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Masdo, Spooky Wet Dreams, Pitahati, Takahara Suiko and more – here’s our tracks of the week! (7/12/2017)
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Masdo, Spooky Wet Dreams, Pitahati, Takahara Suiko and more – here’s our tracks of the week! (7/12/2017)

by Zim AhmadiDecember 8, 2017

We’ve been gone for a while, but now we’re back with so much more. Here’s all of the local tracks that we thought we should highlight from November. From the phenomenal release of Masdo’s debut studio album, Selamat Tinggal Pujaan, veteran rappers releasing new hit singles and we also have new upcoming talents in the mix. In this playlist is also a review of the collaboration between Takahara Suiko and the Pinholes. There’s one for everyone!


Selamat Tinggal Pujaan (Album) – Masdo

Masdo

Indie bands – much like most people – like to look at history to find themselves. You peek through one curtain, you have people who revere the indie bands of the early 2000s, and then if you peek through the other side, you have bands who travel a little further into the 80s, inspired by new wave, shoegazing and the early years of electronica or the bursting colourful funk of the 70s. Masdo takes a step further back into the past and brings life back to the early rock ‘n’ roll and Malay pop-ye-ye, dangdut days of the ‘60s with artists like Kassim Slamat & The Swallows! They do so it effectively, with so much honesty and personality, that you feel like you’re stuck inside a sweaty time capsule filled with people twisting and swinging in their floral shirts and over-gelled hair. We mean this in an almost literal way.

In virtually every venue that Masdo performs at, it is filled to the brim like cans of sardines. They’ve lately become more of a nationwide phenomenon rather than a mere band- Masdo functions as a supergroup with Ali originally from The Lipstik (with his song Teruna & Dara making it into Selamat TInggal Pujaan) pulling Putuceri from Pop Konspiracy , Ambobzeela from Hujan & the talented guitarist & twister, Asmawi. The album stays true to a single musical style but without falling flat or giving much room for mediocrity. From the single Bunga to the overwhelmingly danceable Miss Flower Learns To Twist, every track is a different chapter to a love story familiar to all of us. Another testament to Masdo’s impact in the scene actually already started last year.

Some people are skeptical as to their concept and style. ‘What’s going to happen in their second album? Are they going to change their sound? Are they forever going to be pop-yeh-yeh?’. The truth is no one knows, but it’s been done before. There are bands with the same concept like our Indonesian neighbour, Changchuters who have gone through several albums in their discography and re-adapting (but slowly revising) their creative direction. Whatever their future may be, the present seems pretty spectacular.

Even before the album was published, Masdo have had their fair share of meteoric fame with their single Bunga being one of the most requested song on iM4U back in 2016.  It was as if whenever Ali sings Nama kau Bunga, the whole country sang along. The #GengPakMaon and #GengBentaraGuru subculture lives on!

RATING:
4/5


Drop – Joe Flizzow

One of the rappers that brought the rap scene to life in the 90s til the early 2000s is still churning out decent tracks today, and Joe Flizzow  wants to remind you that he’s still here kicking it.  The lyrics in this song reflects that sort of mentality that Flizzow has been espousing for as long as he’s been in the rap game – to hold on to the business, make it last, even through all the sacrifices you have to make. Although the music video seems like typical hip hop hedonism (dancing on an island, conventionally attractive woman, etc), there is actually a kind of gravitas to the message that Flizzow is trying out to send out too, in lyrics like ‘Don’t get it twisted the rich they keep getting richer/ Enslavement is in the systems mass population the victims/Gotta tell my dogs don’t be too happy with them biscuits’ (Joe co-writes the lyrics with Aliff for Magic Potions). Loving the tropical smooth beats that underpin the whole track as well, which gives it a laidback vibe as Flizzow goes through his flow, bar by bar. In the end though, he’s still the same old Joe.

Reliably competent, and still good at what he does, but in the age of so many young rappers coming up and pushing the envelope, this tracks pales slightly in comparison. Drop is still a good rap song though and worth a listen or two.

