7. The Dude of Stratosphear “Various Mix CDs” (Bandit’s Ballroom, 2016). I was sitting at GOJA for the first time (pro tip: chilled bar/gallery, great beats) with some urban falconers and their pet hawk, when I spied these CDs for sale. I bought three right there and then, and went back the next day for the others – they’re that good! Basically, they’re mix CDs by Bangkok-based world music DJ Dude of Stratosphear, and they totally rock out, psychedelic-style. Here’s a brief summary of the six I snagged:
“Siga Siga: Vintage Greek Sound”: This one caught me by surprise – some seriously funky Grecian grooves from the sixties and seventies.
“Altered States”: This one is described as ‘Avant garde bass driven beats – a forward thinking and high-energy leftfield hip-hop mix’ and that’s totally it – skittering rhythm tacks, nervous bass lines and blistering intensity.
“Turban Sallamak”: This is a selection of classic tracks from Istanbul to Jakarta, and you just know it’s got some Thai luk thung goodness on it from the golden years.
“Japan-O-Rama: Volume One”: This one’s described as ‘psyched-out oddities from the Land of the Rising Sun’ and it pretty much does what it says on the tin. Weirdness abounds, Japan-style, and it’s all good.
“Irama Gila Indonesia”: This is rare psych, funk, soul and folk from Indonesia 1967-1978 and there’s some stone-cold classics here, including a few that can be found on “Turban Sallamak”. Features my current favorite male song lyric: “Where Are You, Mr. Mahmoud? I Love You Mr. Mahmoud!” That’s gold right there!
“Fearing Much: Volume 2”: Self-described as a “special blend of 70’s cinematic grooves”, this is a gem of a CD which some classic tracks, of which my total favorite is the lounge/funk version of ‘Thus Spoke Zarathustra’ from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Genius!
5. The Whitest Crow “Bangkok Blondie” (Rats Records, 2015). The Whitest Crow are Patiphan Suwannasingha (vocals and guitar), Wisavachart Sinthuvanic (guitar and synthesizer), Nattapong Promjart (drums) and Nontapat Promjart (bass), and I’m pretty sure I saw them play last year at 1979 and unknown pleasures supporting Phum Viphurit. “Bangkok Blondie” is their debut album and it just came out a couple of months ago. It’s a cracking album, fast heady rock with intricate Thai-style melodies on guitar and synth, and twisted world-weary lyrics in English. Buy it direct from the band! Favorite Tracks: Bangkok Blondie, Give Up On Love, Set the Love on Fire, Lotus Analysis, Be With You
4. Triggs And The Longest Day “Almost Ready!” (2016). Triggs And The Longest Day are fast becoming a Bangkok institution; noise-rock provocateurs that sound like a freeway car collision between a brutal garage band and a sonic wall of noise shoegazer unit. They are Sanpawit Soikum (drums), Nopphon Cheng (bass), Tokin Teekanun (vocals and guitar), and Panmanus Nakata (guitar) and on their debut album “Almost Ready!” they’ve conjured up a storm of discordant trashed-out noise; clattering rhythms, crunchy guitar and brutal thuggish lead breaks. This one’s a keeper – buy it now! Favorite Tracks: Untitled 2, Longest Day, You Don’t Need To Say Anything, The Deal, Let It Go
3. Strange Brew “Strange Brew Sound” (2015). Strange Brew played at the Plastic Section “Frenzy in the City of Hell” album launch at the Soy Sauce Factory, which I unfortunately missed being stuck out on the Arabian peninsula. My friend Allan was there though, and bagged me a CD to listen to and review. Strange Brew play an arresting mix of surf-rock with copious psychedelic influences, and this is an eminently listenable EP; melodic droning rock-noise with plenty of catchy hooks. This EP was on sale at Noise Market last year and if you missed it then you can totally still grab a CD direct from the band! Favorite Tracks: Bangsaen Lady, Plankton Bloom, Starshine
2. |_/\-|_/\ “Waddee” (2016). I saw LaLa play live last year at the Beer Cap on RCA when they supported Wilderness, and I reviewed their single ‘Jaiyen’ here. They are Thanart Rasanont and Teerapong Bumrungcheep, and “Waddee” is their very latest release, a five track EP of groove-laden goodness. LaLa are one of those bands that utilize a synth well when playing live, and that talent is abundantly evident here. This is a seriously fun EP: if the world of Ridley Scott’s Bladerunner had a rave/lounge scene then LaLa would be totally rocking it! Buy your CD from these guys now! Favorite Tracks: Jaiyen, ICU, MOA192B, Rongtao
1. God Hates “1926” (2016). Last time I was in Bangkok with Wolves Versus Fairies I missed these guys play at Immortal Bar at the Ratchada Rot Fai Market for bassist’s Victor’s last gig. I did however catch their new line-up recently at the Overstay for the Doomed Oasis benefit-festival for Spring Fall Sea, and they totally thrashed it out. For me, the best thing is that the live energy transfers seamlessly to the debut album. This is a seriously full-on CD; from the tight rhythm section, through the buzzsaw guitars to James’ blistering howl, it’s like the Dead Kennedys reborn in Bangkok but with a better singer. Seven great songs rounded off with an incendiary cover of Motorhead’s “Iron Fist”. I bought my CD straight from the band, and you should too – get it now! Favorite Tracks: Stark, Jihadi Voltron, 666 Gun Salute, Stiletto Surgery, 1926, My Lai Mai Thai
I asked God Hates singer James about the meaning behind the album title “1926” and this is what he had to say:
“1926 is a year picked at random, during a time in the United States when the Harlem Renaissance was in full swing and artistic expression among African Americans was profuse and prolific, yet segregation still existed, and black men and women were still getting lynched and dismembered for next to nothing. I think that the basic structures that enabled segregation and lynching in the States are still present, and resistance to those constructs are about to take a more fierce, vibrant and artistic form within 'Black America'. So things have changed, and we have Obama and Oprah, but we also have prisons filled with non-violent drug offenders, most of whom are men of color, and police essentially lynching black men on video on a monthly basis (and in 1926, we had Marcus Garvey and Josephine Baker and a growing anti-lynching movement). I believe there are parallels between the two periods of time, nearly a century apart...and those parallels exist because we all have not learned the lessons of that history provides us.”