Some tracks not only beg to be played in the car: not just in a car racing down the open road to the ocean, but in a convertible racing down the open road to the ocean with its top down and the wind streaming through your hair. That’s Hibou’s “Sunder” all over.
Because as much as summer is about relaxing with swooners like Washed Out, there’s also a propulsive element, no? The need to ride roller coasters on the boardwalk and race into ridiculous romances. Well, propulsion’s not a problem for Hibou, aka 19-year-old(!) Peter Michel, who was formerly the drummer for the diabolically catchy Craft Spells.
“Sunder” sounds not unlike Michel’s old band, or Wild Nothing, for that matter—chillwave more interested in hanging onto indie-guitar-pop influences than going fully electronic, but always fresh-faced, with bright, clean lines. Dunes, Hubou’s debut EP, is out tomorrow: better rent that convertible today.
Whenever I feel the first hints of summer and the desire to take a dive in the ocean increases, my first thought tends to flow towards: how can I listen to Washed Out while swimming? Last week while snorkeling in Aruba, I actually sang myself "You & I" while taking a brief respite from fish-gazing to just float upwards. And as the reigning king of sun-drenched chill wave, Ernest Greene has been scoring our hazy summer days and spaced-out emotions for quite some time now, so with the release of his new album Paracosm this August 12th, I couldn’t think of a better way to roll out of summer.
A few weeks ago, we saw a gorgeous kaleidoscope preview of the album but today Washed Out has released a new lyric video for the track "It All Feels Right" along with a full track list and North American Tour. Check it out below.
When Washed Out, a.k.a. Ernest Greene, chillwave’s reigning maestro, finally released Within and Without, his first LP, it was something like relief. Seemingly everyone with ears had been relaxing to the max with his prior releases, and we craved a longer work to luxuriate in. Now, with a brightly saturated teaser for his new album, Paracosm, he’s got us salivating for more all over again.
Initially, silence. Then, the gentle twittering—of birds, not bloggers. Soft bells join them in a steadily morphing ambient mood as mirrored nature shots pop with intensely beautiful greens, reds and blues. This is the external world, with all its complex light and shadow, as a work of art in itself.
Finally, when we can bear it no longer, we get harp glissandos and the tropical rhythm section that will carry us through summer 2013, which is incidentally when Sub Pop will drop Paracosm in its entirety. You might want to pick out a good hammock sooner rather than later.
This is definitely the most soothing advertisement to pop up on my computer in years: Washed Out, aka Ernest Greene, who we can go ahead and start referring to as the Godfather of Chillwave, if only because it sounds so dumb, supplies the airy aural atmosphere. Gustav Johansson, a Swedish filmmaker, provides the hypnotically looped images.
“The Sound of Creation” may also provide some inspiration, discussing as it does, in purring manly voiceover, the act of creative experimentation—all while subliminally suggesting you might listen to music this pretty on a Phillips stereo. Just a thought. Meanwhile, Greene adds nine distinct layers of effects that streamline into a song too nice to be over so soon. For each new influence, Johansson inserts another, well, I suppose they’re .gifs, but classy .gifs.
If you just want to hear the Washed Out track without the delicate images or somewhat hokey narration (endemic though that may be to downtempo electronica), you can also stream it on SoundCloud. But know that you are not getting the FULL COMMERCIAL EXPERIENCE.
Carpark Records, a Washington, D.C.-based indie label home to chillwavers like Toro y Moi, garage rockers like Cloud Nothings, and experimentalist bands like Ecstastic Sunshine, this month announced an addition to their roster: Dog Bite. The debut, Velvet Changes, out February 5, is already shaping up to be a good one. Take a listen.
Dog Bite is led by Phil Jones, known for playing keyboards for the touring version of Washed Out (which is otherwise a one-man outfit). The first single off Velvet Changes is “Prettiest Pills,” which launches with an unexpectedly greasy riff before layering over aqueous synths and reverbed vocals.
Even better is “Forever, Until,” which further refines the marriage of chillwave’s airy pastel tones and garage guitar. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that Dog Bite is bringing together a lot of divergent approaches found among the Carpark set.
As an added bonus, you can also download a great mixtape from Jones, Winter in Atlanta. It certainly offers some clues as to what sounds we might expect to hear come February.
PDA at shows is generally annoying and awful—I was permanently scarred when I saw people attempting to grind to Ben Kweller one time—but anyone smooching at the House of Vans last night gets a free pass, just this once. With the swoon-worthy line-up of Lemonade, Chairlift, and Washed Out, the Greenpoint skatepark got more romantic than usual, at least for those who were fortunate enough to be accompanied by a boyfriend/girlfriend/special buddy/very friendly stranger.
Lemonade kicked the night off with "Sister" from their recently-released album Diver. The San Francisco-formed trio seems very enthusiastic about making sultry dance-pop, and probably about life in general. Given that they have songs as good as "Ice Water" and "Softkiss," there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be.
Chairlift’s Caroline Polachek simultaneously embraces and surpasses her fragile appearance onstage, which fits her and bandmate Patrick Wimberly’s dark/dreamy blend. Their set featured an abbreviated version of their past hit "Bruises" flowing into "I Belong In Your Arms" from this year’s sophomore release Something, which may very well have been the highlight of the entire night
Washed Out, aka Ernest Greene, headlined the show with his sun-bleached synths for a lo-fi dance party. In 2012, it’s kind of hard to tell whether or not chillwave, the microgenre that Greene was king of in 2010, ever really existed. But his music is still perfectly pleasant, and there’s no reason to worry about it.