Every Sunday, ATR compiles a list of recently released tracks for your auditory pleasures!
Dinda - Masdo
GENRE: POP YEH YEH / NUSANTARA POP ROCK
LABEL: KAMAR SENI RECORDS
After the release of their debut two years ago entitled Selamat Tinggal Pujaan, Masdo has become quiet the musical phenomenon in Malaysia. Heck, their trajectory as a band was meteoric after their single Bunga which was released in 2016. With a quickly growing fanbase enamoured with their pop yeh yeh style and shamelessly romantic lyricism of lead Ali Sariah, the band has become almost unavoidable. With the song Dinda, a pleading serenade for long-distance relationships, Masdo has shown that they've maintained a steady momentum. The little falsettos in the vocals and the organ textures by AG Coco gives the song a lovely doo-wop feel. At this point time, there's a danger in sounding formulaic especially when Masdo has not evolved past their pop yeh yeh persona. Dinda however stops short at being boring, and proves that Masdo might still have a lot to do even within the same frame of sound.
Roof - Rico Nasty
GENRE: RAP / HIP HOP
LABEL: ATLANTIC RECORDS
Rico Nasty’s braggadocio approach refuses to go stale as evident in her track Roof with killer bars like “How I get so much attention without showin' ass or titties?”. Kenny Beats' aggressive electric guitar-based productions complement her in-your-face style. Don't mess around with Ms Nasty.
Fumakilla - API
GENRE: RAP / HIP HOP
LABEL: Rocketfuel Entertainment
API is a collaborative project between Kidd Santhe and Gard. It's apt that the duo call themselves the Malay word for fire, because the way these two come together is straight up explosive chemistry. Declaring themselves the pesticide of the rap in thee mission to eradicate all ‘vermins’, there are so many lines here that are memorable and spicy, such as Gard declaring that subpar rappers as “ahli sihir takde kuasa" (wizards with no power) and Kidd Santhe’s reference to MC Hammer ( “Macam hammer kepada paku, Aku ni ais batu, Xleh nak sentuh aku”). Fumakilla is a single from their album ‘API’ and the whole album is filled with interesting, catchy productions and incendiary bars. It's already released and our review will be out soon!
Love Keeps Kicking - Martha
GENRE: INDIE / PUNK / POP LABEL: INDEPENDENT RATING: ★★★☆☆
Martha is a band from Durham who've declared themselves as queer, straight edge, vegan and anarchists. Their album Blisters At The Pit Of My Heart was one of my favourite albums from 2017, combining twee lyrics and bright pop punk riffs. Their new single Love Keeps Kicking is an introduction to their upcoming album of the same name. It's a heartwarming ode to the complicated nature of love that tends to hurt as much as it comforts. The chorus of voices and Thin Lizzy-esque solos makes Love Keeps Kicking an endearing listen.
Tembelang - Fi7i & VIONA
GENRE: DISCO / VAPORWAVE/ MALAY FUNK/ FUNK POP LABEL: INDEPENDENT RATING: ★★★★☆
Spiraling down the 70s nostalgia lane, Tembelang is the second collaboration between Malaysian vaporwave artist Fi7i and Takahara Suiko's solo project persona, VIONA. This track seems to sing about sobering up to an obsessive, and toxic love ( Kata-katamu tak laku
umpanmu yang jadi bisu, Sia-siakan waktu ku, tagihkan perhatianmu ). Fi7i's production in this track emanates all of the right vibes you can get from classic disco, and Takahara's voice fits it so well, taking up the character of a bygone pop chanteuse from the era of afros and bell-bottoms. Sweet, danceable stuff, with a strong narrative too - proving that catchy pop doesn't have to compromise on substance.
Cuz I Love You - Lizzo
GENRE: RAP / SOUL LABEL: ATLANTIC RECORDS RATING: ★★★★★
Single by single, Lizzo continues to excite me. I feel cold turkey for an album that has not even been released yet (called Cuz I Love You, coming out April 19). Not satisfied with only showing her chops through the bright funky sounds of Juice, Lizzo shows her that she's got pipes as she belts out the chorus to Cuz I Love You. It is such a powerful song, aided by the big band prowess of the band X Ambassadors. It's hard to find anyone to compare Lizzo to because sets the bar as high when it comes to both singing and rapping. Even if there are other artists attempt to personify both skills, like Beyonce, Lizzo just knocks them out of the park. Cuz I Love You makes you wanna point to the sky and thank the heavens for bringing us an angel.
U I ADORE - LUST
GENRE: PSYCHEDELIC / INDIE POP/ DREAM POP
LABEL: INDEPENDENT (SELF-PRODUCED WITH SYABIL ALYAHYA OF GOLDEN MAMMOTH. MIXED AND MASTERED BY MELODIYA RECORDINGS)
Venturing into more dream pop territory, LUST's new single, U I ADORE's melancholy belies a darker message: sometimes there are violent consequences to desire. A price to pay for uninhibited longing or curiosity. This is sonically evident as well, as the jangly guitars switch into darker tones halfway throughout the song. The backup vocals by singer-songwriter Sasha Ningkan and lead singer Shuhusna of the shoegazing band Shuuna, gives the song a wonderful sense of volume. In anticipating LUST's upcoming album in March, U I ADORE shows the band's wide range, as the track stands a bit on the ethereal side in comparison to the punchy mood of their previous single Desire.
Summertime Radio - Ian.F & Court 10
GENRE: YACHT ROCK / INDIE POP / MOTOWN VIBES LABEL: Chap Fan Records RATING: ★★★★☆
Selangor-based band Ian.F & Court 10 is an underrated gem especially if you're a fan of the current wave of indie bands inspired by the likes of Mac DeMarco. Don't be deceived into thinking that they're just a cookie-cutter group however, as the band shows in Summertime Radio that they're growing out of their lo-fi varsity sound as Reuben Ravi commandeers his prowess on the keys. I especially love the interaction between the bass and the keys, layered wonderfully into this precise, summer-y rhythms. There's also the little moments in the keys that sounds amazingly funky (in a good way) - all of which paints a beach milieu as lead singer Ian.F sings about forgetting your worries and having a fun time in the sun.