ambient indie pop

IT ALL FEELS RIGHT WITH WASHED OUT
November 18, 2015 1:56 pm

If I were to take a wild guess, you, the reader, having ventured into our wondrous world of ATYPICALSOUNDS, might be into ‘indie’ music, which by that extension means, you might recognize this tune.

Washed Out Band Photo. Ernest Greene pictured.

The creative forces behind Portlandia didn’t randomly select that snippet as the backdrop for their sketch comedy roughly based around the ill-defined ‘hipster’ niche. Washed Out’s “Feel It All Around” was the anthem to a short-lived–yet indispensable–piece of nostalgia-injected ambient-electro dance pop that emerged circa 2009 that is referred to as “Chillwave”, often characterized by heavily distorted lyrics, synthesizers, and sampling.  Think Toro Y Moi Causers of This Neon Indian’s Psychic Chasms or Aerial Pink’s Before Today.

Washed Out is Athens, Georgia native Ernest Greene. He was discovered on, of all places, his MySpace account—which was still the social media mode of choice for most aspiring bedroom musicians at the time. Greene released his first two EPs High Times and Life of Leisure both within a short span in September 2009.  The former of the two was released via exclusively on cassette tape.  The latter saw a much wider release on Mexican Summer, a Brooklyn-based record company that specializes in elaborate vinyl packaging. Life of Leisure served as a major catalyst for Mexican Summer, which, along with Best Coast’s 2010 debut Crazy For You, was a hot commodity indie label at the time–and was certainly a major player in the vinyl craze that started around that time.  Greene next moved to Sub Pop where he released his debut full-length Within and Without in 2011 and followed up with Paracosms in 2013.

Thematically, Washed Out’s music tends to revolve around one central theme.  Look no further than his debut record cover.  That’s right: Love. Washed Out is a desperate romantic chasing after his muse. The titles of Greene’s tunes don’t really beat around the bush either; for example, “The Sound of Creation,” or “It All Feels Right.” His music is sensuous, immersive, and evocative, and at the same time, quite beautiful and dense.  Make-out music on a mild dose of psychedelia.

The Dove & The Wolf – Taking The US By Storm
September 24, 2015 9:46 am

Paris-based duo Paloma and Lou have been musical partners for years. The Dove & The Wolf is their most recent project, and their music is spreading across the US like wildfire.

dovenwolf

Their self-distributed EP was released back in 2012, only six months after the duo’s formation, and was immediately picked up and highlighted by the New York Times. Now fresh out of college, Paloma and Lou seem to have spent just as much time in the US as their home countries, France and Martinique.

And what’s not to like about The Dove & The Wolf? Their dual guitars blend just as effortlessly as their vocal harmonies. The songs are catchy, yet they possess an ambient and melancholic quality. As they say on their website, their music is “where Crosby, Stills & Nash and Air meet a feminine tenor.” Despite the ambient tints of their music, Air doesn’t really come to mind when listening to them. Take away the electronics from Air and you have nothing, however the stripped-down, acoustic live versions of The Dove & The Wolf are arguably just as good as the multi-layered versions we hear on their EP.

Unsurprisingly, a debut album is now in the works. Judging by their most recent release, a short EP called Words You Said, we could conclude that Paloma and Lou are heading into slightly more ambient territory. Perhaps the influences of Air will be more apparent in their next album. That would be interesting to hear, though I hope they don’t lose their melancholic quality in the process. In any case, I can be nothing but excited.