Whether you want to find more meaning in the songs you listen to or just bang your head to keep all your worries away, we’ve got it all on Tracks of the Week!
EKA – Tulangkata
While the spirit of patriotism burns passionately in the hearts of many Malaysians (easily confused with the spirit of cuti), Tulangkata swaggers onto the stage with a vision to turn the rap scene inside out. This spoken poet-turned-rapper is not ashamed at expressing anti-establishment sentiments. EKA‘s lyrical acrobatics and subject matter makes you reminisce back to Malique (he references this in the track), or at least to the Western world; where hip hop is also a massive platform for political expression.
At 22, Tulangkata brings a distinctive version of angst. He doesn’t just fight the Man for the sake of fighting the Man, but also brings an inclusive Nusantara sentiment, like John Lennon questioning borders in Imagine. Even if his style does sometimes sound too derivative of other rappers, Tulangkata stands on the shoulders of something the local rap scene rarely pays recognition too – the political and the scholarly. Rap genres like trap has its merits and there are plenty of grounded and talented rappers out there – but songs like EKA reminds us that rap can possess more meaning than just ‘swag’.
In a world where Malique and Ariz rap about being Castro-Guevara (in their song Salut), Tulangkata might just be the leader to a new generation of rap revolutionaries – free from the shackles of older cults of personalities.
O Grey World (Album) – On A Trip
GENRE: POST-ROCK, AMBIENT
On A Trip is a post-rock quartet influenced by the atmospheric yet narrative-heavy sound of bands like Godspeed You! Black Emperor. In fact O Grey World is slightly reminiscent of ambient classics like Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven, especially with the radio voice that punctuates their track Crying of the Unheard; talking about the suffering of the world (We were told that we were fighting terrorist, but the real terrorist is me). The album as a whole is a consistent piece of ambient post-rock, with every track falling into place to invoke that sorta misplaced, disorienting and sad feeling one gets when living in such a confusing world (*cue topical remark about moral degradation and/or capitalism*). At the very least that’s our interpretation of it.
What’s clear is that this is not just empty jangly guitar-driven anthems – O Grey World definitely tells a clear story through its soundscape. Kajang is a great track and the way Crying of the Unheard builds up to that moment at the 2:40 minute mark is an experience to be cherished.
Bukan Apa-Apa (Live) – Sendiket Jongkong Emas
GENRE: PSYCHEDELIC ROCK, NUSANTARA INDIE
Bukan Apa Apa starts off like your typical indie rock song but as it progresses it takes you soaring into a world of romantic-poetic declarations. True to the type of sound they brought in Getaran , it reminds you of softer days of Nusantara pop ditties – like Flop Poppy drowned in a bucket of distortion and space sounds. However, Bukan Apa-Apa feels slightly heavier than Getaran, taking a more traditional song structure, absent the stupendous long-winded coda from their previous single. Maybe as a single track it doesn’t stand strong, but if coupled with the audio aesthetic of their other tracks you might get a harmonious baby of psychedelic beauty. Or maybe that’s just our own way of saying we can’t wait for Sendiket Jongkong Emas to finally release an EP.
They’re performing at Perfect Square on 17th September at Perfect Square Space, TTDI. And if this live track is anything to go by, they are an amazing band to see on stage.
No – Zet Legacy
GENRE: RAP, TRAP RAP, HIP HOP
As a staple in the current rap scene, Zet Legacy has always offered punchlines through his slow but smooth flow and a sense of light-hearted humour and references, (evident in songs like Rapstar). This time though, he’s keeping in line to tracks like Yih & Brown Boys with a slightly darker and aggressive tone, shooting rappers left and right with his verses (Jangan potong line aku/Satu baris kau pun tak laku) whilst bouncing to that trap bass. Zet is just being Zet on this one, and that’s neither here nor there. What’s true is that Kelawar Records will keep churning out these middle-of-the-road bangers and we can only wait and see how Zet Legacy’s discography with his upcoming album, TBA (we’re still not sure whether this is the name of the upcoming album or simply means ‘to be announced’). As of now both singles give off the same mood and aesthetic, bordering on the trippy to the ‘street hard’.
Revolt – Influx
The moment the scream comes in and the riffs around the 20 second mark starts playing, you know Revolt is a solid post-hardcore track. Influx hail from Shah Alam & Cheras and pop out of the many post-hardcore/emocore bands mushrooming in the local music scene. That being said though, they don’t simply drown in the bandwagon. There is a lot of lyrical poignancy in Revolt that simply can’t be ignored. Lines like So what?/ I lost my way to be the answer /Everything I’ve done to be the only savior, echoes in our heads for a long lingering minute. Much like the many bands like them that share their sound, there is despair and misery lingering in its poetry, but that particular line sticks with us the most.
To keep up with all the songs we’ve reviewed this year, follow our playlist on Spotify!