SONG OF SUMMER IS HERE

It’s time to bust out the flip flops and clean off the cooler that’s been on your porch for 9 months- summer is here! And the start of summer means the start of something else annual and highly anticipated:

THE INDIE PONG SONG OF SUMMER SERIES.

Last year Cassie won and none of us were happy for her. It was a close contest, but after 4 rounds of fan voting NomBe (Cassie’s pick) edged out Shelley FKA DRAM (my pick) to win the title of SONG OF THE SUMMER 2021.

For a little context, for the next few summer months the Indie Pong bloggers are going to be highlighting the songs of the summer on our summer playlist:

And then at the end of the summer weโ€™re going to vote on what truly was the song of the summer. This is something weโ€™re doing every summer, so blast that follow button to keep track.

I’m clearly winning this contest so far with these four absolute bangers:

‘Surprise Me’ – Mallrat

This album drops in 8 days and it’s bout to be the album of the year- quote me now. I haven’t been this excited for an album in a while, every one of the singles so far has been amazing.

‘Smile and Wave’ – Tomorrow Kids, Josh Dominguez

This song gives me the feels, so honest and excellent. You love to see it.

‘Something Ain’t Right’ – ZHR

This single from one of the dudes from Australia’s Northeast Party House is easily one of my favorites of the year already.

‘Tainted Love’ – Isaac Dunbar

What a pop banger.

And then some other Indie Pong bloggers have songs on the playlist or whatever idk.

Final picks from last year just for fun:

Mates – Clear winner
Classsy Cassie – Actual winner
Memo – Finalist, some good stuff on here.
Sunday Tuesday George – Stole Life is Like a Dice Game from me still mad
BPMHill – coming in hot with the headbangers

Daw – was on strike
Amber – was rooting for J Brekkie

Karl – known Willow enthusiast

May the games begin! Don’t forget to blast that follow button on the playlist for updates all summer. And also don’t forget to check our socials to send in your own songs of the summer or shit on ours.

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The Rina Sawayama Concert blew my mind and I’ll never be the same again

What a just absolute clinic by Rina Sawayama in the first tour date of the US tour for the songs on the self-titled Sawayama. As in, this was her first US show with all of her new content since she blew up and it was a WILD night. People waited in line for five hours (I didn’t I was eating a FAT dinner before) and I can only imagine it was completely worth it for them, because that was truly one of the best shows I’ve ever seen.

Like, just look at this energy:

This girl is just an absolute STAR. She will NEVER play at a venue as small as the Fonda again (our tickets were an arm and a leg second hand), and I was so grateful to be there. I frankly kind of got Elton John Troubador vibes (I know it’s different but) it just felt like a special night and the not birth, but milestone of a star in the making who isn’t going away.

Further to this, Rina played a new song called “Catch Me In The Air” which is just absolutely GORGEOUS:

^Video from a different show in London, (ours was even more lit)

She just brought it, a total mastery of the audience, full of confidence (like the boys), and the utter starpower it takes to walk up to a hungry audience expecting the best show of their lives and delivering in full.

As a fellow Japanese it’s been beyond cool to see Rina’s rise to superstardom. Growing up half-Japanese in the Midwest I always had cool Japanese shit to fall back on like Pokemon, Dragonball Z, Yu-Gi-Oh, etc., so it’s not like my culture was never appreciated, but there were never stars that were Japanese (and real human beings for that matter). I’m enamored by the emergence of stars from all different backgrounds and I can’t wait to see it develop even further.

But regardless of diversity or anything else, Rina Sawayama is a fucking star and you’re a bad friend if you think otherwise.

Here are some more highlights from the show (I just screen recorded Rina’s Instagram story lol) in case you need further convincing on top of this top quality prose. Also my video is bad quality but you’ll notice Classsy Cassie got a Rina repost nbd. Me CC Jen and notable non-bogger Meg caught a fire show that’s immediately going on the all time list:

P.S. Rina literally played the interlude from modern city pop GOAT Plastic Love and danced to it…….. best show ever.

