THE BEST NEW INDIE POP SONGS THAT PACK A PUNCH
Hello! Today I’m really excited to share the songs I have picked for you. Since starting at WATG, I’ve had the pleasure of discovering new artists and promoting already established acts that are incredible in every way. However, this batch of songs feels different. While it is still a mixture of new and established artists, the overall sounds and visual representation feels so unique to me. There is something special about each of these songs and artists that occupies a space in the oversaturated world of artists that feels like an untapped niche.
ERIC NAM - “ANY OTHER WAY”
This song is really spectacular. Eric Nam is a 32 year old Korean artist based in Seoul and LA who was born in Atlanta, Georgia and attended Boston College. His newest single, “Any Other Way,” comes with the announcement of his upcoming sophomore album that will be released sometime this year. His success began in 2011 when one of his videos on Youtube went viral and since then he’s been heavily involved in the music and television industry which has gained him international praise and recognition. Ever since watching this video for “Any Other Way,” I immediately saw Eric Nam’s charm. He takes on a vintage look while producing an incredibly modern sound. The song, according to an interview with Eric and NME, mentions that his upcoming album, titled, There and Back Again, is about “journey” and how we are all trying to find ourselves and who we are. While this might be a common sentiment for artists to write about, I believe that it's important for such an influential artist to be taking such a genuine path for creating his music. Not to mention, this album won’t be released on a label but rather as an independent artist which is also very empowering in its own right. Overall, Eric Nam’s depth as a person and groovy, dancy but also emotional and moody music will give you chills as you listen and/or watch the video for “Any Other Way.”
TATE MCRAE - “FEEL LIKE SHIT”
On a completely different note from Eric Nam, Tate McRae’s new single, “feel like shit” is a beautifully crafted song about navigating young love. Tate McRae is a singer-songwriter-popstar who is currently only 18 years old and writing music way ahead of her years. “feel like shit” feels so relatable and I’m 22. I feel like I’m learning stuff about my own love life through this song which showcases the incredible maturity within the lyrics. Moreover, the melodic contour and production gives the song so much weight in the best way. Tate McRae started on the show So You Think You Can Dance which gained her recognition in the industry from her talent as a dancer. The video attached above for “feel like shit” showcases this talent through the absolutely beautiful choreography. It really gives a fantastic sense of the emotional weight of the song. Hailing from Alberta, Canada, Tate McRae was destined for success at a young age. She performed in many dancing competitions and began her music career in 2017. Her upbringing and childhood seemed to have nurtured her talents giving her the ability and capacity to tap into a special artistic independence.
ARIES - “RIDING”
Once again, another vibe shift. Aries is a very very unique artist right now. He does such a great job at playing into that super quirky, witty persona that is intriguing and humorous. “Ridin” is his newest single and the music video opens up on two men in the desert playing backgammon. Aries approaches the two men and begins to talk in reverse similar to what David Lynch did in Twin Peaks. The two men then give him some sort of potion that he drinks that ends up sending him into a psychedelic trip and then the song starts. Aries is a YouTuber, singer-songwriter and rapper who was born in Wichita, Kansas but moved to Orange County, California which is where he grew up. The song’s foundation is a vibed out song talking about driving. The video and lyrics heavily reference luxury car brands and showcases Aries riding a camel in the desert. This song is perfect if you just want to sit back and blast it through your car speakers. Aries started his musical career around 2012 and 2013 when he was in high school. Aries is a self taught musician who didn’t know how to play any instruments or know music theory. He taught himself how to rap and freestyle along with singing. His collaborations and production skills are his strengths as an artist and despite his non-traditional training, Aries still creates a world that people are invited into.
