Bonus review: Washed Out introduces the State Theatre to chillwave
I’ve ignored no-fi, freak folk and noise pop. I’m not big on gypsy rock, horrorcore or glitch.
But chillwave? I might just have to get down with chillwave.
A chilled-out, slowed-down, blissed-out blend of lounge and disco, chillwave — or glo-fi, or hypnagogic pop, or whatever you want to call it — is arguably the coolest made-up indie-music buzz genre of the past year, thanks to acts like Toro y Moi, Neon Indian and Washed Out, who opened for Yeasayer Monday at the State Theatre. (Click here for Gabriel Loewenberg's review of Yeasayer's performance.)
I had no idea what to expect from Washed Out, which is the stage name of one Ernest Greene of Georgia. But joined onstage by a bassist, drummer and second synth 'n’ loop man, Greene proved Washed Out is indeed a band — not just a guy — worth watching.
Greene’s hypnotic vocals on Washed Out’s debut EP, Life of Leisure, make you wonder whether he’s ever fallen asleep onstage. In fact, the group opened with two hot numbers, the reggaelike Belong and the vaguely Dream Academy-esque New Theory, that seemed more energetic live than on tape. You wouldn’t have known it from his cloudy, echo-heavy vocals, but Greene was a ball of wiggly motion behind the mic.
Washed Out only played a half dozen or so tracks, which is probably about right for a young band. But in each song, they combined propulsive blend of trippy beats and ’80s synths, a la Erasure or Genesis. To place them in a more modern context, Washed Out may lack the manic energy of, say, Passion Pit or the Postal Service, but their musical chops can’t be denied. Plenty of fans on the dancefloor were danced right along, which isn’t always the case with an opening band. Keep one eye open for their inevitable debut LP.
Washed Out didn’t play You and I, their recent single featuring Chairlift’s Caroline Polachek, but they did close with a cheery, if truncated, version of Feel It All Around, which has been bopping around the blogosphere since last summer.
It didn’t sound like chillwave. It sounded like electronic rock 'n’ roll. And that might be just what Washed Out needs to outlive the genre they currently define.
— Jay Cridlin, tbt*