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Alternative & Indie - Released August 7, 2020 | Sub Pop Records

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After two albums that took the basic Washed Out template of gentle bedroom pop and expanded it in interesting ways, 2020's Purple Noon finds Ernest Greene back in familiar territory. There is none of the widescreen '90s-inspired shoegaze that made 2013's Paracosm a delight, or any of the cut-up hip hop-inspired samples that gave 2017's Mister Mellow some bounce. Instead, the album feels like a polished, sonically boosted follow-up to the first Washed Out album Within and Without. As on that record, the mood here is subdued, the instrumentation muted, and Greene's vocals hover on the edge of slumber as the songs roll into each other like connected dreams. It's an immersive listening experience with one mood -- melancholy -- that's explored over and over until the listener is enveloped in a wave of torpor as the synths swell and bubble, echoing vocal harmonies swirl, and the drum machines tap out rhythms like far-away SOS calls. It's easy to get lost in the gentleness of the mix and wake up 40 minutes after hitting play, slightly dazed and wondering where the time went. It's not a record built around songs, hooks, or tracks to be extracted and plopped in the middle of a playlist. Purple Noon is an old-school album, meant to be listened to in one sitting so the mood can't be broken. It may not be the kind of feeling someone would want to be in everyday, but when something quiet, sad, and a little cloudy is called for, this will certainly do the trick. That said, there are a few moments where melodies and subtle hooks threaten to make a deep impression. The almost peppy "Too Late" kicks the album off with stuttering rhythms, nicely fat-sounding synths, and a huge chorus where Greene's vocals almost cut through the murk, "Paralyzed" mixes a pretty, swaying melody with a nice late-night R&B feel, and "Hide" is a laid-back synth pop track that sounds like New Order after swallowing a bottle full of sleeping pills. Apart from these songs, the rest of the record mostly floats on vaguely disinterested clouds and by the end, it's hard not to be disappointed that Greene has backtracked. After releasing a couple albums that showed the Washed Out sound could be altered in interesting ways, coming back with something that's textbook chillwave can't help but be a letdown, no matter how pretty and soothing it can be. © Tim Sendra /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released July 12, 2011 | Sub Pop Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released August 13, 2013 | Sub Pop Records

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Electronic - Released June 30, 2017 | Stones Throw Records

After the release of Washed Out's 2013 album, Paracosm, Ernest Greene took a step back to reconfigure the direction the project was headed. The chillwave sound he had helped popularize had seeped into the mainstream and both Washed Out albums had been variations on that sound; Within and Without looked to smooth R&B for inspiration, Paracosm to soft rock and shoegaze. By the time Mister Mellow, the third Washed Out album, saw the light of day in 2017, it appeared that Greene had decided to go back to his roots to create something that sounded like a pumped-up version of the early Washed Out sound. The album has a hazy underwater sound with a slight polish, the tempos are languid and dreamy, the vocals drift through the mix like fluffy clouds, and Greene seems content to let the music flow organically in quite soothing fashion. That's not to say that the previous albums didn't follow a similar template; it's just that Greene really seemed to be trying hard -- sometimes failing (Within and Without), sometimes succeeding wildly (Paracosm), but always looking looking to add elements to his basic sound. Mister Mellow shows that Washed Out does just fine when confined to Greene's figurative bedroom, surfing the airwaves for weird samples, mining hip-hop and disco for ideas, and basically just being a cool customer. Though most of the album washes by like a half waking dream made up of drifting synth washes, brief instrumental interludes, and lots of sleepy-eyed calm, there are a few songs that have a little extra oomph. The quick-step disco jam "Get Lost" has a peppy beat, a honking sax solo, and plenty of zippy synths; the funky "Floating By" has a lovely midsection that drops the beat and floats like helium; and the album-ending "Million Miles Away" is a very pretty ballad that ends the album on a pillowy, oddly emotional note. It's not clear if the album is truly meant to be a new direction for Washed Out or a sort of clearing out of the past to make way for something new; either way it sounds pleasing and easy, like the work of someone not trying to make the masses happy, but instead making music that comes naturally to him. © Tim Sendra /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released July 12, 2011 | Sub Pop Records