RATING:
3/5


Ini Sekolah Bukan Kilang – Spooky Wet Dreams

Pack your bags and get schooled, Spooky Wet Dreams is back with a punk rock anthem to dissect our educational system. It’s simple, terse, and we love the guttural shouts by lead singer Ze in parts like “Wei fuck this shit” or “Sistem yang rosak” to add more fervor to the already blatantly confrontational song. It’s safe to say that there is a spectrum of sound to tap from Spooky Wet Dreams. Although some people hail them as ‘Malaysian Green Day’, we think attribution is half-baked at best. Earlier this year, they’ve released Ipoh Girl, with an almost completely different vibe with a Nusantara twang, and now there’s the loudness and abrasion of Cold Pizza Party Spooky with an outright message to send. Leaves us more excited for what’s in store in the next album and the type of themes they’re going to explore with their pop punk ethics and lyrical in-your-face-ness. That second verse (Kenapa rambut panjang/Kenapa kasut belang-belang) is such a nostalgia-inducing verse to those people who tried to rebel in school, and you growl at the incessant need of the institution in stamping down on your individuality.

Ini Sekolah Bukan Kilang is a simple song with hooky riffs, so that your head bang has some thought into it. It doesn’t come off as fancy or elaborate, and doesn’t pack much of a surprise. But then again, It doesn’t need to be. Just as long as the (educational) revolution is televised and catchy.

RATING:
3.5/5


Reminiscing – Aina Abdul

Reminiscing is one of those tracks you put in a breakup playlist, when you can’t really seem to let go, so you (fruitlessly) put in as much hope as possible into it. This song starts off with such a good groove, and really makes Aina Abdul one of the more underrated Mentor participants. As rockstar legend Ella’s protege, she’s probably learned so much of the vocal prowess and delivery from her. There is a lot of potential in Aina Abdul’s singing, coupled with Kuizz’s great knack for chart-busting productions too. But we can’t help but feel that the song is pretty forgettable, and falls slightly short of being an amazing vehicle for Aina’s talent.

Aina Abdul is nonetheless, one of the creative recording artists out there, that you need to keep an eye out for!

RATING:
3/5


Kembali (feat. Takahara Suiko) – The Pinholes

This is probably the first time in decades any music magazine has ever had two pop-yeh-yeh, suited-up bands in one playlist, but here we have The Pinholes from the land across the Johore strait, Singapore! We could be spending this time reviewing their entire second album, entitled D’Antara Kita, since it’s only recently been released, but we have chosen to pay this particular track since it features one of the most striking alternative icon in the Malaysian indie scene Takahara Suiko of the Venopian Solitude. Takahara takes it down a notch in this haunting serenade, akin to her earlier days of singing songs like Mendungku and Dust. This time however, it’s not going to be a plain old singer-songwriter belting out lovesick diary notes, it’s a lounge songstress persona out to get the blood of innocent bystanders aka listeners. And they mean that (almost literally).

Dipped through the sound of old microphones and jazzy guitar chords, Takahara takes the persona of a pontianak laments the loss of her miscarried child. Although the eeriness is sculpted amazingly by Takahara’s shakey vibrato, the song makes you feel a sense of sympathy, even for the pallid and the ghastly. The Pinholes really took a chance with the collaboration, traversing beyond their sounds of 60s pop rock into a rainy day ghost story. No song in November (and probably the whole year) has made us feel so immersed in its world, and make us feel chills our bones will never forgive us for.

RATING:
5/5


Dari Minda Sa-orang Sutradara – Pitahati

It’s tough to imagine sometimes what else a band can offer when they’ve established a cult-like reputation, regardless scene. But the Nusantara psychedelia world of Pitahati is filled with so much more to explore. They’ve really gone full throttle, albeit subtly, with Dari Minda Sa-orang Sutradara. Even without the music video, the song itself carries a heavy commentary weight spoken through the crazed monologue of a sutradara (or filmmaker). Torn between the many vices and distractions of every day life, he seeks an ideal goal of only making things in the service of ‘DIA’ (knowing Pitahati and Luncai Emas this probably aludes to God). The way in which Ilham (lead vocalist) sings the song in a chant-like manner adds the philosophical heaviness of this track, with lyrics that feels like its echoing in the brain of the protagonist (Aku tak mahu jadi hamba wang kerna/Wang bukan tuhan aku /Aku tak mahu nyanyi tentang tentang/Orde baru orde baru/Kerna ia hanya ilusi hanya ilusi/Aku hanya mahu nyanyi tentang tentang DIA). The music video, the sutradara being Hendro Setyo Wibowo, itself represents this eloquently and at the end partially hints at the fact that the ‘demon’ wins (again probably DIA is the ‘demon’, and it’s about selling out your soul for the sake of art).

Yikes, Pitahati has yet again succeeded in throwing us into a state of contemplation, while at the same thing letting us float long the ships of the ever-present riffs that spiral throughout this manic but meaningful track. Surely, a song to rattle the intuition.