This Eli Apple Diss Track is Savage

That was a brutal superbowl for Cincinnati fans like my friend Jake or my Cinci native dad who is still relishing the Pete Rose Reds. Tough times.

Can we talk about this diss track tho, absolute kill shot:

๐Ÿ’€๐Ÿ’€๐Ÿ’€

If you read the original blog I guess the whole NFL hates him, didn’t know. You can just hear the malice in this as it blows coverage out your speakers.

Bummer, was rooting for the Bengals, but this isn’t a sports blog so I’ll leave it alone.

This was a ram horn to the gut of Eli Apple for sure, but it’s still nowhere close to the best sports diss track of all time:

Also, since we’re here I guess we need to talk about the possibly greatest halftime show of all time?

It was near perfect. I could have used more Paak, but it was just great to see his smiling face. It was honestly kind of hard to watch Em follow Kendrick bc Kendrick from LA and absolutely crushed it, but I also get it. Could have also used a little more homage to Tupac, but the opening notes to this before Still D.R.E. were at least something:

Don’t forget to follow the playlist for hot new tracks every week:

75 Best Songs of 2021

This year when you were waiting in line for vaccine shot, taking an Uber to a bar for the first time in a year, or killing time in between watching any of the following:

Joe Biden’s inauguration
The Tokyo Olympics
Giannis dominate the NBA
Tom Brady dominate the NFL (again)
The process of freeing Britney (we did it)
The fluctuating prices of crypto and NFTs
or Squid Game

You were probably listening to something. And it was probably Adele or Olivia Rodrigo. But a lot happened in music this year, including a robust year for indie music, the return of concerts, the first annual Indie Pong Song of Summer Competition, and me finally seeing Everclear live and absolutely losing my mind. You were listening to something, and when you look back and listen to it a few years from now it will always remind you of the year that we got our lives back. Here are my top 75 songs of 2021. Keep in mind that this is objective and definitive, and if you have a different opinion it’s probably wrong.

Playlist: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/76S58vvSbS5Z1MJrVIHotY?si=f3745224e00f452e

