Long Form

Crystal Ball 2011

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We’re now entering the 3rd month of 2011, and it’s still looking very unclear what the year will be like for the Malaysian independent music scene and Malaysian pop culture in general. In the spirit of good fun, let’s take a look at that crystal ball and see what might be in store for us for the rest of the year. Don’t take it so seriously though dudes and dudettes, for I’m no Madam Zorra, hehehe.

Grunge – back in fashion?

When it comes to the Malaysian indie scene, ROTTW has usually been pretty spot on when it comes to taking the pulse of the average music fan (not you snob reading this, haha). Yes, it can be argued that what they do is merely repackage what’s been happening in the scene and sell it to the kids who prefer reading Malay magazines, which will in turn shape the tastes of the majority of the kids who read it. But let’s see, the 2009 ROTTW Soundstage winner was Massacre Conspiracy, and 2010 saw the brief rise of hardcore and metalcore as the new trend amongst the kids, with all the “Saya Jiwa Kacau” t-shirts replaced by those ‘kartun gambar hantu’ t-shirts proudly adorning the torsos of kids everywhere. 2010’s ROTTW Soundstage winner was grunge band Melodisaster. With fellow grunge warriors like Green Love also set to release a full-length album and others like Madhouse and Maddame not giving up anytime soon, 2011 might just see the glorious return of flannel shirts and smelly looking boys to our beloved scene.

Indie pop – the new post-rock

Furniture began the year with a bang with their fantastic new album, confounding and maybe even frustrating fans of their more post-rock friendly early sound with a decidedly indie pop sounding new album (albeit still with mostly 7 minute long songs). With fellow Malaysian twee and indie pop kings Ferns also reportedly coming out with a new album this year, could this be the year that holier than thou hipsters finally leave post-rock behind and embrace the simpler joys of indie pop? Stranger things have happened.

Komedi seram – the new komedi bangang

2010 ended with 2 of the highest grossing Malaysian films in history with Ngangkung, and everyone’s darling Hantu Kak Limah Balik Rumah. Both are horror comedies. 2011 opened with another horror comedy called Sini Ada Hantu, and there are reportedly more of the same either waiting to be screened or in the making, officially making this a new trend in mainstream Malay film. Hopefully this signals the demise of the previously very popular komedi bangang films that’s been cleaning up at the box-office for years now. But will the komedi seram end up being bangang as well?

English – the new Malay

During the height of the ‘indie’ fever, upstart bands were falling all over themselves trying to record Malay songs and albums. Now that the ‘indie’ fever has pretty much died down, and the leading lights of the movement very much well-entrenched in the Malay mainstream, without much prospects for new acts singing in Malay to break into that niche, will indie newbies go back to singing in English like the pre-indie fever days?

By Aidil Rusli