The last couple of occasions you were in Bangkok you accumulated a big pile of freakin’ awesome local music CDs, but time is always the enemy and you never got around to reviewing any of them. Surely, given you were just here in April (when you grabbed yet more cool music stuff), there couldn’t be any more now, right? I mean c’mon, really? But nope, you were wrong and, as the monsoon rains lashed the capital city where people wear black, you bought a bunch of amazing music just in the last week or so. And here they are:
6. The Bandit Boy “self-titled” (Minimal Records, 2016). Earlier this month Chiang Mai-based label Minimal Records brought not one but two of their bands down to Bangkok for a double album-launch at Play Yard. I missed the gig unfortunately, but on the strength of both CDs it looks like the misfortune is entirely mine. The Bandit Boy are Book (vocals), Ham (guitar), Bank (bass), and Joe (drums). On their self-titled album the schizoid-sounding music snaps and crackles through so many genre changes the Bandit Boy almost reminds me of Dread Zeppelin but with considerably less bloat. Although described as indie-screamo-math rock, some of the other styles on here include crooner-pop, funk and rap. Opening track ‘Fish Stop’ even sandwiches at least four of them into the one song! If you like your music eclectic, disparate, surprising, and utterly immune to perceived genre restrictions then this album is a must buy for you! Favorite tracks: Fish Stop, Sadness & Sorrow, Reverse, Pass Away
5. The Inthanoo “Long Way Down” (Minimal Records, 2016). The other new band making their full-length debut on Minimal Records are The Inthanoo, featuring Korrakote Gunthida, Terdpong Pongjinda, Thanapat Kajanopas, Narawit Chaleeniwat, and Porrama Lumpowpong. They play a bright shiny indie shoegazer rock, with perhaps more influence on the indie and the rock, but the range is wide, from mellow introspective songs to epic chest-thumpers. ‘Time Travel’ is my standout track – a spiky, snarling, wailing number with tight rhythm and serious guitar chops – it’s an absolute belter. Get this CD now, along with the Bandit Boy’s album at happening or DJ Siam. Favorite tracks: Just Me, Time Travel, Souless, Loop
4. She “Peace Love Den” (Newlights Production, 2017). The Newlights Production record label continues to track down fresh artists and coax them into the studio to record their debut releases. She’s “Peace Love Den” is the latest and it’s a full album of nine tracks. The band-members are perhaps deliberately obscure (their profile lists them only as an indie-pop alternative outfit from Samut Prakarn), but their music is far more accessible. It’s an atmospheric swirl of dense indie sounds, layered with synth wash and jangling and chiming guitars, at times verging on the anthem-like. In fact it reminds me of and compares favorably to White Collar, who I reviewed here. Grab a copy now at Ageha Café! Favorite tracks: Female Stop, The World Changes Your Heart, She’s Around
3. The Deer Tracks “The Archer Trilogy Pt. 3” (The Control Group, 2013). The Deer Tracks are a long-running band from Sweden featuring talented multi-instrumentalists David Lehnberg and Erin Lindfors, who recently played at Jam down near Bangkok’s Sathorn Road as part of their Asian tour. Unfortunately, I only caught the tail end of the gig, which was still great, but I did manage to snap up 4 awesome CDs of the band and their projects, of which this is my favorite. The Deer Tracks are self-described purveyors of northern lights electronica, but we all know the score – chattering beats and breaks, crystalline keyboard moods, spectral haunting female vocals, and as such not a million miles removed from Thailand’s own many skillful practitioners of local dream-pop – think Slow Reverse, Talkless, and many, many others. This is absorbing music, rich in both atmosphere and emotion, and greatly adds value to your complex inner lives. The Deer Tracks have a pile of music available on iTunes and you can totally knock yourself out here. Favorite tracks: Divine Light, Astral Ship, Explodion, Road To
2. Various Artists “A Part of You A Part of Me 2” (2015). This compilation CD has been curated by Tokin Teekanun from Triggs and The Longest Day, and features music to accompany a multimedia art installation project (curated by Chol Jenepraphaphan) at the Jam Factory back in January 2015. Tokin has collected a diverse and talented group of Thai musicians to create some seriously eclectic music ranging from tight reinterpretations of a band’s current material to brand-new never-before-heard improvisational jams. Some of my favorite tracks include:
- ‘Money Trust Peace’ by Prin from legendary Thai indie band Death of A Salesman, is a short propulsive piece with skittering rhythms, mellow guitars and a giggling baby. Disturbing!
- ‘I Love Delay’ by Win from the Srirajah Rockers sounds like a scenario in which you drop Tortoise into the middle of the jungle with a decent amount of Thai stick, and see what results. In this case it comes across as an alternative ending to Apocalypse Now, where everyone just got along and made music together.
- ‘Childhood’ by Free Typewriter, who are my go-to for mellow, delicate Thai acoustic material, and this song is no exception. Precious.
- ‘Episode IV’ by Thom AJ. MadSon, formerly lead guitarist of incredible post-rock outfit Assajan Jakgawan, features epic, awesome riffage he has lately continued to explore with his new trio Vimutti. As such, this solo outing is both a historical artifact and an uplifting sonic anthem to be treasured and enjoyed.
1. Amatuti Dub Drawing Space “Trip In Summer” (unknown year). This is another CD I saw at Bungkum House/1979 and bought it immediately as I recognized it to be the CD that Narongrit “Hon” Ittipolnavakul from Hope the Flowers/Newlights Production/Ageha Café had been raving about on Facebook. It’s an album by Kota Taki, who some may know as the amazing Japanese guitarist who plays with Joe Delaney in Woot Root. This is a cohesive listen-through ambient CD, sonically designed to be played entirely in one sitting. Its soundscapes are sparse but evocative, and both underpinned and overlaid with Kota Taki’s guitars, whose tones range from splinters of noise to quietly stated lead breaks. It reminds me greatly of both Thai contemporaries Kraffa, and Bill Laswell’s Axiom Ambient project album ‘Lost in the Translation’. Buy a copy now! Favorite tracks: All of them!