! Okay, so it's not like the world is going to get any kinder once spring arrives, but you have to admit that life seems that bit easier when the sun is shining. As we wait on the March equinox, we're keeping the positive vibes flowing whatever the weather here at We Are: The Guard with the latest dose of Top Chill Songs. Curated by yours truly, may the following tracks from SoKo, R3hab, Tennyson & Mr. Carmack and lots more help you to beat what's left of your February blues.



What would us kooks do without SoKo?! The French artist is truly the definition of an outsider icon. Her music is like a protective cocoon in which you aren't heckled or judged – a protective cocoon in which you can Just take her latest single, “Sweet Sound of Ignorance.” Described as “a love letter to all the weird, creative kids out there,” it's a guitar-driven slice of psychedelic pop that surrounds you in its warm embrace, and for a brief moment makes you feel not so alone.



Purveyor of Dutch house R3hab forgoes big, dancefloor-friendly drops in favor of something a little more soothing on his remix of Ella Vos' “White Noise.” That's not to say that his luscious production is devoid of all energy – it's just that the DJ manages to incorporate his synth pyrotechnics alongside Ella's crystalline vocals in such a way that it leaves you feeling invigorated and refreshed, as opposed to needing to hit up a rave.



It's no secret that Scandinavia is a hotbed for musical talent, and Emma Jensen is the region's latest must-hear export. Hailing from Oslo, Norway, the 21-year-old is the definition of triple threat, writing, singing and producing her debut single “Closer” – a pillowy slice of electronic pop that reminds me of those first few hazy moments after waking up from a blissful dream, when nothing around you seems quite as real as what was taking place in your head only seconds prior.



It's not every day that you encounter a 20-year-old with a whole ton of soul, but then again, Mac Ayres is far from every day. The New York crooner – who currently attends the coveted Berklee College of Music in Boston – sounds wise beyond his youth on his latest offering “Easy.” A warm, sophisticated R&B number that sees Mac's velveteen voice set against a backdrop of groovy guitar licks and smooth percussion, “Easy” – alongside the rest of Ayres' discography – is sure to appeal to fans of Tom Misch and Bruno Major.



“Wednesday” is certain to lift your spirits, whatever day of the week. Produced by Tennyson and Mr. Carmack in Los Angeles for Red Bull Sound Select, it's a soothing, feel-good instrumental for all occasions. Opening with the sounds of birds tweeting and water dripping before transforming into a glitched-out and beat-driven composition, “Wednesday” is everything that I hoped for and more from this sibling duo.



Introducing Racoon Racoon, the Italian duo who've completely charmed me with the heartstoppingly beautiful “Our Love's Funeral.” Featured on their debut EP of the same name, it's a dreamy yet melancholic folk reverie that finds Racoon Racoon band members Léa and Léonard lamenting a dying relationship over gentle wisps of acoustic guitar, setting a devastatingly gorgeous atmosphere in the process.



AMKosman – aka Adele Kosman, formerly one-half of Swedish duo For BDK – makes quite the entrance this 2017 with “Comfort.” Released through Cherish Label, it's a five-minute slow burner built upon a terrain of thumping, glitched-out beats and finished off by a hypnotic vocal loop of Adele singing: “I used to be sure, now I wonder what it was like, if it was comforting.” “It is nothing specific that I am referring to,” AMKosman tells Radar. “It was just a phrase that came to me and in which I could feel comfort.”



Ever the gift that keeps on giving, British duo Meadowlark return this February with an “alternative” version of their 2016 hit single, “Satellite.” Recorded for their forthcoming EP Nocturnes, it's a sweeping, cinematic rendition that finds lead singer Kate McGill accompanied by a live string quartet, as opposed to a luscious electronic production. “We're very excited to share this acoustic rendition of 'Satellite' with you,” write Meadowlark. “We love our electronic version so much, but there was something about stripping it back that made us fall in love with it all over again.”



Picture the scene. It's 1986. You're in a cherry red convertible, cruising down the Pacific Coast Highway. The wind is in your hair, and you don't have a care in the world. And who's playing on your car radio?! Malibu'86, of course! The Los Angeles soul artist – who quite literally describes his music as the “soundtrack to Malibu in the summer of 1986” – effortlessly brings to life such a fantasy with “Fly,” his smooth-sailing debut single, which is sure to have you California dreamin' of warmer days to come.



Let's face it – there's hardly a shortage of male acoustic singer-songwriters, but once in a while, one thrums along that's deserving of your attention. To call James McLean an acoustic singer-songwriter is almost an injustice, anyway – the British act also incorporates electronic elements into his soul-stirring breed of folk, which he executes to perfection on “Burnt.” Utilizing both the higher and lower end of his voice, it's a rousing mid-tempo ballad, full of tender melodies that remind me of Bon Iver as much as they do Ed Sheeran.


See you next week! x

Photo” by Azrul Aziz is licensed under CC0 1.0 (cropped and resized).

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.