• Awful Track Record

ATR's Best Songs of 2020...So Far

Updated: Oct 10, 2020


Written by Zim Ahmadi, Joseph Lu, & Kasih Azhar

Edited by Zim Ahmadi

Featured Image by Joseph Lu

EDITOR'S NOTE: Yes, it's a long list and we apologise if you're overwhelmed. As usual, this list is unranked. Songs are a bit harder to sift through. Sometimes, you get gems even less-than-excellent albums. Some of these songs exist in the weird continuum between pre-COVID and post-COVID, thus leading to tracks that turn out prophetic or just harder to put down in a time of general isolation. Either way, this makes it a more daunting and exciting prospect for the end-year-list with so many good choices at hand from Malaysia and around the world. We hope you find something on the list you enjoy! Shuffle through our Spotify playlist for some fun - you’ll get transported from things that will wreck your brain with noise to tunes you wished were around when you were making that mixtape for someone you had a crush on in your younger days. Even songs that are both at the same time. Thank you for reading!

-Zim-









Honorable Mentions Guilty Conscience - 070 Shake Easy Tiger - Flyte Rabbit Rabbit - Lisel How to Get Physical - Magdalena Bay Vertigo (ft. Lunadira) - Midnight Fusic Me in 20 Years - Moses Sumney Kyoto - Phoebe Bridgers Pure Cinema - Thao & The Get Down Stay Down Stay Where You Are - Yuna By Myself - Maya Hawke

Blame It On Baby - DaBaby Blue World - Mac Miller

Momentary Bliss - Gorillaz ft. Slowthai, Slaves

Hollywood - Car Seat Headrest

STFU - Rina Sawayama RIOT! - Haru Nemuri Ya No Vivo Por Vivir - Natalia Fourcade ft. Leonel Garcia Nonbinary - Arca

Sour Candy - Lady Gaga ft. Blackpink Circle the Drain - Soccer Mommy Dragonball Durag - Thundercat Firefly - The Steve McQueens


Between - Alextbh

GENRE: ALTERNATIVE R&B, FUTURE GARAGE, FUTURE BASS


Alextbh kicks off the list with his existential R&B banger Between. Glistening instrumentation and slick vocal performance hide the vulnerable lyricism of a hikikomori trying to find a connection in an increasingly disconnected world. With such a sparse production style, the 808 bassline hits you harder than finding out MCO has been extended again. If you need background music for your private Zooms sessions with your SO, this is it. - Joseph-




HB[A] - The Filters



GENRE: FRACTIONAL MATH // EXPERIMENTAL // INDIE ROCK


Ranging at only 1 minute, this little ditty by The Filters might be the most inventive yet eloquent attempt at rearranging the Happy Birthday song. It's still easy to sing along to, despite it being timed in odd signatures and a whole different variety of chords that still links up to a totally applicable arrangement. The other end of this song is a total meltdown, with a bass-boosted explosion and a segue way into an 8-bit crushed maelstrom that sounds nothing like the original birthday song in any sense. Listen closely enough, and you might just catch onto those few seconds where frontman Ian tells his drummer to fuck off. -Kasih-

Burning Out - OJ Law

GENRE: INDIE POP / INDIE ROCK / R&B / BALLAD


Although the working class struggle is a tale as old as time, Burning Out inadvertently became even more timeless because it prophesied the ever-increasing importance of vocations like deliverers in a time of an isolation-filled pandemic lockdown. Even without the COVID context, Burning Out is still a beautifully written ballad that captures the exhaustion of the rat race and the quiet resignation that comes with it. The song reaches a profound moment of catharsis with its guitar solo ending but the very straightforward approach to Burning Out is what makes it a classic. Sometimes we just want people to care that we’re tired, that it’s worth it to acknowledge the moments of doubt that we all feel; especially when climbing the social ladder feels pointless and never-ending. -Zim-


Tiang Seri - MonoloQue


GENRE: GENRE: GLITCH POP, IDM, AMBIENT POP


Taking on a brave new direction, MonoloQue’s Tiang Seri captures the image of a slow rot of a house about to collapse. The jittering drums, the drunken vocal delivery, the Radiohead inspired synthesizers in the background, all culminate into the haunting image of a mind sunken in denial, perhaps of unrequited love or a harrowing discovery. -Joseph-




