What’s On My Playlist Vol. 5 : Quarantine Edition

Hey guys!

It’s currently day 36 of the movement control order here in Malaysia. To be honest, I’ve been way more productive with work than I was at the office. Some people find it difficult to work from home due to distractions or family commitments (parents with kids, for example – I can imagine how difficult it is to video call your boss while you’re trying to calm a screaming toddler). Thankfully, I don’t have that problem, so the only issue is discipline.

To make sure I don’t roll around on the bed when I’m really supposed to be working (my workspace is in my bedroom, I’ve set a schedule which I follow strictly: work from 9 to 5 on weekdays, and unplug on weekends. And because I don’t have to be stuck in traffic for three hours everyday, there’s much more time to relax and unwind – which in turn keeps me refreshed and more productive overall.

The other good thing is that I’ve had plenty of time to catch up on books, movies and music. One of my favourite websites for entertainment is openculture: you can find everything from virtual tours of famous museums and art galleries, to book readings, podcasts, language lessons, and of course, music.

My Analog Journal is a Youtube channel dedicated to exploring rare grooves around the world on vinyl. The music selection is eclectic, and covers everything from Brazilian grooves and Japanese jazz from the 70s, to UK 80s and 90s Soundsystem and even Turkish Anatolian Rock. Rather than put up a generic album cover or illustration, you get a video of the channel’s founder, London-based music producer, DJ and filmmaker Zag Erlat (aka Zagor), playing the records on his setup. Born and raised in Istanbul, Turkey, Zagor’s love for analog film can be seen in the sepia-toned aesthetics of his videos, which give off a chill retro/vintage vibe. Perfect with a mug of coffee and a nice book.

I stumbled across Skinshape while listening to music on Youtube (thanks, Youtube recommendations!). A project by British musician William Dorey, the music is inspired by many genres but in particular 1960s – 70s funk, soul, reggae, psych, folk and African music.

Been a fan of Khruangbin‘s music for a long time now. (Khruangbin is Thai for ‘flying thing’, or aeroplane). This Texas trio is a true testament to the saying that ‘music is universal’ – their first album, The Universe Smiles Upon You, draws inspiration from the psychedelic sound of Thai surfrock from the 1960s, while 2018’s Con Todo El Mundo has influences from Spain (a tribute to the lead singer’s Spanish roots) and the Middle East.

British musician Hope Tala‘s music is characterised by its mix of R&B and bossa nova, to produce a uniquely chill yet groovy beat. She writes and produces her own music, and has a mature, soulful voice that is way beyond her 22 years.

Remember when he was ‘Pink Guy’? How far you’ve come, Joji.

 

What’s on your playlist? Share them with me in the comments so I can check them out! 🙂

 

What’s On My Playlist Vol.4 – February 2020

Hello and welcome back to another edition of What’s On My Playlist ! (does that sound like the opening of a game show of some sort? lol).

I don’t know if it’s nostalgia, but lately, I find myself listening to a lot of songs that I used to love back in my college days. I was a self-professed ’emo’ : all-black get-up, heavy eyeliner, long side-swept hair, a MySpace account with band wallpaper and an MP3 with the likes of Alesana, My Chemical Romance, 30 Seconds to Mars and Saosin. College was a difficult time, and I was a very angry and rebellious teen. Music helped me get through all the emotional turmoil.

Now that the future seems uncertain, there is a measure of solace in the familiarity of these songs. There’s also that saying: “You can take the girl out of the emo, but you can never take the emo out of the girl”. Okay so I made that up from Sweet Home Alabama, but you get my drift. 😛 

Without further ado:

Does it feel like we’ve never been alive?
Does it seem like it’s only just begun?

Once upon a time, I loved 30 Seconds to Mars. This was before Jared Leto became the Joker and the band changed their sound into something more Christian worship-py. Their new songs are not bad; they’re just not what made me fall in love with their sound in the first place. I understand that like everything else, bands have to evolve with the times, but I do miss their A Beautiful Lie days. (I watched the MV for From Yesterday on MTV, back when MTV still played real music, and was blown away by the artistry and the production).

