Sometimes, we want to learn more about an artist’s world, soak into emotions and hold on to grooves for a little longer than any one track allows us to. Singles give us a glimpse of an artist’s creativity, but albums and EPs allow artists to string together concepts to make a long-standing statement and convey more. Through albums and EPs, artists transform listeners into ardent fans and ride-or-dies.
In the first six months of 2022, our local creatives have dropped a variety of projects across all kinds of genres and styles - a testament to the endless creativity of Singaporean musicians. We’ve had everything from MYRNE's emotional electronica, Niranjan Pandian's enriching ode to Tamil, to Quis's nostalgic soul-stirring Mandopop.
In celebration of the wonderful music from the year thus far, the Hear65 editorial team has put together a list of our favourite releases. We've already listed our top songs of the year thus far, so let's now dive into the best albums/EPs (in no particular order):
Get In Losers, We’re Going to Eternal Damnation - Forests
The album title alone is already half the reason why this is one of my favourite local releases of the year. I really vibe with the energy of the album — it's boisterous yet carefree, lively yet introspective. Every time the guitars swell a little more and the shouty vocals get angstier, I can’t help but nod along and immerse myself in the infectious energy of Forests. I think my personal favourite would be ‘Godspeedbaby!’. The structure of the song is refreshing, it goes really hard at the start, then slows down as the hook is echoed repeatedly while the instrumentals keep building up until an eventual cathartic release at the 5-minute mark. Insane. - Fidel Tan, Writer
The Mystery Coffee Mixtape - Space Walk
I’ve possibly said enough on the Bandwagon mid-year roundup piece about this EP but I’d also like to express how surprised I was to find out that Space Walk’s only been around for a year, give or take. The thing that really struck me about this release was how complex and impressive the production quality and audio layering was, so it's pretty hard to fathom that there wasn’t a more tangible length of experience behind the creation.
The Mystery Coffee Mixtape almost tells a story with the 4 tracks of the release, creating a progression of sound rather than consistency, which I greatly appreciate. - Andrea See, Writer
Music from and Inspired by Giantlands - Marijannah
'Kingdom' set up such a brooding ominous tone and the seamless transition into the head-rocking edgy intro riff of 'Spiritkeeper' - a masterstroke. The tracks pump you up, with the perfect tones to charge at monsters, as well as to get your shields up as you explore unfamiliar territories. As a listener without any prior knowledge of Giantlands, the grandeur and heaviness of Marijannah’s playing convince me that somehow the world’s survival is on my hands. Intense. - Faseeh, Writer
Shoutout Water - Cactus Cactus
I had the pleasure of interviewing Cactus Cactus for the release of Shoutout Water, and they were simply the nicest people! I really appreciated how earnest they were in talking about their music creation process and it just made me enjoy the EP even more with the additional insights. ‘Thumbs Up Man’ is an instant standout for me, from the first time I heard it prior to interviewing them, especially with that tongue-in-cheek voice sample in the intro. Love it and can’t wait to hear what these guys have in store for us next. - Fidel Tan, Writer
《新奇的世界，你好。》(Hello, Strange New World.) - Quis
Admittedly, this album was my introduction to the Mandpop-rock band and I have to say, I’m pleasantly surprised. Growing up with the Mediacorp-produced singing reality competition programmes, including SuperBand, Quis evokes the same nostalgia I had as a 4-year-old sitting in front of my television watching Chinese bands rock out to covers and original songs.
The five-piece’s roots as a J-rock cover band shine in their second track, ‘Drink A Cup’ with a melody and exciting upbeat that to me, draws clear inspiration from those rapid rock Anime opening themes. Thankfully, the entire EP is similarly crafted with attentive detail with euphoric calls to the early 2000’s pop-rock era. Quis is definitely on my list of bands to check out for those who are interested in getting into the local Mandopop music scene. - Andrea See, Writer
Tamizhe - Niranjan Pandian
The multi-award-winning artist and Indo-Asean contemporary ensemble Brahmastra’s music director assembles the best musicians and vocalists, in this celebration of the Tamil language. Serene vocal lines by various featuring artists and lilting flute take centre stage in this EP, but their backdrop is switched up innovatively across the 4 tracks, with ‘Alla Alla’ adopting a soft rock sound, ‘Thirakkava’ evoking memories of classic Tamil songs by Ilayaraja, ‘Thai Tamizhe’ blending funk and Indian classical Carnatic music, and the final track ‘Enathu Tamizhe’ being a grand anthem. The ‘Tamizhe’ EP is a testament to the composer’s strength and the artist’s creativity, as he showcases immense pride in his culture and language. - Faseeh, Writer
Circles - MYRNE
I’ve already chosen two edgier rock-leaning albums, so I just wanted to balance things out with a more chill EP by MYRNE. The Singaporean DJ himself has put out a bunch of fist-pumping dance bangers before, but Circles leans towards a more composed and tranquil sound that works really well when one wants to unwind after a long day. - Fidel Tan, Writer
Fables, Retold (Live at the End of The World) - Vivien Yap
In 2017, I remember discovering Vivien Yap on Instagram through one of her cover videos and I was immediately enamoured with her voice. For a secondary school student who was mostly only familiar with bands of male frontrunners or belt-y pop divas, Vivien’s music quickly drew me in for the sole reason that I’d never been in a position where I would find myself listening to someone’s music simply for their voice, regardless of the track itself.
Where Fables was a sentimental and soothing showcase of her vocal prowess, Fables, Retold is the rock band rendition that we all needed. Moreover, the added fact that it was a recording of a live performance gives me incredible serotonin as well. There’s something about hearing the echoes of a venue and the way the sound bounces off the wall that makes me fill up with joy. Listen to it NOW. - Andrea See, Writer
the songs i wrote for you - evanturetime
evanturetime’s love letter to his wife is an album that blends electronic pop and R&B-infused passionate vocal deliveries. The melodies are so tender they invite us to imagine being swept off our feet like in Disney fairytales, with lyrics that would be at home in the dialogue of classic romance movies, and sweet production complimenting the storytelling. My personal highlight would have to be ‘if it’s with you’ - the collaboration with Marian Carmel and Tim De Cotta. The gated chorus hook has been stuck in my head since my first listen and the pad-like keys throughout the song gel with Marian Carmel’s vocals like butter. Although I wouldn’t consider myself a sucker for romance, I can’t help but smile while listening to this collection of songs. - Faseeh, Writer
Listen to Hear65's curation of the best Singaporean music in 2022 thus far: