TOP INDIE SONGS - WEEK 12

3/20/17
“Photo” by Verne Ho

We admit, we had a hell of a time in Austin at SXSW. It was awesome to get away from the real world for one week, and just immerse ourselves in music (you can check out all of our highlights of the festival on the homepage and over at Twitter and Facebook). Getting back to reality is never fun after SXSW – particularly when dealing with a hangover and a bout of food poisoning (we blame the tacos) – but the latest edition of Top Indie Songs is definitely making our return trip to Los Angeles that little less of a headache. If you, too, are in search of effective tips on becoming human once again this Monday morning, then we recommend that you hit play on the following tracks from Missio, Lum, Keith Ape, Overcoats, KYKO and more.

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UTRECHT – NEXT TIME

British producer James McIntosh, AKA Utrecht, is certain to soundtrack many a summer night with his latest offering “Next Time.” Opening with Utrecht's sultry croon set against a backdrop of finger snaps before transforming into a pulsating slice of electronic soul that'd make Jamie xx proud, “Next Time” comes accompanied by a Henry Bull-directed video that sees Utrecht exploring London after dark.

 

GENTS – BROTHER

Ahead of the release of their debut album About Time in April, Copenhagen duo GENTS have shared the 80s-inspired “Brother.” Accompanied by a video directed by Joachim Morre and Søren Kahr, it's a charismatic synth pop number that comes led by frontman Niels Fejrskov Juhl's baritone vocal chops and puts a contemporary spin on the sound once popularized by the likes of Tears for Fears and Simple Minds.

 

MISSIO – MIDDLE FINGERS

Having recently signed a deal with RCA Records, Austin duo Missio deliver the ultimate “fuck it” anthem in the form of “Middle Fingers.” Featured on their forthcoming debut album Loner, it finds Matthew Brue and David Butler taking on their self-ascribed roles of “musical misfits,” with the pair singing lyrical quips like “I'm a simple loner who the hell thinks that I care/I am not the party, middle fingers in the air” atop a chart-friendly electronic pop production that could one day sell out arenas. FFO: Twenty One Pilots, Imagine Dragons.

 

XYLØ – I STILL WAIT FOR YOU

Oh, they're just infallible, aren't they?! The music blogosphere's favorite brother-sister electronic pop duo Paige and Chase Duddy, AKA XYLØ, return to make us melt all over again with their brooding latest offering “I Still Wait for You.” “Lately I can't sleep/I flip the pillow/Tossing and turning/Checking my cell phone,” aches Paige during the moody ode to unrequited love in the digital age, which opens with a sultry spread of pianos and finger snaps before giving way to a truly euphoric drop in the chorus.

 

LUM – KISSING

Okay, so – we're a year late to the party, but that doesn't make Toronto producer and singer-songwriter Lum's “Kissing” any less exciting of a discovery. Starting out like a groovy indie dance number led by Lum's falsetto vocal chops (as Kurt put it, think Miike Snow meets Bee Gees) before suddenly going into a moombahton-style drop (no, really), “Kissing” manages to completely defy our expectations in terms of genre, all the while keeping our feet secure to the dancefloor.

 

KEITH APE – SWANTON BOMB (PROD. RAYAYY)

Seoul rapper Lee Dongheon, AKA Keith Ape, pays tribute to numerous wrestling greats on his guitar-driven latest banger “Swanton Bomb.” Named after Jeff Hardy's infamous acrobatic flip, “Swanton Bomb” is an unrelenting hip hop chugger that hears Keith namechecking the likes of Stone Cold Steve Austin, Goldust and Bubba Ray Dudley over a cacophonous production courtesy of RayAyy.

 

KEATON HENSON – THE PUGILIST

You can keep your Father John Mistys. For us, the singer-songwriter of our generation is without a doubt Keaton Henson. The London folk troubadour touches a nerve like no other with his tortured, poetic lyricism and sweepingly evocative soundscapes. About artist insecurity and the need to be loved and validated by your audience, his latest offering “The Pugilist” is a cathartic, gut-wrenching and emotionally charged four minutes that – alongside the rest of his album Kindly Now – is certain to stand the test of time.

 

OVERCOATS – HOLD ME CLOSE

Are you ready to hear something completely luscious?! Introducing New York City duo Overcoats, who're sure to entrance you with “Hold Me Close.” The first single to be shared from their forthcoming debut album YOUNG, “Hold Me Close” is an intimate exploration of the complexities of love that features band members and former college roommates Hana Elion and JJ Mitchell harmonizing like sisters atop a bed of crisp electronic beats.

 

KYKO – DIVE IN

“Dive In” to the sounds of KYKO, the London singer-songwriter who's bringing some much-needed summer vibes to proceedings with his easy-going, infectious latest offering. Tropical electronic flourishes are overlaid with intricate guitar motifs and feel-good, upbeat vocal melodies on the pool party-ready Wildlife cut, which KYKO tells EARMILK is the “most natural song” that he's ever written: “We didn't put much emphasis on a direction when writing so it came organically and was captured as more of a live jam (pre-production) and I feel like that essence is still captured in the tune.”

 

DEM YUUT – DAWN/SEA

Minneapolis band DEM YUUT introduce us to their beat-driven breed of modern pop and bedroom R&B on the smooth first single to be unveiled from their forthcoming debut album, Liberator. Complex percussion and warm synths brood beneath frontman Danny O'Brien's intimate vocal melodies on the idiosyncratic “Dawn/Sea,” which Danny explains is “a song about the curiosities of affection. Physical, emotional, but mostly physical.”

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See you next week! x

Photo” by Verne Ho is licensed under CC0 1.0 (cropped and resized).

About Jess Grant

When Jess Grant isn't writing on music, she can be found playing it – on her guitar, on her ukulele, and on her recently acquired mandolin. Playing it hideously, she ought to add. Jess also studies. She studies the English language, to be precise. Jess is currently on her way to a degree in the subject, and enjoys starting and never finishing novels, screenplays, and poetry in her spare time. She also likes dogs. Lots of dogs.