It’s never been a better time to be all rah rah rah about local music. There have been no less than six new albums launched so far this year. The NAC just announced millions of dollars in grant money for local musicians (Steinways aside), two Singapore bands played Laneway last month, and the recent well-attended Getai Electronica at People’s Park Complex showcased a badass all-Singapore line-up. We expect to hear a lot of local music this year, and here are the bands we predict we’ll be hearing it from.
Sphaeras, credit to Olivia Kwok
You’ve probably seen them at Baybeats and despite their reverb- and delay-laden sound, they are adamant about not being labeled as a post rock band. The four-man instrumental outfit is indeed a mixture of genres that includes math rock’s odd time signatures, too.
Where to listen: Plus, keep a look out for their first album as they’ve been recording with local heavyweight producer Leonard Soosay and his label, Snakeweed Productions.
These guys have been around for a while but in 2008, had a change in direction. The five man-band comprised of Nur Sahili as the lead vocals, Kye on guitars, Mish’aal on bass, Wan Gondrong on keyboards and Isyraf on drums released their first EP Ishmael’s Wishlist in 2008. They’re known for fusing pretty intense rock riffs and strong vocals with Miles Davis-esque syncopated jazz improvs.
Where to listen: The band has just released their visceral nine-track debut album, People Eating People ($12 at thepsalmssg.bandcamp.com).
They’re the band on everyone’s lips, and they co-organized Getai Electronica. The future-soul trio, comprising of established indie and jazz regulars Audrey Tengkey, J.R. Teo and Tim de Cotta have a funky and bass-heavy sound that’s ambient and a little reminiscent of ‘90s acid jazz.
Where to listen: They have just released the six-track The Astral Journey EP ($10 from darkerthanwax.bandcamp.com) with a super mellow and chillout single “Taj Yo’self”.
The electronica duo made it big and recently headlined at this year’s Laneway. Comprised of Weish and Din, they’re both established musicians in their own rights. Influenced by acts like Frou Frou and Thievery Corporation, it’s no wonder they’ve got an indie, downtempo and electronic sound. After more than a year following the release of Saudade, they’ve reinterpreted their tracks with various local producers in their latest EP. Check out the interview we did with them here.
Where to listen: Their latest EP Re:Saudade (free from dotgifdotgif.bandcamp.com). However, they will be releasing an LP in the coming months with a darker and grittier sound.
The band has been making huge waves lately. Although they formed in 2007, the five-man rock band, comprised of KC, Martin and Gabriel, has garnered tons of attention over the years that led to the release of their first album, Welcome the Ironists, with tracks like “Welcome the Ironists” and “Entrepreneur”. The post-hardcore band is known for their heavier beats, ferocious riffs and catchy melodies that capture the spirit of punk rock. Plus, their live sets are always high energy and lively, with the band encouraging everyone to dance.
Where to listen: Welcome The Ironists ($20 for CD, $35 for vinyl at caracalnoise.bigcartel.com)
Formed in 2007, this modern alternative rock band comprised of five members is starting to make it big. The band released their first EP, Discover, in 2009 and cites elements of metal, jazz and soul as influences but they’ve got a higher octave, aggressive sound full of quick guitar riff changes and melodic vocals.
Where to listen: They’re currently working on their album set to release in the upcoming months.
We know she’s not entirely new to the scene but after an extended break, the songstress just released her self-titled EP. The multi-hyphenate singer and songwriter cites D’angelo, Erykah Badu and Lauryn Hill as major influences to her R&B-heavy tracks with a touch of hip hop and jazz. We won’t blame you if you were first drawn to her sound because of her looks either because she’s already proved that she’s got staying power in the local music scene.
Where to listen: Alicia Pan EP ($4.98 on iTunes).
The local jazz composer is classically trained in instruments like the violin, trombone and double bass, so it’s no wonder he knows his way around an orchestra. Although he’s officially a composer, he’s work as a music director, conductor and, of course, performer. The album comprises of nine original tracks with large jazz ensemble compositions on songs like “A Thousand Li of Rivers” and “Sing it to Grandma”. Although his sound is a little more conventional, we love the big band jazzy vibes.
Where to listen: His latest album Seeing Sounds ($15, for more info go to imaginaryforces.peatix.com)
Paint The Sky Red
Paint The Sky Red
This post-rock instrumental band is pretty ambient in sound. The four-man band writes reflective, nostalgic songs with a soulful but experimental edge. Singles like “The Happy Ending Is You”, feature melodic guitar solos, ambient sound and all round melancholy soul.
Where to listen: They’ve recently released their second album, Not All Who Wonder Are Lost ($10 at painttheskyred.bandcamp.com or Cat Socrates, #03-39B Bras Basah Complex, 231 Bain St., www.catsocrates.com.sg)
Amateur Takes Control
A math and post-rock band comprised of six members, including Adel and Ahmad on guitars, Isa on bass, Ariff on keyboards and Junaidi and Syadie on drums, they’re known for their diverse style and emotionally-charged tracks. If you’ve had a chance to catch them live, they always pack a frenetic live performance and have been seen on the ZoukOut 2009 stages.
Where to listen: The band released their self-titled EP but also have a compilation album that lumps in their previous record, You, Me And The Thing Unsaid ($35 from hailsatanrecords.com).
Founded in 2009, this rock band’s psychedelic to say the least. They’ve got a vintage 1960s rock sound that can only be described as if Franz Ferdinand were an American SoCal garage band. There’s a lot of staccato guitar riffs, groovy rhythms and fuzzy, easy vocals. Although they released their last album, Moondust, early last year, we love sonic tracks like “Darkest Day” and “Ego”.
Where to listen: At Comforting Sounds (Aldy Hotel, 27 Jalan Kota, Malacca, Malaysia) on Mar 7. They’ll be supporting Malaysian act Khottal.
Hanging Up the Moon
Hanging Up The Moon
It began as a one-man project by Sean Lam who self-released his debut in 2011, and now includes four other musicians including The Observatory’s Leslie Low—the sound is much more upbeat than the latter band, though. They were the only other Singaporean band at Laneway this year. Their acoustic guitar-heavy sound and all-dude harmonization remind us of a cross between Simon & Garfunkel and Neil Young.
Where to listen: They have a third album, Immaterial, coming up in March of this year. Meantime, you can hear all the songs on their second album The Biggest Lie in the World at ow.ly/IwGpK