Back in the halcyon days of 2009, we were at the height of what could be called (or what I'm calling) the music blog revolution. With the prevelence of blogging platforms like Blogger, Wordpress and even Tumblr, it seemed like anyone with even a passing interest in music was fastidiously keeping up with and posting the latest leaked mp3s, videos and general public relations ephemera that music journalists had been sorting through for years.
It was in this crucible that a nascent genre called "chillwave," or "glo-fi," emerged and soon dominated the indie rock/underground music zeitgeist. Artists like Panda Bear, Toro y Moi and Neon Indian were crafting analog, synth-driven, 80s-inflected, dance music that usually sounded like it was coming from a warped cassette tape that had been stuck in your older brother's '88 Civic since the mid-nineties.
It was the music of hot, hazy days and thick millienial nostalgia, full of garbled melodies and Tangerine Dream-ripped kaleidoscopic synth riffs that seemed to be dripping like melted wax from the speakers. No artist proved to be more important to chillwave, arguably the first fully internet formed music subgenre to gain siginificant attention from the music press, than Georgia-native Ernest Greene, otherwise known as Washed Out. His bedroom-recorded, debut, semi-album Life of Leisure
was basically patient zero of chillwave, possessing one slow-burning, lo-fi, gauzy synth paean after another (including Portlandia
theme song "Feel it All Around.").
What followed were two albums (2011's Within and Without
and 2013's Paracosm
) that stripped away many of the amateurish recording trappings that defined the early chillwave sound and atmosphere. All that remained was Greene's seemingly uncanny ability to compose swirls of keyboards, synths and samples into eternal summer music that was all but impossible to listen to once the first signs of fall appeared.
in particular should be the defacto music for cruise ships, full of reggae drum beats and sunny, electronic woodwinds popping in and out of the mix. Tracks like "It All Feels Right" and "Don't Give Up" worked perfectly as a late afternoon swoon and cool evening cocktail respectively.
Now, as Washed Out rolls into Mr. Small's during what is basically the last week of the summer, I can imagine very few bands able to send us off into the pleasant crisp of the fall and the soul-deadening polar vortex of the winter in better fashion. (400 Lincoln Avenue, Milvale, Mr. Small's