Music Showcase — 11 January 2012


Recent years, the SEA INDIE POP scene has grown so fast, I’d say, as  a lots of bands have emerged and many of  them did put out some of the best releases that eventually will become the scene’ signatures of all time. Here, I’ve gathered up a selection of the best indie-pop releases I’ve heard throughout 2010 – 2011. (I decided to include some releases from 2010 as I didn’t get the chance to do the ranking last year; besides, some of them are too good to be left out) Again don’t pay lots of attention to the the ranking- the main purpose of this article to sum up great music that you might have missed during 2010-11.

10. Sharesprings ( I love to see you ‘daydreaming me’ EP 2011) ID
Indonesia’s Sharesprings formed in 2006 with an aim to provide the element of late 80 and early 90 music. It has a perfect mixture of a simple structure indie pop concept combines with shoegazy style and a noisy atmosphere settings.  The songs like Ivory Tower, Fix you eyes or Unclouded has earned them a frame among Indonesian pop/shoegaze fans. In 2011, we’re fortunate to know that Sharesprings had a new EP release by an excellent Hey Ho! Records. Even though, it’s a 2-track EP but the debut single; ‘I love to see you daydreaming me’ is a simply mind-blowing that should be awarded as the single-of-the-year!

09. Obedient Wives Club (S/T EP 2011) SG
The young Singaporean band Obedient Wives Club comes with the amazing four-track EP. They ‘bring the fuzz-pop Phil Spector Wall of Sound to Singapore! Girl-fronted featuring catchy, melodic beats and echos in the like of bands like Best Coast and Dum Dum Girls.’ Indie pop from Singapore is just what we’ve been missing so … the arrival of Obedient Wives Club is surely a good sign!

08. OJ Law (Yesterday Is A Distance Dream 2011) MY
OJ Law is the multi-instrumentalist from Malaysia who ”tries to write memorable melodies. Likes loud guitars and bleeps for people to listen to..” Although OJ Law latest album  ’Yesterday Is A Distance Dream’ doesn’t fit comfortably into genre of ‘indie pop’ I still need to list his album down here since it’s one of the best albums from 2011. Law revealed that, basically he makes pop music, although not conventional in the way that people would expect when they hear the term. He’d rather making music that combine all sorts of different ideas and genres that going on from one song to the next, which have always been a big thing for him.

07. Dream Carousel (These Little Things 2011) PH
The Philippines’s new glittery shining star; Dream Carousel, a pop/jazz  band with influences ranging from the late Frank Sinatra, Petula Clark, The Beatles, Barry Manilow, Club 8, Camera Obscura, Mocca and Swan Dive, The band’s music can be described as uplifting, refreshing and relaxing — a definite perk-up music giving listener’s a melodic treat of unique songs with a touch of nostalgia. These Little Things is nothing but a pure happiness of melodies that flows through the songs.

06. The Gentle Isolation (It Started With An April Shower EP 2010) PH
A shining mix of jangly guitars, defined instrumental hooks and addicting pop melodies, reminiscent of Belle & Sebastian and Camera Obscura. Another excellent and easy-to-digest EP from Philippines’ Liliystars Records- entitled  ’It started with an April shower’. It had all the quality of what indiepop music must have; jangling guitar, xylophone, clapping, sha la la and marked by sheer innocent and simplicity of lyrics.  The Gentle Isolation’s happy and carefree pop songs will make you head-bobbing and want to sing along at no time.

05. Your Imaginary Friends (One Dreamy Indeterminate Hum EP 2010) PH
One Dreamy Indeterminate Hum is another brilliance release from Lilystars records. The EP carries the same core sound of upbeat guitar-pop of 80s and 90s and some sparkling noises in background. By beautiful intention and Oh Liza are the stick out songs of the album, which should give a clear picture of what Your Imaginary Friends’ music is all about upon first time listening.

04.The Camerawalls (Bread and Circuses EP 2010)  PH
The Camerawalls is a brainchild of Clemen Castro, the guitarist/songwriter/vocalist of the former Orange & Lemons as well as the founder of Lilystars Records – Philippines’ independent record label.  The band released its self debut album ‘Pocket Guide To The Otherworld back in 2008 with critical success and follow by ’Bread and Circus’ in the late December 2010. The EP has a flawless quality, smooth vocals being wrapped around by great musical arrangements. It starts high and happy with jangle guitar and pop melodies rush (A Gentle Persuasion’ and ‘My Life’s Arithmetic) and gradually grows intense and deeper (Bread and Circuses & Happy birthday Wish).

03. Ferns (Fairweather Friends 2011) MY
Ferns, a Malaysian twee pop outfit although many say that their music doesn’t sound like anything being released from Malaysia rather than Sweden. ‘Fairweather Friends’ is their recently release second LP, upon listening the first thing I’ve noticed was that it sounds completely different from ‘On Botany’, the band’s earlier album. While, Fairweather Friend utilizes an indie pop style that favours lighter tones, The album is easy on the ears, more melodic and less dreamy. While, the band’s unique softly-whispered vocals and soothing finger-picking style have remained all through an album.  It’s a fine quality indie pop album that contentedly fit for everyone’s everyday occasions.

02. Brilliant At Breakfast (Being Verbose Is Easy, Being Verbose Ain’t Easy 2011) ID
3 years ago when I first heard of ‘Strawberry V’, a brilliant single churned out by this Indonesian female-fronted indie pop band, I know for sure that these guys are bracing for indiepop success. A year late, they released a debut album entitled ‘Being Verbose Is Easy, Being Verbose Ain’t Easy’, an excellence indie pop release. It’s fine mixture between sweet and sincere female vocals and smooth melodic twee pop tunes resulting in the sunshine pop experience that will get you cheerful chemicals flowing. They’re also good at crafting beautiful melancholy tracks that’d leave you with an amaze on how good they are in terms of delivering different moods and tones for each song.  I’d say this album has uplifted the Indonesia-indiepop standard so I’ll wait and see what else the band can bring with their next release.

01. White Shoes & The Couple Company (Vakansi 2010) ID
White Shoes & The Couples Company is an Indonesian band that has attracts considerable international attention since its first appear in 2002. The band currently signed with the Chicago-based ‘Minty Fresh Records. Being influenced by Indonesian movies soundtrack from the 70’s and 1930′s classic jazz musicians, updated with classic strings arrangements, retro disco beat, easy listening acoustic ballads, and some tunes from vintage keyboard toys.’ Their latest album, ‘Vakansi’ remains some reminiscence of the band earlier album, however, more instruments and musical varieties have been infused making the music so rich in detail. The album will lure you in with its melodic & pleasant sounding melodies and while keep on listening some kind of a nostalgically beautiful atmosphere will gradually develop in your head. Overall, the amount of variety and dedication in each song is very impressive making it became a tremendous album that really worth having.


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