Metal/Hardcore/Emo quintet from Hanoi, Windrunner like to label their music simply as “melodic groove”. What they’re extremely good at is constantly switching between the extremes. It takes them just a few seconds to get from very loud to very catchy and back. If ADHD was a music genre, it might sound exactly like that.
Windrunner on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter.
Hanoi-based duo of DUSTIN NGO and THDC released a new album last year, called “3260“, with 16 tracks lasting between half to five minutes. This song is the heart of the record, and it comes with a simple yet mesmerizing video featuring two (hand) dancers, nicknamed L O N G and MG Pop.
ANNAM on Bandcamp, Spotify, Facebook, www.
Singer-songwriter Thành Luke not only has a talent for writing touching verses and memorable melodies. He also tends to ask the right questions about pain and forgiveness, about relationships and what’s left from them. And about being late again and again. Can there be a better answer than a beautiful song?
Thành Luke on Spotify, Soundcloud, Facebook.
“Ngày Hôm Qua Đã” (feat. Trang)
That voice. After a few seconds, you’ll know if you love it or not (you probably will). But then a second voice comes in, and you know for sure that you have to hear this song until its very end. Even if just to see how this mellow ballad turns into a waltz at the end, but just for a few bars.
Xanh 8+1 on Spotify, Soundcloud, Facebook.
A folk songwriter singing both in English and Vietnamese, Mademoiselle wrote this particular track “inspired by a plane that flew by my window.” It’s a perfect evening song, and a great example of the “less is more” rule. And by the way, she has already released a new song in 2019.
Mademoiselle on Spotify, Facebook.
Trap-influenced rapper Suboi released one of last year’s most impressive videos not just in Vietnam. “N-Sao?” (meaning “So What?”) fully deserves those two millions views it has already collected on YouTube. Even without understanding the lyrics, you can guess she’s questioning the things she sees around her. Feel free to use it as your protest song.
Suboi on Spotify, Soundcloud, Facebook, Instagram.
Already in 2019, the Ho Chi Minh City-based rock group Anesthetic Youth released their 5-track mini-album called “Dy Sto Pi A“. But we’ve heard some of it earlier, as the opening song “Self Portrait” came out as a single in mid-2018. If you like pop/rock in its more classic forms, here’s a gem for you.
Anesthetic Youth on Spotify, Facebook, Instagram.
Hồ Trâm Anh
“Feel The Flow”
This is an experimental project of singer-songwriter MonA, who normally is “all about dreamy, fuzzy, delicate, and most importantly, sad compositions”. Under this nickname, she retains rather dark colours, but goes into riskier and dirtier territories. Like in the captivating, shoegaze-inspired song “Feel The Flow”, which is accompanied by a very adequate video.
Hồ Trâm Anh on Soundcloud, Facebook.
Những Gã Mộng Mơ
Những Gã Mộng Mơ – which simply means The Dreamers in English – actually released this song in the last days of 2017, but “Chia Đôi” was part of their new EP “Những Câu Chuyện Cũ” that appeared three months later. Sentimental mood? Haunting vocals? Classic arrangements? If that sounds good for you, also check out their more recent video called “Rơi“.
Những Gã Mộng Mơ on Facebook, Soundcloud, Instagram.
Đỗ Tấn Sĩ “The Morning Seems So Strange Today”
This composition is different from all other songs on this list – it’s all about contemporary piano. It appears on a compilation of experimental music from Vietnam called “Emergence“, which ws released by the British label Flaming Pines. Đỗ Tấn Sĩ is a composer and producer from Rắn Cạp Đuôi Collective, and his work is just the first of 10 tracks on this release, which every avantgarde fan needs to check. Listen to it on Bandcamp.
Rắn Cạp Đuôi Collective on Bandcamp, Facebook.
590s is a project by Nguyễn Thanh Minh – Cá Hồi Hoang’s guitarist and some of his friends. “Đi Khỏi Đây” has some pop punk influences, sounds pretty much like Dép Tổ Ong – Minh’s old band when he was in high school. It was released as a double single along with the song “Về Thôi”.
590s on Spotify, Facebook.
A singer-songwriter from Hanoi, Trang likes to sing about human relations and love as much as to practice it, and this song is a proof. If the mood of “Tôi Xin Biết Ơn” seems warm and bright to you, that’s because she recorded it to thank her family, friends, and fans. Are you among them already or just joining in?
Trang on Instagram, Facebook, Spotify.
Rắn Cạp Đuôi Collective
“Cô Gái Tháng 9”
Concerning this collective’s latest album “Đẹp Trai Chết Hết”, you should start reading blurbs from the famous critics on their Bandcamp. But seriously, Rắn Cạp Đuôi Collective remain one of the most fascinating and unpredictable initiative in the Vietnamese scene. Always experimenting, they’ll make you forget about music genres, music terminology and the original purpose of music instruments.
Rắn Cạp Đuôi Collective on Bandcamp, Facebook.
In this 6-minute video, Đức, Linh and Thắng show how you can make a simple, accessible song sound fresh again. You just need to add the door knocking, broken glass and static noise to the restrained guitar. “Độc Thoại” (Monologue) is songwriting and singing and their best, with Đức’s fragile vocals drawing you deeper and deeper into the song, which by the way could last twice that long.
Quyếch on Facebook, Soundcloud.
Những Đứa Trẻ
Sometimes great songs start in an inconspicuous way, and that’s also the case of “Con Đường” (“Road”). With those quiet vocals accompanied by a simple guitar theme, you might almost miss the first minute, or maybe even the second – but that’s just a prologue to the song’s louder, delirious second part. It comes from the band’s new album “Con Đường”, full of classic alternative rock, which you can stream here.
Những Đứa Trẻ on Spotify, Soundcloud, Facebook.
Cá Hồi Hoang
“Điền Vào Ô Trống (250)”
Last year, acclaimed indie rock group Cá Hồi Hoang released their compilation album called “Gấp Gap: Có Cần Phải Có Lý Không? “. It’s certainly the most beautiful thing that appeared in the Vietnamese scene recently, but it stands out even in the global context.
And it’s not just about their studio recordings. Even seeing them for the 7th time just two weeks ago – in the city of Đà Lạt (see the main picture at the top of this list), during their homecoming show in the lead singer & lead guitarist’s former high school – was such an emotional and memorable experience.
Give this album a few listens, and you’ll probaly keep it on repeat for the next 12 months.
Cá Hồi Hoang on Facebook, Instagram, Soundcloud, www.