by Katie Ingegneri
As founder and editor-in-chief of this magazine that was born out of Chicago?s DIY scene in 2015, since I returned to my Massachusetts hometown in early 2018, I wasn?t sure whether it made sense to continue writing about indie artists if I was no longer immersed in a community. But my passion for music, and especially indie artists not widely covered by the mainstream music media that seems to get more inane by the day, has won out. I want to keep listening, and writing, and supporting these artists, and if a few folks are interested in what I have to say, then all the better. And also because I can?t really stand seeing yet another article about Mac DeMarco ? no offense to him, but there are so many other artists doing interesting things that get .01% of the coverage.
To that end, I am taking advantage of the fact that I am more of a ?free agent? now to write about great artists all around the world that I encounter through other music blogs or social media and support on Bandcamp. I wanted to focus this return of the magazine on five female-fronted acts that are blowing my mind right now, who you can find on my Spotify playlist Houseshow Renaissance 2019, alongside a bunch of other great indie artists to kick off summer 2019. Let?s go!
MUNYA ? Montreal, Quebec, Canada
I discovered MUNYA courtesy of Gorilla vs. Bear?s brilliant Spotify playlist THE BEST SONGS OF 2019. My former college town of Montreal continues to be a hotbed of killer DIY art-pop and rock (making me wonder why I no longer live there). MUNYA, aka Josie Boivin, sings in a mixture of French and English against a backdrop of bedroom pop you could swear you?ve heard somewhere before ? or at the end of a movie, or maybe just in a dream. I love every song she?s put out so far and I can?t wait to see what?s next from her.
Essential Listening: ?Some More,? ?Benjamin,? ?If I?m Gone Tomorrow (It?s Because of Aliens)?
Stef Chura ? Detroit, Michigan
The world needs more badass lady rockers like Stef Chura, hailing from America?s classic rock city of Detroit. She?s been on my radar for a bit now, probably due to her association with Will Toledo of my favorite band Car Seat Headrest, and so I was super psyched when she announced he was producing her new album Midnight, which is being released on June 7. With the songs she?s released from the new album, her and Will?s duet on ?Sweet Sweet Midnight? (which they co-wrote) is brilliant, and this on top of the first single from the album, ?Method Man,? which is a thrashy garage banger that I?m obsessed with. Just bought my ticket to see her (for the first time) in Boston in July!
Essential Listening: ?Method Man,? ?Sweet Sweet Midnight,? ?Slow Motion?
Park Hye Jin ? Seoul, South Korea
Another discovery courtesy of the more pop-focused Gorilla Vs. Bear, I?m realizing how much I enjoy the chill complexities of indie pop from around the world, such as Seoul?s Park Hye Jin. From her bio: ?Raised in Seoul, 24 year old female Korean singer, songwriter, rapper, house and techno dj ? ??? park hye jin blends elements of dream-state house, raw hip-hop & psychedelic darkwave and mixes her own English and Korean vocals over dreamy synths & thick beats for a forward-thinking dancefloor experience.? Her EP ?IF U WANT IT? is an entrancing, addictive collection of 5 songs that is the perfect sonic backdrop for anything from working to partying.
Essential Listening: ?ABC,? ?I DON?T CARE,? ?IF U WANT IT?
Men I Trust ? Montreal, Quebec, Canada
If you were gonna guess that I found the dreamy, enigmatic bedroom pop of Men I Trust via Gorilla Vs Bear, you would be right. Fronted by singer and guitarist Emma Proulx, whose whispery vocals put you in a trance, their tracks plunge you into a dream haze like cruising around on a hot summer night. I?ve been particularly digging their latest single releases like ?Norton Commander (All We Need)? and ?Numb,? after being entranced by ?Show Me How? last summer. Would love to see this crew live sometime. I really need to get back up to Montreal.
Essential Listening: ?Show Me How,? ?Numb,? ?Say, Can You Hear?
Sports Boyfriend ? Chicago, Illinois
Sports Boyfriend, aka Eileen Peltier, has been due to become The Next Big Thing? for a few years now, and I know that the breakthrough is on its way. A beloved fixture of the Chicago DIY scene (and a native New Englander like me), Sports Boyfriend has played everywhere from Logan Square DIY shows like Scrapyard Fest and multiple parties I hosted at Cole?s Bar to Chicago?s Pride Parade festivities. With the aforementioned Gorilla Vs. Bear getting her on their radar, maybe that breakthrough is coming soon.
Essential Listening: ?I Only Leave My House to Dance With You,? ?Jasmine in the Summer,? ?Crying in July?
Listen to MUNYA, Park Hye Jin, Stef Chura, Men I Trust, Sports Boyfriend & more amazing indie artists on my Houseshow Renaissance 2019 playlist on Spotify! Because there is too much good indie music still happening to not be talking about it, listening to it, and going to shows whenever possible.