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  • Writer's pictureZim Ahmadi

Weekly Assembly (14/6) - Bittersweet, Freddie Gibbs, Forgetting Francesca The Fatalis and more!

Updated: Jun 25, 2019

It's time for another edition of Weekly Assembly, where we gather fresh tracks from around the world for your consideration! This week's list features Bittersweet, Freddie Gibbs, Madlib, Kate Tempest, Squadda B, Chong the Nomad, GoldLink, Tyler, the Creator, Jay Prince, Forgetting Francesca, Jordana, Beau, Catholic Werewolves, The Fatalis, Sufjan Stevens, Jai Paul, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, Stonefield, Daryl Salad, Poppy, White Reaper, Pipe-Eye, Metronomy, Mark Ronson, Camilla Cabello, Rosalia, Adam Green, Bon Iver & Hacktick! Follow our playlist for fresh track updates:


Racun Dunia - Bittersweet

GENRE: ALTERNATIVE ROCK / INDIE ROCK / BRITPOP Bittersweet has always been a band that wear their influences on their sleeves - britpop, late '00s indie rock, found in their fast cuts and even their slower sentimental songs. The first single to their upcoming album, "Racun Dunia" is not much different, but the track also shows how much they've mastered the art of the indie rock formula - almost to the point of shrewd craftsmanship. Not only that, "Racun Dunia" explores a warmer Bittersweet (or a sweeter, rather than bitter) sound that leans closer to groups like Echo and the Bunnymen, or Last Shadow Puppets (e.g. Meeting Place) than any other Britpop outfit. There's a smidge of freshness that shows they're not just replicating their previous record BTWST. In fact, it's probable that Herri and Fizan's time in their side project Undercover Dream Club (which carry a more dream pop acoustic genre, e.g.) might influence their songwriting. The cosy sound serves as a beautiful contrast to an otherwise foreboding lyrics about the proverbial poison of the temporary world, with a touch horns at the end. A new single, but already one of our favourite Bittersweet tracks. RATING: 4/5


Crime Pays - Madlib & Freddie Gibbs

GENRE: HIP HOP / INSTRUMENTAL HIP HOP / SOUL Combine the sonorous, deep-seated swagger of Freddie Gibbs’ flow & attitude with the legendary production of Madlib, you’ll get all of the tracks teasing up to their upcoming collaboration. Crime Pays however stands out slightly classier, and soulful than their previous two singles - with a beautiful sample of Free Spirit by Walt Barr that serves as hooks and as the overaching melody of this track. Freddie Gibbs doesn’t even have to take up most of the track to essentialise his presence into the devil-may-care sound, while still using lyrics about being on top to talk about a system where crime would most definitely play. Smooth & slick, their album Bandana will be coming out on 28 June. Don’t want to miss out on it. RATING: 5 / 5


Might Be Right - White Reaper

GENRE: INDIE ROCK White Reaper’s Might Be Right is reminiscent of indie rock days that celebrated the likes of bands like Rooney, Hot Hot Heat or even early Kooks - there’s a hand-clapping sweetness to it while still being obviously rock, like the occassional corniness of pop punk. What makes White Reaper slightly more unique than the bands mentioned above is that beneath the familiar, are very contrasting influences coming together to form a coherent outcome. In the piercing electric guitars you can hear an 80s hair-metal band like Poison doing its thing, and in the mumbly, syncopated chorus is the reckless abandon of post-punk-revival bands. It doesn’t do much with the medium, but still a definitely decent listen. RATING: 3.5 / 5


History in the Making - Squadda B

GENRE: HIP HOP / TRAP RAP / EXPERIMENTAL HIP HOP The production isn’t supposed to work, but BasedGod managed to make it work anyway. Seemingly erratic saxophone passages colliding with swelling synths, not to mention underpinning rapping verses that technically are pretty dissonant to the track. Or at least they should be. History in the Making is an example of what happens when you piece two things together without much forethought as to whether it contrasts or harmonizes, and it was a risk that Lil B made functional. All of this makes the beat psychedelic, but really other than the extremely interesting production, the flows on this thing by Dope G and Lil B still leaves a little for wanting. Squadda Mania the album is out now on all streaming platforms! RATING: 3.5 / 5


Inside/Outside - Pipe-eye


The wailing and the perspective-switching components of this track is what really sells it as a wonderfully disorienting trip. The vocal performance of this thing is delirious yet welcoming, kinda like the charisma of Of Montreal. The album of the same title is out now! RATING: 4 / 5


