SINGLES ONLY (3/3) - Tactmatic, Shlohmo, The Fridays, Weezer, TOKO Kilat and more!
Every week, ATR compiles a list of recently released tracks for your auditory pleasures!
1987 - Tactmatic
GENRE: HIP HOP / RAP / CHILL HOP RATING: 4 / 5 Since he first broke into the rap game around the early 2010s after featuring in the mixtape, DJ Fuzz Mixology 3, Tactmatic has proved time and time again how much of a self-made artist he is. Back in 2011 at the age of 24, he already established his own label Tact Records, mostly to help the Tamil rappers in Malaysia looking for producers. His latest single 1987 shows how much his handle over the production side of things has grown; creating solid beats without compromising on his viscous flows.
The chill Nujabes vibes on the beat serves his bars impeccably. Tactmatic's DIY ethos is the centerpiece of the track, but all of it feels organic and humble ("no cock tales, or speak easy/ these bars stayed hidden, but i am just living"). Tactmatic shows that sometimes you don't need hard punchlines to tell a story, and 1987 is a tale of man happy with how far he's come - even with so much left to give.
Rock Music - Shlohmo
GENRE: AMBIENT / ELECTRONIC RATING: 4 / 5 The xylophone-like synths in The End, the dark, distorted guitars that penetrate through Rock Music, the digital interface coming off like dissonant drops of water in Send Help, it's tantatilising to think that the Rock Music EP simply an introduction by electronic artist, Harry Laufer to an even more complete experience. His album, The End, comes out on 22nd March. In the meantime, immerse yourself in 18 minutes of an amorphous, post-rock, floating episode. Intended to be a dystopian soundtrack but from the perspective of a person smoking a cigarette on the couch as it happens, the distant sounds of this EP hides a tingling sense of doom.
Disneyland (It's All Happening) - The Fridays
GENRE: POP PUNK / INDIE POP RATING: 5 / 5 Indie pop band, The Fridays, always pack a punch in their performance. The self-deprecation and humour they bring, often defiant to the core, is always refreshing in an era where a certain technicality is often expected in rock, pop or just music in general. At the same time, the touch of manic they bring into Disneyland is also loaded with really cool details. The references to 500 Days of Summer or video game consoles; and also production-wise, the little 8-bit sampling at the second part of the track - all of which shows a fun type of deliberation. Some have compared them to Bowling for Soup for their tongue-in-cheek approach to songwriting and arrangements, but Disneyland shows all the potential The Fridays can do with their sound. The bendy guitars are catchy, and the chorus is endearing; as it promises that the complicated love affair the singer seems to have with someone out of his league might just go right if it all happens in some fantastical theme park where all our inner child come to life. It's abrasive where it should be, while being unashamedly pop and cheeky throughout.
Curls - Bibio
GENRE: FOLKTRONICA / AMBIENT / INDIE POP RATING: 4.5 / 5 In anticipation of Stephen James Wilkinson's, also known as Bibio, next album, Ribbons, Curls seems like an ethereal introduction to a new beginning. It feels more earthy than most of his previous works, with the electronic aspect of his production taking a backseat, and giving way to mandolins and strings to create a beautiful folksy patchwork. A deep scenery filled with tranquility. Bibio's decision to retain the dreaminess of his voice as opposed to going all out acoustic in his folk sensibilities gives this track an otherwordly, almost heavenly - feel. Ratu Malam - TOKO KILAT
GENRE: ALTERNATIVE ROCK RATING: 4 / 5 Ratu Malam is Toko Kilat's zenith to date. The atmosphere is thick in the guitar arrangements, Edwin Raj's soaring vocals in the span of the chorus, all the way to the saxophone played masterfully Hj Zainal Rahman. The track tells a story of an unforgiving temptress, so the noir mood this song gives appropriately pushes the lyrics to its own rightful world. Although it might not pack as much drive or punch as the their previous single Satu Suara or Pemacu Api, there's an almost integral level of storytelling in Ratu Malam that makes it deserving of its own league. The Open Road - Kero Kero Bonito
GENRE: DREAM POP / INDIE ROCK RATING: 3.5 / 5 Kero Kero Bonito continues on their indie rock-laced direction with the song The Open Road, a simple song about their experiences on tour. There isn't a hook in this track, but the synths that underpin Sarah Bonito's sweet voice stands up well as an ode to tiresome road trips and long journeys. High As A Kite - Weezer
GENRE: INDIE ROCK RATING: 4.5 / 5
High As A Kite is a single off of their latest album, The Black Album, and it's exploration into a more 60's pop sound, almost like a grungier Sgt Pepper cut, is promising. After their often disappointingly lacklustre foray into pop, or EDM-laced tracks, they've proven that they've got the chops even while trying to sound palatable or pleasing, like in their single Can't Knock the Hustle. High As A Kite is a testament to the other side of the spectrum, that if they are to go back to the sounds many miss from their debut, they won't come off as awkward trying to pull it off. The track is a tight song with simple riffs, but its escalation into an increasingly nightmarish ambience as Rivers Cuomo sings of the eventual danger that comes from hallucinogens (or our need for escapism) is wonderfully laid out. The Black Album is out right now! Sunday - Foals
GENRE: SYNTH POP
RATING: 5 / 5 As though we need any more reason to be excited for Foal's upcoming album, the group hits us with the romantic epic of Sunday. The song lulls us into this understated ambience that eventually explodes into a symphony of drums, post-punk-esque guitars and beautiful synth milieus. Sunday is Foals reaching a whole new level to their sound.