It’s been more than a decade since OAG conquered the airwaves with ’60s TV’ and brought the mainstream media’s attention to the local music scene. Not only are the new guards more daring in expressing themselves, with current home recording technology and the internet, they’re doing it in their own vernacular and creating waves like Krakens on a low-salt diet. JUICE has scoured the depths of Myspace and the dive bars of Malaysia to bring you these groundbreaking acts. Here’s one out of our top 10 picks – the rest to follow….
Singer-songwriters are a dime a dozen in KL. Just throw a stone up in the sky and chances are it’ll land on some sensitive new age type person baring an acoustic. Thankfully for us, there are still a few who can carry a tune, kick out the jams and more importantly, nail down those illusive words that have become war cries for generations (blowing in the wind, my friend). From the punky folk of ‘Makan Gaji’ to the reality of KL through the eyes of a blossoming ‘Anak Dara’, Azmyl Yunor has been singing his heart out on streets and in dive bars for the past decade as a solo artist. JUICE first came in contact with the wandering troubadour back in 2005 during the release of his Tenets EP. Out in the dusty ennui of Bangi, we asked if he would form a band to which he replied: “the members should be hombres out for a joyride.” Now, Azmyl brings us a slice of folk rock with a kick in the gut by The Sigarettes. With the core line-up which includes lead guitarist Keng Lee, bassist Adrian Yap, drummer Jeremy Liew and keyboardist Shanon Shah, the band’s sound adds smoke to the fire in Azmyl’s oft-frenetic folk songs. Describing this as an “IRS Records era-REM jangle meets The Replacements’ reckless romp”, Azmyl and cohorts are right now bunked up in a recording hole adding finishing touches to their debut album Azmyl Yunor &The Sigarettes.
Since ganging up in 2006, the band has crossed over to Singapore for a couple of full length gigs including Baybeats 2007. Judging by their high octane live sets, the album is one to look out for in this year. He also hinted on a solo album to follow suit. If leaked tracks are anything to go by, the band’s taps are always flowing. ‘Freo’, an upbeat eulogy to lost love in a small foreign town, is a good example of one of Azmyl’s popular jangly folk songs given the Sigarettes’ sonic treatment.
With a roster that spans over 10 years (including busking) and noted as one of the most hardworking movers in the independent music scene, Azmyl still hits the circuit regularly with his shambolic solo sets around the region as far as Australia and Japan. Hopefully that will include the band in tow soon enough. Now that’s something the proverbial stone would miss.
Image Lim Fang Liang