April has so many great releases, and these are some of the last batch of awesome musical pastries for you to listen to! We have the best of pop punk, Flizzow’s classy new single, our favourite song from the latest Hujan EP, a great soulful release from NJWA and more! Follow us on Spotify for the latest music.
Melissa – Des Panik!
Rawang boys’ single, Melissa, is your run-of-the-mill, kitschy and sweet pop punk. Alif Najmie’s vocals is your early 2000s nostalgic vehicle into the past, but everything else about this song is just good, cheeky fun. Des Panik! Is always a great band to listen when reminiscing simpler days when bands like New Found Glory don’t take themselves too. seriously, and despite it’s underwhelming presence, Melissa is a catchy love tune that would fit in your adolescent playlist like a glove.
3 / 5
Sampai Jadi – Flizzow (ft. Alif)
Flizzow fashions himself as the godfather of hip hop in Sampai Jadi – and honestly, with a track like this he’s not too far off from taking that mantle. Co-produced by SonaOne, Sampai Jadi philosophy of production is conciseness – it’s a hard-beat with a focus on fire bars, as Flizzow reminds his peers of his history of resilience in the face of adversity. (Suka-suka hati, sebut illuminati/Hipokrasi hasil programming bergenerasi/Dulu orang kami kais pagi makan pagi
Sekarang lauk tengah hari udang galah dengan kari). Flizzow’s braggadocio feels more rugged here, the kind of belligerence you see in a Def Jam battle as he name drops all of the heroes he has consulted with along the way. Alif’s feature in this track also adds edge to an already good track; his best feature so far (or at least better than that Ismail Izzani track) even if he is just mostly singing the chorus. The bridge where Alif goes on his clothes, music and family is pretty memorable and contains an adorable wordplay too! Overall, Sampai Jadi is a bop, and is proof that Flizzow’s still got it. (Also, mad props to the music video. So much symbolism. People eating at the same table fighting against each other. Profound)
Cagaran Mimpi – Bayangan
The album Bersendirian Berhad is an anthology of the bleaker side of life, but the composition and arrangements that Fikri Fadzil, aka Bayangan, brings to his songs is the furthest from dull. After Kuala Lumpur, an earlier version of the track was released a year ago, but with the album, Cagaran Mimpi has evolved from a Jeff Buckley-esque ballad to a haunting hymn punctuated by somber bass drums. It’s lyricism feels like post-modern poetry and speaks about reclaiming yourself after a decade of “mortgaging” or putting your dreams on hold. Bayangan’s brand of neo-folk uses simple chords to convey a manifold message – which touches the deepest part of our subconscious. Cagaran Mimpi is one of our favourite tracks because of how it alternates between monotonous melancholy to a lilting serenade during the chorus. It’s beautifully arranged, and the one that speaks the loudest to those going through a quarter-life crisis in their young adult years.
Haram – Hael Husaini & Dayang Nurfaizah
The Malaysian charts has not been served with a pop ballad as powerful as this pairing in recent years. Hael Husaini and Dayang Nurfaizah’s harmonies are resplendent in Haram, and the song’s production itself is cleanly produced. The widespread popularity of his song Jampi is hard to beat, but it doesn’t overshadow Haram’s potential. We wished Dayang had more substantial parts though that could really strengthen the sort of “forbidden love” dynamic central to the song. Haram is a good song and works as a pop ballad, but esentially doesn’t really push any envelopes in terms of experimentation or creating memorable melodies.
