Our favorite chill tunes from new and established indie artists offer a perfect playlist when toasting to better times with friends online.
Whether it’s a vacation or a rooftop gathering, our lives typically need a soundtrack. But what happens when those social gatherings go virtual? We don’t let the music die, of course. When searching on Spotify or another streaming-music platform, add these tunes for a night (or day) of indie beats.
Song: “Hotel Delmano”
What’s to Love: Munya is the musical handiwork of Montreal-based artist Josie Boivin. She creates lush, synth-pop soundscapes and sings in French and English. Sexy and sublime, these are tunes fit for cocktails.
Song: “Water Me Down”
What’s to Love: Vagabon is the project of New York City-based artist Laetitia Tamko; she plays multiple instruments to create a worldbeat sound, which Pitchfork has called an “indie-rock game-changer.”
Song: “It Might Be Time”
Artist: Tame Impala
What’s to Love: There’s nothing more promising than a new Tame Impala LP, and this tune should be a playlist staple for spring and summer. Australian multi-instrumentalist Kevin Parker and his bandmates Dominic Simper, Jay Watson, Cam Avery and Julien Barbagallo have managed to create a catalogue of sound that’s at once accessible and otherworldly.
Song: “Sweet Tides”
Artist: Thievery Corporation
What’s the Love: Full disclosure: We have an entire cocktail list of more than 30 songs from this DC-based band, which makes hosts look incredibly hip at parties. Also download “Lebanese Blonde,” “History,” and “The Richest Man in Babylon” just to get the party started.
Song: “Yellow Is the Color of Her Eyes”
Artist: Soccer Mommy
What’s to Love: Nashville-based Sophia Regina Allison plays with her musical heart on her sleeve. Expect a low hum of distorted guitars and thumping bass in this mellow, pleasing tune about memory and loss.
Song: “San Francisco”
What’s to Love: This psychedelic, mind-bending tune brims with the melodic hooks created by multi-instrumentalist Jonathan Rado and vocalist Sam France. It’s one of those songs that delivers endless smiles, especially when France sings: “I left my love in San Francisco,” and a female warbles: “That’s OK, I was bored anyway.”
Song: “Tal Uno”
What’s to Love: Brooklyn-based Barrie Lindsay created a dream-pop sound that’s big on stylized beats reminiscent of Ireland’s Cranberries in their prime.
Keeping it local with some tunes from our favorite Houston rap artist...
Song: “I Choose You”
Artist: Tobe Nwigwe
What's to Love: Through his signature wordplay, Nwigwe turns a love letter to his wife into an enigmatic beat.
Song: “Houston Tribute Medley”
Artist: Tobe Nwigwe
What's to Love: The rapper's NPR Tiny Desk concert debut was a memorable one. Nwigwe wowed viewers with a five-song medley, starting off with “Houston Tribute” and following with hits like “Caged Birds” and “I'm Dope.”
And a few indie cocktail classics...
Song: “My Ever Changing Moods”
Artist: Style Council
What’s to Love: I fell in love with my wife for a number of reasons, but once I saw she owned a Style Council CD, I figured we’d get married. Weller, who rose to (mostly) UK fame as the brains behind the pop-punk band The Jam, changed his musical dial and created a sound that references R&B, Muscle Shoals funk and even a little Bowie glam. It’s the perfect cocktail finale—the home-bound will be spiritually amped.
Song: “Doo Wop (That Thing)”
Artist: Lauryn Hill
What’s to Love: The hip-hop singer’s classic debuted at number-one more than 20 years ago, and it still feels incredibly fresh and soulful today (witness the 99 million views on YouTube), especially when she sings about sexuality and relationships, “Baby girl, respect is just a minimum.”
Song: “Seeing Other People”
Artist: Belle & Sebastian
What’s to Love: This is a cocktail classic from one of the chillest ensembles the British Isles have ever produced. The Stuart Murdoch-led band has created a string of hits, but this tune stands out for its smooth frankness: “You can't understand why all the other boys are going for the new, tall, elegant rich kids…”
Photography by: James Jadotte on Unsplash