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
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
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
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
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
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
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/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 (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
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.
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