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10 Indie Essentials for Your Spring Playlist

"Impurities" - Arlo Parks

Anaïs Oluwatoyin Estelle Marinho, also known as Arlo Parks, released her latest single "Impurities" on March 1, 2023. Since her debut single ("Cola") in 2018, the British indie and R&B artist has cultivated her signature sound. Quickly but quietly building momentum in the indie scene over the past few years, Parks hit number three on the UK Albums Chart for her 2021 album, Collapsed in Sunbeams. The LP also received nominations for Album of the Year, Best New Artist, and Best British Female Solo Artist at the 2021 Brit Awards, as well as winning the Hyundai Mercury Prize for Best Album.

The latest track in a string of successful singles, "Impurities" celebrates the beauty of imperfection. Parks combines a mellow, groovy rhythm and reverberating synths to form a mesmerizing instrumental arrangement. The vocal hook "I'll radiate like a star" sends listeners out to space and over the moon, where Parks certainly shines brightly. The relaxed, carefree energy of "Impurities" makes it a perfect way to kick off the 2023 spring season.

"Oh No Darling!" - Sarah Kinsley (April 14, 2023)

New York-based singer-songwriter and producer Sarah Kinsley unites genres and eras with her indie pop music. Classically trained, Kinsley spent her childhood performing in youth orchestras and went on to study music theory at Columbia University. There, she refined her original, timeless sound and began using her platform to bring global attention to issues regarding underrepresentation of female music producers. Her 2021 single "The King" caught the ears of a large audience on TikTok, sparking widespread interest in the identically-titled EP that followed, as well as her 2022 project, Cypress.

Kinsley's latest single, released on April 14 of 2023, is a disco-dipped indie pop hit-to-be. "Oh No Darling!" is positively addictive, with Kinsley's rich, soulful voice at the forefront of attention. 80s-reminiscent drums and reverb effects on the guitar parts pull the listener into a retro dreamland. Echoing backing vocals asking "are you really there?" help make for a surreal listening experience. Subtle strings building to the chorus sections exhibit Kinsley's nuance as a producer. "Oh No Darling!" pairs with an equally enchanting music video. The whimsical visualizer reimagines the artist as a character in an 80s arcade game in the woods. Charlie Ferguson stars as Player 1, entranced by the Pac-Man-inspired graphics. Unable to break away, he beats every level and frees Kinsley but takes her place in the process, trapped until the next player wanders to find him. As a whole, "Oh No Darling!" is a dazzling cautionary tale and an overall fun way to start the season.

"Young Hearts" - Benny Sings

Benny Sings is the bubbly indie pop brainchild of Amsterdam-based producer, songwriter, and recording artist Tim van Berkestijn. Known both for his collaborations with the likes of Mac Demarco, Rex Orange County, PJ Morton, and Tom Misch and for his critically acclaimed albums Art (2011) and Music (2021), van Berkestijn's individualistic sound continues to make waves in the music industry. The artist has composed for a number of brands, including HBO, Netflix, Apple, BMW, Microsoft, and Louis Vuitton, and has won awards for the music video of his 2019 track "Not Enough".

"Young Hearts", the title track of van Berkestijn's latest album (released March 24, 2023), is a refreshing reminder of cheeky childhood joys and antics. The song delivers classic Benny Sings energy and instrumentations, featuring funky bass and piano parts, while also introducing new creative and conceptual elements. A catchy female vocal hook gives the tune its anthemic sing-along feel. The playful "Young Hearts" music video puts van Berkestijn at the whims a little girl and tells a tongue-in-cheek story of mind control.

"Smoking Kills" - Jade Fink (February 4, 2023)

Los Angeles native Jade Fink is one of the most promising newcomers in the indie genre. A talented multi-instrumentalist, the artist has devoted 12 of her 23 years to honing her skills and mastering her craft. In recent years, Jade has toured globally as a bassist with the likes of Peter McPoland (both at headline shows and in support of Twenty One Pilots on their recent ICY Tour), Ingrid Andress, and NoSo. Debut single "Let Go" introduced Jade as a solo artist and indie badass, with light, angelic layered vocals and instrumentals that build continuously. An ethereal, dreamlike visualizer accompanied the song, bringing listeners' Lana Del Rey coquette fantasies to life via meadow picnic.

