Welcome to the LET’S GYO CRAZY MUSIC CORNER, where music and nerdiness collide!
For this debut segment, I’d like to spotlight musicians of Asian and Pacific Islander descent. Listening to music is a euphoric experience to begin with but seeing someone that looks like you perform said music, even after attending more than 200 shows in my lifetime, conjures a feeling that I still cannot explain.
Here are some singles from this year that have caught my ear!
Ladi6 was born in New Zealand and is of Samoan descent. She has been called “New Zealand’s answer to Erykah Badu”.
Pilipina rapper Ruby Ibarra is a Bay Area native. Her debut full-length album, The Realness was released last month and features songs both in English and Tagalog.
Korean American producer and vocalist Yaeji mixes rap-ish vocal delivery with house music and has blown up in the past year. She can be heard rapping/singing in Korean and English.
Veteran band, Little Dragon, formed 21 years ago in Gothenburg, Sweden. Featuring the half-Swedish, half-Japanese, Yukimi Nagano on lead vocals, the acclaimed band released their fifth studio album this year.
Indie darling Japanese Breakfast found her footing with the release of her album, Psychopomp, and this year she returned with another kick ass release, Soft Sounds From Another Planet. The Korean American musician has been seen all over the festival circuit and in just about every music publication.
Giraffage is the stage name of Taiwanese American producer, Charlie Yin. A club favorite, he teamed up with another beloved Asian American musician, Japanese Breakfast.
After a disbandment in 2011, LCD Soundsystem finally reunited in 2015 and released the album American Dream this year to eager fans. “Other Voices”, written by keyboardist Nancy Whang and lead James Murphy, is one of the handful of songs that make their reunion so worthwhile.
Need I say anything when it comes to M.I.A.? As of 2017, she will make her return to the U.S., playing her first shows stateside in years.
Oakland-based Filipino American songwriter, Jay Som, is yet another Indie treasure to burst onto the scene last year. She released her debut album, Turn Into in 2016, and hit us again with Everybody Works this year.
Blonde Redhead released their first album in 1995, and have been alt-rock gods ever since. Lead by Kazu Makino (a native of Japan), they release their EP 3 O’clock this year to their allegiance of fans.
Legendary weirdo band, Deerhoof, released their 14th studio album this year. They feature half-Chinese, half-Korean rapper, Awkwafina, on the song, “Your Dystopic Creation Doesn’t Fear You”, matching her raspy, prominent rapping style with Japanese lead singer Satomi Matsuzaki’s soft, understated vocals.