SPECIAL ROUND-UP – Year End 2007 featuring SECOND COMBAT, KRASS KEPALA, SUICIDE ME NOT, JELLYFISH, COSA NOSTRA, SLEEPY JEREMY, SOUND OF SILENT, ARI KPIN, REALINO RESORT + DECMA & THE COULD HAVE BEEN
It’s been an enjoyable xmas holiday these past few days. Been out to friends parties and dinners and also had a bit of time to try catching up with some reviews before the year runs out. Read on…
What Has Inspired Us? CD
(United Front / Commitment Records)
What can I say? Second Combat has it down pat with the oldschool, youthcrew, posicore thing. Without going nitty-gritty, everything “old-school” is snuggly in place here, with seemingly no attempt to update or reupholster the comfy chair. But why should they? It’s been serving the band very well, and personally I would rather sit down with this than some metalcore “brutality”.
But if you wanna be a nit-picking nerd and go focus on the minute details, then you’ll hear a good mix of all the good stuff in recent revisits of old-school HC; as in Youth of Today meets 7 Seconds and Turning Point meet Gorilla Biscuits etc. That vocals, is it from Shutdown? That guitar lines, is it Chain of Strength? Someone mentioned that this sounds like France’s Backsight, but hell! I’ve never heard tunes by that new French darlings.
All of that doesn’t matter much though. What Has Inspired Us? is a satisfying ride if you’re hankering for well-done old-school HC, with the Xs on the hands, between the names, on the t-shirts and all that “edge” stuff.
Personally, I would wish for shorter but hook-laden and catchy songs than this bunch and I also wish that they would cut down on the “mat rok” guitar bits. The recording is also a bit tinny, but I guess it fits with the band. A muscular. metallic production would make it sound less sincere I think, and that would not be Second Combat would it?
Worth Life To Redeem by Second Combat
Krass Kepala CD-R
I believe this is a CD-R prepared by Bandung’s Krass Kepala to give away to new found friends during their Euro tour recently. There are two separate old EPs included, making up 13 tracks of raging dirty and untuned raw-punk, d-beat with sprinkles of street-punk chaos potpourri.
Musically, if you’re familiar with mid-80s Scandi-punk or the faster, more caustic cousins hailing from the legacy of father Discharge, Krass Kepala is no different from those thousands of others. There’s nothing new here but whatever they are doing, they are doing it good. There’s no mistaking KK as band from the deepest 80s Finland nor they are from Japan. Nope, Krass kepala is from Indonesia and they sound like it, no pretensions!
Here’s a song with a bit of interesting intro:
Penguasa Bohong by Krass Kepala
SUICIDE ME NOT
Suicide Me Not 3″ CD-R
Suicide Me Not may hints at the oft-abused terms such as “power-violence” or “fast-core”, but for me, this is simply old-school, non-metal hardcore speeded up. The songs tastefully shortened to one and half minutes, all abruptly stopping without much prior announcements.
The lyrics rants at everything, from Kurt Cobain worshippers to corporate HC clones to the joys of shoplifting; all delivered with sweet warts’n’all abandon. With four-songs totalling at 4.7 minutes of light-hearted, nimble-footed but raging blast of reckless fun, there’s not much time to get philosophical.
Fuck Corporate Core, We’ll Show You How! by Suicide me Not
Be warned. This is an extremely limited release; depending on the availibility of cheap 3″ CD-Rs! Azim is also heading to Perth comes February, so the future of the band is pretty shaky. Get it while you can!
Anti Klimak’s Punk Rock CD-R
From their myspace site: “Misi: jellyfish ingin melihat semua orang bisa tersenyum bahagia tanpa beban dengan mendengarkan musik kami, dan bisa membangkitkan semangat muda yang selama ini selalu merasa dibatasi agar lebih berani untuk berkreasi”
Yup. I guess Jellyfish got it all right on the dot. Their mission is to make people like us smile and everytime I put this one, huge grins covered the atmosphere of my shop. But then, they only have ONE friend on their myspace at the moment, and it’s Tom! How criminal is that?
