As Pitchfork’s recent Best New Music nod suggested, the chillwave class of 2009 has gone in various directions since graduation; some abandoning the synth bliss altogether, some running along the one track minded, blog-centric middle ground, others pushing the genre further. Ernest Greene does the latter on Within and Without, harnessing the best aspects of the notoriously light, feel good sound, and putting that in real studio terms—the result is a well-constructed LP, unapologetically scenic and sensual.
To date, Tom Krell’s recordings have been an intriguing intersection of fragile R&B and harsh, static-laden atmospherics. Last year’s debut LP was a line in the sand for some though—one side: adoring fans, praising critics, and the other: those who perhaps couldn’t get past the production qualities. So with a full orchestral makeover, Just Once gives an unexpected chance for these songs to resonate with HTDW detractors, in addition to being a beautiful dedication to a passed friend (with partial proceeds going to a mental health organization).
The Fiery Furnaces discography is a rewarding, and at times, a difficult decade spanning journey through experimental pop. Some of its sweetest, most approachable moments are vocally based, which is the half primarily represented on Last Summer, Eleanor Friedberger's solo debut. Her skills as a whimsical storyteller have never been given this kind of space—it's a simple setup in comparison to FF soundscapes, but ever so endearing. Recorded in summer 2010, these sunny tracks come polished and cued up for present moment enjoyment.
This world-renowned dubstep producer has tweaked with ambition over the years, never really staying too long in one microcosm of electronic music. His 2008 full length debut Where Were You in '92 was a throwback to jungle rave, while the following EP ventured into 8-bit arcade drama. Dedication is a slight step towards pop (Panda Bear guests on a track), yet still buried in his hypnotically sequenced repetition. This is for beat-heads.
Knoxville's Elliot White has a knack for the drum-built pop gem. Last year, the chugging single "I Am You" made rounds as a Coolrunnings standout (written by White who was then the band's drummer). A few sporadic tracks have since teased at something larger in sight for his own project, now turned full band. And Youth's Hours finally arrived over the weekend, relatively by surprise. Caffeinated punk here, 80s teen movie there...this 'no-wave' collection is easily enjoyable, and free.