Findin' the Grove - a Lo-Fi World

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Groovy—a word rarely used anymore that is usually followed by laughter when it leaves our parents’ mouths. However, there is no word that more perfectly encompasses the essence of the complex and budding lo-fi genre than just that: groovy.

This lo-fi, or low fidelity, genre is very difficult to describe, as it does not follow a certain set of guidelines. While some have attempted to label it as “dream pop” or “bedroom pop,” a trademarked name has never seemed necessary.

Elements from punk and garage rock, chillwave, hip hop, and other indie genres all form the foundation of lo-fi. Some of the imperfections contemporary music spends so much time avoiding, like audio distortions, fluctuations, and unintentional environmental sounds, are expected and even appreciated by fans of the genre. This gives it a feeling of unpredictability and improvisation. It leaves one with a jazzy, wavy, and almost hazy kind of feeling.  

If you’re a fan of artists like Mac DeMarco, Beck, Tame Impala, or even The Beach Boys, you won’t regret checking out some up-and-comers such as Banes World, Rex Orange County, Omar Apollo, and Clairo.

Many of these artists record and produce their music entirely on their own, creating DIY studios in their bedrooms or basements and have built fanbases from platforms like YouTube and SoundCloud.

With the freedom that comes from recording your own music, the constant experimentation with different sound manipulations and beats creates a unique sound that’s almost hypnotizing.

While a lot of these artists collaborate with each other and feed off of each other’s creativity, they all have incredibly different sounds. It’s a vast genre that has something to offer people with all different tastes.

Although the sound quality is characteristically low, it only adds to the genre’s aesthetic. The fuzzy lo-fi resonance of these songs creates a feeling of intimacy and warmth that parallels the experience of listening to old records you found in a dusty box in the basement.

These dreamy tunes are habitually accompanied by lyrics that resemble a conversation you’d have with your best friend sitting in a parking lot at 3 a.m.

Here are seven songs that will give you just a taste of that experience:

  1. “Valentine’s Curse”- Banes World

  2. “How Was Your Day?”- Mellow Fellow (feat. Clairo)

  3. “Everytime”- boy pablo

  4. “Revvin’ My Cj7”- Summer Salt

  5. “Gum, Toe and Sole”- Gus Dapperton

  6. “Unbothered”- Omar Apollo

  7. “Freaking Out the Neighborhood”- Mac DeMarco

The best way to explore this genre, or any other genre for that matter, is to find a few artists you like, shuffle their music, and see where it leads you. Who knows? You might just end up adding “groovy” to your vocabulary.

Written by: Josie Gruber
Edited by: Abby Sowder
Photo by: Amanda Seaboch

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