Dear Agony Just let go of me Suffer slowly Is this the way it’s got to be? Dear Agony

Breaking Benjamin has amazing songs, not just in terms of melody but also the beautiful angsty lyrics that they write, which seem to speak to lost and hurt souls. They’re also one of the rare few that have maintained their style, despite being on the scene for over two decades and having numerous lineup changes. Dear Agony is one of my favourite albums by the band. There’s a story about how the lead singer, Benjamin Burnley, was battling chronic illnesses from alcoholism, and Dear Agony was the first one he produced while entirely sober. The cover photo of the album features Burnley’s brain scan.

With your feet in the air and your head on the ground Try this trick and spin it, yeah Your head will collapse If there’s nothing in it And you’ll ask yourself

The original is great, but Placebo‘s cover of Pixies’ Where Is My Mind (from Fight Club) has such a melodramatic yet haunting quality. It’s not an understatement to say that Placebo saved me from a very dark place. Their songs may seem depressing af but they’re actually really cathartic to listen to.

Moving on to newer songs, I’ve been listening to more metal lately:

My hands are painted red
My future’s painted black
I can’t recognize myself, I’ve become someone else
My hands are painted red

Apparently this song was inspired by Randy Blythe’s time in a Czech prison, after he was charged with manslaughter for allegedly pushing a fan offstage, which led to the fan’s death from injuries sustained from the fall (security members and promoters failed to stop the fan from climbing onto the stage uninvited, not once but several times). He was eventually acquitted of all charges, and LoG fans will no doubt say Blythe was not at fault because the fan had invaded a space he was not supposed to be on in the first place (and also allegedly pushed Blythe while he was playing), but I’m not going to argue about the morality of Blythe’s actions. That being said, 512 is one of my favourite LoG songs, not just in terms of the lyrics, but also the melody and vocals (the growls and screams at the chorus always gives me chills).

Above my head, they’re circling
The vultures want what’s left of me
I sacrificed it all and I will fight​

Trivium’s Until The World Goes Cold is best listened to on full blast with headphones – there are lots of nuances that you might miss if listening on speakers. I love the energy on it and the message is  inspiring – it’s telling someone to continue fighting and hoping for the best.

Fun fact: Heavy songs relax me more than calming ones (?) I don’t know why lol. I guess it’s cathartic ? I usually have a lot of pent-up tension when I’m stressed, and it tends to explode so I need a way to get rid of it so listening to heavy beats helps. Anyone else experience the same?

BONUS throwback from 2016 @ Escape The Fate Live in KL with Danial. I’m too old to mosh with the kids these days.

Let me know your song suggestions in the comments below!

 

 

 

The Singer Who Spoiled Every Other Song For Me – Dimash Kudaibergen

People who know me know that I’m impartial to musical genres: I’d just as much listen to metal as I would classical, pop, alt-rock or dance, as long as the melody and/or the voice suits me. And while I do have favourite songs, I’ve always been able to enjoy them each as separate entities – it’s not fair to compare a band like Placebo with Andrea Bocelli, for instance : they’re both brilliant in their own way.

Dimash Kudaibergen, however, has stumped me.

If you have never heard of Dimash, drop everything and go watch one of his performances on Youtube – you WILL be taken to another planet.

Hailing from Kazakhstan, Dinmuhammed Kanatuly Kudaibergen (or Dimash as he is popularly known) shot to fame several years ago, when he was featured on a Chinese TV show singing Vitas’ Opera No.2 – a notoriously difficult song to sing due to its crazy high notes. Not only did Dimash smash through them like they were nothing, he did his own rendition that went even higher than Vitas’ original. And with a voice that covers six octaves (!!!), his vocal control is nothing short of incredible – you won’t hear anything jittery or pitchy.

Watch (if you’re impatient, forward to minute one):

The thing about Dimash’s voice is that it can sound breathy and ethereal one moment, then deep and sonorous the next.  The transition is breathtaking – often times he sounds like he’s two people, like in one of my favourite originals from him:

Beautiful cinematography and message.

