This is like a Thai-Chinese opera seen through the darkening cloud of an acid-drenched hangover, a disturbing masterpiece of impending doom that suggests the walls have already been breached, the outsiders are now among us, and the great game is up.
6. Seal Pillow “Camel Traveling” (Parinam Music, 2014). Seal Pillow are Aaron (Guitar), Pakorn (Bass), Chalerm (Vocal), Araya (Drums), and Mumza (Guitar), and they play a jangly, upbeat indie Thai-pop that brings to mind contemporaries such as Basement Tape and Yellow Fang. “Camel Traveling” features plenty of this, interspersed with more mellow, acoustic-based numbers. Regardless, playing this is sure to bring a smile to your face no matter what your mood. I bought my copy at the happening shop and you can too! Favorite tracks: Polaroid, Yak Hai (“Want to give”), Lamida, Mew Hai (“Lost cat”)
5. DCNXTR “Connext” (2015). Formed from the ashes of infamous Bangkok band Revenge of the Cybermen, DCNXTR (also known as de connextor) are Charlie de Nipanan and Piruntar Kalasanimi, with extra live support from Kittipong Chearananta and Mont Watanasiriroch. They previously had tracks such as Meishi and P./Again released on Comet Comic Compilation volumes 1 and 2 respectively. “Connext” is their first full-length album and features epic pulsating synth-washes that harken back to the 80s while still keeping an urgent modern rhythmic sensibility that anchors DCNXTR firmly in the present (and the future). I bought my copy at 8 Musique on Thonglor. Favorite tracks: Connext, Summer Rain, Copy/Run, Dark(er) Knight
4. Wasabi Bytes “Greatest Bits” (2015). [FULL DISCLOSURE: I “participated” in a recent Wasabi Bytes video shoot along with the Rock Philosopher and several members of Deadtown Trash]. Wasabi Bytes is a Bangkok-based electronica act comprising Grahame Lynch (keyboards/vocals), Ratchsak Reuangchai (percussion), and Thomas Murcutt (live guitars). Grahame spent time in the 90s associated with legendary Australian techno label Volition (which featured standout acts such as Severed Heads and Itch-E and Scratch-E), while Thomas Murcutt also plays and sings with local stalwarts Panic Station. “Greatest Bits” features Wasabi Bytes tracks spanning from 2010 to 2015, and as you’d expect, there’s plenty of variety here: up-tempo dance-floor grooves, mellow stoned trip-a-thons, and space-out trance epics. Buy a copy from Grahame at Overground now! Favorite tracks: Rising, Florid, Rage of the Machine (featuring Afrika Islam!), Macaque, Creamy
3. PC0832/676 “Exploration EP” (2015). This is yet another CD I purchased at happening, based purely on the attractively moody cover-art to discover an absolutely aurally-charged EP within. PC0832/676 take their name from an extremely distant star and are Wardphan Diloksambandh (bass/vocals), Sirawih Sopajaree (guitars & synth) and Vanat Hutasangkas (drums). Their sound is essentially a sort of instrumental math-rock, with echoes of both Tortoise and Loop Pool; eerie droning soundscapes that reverberate in great swarming cycles of competing noises, melody against rhythm; compression against expansiveness. The opening two tracks in particular are two of the best things I’ve heard all year. Recommended! Favorite tracks: 0.5 sec, 3 dots, 6.12am
2. Inspirative “Mysteriously Awake” (2015). Inspirative are Noppanan Panicharoen, Amornthep Masawang, Pongpat Phaukwattana, Wuttipong Huangpetch, and Suthasinee Suwanwalaikorn, and I unfortunately missed their recent sold-out album launch party. Luckily, I managed to get a CD from happening while hanging out with Pablo “Dr Rock” Ramirez; you can also buy Inspirative CDs at Nong Taprachan. “Mysteriously Awake” is a mature, polished debut album, rich in aural experiences for the dedicated listener. It calls to mind the Monomania album “Another Side of Human” as well as god-like Japanese rockers Mono, with plenty of instrumental punch and power, but there’s also a keen sense of melodic spaced-out rock that rises to crescendos of snarling guitar noise. Strap this baby into your audio-player of choice, crank it to eleven and watch it blow all the speakers out – get it before it gets you! Favorite tracks: Kae Adit (“Just past”), Atonia, Mysteriously Awake, U-mong Wela (“Tunnel time”), Why, After 27 years I’m alive
1. Jinta “Meekanong to Jinta” (2014). I was extremely fortunate to see Jinta play at the last secret Sofar Sounds Bangkok show (alongside Summer Dress and Yellow Fang), where they delivered a blistering set including a heart-rending cover of Assajan Jakgawan’s “Reverse”, in honor of AJ’s singer/guitarist, the late great Wanarat Chaiyapan. Jinta are Nuttee (Tea) Witchukriengkai (guitar/vocal), Ratcha (Jeep) Amatyakul (guitars), Teerawat (Art) Ukris (violin/guitars), Kiatudom Kiatsungsong (bass), and Sarit Fam Kundawong (drums); and I bought a copy of this EP from them after the show. The four songs here exemplify broad contrasts between intimate and acoustic string-work versus epic and sweeping landscapes of sound. The real star is the singer Tea whose voice has the sort of range, scale and emotional depth most vocalists can only dream about. This is like a Thai-Chinese opera seen through the darkening cloud of an acid-drenched hangover, a disturbing masterpiece of impending doom that suggests the walls have already been breached, the outsiders are now among us, and the great game is up. A masterpiece... Buy it from the band when you go and see them play live! Favorite tracks: Rapel (featuring Neuter Lover), The Winter Opium, The Girl and Rainny Float.