Baths makes music for my mind. If you're into the micro labeling of genres, then you can call it chillwave. Baths certainly makes music that would appeal to fans of Four Tet, Washed Out, and Toro Y Moi. It's experimental, but reasonably palatable, electronic music made by one person armed with little more than a passion to make noise and a solid understanding of digital production. I've been listening to this kind of music a lot this year, and I suppose a passive listener might find it hard to distinguish between artists. However, I would argue that chillwave musicians that have garnered particular attention and praise, such as Baths, are as unique as a thumbprint. Digital production allows for infinite noise possibilities. The combination of creative decisions that add up to a song could only have been made by that individual musician. Long story short, Baths sounds like Baths, and I like it lots. Many of these songs featuring a consistent, comforting beat as a base with intriguing syncopation and synth action dancing on top that charms my curiosity. The high pitched vocals keep things airy and fantastical like a dream. Plus, the Lovely Bloodflow music video is a top competitor for best of the year.
Miami Horror make music for my body, because sometimes you just need to dance. It's a scientific fact that physical exertion releases endorphins, and endorphins make you happy. Finding music that compels your body to move, even if it's only in the private safety of your bedroom, can be an essential element of getting happy. I hadn't found any good booty shaking music in a hot minute, so I was quite excited when I recently discovered Miami Horror. Their music makes me jump on my bed and spin down the hall in nothing but the unrestrained ease of my undies. Miami Horror are synthesizing all the best elements of dance music from 1970 and beyond into unadulterated awesomeness. Boogie bass, spacey vocals, clean breaks, and Roland keyboard samples are just a few of the body moving delights they offer. Though the band and their producer, Benjamin Plant, have been making music, touring, and remixing for a couple years now, they only released their debut full-length, Illumination, at the end of August. You can listen to the album in it's entirety at Miami Horror on MySpace. But first, check out their psychedelic western music video for Moon Theory, also a solid contender for best of the year. Dance and get happy, readers!
New Sweden make music for my soul. If you could pluck my heartstrings, I think they'd sound like the banjo, though sometimes I wish they'd sound more like a mandolin. Naturally then, music featuring either of these fine instruments has a tendency to reverberate through the core of my very being. New Sweden are my current Americana folk favorites. They've got more than enough instrumental variety and emotional range to appeal to my many states and moods. Plus, their love of making music together is clearly evident, radiating through their performances and illuminating their songs with sweet camaraderie. Drawing from roots the run deep into folk music traditions, New Sweden exemplify the developing growths of the genre, trying new structures for familiar sounds. A deciding factor in whether or not I like an act like this is sincerity. I need the vocals to explode with true empathy, a sonic force strong enough to touch me tenderly. And again, New Sweden deliver exactly what I need to hear when I need to hear it. For now they are mostly sticking to their hometown stomping grounds of Delaware, but they are a local band I eagerly watch. Quite excited to see what they do next.