YUMI ZOUMA - “MONA LISA”
This song is like the intersection between indie-rock and indie-pop. The lead singer’s low singing register brings a super unique mood to the song that helps it feel grounded and gives me a strange sense of focus to her words. I love the title of the song too. It helps give a visualization and is clearly a metaphor for wanting someone you can’t have. The smooth, atmospheric yet dancy synth-pop evokes a nostalgic feeling. While the production is modest, this song still sounds like a modern take on old 80s pop. It would be the perfect song to drive to if traveling the PCH. Yumi Zouma is a New Zealand band that started in 2014. One of their members moved to New York to work for Captured Tracks. Since their involvement in the music industry both as artists and individual people, they’ve gained success with their signing to Polyvinyl and Sub Pop Publishing which has helped with sync placements and countless tours. “Mona Lisa” and their upcoming album is the product, like many artists, of COVID-19 and the isolation we all felt during that time. This song provides a look into the thoughts and emotions that the members of Yumi Zouma felt along with their attempt and definite success (at least with “Mona Lisa”) at trying to help us feel comforted during these tough times.
SITCOM - “BUG IN LAMPLIGHT”
This song is like experiencing a 3D movie. I’ve never heard anything like it to be honest. It’s rough around the edges, but has this perfection to it that is undeniably fantastic. Sitcom is the artist project of Jake Lazovick who has been releasing music since 2018. He is based out of Philadelphia and is signed to Terrible Records. The song, “Bug in Lamplight” is a haunting array of sounds and unique singing that provides a very intense listening experience. It reminds me of King Krule meets the Gorillaz meets Porches meets PinkPantheress. About a little more than half way through the song the song turns into some of the craziest percussion performances I’ve heard. The production is HUGE and really well done. This song is off his new album, Smoothie. I highly recommend it.
OBERHOFER - “MISS YR FACE”
Another incredible collaboration with Andrew Sarlo. Andrew Sarlo is one of my favorite producers by far. This song has one of the coolest intros I’ve ever heard. It reminds me a little of Adam Melchor if Adam Melchor was not as folky and had more electronic elements. It also reminds me of Ricky Montgomery in a weird way. Despite all the comparisons, Oberhofer proves to be a very unique artist, killing it in the game. This album that “Miss Yr Face” is on is a kaleidoscope of sounds that mesh perfectly together and gives a new definition for indie-pop similar to what Sitcom is doing. Oberhofer is the recording project and band of Brad Oberhofer based out of Brooklyn, New York. They started in 2008 and have been affiliated with Glassnote Records. Brad attended NYU where he studied music composition. He is a prolific musician and has a wide variety of talents from making indie pop and rock to classical and orchestral music. His latest album, Smothered, showcases how Brad Oberhofer changes with the times but still staying true to his own sound and therefore creating something truly unique.
ADAM MELCHOR, BRISTON MARONEY - “HOLD ON FOR DEAR LIFE”
Briston Maroney and Adam Melchor is the collaboration that everyone was waiting for to happen. Obviously they’re very good friends based on their social media presence and have performed together in the past, but having this combo release a co-written song is so satisfying. It reminds me of The Beatles and the subject of the song is a lot different than a lot of indie-pop songs today. I think when we talk about death so explicitly, we often talk about the contemplation of death and the emotional place we’re in, in that moment during our life. However, this song is a hopeful and inspirational song seemingly trying to express that we must try new things and overcome our fears. I actually met Briston in Nashville pre-covid a couple times and shared a stage with him when performing with my own band. Me and the rest of my bandmates noticed right away the potential and sheer talent Briston had. He captivated the audience in a way that was astonishing. Since then, seeing his growth and evolution in his music has been so inspiring. In addition, Adam Melchor is another artist that I’ve been following for a little while and seeing his growth over the years and for it to lead to this collaboration between these two stars is amazing.
There you have it! My favorite indie pop songs as of lately! I hope you enjoyed and we’ll see you next week!
Micah Rubin is an avid music connoisseur who loves to watch movies and spend time at dinner parties. He loves The Sopranos and playing shows with his band, The Brazen Youth. His dreams and goals include wanting to bring people together through music, striving to always create an efficient and safe space for others to work and create. He hopes to become an A&R or Music Supervisor one day.