TOP CHILL SONGS - WEEK 22
With Memorial Day signalling the unofficial start of summer, it's time to get outside and really begin enjoying this scintillating weather. Of course, no road trip or pool party is complete without music, but if you can't face the gruelling task of sitting at your computer for hours on end compiling a seasonable playlist, then you're in the right place. After all, it's what we pride ourselves on here at We Are: The Guard. Finding you the Top Chill Songs so that you don't have to. That way you can spend less time getting lost in the darkened abyss of YouTube and SoundCloud, and more time doing the things that you love in this 90 degree heat. Featuring Vagabon, Squired, Wafia, Haux, James Vincent McMorrow and plenty of others, the following set of vibes are sure to take your summer from 0 to 100.
VAGABON – FEAR & FORCE
Having recently made her debut on We Are: The Guard in Top Indie Songs with “The Embers,” Cameroon-born, Brooklyn-based force of nature Vagabon returns to our pages this Friday with “Fear & Force.” Featured on her debut album Infinite Worlds, it's a disarmingly gauzy tale of love and loss, with lyrical quips such as “Freddy, come back, I know you love Vermont/But I thought I had more time” going straight to the chest, much like the accompanying video directed by Mooj Zadie.
SQUIRED (FEAT. AYELLE) – YOU
New York City producer Squired collaborates with Ayelle on his triumphant latest single, “You.” Coming to us by way of Etiquette Noir, the song is very much a composition built on contrast, with Squired's bombastic, bass-driven production met by the calming vocals of London singer-songwriter Ayelle, giving way to an all-encompassing piece of music that, as Ariela puts it, “feels like it fills a physical space in a room.”
WAFIA – 83 DAYS
Following the release of (m)edian, her collaborative EP with We Are: The Guard favorite Ta-ku, in 2016, Brisbane singer-songwriter Wafia returns the focus to her solo career this year with “83 Days.” The first single to be unveiled from the Future Classic signee's forthcoming as-yet-untitled sophomore EP, it's an infallible piece of electronic R&B that hears Wafia yearning for a departed lover (“83 days and I'm still not over you”) over a spread of trap-tipped percussion and crystalline chimes.
TENDER – NADIR
TENDER have been enchanting us for some time with their brooding breed of electronic R&B, and the London two-piece are back to do it all over again this Friday with “Nadir.” The second taste from their forthcoming as-yet-untitled debut album, it's a deeply textured groove that hears the duo experimenting with what sounds like an Arabian-style string instrument. “The song is about being in an unchanging and static relationship at its worst and the process of freeing yourself from that,” explain TENDER. Check it out.
HAUX – YOUTH (DAUGHTER COVER)
Haux is a singer-songwriter hailing from the Berkshires who occupies the liminal space between pastoral folk and melancholic electronic. Having featured here in April with “Touch,” the photographer-turned-musician returns this month with a cover of London band Daughter's 2013 hit single, “Youth.” Featuring Haux's feather-light vocals set against backdrop of cavernous beats and undulating basslines, it's a shivers-inducing take on a classic song – one that Haux manages to completely make his own.
ANNA OF THE NORTH – LOVERS
Ahead of the release of her much-anticipated debut album Lovers in September, We Are: The Guard favorite Anna of the North has shared the lead single. An icy cool anthem that hears the Oslo native pleading to a special someone to “show a little loving” atop a crisp synth pop production, “Lovers” is a catchy introduction to what's shaping up to be one of the best albums of this year. “The song describes that point when you feel alone and you're reaching out but they're not reaching back,” reveals Anna. “Maybe you could get through to them if they just let you in, but the promises they made are broken.”
ALVIN RISK – LAST FOREVER
One year after unveiling “Drive” – the synth-speckled, Hatsune Miku-featuring theme song for the Japanese Super GT Goodsmile Racing team – Alvin Risk returns to the piece this 2017 in the form of “Last Forever.” By adding his own vocals – his first singing performance since undergoing vocal cord surgery – the Washington, D.C. producer transforms what was once a racing theme into a truly sparkling love song, one that transports listeners through a whole galaxy of feels.
BRUNO MAJOR – PLACES WE WON'T WALK
British crooner Bruno Major continues his one-song-a-month project this June with the release of “Places We Won't Walk.” A majestic piano ballad that takes its inspiration from the timeless canon of jazz standards, “Places We Won't Walk” once again showcases Bruno's classic sense of songwriting with melodies that sound as though they came straight out of La La Land. “Listen as you stare listlessly at the colourless sky from a raindrop-speckled train window,” writes Bruno. Enjoy.
JAMES VINCENT MCMORROW – BEND YOUR KNEES
James Vincent McMorrow returns with what might be his most ambitious opus to date this Friday. The latest single to be unveiled from his recent fourth album True Care, “Bend Your Knees” is a truly sprawling piece of music that defies expectation, with the Irish troubadour traversing through a whole variety of soundscapes – from the organ-laced, to the synth-driven, to the acoustic-flavored – all the while delivering a dynamic vocal performance.
CORSICA ARTS CLUB – SUMMER
Just in time for the change in season, Los Angeles duo Corisca Arts Club – comprising of singer-songwriter Brendan Thompson and multi-instrumentalist Arash Parsee – have shared “Summer.” Featuring the sun-kissed vocals of Brendan set against a backdrop of reverb-drenched guitar riffs and driving percussion, “Summer” is an effervescent slice of indie pop that evokes images of good-looking people cruising along the coast in their vintage convertibles with the wind in their hair.
Until next time, stay chill. x
“Photo” by Aral Tasher is licensed under CC0 1.0 (cropped and resized).
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.