Sleeping Lion – “Stop It (Stripped)” // Ping Zhu

“Stop It (Stripped)” is a somber, melancholic anthem and ode to the end of a relationship, whether it be a romantic companionship or friendship.  With booming drums, striking piano chords, and a particularly tearful viola (and string quartet) to accompany the soft vocal harmonies, this fantastic arrangement of a song that was originally electronic is sure to pull at the heartstrings in a new way as you feel the nostalgic aura the indie folk sound produces.

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Ryan Little – “Good Grief” // Andrew Archer

Beatmaker Ryan Little isn’t afraid to experiment with more melodic approaches to his field of work, and “Good Grief” is a fine example of that.  “Good Grief” samples noisy synth tones typically used in indie and psychedelic pop to rebrand them into hip hop, and effectively creating a new type of sound that I am totally down with.

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Arms Akimbo – “Parachute” // Patrick Gonzales

“Parachute” is such an expansive song that it’s a quite literally a sonic story: it has defined beginning, middle, and end, and each section is distinguishable from the other.  With in the span of one song, Arms Akimbo is able to tell an emotional journey tinged with an indie-alternative southern rock aesthetic, making “Parachutes” a perfect song for the first dance of a jean-jacket countryside wedding.

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JR JR – “Control (Secretly Sorry)” // ViviChen

JR JR continue to remind us that they know just the right ways to write music that makes us wanna dance but also sit down and carefully listen to their indie pop songs, and “Control (Secretly Sorry)” is the latest one to do that.  “Control (Secretly Sorry)” contains intricate melodies and rhythms that help drive the song’s energy, and even shifts in structuring and moods to help flesh out the balanced pacing of this sonic work of art.  If there was an upscale art gallery for modern dance music, JR JR would immediately be on that roster. Read more

The Tins – “Lifeline” // Pavel Mishkin

With a anthemic, instantly-recognizable melody, you’ll get musical déjà vu over and over again as you try to figure out whether The Tins’ (Least covered in 2010!) “Lifeline” is a cover or not.  With a harmonized vocal melody that calls back to classic 60’s rock and the structure and instrumentation of a modern indie pop song, “Lifeline” instantly stands the testament of time in creating an iconic song.

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Schier – “Holding Out For You” (feat. Lizzy Land) // Casimir Lee

“Holding Out For You” is a happy-go-lucky, hopeful love song that embraces its confidence and swagger.  Lizzy Land’s vocals command the song’s direction while Schier’s production work proves dynamically diverse and versatile.  When you’re head is floating through the cloudy ships of love, this is one to play, night or day, work or play.

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Baba Ali – “I’ve Been Voodoo’d” // Kehinde Wiley

A blues song first, an electronic song second, Baba Ali revives the blues into full swing with his poignant and infectious track, “I’ve Been Voodoo’d.”  With a classic structural and melodic blues composition format (Boom-claps, anyone?) tinged with electronic production and contemporary lyricism, Baba Ali has built a sonic time capsule criticizing modern society the old fashioned way.  Perfect music for the gathering around the bonfire at the beach to escape the nets of society.

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STAL – “Fresh Blood” // Victoria Villasana

Littered with musical and cultural references of many of their idols, STAL’s “Fresh Blood” is an energetic anthem likening their sexual energy to their lust for art.  “Fresh Blood” certainly shows that with its dense layers of electronic instrumentation and production.  Perfect music for a cultural-art-potluck-carnival-extravaganza.

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