Jellyfish, which I gather comes from Bandung, Indonesia, was introduced to me by Kunx Krass Kepala. He was passing this CD-R around when KK played at the Annexe but it was only recently I put it on and “memeriahkan” my shop. Imagine a bunch of kids who can really play their instruments opting to go the jaunty, absurdist and merry ways of snotty humourous entertainment; away from the doom and gloom of bombs, wars and the “imminent” nuclear holocaust.
This is unashamedly derivative of the early 80s British jokers Toy Dolls, right from the speedy happy punk to the annoyingly nerdy-childish vocals to the sharp whiny guitars, but I would readily absolve Jellyfish of any crime. WE NEED THIS! So many bands nowadays are so far up their arses that they forgot to laugh, let alone laugh at their ownselves!
With tiles like “Please Lo Ngaca Donk!!”, “Terlelap”, “Saturday Night” and “Punk Goes Clubz”, Anti Klimak’s Punk Rock has my vote for being one of the most entertainingly funny bunch of songs since Nebiras’ 1992 demo!
Just listen to this:
Terlelap by Jellyfish
Six tracks of lethargic “rock melayu” but thankfully not too “meleleh” and annoying; the production’s chunky, muscular; the guitar work done well, with the riffage tempered with the atypical M. Nasir “nusantara” sentimentality. Some tracks are pretty rocking in a “kangkang” way, some evoke that eternal image of a bunch of “mat rok” miming on a beach with the wind blowing their hair etc. and some should be used as instruments of torture by the Badawi gomen in the ongoing ISA deprogramming exercises.
Here’s some soundbytes by friends of mine last night: “Tak mau! Awi tipu. Ni macam Awi nak masuk underground! Musically, boleh dikatakan dashat lah tapi disyorkan cari vocalist baru macam Awi baru boleh.” Another guy said, “Crossfire!”
I can’t add more. Well, maybe I should come clean with the fact that this sort of stuff really drives me up the wall, and I grieve for the whole ROTTW reading population yearning for the return of balls-constrictor yellow and black-striped spandex. Shit, now I’m all depressed.
Lifetime Valentine EP CD-R
(Planet Love Rechords)
This one came out for quite a while now, but I’ve been burnt before by Sleepy Jeremy’s bad recordings, so it stayed in my backpack for months. Last night I put it on for my friends to comment upon and was pretty taken aback the crispy and beefy production. For the first time I’m listening to SJ without cringing at the muddy mix and wishing for the vocalist to step up.
Lifetime Valentine features four tracks and one of them brings back a lot of good memories. The other three are however not my usual cuppa. They are all plain and proper 90s mid-tempo indie-rock with hints of dribbly emo and melodic pop-punk. So for me, there are only two plus points here. First, the crunchy, expertly-balanced production with strong layers of guitars and bass, a rare occurrence for a DIY release like this. That’s really good.
The other highlight is rather personal, and it’s the inclusion of a good cover of The Padres’ Beware of Your Heart (as revisited by me and The Pilgrims back in 1994). Instead of re-threading the tune, Sleepy Jeremy re-worked it their own way, turning it into an epic rock song with bits of jazz breaks and all. I wonder what Joe Ng would think of it.
Here’s a list of what my friends said: “Permainan gitar agak rocking. Generic emo. Eleanor Shotgun Affair. 90s emo-rock. Vocal agak lembab, tapi melodic. It’s the 90s indie-rock all over again. Promise Ring. Cuba nak jadi Dashboard Confessional. Buddhiston tak Budhiston. My Chemical Romance. Catchy, melodic, singalong. Kalau dia main macam ni 10 tahun lepas, dia meletup lah. Production bagus. Melodic. Vokal kurang energetic. Macam makan budu takdak cili padi. Cover song dia OK, jazzy, something new. It’s fun to listen to, only if you’re a hitz FM fan.”
