Best Tracks of 2015
by Jillian Rachel Tan (Soi Music TV) and Evan Woon

10

In Each Hand A Cultass
“Satori 101”

Progressive Rock. Singapore’s instrumental progressive rock juggernauts In Each Hand A Cutlass released sophomore effort “The Kraken” to measured acclaim, and stellar track “Satori 101” is a prime testament to their technicality and virtuosity.

In between the mind-boggling time signatures, Steve Vai-like arpeggios and drum assaults, In Each Hand A Cutlass’ nautical-themed offering have captured the hearts and ears of instrumental-lovers worldwide.

In Each Hand A Cultass on Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter.

9

Linying
“Sticky Leaves”

Indie Folk. Linying’s “Sticky Leaves” made local history in 2015, with the folk singer-songwriter’s evocative tune cinching a spot in the Spotify viral 50 chart.

A piano-driven, desolate track, “Sticky Leaves” shows tints of hope and desperation. Soft, insightful, and haunting, Linying’s velvety vocals emulates acts like Ella Henderson, Daughter and Birdy – bringing the best out of indie-folk minimalism.

Linying on Soundcloud, Facebook, Twitter.

8

Shigga Shay
“Everybody”

Hip-Hop. While Shigga’s hits such as “Lion City Kia”, “LimPeh”, and “Shigga Morning” have received copious amounts of attention, we would to divert the audience’s attention to this hidden gem of a track – “Everybody”.

It’s is a song that chronicles the nascent rapper’s journey, dropping one-lined burns such as “Back in ’09, Channel 5 used to hate on ya boy / Now everybody on the bandwagon wanna write and create with ya boy”, over similar-sounding Drake Tuscan Leather beat.

Gold stuff.

Shigga Shay on Facebook, Twitter, www.

7

iNCH
“Mousedeer”

Folktronica, Alternative. Inch Chua’s sophomore offering “Letters to Ubin” is a brilliant one, one that chronicles her sojourn at kampung village/island Pulau Ubin.

A silent tune of yearning, “Mousedeer” encapsulates Inch’s various emotions – one of despair, hope, desperation, love, solitude, and pain. While most of the clean, masterful output can be attributed to producer/”button-masher” Evan Low, Inch shines in her solid songwriting skills here, drawing in from the Ubin ambience and making it intrinsically her own.

Insightful and contemplative, “Letters to Ubin” – with lead single “Mousedeer” – is a solid record that trumps 2013 debut effort “Bumfuzzle”.

iNCH on Facebook, Twitter, www.

6

Stopgap
“Nervous”

Indie Rock. We’ve always held a soft spot for five-piece indie-rock raconteurs Stopgap, with the fun-loving outfit segueing into their good times, fun-filled debut release “Totems” back in 2015.

One clear example of their shenanigans is “Nervous” – a bass-propelled, slick record, with twin-guitars dueling above the sweet cacophony.

Lead vocalist Adin Kindermann gives The Arctic Monkey’s showhound Alex Turner a run for his money, as the frontman barrels into the resounding refrain of “Do you ever feel nervous…”

Stopgap on Bandcamp, Facebook.

5

[.gif]
“Godspeed”

Electronic, Trip-hop. Maestros of electronic music [.gif] have been in the scene for as long as we can remember, with vocalist Weish plying her trade in bands such as experimental neo-jazz outfit sub:shaman before this.

We particularly enjoy “Godspeed”, a neo-noir, goth-like soundtrack that echoes the likes of luminaries Portishead, Massive Attack and Thievery Corporation.

Producer Din’s stoic keyboard arpeggios meshes perfectly with Weish’s bleeding and tortured vocals, providing the perfect dream – the Neil Gaiman kind – lullaby of sorts.

[.gif] on Bandcamp, Soundcloud, Facebook.

4

Myrne
“Brand New”

EDM, Electronic. Myrne’s recent signing to EDM head honcho Diplo’s Mad Decent label is a testament to Singapore’s burgeoning and slowly maturing electronic music scene.

Drawing from influences such as dubstep, chillwave, and tumblr-era music, “Brand New” is a multi-faceted track that builds on abrasive drops, tropical beats and lush vocals.

A fledgling producer whose career started from his own bedroom, Myrne has gone on to become a semi-regular fixture in Singapore’s nightlife scene and music festivals around the region.

Myrne on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud.

3

Riot !n Magenta
“CTRL”

Electronic. With members hailing from some of Singapore’s most established bands (The Great Spy Experiment, The Summer State, Obedient Wives Club), Riot !n Magenta feels intrinsically, like a superband of sorts.

“CTRL” is a visceral single that capitalises on frontwoman Eugenia Yip’s seductive vocal reach. With Sulaiman’s pulsating basslines, Khairyl’s soft, prancing guitars, Ritz’s tight drumming and Hayashida’s first-rate production mastery, CTRL is a tune that feels like the perfect amalgamation of their parent bands.

Fans of the XX, Daughter, and London Grammar – take note.

Riot !n Magenta on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter.

2

Cashew Chemists
“Feel Amazing”

Blues Rock, Indie Rock. Cashew Chemist’s summer-drenched feel-good jingle “Feel Amazing” is one that connects with the ordinary listener, making us feel that this song has potential to become an advertisement jingle.

Lead singer’s Yuji Kumagai’s breezy vocals and distinct harmonising are reminiscent of McCartney–Lennon–Harrison layered vocal melodies.

Complete with boisterous guitars, infectious sing-along choruses and copious usage of the harmonic scale, “Feel Amazing” brings to mind the beer-swilling, good ol’ pub-swinging days of Oasis and Parklife-era Blur.

Cashew Chemists on Soundcloud, Facebook, Twitter.

1

Charlie Lim
“I Only Tell The Truth”

Acoustic Melancholia/Indie R&B. 2015 marked a truly momentous year for singer-songwriter Charlie Lim when he released well-received debut LP, “Time/Space”, to a rapturous audience at Esplanade Concert Hall’s House of Riot! last year.

“Time/Space” was the pinnacle of Lim’s work; his magnum opus – peppered with infectious tunes such as “Knots”, “Bitter” and “I Only Tell The Truth”. The latter one is a perfect example of Lim’s virtuoso; a mellow, introspective tune – punctuated with beating basslines, marching snares, which tops off with a spine-chilling crescendo, and then fades off into the bleeding twilight.

Lim captures the stage here as a brilliant lyricist, channeling out inner feelings of helplessness, apprehension and insecurity. If Lim’s work doesn’t take honours for Singapore’s top tune, we don’t know which other act will.

Charlie Lim on Facebook, Twitter, Bandcamp, www + beehype.