Greener From Above - Krooktroupe



GENRE: LO-FI // FOLK // INDIE ROCK

Pulsating synths and disjointed acoustica, “Greener from Above” makes for one interesting electro-folk track. Faris's wispy vocals reverberate softly through the loose melodies- it flirts listlessly by sounding echoey for a moment and slightly distorted the next. The track emits serenity - subtly trance-like. The repetition reminiscent of the twinkly jingles of a Nintendo DS loading screen, and the bleak monotony of a pendulum swing. The song begins to swell as the orchestration builds, flutes enter the atmosphere and the sounds of water droplets and nature turn this track into a tiny little rainforest. It’s a lazy lullaby, yet meaningful all the same. -Kasih-


Purchase the Botanika EP collection here. Follow Krooktroupe on Bandcamp



Irama - Enterprise


GENRE: NEW WAVE / SYNTH-POP Irama is the Subang Jaya synth-pop outfit’s tribute to iconic multi-talented Malaysian film actor, artist and singer, P. Ramlee - specifically his legendary song Getaran Jiwa. It is Enterprise at their grooviest. In comparison to much of their previous album released in 2017, Episode Two: Fantastic Planets, the homage sees Enterprise come back down to Earth (relatively speaking) with a rhythmic & triumphant vengeance. I can’t get the chorus out of my head. This song is a PSA to open up your mind to indescribable fantasies - and to dance. -Zim-



玩玩MEH你以為? - DATO' MAW

GENRE: HIP HOP, POP RAP

Riding the momentum of Planta, the Tiger Beer drinking Boiler Room alumni DATO’ MAW returns with the 玩玩MEH你以為. And with a healthy peppering of humour and Hokkien, even Eminem would blush if he could understand the lyrics. For the best experience, listen on car speakers. The Tokyo Drift-inspired music video tells me this song was mastered in a Honda. -Joseph-

Icarus - Lurkgurl




GENRE: LO-FI // ACOUSTICA // INDIE

Icarus is an honest and tender piece of acoustica. The pain of hurting when you get too close to someone is apparent in Khadijah’s lyricism. The beauty in her music is that her songs always sound like private confessions accompanied by lilting chords. There’s not much to note composition-wise, but that's exactly where Lurkgurl’s music has its effect. The simplicity in her guitar playing and the rhyme scheme in her singing is familiar, yet powerful as it is raw. She whispers her fears and worries into listening ears, and the sadness is all-consuming. -Kasih-



Summertime - Leon Sapphire

GENRE: ALTERNATIVE R&B / R&B Sometimes in the festive heat of the summer, we all need a little sadness to keep us grounded. And in Malaysia, where the seasons are divided by monsoon or no-monsoon, the sun is out almost all-year-round. Hence when Leon Sapphire sings that “we’ve fallen for it”, he invites us to share in this quasi-eternity of subtly swelling synths and beautiful vocals. Summertime might as well be an ambient piece rather than an R&B tune since the looseness is what makes the melancholy so alluring. -Zim-

Demi Kita - Pastel Lite


GENRE: ELECTROPOP, INDIE POP, SYNTHPOP Malaysia’s dream-pop darlings Pastel Lite grace us once again with Eff Hakim’s sensual vocals and Mohd Faliq’s washed out synthesizer stabs. The song opens with snippets of someone talking over the phone. Are we hearing the remnants of a fresh breakup or enduring anxiety of being ghosted on Tinder? Regardless, the lyrics are a mantra of self-acceptance - finding love without a loved one. Nothing could be more relevant in the age of quarantine.