The pink-haired bassist's second single, "Smoking Kills", dropped on February 4, 2023 and confirmed her status as a creative powerhouse. The track must have doubled as an early Valentine's Day gift–we're in love with Jade's vulnerable lyricism and anthemic ambient guitar licks. The song speaks to the complicated tangle of ennui, uncertainty, heartbreak, and countless other emotions that come with being in one's twenties. The raw artfulness of "Smoking Kills" indicates that Jade Fink is an artist on the rise and definitely one to watch in the coming years.

"Eraser" - Ricky Montgomery

No stranger to indie stardom, Ricky Montgomery reached Platinum status with with his 2016 hits "Mr. Loverman" and "Line Without a Hook". These emotive tracks, which blend traditional indie instruments with powerful string arrangements, reflect musical demands of the time and Montgomery's creative identity as a teenager. His involvement with social media platforms such as Vine and (later) TikTok has attracted a large and devoted fanbase over the years.

Montgomery kicks off his 2023 discography with "Eraser" (out on April 7, 2023). The gentle, carefree single demonstrates a new maturity in his artistry, from its thoughtfully layered vocal harmonies to a tasteful incorporation of synths and guitar lines. The song features a multitude of instruments without feeling overly crowded. Montgomery cleverly showcases each individual recording, bringing sounds in and out of the mix for short periods of time. By doing this, the artist also creates a unique, ever-changing dynamic.

"Familiarity" - Teezo Touchdown

Teezo Touchdown, or Aaron Lashane Thomas, is a rapper, singer, songwriter, and producer from Beaumont, Texas. Throughout high school, Thomas released music under a few different names and produced music for local rappers. He became Teezo Touchdown in 2016 and began collaborating with the musical collective CVKE Supply shortly after. 2019 brought the song "100 Drums" with producer Coop. The track caught the attention of both New Musical Express (NME) and Pitchfork, leading to another collaboration with Coop, as well as co-signs by Chance The Rapper and Trippie Redd. Among other notable musical partnerships, Thomas appeared on Tyler, The Creator's CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST album in 2021 on "RUNITUP", as well as joining Tyler, Vince Staples, and Kali Uchis on their 2022 tour.

"Familiarity", released on April 3, 2023, brings out a new side of Thomas. The musically sunny and lyrically sardonic tune tells the story of an ultimatum issued by Teezo Touchdown's father. The musician is told he must either work at the gas station or the plant and will otherwise be kicked out of his family home. The lyrics of "Familiarity" hit on Thomas' desire to find his own space and success in the music industry while saying goodbye to his adolescence and life with his parents. Upbeat, slightly distorted guitar riffs guide listeners through the song as it builds. "Familiarity" is chock-full of strong melodies, emotionally raw vocal cuts, and a playful drum beat that offsets the more serious themes of the single. With a sound unlike any other, Thomas' latest release will give your spring a gritty, spirited vibe.

"Kool Aid" - Royel Otis

Indie power duo Royel Otis, made up of members Royel Maddell and Otis Pavlovic, may be based in Sydney, Australia, but they're stirring up the indie pot across the globe. Formed over an unexpected shared love of the Alessi Brothers' 70s yacht rock standard "Seabird" and an eclectic array of musical influences, it's no surprise that Royel Otis has developed such a groundbreaking, esoteric style. The group saw immediate success with their 2021 debut singles and EP Campus and added to their momentum in 2022 with "Oysters In My Pocket", proving that any subject matter can make a hit–even oysters. A string of sold-out headline sets in Sydney and Melbourne drew in fans from well outside the city limits and built anticipation for their Bar & Grill EP.

"Kool Aid" appears on last month's LP Sofa Kings (March 31, 2023), but was originally released as the album's first single in 2022. The track's soft synths contrast with a consistent bass line. Energized electronic drums give the song a danceable, feel-good charisma while ambient guitar licks both mimic vocal melodies and bring forth an individualistic flavor. Instantly recognizable vocal timbre adds to the atypicality of "Kool Aid". In the equally disorienting and wonderfully bizarre music video, two old men watch an old cable TV, which advertises "Sofa Kings" couches (a nod to the album's title) and Kool Aid as a "fountain of youth" drink. Inspired, the men take baths in Kool Aid and resurface as their younger selves, who happen to be none other than Pavlovic and Maddell. The indie song and video combination is something out of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas in the best way possible.

