What? Anak Pak Man listening to rap music?? Can this be true? Doesn't he only listen to the Arctic Monkeys and the Backstreet Boys?
Now that's a misconception. I listen to all kinds of music, really, not just the stuff that you don't get into America's Top 40. I'm not some kind of scene kid who hates on some kinds of music just because they get radio airtime. I don't go around raising my middle finger to Hujan just because they get heavy airplay. And I don't worship all the "underground" bands out there. It doesn't matter if you have a hundred hits on the charts or are still recording songs from your basement-turned-studio. If you've got quality, original stuff and they reach my ears, they will be appreciated. And in this post I will try to list out what I listen to and why I listen to such nonsense. But due to lack of time, this post will only concentrate on ROCK music, you know, the kind that your mother complains about whenever you turn the volume above 8 in the car.
- Arctic Monkeys.
How can I start with anything else but my favourite band in the whole wide world, right? And I haven't put a genre to them because, frankly, they're a genre all their own. They're THAT original (to my ears anyway). I can't put any kind of label on them but purely "Arctic Monkeys", and any pretenders that try to sound like them will fail indefinitely in their efforts to sound anything near as brilliant as the Monkeys. An example would be our very own the Bourjuis from Jitra, Kedah. Even though they're very listenable (if you ignore the grammar), the AM still come out on top, and by a fair mile too. Have a listen to Mardy Bum and you'll instantly fall in love with these lads from Sheffield, England. You can't help but be charmed by the original, story-telling lyrics, the "I don't have the best of voices and I don't care" voice, the catchy melodies, the simple yet astounding music and overall goodness that is the Arctic Monkeys.
Now when I say I like indie music, don't think I'm some kind of poser kid who listens to everything that's played in X.fm just because it's "indie". *yack* I only listen to those bands who don't plagiarise their songs from Couple or Estrella. I actually want to hear originality, not copy-paste stuff I can even do on my own. A few bands that meet the requirement are Estranged, One Buck Short, Butterfingers and Hujan. Sure they seem like big names (some say too big to be called indie) but to me, they make up their own stuff and produce it by themselves, so they are still very much independent. And, not only are they indipendent, they churn out good quality songs too. Some might say that Hujan sounds a lot like TheStrokes, and I have to agree with that, but that's just because Noh's vocals are very similar to Casablancas'. They churn out different stuff, and talk about differing things, so they're very much different in my eyes (Not to mention one sings in Malay and the other one doesn't). Smaller bands like the Bourjuis, Delude, Hello, Is This The Band?, and Founder have also earned a spot in my listening list, as they make good stuffs which are, to me, songs of good quality.
3. British rock.
This probably should have been no.2 in my list, but it's not in chronological order, so we don't mind now do we? Ehem, the next category of music that I am very fond of is British rock. Now, you're probably saying "Hey, aren't the AM from England? So why are they seperated?" As I have mentioned earlier, they are a genre all their own and I'll leave it at that.
Some examples of British rock acts are The Answering Machine, The Kooks, Bombay Bicylce Club, Dirty Pretty Things and Cajun Dance Party. I listen to these guys simply because of their accents. I love the British accent and I try to immitate this particular way of speaking in my free time for fun. Besides that, I also like the quality of the songs that these guys produce. They don't try to be something they're not (or something that already exists) and stick to what they're good at. The singers sing with so much heart it makes you feel like they have too much of it and want a piece.
A lot of people consider these songs as a pain in the ears and will cause the listeners to turn into retards who like to hurt themselves and have no respect for the people around them. I thought so too at first, but then I was introduced to Hawthorne Heights and thought that they were da bomb. So with that first step taken, I ventured to more rough listening, like The Used, Alesana, Fightstar, Chiodos and Silverstein and found that it was a totally new listening experience. I found out that all that screaming had reasons behind them. And after listening for a while, I have come to learn the beauty of these screams and also the beauty of the lyrics that these guys produce. Really poetic, you just need to listen. Oh, and did I mention that screaming is NOT easy? It's not. You don't just get to a microphone and shout your eyes out. It takes real skill to scream right without damaging your vocal chords. I know, I've tried and failed. That's why I can appreciate these guys' music.
After getting on the screamo bandwagon, I was given even heavier music in the form of Metal and Metalcore music. First I only listened to a few Avenged Sevenfold songs, but then was introduced to bands like The Devil Wears Prada, Bless The Fall, Bullet For My Valentine, Bring Me The Horizon and A Day To Remember to name a few. I'm still relatively new to this genre and still have a lot to learn about this particular type of music. In this genre, I was introduced to a new part of music called the "breakdown". It's when the song changes direction and gets angry and dark all of a sudden and all you can do is bang your head to it. It's this urge that I involuntarily get that I love most about this music. It doesn't matter what the dude's screaming, as long as the guitars and drums make my head bob viciously, I'm good with it. If you want to listen to a Malaysian band in this genre, then I reccommend The Padangs . These boys do a good job, and they remind you of The Devil Wears Prada.
6. Other foreign acts that rock!
I didn't know what category to put these guys under, mainly because of the diversity that existed within this group. Then it hit me: They're all not from Malaysia, Britain or US. So it must be something right? The bands that fall under this category are Maximum the Hormone (Japan, Max rock), 9mm Parabellum Bullet (Japan, 9mm rock), Pee Wee Gaskins (Indonesia, synth-punk), White Shoes and The Couples Company (Indonesia, 60s lounge), and Typecast (Phillipines, emo-ish rock). They're all very good bands and produce really good music, and are definitely worth a check out, so check 'em out why doncha?
Some other bands that I haven't mentioned yet, but feel like they deserve to be mentioned are as follows:
-Enter Shikari (Brit Metal that incorporate wierd synths)
-Foals (Brit rock that just sound wierd)
-Komplot (Malay Indie that incorporate saxophones)
-The Last Shadow Puppets (Brit rock feat. Alex Turner)
-My Chemical Romance (No introduction necessary)
-Oh Chentaku (Malay emo rock outfit)
-Panic at the Disco (contrasting albums, but still great to listen to)
-The View (Brit rock outfit that has a song called "Skag Trendy")
-Yuna (my ex)
-Blink 182 (punk rock legends who are still at it)
-Seven Collar T-Shirt (totally underrated Malaysian acts)
-Taylor Swift (just kidding)
I'll continue with a whole new list soon enough. Till then, enjoy listening to these hot bands!