I don’t know what “Falter” is trying to do, and that’s a good thing. The latest song by Bengaluru’s Black Letters starts off like it’s going to build into a Portishead groove before stopping and taking a clearer, R&B-like turn. Now I hear romantic Mogwai. Now I see an endless horizon and a blood red sky going on and on and wanting to drive all through it. The song’s music video shares a similar dreamlike haze. It’s all quite lovely.
My Skin Against Your Skin: Taiwan Electro-Rock Band With All The Feels
Every time I listen to “生存的城市” (“Life is for Living”), I always expect it to first drone out into some electronic oh you listen to the Drive soundtrack cool mist. Instead, this song by My Skin Against Your Skin unfolds into an effective pop groove that reminds me of Death Cab For Cutie at its most yearning and lovely. Andrea Huang’s voice is especially strong on a deceivingly simple song.
The three-piece, originally just Huang and bassist and synth player Si-Lu Yu and now with drummer Jesse, has been active since 2010 and have a large following around Taiwan – let’s bring them to the states! Learn more about the band via their interview with Hello Asia!
Not sure if MUNIR is intentionally named after Munir Said Thalib. If so, this adds an interesting political angle to this excellent disco music. If not, it’s still fun to turn your brain off and shake shake shake it. Check out more via Diskover Records.
“DISKOVER is a sister-label of BHANG RECORDS focusing on dance music.”
Of course, when you think of fuzzy garage surf-rock, you think of crocodiles. Taiwan’s CROCODELIA, a band formed around 3100 BC, knows this, so they have perfected the art of the freakbeat with this excellent six-track EP. You can pick up Out Of The Swamp via Bandcamp.
Kukushai: musicians from South Korea and Slovenia unite in the name of experimental jazz
It sounds like insects marching towards war at first, and then Eva Poženel’s vocals come in and oh shit it’s a jazz thing but with a Fiona Apple-like stomp. Kukushai‘s explosion of sound could go off any minute, but Sun Mi Hong’s drumming keeps everything in check and Rok Zalokar’s keys move things along. It’s all theatrical, and it’s all quite beautiful and bizarre at times. Poženel, Hong, and Zalokar all met in Rotterdam, The Netherlands and they use their varying cultural heritages (Poženel and Zalokar from Slovenia, Hong from South Korea) to good use.
I couldn’t tell you a thing about Japan’s AIENU or his latest album 222, but this is the kind of ambient, Samurai Champloo-like electronic music that works best the less you know about its creator. 222 is a quick listen and very much worth your time to get lost in, even if you wouldn’t consider yourself a “fan” of slower grooves that take its sweet time.
Cantilever: “a bunch of old man and father who love Proto punk and post-hardcore”
Cantilever is the most recent addition to Malaysia’s post-hardcore scene, getting together just within the past year and making its name around Kuantan. If you enjoy At The Drive In and any band that enjoys getting gritty, both sonically and literally (the band’s interest is “fighting in the store room”), you’ll enjoy this new debut demo collection, The Fall: The Rise.
Beeswax: Indonesian emo greats return with new music
Of all the bands on the Emotion, No compilation, Indonesia’s Beeswax was, until now, the hardest to track down. Not anymore! Recently, The Display premiered the new song “The Loaded Ashtray” and announced that their third LP is coming out soon.
The Malang four-piece has a great sound very much indebted to the specific emo and alternative bands they cite as influences (Casket Lottery, Braid, Cap’n Jazz, Maggat, Mock Orange, American Football, Title Fight, Pswingset, and Texas Is The Reason, to name a few).
From The Display:
“It has been a long time since the four-piece emo act released any new material. But now the wait is over as Bagas Yudhiswa (guitar/vocal), Iyok (guitar/vocal), Putra (bass/vocal) and Yayan (drum) have unveiled a new single titled “The Loaded Ashtray”. The song which is the first offer from the band’s upcoming third album displays an equally saddening thought as any other tracks. With their signature twinkling guitar sound, [the band opens] up about the memory of those who are gone.”
Tapestry: Singapore Emo and a Back-to-Basics Raw Sound
When listening to Tapestry, a glorious and heartbreaking band from Singapore, time stops. Take “A Set Distance”, for example, the sixth track off their latest full length I Hope You Never Find Me. “The joy of living is gone,” dramatically sings Syed, the band’s vocalist and guitarist as the song starts, while the band weaves a delicate post-rock motif. Not long after, the song erupts in a furious explosion that preserves the same drama. Assisting the main vocals, passionate screams percolate through the rhythm: they sound raw, woolly and ultimately reminiscent of the unpretentious screamo of fifteen years ago.
These screams are a spark in the work of Tapestry, that surely owes a lot to Midwest emo. Bands like American Football or Penfold ongly helped the band define their sound, giving them a point of reference. But Tapestry takes emo very seriously, not as something they copied from the States, but as something to live for. The constancy of their releases is a proof of that. Since their first 2012 EP, the trio has worked hard to perfect their formula, refusing to adhere to new trends and sounds.
Their last songs, released on a split with Michigan-based Coma Regalia, are a further evidence of such enviable coherence. “Strings & Azimuth”, in particular, is one of the best tracks the band has ever released. There, Syed talks about spending two years away from home due to the compulsory military service in Singapore. Even if the song is centered around a very specific theme, there’s a certain universality within it. And also the revelation that at the moment it’s “unconventional places” such as Singapore that offer some of the most interesting emo bands in the world, possibly due to the fact that the issues they cover are more transferable to the defining poignant traits of the genre–while being rather distant from the Western imagery.
Aseul: South Korean artist returns with the glitchy “Wake Up”
According to Korean Indie, “Wake Up” is a preview of Aseul‘s new, somewhat different, sound and that you should check out her first record for a proper introduction. I agree, but there’s also a lot to like in the new song; the song is free of any tight constraints and the melody comes and goes as it pleases over glitchy beats. Very excited for the new record.