In this edition of Picks of the Month, WAT uncovers the best of the Indonesian music scene. We’ve got new releases from platinum-selling popstars, local punk bands and emerging singer-songwriters. (Spotify playlist is at the end of the article).
Orkes Malam Jumat – ULAH HALU
Orkes Malam Jumat (Friday Night Orchestra) are a six-piece dangdut (Indonesian folk and dance) band. Ulah Halu opens with a simple tabla beat and acoustic strums building to an ecstatic explosion in the pre-chorus. From here the song really hits its stride and warmth exudes from the lilting melody-line and shimmering guitars. The song comes from their debut EP, Mampus Kau Dikoyak – Koyak Dangdut, which was released in February. Dendie ( Dedek Indie ) is also an excellent toe-tapping tune.
White Rose – TOXIC
The Bali-based trio are back with their first single since 2018. Their new song is about freeing yourself from unhealthy relationships and the rousing chorus declares that karma comes around to all of us in the end. Compared to their previous release Jawaban, their ideas sound more organised and the production is crisp. It’s giving me major All Time Low and Fall Out Boy vibes.
Marion Jola – OVERTHINKING
Marion Jola’s first single in over a year has a slick electro-pop-meets-RnB production which calls to mind Dua Lipa’s Future Nostalgia. Since her appearance as a contestant on Indonesian Idol in 2018, the 21-year-old has won two Anugerah Musik Indonesia awards (Indonesian Grammys) and released her hugely successful self-titled album in 2019. Sung in Bahasa Indonesia, Overthinking is about the longing and heartache from a long-distance relationship. It’s true, long distance is always tricky, especially if one of you is a mermaid.
The Jansen – SORE DI KEBUN RAYA
The Jansen hail from Bogor and the only correct way to listen to their new song is while head banging enthusiastically. On the release day the band wrote in an Instagram post that SORE DI KEBUN RAYA (An Evening at the Botanical Gardens) is the story of a teenage couple living in the big city whose romance is ultimately doomed because of their naivety about the future. It’s short – coming in at just under two minutes playtime – but packs in a lot of crazed energy in the fuzzy guitars and overexcited vocals.
Idgitaf – Semoga Sembuh
Singer-songwriter Idgitaf (real name Brigita Melalia) released her debut EP Semoga Sembuh earlier this year. On the fifth track, Semoga Sembuh, the 22-year-old urges the listener to heal after emotional hurt. It features Ezra Madira of Indonesian rock band HIVI! and a choir joins them in the uplifting final chorus that looks to a brighter future.