4 cool Asian indie acts to check out from the Philippines, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan

By RobGee on 23rd Nov 2019


Okay, you figured it out… all these artists were meant to play at Clockenflap – but the ticket was too expensive anyway, and you can still listen to them on YouTube :D.


Ben&Ben – Philippines

Song to try: Pagtingin https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5ktQh3sWZk


Nine-piece Filipino sensations Ben&Ben look set to go global with a slot booked at next year’s scene-making South by Southwest, in Texas, USA, next April. Formed in 2015, the “soulful indie-folksters” (you try better) are led by twin brothers Paolo and Miguel Guico. The band reached a new level with this year’s debut album Limasawa Street, clocking more than 150 million Spotify plays for the tracks “Maybe the Night” and “Kathang Isip” combined. Come to Hong Kong soon, please.


Say Sue Me - South Korea

Song to try: Old Town



Forget K-pop, K-indie is the next big thing, and on the face of it, Say Sue Me are the ideal world-crossers. As winners of Best Modern Rock Album and Best Modern Rock Song, at the 2019 Korean Music Awards (for “Old Town” and its associated album Where We Were Together), the Busan quartet have already been anointed to the task. But with a breezy, twangy, uncluttered beach rock sound reminiscent of Best Coast or Real Estate, they’re ideal for international consumption.


Babymetal – Japan

Song to try: Gimme Chocolate!



Feather-ruffling Babymetal are undoubtedly a divisive bunch. If it isn’t polarising enough to play heavy metal – “the devil’s music” – then how about being a metal band most metal fans detest? Because, Babymetal are the best-known exponents of what is known as “kawaii metal” – AKA cute metal – which combines the J-pop idol aesthetic with headbanging instrumentation. Now aged 21 and 20 respectively, singers Su-metal and Moametal weren’t even teenagers when the band debuted, as evidenced by the concerns of top-streamed track “Gimme Chocolate!” Cute, indeed.


Leo Wang – Taiwan

Song to try: 陪妳過假日 feat. 9m88



As the first ever rapper artist to win Best Mandarin Male Vocalist award at Taiwan’s

Golden Melody Awards, Leo Wang (aka Leo) may be the acceptable (read: clean) face of Chinese-language hip-hop. But as this chilled groove proves, Wang has the smooth flow to back up his crossover ambitions. The tune has raked huge following thanks to a guest turn from established Taiwan-born, New York-based vocalist 9m88 – who played a storming set at last year’s Clockenflap and returns to Hong Kong for two nights on December 11 and 12, as part of the new year-round Clockenflap Presents… gig series. Time to save up.