Lately - Metronomy

GENRE: SYNTH POP / INDIE POP FInally, the dreamy synth arrangements of Metronomy that’s neon lights and summer pop all at once is back. The drums on Lately is impeccable, creating a contrasting urgency to the airy electronica. Metronomy has also announced that they’d be releasing an album this fall! RATING: 4 / 5


Find U Again - Camilla Cabello - Mark Ronson

GENRE: POP With great assists by Mark Ronson & Kevin Parker of Tame Impala, Camilla Cabello’s performance and songwriting gets a leg up as her voice is filtered through vocoders and singing on top of nocturnal pop production. The bridge on this song when Camilla sings “My crush on you is crushing me” is surprisingly endearing, albeit short-lived. Although I wasn’t a fan of Camilla Cabello before, Mark Ronson seems to be able to do wonders with any artists thanks to his magic touch. I’m excited for his upcoming Late Night Feelings album. RATING: 3.5 / 5


Do You Love Her Now/He - Jai Paul

Jai Paul’s return to the music scene after 6 years of almost total inactivity has gotta be the highlight of June - or even one of the landmarks of the year 2019. His influence to the late 00’s pop music is often uncredited, but indelibly impactful nonetheless. If Prince focused his career into electronic music it would probably sound a lot like Jai Paul. On top of these two tracks, Jai Paul also officially released an album that was leaked back in 2013 (that contributed to his withdrawal from the rest of society considering that it affected him emotionally and mentally) and although some of them feel like spacey drafts as opposed to fully-fledged songs, the singles that are entirely makes up for it by being miles better. My favourite of the two of these tracks is Do You Love Her Now. It’s wonderfully wispy, has a great hook, and has the kinda groove that is so subliminal you wouldn’t know how to bop to it. But it doesn’t matter, Do You Love Her Now has got you on tenterhooks. He has the same thematic approach,but falls off as a bit bland. RATING: Love: 5 / 5 He: 4 / 5


Aute Cuture - Rosalia

GENRE: POP / FLAMENCO POP / R&B Rosalia gained a lot of attention last year after she released El Mal Querer because it was a perfect blend of art and flamenco pop. While being gloriously earwormy, it was also very left-field at times both in terms of production and performance. Her latest single Aute Cuture sees all of that watered down. It’s still catchy and might get a nod or two, but really there’s nothing particularly exciting about Aute Cuture. RATING: 3 / 5


Scary Mask - Poppy ft FEVER 333

GENRE: METAL / POP ROCK / ART POP I am so happy that Poppy is really sticking to her guns with combining her sweet pop antics with gut-busting, hellish metal. Scary Mask feels like her sharpening this art of combining contrasting genres (that are probably heavily influenced by alternative J-rock or bands like BABYMETAL), because it rarely feels like the track is just swinging wildly from one sound to another. It builds up into a nightmare that gets wilder and wilder - like a feverish lucid dream that starts off you with running away from your demons and then later becoming their queen. Amazingly face-melting without ever falling into any overt metal cliches or ever feeling clumsy. RATING: 5 / 5


Nothing Else - Chong the Nomad ft. Flint Eastwood.

GENRE: POP / ELECTRONICA / ELECTROPOP Chong the Nomad is super-new into the scene, having released her first actual song only back in 2017. She has a trademark, though not particularly unique, but still worthy of embossment. Buzzsaw synths, very round 808s to ground any of her tracks. In Nothing Else you start seeing her moving slightly away from experimental electronica to a more pop sound, aided by the twinkling synths of alt-pop group Flint Eastwood. This song alternates between sparkles and fuzzy sub-bass, maintaining its appeal throughout. RATING: 4 / 5


Freeze My Love - Adam Green


"'Freeze My Love' is like a road trip song where your Corvette is a JPG filled with flesh cruising towards a blockchain horizon," says Adam Green. Although his explanation for the track is slightly weirder than how you’d expect the song to sound like, Freeze My Love is still a quaint, and profoundly dystopian exploration of romance. Teasing to his album Engine of Paradise which would come out on 6 September 2019. Adam Green constantly (sardonically maybe) talking about freezing his love because the world is changing is the weirdest kind of relatable, a love song for a world we don’t understand. Not to mention, the orchestral strings on this is magical in its irony too. RATING: 5 / 5


