These homegrown voices and identities will win your hearts – from shoegaze indie bands to experimental wild childs raised on the internet.
Aside from swooning over the musicians and bands set to have their 2020 concerts in Singapore, it’s always interesting to check out what’s brewing in the local music scene. If you’ve been doing a little digging like us, you’ll find a whole new wave of musicians pushing their style and reaching audiences everywhere in all sorts of genres. Lately, there’s been a rise in successful international crossover acts, from Myrne to Jasmine Sokko, Linying to Gentle Bones. Drawing from global influences (thank you internet!), music coming out of Singapore has become increasingly borderless. So in the spirit of supporting local, here’s our pick of nine underground musicians you should definitely keep an eye on.
Ambient electronic post-pop artist Yeule is a mystery in the best way possible. Based in London for fashion school, she’s as ephemeral as her dreamy production and vocals. Having appeared on major international publications (such as i-D, Dazed and The Fader) for her lush soundscapes, idiosyncratic chameleon-like style and music videos that blur between digital and physical spaces, she’s evaded mainstream attention in favour of the digital electronica underground. Curious yet? Check out her debut album “Serotonin II”, featuring thoughtful tracks like ‘Pocky Boy’ and the wistful yet sanguine ‘Poison Arrow’.
Listen to: Pocky Boy
We’ve previously covered Of Methodist in 2017 when he first dropped ‘Sar 21’, and we couldn’t be more pumped that he’s gone on to release a full album this year, titled “Soldier Without a Rifle”. Building on the same sonic palette and turning it into a denser, twirling composition of synths and percussion, his sensual lyricism really takes centre stage, brought to life by his smooth, R&B inflected vocals. Our opinion? This easily sits beside other international hits on a date night playlist.
Listen to: Authority
Long Live the Empire
There’s a real love for raw emotion from Long Live the Empire. This emo rock quartet’s devil-may-care attitude yet sincere delivery is refreshing, and its 2018 EP “Underbite” follows up a 2016 debut release with headier jams that will get you bopping or satisfyingly angst-ridden with bittersweet declarations.
Listen to: Pearl Elephant
Singer-songwriter Lew, who’s currently enrolled at Berklee College of Music in Boston, has had a prolific few years as a bubbling LGBT icon in Singapore. With numerous singles, one album, two EPs and several festival appearances under his belt all in the span of just three years, Lew’s raspy falsettos show no signs of slowing down as he croons about modern love in all its layers to spirited harmonious acoustic and piano arrangements. We’re charmed, to say the least.
Listen to: Flaws
The rise of the bedroom musician seems like a phenomenon that’s unique to the last decade, with music technology and self-publishing becoming more accessible. Indie-pop artist Shye is the local epitome of this archetype, with her quirky beats and hazily filtered vocals. Despite being relatively fresh to the scene (entering by way of Vans Musicians Wanted), the 17-year-old has already supported big-name acts like Clairo and Superorganism at their gigs here. And if you ask us, she looks to be a force in her own right as a triple-threat with a background in acting!
Listen to: Moonlight
Boasting verve that will ripple through any crowd, Ae$Op Ca$H is a local rapper that’s been getting attention and street cred for his range of flows, cadence and bold hip-hop persona. Recurring collaborations with hip-hop crew Unknown Radicals and other notable artists in the local R&B/hip-hop scene such as YAØ and Axel Brizzy showcase his dynamic and versatile style – from braggadocio anthems to suave ballads and swervy city bops.
Listen to: Hella Nice
Shoegazers, this one might have already slipped into your playlist. Channelling 90s nostalgia reminiscent of Slowdive, the five-piece indie rock band has made notable appearances in a couple of top Spotify playlists, thanks to its 2017 single, ‘Girl From Mars’. Cosmic Child’s works are experimental, featuring dreamlike harmonies, textured guitars and synths that will have you drifting into a contemplative out-of-body state. Loving the sound? Check out Cosmic Child’s label mates from local record label, Middle Class Cigars.
Listen to: Girl from Mars
Singer-songwriter Theodora, known for her riveting vocal tone, has been on the local circuit for a while now, evolving from her folk musician roots to her current downtempo electronic releases. With performances at Baybeats and Gastrobeats, including an opening gig for Joshua Radin, she’s proven her chops across a variety of stages and genres – just bask in her latest single ‘DLMK’ and you’ll see why we’re such fans.
Listen to: DLMK
Chill R&B trio brb. has been steadily building a solid following for its soulful singles since appearing on the circuit in late 2018. Combining tight melodic quality productions with meticulous vocals and catchy hooks, the band has had various tracks listed on prominent international and local playlists on Spotify. Look out for its upcoming EP slated for an early 2020 release!
Listen to: Talking to Myself
Words by Chris Lim.