This EP was a landmark when it was released on the Bangkok indie scene back in 2009. It was the debut recording from a new supergroup called Basement Tape, featuring Pok Pongprayoon (keyboard/bass), June Kalambaheti (drums), Tat Bunnag (guitar/vocals), Ben Edwards (guitar/vocals) and the mysterious Lance Thomas (bass/vocals). Pok and June had of course played as Stylish Nonsense and meaw er+, among others, while Tat was originally in The Darlings, and Ben would go on to perform as Plastic Section.
As the name of the band suggests (a nod to the Bob Dylan album), the sounds captured here are a return to roots-based rock. This was in marked contrast to the other music of the time in the Bangkok scene, where post-rock, shoegazer, dream-pop and noisy electronica all featured heavily. As such, “Hey You!” instantly stood out from the crowd and arguably is a marker for a renaissance of the Bangkok scene that is still continuing today.
The seven songs on this EP are loosely split between those by Tat, which are more reflective and reminiscent of a Velvet Underground aesthetic, and those by Ben, which are faster and rockier in flavor. Lance Thomas provides one track, “Laughter”, in which Basement Tape sound like a drunken lounge band at a carnival (this is a good thing!)
Favorite tracks of mine include:
- “Bridget Riley Complex” – A foot-stomping opener that switches effortlessly between spikey guitar riffs and doo-whoop choruses. A metaphor for a Bangkok existence as optical art?
- “Girl On A Motorcycle” – Speeding along like its namesake with organs and guitars dueling throughout the song.
- “My White Noise” – “I feel like I’m a fish” starts off this glacial track that nods quietly in the direction Galaxie 500 and then descends into a wall of distortion and sonic riffage.
- “Come On Hold On” – This begins life promisingly as an acoustic demo before morphing into an exuberant sing-along. My favorite track on the EP!
“Had a dream last night,
I was in your head.
When I opened my eyes,
Saw through yours instead.
- Basement Tape, “Come On Hold On”, 2009.