TOP CHILL SONGS - WEEK 46
Thanksgiving is a day full of gratitude, but let's face it, it's also a day full of stress and anxiety. It can be hard to feel like celebrating when you're stuck in LA traffic trying to make it to your Trump-supporting aunt and uncle's in time for pumpkin pie, or crying in a heap on your kitchen floor Googling how to remove giblets from an already-cooked turkey. Worry not, however, as We Are: The Guard is here to help you keep it together in the lead-up to Thanksgiving with the latest edition of Top Chill Songs. Sit back and relax with some hot mulled cider, then, as we check out the following tracks from THEY., Yaeji, HONNE, Lucius, JMSN, and more.
THEY. (FEAT. GALLANT) – ROCKVILLE STATION
The best collaborations are those that sound entirely effortless. Case in point: THEY.'s “Rockville Station” featuring Gallant. For a minute, I even thought that Drew Love and Dante Jones had hired a third band member, so at home is Gallant's presence on the Fireside EP closing cut, which channels some seriously sexy, luxuriously old-school R&B vibes.
THE MARÍAS & TRIATHALON – DRIP
Jesus once said “Ask, and it shall be given you,” and finally the man upstairs has answered the Internet's prayers for a The Marías and Triathalon collaboration in the form of “Drip.” The sumptuously swirling odyssey is everything that we fans hoped it'd be and more, with the mononymous María's velvety vocals leading the charge before melting and marbling into Triathalon's neo-psychedelic opulence.
YAEJI – ONE MORE
“One More" by Yaeji is a gift that keeps on giving. Seven weeks on from releasing the introspective club banger – which hears the New York-via-Seoul producer code-switching between English and Korean against a backdrop of muted house beats – Kathy Lee returns with the fever dream of an official video. Directed by Alex Gvojic, the clip sees Yaeji dancing with friends at a house party cast in neon light, with the whole visual making for a quite frankly perfect excuse to feature “One More” all over again.
FREE NATIONALS (FEAT. DANIEL CAESAR & UNKNOWN MORTAL ORCHESTRA) – BEAUTY & ESSEX
This YouTube comment from Royal Chicano puts it better than I ever could: “This song gonna be responsible for a lot of newborns.” No, really, this is the definition of baby-making music right here from Free Nationals – better known to most of us as Anderson .Paak's backing band – with the outfit joining forces with Daniel Caesar and Unknown Mortal Orchestra's Ruben Nielsen in order to deliver a sexually charged neo-soul groove that serves as an essential addition to your bedroom playlist.
HONNE – LOCATION UNKNOWN ◐ (LIVE)
And now for something a little different. It's not all that often that I get to feature live performances in this column, but I couldn't resist including this particular rendition of HONNE's “Location Unknown ◐.” Shot in an old school hall in Brooklyn, this stripped-down version of the Love Me ◑ / Love Me Not ◐ cut is nothing short of melt-inducing, with Andrew Peter Clutterbuck and guest vocalist Georgia Barnes' honeyed tones, combined with the piano instrumental, taking the song right back to its emotional core.
LUCIUS – CHRISTMAS TIME IS HERE (VINCE GUARALDI TRIO COVER)
With 39 days to go until December 25, Christmas covers are starting to pop up all over the shop, although none of them have captured We Are: The Guard's heart quite like this version of “Christmas Time is Here” by Lucius. Released in tribute to the late, great Richard Swift, who produced this cover before his untimely death in July 2018, this interpretation of the Charlie Brown classic is swooningly romantic and decidedly 60s, like some long-lost cut from Phil Spector's A Christmas Gift for You.
JMSN – REAL THING
JMSN's music never fails to make me feel some type of way, and the Detroit singer-songwriter also known as Christian Berishaj is delivering once again on his latest single “Real Thing.” Featured on his recent album Velvet, it finds JMSN deep in those late-90s, early-00s vibes, with Christian offering up his best boy band-worthy vocal performance over a nostalgic R&B instrumental that'll have you reaching for a whole bunch of air grabs. “Bop” doesn't cover it.
MICKEY VALEN (FEAT. JOEY MYRON) – CHILLS
Well, the song title pretty much says it all, and let me tell you, “Chills” by Mickey Valen doesn't disappoint. The Los Angeles producer should've called this two-and-a-half-minute cut “Chills and Thrills,” in fact, since it's most definitely delivering on both, with guest vocalist Joey Myron's understated voice shivering right down to the base of my spine, while Mickey's bass drum emulates the thud of my heartbeat.
MIDNIGHT – PRESSURE GRADIENT
midnight makes his debut on We Are: The Guard with the strikingly ethereal “Pressure Gradient.” “'Pressure Gradient' is birthed from the struggle to balance rebellion and restraint as a person of color living in a country terrorized by bigotry,” says the New York artist of the incisive yet otherworldly electronic composition, the layered production for which was helmed by ylxr. “The lyrics covet the simplicity of being in love while drowning in the anguish of that bigotry.”
LANKS – SPIRITUAL MAN
Can LANKS do any wrong?! No, no he can't. Following on from the release of his debut album twentyseven earlier this year, the Australian singer-songwriter returns with “Spiritual Man,” a life-affirming, transcendent ode to hope and resilience that LANKS reveals that he wrote for a close friend who's currently battling an unnamed illness. “All I want is to show her how inspiring and amazing she is,” says the We Are: The Guard favorite on Facebook. Listen.
Happy Thanksgiving! Until next time, why not follow We Are: The Guard's Best Chill Daily! on Spotify for more?! 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.