S.O.S – a cover of a popular French song. Not only did he make it his own, his perfect control is injected with so much feeling and intensity. It’s hard not to feel moved listening to such an angelic voice. (typing this while listening to the song gives me goosebumps)

As if life wasn’t unfair enough, man has the looks to go with his voice. He’s 1.91m tall (6’2), with dark hair and flawless fair skin – if a character from a bishoujo came to life, he would probably look like Dimash and sweep the MC off her feet.

So, if you’re unacquainted with Dimash Kudaibergen, look ‘im up. I think he’s the kind of singer that only comes once every few hundred centuries, lol. But thanks to the Internet, people all over the world can be blessed with his amazing voice.

You can thank me later. wink

 

What’s On My Playlist: Vol. 3 – May 2019

Time flies when you’re having fun. Heck, it flies even when you’re not.

So it’s been almost a year since my last What’s On My Playlist? video. Someone once told me that the older you get, the less likely you are to listen to new songs. I find that to be true, given the stuff they’ve been playing on the radio these days. That’s not to say everything is bad though – I’ve ‘stumbled’ across a couple of nice new tunes lately while channel surfing.

Without further ado:

CALVIN HARRIS & RAG N BONE MAN – GIANT 

When I’m not listening to rock and screamo, I find EDM mildly enjoyable – and they work best for running (when you need to pace yourself to the beat). Calvin Harris’ Giant is one of my recent favourites, thanks to the addictive trumpet hook and Rag n’ Bone’s husky vocals. Does the guy down 10 shots of rum to achieve that kind of scratchiness?

I would be nothing
Without you holding me up
Now I’m strong enough for both of us

AARON SMITH FT LUVLI – DANCIN 

Okay, so this isn’t new, but the song resurfaced for Musical-ly or Tiktok or some shit recently. The one that caught my eye was this vid of some guy dancing with his cat, which was both creative and hilarious. The original video is pretty cool as well (let’s just say it involves mannequins coming to life and people with TVs for heads).

Get up on the floor
Dancin’ all night long
Get up on the floor
Dancin’ till the break of dawn

SENSUAL SEDUCTION – SNOOP DOGG 

I was just randomly clicking things on Youtube and somehow ended up with Snoop Dogg’s Sensual Seduction. What a blast from the past. PS : Did you know that the ‘explicit’ version actually says “Sexual Eruption”?

All that we ever do is play in the sheets, sheets, sheets
Smoke us a cigarette, then go back to sleep, sleep, sleep

Childish Gambino is one of my more recent favourite artists – I loved the video for This Is America (so much symbolism and layers to interpret!). The original version of Redbone is woke, but the beat mashes up with anything. I’ve seen Tupac & Gotye sampled into this, among others.

Daylight
I wake up feeling like you won’t play right
I used to know, but now that shit don’t feel right
It made me put away my pride

Of course we can’t end this list without my favourite genre to listen to – screamo. Short but sweet, 6 di 6 is taken from Raein’s Ogni Nuovo Inizio album.

Let me know in the comments if you have any great music/bands that you think I should listen to! 🙂

 

What’s On My Playlist? August 2018 Edition

Hey guys!

I’m not in the perkiest of moods lately. Let’s just say that when you do things right, people expect it of you, but you fuck up ONE time and they won’t get off your case for it and suddenly you’re seen as incompetent, careless, lazy, inefficient. ONE time. Well, I guess that’s how life works and I shouldn’t be a whiny bitch about it. Suck it up, foo.

Doesn’t help that my anxiety has returned in full force, I can’t seem to get my mind in the right frame to write (for work) properly, and I’m having trouble falling asleep because of paranoia and/or SOMETHING SEEMS TO BE DISTURBING ME IN MY ROOM GAHDDAMNIT. Call me crazy but I legit told it to fck off this morning. It might just be me talking to an empty room or it might be me addressing my inner demons but what the heck. This post turned dark real fast 

On the bright side, the weekend’s close, and I actually have plans wow. Whether or not I’m going through with the plans is another story.

Enough with the gloom and doom – time for another What’s On My Playlist! Been awhile since the last one; I believe it was in September last year. Hope you guys are having a great week so far. I shall soldier on.

