Last week, Carolyn and I attended the premier of Washed Out’s new visual album, Mister Mellow. The event was at the Vista theatre in Los Feliz and was free with an RSVP. Honestly, we weren’t sure what to expect. There were very few details included on the invitation, so it was a surprise when we realized that there was going to be a visual component to the listening party. I thought we just came to listen to the album! I was very pleasantly shook. Plus, there was free popcorn and I ate two bags of it. Afterwards Washed Out played a DJ set at El Cid, a flamenco club down the street.
Washed Out – Mister Mellow
Washed Out AKA Ernest Greene is a “chillwave” musician and producer from Georgia. If you’ve ever seen Portlandia you’ve already heard his music – he did the theme song. Apparently he went to University of Georgia to be a librarian, but when he couldn’t find a job at a library, he moved in with his parents and started recording songs in his bedroom. One-person bedroom recording artists are my favorite!
Washed Out’s music is very dreamy and chill with dance and pop influences. It’s the musical equivalent of a cinnamon roll – just like nice, soft, warm, gooey, and sugary. His new album, Mister Mellow, is aptly named. It’s certainly chill, but he’s also substantially grown musically and has added (to my ear) more jazz influences to his writing. The concept of the album is using music as an escape from a boring everyday routine. We can all relate to that, right?
The best part is that he enlisted various artists to create visual accompaniments to the songs. These are a few highlights:
Burn Out Blues
“Burn Out Blues” is the first full-length song on the album. Carolyn had the best description of the video: “It looks like a bunch of stuff being sucked through a butthole.” This video was directed by Winston Hacking. I find this video kind of gross and unsettling, but in a good way.
“Floating By” is my favorite song and video on the album. Directed by Drew Tyndell, this video perfectly captures what’s going on in my head when I listen to Washed Out.
This humorous video features a moving collage of 80’s advertisements in a weird pseudo-Miami setting. “Get Lost” is directed by Harvey Benschoter.
The only thing I didn’t like about The Mister Mellow Show was the host, played by a cotton-mouthed Kyle Mooney. He was so annoying, and I felt like it really took away from the whole vibe. In opposition to Washed Out’s cinnamon bun sound, his voice was like nails on a chalkboard. Like, just get him away from me. If you can get around that (or, ya know, just skip through), Mister Mellow feels like what you would expect from Washed Out but still fresh and interesting.
You can watch the whole album here:
What do you think of Washed Out’s new album? Let me know in the comments!