"Sleep Well" - d4vd (April 13, 2023)

David Anthony Burke (with artist name d4vd) is the definition of a global artist, with a significant following everywhere from Jakarta, Indonesia to London, England. First garnering internet attention for videos playing Fortnite and teaching himself how to record and produce music on BandLab, his platform has undergone multiple transformations. However, Burke's content is not the only aspect of his work to evolve and mature. His earliest releases reflect a laid-back, positive vibe, but his 2022 breakout single "Romantic Homicide" deals with darker, more serious themes and instrumentations. The track hit number 33 on the Billboard Hot 100 List and landed him in the top #106 artist in the world on Spotify. Burke is currently gearing up for his headline Petals to Thorns world tour, which will take him through the UK, Europe, and the US this summer (June and July).

"Sleep Well" is the ultimate romantic ballad in the spring 2023 soundtrack. Best described as sweet and sincere, the indie ballad stirs emotions in a way that many of today's releases seem to miss. Burke's minimalist waltz arrangement highlights tasteful, soothing guitar melodies. The arpeggiating riffs are supported by a s synth, which mimics the sound of a live string ensemble. The single builds, increasing in energy and musical complexity during the last chorus, then drops back down to a horn solo finale. The vulnerable lyrics and music video of "Sleep Well" make listeners want to be in love, giving them their very own pair of rose-tinted glasses for about three minutes. Lilting, honeyed vocal melodies communicate Burke's maturity as a performer and vocalist.

"u dont kno me" - Yot Club

Yot Club is a rising fan favorite of the indie surf scene. Ryan Kaiser, the Mississippi-bred and Nashville-based mastermind behind the project, grew up without video games or television. Rather, he spent his childhood hours with his father's boombox and CD collection. The discovery of 90s alternative and grunge music, as well as a guitarist dressed as Freddy Krueger sparked the passion that would eventually become a career. Single "YKWIM?" off of Kaiser's 2019 EP Bipolar caught fire on TikTok, attracting an extremely dedicated fanbase and a plethora of offers from nearly every major record label in the US.

On the heels of his support tour with iconic surf rock band Skegss, Kaiser's Yot Club released deluxe album off the grid on March 24, 2023. The project's first track feels like something out of a coming-of-age movie or a cruise in the car with friends. Sunny guitars and lively drums set the tone for "u dont kno me" from its opening seconds. Carefree vocal delivery and relatable lyricism suit the song's vivacious energy perfectly. Coated in reverb, "u dont kno me" is both new and nostalgic. Playfully timed cuts in the matching music video take the listening and watching experience to the next level.

"Sad to Breathe" - The Japanese House (April 18, 2023)

The Japanese House is the musical persona of London, England's Amber Bain. The surreal, simplistic, and vaguely androgynous nature of The Japanese House gives it a quality not found in other projects. In 2015, Bain signed with UK independent label, Dirty Hit Records, and released two EPs. 2016's "Face Like Thunder" propelled the singer-songwriter further into popularity and the string of releases that followed solidified her place as a leading voice in the indie genre.

"Sad to Breathe" begins as a piano ballad. Bain demonstrates her rich songwriting skills, taking directions in the chord progression that are unexpected enough to capture listeners' attention without being jarring or disorienting. Expressive vocals and emotionally complex wordplay add to the song's impact. "Sad to Breathe" explodes into an upbeat, charismatic dream pop arrangement, bringing extreme dynamic highs and lows to the single. Bass acts as a perky backbone for sophisticated layering of guitar, synth, and other instrumentals. Bain released an official live performance video in conjunction with "Sad to Breathe"–a choice consistent with the clean, minimalist aesthetic of The Japanese House thus far. Flashing lights and crisp shadows of the band contrast with the stark white walls of the room in which they perform. The spotlight focuses on Bain throughout the video, giving it an intimate and entertaining character.


Check out the Enharmonic Magazine playlist for this article here.

What artists do you want to see covered on Enharmonic Magazine next? Let us know in the comments below!


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