Still Woozy: How Sven Gamsky introduced me to Indie

If you are like me, you’re a hundred miles from home, living in a city among strangers, studying on a course you’ve had no previous experience in. 

Stressful to say the least – so why not take a dose of the indie/soul godsend that is the US-based musician, Still Woozy? I first heard his song ‘Goodie Bag’ on my sister’s playlist on Spotify, which she would play out loud in the kitchen while I baked and she painted, filling long, sun-blazed afternoons with the French doors open, to be sure the neighbours wouldn’t miss our ‘superior’ taste in music. 

That playlist was really the beginning of my hundred-foot journey from what had previously been almost exclusively mainstream pop and dance anthems into the world of indie in every shape and form. There was something about it that just struck a chord, pun intended. 

Maybe it’s because I’m a bit of an old soul, and like everyone else, was looking for some proof that wanting to be different is OK. Enter indie music and all its offshoots and it was like I had found my musical home, so to speak, something that wasn’t confined to the place I left behind in September, but which will always be there, filling my head with its dream-like confirmation that who we are is exactly what we feel like and not what we think we should be. 

And leading the way is Still Woozy, real name Sven Gamsky, an American singer-songwriter whose grand total of nine singles hit the nail on the head in a way that blew my mind. His music has been described by NME as ‘psychedelic bedroom pop‘ and ‘genre-bending’ by IQ – I can’t help but agree. There is something surprisingly simple yet exquisitely written about it: the kind of music that makes you feel like you’re floating; hypnotic, syncopated, music that sounds different every time, like a painting in which you keep noticing new things that you never saw before; this same-old combination of bass, drums, guitar and vocals blended in such a way that you can almost feel its cake-like texture. 

Out of all his work, ‘Habit’ must be my favourite by far, although I swear this changes every time I hear ‘Window’ or ‘Cooks’. The main draw-back in pop is it’s teenage-angst obsession with treble, with harmonies and dramatic runs that punch through the ceiling and make for some fantastic singing-into-the-hairbrush hits, but if you’re looking for something a little more down to earth, albeit utterly seductive, then have a taste of some of Gamsky’s work, all parts recorded in his garage in Oakland, California. But Still Woozy doesn’t just bring sheer musical talent that makes the GCSE music student inside of me salivate, but a sense of playfulness and subtle flirtation, using carefully manipulated synths and feather-light backing vocals that promise lazy mornings and late nights.

He hasn’t written an album, but rather a collection of singles, each a different flavour of what can only be described as hot chocolate heaped with marshmallows in the early hours. With my headphones plugged in, I can kick back and just get found in the abstract fantasy of contemporary indie.

If ‘art enables us to find ourselves’ then Still Woozy’s music has given me a place to call home. 

Alice Attwell

Featured Image Source:  Still via Still Woozy// YouTube. Licensed to YouTube by UMG.

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