New York native Charles Griffin Gibson – aka CHUCK – has been quietly tackling the complexities of human emotion with a warped musical backdrop that's comforting, rich and, at times, confusing. It’s those double-ended moments in music where a note can leave you hanging on or a turn of phrase can change in the way it moves you. It’s bedroom pop about growing up fast that sounds big and meaningful when it wants to, but more importantly it's something to rely on last thing at night – like your last cigarette.
Below, CHUCK picked out a playlist of songs that are perfect for the last cigarette, with some very apt commentary.
"I’m dedicating this playlist to my friend Andrew Devlon, because the title is a reference to something he said once. He was talking about the first song on this list. He said it was a great ‘last cigarette’ song. So I gathered a few other tracks to fit that same vibe. Just picture yourself, out on a patio or in front of a bar or in a nightclub. You’ve had a long night of partying. Maybe you met someone interesting. Maybe you bumped into someone you hate. Either way, you’re drunk and it’s late and you’re tired, but for some reason, you can’t bring yourself to go home just yet. You've gotta have one last cigarette. And as you light up, one of these songs comes on."
“Shadows From Nowhere” by Blue Gas
This was the song Andrew sent me that inspired this playlist. It’s pretty incredible. It’s like a much weirder version of that 10CC song “I’m Not in Love”. It also has some elements that remind me of Phil Collins. I like how groovy it is, but also how slow it is. It makes you wanna dance and sit in a lazy boy at the same time. Bonus points for the glorious tape hiss running throughout the song.
“Soft Stuff” by Emily Yacina
I’ve known about Emily through her work with Alex G, but I hadn’t heard any of her solo stuff until my friend Piccone told me to check this song out. I really like it. It’s very understated. I could smoke my last cigarette to this.
“You Still Believe In Me” by The Beach Boys
I saw Brian Wilson recently on his Pet Sounds tour and this song was a standout moment for me. Something about it coming from him as an old man was incredibly heartbreaking. If you’ve still got a soul, this song could make you cry at 4am.
“Alone Again (Naturally)” by Gilbert O’Sullivan
I forget where I got this song, I think I read someone like Stevie Nicks talk about it in an interview. But that doesn't matter I guess. Listening to it makes me feel like I’m watching the TV Show Cheers. It kinda has an Anchorman vibe too.
“Alone” by The Cry
I’d like to hear this on a porch in the suburbs. Maybe coming through the windows from a sound system inside. The party has emptied out. There’s a few people passed out on some chairs and couches. You’re the last man standing. You light a cigarette and stare out at the street and listen to this.
“Big Sis” by Sales
"Big Sis" has a really great balance of sad and hopeful. It’s got enough rhythm to seem a little upbeat, but the melodies and singer really make you feel like you’re kicking dirt and rocks and feeling like an idiot. Shout out to Sales.
“Everything is Shitty” by Jerry Paper
Jerry Paper is unlike anyone else. He performs in a silk kimono while wearing a headset like he’s gonna give an Apple product launch presentation. His music is like Xiu Xiu meets Steely Dan meets XTC meets old computers. I love how he gets his voice to sound on his tracks. This song “Everything is Shitty” is really funny, but also has a great groove. I’d imagine this song playing as two really drunk people grind at a party, and then they decide to leave halfway through the song and get in a cab and make out all the way to one of their apartments.
“Problem” by Hovvdy
I don’t know how this band recorded this track, but I want to know. Something about how all the instruments bleed together really touches me. I love the singing style too, reminds me of that first Pete Yorn record. That’s a real blast from the past. Listening to this makes me feel like a teenager driving through a town I don’t wanna live in anymore. A perfectly fine setting for a last cigarette.
“MOLLY & AQUAFINA” by Dean Blunt
This Dean Blunt guy is pretty cool. This track was off his record Black Metal. It has very heavy Lou Reed vibes for me. It makes me feel like I'm walking around NYC really late at night. Makes me wanna bum a cigarette off someone.
“Mud” by Alex G
The funny thing about Alex G is, if you look at his lyrics on paper, they don’t really seem all that special, but then you hear them in a song like “Mud” and it feels like he knows something really deep about life. The mix of the vocals is a big part of why I like this song so much. Emily Yacina from earlier is on this track with him. Someone who is at home late at night looking at pictures of an ex might throw this on – the perfect time for a cigarette as long as your roommates or parents aren't home.
“Corridor of Dreams” by The Cleaners From Venus
This song sounds like it was recorded inside a tin can. I think that’s what makes it such a great last cigarette track; it feels like a beaten up old shirt that you used to love or a vintage chair or something. Cleaners From Venus rule and this is my favorite song by them. Great production and instrumentation. I love the bass. This would be great for the end credits of a movie – and in that movie, after the main character goes through hell and back, they find themselves where they should be, and they wipe away a tear, and they smile and then they throw out their last cigarette, and drive off into the sunset.
CHUCK's debut record, My Band Is A Computer, is out now via Audio Antihero.