TOP CHILL SONGS - WEEK 42
As I type this, a flurry of rain is pattering down on my office window, my thermostat is cranked to the max, and the bittersweet smell of my freshly brewed coffee is gradually infiltrating the air around me. It's cozy fall mornings like this that I basically live for, although there's one thing missing from this otherwise perfect scene: Music. Which is really quite the coincidence, readers, as it's only freaking time for the latest edition of We Are: The Guard's Top Chill Songs! With the weekend almost upon us, then, why not join me in getting in an autumnal state of mind this Friday with the following tracks from Little Dragon, The Lumineers, Justine Skye, and plenty more?!
KWAYE – PARALYZED
Mind of a Genius signee KWAYE is certain to render you “Paralyzed” with his latest single. Featured on his forthcoming EP Love & Affliction, this gut-wrenchingly ethereal ballad genuinely stopped me in my tracks, with KWAYE's powerfully theatrical, soulful falsetto bringing to life a story about finding strength in vulnerability against a backdrop of otherworldly strings.
ECHOS – SAINTS
Ahead of the release of their debut album Even Though You're Gone in December, Portland duo Echos have shared perhaps their most anthemic offering to date. With frontwoman Lexi Norton's cinematically soaring vocals coming surrounded by walls upon walls of epic drums, “Saints” is an ode to taking no bullshit that kind of reminds me of “Bring Me to Life”-era Evanescence.
LITTLE DRAGON – LOVER CHANTING
Little Dragon have always ridden that line between danceable and chill as hell, and they're back there once again on “Lover Chanting.” The first single to be unveiled from the Swedish outfit's forthcoming EP of the same name hears my favorite vocalist of all time, Yukimi Nagano, cruising what can only be described as a deliciously squelchy synth bass, with the whole thing making for a certified bop that'll get you moving but still taking it easy.
OK BUTTON – THE MESSAGE
On first spin, “The Message” by OK Button sounds entirely ethereal, with frontwoman Amber Wilson's angelic vocals floating on a cloud of otherworldly trip hop beats. Listen to the lyrics, however, and you'll soon discover that there's far more to “The Message” than meets the eye (well, ear...), with Amber, I quote, “channeling her inner Tupac” as she sings about reclaiming her sense of power and self-worth from a toxic relationship, declaring in the chorus “You motherfuckers won't bring me down.”
ANGELO DE AUGUSTINE (FEAT. SUFJAN STEVENS) – TIME (LIVE)
With three months to go until he releases his album Tomb, Angelo De Augustine has shared a live version of the delicately sweet lead single “Time.” Recorded at Reservoir Studios in New York City, it finds the folk singer performing the song alongside none other than indie icon Sufjan Stevens, with the Asthmatic Kitty founder laying down a warm blanket of piano beneath Angelo's childlike whistled hooks.
THE LUMINEERS – WALLS (TOM PETTY COVER)
One year on from Tom Petty's accidental overdose, The Lumineers are marking the anniversary of his death with a cover of “Walls.” Listen as the Americana aficionados strip the song – which was originally written for the 1996 film She's the One – back to its emotional core, with frontman Wesley Schultz offering up a raw, rootsy vocal performance that'd no doubt make the late, great Heartbreaker proud.
JUSTINE SKYE (FEAT. ARIN RAY) – BUILD
New York City's Justine Skye sets out to make the perfect man on her latest single. “If I could build a man/Like, really build a man/He'd be smart enough to read my mind/When I'm hard to understand,” croons the 23-year-old songstress on “Build,” a plushly sensuous piece of R&B that hears Justine coming to the conclusion that there's no such thing as “the ideal partner” and that the only person who you can ultimately work on and “fix” is yourself.
MIYA FOLICK – THINGAMAJIG
It's only five letters long, but to quote Elton John, “sorry seems to be the hardest word.” Miya Folick is swallowing her pride and offering her deepest, sincerest apologies, however, on her latest single “Thingamajig” – a beautifully plaintive ballad that showcases a completely different side to Miya compared to her previous offerings “Stock Image” and “Stop Talking.”
BONSAI MAMMAL & LILS – LIKE WATER
Having previously made musical magic alongside Autograf on “Dead Soon,” Bonsai Mammal and Lils continue their working relationship on “Like Water.” It's a fitting title for a song that ultimately feels like the sonic equivalent of diving from a superyacht into a tropical ocean of aquamarine, with Lils' vocals glistening and dappling like sunlight over Bonsai Mammal's soothing waves of island beats.
KODA – IF I HAD A GUN
Okay, let's get the elephant in the room out of the way. Yes, you're right, he does very much sound like Thom Yorke, but trust me when I say that there's SO MUCH MORE to Koda than these vocal similarities. The long-time We Are: The Guard favorite is a real master of his craft, formulating spine-tingling parables that resonate with you long after listening. Case in point: “If I Had a Gun,” a haunting tale of trauma and revenge that features on his forthcoming EP Same as It Ever Was.
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Photo by Kinga Cichewicz on Unsplash
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.