They’ve been killing it live, are about to release an album and their latest singles are on repeat. Here are the local acts—old and new—that we think are going to be big this year. (Bonus: Soundcloud and YouTube links!)

See also: Three new places to catch live music in Bangkok

How's our track record? See our lists from 2014 and 2013


UPDATE: You can now listen to all 10 artists in one handy playlist:


 
 

Minus 88

Label: Comet Records
The Comet Records act came to many gig-goers’ attention after supporting American r‘n’b performer How to Dress Well in February. The band is actually the side project of the busy Jakchai “Tung” Panchanon, of Casinotone (also see Morg, below), who’s teamed up with Pisit Kaosangthong (electric guitar), Anis Iamjaikla (acoustic guitar) and Thiantharit Chairut (bass). Debut single “Slow Motion” is catchy synth-pop in the mold of Jakchai’s main act, with a slight soul undercurrent, but live we’re most impressed with the band’s moodier, more atmospheric tracks.
Catch them next: Mar 20 at King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang
Where to listen: www.fb.com/minus88bangkok
 

Fwends

Label: Independent
New name, not-so-new band. This five-piece is made up of three of the former members of Cloud Behind. Debut single, the effects laden “Fade Away,” reveals a mature sound that’s pretty epic compared to the bouncy indie-pop of before. The live show is coming together nicely, too, judging from their performance at the Sweet Escape festival earlier this month.
Catch them next: Apr 25 at Jam
 

Clokue

Label: Independent
Dhanarat Dhitirojana, aka Clokue, studied music under Pok Stylish Nonsense and shares his teacher’s sense of sonic adventure, but that’s where the comparisons end. Dhanarat has performed his 100-percent computer-made music on stages around the country, from Stone Free Music Festival (2013 and 2014) to last week’s EESE Festival at Jam. Don’t go expecting heavy walls of sound, though; this is sweet, delicate minimalism at its most accessible.
Where to listen: soundcloud.com/clokue
 
 
 

Katuru

Label: Parinam Music
Aimcharoen “Aim” Rojthaworn first came to our attention last year with his country-folk project Alone Tournament and the single “Kae Klang Tang.” He’s now found a new home at Parinam Music, where he’s releasing music under the name Katuru. The first offering, “Your Shining,” is a gospel-like acoustic tune that morphs into a real foot-stomper, hinting at his powerful, improv-heavy live performances.
Where to listen: tinyurl.com/mhghwpl
 
 

Morg

Label: Comet Records
Comet Records head honcho Jakchai “Tung” Panchanon tells us there’s plenty coming up for his label this year (not least a new single from his band Casinotone). The new act we’re most excited about is probably Morg, a vintage synth-pop duo consisting of Pruet Chesadaphun and Punlop Maneekuni. We’ve been hankering for more since hearing their breezy, nostalgia-laced debut single “Air Shower” on Comet Records’ first compilation back in 2013. Late last year, they returned with the deeper and darker “Breath,” and there’s also an album on the way.
Catch them next: Mar 20 at King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang
Where to listen: soundcloud.com/morgbkk
 
 
 

Phum Viphurit

Label: Rats Records
Last year we were enamored with Rats Records’ The Whitest Crow. This year it’s the label’s newest signing, Phum Viphurit. The 19-year-old solo performer has just released his first single, “Adore,” a toe-tapping folk ditty which Phum helms with his powerful vocals. We love the 1960s crooner vibes, even the awkward, Jerry Maguire-evoking lyrics (“You had me at hello”), and the chorus of “I do, do, do…” which is sure to ring out in drunken sing-alongs across town from Moose to Play Yard by Studio Bar.
Catch him next: Apr 25 at Grease
Where to listen: www.fb.com/PhumViphurit
 
 
 

Ugly Mountain

Label: Independent
Following the likes of Polycat and Solitude is Bliss, Ugly Mountain looks like the latest band to make the leap from Chiang Mai to the national stage. This three-piece, consisting of Mahasamut Bunyaraksh (Little Fox and Saliva Bastards), Tasasin Indhaphan and Panupong Chareanrat, delivers downand-dirty psychedelic rock with touches of country luk thung through the use of phin, violin and haunted vocals. Their debut self-titled EP is out now.
 
 
 

Free Typewriter/Gardener Twins

Label: Independent
If you’re a regular at Keep on the Grass and Stone Free Music festivals, you’ll already be familiar with Free Typewriter. After more than half a decade on tour, acoustic troubadour Vutipong Mahasamut just released his first EP of sparse, homespun folk, Meadow House, which recalls the work of artists like M. Ward or Nick Drake. On a similar tack, Vutipong’s other project, Gardener Twins, in collaboration with Tawan S. Dacpham, delivers a slightly more upbeat, dream-pop vibe.
Catch him next: Album launch party in June (date TBA)
 
 
 

Koichi Shimizu

Label: So:On Dry Flower
Here comes the real deal. If you’re any kind of fan of Bangkok’s independent music scene, you’ll know Koichi Shimizu as the driving force behind the So:On Dry Flower record label for over a decade. With the release of his debut solo album, Otolary (available on CD and 12”), late last month, he’s unleashed what some people are calling the heaviest electronic music to come out of Thailand in a long, long time.
Where to listen: soundcloud.com/kshimizu
 

La La

Label: Independent
Fresh from performing at this month’s Windbreaks festival at Wanderlust Rooftop, I A I A (or the more search-friendly Lala) specialize in finely-crafted, outsider psych-pop. The duo, comprising Teerapong “Pipe” Bumrungsheep, formerly of The Orange Rolls, and Thanart “Peet” Rasanont, ex-member of Jarintanakai, have just two recorded songs to their name—but that’s enough to get you hooked. The breezy “Jai Yen” is a pure ear-worm, while the more dance-oriented “MOA192b” is just as exciting. Both are gorgeously produced, too.
Catch them next: Apr 4 at Play Yard by Studio Bar