Every Sunday, ATR compiles a list of recently released tracks for your auditory pleasures! This week's features indie rock bands LOKO, rapper Kayczar, Cage the Elephant's new single, Rex Orange County's new song and more!
Untuk Dia - LOKO
RATING: 3.5 / 5
Bands like LOKO keep the nostalgia for the 2000s indie scene alive in Malaysia. Nostalgia is a tricky thing, especially when there are some people who scorn at its effect on music, that people don't innovate, and that we're all just copying our heroes. But imitation is not always easy, and tribute bands don't always rock. As much as LOKO gets a bad rep for bringing back the ‘old’ sometimes, I personally feel that their take on the classic indie is good! Mellower than their previous single, Untuk Dia still retains a reliable feelgood warmth to their sound, but now it's packed with a slightly jangly guitar tones at the end and a really uplifting lead. There's less of a slacker rock vibe and a more honest-to-god love ballad pointedness that gives the song its charm.
Ready To Let Go - Cage the Elephant
GENRE: INDIE ROCK RATING: 4 / 5 Cage the Elephant's frontman Matt Shutlz processes his post-relationship emotions in their latest single Ready to Let Go. The first single off of their upcoming album, Social Cues, the track's dark gospel undertone paints a large apocalyptic aura while capturing a very personal somberness. The keys in this song makes the syncopated riffs of the song catchy, and Matt Shutlz voice ringing out such heartbreaking words as "Underneath this bed of ashes, still withholding everything / Like we were never close" hits you like slowly but surely. Social Cues' production was handled by John Hill, known for his work with Florence and the Machine and Portugal. The Man.
Andai Kau Pergi - plvindre
GENRE: METALCORE/ SYNTHCORE/ POP PUNK/ HEAVY POP/ NU METAL/ RAP METAL
RATING: 4 / 5
Andai Kau Pergi is a refreshing boiling pot of the whimsicality of pop punk and the crunchy riffs of nu metal. The forlorn contemplation of absent love is cobbled together with this little cool touches of turntable scratches, satisfying screams and a rap part that doesn't overstay its welcome. There is much to be said about the cliche campiness that might come from bands that try to bring back the sound of a genre a lot of critics love to hate (re: nu metal), but plvindre (pronounced: plaindre) keeps it interesting enough to keep you paying attention. Superstar - Ardhito Pramono
GENRE: JAZZ POP / POP / RAGTIME RATING: 4.5 / 5
This 23-year-old singer-songwriter from Jakarta uses a fun, playful ragtime tune to sing about the superficiality of being a celebrity in a world of social media (And here i am longing someoné to comfort me/ Will anyone my followers on instagram? ) . Ardhito Pramono doesn't need stabbing sarcasm to preach his message, his sense of songwriting when it comes to pop tunes does all the work. Not to mention, his music video is also an Instastory! He's also released his EP A Letter to My 17 Year Old.
xoxo - Joyberry
GENRE: INDIE POP / DREAM POP RATING: 4 / 5
New Malaysian band Joyberry's second single xoxo should be on your upbeat indie soundtrack right now. Their sound is a graceful balancing act between poppy jangly riffs and a riveting dream state. This is especially true when the song soars into a delicious layer of reverb before transitioning back into dancey chord progression. Band to look out for!
Summer Skin - Parekh & Singh
GENRE: FOLK / DREAM POP RATING: 4 / 5 India's dream pop duo, Nischay Parekh & Javrej Singh, always seem to hit the right notes ever since the release of their debut single I Love You Baby, I Love You Doll. There's no embellishment needed, just a wonderfully crafted ode to love. The nostalgia found in the track Summer Skin feels honest and endearing. As evident in the lyrics, they are strongly aware of their influences (To the only love I ever had in my life/There's no Beatles song that can change my mind) , but that does not stop them from creating such tightly packaged pieces of songwriting. Even the stiffness of their persona harks back to the 60s folk pop days of polite gentlemen in suits singing about their broken hearts.
CALM - KAYCZAR
GENRE: HIP HOP / RAP RATING: 3.8 / 5 Kayczar's brand of braggadocio rap is infectious & witty (I'm like Based God/Call me lil KB). The man spits fire over a killer, no-nonsense beat that's almost grimey, especially with the repeated last words on the hook. Although, the track is not some of his most interesting production, it's enough to drive the point home. So far, this Johorean rapper constantly proves he's got the bars to make his haters run circles around him.
New House - Rex Orange County
GENRE: NEO SOUL / SOUL / INDIE POP
RATING: 4.2 / 5
Last Valentine's Day, Rex Orange County dropped a love song thousands of people wished they wrote for their significant other. The track deceives you into thinking this is just another Rex Orange County cut with its simple piano ballad intro, but when it transitions into this pool of synths you feel like a whole new sonic world opens up for this indie singer-songwriter. I hate to say it, but I find myself thinking that Rex Orange County does the heartfelt warmth of Ed Sheeran better than Ed Sheeran himself does nowadays (including the fast parts that could probably qualify as rapping). Even the autotunes in this tracks comes out tasteful. When Rex sings fast during the verse that starts with the line "You know that I haven't been inspired since like I was 18" it feels very purposeful; the feeling of excitement in spending forever someone all bundled up with anxiety that anything could go wrong.