We all have our own nostalgic weak spots. We have songs or musicians or genres that are tied so strongly to a certain time and place that the mere act of listening to it feels like an anachronism; the music may not be bad, but it’s so of its time that you can carbon-date it down to the hour. And yet, all it takes is one note to pull you right back in, and the next thing you know you’re writing a great big thinkpiece in defense of, like, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah.
My weak spot is turn-of-the-decade indie music, released in that magical time between 2008 and 2012 when bands like Animal Collective became kind of mainstream and Pitchfork was still halfway relevant. I will unironically advocate for Sleigh Bells, Real Estate and Tune-Yards. I still listen to “Go Outside” and “All Around and Away We Go” on the regular. And I’ve got a lingering affection for chillwave, that sun-warped brand of pop that peddled lysergic California dreams before the blogosphere lost interest.
That might explain why I like “Selling My Blood” as much as I do, but it’s a damn solid song with or without the nostalgia factor. Courtesy of the Bay Area-based singer-songwriter J Chrysanthemum, “Selling My Blood” has more than a touch of chillwave. Like other songs in the genre, it takes inspiration from the AM gold of the 70s and adds an insular, stoned-introvert vibe. Those sun-drenched guitar chords, as well as Chrysanthemum’s voice, are reminiscent of Ariel Pink, although “Selling My Blood” is more grounded and less cartoonish than, say, something off of Pom Pom.
There’s more to recommend than just the sound, of course; there’s also the lyrics, which are clever and more meaningful than some of the other songs of its genre. “Selling My Blood” is not a metaphor; Chrysanthemum is singing, quite literally, about going to the local clinic and selling blood plasma. It’s become a common way for hard-up millennials to make some extra cash, and Chrysanthemum lingers on the banality of the experience while making a point about the things we have to do to get by. In a big, satisfying chorus, he asks to borrow a car and some money, promising to give the car back on Monday and the money back when he can. The song might sound beachy and relaxed, but there’s the ambient buzz of everyday worries and obligations in the background.
Chrysanthemum’s tone isn’t self-pitying; he doesn’t suggest that this problem is the greatest injustice there is, or that no one’s ever experienced anything like it. He just accepts it with a what-can-you-do shrug and walks on, doing his best to remain chill in a decidedly un-chill world. That’s the kind of attitude we should strive to take, especially when it’s backed by such a sunny tune as this.
Hey, Quick Sponsored Thing: PR Service to Get Your Music Featured in Blogs & Spotify Playlists
Our friends at Omari are really good at helping artists get heard and listed in cool indie blogs and playlists. They've worked with big acts (Judah & the Lion) and bedroom artists alike (which is feasible cuz service starts at $77). Anyway, take a look. Disclaimers: it's an affiliate link, and yeah, they're good.
If you're tired of pitching your music yourself, if you finally want to find your audience, or if you just like us, click here to learn more.