One mentioned, “Saturnine!” and yeah, I concur. Saturnine was one of the few band playing “modern-rock” back in the mid-90s, and SJ sounds pretty much on the same level. Very capable, backed by a good recording; safe and nice but nothing else to shout about lah.
myspace.com/setjiweluke | By the way do check out a small scene report of Terengganu bands here: Terengganu Scene – Update January 2007
SOUNDS OF SILENT
Paroxysm of Anger Demo 2007 CD-R
(Sounds of Silent)
Kedah emo-rock with that familiar (and annoying) commercial indie-rock touches as heard on many, many bands plying the airwaves. You know the sort lah; screamo, screamo and then soft proper MTV singing and then go screamo, screamo again.
Totally derivative of recent trends, with a hint of sentimental Melayu rock for a good measure. Again, this is not something which I would rant and rave about but it’s a good crispy recording if a bit thin.
Here’s what my fellows said: “Depressing! Adakah ini Mentari Merah di Ufuk Timur? Aku tak boleh nak differentiate who’s who with all these emo bands. Every punchline kita dah tahu. So kita kira this one “generic screamo” lah. Formula yang sama. Boleh jadi terlalu banyak duk dengar Remains of the Day.”
One guys questions, “Adakah ini band Arwith atau band Palie?”
I used to listen to a lot of Ebiet G. Ade when he was doing that famous Camelia trilogy yoinks ago. I like Ebiet, but back in 1982 I found a tape compilation featuring a more “hardcore” breed of late 70s Indonesian folky singer-songwriters (Iwan Fals, Gombloh, Doel Sumbang, etc.) and immediately Ebiet became a complete, snivelling arty bore.
Ari KPIN is an Indonesian group project of sort and Ikebana is a collection of poems done by Cecep Syamsul Hari rearranged as “songs”, complete with accompanying music in a “band” setting; so guitars and drums and assorted intrumentations lah.
If Ebiet would feature extremely well-written songs which would stick like glue, Ari KPIN is totally killed by the lack of tunage. And so, it’s all bland stuff, extremely forgettable in an instant. The poems would however stand strong without the music though, but then again, I don’t like poems much.
The lecturer friend of mine gave this to me with the remark; “if you don’t like it give it back!”. So yeah, I will send this back to her pronto. BTW: fans of Kopratasa would dig this tho’.
freewebs.com/cecepsyamsulhari | ikebana-958.blogspot.com
A nicely presented sampler with pro-printed card sleeve and stickered CD-R with highly detailed logo work. Looks impressive, however musically it is average pissing-angry street-punk featuring thrashy-metal touches bombarded with flashy guitar solos; reminding me of Opposition Party’s mid-period recordings. Kinda The Exploited went metal feel with bits of chuggy hardcore riffing.
The first tune YKRR is a lacklustre instrumental thing attempting mid-80s Bay Area metal progression, while Bentak Benak picks up the tempo a bit, nearly early The Bollocks-syle of hoarse rantings pushing alongside the usual speedy 4/4 beat.
Back in the mid-90s, a lot of street-punk bands started going metal-ly, and I hated it. This is because street-punk meets metal usually don’t work proper, that is unless you’re Broken Bones. The flashy guitar solos is also so “not punk” la boss!
BTW, this bunch is from Yogyakarta, Indonesia.
DECMA & THE COULD HAVE BEEN
Prologue of Us CD-R
This one comes in a beautiful hard-card CD-envelope, pro-printed with nice sleeve art and all that flash. The CD-R inside has this etched top, making it look like a proper “pro-pressed” CD. Apparently some CD burners are capable of etching the surface of your CD-R as long as you use the correct type of media.
Musically this is easy-listening bland pop-rock with a bit of jazziness and modern-rock feel to it. Not my cup of tea at all. “Safe as houses”, as one old punk band termed it. That said, the songs are well-written, rather catchy and radio-friendly to the max, while the recording and production are both top-notch stuff, way better than most mainstream recordings.
The only track with a bit of interest for me is Peaceful, a smoky night club tune with that sly, soulful neo-bossanova feel as heard on many of Singapore’s Moods songs; however if Moods singer would be oozing with hot sexuality, this one is rather frigid – acid jazz without the acid.
If you have recordings to share with us, do send them in to:
The Ricecooker, 14A Bukit Ceylon, 50200 Kuala Lumpur, MALAYSIA.
NEW ADDRESS (Oct. 2011):
The Ricecooker Shop
16, Jalan Kurau,