Self-Immolate - King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard

GENRE: METAL / HEAVY METAL Lightning-fast string-hammering arpeggios, dirty sludgy riffs. It’s official - genre gluttons King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard are making a metal album. After releasing Planet B WHILE the band was promoting their boogie psychedelic album Fishing for Fishies, fans were pleasantly shocked at the tonal change, knowing that this can’t possibly fit in the Fishing for Fishies tracklist. They were right, and Self-Immolate confirms that. It’s a hardass track, there are no gimmicky attempts at incorporating any left-field elements to the song, when King Gizzard wants to make a metal album they make a metal album. RATING: 5 / 5


Another Loser Anthem - Hacktick!

GENRE: POP PUNK My favourite Malaysian pop punk band at the moment released an unofficial lyric video last week for their track Another Loser Anthem. Much like all of the track in their debut Dog Days Diaries, Another Loser Anthem is introspective, optimistic, but also exciting in punching-the-air type of way. Animated by Ghulam Rusli, where each line is represented by an image, Hacktick! Is quickly, whether they mean it or not, becoming progressive anthem-creators for the alternative scene, with its calls for inclusivity, open explorations of loneliness, faith and Malaysia’s social climate. Check this out, and check out their album if you’re a pop punk fan! RATING: 4 / 5


Hey Ma / U (Man Like) - Bon Iver


What a season for indie fans who grew up in the early 2000s. Bon Iver has released two new singles, one a heartfelt Imogen Heap-esque track featuring a home video by the Vernon Family. Another, a great, joyful track featuring Moses Sumney on vocals and Bruce Hornsby’s writing prowess. Bon Iver's last album, "22, A Million" was released in 2016, and in 2018, Andrew Vernon of the band formed a project with The National's Aaron Dessner called Big Red Machine. No date has been confirmed for Bon Iver's upcoming album, but these two tracks will keep you sated til then. Hey Ma is a tight, melancholy song propelled by Justin Vernon’s sepulchral vocals. Definitely my favourite of the two RATING: Hey Ma: 4.5 / 5 U (Man Like): 3.5 / 5


Calamity - Forgetting Francesca


Another battalion of the pop punk revival regiment in Malaysia, Forgetting Francesca’s new single Calamity is packed with energy, has a firey lead guitar, and the vocals are what you’d expect from a decent, emo punk band. Beyond it’s headbang-ability though, there’s really not much about Forgetting Francesca so far that gives it a unique edge over their peers or heroes, The songwriting sounds like it comes straight from the early 2000s, straight from the Kerrang oven, which kinda threw me off a bit since the thumping bass intro seemed as if it’s about to herald a fresh take on the genre. That being said, their musicianship is tight, there’s still a lot of good elements in Calamity that renders a good listen, especially if you love the genre untainted. Like that guitar solo - that was cool. RATING: 3 / 5


The Holy Elixir - Kate Tempest

GENRE: SPOKEN WORD / INSTRUMENTAL HIP HOP I was only introduced to Kate Tempest a couple of weeks ago and it has been such an engaging, mind-expanding journey. In a world of musical extravagance or experimental excess, spoken poetry tend to drown amidst the noise. Kate Tempest continues to be the raging storm of exception. In Holy Elixir she becomes a master of parables & allegory, parsing verses about a protagonist who longs for the paradise in the stories but later finding out that this is all there is (And a voice said: "This is the garden/Now you better start sowing/Or there won’t be a harvest.")

Or embracing the chaotic fruit of collision. All over an almost non-descript dark beat. The rhyme structure is not as pointed or impactful in comparison to the catchy cohesiveness of Firesmoke, but the narrative is strong & clear. Her album “The Books On Traps & Lessons” is coming out today! (14th June) . RATING: 4 / 5


Amanat Setan - The Fatalis

GENRE: HEAVY METAL / ALTERNATIVE ROCK / STONER ROCK If you go to The Fatalis’s Facebook page, you will see that the genre they’ve chosen for themselves is dance/electronica. Although, it’s probably not the most accurate way to describe their sound, it’s technically a really good teaser to their musical ethos. The Fatalis somehow belongs in a quantum reality where they both don’t take themselves seriously AND severely ensure that their sound is top-notch and abrasive. You hear whirring, revving emotions coming through the riffs, like they are Motorhead incarnate in songs like Taknak Standard. Fast and confrontational. In teasing up to their upcoming debut, Amanat Setan sees the band develop their songwriting and lyricism. The vocal performance on here is spectacular, reminiscent of 70s metal bands like Iron Maiden (if they did stoner rock), with lyrics about the devil coming down and shaking all confidence and charisma from puny humans. The guitars and drums are sludgy and heavy, although at times mixed a bit weirdly til the extent that the guitar takes an odd backseat. Overall, a satisfying demon fest in a song. Excited for more announcements about their debut! RATING: 3.5 / 5


