Since the term was coined, “Chillwave” has been used to describe two similar but distinct areas of music. One is the lo-fidelty eighties disco-inspired music that is more strongly associated with the name, like Washed Out and Neon Indian. The other is instrumental music that sounds like a cross between Flying Lotus and Hudson Mohawk. Artists like Eskmo and Joy Orbson defined this version of “Chillwave,” but maintained a separation from the Toro y Moi realm. The idea that these two separate genres are categorized under the same name always seemed a bit peculiar to me. After listening to Com Truise’s “Slow Peels,” everything fell into place. The song manages to reconcile the two genres in an extremely fluid manner. Initially is sounds like it could be an instrumental version of a Neon Indian song. It’s filled with glowing warped synths and straightforward but danceable drums. The funk riff is perfectly complimented by the simple bass line, and it has the mellow pulse that is often identified with summer 2009. On the other hand, it’s almost impossible to imagine a vocal track over the song. Despite being kind of monotonous, it manages to be thoroughly interesting throughout the entire four and a half minutes. While a lot of times genres are contrived, I believe that this song singlehandedly defines “Chillwave”. It seems to an aesthetic which concerns itself with being simple, but not easy listening. It’s charming and mellow, but also a bit abrasive. When fully reconciled, this track is purely fun. While there is little depth or emotion in “Slow Peels,” you don’t miss it.
For my first post of 2011, I feel obligated to post the song that has defined my year so far. That song would undoubtably be Creepoid’s “Hollow Doubt.” Creepoid is a group from Philadelphia, which seems very fitting because they have a similar atmospheric to one of the city’s current musical icons, Kurt Vile. Like Vile, the guitarist of Creepoid has a very large southern rock tone drowned in reverb. Unlike Vile, Creepoid’s sound is stately, and there isn’t a sense of emptiness. “Hollow Doubt” perfectly exemplifies the sort of overwhelming flood that is Creepoid’s sound. The term Shoegaze seems to have become ambiguous and undefined to the point where it can be a description of any slightly atmospheric song. Despite this, it’s hard not to shamelessly say it anyways.
2010 was a great year for music, and a pleasant and exciting year to be writing about it . The sheer plethora of great releases made the idea of attempting to summarize the year scary. Going through our favorite albums this year was almost nostalgic because so many worthwhile albums were put out this year, and even summer albums feel kind of old. I guess we came to the conclusion that the best albums were the ones that we are still listening to. These 10 albums are all consistently great and are all timeless in their own respective ways. Happy New Years, and thank you so much for reading and supporting us (The Islander).
10. The Monitor – Titus Andronicus
Four Score And Seven – Titus Andronicus
9. At Echo Lake – Woods
Death Rattles – Woods
8. Clinging To A Scheme – The Radio Dept.
Domestic Scene – The Radio Dept.
7. Romance Is Boring – Los Campesinos
The Sea Is A Good Place To Think O The Future – Los Campesinos
6. Teen Dream – Beach House
10 Mile Stereo – Beach House
5. Halcyon Digest – Deerhunter
Basement Scene – Deerhunter
4. Heartland – Owen Pallett
The Great Elsewhere – Owen Pallett
3. Who Are You? Who Is Anyone? – Moses Campbell
Swing Sets And Neighborhoods -Moses Campbell
2. Crush – Abe Vigoda
Dream Of My Love (Chasing After You) – Abe Vigoda
1. Astrocoast – Surfer Blood
Floating Vibes – Surfer Blood
P.S. Our New Years resolution is to make sure that we start posting more.
Tucson, Arizona, was home to Jacob Cooper (Wavves, Mae Shi, Signals, Bark Bark Bark), and when I saw that he did a remix of a track by a group from his home-town, I was intrigued. I am formulating my entire opinion of Dead Western Plains based exclusively on the formerly mentioned track, and while this makes me a bit uncomfortable, it is all I have to go off of. This song is called “Alta” and the physical 7in. is being released as some undisclosed date before the end of the year. This track sounds like if Animal Collective (circa Feels) wrote a song, recorded instrumentals, and then gave it to The Polyphonic Spree to record the vocals. The combination of almost disorienting electronic sounding samples with extremely poppy vocals yields a familiar but still original sounding song. “Alta” is all over the place, but in a good way. The song goes from a whistle heavy intro to an outro that wouldn’t be out of place on a Steve Vai song, and covers everything in between. While this song is so unfocused that it is kind of overwhelming, it makes for one of the most interesting tunes I’ve heard in a while.