TOP CHILL SONGS - WEEK 33
With the last seven days leaving most of us reeling with a mixture of shock, disgust, and outrage, sitting here writing about songs can feel kind of trivial. That said, if we're to drive this hatred out of our lives once and for all, then it's vital that we come together as one, and music can be a perfect vessel through which we do that. On that note, if the recent events in Charlottesville have left you in need of a safe space to both heal and be in the company of like-minded people, then We Are: The Guard hopes that it can provide you with something of the sort this Friday. Here are the Top Chill Songs of Week 33 from Cage the Elephant, XYLØ, Evan Klar, and lots more.
CAGE THE ELEPHANT – RUBBER BALL (UNPEELED)
Bowling Green garage rockers Cage the Elephant reveal a different side to their sound on this unplugged version of 2011's “Rubber Ball.” Appearing on the GRAMMY Award-winning band's recent live album Unpeeled – a 21-song collection recorded over a series of intimate acoustic shows – the sweepingly grandiose rendition of the Thank You, Happy Birthday cut is something to behold. Featuring frontman Matthew Shultz performing alongside both a string quartet and choral accompaniment, it goes without saying that this is Cage the Elephant unlike anyone has ever heard them before.
XYLØ – WHAT WE'RE LOOKING FOR
Ahead of embarking on their first-ever headline tour next month, XYLØ – the brother-sister duo comprising of lead singer Paige Duddy and producer Chase Duddy – have shared “What We're Looking For.” The follow-up to “Alive” is a cathartic, emotionally driven anthem from the Los Angeles duo, with Chase laying down a bed of flickering future bass for Paige and her crystal clear voice to valiantly soar over as she comes to terms with the end of a relationship. Paige: “Sometimes you can try everything to make things work, but if it isn't meant to be it isn't going to last. This song is about accepting that.”
EVAN KLAR – BAREFOOT
Evan Klar, the Melbourne musician who previously worked as a session player for the likes of Charli XCX and Alex Metric, takes one step closer to solo success with “Barefoot.” The follow-up to his debut single, “Sleep,” is a sublime, luscious piece of electronic pop, complete with an invigorating tribal-esque pulse. Director Riley Blakeway succeeds in adding a further dimension to the song with the official video, meanwhile, with Evan seen exploring a variety of picturesque environs, including caves and forests.
GABRIEL BLACK – PINE TREES
Having swept us up in his emo-derived majesty with his debut single, “Sad Boy,” in June, enigmatic artist Gabriel Black returns to do it all over again this month with “Pine Trees.” It's a minimal, slow-burning piece that once more showcases Black's beguiling storytelling skills, with a plaintive guitar acting as a backdrop to his drawling voice, which he uses to devastating effect to touch on weighty themes including depression and self-harm.
AKUREI – FLOATING (FEAT. NICO GHOST)
Brisbane artist Connor Grant, who records as Akurei, follows up the release of his debut single, “Hinterland,” with the dreamlike “Floating.” Collaborating with rising rapper Nico Ghost, Akurei perfectly captures that transitional state from wakefulness to sleep, also known as hypnagogia, with Akurei and Nico's lucid toplines meeting a hallucinatory electronic R&B production courtesy of We Are: The Guard favorite Golden Vessel.
THE DESERT – JUST GET HIGH
Introducing The Desert – the Bristol two-piece comprising of singer-songwriter Gina Leonard and producer Tom Fryer – who make their debut on the blogosophere with the heady “Just Get High.” Featured on their forthcoming first EP, Playing Dead, the song is an intoxicating folk-house hybrid – and not in the Avicii sense. With Gina's languid vocals pairing with a swirling mixture of acoustic and electronic guitars and understated beats, “Just Get High” emits an atmospheric warmth that you very much want to linger in.
LARONGE – THIRD AND INDIANA
Hailing from Bristol, Laronge make their debut on the blogosphere with the scintillant “Third and Indiana.” Named after Steve Lopez's first novel, it's an expansively grand composition that, musically, nods to the likes of Bon Iver and Francis and the Lights, with waves of electronic distortion meeting AutoTune-laced vocals that bring thoughtful lyrics. Laronge: “It's a kind of catharsis from pent up anger about how impressionable, malleable and easily led most people in modern society are.”
ROOM8 (FEAT. MORGXN) – MIDNIGHT
ROOM8 – the Los Angeles producer duo comprising of Ezra Reich and Nic Johns – deliver the perfect listen for after dark with “Midnight.” A sultry slice of electronic pop that finds the falsetto of guest vocalist Morgxn – who recently announced a tour with We Are: The Guard favorite Phoebe Ryan – caressing a bed of crisp beats and throbbing synthesizers, “Midnight” is an essential addition to any Friday evening playlist that ROOM8 describe as being about “pursuing the things we want in the face of fear and uncertainty.”
MASIS – ALWAYS YOU
Following on from the release of “Flesh” in January, Glendale outfit mAsis return this month with another minimalistic dreamscape in the form of “Always You.” Opening with softly rippling synthesizers, before a breathy set of vocalists enter to carry the song to its sentimental, pillowy crescendo, “Always You” is nothing short of an ambient pop masterpiece. “In an age of reformatting, hyper-editing, dragging and dropping, I have something that stays unchanged,” mAsis tell Ones to Watch. Enjoy.
THIRD CULTURE KINGS – DONE AND GONE
Citing everyone from The Velvet Underground, King Tubby, Leonard Cohen, to Africa Bambaataa among their influences, Third Culture Kings – a duo compromising of Glorybox's Jan Johansen and Dälek's Alap Momin – deliver a beguiling blend of genres on their latest single “Done and Gone.” Featured on the band's recent debut album, Is That Light You Carry?, the song is a seven-minute dirge that inches along at a ruminative pace, with Jan's tremulous, Lou Reed-esque baritone coming set against a backdrop of complex beats and droning electronic guitar atmospherics.
Until next Friday. x
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.