-Joseph-



Senjakala - Motherwit



GENRE: INDIE ROCK Motherwit’s relatively unknown status right now has made this song so easy to overlook. But Senjakala comes off as an instant indie classic to me. It combines the sentimentality of familiar 2000s Malaysian indie bands like Hujan but with a good dose of modern, dreamy productions that’s so trendy with the Mac DeMarco legacy of kids (including me) nowadays. The lyrics are reminiscent of many neoromantic subgenres of Nusantara independent music, “Oh angin bawakan pada ku cerita sebenarnya, aku mahu tahu” ("Oh Wind, bring me the truth, I want to know") is a beautiful refrain. As of now Senjakala is just one of the handful of great songs in my favourite Malaysian COVID-19 compilation, PKP Project 1 and in their latest EP “archived demos”, but it feels like a great teaser for what Motherwit is capable of when they release a full LP in the future. -Zim-



Oh My Corona - Punitha Raja



GENRE: TAMIL POP, TAMIL HIP HOP


Local songstress Punitha Raja channels every ounce of pop in Oh My Corona to end this pandemic once and for all, with jumpy syncopated rhythms and quirky instrumental breakdowns. You might not understand the lyrics (like me), but it’s not gonna stop you from humming the chorus beneath your mask while you wait in line at McDs. Also check out her hilarious music video which proves you don’t need cinema-grade equipment to make great entertainment.

-Joseph-



Kenang - Papastathopoulos



GENRE: ALTERNATIVE ROCK, POP ROCK, INDIE ROCK There is a whole battalion of Malaysian indie bands who are trying to emulate the spirit of the late 2000s indie scene. As it is with imitations, a lot fall into the nebulous quicksand of sameness. Maybe it’s too early to tell, but papastathopulous seems to have the potential to break out of that trap. Though their formula is familiar, the heart of this band, especially in the song Kenang, is the soaring, immediately distinguishable vocals that make the already mesmerizing indie rock musicianship blossom to its fullest capacity. Kenang leaves room for sing-a-longs without being cavernous or void of substance. -Zim-

Recorded, mixed, and mastered in the hidden musical haven that is Iseekmusic, Kenang is a heartfelt take on indie road trip music (think 1975’s Sex but a little more halal), with lyrical themes of longing and loss. The frontman’s one-word delivery evokes the spirit of a body tired and disheartened while the glittery guitars and a steady drumbeat urge the singer to keep moving. The single is also accompanied by an adorable 8-bit video worthy of anyone’s study playlist. papastathopulous might be a mouthful to say but these guys are on track to be a household name in the Malaysian indie community.

-Joseph-

Can’t Sleep - Alien Lipstick Fire




GENRE: GARAGE ROCK REVIVAL, INDIE ROCK, TWEE POP


True to its title, Can’t Sleep is a single that feels unsettled. The staccato guitars and straight-beat drums push the song along ad infinitum, almost as if the ghost of Bombay Bicycle Club is taunting you from a reverb-drenched dreamscape, proclaiming “the end is near but you will never see it” – comforting to some, nightmarish to others. And while it might not put your little brother to sleep, Alien Lipstick Fire has cut a single that fits snugly in your cov-eid road trip playlist. -Joseph-



tell me how u rly feel - Joyberry

GENRE: DREAM POP / POP PUNK / NEW WAVE

Joyberry might be connected more to the pop-punk scene than any of the other scenes in the Malaysian indie landscape, but their latest single Tell Me How U Rly Feel shows them refusing to be locked inside one box. There’s an uncanny valley between the cliffs of hip hop, dream-pop, New Wave, and post-punk here. Joyberry isn’t shy of creating radio-friendly pop sounds while embellishing them with interesting production choices that make them hover above the boundaries of categorisation. All of this while still maintaining that adolescent emotionality that only pop punk can maintain - with enough snarkiness and brightness to keep it exciting. -Zim-

Kayangan - Drama Band



GENRE: HARD ROCK, HEAVY METAL, POP ROCK, AOR


It was a controversial start of the year for Drama Band (hence the name) but with a single fresh off the grill, these guys are once again in the spotlight for their music. Led by the death god from Death Note, Drama Band’s aesthetic can be described as Kiss meets Ghost meets MCR, which is all evident as soon as Kayangan’s verse kicks in. And although there’s much to say about the campy lyrics and the gargantuan walls of power chords, the real appeal comes from the theatricality and performance. This is one band that should be experienced live, ideally with a mask on. -Joseph-



