Summer is almost here and we’re starting to feel the heat. It’s not just the sun that’s bringing it, either – it’s the heat in many of the tracks Indie Discotheque has selected for your ears this month. There’s always a uniqueness to the music aligned with indie and alternative dance, and the music found in May 2019 is certainly bringing the heat and the summer vibes we are craving right now. This is only a fraction of the music we’ve been playing in our channel, and have wanted to bring you so much more. Enjoy this month’s selections in the best 15 indie dance songs of May 2019.
1. Johnny Utah – Honeypie
It’s not just a super catchy, sing-along indie dance song. This is one of those tracks that, if the industry weren’t so set in its ways, could be a legitimate force for song of the summer. And who knows, we could be surprised. This track could be a breakout hit in a similar way Capital Cities found airplay a few years ago, and it would be well deserved. Here’s to future success for Johnny Utah.
2. Oliver Tree – Hurt (RAC Mix)
If it weren’t for RAC, I might not have found this song. Over-dramatic emo vocal styling aside, it’s the 90s alternative guitar styling throughout that pulls you in like a magnet. This makes the track a song worth your time, and the remix RAC brings to the table has the legendary touch he adds to almost all of his remixes. This track has everything a modern alternative radio hit needs with the indie dance flair that gets everyone out on the floor.
3. AKA Lui – Hey! I Don’t Want That Anyway
There is a subtle blending of styles in this track that makes it really unique. From the vocal forward production that makes every lyric crystal clear to the pitch processed mild rap in the mid-verse. The instrumentation has extra crisp percussion, a guitar solo, and repetitive, sing-along elements. The bass guitar gives the track a groove and a funk that makes you want to turn on that repeat button.
4. Japanese Breakfast – Essentially
I am very quickly becoming a Japanese Breakfast fan, and this the track that has drawn me in. At the time of writing a ballad cover of “Head Over Heels” had just been released, and it completely amazes me how this project has such a diversified, engaging sound. This track made the list weeks ago, and the subtle electronic elements paired with the bass guitar make a perfect indie dance floor filler in combination with the beautiful vocals.
5. Paper Idol – Still So Alive
It’s an era where we are consciously aware of the state of the world and all that surrounds us, and while the future can sometimes feel bleak, we still have to be able to enjoy and live the moment. In that spirit, the whole atmosphere of this track gives me exactly what I want. From the atmosphere of the vocal treatment to the pacing of the track, it’s a reminder of how we truly are still so alive. We truly are still so alive, and there are times and moments in our lives where a song like this can truly connect and help us feel as alive as we should.
6. Two Door Cinema Club – Satellite
The feel of this new single from Two Door Cinema Club is such a departure from their previous work, but I am absolutely in love with the direction the band is taking with this. Not only is the pacing of the song and the vocal treatment completely new, but it also takes a more direct electronic dance approach in the introduction, while still remaining distinctively indie dance. The new music from the band has been fantastic, and I’m very much excited for the album.
7. Mystery Skulls – It’s Mine
This new album from Mystery Skulls is wonderful, but it’s difficult for me to quantify and sort in the way I sort music. This is pop music, but this is rock music. It’s a track that can be played on AOR, but just as easily in a dance situation. So here it is, “It’s Mine” presented here for you on this indie dance chart. I really love how this track just punches right out, making itself known. A very in your face presentation that maintains an outskirts personality.
8. The Black Keys – Go
The Black Keys are one of the finest rock bands to have been rock bands, so when the guys lay down a danceable garage rock tune like “Go” you have to just go for it and embrace it. The production and the pacing of this tune are just right, and the way the rhythm guitar just cuts through and makes itself known is simple, minimalistic rock perfection that I crave, in line with the music of BRMC and The Kills.
9. Kita Menari – Nights In Gold
I’m really becoming a fan of Kita Menari, and while the pacing and the style of the music are very much in line with Neon Indian, you have to appreciate the fact that this style of indie dance can find influence and extend beyond individual influences. The chorus of this track is so sing-a-long-able, I had to include it in the list this month.
10. Holy Ghost! – Do This
New Holy Ghost! on the indie dance chart? Absolutely. While totally disco influenced, the way Holy Ghost! approaches songwriting really leans into the genre. This is New York disco, after all. While “Do This” follows a typical formula for the band, it brings some advancements to the overall production style and approach they’ve been bringing to songwriting as of late.
11. Yeasayer – Ecstatic Baby
Oh my goodness, there’s just something about the Yeasayer way of writing music that simply can’t be denied. It’s the artists that take simplicity to another level that really makes listening to music great. Yeasayer does this spectacularly through minimalistic acoustic drums, forward facing vocals and a simplistic bassline. Meanwhile, chorus accents throughout the entire track adding another level to the track that brings it over the top.
12. Fujiya & Miyagi – Personal Space
Those who follow my charts know that I love minimalism and/or complexity. While that seems like a complete conundrum, it truly isn’t because it’s that messy in-between stuff that I can’t get behind. Fujiya and Miyagi are minimalistic. They always have been, and hopefully always will be, and “Personal Space” takes that mantra and puts it out into the physical world, demanding a minimalistic surround.
13. Bear Hands – Mr. Radioactive
I’ll admit, it’s the bassline that gets me going on this track from Bear Hands. Combined with the percussion it's just right. The sing-along nature of the chorus adds everything to it. This is one of those songs that get you moving, even if it's about some jerk who keeps bringing toxicity into your space.
14. Gold Fields – Dreams
This very well might be the best Gold Fields track that’s been written to date. The way this song is arranged, with the layering of vocal textures, echo effect on all of the instrumentation, is really reminiscent of an era where you could live, appreciate, but still, set yourself loose. There is a layering of textures in this song that brings satisfaction, and the metallic accents that parallel the melody throughout the track are great.
15. Spinn – Keep Dancing
This is a band that is really doing a lot of the right things. All of their tunes are catchy with just the right balance in vocal composition and songwriting finesse. Spinn is a young band with such an old soul and I really appreciate their approach and direction. “Keep Dancing” might be a song that avoids a problem in the name of dancing, but isn’t that part of what the dance club is for?