Amidst the over-the-top theatrics of K-pop, it’s easy to overlook some really great artists. Sure, they may not be the perfectly synchronized popular boy and girl groups we all know and love, but these guys (and gals!) certainly deserve our love.
Let’s get to it:
1. 10cm – Americano
Say what you will, this song is their ultimate bop, and we won’t be told otherwise. Just try not to sing along, we dare you.
2. Standing Egg – 시간이 달라서
Typically, we’re not ones to pick the most popular track, but we feel like this song really encompasses the group’s ability to present their soulful music with a funky twist on the beat.
3. Black Skirts – Young Love
Maybe we’re a bit biased since these guys are our absolute faves, but the point stands, they’re absolutely underrated. As for the quality of their music, well, the song speaks for itself. Does it sound familiar? Their most popular song is “Hollywood,” which is more well-known, but it doesn’t quite capture the soul of the group as well as this song and MV.
4. Neon Bunny- Romance in Seoul
For those unfamiliar, the more electronic side of K-indie is dominated by Neon Bunny, and rightly so. Her voice has the vaguely Lim Kim-esque quality that allows it to seamlessly merge with electronic trance beats, making it something that keeps us coming back for more. The MV, while not as dramatic as what we’d typically see in K-pop, leaves us just as satisfied.
5. Tete – Floral Rain
Despite the fact that his music has a tendency to sound all too similar, there are gems like this one that stand out. The song and the MV are simplistic and calming, nothing excessive, but it works.
6. Koxx – Echo
Yes, the name is pronounced exactly how you think it is, and it means exactly what you think it means. The name—along with their rather outlandish image—is what makes these guys so great. Their sound, as well as their MVs, depict a sort of erratic theme that isn’t commonly seen in K-indie, much less anywhere else. The combination makes the group a unique and worthwhile listen.
7. The Mint Paper Project – 백구
Off their first album, this song is a bit unrefined, but it’s still a bop, or at least, as much of a bop as something so slow and seemingly somber can be.
8. Yukari – Marginal Man
This track is a gem in the K-indie world, a world where electronic music is sorely underrepresented. Between the ballads and folk sounds, songs like this are hard to find, especially ones with such bizarre MVs. When it’s done right, we’re all about bizarre.
9. NELL – 청춘연가
NELL tends to drop off the planet and then return every so often. When they do return, damn, do they do it well.
10. Zitten – 안개
Coming from his newest album ‘Diaspora,’ Zitten made quite the comeback after his 3 years of radio silence. Despite being MIA for so long, it seems like he’s retained every bit of quality in his absence. His tunes are not only unmatched in quality, but are incredibly recognizable, which is saying something, since ballads of this nature tend to sound pretty similar.
Honorable mentions for those who just didn’t quite make the list:
Hyukoh: Let’s face it, he’s too popular to be considered “underrated.” If anything, aptly rated.
Casker: A good band with some good songs, but after listening for an hour or so, it starts to sound like the equivalent of Korean elevator music.
Peter Pan Complex: These guys are TOO unknown. Their sound is still developing, and it’s not quite there. Give ’em a year or two and they’ll be right up there with the greats.
Did we miss anyone? Tell us down below what truly underrated K-indie artists you would put on the list.