75. “Be Sweet” – Japanese Breakfast
74. “deja vu” – Olivia Rodrigo
73. “Eastside” – F.A.B.L.E., ‘Kechi, Sage P, Domerie
72. “Great Mass of Color” – Deafheaven
71. “HUH?” – Serena Isioma
70. “I Do This All The Time” – Self Esteem
69. “peacewise silence” – Ackerman
68. “ENTERTAINMENT” – SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE
67. “Txu Txu” – PPJ, Pรกula, Povoa, Jerge
66. “Never Been More Sure” – Royel Otis
65. “Name” – spill tab
64. “Come To Life” – Kanye West
63. “American tterroristt” – RXKNephew
62. “You Lose!” – Magdalena Bay
61. “Brand New” – TARYN
60. “All Grown Up” – Londo
59. “Take Off” – Prinze George
58. “Crying During Sex” – Carol Ades
57. “Surrender” – Tseba, PRICIE
56. “Heaven is a Pill” – thanks for coming
55. “Head Cheerleader” – Pom Pom Squad
54. “Velcro” – spill tab, Gus Dapperton
53. “telephone wires” – maxime.
52. “Gang Signs” – Freddie Gibbs, ScHoolboy Q
51. “Sister” – TSHA
50. “Give Me Your Love” – Girl Ray
49. “Hidden Qi ้š.ๆฐ”” – Mindy Meng Wang ็Ž‹่Œ and Tim Shiel
48. “Root Mean Square” – Summer Like the Season
47. “These Things Will Come To Be” – DJ Seinfeld
46. “Down On Your Luck” – SACHI
45. “Comerte Entera” – C. Tangana, Toquinho
44. “Basement” – Church Girls
43. “the angel of 8th ave.” – Gang of Youths
42. “La Perla” – Sofia Kourtesis
41. “Silk Chiffon” – MUNA, Phoebe Bridgers
40. “Swing of Things” – MAY-A, Powfu
39. “I Don’t Live Here Anymore” – The War On Drugs, Lucius
38. “Back To Oz” – Sufjan Stevens, Angelo De Augustine
37. “Hard Drive” – Cassandra Jenkins
36. “You Could Be” – Anz, George Riley
35. “Handsome Man” – Wednesday
34. “Mazda5” – MyKey, marinelli
33. “Rich & Famous” – Shelley FKA DRAM
32. “3 AM” – HAIM, Thundercat
31. “Welcome To The People (Baltra Remix)” – Jaded, Baltra
30. “Only for Tonight” – Pearl Charles
29. “spit it out” – Roksana
28. “Strawberry” – Doss
27. “Skyscrapers” – Nina Kraviz
26. “Bouncin” – Tinashe
25. “Enough” – Appleby
24. “Wake” – Big Scary
23. “Good Ones” – Charli XCX
22. “Jail 2” – Kanye West
21. “Little Things” – Big Thief
20. “Louisiana Jukebox” – Mad Gatsby
19. “Cold Blood” – Junior Varsity
18. “Go Outside” – Ratboys
17. “Payday” – Doja Cat, Young Thug
16. “Peaches” – Justin Bieber, Daniel Caesar, Giveon
15. “But She Loves You” – Merk
14. “We’ll Figure It Out” – Black Dresses
13. “ALL COPS ARE BASTARDS*” – BLACKSTARKIDS
12. “Xiu” – Yu Su
11. “The Mission” – Bakar
10. “He Gets Me So High” – beabadoobee
9. “Don’t Need You” – Genesis Owusu
8. “Breathe” – Lawrence Rothman, Caroline Rose
7. “Starstruck (Vegyn Remix)” – Years & Years, Vegyn
6. “THE DOOR IS CLOSING” – SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE
5. “She Likes To Get High” – Cry Baby
4. “object permanence” – Sydney Sprague, Danielle Durack
3. “The Beginning” – Magdalena Bay
2. “Show Up” – Samia
1. “Jackie” – Yves Tumor


Some notes:

68. “ENTERTAINMENT” – SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE

You have to listen to the whole song, I admit the beginning is… challenging. But the transition from chaos to catchy and light-hearted perfectly sets up one of the best albums of the year.

67. “Txu Txu” – PPJ, Pรกula, Povoa, Jerge

Love this track. I specifically wanted to single it out because my ACTUAL favorite track of 2021 was released in November of 2020, and it’s amazing:

26. “Bouncin”- Tinashe

Why does Tinashe never miss, ever?

27. “Skyscrapers” – Nina Kraviz

This one is really interesting to me, because Nina is basically the most badass techno DJ in the game. I never expected a pop song, and I certainly didn’t expect one so aggressively good.

25. “Enough” – Appleby

It was hard to choose only one of Appleby’s songs, there were a lot of contenders. This Chicago native is up next. Mark my words, up next.

16. & 17.”Peaches” and “Payday”

These songs are truly so, so good. Peaches was more or less an anthem of this year along with Kiss Me More, which is also a banger but didn’t quite make the list. Payday did though, well-deserved.

15. “But She Loves You” – Merk

This song is so cool. To me it’s the quintessential song of the year that demonstrates doing more with less. The sounds are so simple, but the way they crescendo together is brilliant. A top 15 spot was a no brainer.

13. “ALL COPS ARE BASTARDS*” – BLACKSTARKIDS

BSK are the best, and continue to steadily rise with groundbreaking sounds and just… energy. All the love.

11. “The Mission” – Bakar

I’m not here to die on the hill of that nepotism is a good thing, but this take on nepotism being an earned thing that we all aim to get for our kids is refreshing.

9. “Don’t Need You” – Genesis Owusu

Easily one of the best albums of the year.

5. “She Likes To Get High” – Cry Baby

How fun is this song? What a just absolute jam. Tickles the ol’ nostalgia bone.

