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In need to update your music playlist? We take you around the region in this new series, introducing new bands, new genres and new music not too far away from home. Southeast Asia is such a culturally diverse and musically intriguing area, and we'll take you through it bit by bit. Explore sounds from Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand and more - we might even throw in a cheesy pop boyband sometime soon. We're also open to suggestions, so throw us some names if you're in the know of any best-kept secrets. You'll be surprised with what our neighbours have up their sleeves!
Like Dengue Fever, Empat Lima are not exactly based in Southeast Asia. But when two members of this 3-piece Melbourne band spent some time in Yogyakarta, they took an interest in the music of Dara Puspita, an all-girl pop yeh-yeh band in the 60s. Using this and retro Japanese surf-rock as a peg, they formed Empat Lima. Oozing purely feel good a-go-go vibes, these girls have already chalked up a large fanbase in Indonesia where they performed earlier this month.
Whimsical music, complete with accordion, horns and brass section, ukulele, and an East European flair, is this band from Yogyakarta. Sounding like they've come straight from an indie film, their exotic sound is managed by the 7 members in the band. Sadly, Aurette and The Polska Seeking Carnival (AATPSC) have recently disbanded but a catalog of their breezy, gypsy-streak lovelorn melodies are floating around the interwebs.
Indie guitar charmers of Malaysia have been at it since 2003. Despite going through various personnel changes, They Will Kill Us All (TWKUA) have worked hard to hone their sound, hard to pin down to a specific genre, but much easier to describe - buoyant indie rock anthems that translate to equally exiting live performances. You can see it for yourself when they come down to town for Baybeats later in this month of June!
For a more instrumental fix, we have post-rock outfit Encounters With a Yeti from Philippines. Playing emotionally-infused music, toying with the soft/loud dynamics, hypnotic riffs, guitar layers and arpeggios, and reverb-drenched melodies, the band has cited soundtracks and scores to movies as one of their inspirations - which explains their moody and ambient tracks. Still, the band racks up quite an electric performance live and have opened for our favourite Japanese math-rock band toe.
Side Effect has garnered an international fanbase with their appearances at SXSW, touring Europe, and even Anthony Bourdain's Parts Unknown, inspired a song by Handsome Furs (Serve The People), and more. As indie music is still a relatively new concept in Myanmar, the band has been taking their job quite seriously as the first proper indie band in their country. Drawing influences from bands such as The Strokes, The White Stripes, Interpol among others they play a mean and highly entertaining rock n roll set.