Pitchfork Festival Buzz, Chill Wave

Chill Wave artist Washed Out has the pretty song "You and I"

I arrived in Chicago the day after Pitchfork concluded.  It seems the biggest buzz was on LCD Soundsystem, Local Natives, Surfer Blood, and Sleigh Bells. I’ve seen the first three and would definitely agree.

People are writing and raving about the latest subgenre Chill Wave and wondering how long it will last. Leading bands include Washed Out, Memory Tapes, and Neon Indian.  I’m now hearing Panda Bear all over the place.  Chill Wave is very low-key as the title would suggest.  In my mind, it’s related to lo-fi and shoegaze, where the indie trend has been leaning away from bright, up-tempo sounds.  Most indie-electro has become quieter and darker as well.  I usually go for the more upbeat stuff as my regulars know.  By nature, laid-back lower-fi music has a tougher chance of crossing over to larger audiences, but that’s usually fine with artists and fans loving the music.  As for how long these trends will last, it will be the same as every other style such as garage rock and “new rave”.   Most artists won’t be around for more than a few years.   Those with the best songs, freshest sounds, and best live shows will usually survive the longest.  At that point, the term Chill Wave may be past-tense but long-term artists don’t require categorization anyway.


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