Celaka - Sweetass

GENRE: GARAGE ROCK / ALTERNATIVE ROCK / GRUNGE

I’m immensely thankful that Sweetass and their tongue-in-cheek aesthetic didn’t just disappear after their critically-acclaimed debut, Wa Caya Lu. Their loose attitude in writing these love letters to grunge and 90s alt rock allows them to make a track like Celaka; a raw homage to slacker rock distortion that’s also a catchy pop melody with earworm oohs and aahs. -Zim-



Takkan Habes - Yul Elias & Ashidy Ridwan



GENRE: TRAP, POP RAP, CLOUD RAP, DANCE-POP


A definite standout from the army of rappers who, even in 2020, are still trying to ride the Drake train. Yul Elias & Ashidy Ridwan come together on this 3-minute banger with some laidback yet braggadocious vibes. Some highlights of this track include an EDM buildup and a distorted vocal breakdown at the one-minute mark. And what’s cool about these guys is they can switch between hip hop and R&B, which puts them in the same fighter class as a Childish Gambino or a Post Malone. And though some references might be lost on your average TikToker, the duo sells it with some very distinctive flows. -Joseph-



Hoodie - Lunadira & Reddi Rocket

GENRE: R&B / INDIE POP I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with cheesiness. I welcome the possibility that good songs can be about cliches. Romantic declarations of love are forever going to be a recurring staple of pop (and music in general). It just gets tiring to sift through because there’s a saturation of overproduced songs that are disposable because they’re often written to be relatable to everyone (or at least a majority of the audience). So when songs like Hoodie pop up which showcases intimate chemistry with a type of songwriting that feels very specific to the artists performing, I feel more excited about the world. I believe this adorable R&B duet is a great cause for celebration. Grand gestures are blase; the best love songs are often about finding beauty in mundane things, like not returning your partner’s sweater because it smells like them and kinda fits you better, anyway.

-Zim-



Therapeutic - GUWF


GENRE: POP PUNK / PUNK / POWER POP


Gang vocals, little twinkling keys, addictive punk riffs - all of the formula that you want in a great pop punk song can be found in Therapeutic. Although GUWF, as stated in their Bandcamp profile, wants to shed their punk sound for “cool music”, you can’t deny that the band’s main sell is their infectious merging of verse-chorus-verse garage rock hooks and their moshable energy. -Zim-



Viseral - Integers


GENRE: POST-PUNK / ALT-ROCK

In singing about love during a time of global conflict and political upheaval, Viseral emanates imagery from its catchy, pummelling post-punk rhythms and its visual lyricism (The love is in between/The states and warring countries). Although its commentary might be a vague broad-stroke of the world-at-large, the spine of the song is enough to illustrate the chaos from a point-of-view of a familiar alt-rock tune. -Zim-



Jauhkan (Memori) - I Lost the Plot

GENRE: POP PUNK This sequel to their single, Consequences, one of my favourite tracks from 2017, has all the makings of a great pop punk song. Gut-busting riffs that make you wanna shout and a not-so-subtle emo declamation that borders on the bleak. It talks about the difficulty of escaping past vices (“Ku minta dijauhkan/Memori ini tidak bisa pudar”) ("I plead to be distant/This memory that will not fade"), and is delivered with all the pathos a pop punk poet should be able to serve. Let’s sprinkle these dark memories with some bright guitar riffs and voila, you have this song. -Zim-



Good Things - Zee Avi


GENRE: ACOUSTIC POP / POP FOLK Wholesome music can easily get caught in a swamp of platitudes; where cheesy quotes fitting for motivational posters are uttered without much gravitas. But Zee Avi’s specialty in songwriting is in creating these messages of hope while delivering them with poignant simplicity and grace. It’s the luscious yet minimal production and her beautiful vocals that make Good Things more than just a prosaic cliche. It’s the kind of hope we need. These trying times deserve a song of utmost sincerity and kindness and Good Things is exactly that -Zim-



Mauri - Cha.Koy


GENRE: MATH ROCK These newcomers into the Malaysian scene come packaged with some improvisational math rock with good vibes. The dissonant and oft-kilter structures never seem to provoke discomfort, in fact, it weaves around the same level of chill throughout. There’s something to be said about getting excited about the next turn they take with the arrangement and yet it never comes off as harsh or unsettling. It’s a different type of high. The guitar harmonics face-off at the end of the song are just one of the many instances of solid musicianship in Mauri. -Zim-


