Bedroom boogie artist Layton Wu opens a portal to paradise | Music Review | Chicago Reader

Music » Music Review

Bedroom boogie artist Layton Wu opens a portal to paradise


Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe


Chicago-based, Taiwan-born bedroom-pop auteur Layton Wu blurs boogie, yacht rock, and sun-kissed 60s pop into a calming sound that helps dial back my anxiety when every scrap of news cranks it to “high.” He released the luxuriant Summertime Mixtape (Sunset Music) four days after the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, and since I first listened to it, I’ve absolutely needed to keep listening to it. Wu sings in a soft-edged but outgoing coo that’s both sultry and endearing, accompanied by tight funk bass, nimble percussion, and soothing keys that float in the background or gleam like sunlight off a window. In someone else’s hands this might end up musical wallpaper, but Wu’s ear for hooks and total commitment to his almost otherworldly retro aesthetic combine to give his songs a magnetic charm. The tender surf guitar and post-lounge electronic drums on “Honey Ginger Tea” help me dream of a summertime getaway—especially welcome now that I’m barely stepping outside.   v

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 

Add a comment