Despite next year’s nil amount of Malaysian performers, we remain supportive of the following regional acts that will be gracing the stage in the meadow alongside acts such as Purity Ring, Shamir, Grimes, Thundercat, and more. Enough that we want you to better acquaint yourself with these five acts hailing from Singapore, the Philippines, and Hong Kong so that you won’t make the mistake of ignoring their respective sets due to their lack of Pitchfork coverage. You fucking hype whore, you.
If you’ve attended Urbanscapes last year, you would probably have seen this Singaporean indie rock band of close-knit friends jamming on stage. They have cited rock’n’roll of the ’50s and ’60s as their main inspiration and their sound is certainly reminiscent of those eras, what not with their surf rock guitar and starry-eyed lyricism. Their wistful pop tunes instil in you a spontaneous feeling of escaping away from the city, particularly in tracks such as ‘Road Trip’ – which reminds us of the oeuvre of Fabrizio Morretti’s (currently, seemingly defunct) side project Little Joy.
The extensive band of eight hailing from Manila, Philippines has just released their self-titled debut album. The inception of the band started with Jim Bacarro who wanted to recreate a band in the hopes of emulating his heroes such as LCD Soundsystem and Arcade Fire. The harmonies of singers Saab Magalona and Candy Gamos along with Bacarro’s own voice make for quite the seamless formation that lifts their trope-y indie rock arrangement to greater heights. The band’s ‘Again, Professor Manny?’ has received a fair amount of radio time in their home country, and we’re sure you’d like this track as well as their countrymates.
Louis Quek – or as he’s known professionally, Intriguant – is a DJ-producer who’s part of the Singaporean record label/audiovisual collective Syndicate, which also features artistes such as .gif and Gema. His ambient and trip hop releases lean heavily towards to the sedate and meditative. Though much of his work revolves around inducing one into a serene hypnosis, you can rest assured that when DJing, he’d incorporate some experimental and four-to-the-floor beats to give you a balance of moody introspection and sounds that you can only react with your body.
If you don’t speak Cantonese, GDJYB is the phonetic acronym of the band’s name, which translates to a particular steamed egg and meat dish. Quirky name aside, the Hong Kong group has labelled their sound as ‘math folk’, which is fitting because of their complicated musical arrangements that dichotomise the social commentary in their lyrical content. Take their latest song ‘Durian What What What‘, looking past the superficial, pastel-hued frou frou of it all, it tells a weighty subject of disconnect in the urban sprawl.
Riot !n Magenta
The third and final Singaporean act is five-piece electronica band Riot !n Magenta. The quintet’s formation started with a synaesthesia that was experienced by one of the band members when he was listening to an experimental song entitled ‘Riot in Lagos’. Their sound is a product of an amalgamation of downbeat synth-reliant pop, soul, and trip hop, among many others. Lead singer Eugenia Yip’s stirring vocals are a standout as they permeate the electronic soundscape with an organic and haunting air that suitably animates the darkly-tinged lyrics.