Count on You - Banoffee



GENRE: ELECTROPOP, GLITCH POP, SYNTHPOP, ESCAPE ROOM, ART POP, VAPOR SOUL, INDIETRONICA


Fans of SOPHIE might recognize the glitzy hyperreal production style but the Australian pixie pop star Banoffee steals the show with her VSCO girl aesthetic and bubble-gum sweet optimism. Is this perhaps the missing link between PC music and indie pop? -Joseph-


Azure - Vinyl Williams




GENRE: ART ROCK / CELESTIAL / PSYCHEDELIC


This is a fantastic track that'll make you feel like you're on a sunset drive filled with wistful longing and regret. Smooth, transcendental instrumentation that'll take you on an interesting journey. Azure is punctuated with catchy drum lines and exciting jangly guitar work that switches between effervescent psychedelic ambience and grounded indie rock. The reverb-drenched vocals give off a clandestine effect that keeps you soaring as you traverse through each section seamlessly. -Kasih-



Lockdown - Anderson .Paak

GENRE: HIP HOP / CONSCIOUS HIP HOP

Released on Juneteeth (a day commemorating the liberation of slaves in the US back in 19 June, 1865) Lockdown is a protest song that slightly differs from many others in the midst of the Black Lives Matter demonstrations against police brutality and racism. For one, it sheds light the downtime that happens during historic moments instead of the fire at the centre, reminding us that the battle is still raging, and the people will keep on rising against injustice even in times of lull. Paak’s signature sunny groove is all over this song, but it doesnt't obfuscate the message. Lockdown is Paak at his most sincere and profound. The only real complaint I have is that the Jay Rock verse in the music video isn’t in the official song available on streaming platforms. Also check out this poignant writeup on the video on NPR, comparing Dave Meyers’ work with Agnes Varda's. -Zim-



Need Your Love - Tennis

GENRE: INDIE POP, PROGRESSIVE POP, SOFT ROCK, ART POP, SHIMMER POP


From the album that shot them to the mainstream, husband-and-wife duo Tennis swings in with the progressive pop single Need Your Love. Shifting rhythms and psychedelic guitar riffs bring out the smooth silky voice of Bob Ross’ long-lost daughter. It’s like watching Destroyer pull a Sicko Mode. -Joseph-



Oleander - Moor Mother & Olof Meleander


GENRE: AFROFUTURISM // AVANT-GARDE // FREE JAZZ

Avant-garde duo, Moor Mother and Olof Meleander return with ANTHOLOGIA 01, a free-jazz, ambient record that is nothing short of immersive and hypnotising. Moor Mother's signature lo-fi chops provide sonic commentary on social injustices and sheds light on the COVID-19 pandemic while acting as short interludes that usher in experimental drum patterns and a colourful palate of afro-futurist influences. The whimsical direction and production led by Olof Meleander on "Oleander" is nothing short of trippy- haunting backing vocals amidst spoken word poetry, coupled with enough distortion and effects to set up an interesting track that'll leave echoes in your mind -Kasih-


XS - Rina Sawayama


GENRE: POP At the time I’m writing this, I’ve probably already talked about this song 5 times already. And that’s just in text form, I’m not counting the verbal barrages the people in my immediate vicinity have suffered. But truly, XS is a great pop song for a myriad of reasons. The two that stand out are the production on this track by Clarence Clarity, Chris Lyon and Kyle Shearer that seamlessly blends nu metal and Christina Aguilera pop hit aesthetic; the second is the beautiful irony that one of the most marketable Rina Sawayama songs, with its undeniable earworm quality, is a scathing critique on excess wealth and consumerism. This pop anthem of 2020 knocks on my brain door while shouting “More, more, more”. -Zim-


Roses/Lotus/Violet/Iris - Hayley Williams



GENRE: ART ROCK, CHAMBER POP, TRIP HOP, DREAM POP

My childhood celebrity crush shows us once again that she has outgrown her Paramore persona with this introspective flower-themed single. The scruffy production gives us a peek into what the world would look like if Hayley Williams cut her teeth on bedroom pop. Time for collaboration with Clairo. -Joseph-



Living like I know I’m gonna die - Genevieve Artadi


GENRE: ELECTRONIC / LOFI-POP / R&B

If you’re looking for a sultry exit number to the end of a night out in neon-lighted dive bars and soundless clubs, Genevieve Artadi’s latest single is the perfect funky, badass nihilist anthem. The dance hall creates this atmospheric feel like those in empty arenas. The dancing bassline and repetitive chanting put you in a trance. The reverberating synths and its gradual build into a steady beat is alluring. You’re hooked and probably swaying along to the rhythm. The spaciness and haunting vocals cut through your head with the production’s clarity. Here’s to the fickleness of existence.. why not have a little fun? -Kasih-

Jesus Christ 2005 God Bless America - The 1975 (feat. Phoebe Bridgers)


GENRE: INDIE FOLK

The growth of the edgy British pop-rock kids cannot be denied. Jesus Christ is a testament to how much Matt Healy’s songwriting has improved even when it’s stripped bare of all the frills and ribbons. Jesus Christ is a magnum opus to me. Taking the POV of the people he criticizes, - the blindly faithful and religious - Healy eloquently showcases the not uncommon internal conflict between age-old dogma and sexuality. Lyrics such as “I’m in love with Jesus Christ”, or “Fortunately I believe/Lucky me” resonates so powerfully, with almost no hint of snide because of the first-person perspective it takes. Jesus Christ 2005 makes irony and satire beautiful because the scariest thing about dogmas is how sincerely people believe them at the expense of their own happiness. Plus, Matt Healy’s harmonies with Phoebe Bridgers, and Bridgers vocals while she’s singing alone, are just, for a lack of a better word, divine.

-Zim-


WAKING UP DOWN - Yaeji




GENRE: HIP HOUSE, ELECTRO, AMBIENT HOUSE


Yaeji sits in this interesting spot between house and hip hop. Her vocal delivery advertises that she can probably kick your ass but only after her second nap of the day. If you like house gothic and your hip hop apathetic, this Brooklyn-born producer and her new single might be just your cup of (bubble) tea.

-Joseph-


Murder Most Foul - Bob Dylan



GENRE: FOLK / BALLAD Nobody writes Great Man history like Bob Dylan. Murder Most Foul is yet another brilliant example in a very long list of his songs of how he takes an individual or an event and uses it as a larger frame for the times. Although the track is about JFK’s assassination, the 16-minute ballad rallies together all the standout cultural products of the 60s and the complicated history of American pop culture canon to emphasize why the death of a single man mattered so much to so many people. It’s a tapestry that finds beauty in adjacent narratives that don’t shy from cutting through the romanticised mythos of ‘the good old days’. Like a parable reminding us that any death should be a resounding bell of mortality to every person in the world, one way or another. Even when he simply lists down the songs that should be played as an ode to the American national psyche (almost an In Memoriam playlist), it comes off a sincere enumeration of influences and milestones that eventually finds its latest form in the gorgeous storytelling of Murder Most Foul. All made richer and grandiose, with the minimal yet lush strings and piano passages, instilling volume in lyrics like “The place where faith, hope and charity died” or “Brothers, what brothers? What’s this about hell?”. -Zim-



Dares Soar - X & Yde

GENRE: ELECTRONIC

Dares Soar marks the one-time collaboration between Denmark electronic artists Xenia Xamanek and Ydegirl. The entire track is held together by a singular chord. Every beat folds back into itself. All the while the pluck of the 808 bass drops in intermittently, almost begging for some sort of change. X & Yde has essentially made music out of claustrophobia. -Joseph-



Knelt - Mrs. Piss




GENRE: ALT ROCK // METAL // INDUSTRIAL


Expect a screaming bassline and doom bursting through your eardrums, because this song has one hell of an explosive intro. Mrs. Piss’s distant and echoey vocals will reverberate through your skull in a hot, seductive drawl. Knelt feels like a stoner doom number that still soars with every ascending vocals that are godlike - complete and utterly commanding. The subsequent meltdown of drums erupting, guitars growling and the bass on overdrive sends a shiver down your spine. Kneel and submit to the one and only Mrs. Piss. -Kasih-