4. “object permanence” – Sydney Sprague

This was my #1 most listened to song of the year on Spotify

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One thing I can say for sure about object permanence is that it has lasting power, times a million. I’ve listened to this song almost everyday for a year and it’s never gotten old once. The way a top 5 should be.

3. “The Beginning” – Magdalena Bay

This was album of the year for me, not close. I don’t know how they did it- Magdalena Bay somehow made an album that sounds like Rumours but done by Britney Spears. Every song sounds different, the melodies are amazing, it’s just a home run.

2. “Show Up” – Samia

According to Spotify Wrapped I’m a a Samia superfan so I guess you have to take it with a grain of salt but

SAMIA IS THE GREATEST ARTRISAT DISFJNSKDNFLKJSDF

Sorry I blacked out for a second, Samia has some chill tunes.

Also Big Wheel doesn’t make me cry nothing makes me cry:

1. “Jackie” – Yves Tumor

The thing with the best song of the year is that you just know. This song blows my mind every single time. Yves has also been making bangers for years. Keep being the coolest human being on the planet Yves, you’ve earned it.

Daw thought David Bowie’s “Heroes” was by U2

We were at George’s brother’s wedding trying on our tuxes, and “Heroes” by David Bowie started playing. Daw turned to me and said “U2 actually has some good songs.” I looked back in disbelief, it seemed too good to be true.

I put together two different playlists for the occasion. One was a playlist for the bachelor party:

Which was just straight hitters, all of George’s brother Jack’s favorite songs, from Creed to Fishmans. I was then asked to put together a playlist for the pre-wedding festivities, but with the important little nugget of information that the bride’s dad would be joining us. My first thought was him calling off the wedding upon hearing “Fuckin Around” by 100s and realizing that Jack is a certified freak, so I made some edits (a lot of edits) and it left us with a lot of classic rock and innocuous indie pop songs.

So I look back at Daw and asked “Do you think this is by U2” and he said “Isn’t it?”… what an idiot. Just an absolute fool. Truly a shameful moment for Daw that is now immortalized in writing on the greatest indie music blog on the planet.

Also it’s Daw’s birthday today, happy birthday Daw!

One of my favorite finds of the summer has been the Mellon Collie Demos by Roksana

Not only are these demos awesome, but this 18 minute visual album is a BLAST. We see Roksana dance suggestively while dressed as a bee on “Only Plants”, invent a new kind of currency, run for her life, party her ass off, and enjoy(?) an interesting afternoon on roller skates. By the end we are cathartically led to the conclusion of this short film’s essence- the end of the world.

An absolute rocketship of a debut from Los Angeles based Roksana, for whom the future seems bright.

From what I understand, there were limitations to the music in this visual album. The reason these were released as demos and not full songs was because they COULDN’T be, so the fact that Roksana pivoted and made this visual album with the help of “The Commune” in order to launch her career is impressively resilient and thoughtful.

My favorite track off of the album is the first one:

but they all hit.

I mean, just look at some of these screenshots from the same 18 minute visual album:

Give me a break. 10/10

Pitchfork is copying us again

Tsk tsk, classic Pitchfork always being one step behind the world-renowned institution that is Indie Pong. As you know we are well under way on our annual Song of the Summer competition, to see which blogger can produce the best slate of SOTS candidates at the end of summer.

Follow all of the action here on our playlist:

And don’t miss my latest addition (I’m winning by the way), this monolith of a new summer track by Doja Cat:

Indie Pong Presents: Song of Summer Series

Summer is here! And we’re doing something exciting.

For the next 3 months the Indie Pong bloggers are going to be highlighting the songs of the summer on our summer playlist:

And then at the end of the summer we’re going to vote on what truly was the song of the summer. This is something we’re doing every summer, so blast that follow button to keep track.