I listen to this channel called Alona Chemerys a lot, and they feature plenty of interesting indie bands. While cycling through the autoplay, I stumbled across Mild Orange, a Kiwi band with seriously chill, dream-pop vibes. Aside from this track called Mysight, I also like their other single called ‘Some Feeling’, taken from their debut album Foreplay.

Every now and then I get an itch to listen to The Scorpions. They just have such a timeless, classic sound that has lasted through the ages (the band was formed in 1964 – and Klaus Meine is still singing at the age of 70!)

PS When we first met, I was astounded that the Boy had never heard of The Scorpions. Blasphemous. 

I first fell in love with James Morrison‘s voice when I was in my late teens. I don’t understand how he never became a superstar. He sings about love, loss and heartbreak a lot, but emo subject matter aside, there’s a depth to his voice that is both raw and powerful. Have a listen. This is the best medicine for broken hearts.

If you have not played or at least watched the playthrough for Detroit: Become Human – YOU HAVE BEEN MISSING OUT. I vote this game of the year for its amazing storytelling, well fleshed out characters, unique gameplay and stunningly beautiful graphics. Drawing heavily from Philip K Dick’s book Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (which later became the basis for Blade Runner), the plot is basically about Androids in the future, their awakening into sentient beings, their struggle to be freed from servitude to humans, and the efforts of the evil conglomerate to subdue them. You play as several characters, such as Connor, the conglomerate’s android tasked to hunt down ‘deviants’, as well as resistance leader Markus whose decisions (or YOUR decisions) affect how the game ends.

It also has an awesome soundtrack to boot, especially this one called Now, which involves a heart thumping chase scene worthy of any Hollywood action film.

Okay not a song per se but the song is in the trailer. I couldn’t find the (song) video anywhere although I know the artist is supposedly Vo Williams.

PS I really want to watch this film! I loved the Raiders series, and it has been 12 years since the last one.

 

Mundane Mondays Vol.2 – Playlist

Another Monday, another week of work. I’m trying to wrap everything up before my long holiday (starts next Thursday!) so I won’t have as much time to blog. I promise I’ll try though. 😀

I remember posting a ‘Mundane Mondays’ playlist close to a year ago. Things were pretty chaotic and uncertain then : I quit a job at a startup which I helped to build because of problems with management (sadly that’s how it is with a lot of startups), my mum was having health problems/depression, I myself was depressed and out of work for awhile, having problems in a relationship and overall, just physically and emotionally exhausted at having to deal with everyone’s shit. But things are better now. As the old adage goes, after every storm comes a silver lining. Or something along those lines, lol.

Current songs on my playlist:

I’m so happy The Killers are back with a new album and that Brandon Flowers finally got rid of that silly little feather duster moustache. Not everyone can pull off the Freddie Mercury look.

That being said, I love the swag he pulls off in The Man.

“I got gas in the tank
I got money in the bank
I got news for you baby, you’re looking at the man
I got skin in the game 
I got a household name
I got news for you baby, you’re looking at the man”

Joywave was a relatively new discovery in my repertoire. Some of their songs are hits and misses with me but my favourite remains ‘It’s A Trip’, where they age progressively while riding on speed boats. Pretty trippy.

“When you’ve gotten what you want
Maybe I should start over
There’s nothing left to want
Up and at ’em again
You don’t know what you want
Yeah, I’m thinking it over
Just tell me what to want” 

I follow this awesome Youtube channel called Alona Chemerys that has a collection of great chill tunes.One of my current faves is this tune by Mac Ayres called Show Me. It reminds me of my time in LA, cruising on Venice Beach and looking at the sunset. I miss the place.. not so much the person associated with those memories. That’s another story though.

This song has a bit of the Nick Jonas’ ‘Jealous’ vibes, don’t you think? It’s a perfect song for breakups; distills the essence of being in love with someone, knowing it’s impossible to be together again but unable to move on.

There’s a love between us still
But something’s changed and I don’t know why
And all I want to do is go home with you
But I know I’m out of my mind

This one never gets old.