RATING:
4.5/5


Hasut – Patriots

Patriots churns out another headbanger, and really this time it’s all unfiltered metal riffs and Amir Shazrin‘s soaring vocals. No nonsense, no trivialities. What’s interesting for Hasut is the band’s wading into uncharted territory (for Patriots) of rap. Like most rap metal, it can go either one of two ways: 1) that it becomes tacky nu metal lost in the bygone age of the early 2000s, or 2) Rage Against the Machine and the magic of Zach De La Rocha’s verses. It’s safe to say, that Patriots lean closer to the latter, as Amir’s attempt at rapping does not feel forced into the entire milieu of the song. In fact it makes the political parts of the verses stronger and more impactful, as his powerful vocals transmitted through some hard-hitting lyricism (Akal berfungsi tapi hanya menanti mati?).

We’re slightly disappointed by totally unwarranted expectations however, that this song was going to be a provocative political anthem, but the subject matter of the track is not without its own special poetry.

RATING:
3/5


No More Excuses – Bil Musa

When it comes to Bil Musa, it seems that at every turn she’s got something new up her sleeve. We’ve seen the increase in maturity, as she sounds fuller and more like a balladeer in her previous single Adakah Ini – unlike her self-titled EP in the past, which was filled with singer-songwriter vibes and acoustic simplicity. But with No More Excuses, it’s a whole new ball game yet again. Like Aina Abdul, this track is also produced by Kuizz, and he gives his electronic and R&B vibes to the warm, bedroom aesthetic voice we know and love from Bil. The beats ease you into the song really well as it starts off with that launchpad intro but slowly carried through by that ska-like guitar riffs that gives this track a fresh twist. Another interest thing about this single is that it doesn’t fall into the trap of being a cliche dance-R&B track about love or partying, but hits the mark with its motivational message. Fitting, as No More Excuses will be in Bil Musa’s upcoming album coming out at the end of this month, titled Young Adults.

This whole theme about growing up and finding yourself is worn by Bil very suitably, and we can only hope that there is much diversity in the sound as we’ve seen so far with  Adakah Ini and No More Excuses.

RATING:
3.5/5


She – XYX

Feed your taste for smooth R&B with this new group XYX‘s latest single She. With the rising trend of alternative R&B/rap and Rising 88 artists like Joji, XYX embodies that vibe with much needed slick. The production by sleepcalling is beautiful, starting with oriental-esque key intros and consistently stays within the subtle mood. Credit also must be given to the mixing work by xyxclassofsound and Giant T Pradhuya.

There’s something brewing, since Tulangkata wrote lyrics for a song by Giant T Pradhuya and this type of production is slowly seeping into this close group of friends. Maybe there’s a new music collective in the making, we all should look out for. In the meantime, we’ll be daydreaming to She.

RATING:
3.5/5


Ocean Love – Sugar Shrill feat LUNADIRA

In LUNADIRA’s previous work, we fell in love with the lyricism and little touches that she puts in her song Forever’s Not Our Thing. We could feel the heartbreak in every word, and definitely puts LUNADIRA one of the singer-songwriters we should look out for. We’ve also gotten to know Sugar Shrill, and bopped our head WHILE getting goosebumps at the type of exciting beats and drops that he brings to the otherwise bland top-40, lo-fi stuff that people tend to bring to the scene nowadays. (Honestly, if you haven’t checked out Bleach by Sugar Shrill, you should. Right, this instance. Our review).

So when word got out that LUNADIRA and Sugar Shrill were going to collaborate, all of us were just ready to drown in bliss.

Unfortunately, what happened was that you have this bland and restrained R&B/pop track with cliche beats found in so many other artists of this genre without any satisfying drops OR climactic moment in the production. Ocean Love, is not a bad song, but it seems that so much of LUNADIRA’s emotion and Sugar Shrill’s creativity is diluted in the process of making it. Although we commend the clean production, and the type of high quality mixing that both of these bedroom artists brought to the song – whether its vocals or production, in the end Ocean Love just lacked the type of personality we’d expect from such two promising people colliding.

Nevertheless, as new artists, they’ve still got a lot head of them to provide us with more ear-worms and hooks. We’re just not that hooked onto this particular one.

RATING:
2.5/5


We’re all music fans with our own crazy opinions. Share us yours! To keep up to date with the tracks we review, follow our playlist on Spotify:

About The Author
Profile photo of Zim Ahmadi
Zim Ahmadi
Managing Editor for Daily Seni. Eats surreal for breakfast. Peminat muzik tegar, budak baru belajar.

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