The Essential Weekly Playlist of: Hand Drawn Maps


This week’s essential playlist comes from Hand Drawn Maps, an Indie Surf Rock/Pop band from LA. We introduced you to them back in December, when they released their EP, ‘Kites’.

Music is by far the biggest and best part of all three of our lives, so we ourselves have a lot of songs that we couldn’t live without. Hand Drawn Maps is basically a culmination of everything that we love about music, so we would be remiss if we were to not give our favourite artists credit where credit is due.

Elliott Smith – ‘Say Yes’

This is probably one of the most heart breaking tracks anyone has ever written. Lyrically and musically, this song brings the three of us to tears. Growing up, we all have to deal with a lot of life changes and problems, and this song has helped us all to cope and reflect.

Elliott Smith - Say Yes

Death Cab for Cutie – ‘I Will Follow You Into the Dark’

This song is debatably the most widely known song written by Death Cab For Cutie. We had heard of them before this, but this song made us stop and really take a close listen to what Ben Gibbard was actually doing. Ben is our favourite songwriter in the scene right now and we would not be where we are today without him.

Bright Eyes – ‘Bowl of Oranges’

Bright Eyes is another one of our all time favourite bands. They helped Stewart James a lot in his early years to experiment with lyrics, and to think deeply into words. At the end of the day, you have  to respect the listener.

David Bowie – ‘Space Oddity’

Due to his recent passing, we believe it’s impossible to listen to this song without feeling something. David Bowie gave a real gift to the world, and this psychedelic, interstellar feeling comes to heart when we hear all his songs. What a beautiful talent this man possessed. This is definitely a track that we could not live without.

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The Beatles – ‘Something’

Originally a song by George Harrison, something is one of the most beautiful he orchestrated tracks we’ve ever heard. Lyrically, musically, and spiritually, it’s just a brilliant track. The Beatles have influenced so many people over the years, and we are no different. A lot of their tracks deal with the idea of love, and that is a message everyone can respect.

Beck – ‘Lost Cause’

You may see a reoccurring theme with the tracks that of affected our lives, they all possess a very sad undertone. The entire ‘Sea Change’ album has a sad undertone because it was dedicated to break up. This is definitely a song that is helped us get through the tough times of life. This track is perhaps a bit self pitying, but We believe we’ve all felt like that sometimes.

The Beach Boys – ‘Wouldn’t it be Nice”

One of our biggest influences in the surf rock scene has got to be The Beach Beach. They were a band that did something completely original for their time. From their classic vintage sound, to the brilliant songwriting of Brian Wilson, ‘Wouldn’t it be Nice’ and the entire ‘Pet Sounds’ album have shaped us into the musicians we are today. This band really has a dark story in contrast to the upbeat poppy music they wrote, and we believe they’re worth getting into.

Nirvana – ‘Dumb’

We have a saying, “there are two people in the world. There are people who love Nirvana, and then there are liars.” We can often put on Nirvana on at our house and be completely dumbfounded  by the brilliance of Kurt’s songwriting. He obviously was doing something right, because the music and the words are simple, but his songs possessed a feeling that to this day has not been re-created. The song ‘Dumb’ is one of our favourite tracks because of the simplicity, the melody, the message, and the awesome feeling behind it.

The Postal Service – ‘Brand New Colony’

Again, coming back to Ben Gibbard, The Postal Service was an undeniably cool project. It was very cutting-edge mixing electronica with indie-pop. It was extremely simplistic, yet somehow intricate, deep and profound. We wish they would’ve made 10 albums, but they only have one and it’s brilliant. This song ‘Brand New Colony’ was a song that really got us into the Indie-pop scene, and made us rethink what kind of music we want to play.

Radiohead – ‘Weird Fishes / Arpeggi’

Last but certainly not least is one of our favourite bands, Radiohead. This is music for people who love, respect, and understand music. It manages to be extremely sophisticated and brilliant without giving a pretentious vibe. It’s a hard thing to do and they’ve done it better than anyone else. From the beautiful voice of Thom Yorke, The beautiful music created by the band, Weird Fishes is one of our all-time favourite tracks.

Music is extremely subjective, and what might affect our lives might not affect yours in the same way, and there we can agree to disagree. I guess the most important thing to do is write music that sounds good to you, and who cares what other people think.

Check out Hand Drawn Maps online on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Soundcloud and their website. You can download their music for free on their Bandcamp page.

About the author

There’s a lot of music out there - good music. At Essentially Pop our remit is that we cover music that deserves to be heard, with a particular focus on independent artists. That doesn't mean we won't cover your old favourites - rather we hope to give you some new favourites as well.

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