TOP CHILL SONGS - WEEK 6

2/9/18

It's February and, despite what Punxsutawney Phil has to say on the matter, it's really starting to feel like spring is in the air! The days are slowly but surely getting longer, sweet-smelling flowers are beginning to bloom all around us, oh, and the Kardashians are breeding like there's no tomorrow! And what better way to see in the most energizing and rejuvenating season of the year than with the latest edition of We Are: The Guard's Top Chill Songs?! Featuring Nilüfer Yanya, Dita Von Teese, The fin., and lots more, the following playlist is here to help you wave goodbye to the very last of your winter blues and embrace the arrival of spring in all of its fresh-cut glory!

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TOKIMONSTA (FEAT. SELAH SUE) – I WISH I COULD

The Queen of Beat, TOKiMONSTA, gets political in the video for the Selah Sue-featuring “I Wish I Could.” Directed by Mitchell deQuilettes, the clip follows an ER physician as she struggles to cope with the stress of both her home and work life, with the video ultimately sending out an important message about the state of the US health care system – a topic that's no doubt close to TOKiMONSTA's heart in the wake of her recent brain surgeries.

 

ALWAYS NEVER – MILLIONS

 

Always Never go in search of riches on their luxurious latest offering “Millions.” “Want a house on a hill/Rari' for the thrill/Ice on my wrists/Just to know how it feel,” croon the Toronto two-piece on the pillowy soft follow-up to “Hopeless” – a darkly alluring ballad that finds the duo indulging in thoughts of the high life over a sumptuous bed of electronic R&B.

 

KAT CUNNING – WILD POPPIES

Kat Cunning is the definition of exquisite. Having made her start in theater – including in Cirque du Soleil's Broadway production Paramour – the trained dancer turns her attention to music this 2018 with the plush “Wild Poppies.” The second single to be unveiled from her forthcoming debut EP after “Baby” is pure Parisian romance, with the baroque pop ballad coming accompanied by a Moulin Rouge-style video as choreographed by Cunning.

 

GLADIUS JAMES – WE ALL GOT ISSUES

He's produced hits for everyone from Justin Bieber to Demi Lovato, but this 2018, Auckland's Gladius James is taking his own rightful place in the spotlight with “We All Got Issues.” Clocking in at just under three-and-a-half minutes, it's an arresting Auto-Tune hymn that James describes as “my life story in a song,” with the a cappella arrangement allowing the focus to fall on the New Island Records signee's riveting gift for writing.

 

FKNSYD – RECLUSE

Secret Songs has been responsible for some of my favorite releases over the last four years, with Ryan Hemsworth's record label delivering the goods once again this 2018 with fknsyd. The West Palm Beach, Florida artist is giving me shivers for days on her debut EP Calcify, a three-song collection that comes led by “Recluse” – a wispy, incorporeal piece of drone music, over which fknsyd summons an almost disembodied vocal presence.

 

BECKY AND THE BIRDS – HOLDING ON

Having graduated from the coveted Musikmakarna – the same music school as attended by We Are: The Guard favorites LÉON and Skott – Sweden's Becky and the Birds makes her debut on the blogosphere this February with “Holding On.” The song begins like that of a reverie, with the 21-year-old setting her coos against nothing but some hums and whirs. It's once the chorus hits, however, that “Holding On” truly comes into its own, with cascades of pitch-shifted vocals and dazzling electronic instrumentation skyrocketing Becky and the Birds into the Nordic pop firmament.

 

NILÜFER YANYA – THANKS 4 NOTHING

Following on from the release of “Baby Luv” in October, Nilüfer Yanya returns this 2018 with “Thanks 4 Nothing.” The song – an ode to the collapse of a relationship that the London soulster describes as her “most bitter and ungrateful” composition to date – once again finds Yanya dealing in the kind of effortlessly cool jazz atmospheres that you want to linger in, with the whole thing coming accompanied by an Energy Force-directed video that sees the 22-year-old getting in touch with her inner Illuminati.

 

DITA VON TEESE – BIRD OF PREY

Burlesque dancer Dita Von Teese dips her red-lacquered toes into music this February with the release of the alluring “Bird of Prey.” Featured on her forthcoming debut album Dita Von Teese – a 10-song collection that was written and composed by French artist Sébastien Tellier – it's a sexually charged, Jane Birkin/Serge Gainsbourg-style affair, with Dita Von Teese's titillating voice coming sheathed in a quilt of cosmic psychedelia.

 

THE FIN. – SNOW – AGAIN

Japanese ambient trio The fin. battle through what's left of the cold season on the two-minute “Snow – Again.” Coming ahead of their second album There, it's a song that evokes that eerie silence that immediately follows a snowstorm, with singer Yuto Uchino's voice whooshing through the quietude like that of a Siberian breeze. Uchino: “This one is about my weaknesses, solitude, pain, and defencelessness which get revealed by winter.”

 

BARRIE – CANYONS

Introducing Barrie, the New York City quintet whose debut single has me dreaming of balmy summer nights. “Canyons” is a glistening slice of 80s-informed synth-funk reconfigured for the modern age, with the blend of elastic basslines and lush vocals – courtesy of frontwoman Barrie Lindsay, who previously made music as Grammar – making for a perfect accompaniment to a midnight drive through the city lights.

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Enjoy your weekend! x

Julia Mowry by Savs, Unsplash License

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.