Playlist: Slow Burners & Bed Warmers with World Champion
July 28, 2016
*Julian wears Dash crew knit in textured natural, Will wears Noah tee in black/white stripe and suit jacket in black linen.
Not since now-defunct Californian slacker-pop outfit Girls has there been a duo with less regard for SEO than World Champion. But the band made up of Julian Sudek and Will Campion haven’t had a problem being discovered. After signing to internationally extolled Australian indie Future Classic the guys put out “Avocado Galaxy” - a punchy psych-inflected pop jam that sounds like a worthy update on the Stone Roses classic “Fools Gold”. Every release since has been suitably gold. Will and Julian lent their nostalgia-meets-now palate of jams to this handpicked list of tunes, best enjoyed in the quiet moments before dozing off.
Will: This was the first Bob Dylan song that I ever listened to and it’s still my favourite. There’s a profoundly relaxing quality to Dylan’s voice in this tune: a tired, world-weariness that never fails to transcend the recording and lull me into a state of calm. Combined with the warm, delicate guitar arpeggio underneath and a touch of lazy harmonica, you’ve got yourself a definitive slumber number. It’s the kind of song that makes you thankful you’re at home, rugged up in bed (maybe even with someone special beside you).
Julian: Re-discovered through the [UK mix label] Late Night Tales compilations, “Didn’t I” is soul in its finest form. The relaxed tempo and melancholy strings ease Darondo’s troubled sentiment home.
Will: Tobias Jesso Jr’s dark, wilfully retro piano ballad “Hollywood” tells the story of the disasters that befell Jesso Jr when he was trying to make it as a musician in L.A. It’s a fragile sorrowful track, one that conjures a uniquely ‘70s image of a tired songwriter, wise beyond his years, spinning tales of loss from his piano before moving over to a barstool. I think what’s really special about “Hollywood” - and every song on Jesso Jr’s debut album Goon - is his feel for reflection. He knows how to squeeze the most out of every syllable and transition, and he hits each note right in the sweet spot so that you end up with chills down your spine with every listen.
Hot tip: best enjoyed alone, maybe cradling a whiskey ;)
Julian: I found this on the beautiful 2010 Symptoms of Love mix by Nordic DJ Lexx. The tune shows a deeper, more emotionally complex side to Jose that I wasn’t aware of.
Track 5: “Gymnopédies 3: Gymnopédie No. 1” – Erik Satie
Will: Anyone who has listened to Satie’s sparse, dream-like Gymonpedie No. 1 will know of its ability to soothe even the most over-active minds into sleep. Satie should really have run an insomnia clinic because this composition is better than Ambien. It might just be me, but listening to it I’m often reminded of a Hayao Miyazaki film. Like some enchanted creature, the piano manages to cast a spell on the listener. It’s deceptively simple and perfectly serene.
Julian: One of the most underrated experimental bands ever. The combination of mellotron chords and whimsical vocals is a perfect concoction for reflection.
Will: Hands down one of the best slow burners of all time. Cass McCombs’ gentle blue-eyed soul tune “County Line” is an express ticket to chill-ville. Like a lot of McCombs’ compositions, the genius of this song lies in its restraint. McCombs tiptoes around the vocal, crooning high but not-so-hard so that when the chorus hook finally arrives, the listener is happy for McCombs to take his time with it, to let the subtle tension of the song keep the candle burning. These days volume usually reigns supreme and a good chorus is often measured by how hard it hits, so it’s a testament to the calibre of McCombs’ songwriting that he can keep you wanting more whilst barely changing the dynamics of the song.
Julian: Mellow, but superiorly uplifting. What could inspire sleep more than a fingerpicked guitar jam glorifying the rise of the sun.
Written by Susannah Tucker for Vanishing Elephant Issue #3. Images by Angel Jhang.