Washed Out

Mister Mellow

Stones Throw

Jun 29, 2017 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Find It At: AMAZON

It must be awfully constricting for an artist to be one of the forefathers of a genre. When Ernest Greene, the man behind Washed Out, put out the Life of Leisure EP (and especially with the song "Feel It All Around") in 2009 he helped to open the floodgates of lo-fi bedroom pop artists who dominated Bandcamp in the early '10s. "Chillwave," as it was to be called, offered its listeners warm, glossy synthesizers and '80s nostalgia that quickly became somewhat of a joke. Perhaps it was it's use in quirky television theme songs ("Feel It All Around" as Portlandia's opening) or its rebirth as a meme (look up "Simpsonwave" and get lost in the wormhole), but chillwave became very uncool very quickly.

On his latest LP Mister Mellow, his first for Stones Throw, Greene broadens his sound from down-tempo bedroom pop to cruise ship house that makes for an enthralling listen. The record makes for a perfect Stones Throw mix, one where it is easy to see label head Peanut Butter Wolf bobbing his head in staunch approval. Tracks such as "Hard to Say Goodbye" perfectly encapsulate the music Greene has been creating for the past 10 years: smoothed out hip-hop drums, glowing synthesizer, and a wistful groove that begs to be spun during the warm summer months. This is Washed Out's answer to Since I Left You, a sun soaked dance opus that requires multiple spins to catch the nuance.

Mister Mellow is packaged as a visual album, and the visuals Greene has created for the project are something to be seen. If you were to embody chillwave visually this would be it; psychedelic stop motion creations that morph and melt with the music. One of the first images you see is that of a stuffed Big Bird toy with a trucker hat emblazoned with the word "chillwave" across it, like something you would have airbrushed at the boardwalk for a few dollars. It is Greene's way of poking fun at the ridiculous genre he helped father; paying homage to the past while looking towards a bright future. (www.washedout.net)

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