Anyone that says our city's limited with its home-grown music (outside of Cantopop) is in for a pleasant surprise. This list of our favourites runs the gamut from pop and indie to metal and folk. It's been a great year so far for new music and we're proud to share with you some of our highlights.
If this has whet your appetite for some live music in Hong Kong, why not check the best gigs on this month?
The best Hong Kong songs of 2018 so far
Thud – Ado
Since exploding onto the scene almost four years ago with their debut single, Lime, this young four-piece has continued to astound with their shoegaze mastery. This isn't a band that started rough. From day one, their output has gone toe to toe with some of the best shoegaze acts in the world with their debut EP, Floret and following single, Prime of Pride, merely cementing the fact. Thud's latest single, Ado, continues the winning streak. This is a beautifully constructed summer tune that – upon closer inspection – hides a melancholic sadness that embodies that shoegaze goodness that Thud does so well.
Ni.Ne.Mo – Doubt
'Your girlfriend's favourite band' are back with an atmospheric, slow-building r'n'b indie pop rock classic that handles its peaks and troughs expertly, paying off a solemn verse with a formidably grandiose and uplifting chorus. This band's been criminally underrated for years so it's time to give them some love. Oh, the video's cool too.
GDJYB – Why Don't You Kill Us All
The all-girl Hong Kong rockers have been longtime favourites of Time Out and their new single, Why Don't You Kill Us All, certainly isn't going to change that. The new song shows how far the four-piece have come. It's a beautifully harmonised slice of indie-rock joy. The political message is hardly subtle – just have a gander at the gloriously mental video. Thankfully, the song-writing nous and general quality of the tune elevates it beyond the often ham-fisted handling of such topics by lesser bands.
Dear Jane – 全也活過來 <<Survive>>
There's an argument to be made that Dear Jane have moved away from their heavier, proper-rock roots and moved into that fuzzy cantopop/rock space which will no doubt upset a few purists out there. But honestly, when the songs are this catchy (whether you speak Cantonese or not), it's hard to argue.
RubberBand – 城市當代配樂團
With an intro that's all ukuleles, sea sounds and 'na na na's', you'd be forgiven for thinking that you're listening to some kind of Cantonese Jack Johnson nightmare. But fear not, this is quintessential RubberBand: funky, foot-stomping Hong Kong indie with vocally Cantopop sensibilities. Good stuff.
Kolor – 七尺之下
A pretty big change in direction from Kolor's guitar rock days of old. This is about as Canto ballad as a Canto ballad can be. That's not a criticism, this is a band that have been around a long time and know exactly how to craft a beautiful tune and that's on display here. Lead singer Sammy's vocals have never been better, displaying an impressive range and tenderness in his cadence.
Soul of Ears – Fifth of May (featuring Eaven Chan)
Usually Soul of Ears live up to their name with massive-sounding metalcore being their bread and butter. But in this collaboration with the angel-voiced Eaven Chan, the band have done away with the screaming and created a synthy/electro/metal(ish) love ballad. And it's great. It maintains the energy the band is known for while offering a decidedly different dimension with the addition of Chan's treacle-like vocals.