There have been some bangers so far this summer on the playlist (we’ve been doing this for a month, I was supposed to have wrote this blog already oops), but I’m definitely winning so far. These are the piping hot absolute heaters I’ve chosen so far for song of the summer:

Here’s how I think the competition is going so far of the Indie Pong bloggers who have submitted entries:

  1. Me (by a mile)
  2. Cassie
  3. Luis
  4. Daw
  5. Brandon
  6. Amber

Definitely winning. Don’t forget to blast that follow button to follow along all summer:

Mood on this fine morning: “Fuck KD” by Lil B

What a THRILLER last night! The two greatest words in sports: Game 7. In all seriousness KD played his ass off, is clearly the best player in the NBA, and gets respect and love for me but today… on this fine morning… where the new NBA champion is soon to be either Milwaukee, Phoenix, Clippers, Philly, or Atlanta… the vibe is:

Some important blogs coming soon (summertime vibes), stay tuned…

Wednesday: Interview and Live Performance

Read a story of perseverance and triumph against all odds as I recap my interview with one of my favorite bands, Wednesday.

This interview was off to a blazing hot start from the get go as Karly Hartzman announced that there was a bear (a fucking bear) in their yard.

Jake Lenderman (guitar) and Xandy Rooben (muse of the band) joined us for one of my favorite interviews to date as the three of them were an absolute joy to talk to and left zero doubt as to why they are on such a fast ascent to stardom. We were excited to begin discussing new singles ‘Handsome Man’ and ‘Cody’s Only’ and the upcoming probably AOTY coming on 8/13…

That’s when things got blurry.

During the most important interview to ever be conducted in history, my home experienced a power outage. My neighbor called and LADWP said it was an 1800 home outage.

Sadly along with my unprecedentedly pink and blurry face, my audio had also become distorted, to the point that it made the interview unwatchable.

Ben Affleck Smoking Through the Pain of Existence

Fortunately Wednesday’s answers came through clearly, which is why this time around I am transcribing the interview here on the blog.

Even more fortunately, Wednesday’s PERFORMANCE CAME THROUGH CRYSTAL CLEAR, giving some some quality footage to use.

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Here’s the full interview video for anyone who wants to watch, but be forewarned that the audio makes it tough at times:

Without further ado:

What moment in music history would you buy as an NFT?

NFTs are bad for the environment, but let’s say in an ideal world where they weren’t for this example.

Jake: George Jones driving a tractor to the liquor store after a several day drinking binge

I didn’t know about this lol

Karly: Dolly Parton’s nails from the classic concert that Dust To Digital just released on video

Alan (via comments): Smashing Pumpkins, London ’93

What are some of your biggest musical influences?

Karly: This past year and right around the time we were recording it was Unwound, a big one for me right now.

Jake: Smashing Pumpkins. We try to layer guitars like that.

Karly: I like the Swirlies a lot, they’re one of my favorite bands ever. We also like a lot fo country music, especially when we’re grilling or sitting on the porch, it’s like the only thing that makes sense for what we’re look at and what we’re eating, which is usually hot dogs.

Besides from music, what are some other mediums of art that you think have influenced you?

Karly: I do a lot of sewing, I’m actually about to drop a bunch of Wednesday shirts that are handmade. Jake likes to paint trucks, and Xandy is a baker, which actually plays into the way we write music.

As we went in depth into this Karly mentioned that she a line of brand new handmade Wednesday shirts, available here. Here’s a preview:

What artists are killing it right now, and who should we watch out for?

Jake: Dan Wriggins, Michael Cormier, Fust, Colin Miller, bandmate Margo recommends Lavender Blue

Karly: Space Heater, Orindal Records, Dearlife Records, Jake’s album (MJ Lenderman), Walkhome, Zach Romeo, Harsh Realm

Xandy: Green-House

And also SECRET SHAME (of the 2020 Indie Pong playlist ๐Ÿ™‚)

What artist’s discography would you take with you to a desert island for a month?

Xandy: Arthur Russell

Karly: Space Heater, final answer

Jake: Island Book Soundtrack by Lewis Dahm (made for the graphic novel Island Book by Evan Dahm)

In addition to all of this we discussed fun things to do in Asheville, shopping local and avoiding the new chains popping up (especially Harvest Records), baking on tour, and a myriad of other fun topics.

Anyways, take it away Wednesday!