Let's just start by tipping hats to all the bands that have been making waves in the city's music venues. You know who you are. The city has been seeing some absolutely smashing shows featuring both local indie underground bands as well as international acts like Dead Elvis, Cold Cave, and King Khan and BBQ Show. Hats off to Popscene for the latest shows and the now legendary Thee Oh Sees show back in February .
Without getting into too many details, I have seen the following bands of late: The Fallen Versus Fate; The Sangsom Massacre; Plastic Section; Panic Station; Matthew Fischer and the Fishes; Degaruda; Wednesday; World Gone Bad; Eico; TSOS; Bone Clone. Sometimes people write to me and ask me "What band MUST I see?" and it's like asking a music freak what his favorite band is? The real questions are "What are you in the mood for?" or "When you are angry do you like a) punching people or b) chilling out and having a martini?" If I am writing about bands, venues, or promoters then there is probably a reason to remember their name - there is something there to bear witness to - the meaning is all your own though. I am not a music critic - I merely put a spotlight on what is going on and what you could be doing if you are into certain kinds of music.
OK, so some of the latest news happening in indie Bangkok is a new Plastic Section album released by the good people at Panda Records. It's a limited edition as far as I can tell - if I were you, I'd snatch it up ASAP before it sells out. It is certain to be a collectors item one day. Get the band to sign it and then sell it on ebay in a few years when they all become big international rock stars. Very soon, Ben Edwards has agreed to record a very special podcast with me and a few of his contemporaries with the theme of songwriting - if you have any questions for Ben in regards to Plastic Section, Basement Tape, rock n' roll, whatever please send me a PM.
Onto more news... many of you have heard the news that The Sangsom Massacre's Joe Massacre will be returning to the UK in mid-August. It was quite sobering news a few weeks ago - no other band has ever promoted themselves so well right out of the gate than Massacre and much of that is owed to the social media presence created by Joe. There's a lesson in there for all bands. Massacre have a staggering FOUR (4) shows coming up! I have now seen them 4x myself: Fatty's with Bone Clone and Superhans; Fatty's Festival in May; Overstay, opening for Dead Elvis at RCA; and again at Fatty's. I think the last show at Fatty's was the best for the Massacre - Vocalist Marlene Massacre seemed to be stepping into the shoes she had to fill; the band was tight; the crowd elated. The 45 minute set seemed to stretch into infinity yet still be too short. Later on Niall Murray would say, "I wish the weekend lasted forever" - all who were there would agree it was yet another endless summer night in the city, one that should be noted in the history of Bangkok underground music if not music history of the world. To be there was to feel you were at the center of a brilliant star and that everything revolved around what was happening right in front of you. "Could we be witnessing the birth of legends?" That is the question. We shall soon know the answer. Massacre are one of the funnest rock n roll shows to witness in Bangkok. If you missed it, see my post on The Sangsom Massacre from April.
DEGARUDA. Trust me, you don't want your band to follow Dino, Top, Phil and Van. They will lay you all to rest. The boys got an encore a Fatty's last weekend. This is the band for "musicians" - you will definitely hear a lot of influences in the music - they blow the fucking roof off every time. right now you can see them in little clubs and stand right next to them as they scream into the microphones - if Dischord Records from DC started fucking Pearl Jam and 80's metal you are probably getting close to the orignal sound of this 4 piece of seasoned Bangkok musicians. Their contemporaries say they are one of the best bands in Bangkok and I would not disagree with that - first rate band in Bangkok or anywhere in the world. Degaruda is a band to see. See my post and hear my podcast with Dino, Top, Phil and Van from Degaruda
The Fallen Versus Fate - if you are into metal, hardcore and/ or metal core look no further. I caught this quintet down at a festival by the Rama 8 Bridge a few weeks ago - the festival was at a skate park - while there wasn't a horde of people there, the fans in attendance didn't seem to care. Vocalist, John Bailey, works the stage like it's Glastonbury. While I'm not really a metal follower anymore, there is no denying the band's energy and technical skills. I'd be keen to see the band crossing over without changing the sound at all.
If you are craving down home Americana in the heart of Bangkok, than Matthew Fischer and the Fishes is your band. There isn't another band in town doing original music that inspires the deep sense that you were thrown back into another era. If you like Neil Young, Bob Dylan and beer drinking, catch the Fishes around town. Recently they played the American Chamber of Commerce Independence Day Party and for all who were their to bare witness, it felt like home.
I've been thinking of how to do a printed fanzine on Bangkok underground music. It would need to follow some strict criteria: the one thing being that it acts to serve and unify the community; it seeks different and opposing voices; it uplifts; and it is something we can pass onto the international community of underground music fans and musicians as being representative of the Bangkok indie underground. I am considering ways to finance it; cash flow; business plans etc - I knew there was a reason I was obsessed with business books for the last decade. Many of my ideas on how to structure the organization are based in part by anarcho-socialist organizations so don't be surprised if this gets a little bit weird. I would say that the way we do business is just as important as the business we do and the things we create. I am interested in guerilla marketing, using the zine to drive people to the digital social media. There could be exclusive content on my blog available with a unique password or whatever in each zine. The blog could contain downloadable media like entire albums, interviews and podcasts. Just for fun, I have composed a list of cities I wanna "hit" with the zine - having friends willing to help in different cities worldwide helps. I am looking to keep costs down yet maximize the contributions of individuals. People do their best work, most inspired when they are free - there are parameters and guidelines but content is open. Once again, if you are interested in this project, let me know. We need editors, writers, photographers, designers, reporters, producers and videograophers - just imagine we we're doing an all fronts media blitz on the global community - showing a unified front for Bangkok... and we only have a few months to do it...
Does anyone really want a Best of Fatty's Festival edited podcast? Who wants the entire 7 hour plus audio? Notice the DC Event calendar - I already hate it and curse the peeps who refuse to use Facebook and reap the benefits of the Facebook events calendar.
The next podcast should be recorded *soon* and feature Ben Edwards of Plastic Section and Basement Tape; Dino from Degaruda; Matthew Fischer of The Fishes and Fatty's Diner and we'll probably end up inviting more people to "The Songwriting Podcast".
I will end this post by mentioning other bands that I need to check out or that should not go unnoticed: go and check out LowFat, The Sticky Rice, and Panic Station. If you are new to Bangkok and have no idea where to begin your dive into underground music, then I guess you are in the right place. Follow me on Facebook to find out what shows are happening. See you at the shows. DC
PS - remember SHARING IS CARING!