A fortnight has passed, so it’s time for another edition of Singled Out. Jaggfuzzbeats’ alt-rock swagger, heavy shoegaze from Sunlotus, Daiyan Trisha’s baroque string-laden pop, an Easter Sunday banger from VIKTORIA, and Johny Come Lately’s sarcastic ode to the working life all feature in this week’s installment.

Have a song you’d like to see here? Get in touch! See you all in another couple of weeks.

Jaggfuzzbeats – In Time

Azzief: This new Jaggfuzzbeats tune has a real swagger to it that I feel is quite rare here in Malaysia. The melodies hook you in and the chorus is immediately and undeniably infectious. It is, however, a bit monotone. The arrangement is a bit flat and it does slightly overstay its welcome. It’s also a bit too compressed for my tastes, but that might be YouTube’s fault more than anything. A good sign for the album, regardless. 7/10

Fikri: Jaggfuzzbeats delivers their new single, “In Time”, with all the parts that make up a good and straight up modern rock song – feedback intro, crunchy guitars, distorted vocals, and a driving drum rhythm. Reminds me a little bit of early Kings of Leon. I do there were more dynamics in the arrangement, as I felt it got a bit repetitive past the golden ratio point. 7/10

Sunlotus – Heatstroke

Azzief: Someone I work with has this theory that there are two kinds of shoegaze, namely “hard shoegaze” and “soft shoegaze”. If these categories truly exist, then Sunlotus are definitely an example of the former. The melancholic and soaring melodicism is there, but there’s a real heaviness and cathartic aggression to the song that hints at the members’ other bands (grind titans Deadly Weapon and hardcore/metalcore unit Warmouth) and really reminds me of Cloakroom and earlier Jesu. Definitely a band to keep an eye on. 7.5/10

Fikri: The wall of sound attack at the start of the track really caught me off guard, but also instantly caught my attention. And somehow “Heatstroke” managed to hold that attention for a good 5:37, probably due to the unexpected and interesting change-ups throughout the song. Would watch these guys live for sure and I’m looking forward to the full length. 8/10

Daiyan Trisha – If I

Azzief: You know, pop music really isn’t my thing, but I have to admit that this has a few things going for it. I can appreciate the theatrical touches in the production, and the fact that it avoids the usual pop ballad crescendo is something I can get behind. I can even hear some hints of the narcotic, cinematic thrill of Lana Del Rey here and there. Nothing earth-shattering, but I hope it does well with its target market. 5.5/10

Fikri: A more commercially driven pop-ballad, it feels to me that “If I” would be a great track for drama / broadcast video editors. The segments (verse / chorus etc) have enough space in between for cutting, and because of the minimal strings and piano arrangement, it would be a dream to fade in and fade it out. Musically, it feels like the track just doesn’t take off and somehow the inner dramatist in me feels that it should. I however enjoyed the rather unconventional (for a pop ballad) chorus. 6/10

VIKTORIA – DARE2DIE

Azzief: No beating around the bush. This is pretty great. The song’s a huge, triumphant late night (deconstructed) goth-club jam, launched on Easter Sunday for maximum religious allusions. The way that Victoria’s vocals are processed in a totally inhuman way throws into stark relief the celebratory, confident lyrics, and there’s probably an observation to be made about the clash between the inhuman sound and the ultra-human lyrics, but we don’t have space here. Suffice to say that it works really well. Very good song. 8/10

Fikri: I’m not well versed in the realms of goth / electronica, but this track by Viktoria has some real haunting bits in it. A well produced track, with layers of instruments moving in and out of it. The strength of the track, for me, lies in the subject matter and lyrics of the song. Looking forward to her future releases. 7/10

Johny Comes Lately ft. Azhar Osman – Fuyyoo

Azzief: I’ll be honest. I don’t like ska. At all. So I was never going to love this, and the song title had me worried that it’d be an annoying attempt to be funny and everyman. But I’m glad to say that it’s not. The band sounds like they’re having fun and really enjoy what they’re doing, the song hits all the right beats and it’s kinda catchy. The lyrics, which deal with the age-old “working life makes people zombies” thing, could have been a cringe-fest but they’re alright, if not exactly special. Perfectly fine song, and if you like ska (or are a fan of the band) you’ll probably like this a lot more than I did. 6.5/10

Fikri: On a personal level, I’ve always been interested in JCL’s songwriting in terms of their lyrics. It’s not easy to write in Bahasa Malaysia (without things becoming too cringeworthy or cliché), and the band doesn’t disappoint with “Fuyyoo”. Catchy and memorable, I can already imagine the crowd singing along at their shows. I hope this gets some mainstream airplay. 8/10

Author

Azzief believes in nothing and it isn't even his nothing. He also tries to write about international music, record collecting, and other such stuff over on his blog Try and Be Grateful.