Processed by the Boys - Protomartyr


GENRE: POST-PUNK If you’re making a dystopian playlist to remind you how terrible the world is but through a colourful, artistic lens, well I guess Processed by the Boys is the perfect song for you. In fact, it’s probably a song about you. Sandwiched between jerky post-punk riffs and a lilting clarinet is the lyrical proclamation of cold modernity about taking refuge in fiction while Big Brother sells it to you with a smile. All of which makes this my favourite Protomartyr song to date. -Zim-

Like Beethoven’s famous dum dum dum DUM, the motif that will carry Processed by The Boys to its end is established in the opening notes. There is no syncopation. Barely any rhythm. Nothing you can hum to. Only the staccato stabs of the guitar and bass like “a dagger plunged from out of the shadows” that make up at least two-thirds of the entire song. The song nears its end when you hear the crash of the cymbal attempting to hold unto the main pattern as the guitars spew out a haunting tremolo. Each instrument slowly diminishes until the song somewhat ends. All this happens as frontman Joe Casey preaches his esoteric lyrics about “foreign diseases” and “a riot in the streets”. What a way to sum up the first half of a terrible year.

-Joseph-


Camel Dancefloor - Igorrr


GENRE: BREAKCORE, AVANT-GARDE METAL, ARABIC FOLK MUSIC

The internet era has seen some of the strangest genre mashups. Just think of that 80’s remix of Helena YouTube keeps recommending you. But Igorrr really takes the cake by blending metal, breakcore, and Arabic folk. Besides the comedic novelty, Camel Dancefloor is a lesson on how all genres are built out of the same ingredients – rhythm and melody. -Joseph-


Out of Sight - The Beths


GENRE: ALT ROCK / INDIE / POP PUNK

The Beths are back with another single, and it's another serving of power-pop goodness, except they sound darker. Out of Sight feels like a retreat into a more grounded and heavier world- Elizabeth’s voice sounds burdened and filled with angst as she sings about the detriments of love. It feels nostalgic, with the angry roaring of guitars and fast-paced drumming that’ll keep you constantly on your feet. It's an indie song that makes regret feel more than just a feeling - inviting you to get lost in the rage and disappointment of a relationship when it’s finally over. - Kasih-



Garden Song - Phoebe Bridgers


GENRE: INDIE FOLK


4 months later and I am still terribly in love with this song. It's as if Garden Song exists in this weird black hole in my life between pre- and post-lockdown. Its watery productions can oscillate between being a comforting blanket or a suffocating undertow - all created by a glitchy intermission that swells into ethereal guitars. And I'd never thought the sentence "I have everything I wanted" could ever sound as sad and as nightmarish as the way Phoebe Bridgers sings it. The kind of song that can make you feel nostalgic about growing old because you once dreamt that you lived your entire life already and died. Until you wake up, that is.

-Zim-



Kiss My Own Dick - David Shawty & Yungster




GENRE: EXPERIMENTAL HIP HOP, BUBBLEGUM BASS, GLITCH HOP, POP RAP, VAPOR TRAP


Seattle rappers David Shawty and Yungster Jack collaborate on this two-minute postmodern bricolage, paying homage to 100 Gecs’ brand of Myspace rap. In between the spaghettified vocals, we hear yearnings for Adderall and chicken noodle soup interwoven into a narrative about two nymphomaniacs that satirizes the hyper-sexualization and masturbatory nature of our digital culture. They also say “dick” a lot.

-Joseph-


Fanfare - Haru Nemuri





GENRE: J-POP / EXPERIMENTAL INDIE / POST HARCORE


The J-Pop princess returns with yet another explosive track, and the whole band is here. “Fanfare” is an explosive intro to her album “Lovetheism”. It is orchestrated masterfully with the fanfare of trumpets, a marching drumline, an enormous choir, and angry guitar riffs that carry the sweet shrill/bluntness of Haru’s voice. As the tambourine kicks in and the song swells like a marching band together in this beautiful cacophony of noise, you can’t help but feel transported to a whole new world. Welcome to the land of J-Pop, where pop formulation goes beyond the standard- its thematic, experimental and incredibly complex. -Kasih-

Darkness - Eminem