Indie Music Year in Review: Isabelle’s Top Ten Asian Indie Songs of 2013

I think I have some of the best blogger friends in the world, given that they thought it was worth their time to help me out with a year end round up of some of the best Indie releases in 2013. Isabelle’s list is the first of four, which are comprised of songs from all parts of the Asian Indie music sphere. Look out for some interesting finds and varied tastes (even if we stretch the definition of “Indie” to suit our needs).
Happy Reading!

Here are my picks for Top Ten Asian Indie releases (but it’s pretty much Korean indie dominated) for year 2013.

10. DickPunk – Viva Youth

Dickpunks - Viva Primavera

DickPunks (딕펑스) – Viva Primavera

Viva Youth brings a smile to my face with every listen – it is cheerful, uplifting and bursting with positive energy. It’s a feel good song that’ll cheer you up whenever you’re feeling down.

9. Dora Wu – Medley of Loneliness

Wu Wen Fang

吳汶芳 (Dora Wu Wen Fang)- 孤獨的總和 (Medley of Loneliness)

I know that it’s weird seeing how Medley of Loneliness is the only non-Korean release in this list but I assure you, it’s a song that deserves every bit of attention that it’s got at the moment, and perhaps even more. Medley of Loneliness gained fame and recognition as one of the tracks from T-drama The Pursuit Of Happiness’s OST, and deservingly so. Dora Wu is a singer-songwriter that I’ve only discovered very recently and suffice to say, it was love at first listen when I first heard her voice on the show. The reason why I love this release is because the lyrics that she’s written are so earnest, unassuming and easy to relate to. It’s simple and beautifully impactful in an understated way. It’s one of those songs that’ll slowly worm its way into your heart without you even realising it. ^.^

8. Verbal Jint feat. Bumkey – Walking in the Rain

Verbal Jint feat. Bumkey

버벌진트 (Verbal Jint) – 비범벅 (Walking in the Rain) feat. 범키 (BUMKEY)

Everything about this song screams effortless suave to me. Bumkey’s smooth vocals and Verbal Jint’s rap complement each other so well together. The transition from Bumkey’s godly vocals to Verbal Jint’s smooth rap is seamless. This collaboration is the epitome of awesome T.T

7. Rose Motel –  Marrying Man, Marrying Woman

장미여관 (Rose Motel) - 장가가고 싶은 남자 시집가고 싶은 여자 (Marrying Man, Marrying Woman)

장미여관 (Rose Motel) – 장가가고 싶은 남자 시집가고 싶은 여자 (Marrying Man, Marrying Woman)

If I were to describe Rose Motel’s  Marrying Man, Marrying Woman in two words it would be frank and sentimental. My favourite part of the lyrics of this song is “We all live the same way and will die some day We all know this so just throw away your greed and lower your standards” (lyrics translation sourced from popgasa) because it really rings true for many of us when you think about it. This should come as no surprise since Rose Motel’s philosophy is to write songs that “anybody can relate to, but nobody writes about.” I love how they’re able to incorporate wry humour into their music and still manage to make it sound good.

6. Fromm – Like You

Frommm Arrival

프롬 (Fromm) – Arrival

I can’t really find words to describe Like You. One thing that I’m sure though is that the layering and arrangement of this song works really well with her vocals, which makes for a pleasant listen.

5. Sunbee – Dripping

선비 (Sunbee) - 스르르르 (Surururu)

선비 (Sunbee) – 스르르르 (Dripping)

Dripping sounds very dreamy and ethereal-like. Sunbee’s voice has this riveting quality to it that’ll just suck you into listening whatever she’s singing about. I love how it’s so different from what you’d typically expect from a Korean release. Two words: Hauntingly beautiful.

4. Kim Ye Rim – Urban Green (English version)

Lim Kim – Goodbye 20

Lim Kim/Kim Ye Rim’s had her fair share of releases (A Voice, Her Voice and Goodbye 20 were all released this year) but the English version of Urban Green from Goodbye 20 is my favourite track from the singer this year. Her voice sounds melancholic in an oddly detached but captivating way which goes really well with the acoustic guitar. Kim Ye Rim is one voice that you’ll want to look out for in the near future.

3. Han So Hyun – Go Away

Han So Hyun Oh My Darling

한소현 (Han So Hyun) – Oh My Darling

Han So Hyun (of 3rd Coast fame) may not be a foreign name to those who’s listened to K-indie for quite some time. She’s frequently featured in Standing Egg’s works and many other artists. Go Away from her Oh My Darling solo venture showcases her vocal range and shows us what she’s made of. I hear some R&B and a little of jazz influence in this number, which I absolutely love.

2. SARAM12SARAM – Raindrop Cloud Typhoon and the Sun

사람12사람 (SARAM12SARAM) - 빗물구름태풍태양 (Raindrop Cloud Typhoon and the Sun)

사람12사람 (SARAM12SARAM) – 빗물구름태풍태양 (Raindrop Cloud Typhoon and the Sun) EP

Raindrop Cloud Typhoon and the Sun is…to quote @emsterrzzzz “this shit is what they call orgasmic”. HEH. Was practically struggling to find the right words to describe this electronica track so I guess this sentence should do the trick. It’s unlike anything that I’ve ever heard before. THIS SONG IS SICK.

1. MYK – Autumn


I’ve said this once, and I’ve said this twice, and I will say it again and again. MYK is such an awesome, but criminally underrated musician/one man band/producer/singer/rapper. I remember myself declaring SALTNPAPER as one of the best album releases this year and man did he set the bar incredibly high this year. I LOVE LOVE LOVE how his music stands out from the rest despite the fact that it is less promoted. Simplicity at its best, I tell you! Autumn is a soulful, ethereal folk-like acoustic piece that’ll always be welcome on my playlist for years to come.

You can find Isabelle in higher doses on her fabulous blog Isabelle Loves to Rant.

(Images, Video and Audio belong to respective owners.)


6 responses to “Indie Music Year in Review: Isabelle’s Top Ten Asian Indie Songs of 2013

  1. Walking in the Rain is definitely a song I had on repeat this year. Loved it!!!! (and still do) I was also glad that I got to discover Wu Wen Fang this year, she is such a great singer! She sings great live too! *W*


    • It’s one of the slickest release from this year. The MV for Walking in the Rain works really well for the song too. Wu Wen Fang has yet to gain recognition internationally but I’m glad that TPOH has gave her more opportunities to be known to new listeners like you and I. Haven’t seen such a good singer-songwriter in ages. Her songs fit really well with the drama. ^.^


  2. Yessss, loved your selections! I particularly enjoyed 12Saram12’s music and Fromm’s. I’ve never heard of them until this list so definitely thanks for the heads up on these amazing indie artists! Sunbee’s track was very haunting as well. 😀


    • Why thank youuu and you’re very welcome. ^.^ I’m just glad that there’s one more person out there who’s noticed them — those that were relatively quite below the radar. 12Saram12’s music is really quite something, eh?;)


  3. Saltnpaper’s mini album was indeed THE best release this year, possibly for the past few years for me because wow. Just wow. I was struck by LoveStrong because it was just so real and striking (it’s MYK and Tablo, how could it not be good? haha~) that I didn’t hesitate to recommend it to everyone I knew.
    Love this list! Thank you to everyone who helped compile it ^^


    • I so sorry that it took me forever to see this and respond to your comment (am currently on a hiatus of sorts) but anyways thank you so much for commenting! I am so so glad there’s someone out there who agrees with me. SALTNPAPER was the only album that I’ve actually purchased from iTunes from year 2013 because it was simply that good. 🙂



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