Staff Picks #04

After a month or so, our staff picks are now back with Kevin Silalahi picking 6 releases. We have 110 (!) releases now and our staff picks are getting tougher now.

Arsip Sinar Pagi – Various Artists

Various Artists – Arsip Sinar Pagi – The Store Front

Like the warmth of the morning sun, this compilation illuminates a fresh beam of light towards a vibrant and evergrowing scene in Medan, Sumatra Utara. From dream-pop, garage rock, psych rock, ethnic, post-punk to metal, this compilation offers a selection of songs that were cut from different cloth sewn into this compilation album that is Arsip Sinar Pagi. Very interesting album, proof that Medan has something for everyone and I strongly recommend anyone to give it a listen. 

Favorite track: Suarasma – Trans Notes (To The Wars)

Strange Mountain II – Rides Eternal

Imagine a journey inside the circuit board of your favorite out-of-date gaming console and observe all the electricals perform. Rides Eternal delivers a series of ambient and drones that will surely catch your ears. What I like the most about Rides Eternal is how welcoming the sounds are. This album offers a wide range of synthetic sound design resembling 90s futuristic sound along with rich audio textures and layers, and compositions that are full of style and cool. With that being said, Ride Eternal strikes me as one of the coolest local electronic/ambient works. 

Favorite track: Strange Mountain II – I. New Horror II. Someone Else’s Sun

Situational Isolation – Meet the Doppelganger

Dreamy, atmospheric, wavey, and just pure bliss to listen to. Situational Isolation is a conceptual EP revolving around Edgar Allan Poe’s The Sleeper. Though I’m not really familiar with Edgar Allan Poe’s work, I do have a certain affection towards conceptual projects that puts out different or alternative versions and compositions towards a single theme and it is always interesting to experience the ideas that artists have in mind when writing a piece. All in all, an EP I enjoy very much, heck, it might even reveal your hidden appeal towards poetry, who knows?

Favorite track: Situational Isolation – Instrumentalia of Joy

Rollfast – Skets (Live at Puri Agung JRO Kuta)

From the band that brought one of my personal favorite records of 2020, Garatuba, Skets is a live set they recorded in 2018, I assume. I was actually exposed to this release by my friend and fellow TSF staff, Abdul Defashah while talking about Garatuba and sharing our love for that record. He showed me one of the clips which was Skets I and watching the band play in unison creating beautifully crafted sounds really caught my attention. With the release titled, Skets,  I assume these tracks are fruits of jam sessions, resembling a sketch perhaps. Regardless, it is interesting to witness the sonic journey and progress the band went through leading up to their most recent release. I highly recommend anyone who enjoyed “Garatuba” to jump on this release as it contains that sheer energy, face-melting riffs, creative progressions, and all that sonic goodness that is unique to Rollfast. 

Favorite track: Rollfast – Skets I (Live)

Bleach –  Self Titled EP 20’

I don’t really consider myself as an avid spectator of the hardcore scene, though, I love myself a fair share of that high-octane music. Like many of us, album covers often spark our curiosity into wondering what an album would sound like. This was one of them for me. So I gave this album a listen and damn, it was an instant kick of energy. The album contains 3 tracks of solid hardcore punk with a faint touch of thrash metal to it. One thing that really caught me other than the heavy earth-shattering instrumentals was the vocal and the kind of energy it brings. Solid release for a debut and will definitely look forward to their future works. 

Favorite track: Bleach – No Regret

Mad Madmen – Ego Friendly

This album was one of my personal favorite releases in 2019. The work draws heavy influence from jazz, bebop, blues, prog rock, psych rock, and fusion jazz and not to mention their catchy songwriting that puts the cherry on top. If you haven’t checked this album already, I highly recommend anyone to jump on it, and if you enjoy blues, jazz, and progressive music, you’re in for a real treat. 

Favorite track: Mad Madmen – Cold Turkey