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Like post-rock without the theatrics, like emo without the energy, slowcore is a genre built perfectly for lighting up and going out to. Sure, the music has a tendency towards melancholy. But if you’re going to smoke up and space out, you might as well feel something, too.

We start our journey with Galaxie 500, a band whose approach was less about creating space by stretching out the length of sounds and more to do with creating a larger canvas with which to coat in fuzz and static. On ‘Tugboat,’ the rhythm section provides a hugging backbone that a tremulous guitar occasionally slices through.

Carissa’s Wierd rip out percussion entirely on ‘Low Budget Slow motion Soundtrack Song for the Leaving Scene,’ and the work is left to two entwined guitars whispering harmonies to devastating effect. Subtle drum sounds that emerge in the track’s latter half are almost heartbreaking as they bring out an urgency that rockets the song to its staggering finale.

Red House Painters are considered by many to be one of the foundational slowcore acts. On ‘Japanese to English,’ they deliver the purest version of the sound: Clean and precise instruments interlock with a sighing vocal from Mark Kozelek. Low’s ‘Words’ strips things down to their essentials with an almost hymnal quality, evoking a beam of light through a broken stained glass window.

There’s even more emotion and variation across the rest of the playlist, so light up and get emotional.

Happy toking!

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