NJWA EP – NJWA
Our gradual revelation towards NJWA’s maturing sound started a year ago, when NJWA started performing OCEAN at concerts and on live sessions. It’s been a wonderful trip, so when NJWA previewed her self-titled EP, NJWA and did a duet with MonoloQue for Cinta we were all sorts of excited. NJWA’s musical direction is a journey of sonic experimentation centered around her elegant jazzy pop vocals, and with this EP you can see each track as a reflection of that evolution. In the Name of Love is a subtle ode to love embellished by nature sounds in the background which adds a more personal touch the track – almost like an intimate lullaby. Togok is a gamelan interlude that paints a whole ambience, probably a product of her collaboration with MonoloQue, before hitting the wholesome R&B tune of Ocean. Malaysian-based German producer, Cee, and musical director, shakey.shakey also play a big role in piecing this EP together to create an awesome landmark of what NJWA can give and that the changes she’s going through is for the better. It’s soulful, unique and an ethereal dreamscape. We could only wish for one whole album now.
Goodbye – Ian.F & Court 10
Around the world, so many independent, up-and-coming artists are being influenced by the likes Mac DeMarco & Frankie Cosmos and translating them into their very own brand of jangly, bedroom lo-fi, yacht rock indie. You see that in Southeast Asian bands like Phum Vipurit, Norwegian outfits like boy Pablo and, of course, you also see that in the dreamy sounds of Ian.F & Court 10. Goodbye is a track that pops with bright riffs, and because it’s a song about goodbyes, the track conveys the perfect kind of melancholy. Although it’s not as wonderfully cheeky as their previous tracks Other End and Lambat Mati, it is still a brilliant track from Ian.F fitting for a santai listen. It’s no-bullshit jangly indie, so if you’re a fan of the sound you’re going to dig this.
3.9 / 5
Jutaan Jiwa – Hujan
In our opinion, Jutaan Jiwa is the track that stood out the most to us from Hujan’s latest EP, Suria. It’s very refreshing and exciting to see that despite the many musical phases that the band went through, reverting back to the core of their indie rock sound never feels awkward or generic. Suria is another great reincarnation of that, and Jutaan Jiwa is another masterful indie anthem for the 2010’s to put on repeat, with AG Coco’s guitars and Noh’s spirited lyricism. It’d be really intriguing to see other directions that Hujan goes through next, but for now they’ll continue to carry the flag of solid indie rock.
4 / 5
Bagaikan Puteri (Farra Cover) – HACKTICK!
The original by Farra back in 1996 was a sweet pop ditty that lingers at the back of our memories. It’s one of those songs you don’t really think about, until somebody sings the song to you and then suddenly the whole melody comes to mind. Having a self-proclaimed, maniacal punk like Hacktick cover it is a great treat, and with that awesome music video, the nostalgia level reaches its full-form.
3 / 5
Lotion – The Peachskins
Synthpop with a lace of funk band, the Peachskins is back with a new single after a year since their last EP, Time Travel Couldn’t Save Us. Lotion doesn’t stray too far form what we’re familiar with when it comes to The Peachskins. Rafique’s vocals has your classic indie pop alluring quality, and the song is also another generous helping of nostalgia especially with that music video for their demo.
3 / 5
Moneytalks – VIONA
VIONA goes full robotic in Moneytalks, monotonously commenting on the omnipresent, omnipotent force of currency (It’s funny how money can only be the only deity
we worship and flip it more than we do to the almighty). Unlike the more layered sounds of Srikandi, Masalah and Ragu; Moneytalks is very bare-bones musically. The minimal chants purposely made to sound like android drivel is all the song needs to punch in the message. After all, what better way to make a song about the ubiquity of money than to showcase how mundane its evil can be – like the polyphonic sounds of ATMs and cash counters. That being said, Moneytalks is the least impressive among all of VIONA’s singles so far. This piece of art pop sometimes straddles into awkwardness, and the bits where VIONA starts to sing with a weird accent is slightly cringeworthy. Sure, maybe it’s to convey the mindless droning of a simple brain (Money home/Money go/Money travelling more than what we know) but it’s deficient in actually representing that because at times it sounds like a bad Jamaican accent. Was this supposed to be dancehall? Is Drake a huge influence? We many never know. We’re really being nitpicky here, but that decision sort of makes this hard to listen to repeatedly. Other than that, still a great stab at capitalism – true VIONA style.
3.5 / 5
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