Photo courtesy of 7UPPERCUTS
by Khoa Thư
The emergence of a new wave of indie artists is blowing a fresh breeze over Việt Nam’s music landscape. Artists like Ngọt, Vũ or Đen Vâu may not be too familiar to you right now, but you are really missing out on some of the best local talents around. Here are some of the top indie bands in Việt Nam to help you through social isolation.
Don’t worry, they are not that spicy. This five piece band brings you subtle songs about love, sometimes so nostalgic that you might want to sing them at your ex-lover’s wedding. Just like other indie artists, it is difficult to classify Chillies’ genre. Alternative rock or pop? Instead of questioning, let’s just enjoy their mellow guitar sounds.
VNS’s pick: Có Em Đời Bỗng Vui (Suddenly it’s better with you)
A lot of music lovers got to know 7UPPERCUTS after they opened for Ngọt’s show 3 in HCM City last year. It is quite common for Vietnamese indie artists to shade a bit of sorrow in their songs. 7UPPERCUTS is different. The trio delivers punky, quirky and funny jams that always excite you dance to the music. Let’s see if you can stay still for just five seconds after hearing the beat.
VNS’s pick: Wave Alpha
3. Thịnh Suy
His debut song – Một Đêm Say (One drunken night) – receiving so much attention during this time last year almost caused him a panic attack. Some thought this was maybe just a one-hit-wonder, but no, Thịnh Suy’s second song – Thắc Mắc (Wonder) – was also a hit. And there are plenty of promising demos on YouTube making fans eager for more.
VNS’s pick: Một Đêm Say (One drunken night)
4. The Flob
It feels like a typical manga to have six students team up a rock band and tour around their city. The lyrics are sometimes non-understandable to even Vietnamese people. But is it not what music means to be? Unpredicted and able to evoke something deep inside you, here is the voice of Sài Gòn youth.
VNS’ pick: EM OII
5. Cá hồi hoang (Wild salmons)
The metaphoric image of salmons swimming upstream inspires Cá hồi hoang’s music. In the age of uncertainty, Vietnamese young people find the band’s songs more relevant than ever. Strange enough, one may always feel the great hope and strong belief in humanity in Thành Luke’s bizarre voice and Minh’s guitar and Đạt’s bass.
VNS’s pick: Tầng Thượng 102 (Rooftop 102)
6. Bonus track: Talk show "You lose some you dimsum"
Is it true that one will show their true ego while eating spicy food? The talk show hosted by the savvy MC, former journalist Thùy Minh with indie Việt music makers will give you an answer. With a Moleskine in one hand and a pair of chopsticks in another, Thùy Minh triggers thoughts and exposes artists’ shelves at unexpected moments.
VNS’s pick: Episode 5 with Ngọt Band’s Thắng