How long has it been since JUICE curated new local music for your ears? December is turning out to be the right time for exactly that, as musicians finally got to the end of their year-long decanting process where excess sediments are removed, and their musical essence is the clearest. Or alternatively, just random tracks we dug from SoundCloud, Bandcamp, and YouTube.
Here are JUICE’s five digs of this month.
‘She’ by XYX
Despite having suffered through seemingly lost battle rappers dropping Revival-era Em punchlines at a tribute to Lil Peep (out of all places), the gig’s open mic showcase still had a saving grace; XYX’s live performance of ‘She’. Now officially out on the interwebs, ‘She’ isn’t 100% ‘emo rap’ by way of GOTHBOICLIQUE. Though indebted to it as well, the track’s vibe has traces of the ‘80s synth pop influence that colours Drake’s cadre of OVO producers, which is also notable in XYX’s singer-songwriter Izhar’s vocal styling and his Dreezy-esque pining for an ex. Homie’s got the Canuck’s pitiable late night regrets down to a pat.
Shookness: Got us waiting by the celly, waiting for that hotline to bling.
‘MASTERMIND’ by rEmPiT gOdDe$$
Suppose it’s only a matter of time for post-internet electronic music – think from Oneohtrix Point Never to the Eternal Dragonz fam – to co-opt the very specific rempit niche of the digital world into something akin to an… aesthetic? rEmPiT gOdDe$$ is exactly that. Only revealing that she is “producer 4 viktoria” on her SoundCloud page – we have an idea of her true identity – ‘MASTERMIND’ is one of the only three tracks uploaded, and like them, they share a common Night Slugs bent for club deconstructionism, notably of vogue in this instance. It’s difficult to determine whether the localised aesthetic adds depth to the music itself, but one thing is for sure; the image is original and the music is more than interesting on its own.
Shookness: Leather short shorts while vogueing in a motorbike helmet.
‘hiao’ by lilasianthiccie feat. nyonya business
Rap’s penchant for turning a phrase – or word – into a memetic catchphrase might have reached its peak with Lil Pump. But in a post-88rising scene, these local aspiring rappers (it’s their first track!) could take it up one notch further with their inspired adoption of local slang – in this case, hiao, meaning vain (or horny) – into the catchphrase-churning milieu of SoundCloud hip hop. And just like other ‘SoundCloud hip hop’, ‘hiao’ barely feels like a proper song, what not with its runtime being just slightly above the two-minute mark. Though there’s probably an argument to be made about the necessity of that when this – if it does go viral – could potentially get white girls cluelessly going “I’m a hiao nene (horny tits),” on their ‘gram stories.
Shookness: nyonya business’ Hokkien verse got us 😩😭👌💦. (Edit: Whoops, it’s Mandarin!)
‘Voodoo (DEMO)’ by Orang Malaya
Orang Malaya is on a roll with a stream of new songs off forthcoming Speed Luv (or is it I’m Dead now?), the follow-up record to Radland Inn. There’s an almost perceptible constant to these newer offerings, gone is the trap and instead, here, he presents his latest incarnation as something of a Frank Ocean acolyte. Ironically, latest offering ‘Voodoo’, in its demo form, is less the synth-y, crackly lo-fi r’n’b of ‘Light’ and ‘Civic (A) Rendition’, but more a straightforward pop approach to r’n’b akin to Channel Orange-era Ocean. While we know how much Orang Malaya loathes these comparisons — apologies — citing influences doesn’t diminish one’s artistry any more than keeping to a genre makes one part of a hegemony. And as proven by these string of tracks, Orang Malaya has found his own voice in conflating his multifarious points of references into a singular thread, presenting us with a sombre look into the Xanny-fuelled psyche of a young musician through a sound that’s thankfully not trap anymore.
Shookness: “I’M DEAD”
‘Usah Resah’ by Milo Dinosaur
‘Usah Resah’ is the first Bandcamp-official track by Milo Dinosaur – led by Azim Idris – and it happens to be the most radio-friendly of the three songs by the band thus far. This is possibly due to the fact that it’s got heartland rock at its core with its blue-collar sentiments and anthemic cries à la Daniel Blumberg-era Yuck, whereas ‘Sahabat’ and ‘Tabah’ are focused on their intricate nigh-math rock arrangements – the latter, especially, is without vocals for half of its duration. ‘Usah Resah’ culminates in a coda that will surely get a festival crowd singing “Oooh oooh oooh” in unison just as all hearts resonate with the song’s central, unpretentious message of “Teruskan!” To proceed with life despite the hardships. Exactly the kind of accessible indie rock that would crossover from intimate gig spaces to the stages of regional and local festivals – at least one would hope for that to happen.
Shookness: Where did this band come from? And where can we get more?!