 

Vol.1 playlist, if you want to check out what I was listening to a year ago.

Mundane Mondays – Playlist

Hello, fellow mundys !

Work is piling up, but I’m procrastinating. I know I can get it done early, but I just choose to leave it to the last minute. I think I’m a masochist, willingly putting myself through torture. 😀

So while I try to get into the mood (for work),  let me share some great gems that have been on my playlist of late:

Hippie Sabotage – Options 

“My idle hands lead to evil thoughts, That’s what I was told

I see a devil tryna creep on up, Ain’t gon get inside my soul” 

Remy Zero – Save Me 

“Somebody save me
Let your warm hands break right through it
Somebody save me
I don’t care how you do it, just stay, stay
C’mon, I’ve been waiting for you” 

Most peeps my generation will remember this tune from Smallville. Used to be obsessed with the song, but it somehow slipped my mind over the years until one of my friends picked it to sing at a karaoke recently. Good memories.

Tyler Burkhart – What’s This Trouble 

“Well I’m just trying to get by; spark my lazy, idle mind
Staring at the walls again, chopped in half by ceiling fans
There’s no letters in the mail; all the bread is going stale
What’s this trouble all about? Guess I’ll have to wait it out” 

Phony Ppl – Why iii Love the Moon 

“Real Love’s so hard to find, just when you think you’ve found it 

The illusions in your eyes, it blinds us all 

So be Careful where you look for love” 

One of those songs for cruising around at night. Hm.

James Bay – Let It Go 

“From throwing clothes across the floor
To teeth and claws and slamming doors at you
If this is all we’re living for
Why are we doing it, doing it, doing it anymore?”

Heard this on the radio a couple of times, but only looked it up recently and got completely hooked. It has been on repeat constantly since last week. One of those songs that reminds one of regrets and loneliness.

 

Have you ever wondered where your life is headed? Right now everything is so uncertain.. but I guess the old Chinese adage goes that the ship will right itself when it arrives at the harbour. On a happier note, lots of travelling in December – Manila and Sabah, and then Taiwan in February.

xoxo

What’s On my Playlist? September 2016

I did a post like this back in March – link here – but the playlist has since been updated with some new songs. New workplace, new songs, perfecto. Enjoy!

Hate Me by Escape the Fate 

So Escape the Fate is coming to town next month and I’m psyching myself up before the show. Hate Me is one of my favourite songs. The lyrics embody feelings of loneliness and alienation, tinged with defiance. Like, I’m not sorry I’m this way, if you hate me that’s your problem. As a former victim of bullying, I think it makes for a great theme song (besides Hater by Korn).

Remember, one day they’ll get their comeuppance. 😀

Eevee – Unexpected 

A random Youtube find. Chilly, floaty, great music for work or long drives at night. The mixtape songs are all named after flowers, like jasmine, lily and dahlia. My favourite one is sakura. at 6:08.

*If you Google, you’ll find that there’s actually a Filipino band with the same name, although they play very different music.  both are good 🙂

Hippie Sabotage – Options 

Another accidental discovery. I like the trip hop elements.  Dark and delish, like my soul. lol.

Little White Doves – Dirty Vegas 

On the rare occasions I feel optimistic about life, this is my jam. It makes me want to travel, see the world and fall in love.

 

Incubus – Stellar 

I remember a time when I was completely obsessed with Brandon Boyd from Incubus. If I’ve ever had a ‘dream man’, Boyd would have fit the physical part of it. (Yes, I love my men tattooed, with ear plugs and generally bad-boy looking, but who is really a softie on the inside. He must also love cats.) I’ve recently stoked this old flame by going on an Incubus binge.

Kriminal – OC Dawgs 

You might be wondering why there’s a random Tagalog rap song on my list. Idk either. I think I was watching some Musical.ly videos and ended up here (it’s a popular dub-over song). There’s even an English translation of the lyrics – basically the song is about how the rapper killed a bunch of his friends and set them on fire. Ouch.

Lemme know in the comments if there are songs you think I should listen to ! 🙂

xoxo

Eris