Our last Weekly Assembly for the next couple of weeks before we move on to our Best of 2020 lists! We'll be continuing Weekly Assembly with some tracks we missed in December next year after that. I hope all of you are having a good-as-it-gets end of the year cooldown/meltdown celebration. Much love!
- Zim Ahmadi, Editor
'Muneru Valiba (Remix)' - Yung Raja
RELEASE DATE: 19 DEC 2020
GENRE: HIP HOP / RAP DEF JAM SINGAPORE Thanks to RIIDEM, 'Muneru Valiba' has the best production from the ONE 65 EP. It's simple, but it has that distinct rhythm, that soulful and boisterous feel which incorporates the original classic so thoroughly and so tastefully. In the recently released collection of reworked local classics, Yung Raja's approach to a Singaporean tune that has been played in National Day celebrations since 1967, breathe a new kind of optimism and motivation to a track many might already consider cheesy. As the original composer for the song, S. Jesudassan has said in an interview with The Straits Times, the song is “a rally call to the youth to strive and reach out for the sky”. With Yung Raja's touch, the rally call now possesses an undeniable sense of suave.
'Dari Sini' - Fariz Jabba
RELEASE DATE: 18 DEC 2020
GENRE: R&B / HIP HOP / POP DEF JAM SINGAPORE
Although we've heard Fariz Jabba's singing chops before in short bursts, Dari Sini is a new platform for the Singaporean artist to showcase his slicker, suaver R&B side. Dari Sini's music video and song is heavily influenced by 60s Malay culture, (especially from the Saloma "Pandang Kasih" samples), with Fariz Jabba expressing the timelessness of love with the aid of a classic tune of romance. Magic Potions production on Dari Sini shouldn't be neglected either - a combination of poppy trap beats that straddles the line between clean and club-like. 'Dari Sini' is featured in the 3-track EPONE 65, alongside other cool re-imaginings of local classics by Yung Raja & Zadon. Out now on all major streaming platforms.
'Be My Baby' - Couple
RELEASE DATE: 18 DEC 2020 GENRE: INDIE POP / SYNTH-POP With drums reminiscent of house-infused Stone Roses arrangements from the heyday of Madchester and little electronic notes that feel like the latest Car Seat Headrest record - Couple isn't shy to shed some of their trademark power pop sound for new sonic palettes. 'Be My Baby' is especially more adventurous than their previous single 'Malam Minggu', not just in the song itself, but also the goofiness of the music video that was done in collaboration with Projek Rabak, directed by founder Mohd Jayzuan. Keep in mind, the adorable sensibilities of the band that takes pride in schmaltzy lyrics about love and a penchant for strong hooks still remain even within the pool of electronic twinklings. I'm even more reason to be excited for Couple's upcoming album 'Poptimism', coming out 2021 to see what other auditory nooks and crannies they will explore. Can we play back that badass synth intro real quick?
'Selamba' - MC Syze ft. Joe Flizzow
RELEASE DATE: 18 DEC 2020
GENRE: R&B / HIP HOP / RAP
TRIGGER HAPPY RECORDS
For a song with a title that literally translates to 'laidback', 'Selamba' goes really hard. MC Syze makes a stunning comeback 14 years after his debut single, Dancing, reminding listeners of the type of verbosity that propels his skills as an MC with a voice that fits nicely within both modern trap-inspired beats and the more traditional, Syze-esque boom-bap sounds. Part of his SYZE DOES MATTER project, his co-production with 0rumari carries an eerie swagger that is befitting of crime thrillers, with a sprinkling of what sounds like kalimba or instruments from a gamelan ensemble. And just when you thought the song's sizzle is fading, Joe Flizzow comes in with that slight instrumental change and one his best Malay rap verses to date.
'Keliru' - ASYRAF NASIR
RELEASE DATE: 21 DEC 2020
GENRE: HIP HOP / RAP / POP RAP
UNIVERSAL MUSIC MALAYSIA
With the track feeling like an endless stream of idioms and wordplay,'Keliru' is easily ASRYFNSIR's most solid lyrical work by far. The punchline pop rap approach is supplemented by a great hook and some casual wittiness. The song's stickiness lies in its memorable lines like when he rhymes 'ikan kerapu' with 'merapu' (genuinely funny stuff). Then there's the switch-up that's part silly and genius as he transitions from Malay to English that it's hard not to like 'Keliru'. I'm referring of course to the bridge, where ASYRFNSIR asks for "Asal usul","Asal tanya" , and eventually ends with him asking himself whether he's sold his soul (?). This meta, confusing lyricism makes me realise my favourite kind of ASRYFNSIR song is the type of track where he doesn't take himself seriously at all, especially when it's on top of a bright bouncy beat like the ones produced by Jann (love the keys on this so much).
