2019 is the pinnacle of excellence for indie music in Malaysia. Okay, to be fair, music journos say that every year. But with songs that range from budding romances, unrequited love, isolation, mental health awareness, blind acceptance of fake role models and even skincare routines, 2019 has been an eclectic year so far for the local indie scene.
So, without further ado, we present the finest 2019 indie releases… Enjoy!
1. Alien Lipstick Fire
This KL-based indie band has been making waves ever since they started performing at small gigs in 2015. Today, Alien Lipstick Fire have amassed a huge following with over 14k monthly listeners on Spotify. Creating music that evokes a chill and relaxed vibe with inspiration from bands like Bombay Bicycle Club and Tame Impala, their dedication to a sound different from the rest and to produce videos that are unique and fun have propelled them to the top of our list.
Check out their newest release, Different Days below.
We had a chat with the boys over at Alien Lipstick Fire which you can read here.
Our favourite duo hailing from Shah Alam are back from their 2-year hiatus with their newest single, ‘In Time’. Vocalist Azrul’s distinguished voice and drummer Omar’s unique pulse have resonated well with Malaysians in the past, leading them to be deemed the ‘It Boys’ of the indie music scene. Their latest single, ‘In Time’, has a welcomed juxtaposition of upbeat music with a sentimental yet hopeful message on getting through our darkest days because better ones await us in the future. A perfect song to convey optimism in our times of solace, Jaggfuzzbeats have always been making music to encapsulate how we sad boys and girls feel. It doesn’t hurt either that their songs are so damn catchy.
Listen to their infectiously addicting single, ‘In Time’ below.
We found out what influenced the boys’ music on their debut album Rest Now (2017), read that interview here.
3. Lost Spaces
Fun, funny and cute, Lost Spaces provides a cathartic escape from our troubles with upbeat songs that are reminiscent of The 1975 and Toro Y Moi. Even the name, Lost Spaces, perfectly embodies their journey to become the designated place in your heart for when you’re feeling like life is just an endless walk into oblivion. With groovy tunes that you can’t help but dance to, their hit album of 2019, no-vacancy, talks about love in a way that us 90s kids can definitely relate. Additionally, I think it’s extra cool that their songs are titled in a way that reminds you of listening to illegally downloaded music from Limewire on your Nokia phones e.g ‘drunk-dial.confessions’ and ‘voicemail-01’.
Here’s their latest album, no-vacancy, below:
To read our feature on their hot single, ‘boxset.girlfriend’ (2018), click here.
Lo-fi soloist Lurkgurl brings chill and melancholic to a whole new level with her newest album, Demo Mode Forever. Intimate, raw and stripped, this album has a sense of mysteriousness to it that reflects the artist who is known for being almost anonymous with her lack of presence and interviews on the internet. Playing by her own rules and singing to her own tune, Lurkgurl reminds us of the likes of BOY and Birdy especially due to her soft and sweet vocals. She even provides subtle commentary on our obsession with fake role-models and the blurry paths of our lives in which we are all trying to figure out. A definite rising star, Lurkgurl is worth checking out.
Here is her album below:
They’ve been in the industry for almost 6 years! This senior experimental pop group has a sound that can be defined as colourful and exuberant. Combining layers of harmonious instrumentals with vocals that sing about our transition into adulthood, LUST is definitely the more mature band of the bunch. With music that sounds like a celebration of life, their live performances definitely reflect their love of creating tunes by coalescing their personality with visceral evocations of the unsung joys of the simplicity of life. When listening to their upbeat drums and guitar that will surely remind you of Vampire Weekend and The Vaccines, you can’t help but headbang and fall in love with the band’s diverse sound.
Their 2019 release, Tekesima, is in my opinion, one of the best releases of this year. Listen to it below:
The young and talented boys over at Lxcid have been writing and making songs ever since they were in high-school, but don’t be fooled; their music is well beyond their years. Paying homage to sadbois and sadgirls, their melancholic sound is perfect for a cold, rainy day when you just wanna lay in bed and clear your thoughts.
JUICE had a short chat with the band’s vocalist, Adam Ariff, about their latest single, ‘Sunflower’, which was written to raise awareness on the importance of mental health. Discussing on the dangers of mental illness and how it has become so prevalent within our society to the point of becoming a meme in the form of “aku nak mati” and “i wanna kms” tweets, ‘Sunflower’ sheds serious light on how these messages have become detrimental to our movement on mental health awareness. When asked about the intention of the song, Lxcid said,
“A year ago one of Adam’s close friends lost her sister to suicide. It came very suddenly and none of us knew how to go about the situation. In light of these events, we wrote this song to comfort her and our group of friends. ‘Sunflower’ was written as a message to those who feel alone and feel like they’re at the end of the road. It serves as a reminder to those who are caught up in their own head that they are not alone. It also serves as a reminder for us to listen to our friends and not neglect their thoughts and feelings. As for the name ‘Sunflower’, she personally asked for it to be named Sunflower, as it is something that she remembers her sister by.”
Watch their music video for ‘Sunflower’ below which combines a pressing message with distorted visuals meant to symbolise skewed and distraught thoughts of those who suffer from mental illness:
7. Not Yet!
Despite being in their infancy stage, Not Yet!, is brimming with potential with songs that combine both modern and vintage feel. Citing The Beatles, David Bowie, Vampire Weekend and The Strokes as their creative diet, this KL indie band is perfect for those who are searching for songs about the simplicity of love and how we are the most enamoured by someone when we’re just driving around town, both covered in the drench of bright city lights.
Listen to ‘Moonlit Sakura Drive (In Space)’ below:
8. Pastel Lite
Formed in KL (again – ’cause Malaysia is only one city), this indie pop duo provides exactly what their name entails, soft and lighthearted music that fills you with a sense of euphoric enjoyment. Signed under Yuna’s Yuna Room Records in 2017, this duo has been giving us stylistic electronic sounds with sweet as syrup vocals since their debut in 2014 with the album Etcetera. Some have deemed their sound reminiscent of Rex Orange County and The XX, but that’s rather limiting as their music style includes influences of ’70s Malay disco as well. Recently, they have released a music video for their new single, ‘Hello Sayang’, that features a retro look which is not foreign to the duo. Detailing the evergreen story about an unrequited love, ‘Hello Sayang’ makes you want to pick up the phone to call your crush and ask them why oh why can’t y’all just be together?
Watch this disco-centred bop below:
Read our review of their 2017 release, Balada, here.
9. The Peachskins
Transitioning from indie synth to buttery R&B, The Peachskins decided on their genre-change when their frontman, Rafique Ramleh, embarked on a healthy relationship with his muse. The story behind their well-received bend into a different musical avenue provides an accurate representation of the dreamy, hopeful and romantic sound of the band as they detail the joys of doing the simple stuff with the ones you love. For example, buying skincare products with your girlfriend is surprisingly very romantic as depicted in their song, ‘Skincare’. We love men who aren’t afraid to take care of themselves!
Listen to their 2019 release below:
Want more of our thoughts on their comeback? Read our review here.
10. Spooky Wet Dreams
Do you remember the awkward stages of your first, serious relationship? The uncertainty, the overthinking, the reluctance of pushing forward in a relationship you know deep-down would be an ephemeral fling? Well, Spooky Wet Dreams has perfectly encapsulated those complex feelings into their song, ‘Virgin’. Beautifully told through vignettes and light leaks, frontman Ze details his experience with a lover in high-school and how the couple struggled internally with their growing feelings for each other. A visceral song that is perfect for those who are beginning to embark in love, the music video for ‘Virgin’ is a must watch.
Here it is, in all its awesomeness:
For more music related features, click here.