Best Tracks of 2018

BAP. & Rafi Muhammad

“Alleycat” is quite an incredible combo of fantastic production and rapping. It’s just 3 minutes long, but it seems like several tracks – first change comes at 0:42 already, the next one only a minute later, another one just a half. There’s hip-hop, jazz, blues, electronica, but “Alleycat” still remains a cohesive, powerful track that deserves a repeated listen.

BAP. on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Soundcloud.

Bin Idris
“Rukun Warga”

You could call Bin Idris the most original singer-songwriter in Indonesia, but he might actually deserve this title even on a global level. Inspired by psych folk, blues and even Americana, at the same time rooted in local traditions, he’s a music guru you would both love and be scared to meet face to face at an intimate concert. Now more down to earth, he’s got a new album and this is just one of 7 reasons to check it out.

Bin Idris on Soundcloud, Twitter.

Crayola Eyes

Back in April, this Jakarta-based group released a double single called “Oscillation / Crayola Eyes”, which might last just 10 minutes, but it’s among the most intense psychedelic experiences you might have come across last year. You might have heard it before live, but the long-delayed official (vinyl) release deserved to be noted – and celebrated.

Crayola Eyes on Instagram.

Danilla Riyadi
“Kecuali Cahaya”

We are still waiting for the follow-up to Danilla Riyadi’s second full-length album, “Lintasan Waktu”, which was such a surpsie for all fans of this talented singer-songwriter. Meanwhile, this new song comes off the soundtrack for the film “The Returning“. Enjoy Danilla in possibly her most slowed-down, mellow, but also mesmerizing incarnation to date.

Danilla Riyadi on SoundcloudTwitterInstagram, Facebook.

Efek Rumah Kaca
“Seperti Rahim Ibu”

Over 3,3 mln views, wow. But that’s not just because this song comes from a popular TV show. Efek Rumah Kaca’s background helps boost this simple, solemn song into the most impassioned thing a large part of the mainstream audience might ever hear. For us, that’s something to make the waiting for the follow-up to their still most recent 2015 album a bit easier.

Efek Rumah Kaca on Facebook, Twiter, Instagram.


It’s a kind of magic. You will see lots of mist, steam and smoke in this video directed by Vera Lestafa, but the song itself equally misty, with Samo Rafael’s vocals the only straight line in the mysteriously blurred arrangement. But yes, distorted guitars join in eventually to make things clear.

Gemalara on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter.

Gulf of Meru

If Boards of Canada started in Indonesia, they would be called Gulf of Meru, and they would have just one member. Poetra Tiardha is a producer and sound engineer based in Jakarta, who’s been working behind the scenes for over a decade now, and you could guess it from the quality of this hypnotizing single. He knows everything about the knobs and oscilloscopes, but he clearly lets his heart make the key decisions.

Gulf of Meru on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook.

Joe Million
“Earphone” (prod. Imaginary Frank)

There’s a whole new album resonantly called “Million Chyper Vol.3: Just Pay The Fuckin Price” out there, so you can take “Earphone” just as a first taste of that 40-minute journey. This talented rapper from Sukabumi, Java, will keep your ears glued to the speaker even if you can’t understand the lyrics. Kendrick Lamar can be glad this guy doesn’t play on his field.

Joe Million on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Soundcloud.

Kelompok Penerbang Roket

One of the loudest bands in Jakarta, Kelompok Penerbang Roket are still to release a proper follow-up to their 2015 album “Teriakan Bocah”. But last year they gave us a 5-track mini album “Galaksi Palapa”, with this spectacular 8-minute psych-rock suite at the end. And this closer’s final minute might be the most epic thing that happened last year – of course you’re not allowed to skip or they’ll get you.

Kelempok Penerbang Roket on TwitterFacebookInstagram.

“One” (ft. Neonomora)

“This song, featuring Neonomora, was released exactly one year ago and it was a spectacular comeback from the electronic duo KimoKal, who took a long break after their acclaimed album “O” (check out our Best of 2016 list). They say this single has “happened quite unexpected and honestly unplanned”. It was followed by concerts and a more recent single “Wanderlust“. And hopefully more is to come this year.

KimoKal on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud, www.

Mondo Gascaro
“Dari Seberang”

Mixing their singer-songwriting talents with influences from Latin America, the Mediterranean and elsewhere, Mondo Gascaro have managed to create their own unique continent where life is slower, less stressed and more thoughtful. This song comes off the soundtrack for the acclaimed film “Memories Of My Body“, but if you prefer something more upbeat, check out their April single titled, simply, “April“.

Mondo Gascaro on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, www.

Monita Tahalea
“Sesaat Yang Abadi”

The last minute entrant for this year’s best-of list, “Sesaat Yang Abadi” was released on the very last week of 2018. And it brought us some peace, at last. It might start like a classic ballad, but Indra Perkasa’s arrangement grows and grows over time, in its own pace, always with Monita’s layered vocals in the center. Music hardly gets dreamier than that.

Monita Tahalea on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram,

Polka Wars
“Rekam Jejak”

It’s hard to believe that Polka Wars’ most recent full-length album is still (wonderful) “Axis Mundi”, which appared in our Best of 2015. But it’s not that they left us alone in this cruel world. Just a few weeks ago, they released a new video “Mandiri“, and a few month earlier “Rekam Jejak”. We picked the latter one just for those layered vocals. Okay, and the drums too.

Polka Wars on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.


Wait, don’t stop this song after just a few seconds! Now, they are not grandsons of Black Sabbath, they are just heating up. True, inthe first dozen bars (ok, a few dozens), “Behelit” is mostly about the distorion. But watch what starts to happen in the middle. First that quiet Tool-like break. Then a Mars Voltesque delirium. And then just sheer madness there are no words to describe. So we’re giving up. But you should not.

Sigmun on FacebookTwitter, Instagram.

The Brandals

Celebrating their 17th birdhday, this pioneer rock’n’roll band from Jakarta released a new single titled “Retorika” right at the end of the year. In this song, which comes after a two-year hiatus, they sing about the most divisive issues Indonesia is coping with right now. The music video was directed by Agan Harahap, one of fenomenal visual artist also from Jakarta.

The Brandals on Facebook, Twitter.

“Langit Abu-Abu”

Even with millions of spins on YouTube, Spotify and elsewhere, you still need to have that courage to come out alone on stage and sing a capella for five minutes. This performance like no other song shows his vocal capability and might explain his success. Still, he has some other recent singles if you prefer him fully arranged or even in Japanese.

Tulus on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter.