This entry is beyond obvious. So obvious, in fact, that there is already one half-hearted review of said album deep in the Tiananmen Square Dance archives. Known as one of the single most influential (or at least popular) chillwave bands in existence at this time, Small Black makes up a Voltron-like triad along with Neon Indian and Toro y Moi, the three that made it happenin’. Small Black studies the chillwave formula: laptop-centric, nodding to classic 80’s synthpop jams, wimpy vocals, wed with the warped lo-fi tinge of ethnic music.
Small Black came onto the scene with an eight-track self-titled EP, which was very hissy and lo-fi, but stuck in our collective hipster minds with classics like “Despicable Dogs” and “Pleasant Experience”, but what really launched these funk soul brothas into the chillwave limelight was last year’s full-length “New Chain”. Featuring a polished sound, braver vocals, and a lot more attention to song structure, Small Black turned it up to 11, and “New Chain” is a chillwave/glo-fi album that is not to be overlooked. Nearly every track is an instant crowd-pleaser, from the oddly sentimental “Camouflage” to the funky fresh “Search Party” to the ruminating “Crisp 100s”. Seriously, do tha right thing and pick up Small Black’s “New Chain” on Amazon or Jagjaguwar’s site (whenever it works), and DO NOT tell them that I said they were a chillwave band. As orgasmic as it might be, I do not want to be hunted down and paddywhacked by a bunch of talented musicians.