10 Indie Music Gems Overlooked in 2018
My husband and I, since we first started dating, have been playing the same game: New Music Mondays. We each make a list of usually 3 to 5 songs, and email it to the other with our thoughts on each song highlighted in black so they can’t yet be read. We listen to each song and write a short note — general thoughts, what we like, what we don’t like. Then, and only then, are we allowed to reveal the other’s original comments.
We uncovered one of our favorite artists, Yoke Lore, during an early round of New Music Mondays. We’ve seen him live twice, and, both times, we’ve gotten horribly drunk and talked to him at the merch booth. We ask about a particular lyric in his song “Hold Me Down.” He always answers, but, each time, we’ve been too drunk to remember the next day, and so the mystery continues.
For many musicians, the path to success is a difficult, sometimes impossible, one. We all want to see our favorite bands and artists succeed, but there’s something special, something so personal, about being a part of that success. Seeing an emerging band live in a tiny venue, being the first person to comment on a new video. . . these aren’t experiences you get when you’re listening to Drake or Arcade Fire.
As the end of the year approaches, I wanted to share my under-appreciated favorites from 2018 with all of you. View and listen counts were retrieved, respectively, from YouTube and Spotify. This list includes includes indie rock, rap, and pop, and every song has under 100K views and less than 600K listens.
1. Kiss Me Now — UPSAHL
15,560 views, 236,459 listens
For fans of: Dagny, Julietta, Bad Bad Hats
Upbeat and sultry, UPSAHL’s “Kiss Me Now” incorporates both acoustic guitar and unexpected synth beats into a song equal parts cheer and edge.
2. Boomerang — Jase Harley
356 views, 72,268 listens
For fans of: snny, ODIE, Omar Apollo
This New Jersey-based rapper and producer’s song blends rap and traditional rock with quick bass and an unconventional twangy guitar.
3. Let Me Get Close to You (G O L D) — Inner State
527 views, 141,508 listens
For fans of: Mosie, Nick Dorian, Max Frost
A song that converts retro vibes and a smooth sample from Isaac Hayes into something spacey and updated.
4. Sam & Diane — Brother Moses
398 views, 36,111 listens
For fans of: Hippo Campus, Local Natives, Peach Pit
Brother Moses, a band from my home-state of Arkansas, brings that classic indie sound with “Sam & Diane,” a song about lovers that just can’t get their shit together.
5. Revolutionize — Mia Gladstone
5,014 views, 104,489 listens
For fans of: The Asteroids Galaxy Tour, Still Woozy, Lucius
A funky, soulful, retro-sounding track that breaks down into a surprisingly updated final act. Don’t be surprised if you hear this playing at your local speakeasy in the near future.
6. Commit — Daktyl
6,066 views, N/A *Spotify doesn’t make this information available unless the song is within the band’s top 10 most popular
For fans of: Kishi Bashi, Saint Motel, Kainalu
This song will shoot off in a new direction every time you think you’ve got it pegged, with truly great synth, vocal distortion, rocking guitar, tambourine, and even bird sounds.
7. Bombae Lemonade — Extremely Bad Man, Omenihu, Jallal
588 views, 68,171 listens
For fans of: Tropics, Kevin Abstract, The Palms
This indie rap track defies genre expectations with a great underlying bass riff, funky guitar, and a wonderful outro that carries the momentum of the song to the very end.
8. Gibbz — Get You Some
307 views, NA *Spotify doesn’t make this information available unless the song is within the band’s top 10 most popular
For fans of: Cherub, slenderbodies, St. Lucia
This one fluctuates from slow, smooth verses to an upbeat, bassy chorus. Either way, if it doesn’t make you want to dance, nothing will.
9. Pizzagirl — Favourite Song
4,934 views, 91,534 listens
For fans of: Summer Heart, Gus Dapperton, The Lagoons
A song this new should not be able to conjure such a deep feeling of wistful nostalgia, but “Pizzagirl” does just that. The cool 80’s vibe makes this one particularly suited for a long night drive.
10. Trouble — Grapetooth
54,726 views, 590,504 listens
For fans of: Sam Evian, Post Animal, Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Grapetooth’s lead vocalist has a very unique voice that pairs well with the harmonic synth layers of this fun head-nodder.
Listen to these artists, and if you like them, support them. Watch their videos, buy their albums, follow them for tour updates. Their success depends on you and, after all, you are what you listen to.