Jackie's 15 - Jordana

GENRE: BEDROOM POP Soft, tepid, bedroom pop that has a semblance of a groove in the beginning, but quickly dissipates into forgettable territory. Jordana holds more promise in her lyrics though. I love the storytelling in the thing about falling naively in love. Hopefully she takes on that bedroom pop sound with something more intriguing to serve her words better. RATING: 2.5 / 5


Tom Hanks - Catholic Werewolves


Over before you know it, Catholic Werewolves brand of fast punk is exciting and riveting, The first leg starts off with an almost emo-core melody before pummelling you into a continuous onslaught of catchy ooohs and aaahhss. Just wished there were more in it to really tug at the heartstrings, but it fizzles out before you can really absorb anything of note. RATING: 3 / 5


Angel Dustin Hoffman - Beau


Hailing from Nevada, Beau showcases their competency in merging emo and math rock into a seamless, spiral of unfeeling abyss. The second half of the track switches to a slower pace reflection, but it doesn’t lose any of its coolness - ambling on into this stupor of “watching TV, on the internet, stuck in traffic, smoking cigarettes”. The message of being trapped in modern life’s humdrum slightly borders on corny, but I think the musicality more than makes up for it. RATING: 4 / 5


Sumthm MO - Daryl Salad

GENRE: HIP HOP Daryl Salad doesn’t have much for beats, but the sense of humour and attitude he brings to his flow is irresistible. Sumthm MO is both a braggadocious track and a hilarious parody on famous rappers like Eminem, Hopsin & Brockhampton (I wouldn’t expect to see those names in one sentence like that), which keeps the music video captivating while Daryl lays down some proclamations (Come and try it if you want to be the second best/Just let’em know that I’m the fucking Wizard of the West). It’s a fun song, and Daryl already has a lot of potential for someone who seems to only be starting out. RATING: 3.5 / 5


Dead Alive - Stonefield

GENRE: PSYCHEDELIC ROCK / GARAGE ROCK It’s really amazing how much goodness one label churn out. Flightless Records entree for many is of course the eclectic King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, but more and more artists come out from Flightless also showing their mettle. Stonefield has been a band since 2006, and these group of sisters have been straddling the psychedelic sphere with different takes on the sound. With Dead Alive you get a desert rock vibe on the guitar melodies but a very dirty garage riff for the rest of it. They interweave each other and they serve as a great anthem for that limbo between mindless living and soulless death. RATING: 4 / 5


Love Yourself/With My Whole Heart - Sufjan Stevens


In the EP that Sufjan Stevens released for Pride Month is a demo version of Love Yourself from 1996. Listening to the original and then listening to the current version is like witnessing a metamorphosis, butterflies and all. Sufjan's two tracks is a call for self-love and self-empowerment that hits you deep, without needing to do much. Sure maybe Love Yourself sounds a little bit like a Postal Service imitation (albeit a good one), that doesn't mean the message isn't clear. This is where he is, this is where he'll be, and no one can ever stop him. With My Whole Heart has a warm 80s pop beat to it, that is even more rounded and satisfying, especially as it breaks into this twinkly passages of synths and guitar that are funky, but in a very non-menacing, Carebear kinda way that keeps it intriguing. Goddamn, I hope these tracks are teasers to a whole new project because seeing Sufjan Stevens in this wholesome of a mood is rare, and seeing how his music embodies it would be interesting.

Love: 3. 5 / 5

My Whole Heart: 5 / 5


U Say - Goldlink (ft. Tyler, the Creator & Jay Prince)


Promoting his upcoming album "Diaspora", scheduled for June 12, Goldlink forms a funky, classy, danceable trinity with the likes of Tyler and Jay Prince. It's slick with a tinge of tropical drums, even contains some level of house & dance music in here. Goldlink's vocals don't pack much in it, but Tyler's bars on this track is great.


4 / 5


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