Within and Without is Washed Out's debut album for Sub Pop and the first chance a wide audience will have to hear Ernest Greene’s brand of dreamy, drowsy synth pop. While many will be drawn into the slickly sweet sound he creates, those who already knew of Washed Out’s work may find themselves disappointed by the glossy, overcooked production. Early singles and EPs had a slightly ramshackle sound built on cheap-sounding synths and Greene's pleading (and buried-in-reverb) vocals; this LP has a sound so shimmery and sleek it slides right through your brain without leaving a mark. The synthesizers sound fresh-out-of-the-box new and the drum machines sound like they were borrowed from an early-'90s electronic group (like Ultramarine, for example); everything sounds so clean and processed. Granted, as it passes through your brain, the effect will be pleasant and often pleasurable since there are no sharp edges to distract you and the melodies are nice enough. The way Greene layers the synths is also pretty and his low-in-the-mix vocals have a tender and yearning quality. Unfortunately, all this pleasantness means there are few hooks or memorable tunes to hold on to -- no songs as catchy or immediately satisfying as the early singles “Feel It All Around” and “Belong,” no songs you will end up remembering once the album ends. Greene’s reliance on texture and the soft, billowing sound of the album mean it’s often not much more than very nice background music that captures the ambiance of a mid-level sushi restaurant perfectly but leaves no lasting impression. While that may sound pretty harsh, there is a place in the world of music for albums that successfully fill the space in your life when you want to hear something nice and don’t want to be overly engaged or challenged. Within and Without will satisfy your needs in that regard, and only those looking for memorable songs or fresh sounds will feel let down. © Tim Sendra /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released August 13, 2013 | Sub Pop Records

If Washed Out's first album Within and Without lived up to the band's name, and as the band's Ernest Greene has said, sounded monochromatic, the follow-up, 2013's Paracosm, sounds like a 21-gun salute fired from cannons filled with brightly colored confetti in comparison. Greene made a couple of big adjustments to the way he recorded this album -- first he moved out to the countryside to get his head cleared out, then he decided to add a raft of vintage synths like Optigans and Mellotrons to his arsenal. The former helped him focus his attention and allowed him to pay microscopic attention to the sonic details; the latter added a major amount of variety and warmth to the album, bathing it in echoing tones of color and light. Bringing on board influences from the heady peak days of the shoegaze sound and writing songs that have big, sunny hooks also helps to make the album a wide-screen Technicolor experience. This time out, he also integrates live drums and bass into the mix of instruments, which gives the sound a human core and a little punch when the tempos move past languid and closer to loping. These changes don't mean that Greene is any less chilled out and laid-back; most of the record sounds like the most blissful soft rock album ever made (or the album Chapterhouse might have made if they were big Bread fans) and it's perfect music for doing nothing much on a gloriously warm and sunny summer day. Tracks like "It All Feels Right" or "Great Escape" have a sticky sweet center and sound the way sunscreen smells, "Falling Back" rolls past on cresting waves of hazy sound, and the rest of the album lives up to the title of the most relaxed and dreamlike song here, "Weightless." This album is where Greene puts it all together and lives up to the promise of his early, sound-defining hit "Feel It All Around" by taking his chillwave somewhere sunny and life affirming. (Warmwave, anyone?) Within and Without sounded like music made to be played in a dentist office, cold and lifeless. Paracosm is the music you'd play while lying happily in the grass, or hanging out with your besties, or living life with no cares or cavities. It sounds fully colored in and unless you're a big fan of cold and lifeless, it's a huge step forward for Washed Out. © Tim Sendra /TiVo
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Electronic - Released May 11, 2018 | Stones Throw Records

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Electronic - Released January 26, 2010 | Lovepump United

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Electronic - Released August 30, 2017 | Stones Throw Records

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Electronic - Released November 14, 2017 | Stones Throw Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released June 11, 2013 | Sub Pop Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released July 5, 2011 | Sub Pop Records