'Dark Energy' - Maruxa Lynd & Reckless Escapades
RELEASE DATE: 18 DEC 2020 GENRE: TRAP / DARK TRAP GSS RECORDS The hip hop duo has been consistently releasing trap/hip hop/neo-R&B tunes for the past two years as a two-some (they've had some of their own solo stuff prior), but it's only with this double-single release, 'Power Couple', have they found their bravado. The strong, nocturnal, Future-esque production is given incomparable personality by Maruxa Lynd's firey, verbal arsenal and Reckless's more stoic yet discerning delivery. The other track that came out, 'Action', isn't half bad too. But it's Dark Energy that really showcases their explosive chemistry to me.
'Tickets' - JETCETERA
RELEASE DATE: 19 DEC 2020
GENRE: INDIE ROCK / INDIE POP
Two years after the release of their debut single 'Hear Me Out', Jetcetera finally finds a production that suits their dream pop influences and their intended direction. Although their knack for sentimental & vulnerable lyricism has always been there - with a tendency for indie movie-worthy hooks - it's only with 'Tickets' that they've found the perfect background music to their words. The vocal and the instrumental mix on this hits that sweet spot between saccharine garage pop and polished indie rock - (the lines "home by the minute" and "find me in ruins" ring wonderfully to my ears). The essence of the song is beautiful too, reflected by the Easter Egg-filled album art (spot Kings of Leon, Breakfast Club and Devil Wears Prada on there, you guess the rest): a tribute to all the ticket stubs we've collected in our lives that represent a moment in our past. 'Tickets' is also a nod to the checkerboard nature of these memories - as refrains like "I don't want another fight/I just want a peace of mind" pierces through unblemished nostalgia with complex emotional truths. Here's hoping they maintain this delicate balance of 'lo-fi' and 'clean' in their production quality for future tracks.
'Fruitcake' - Subsonic Eye
RELEASE DATE: 18 DEC 2020
GENRE: INDIE ROCK / ALTERNATIVE ROCK / POWER POP
A new favourite track of mine this week you should definitely check out is Singaporean band, Subsonic Eye's, fresh pivot into something unabashedly power pop. That C86 tag on their Bandcamp sticks out like a sore thumb now, since 'Fruitcake' feels like an earworm-y love letter to those NME British indie rock compilations released by Rough Trade Records from 1986 with fuzzy pop proclivities. Shedding their noisier past has given Subsonic Eye the opportunity to prove their ear for good melodies (with a sprinkling of J. Mascis), with lyrics bordering on the wonderfully manic - delivered with reckless abandon by the vocalist. Their third album, 'Nature of Things' which features 'Fruitcake and their other single 'Unearth', will come out 15 January 2021.
'Doa Pagi Ini' - Pusakata
RELEASE DATE: 20 DEC 2020
GENRE: FOLK / ACOUSTIC POP
Istiqamah's musings about family life makes for another wholesome Pusakata cut. I love that whatever song Is writes never feels campy or overwhelmingly cheesy; just consistently a cosy piece of music for moments when you're thankful for the little things. Like other Pusakata tracks, there's something gorgeously idyllic about the song that reminds me that the magic of good earthy folk will probably not disappear under the current of time. Doa Pagi Ini is a single from Pusakata's upcoming album, 'Mesin Waktu 2020'.
OTHER SONGS TO CHECK OUT:
'Over Again' - rebelsuns.
RELEASE DATE: 11 DEC 2020
GENRE: INDIE POP / POP FUNK / FUNK / NU DISCO
Fun disco pop funk track by alternative pop duo to bring you to the future and back Read our full review here: https://www.awfultrackrecord.com/post/over-again-by-rebelsuns-is-a-groovy-nod-to-ross-rachel-like-relationships-new-single
'Hallway Weather' - NIKI
RELEASE DATE: 15 DEC 2020 GENRE: CHRISTMAS / INDIE POP
A pretty, nostalgic Christmas song for those celebrators who are googling how to decorate Christmas trees, or the cynics that actually love the warmth of it all (sans global pandemic maybe).
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