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Washed Out: Lush Soundscapes Alongside Wistful Vocals

Washed Out

Washed Out is the one-man music project of the American multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, and record producer Ernest Greene. Born in Perry, Georgia in 1982, Greene decided to move back to his parents’ house after earning two degrees—an undergraduate degree from the University of Georgia followed by a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science—and having no luck in finding a job as a librarian. Greene started recording music in his own private bedroom studio as a way to cope with his difficult career situation and the aftermath of the financial crisis in 2007.

Greene started out making and recording music mainly for himself and his close group of friends, until one day he changed his MySpace name to “Washed Out” and posted a few of his tracks. That’s when things got real and he was discovered by several influential music blogs and later on Pitchfork.

A rebel by nature, Greene steered clear of anything related to Southern music as he began making music. Mixing 1980s dance-pop samples with reverb-heavy, dreamy vocals and vintage synthesizers, Greene started the genre known as “Chillwave” along with other bands, such as Memory Tapes, Neon Indian, and Toro Y Moi.
“You’ve got to kind of laugh at it,” Greene said commenting—in an ever so laid-back vibe—on the different names bloggers had labeled his music with. “That all came out of blog culture. I don’t really think about it.”

For me personally, I’m always writing from what’s happening in my emotional life. Even without thinking about it a lot of the time, it comes out in the songs that I’m writing

Discography of Washed Out

In 2009, Greene released the dreamy “Life of Leisure” EP which featured “Feel It All Around,” one of his most listened tracks and is also used as the opening theme for the TV show “Portlandia,” which gathered a lot of attention and buzz to the band.
The first LP for Washed Out, “Within and Without,” was released on July 6, 2011, after signing with Sub Pop. Faintly reminiscent of the ethereal shoegaze atmosphere of Slowdive and My Bloody Valentine, the album was the perfect soundtrack for lovers of summery, beachy vibes. The vocals appearing on this album are smudged and unintelligible which goes perfectly well with the overall bright, hazy feel of the album. The album went up to no. 26 on the Billboard 200.

Washed Out — "All I Know"

“Paracosm” came out in 2013 and while it continued with the signature subdued, mellow vocals, the album witnessed a bit of a deviation from what Washed Out is all about in terms of instrumentation. Unlike its predecessor, the guitars are more prominent, and it generally sounds more rock-y than anything Greene had created before.

I’m very happy in my life, but I do feel that music has a power to transport you to places or to beautiful moments in your past

New Album “Mister Mellow”

After four years, came out “Mister Mellow” in 2017. In this album, Greene noticeably draws influences from hip-hop and jazz, which coincides with signing up with Stones Throw Records, and deviating a bit from the woozy sound Washed Out started with. “Mister Mellow” comes with a visual album DVD that features a psychedelic, trippy video for each of the album tracks.

All images and music copyright of Washed Out.

You can view more music by Washed out on his Instagram and website.

Article written by Nouran Gaafar

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