It is a known fact that bands in Singapore do not get nearly enough recognition as their global counterparts. Making it big in the music scene here is definitely no easy feat but these bands have proven that anything is possible with guts and gumption.
Admittedly, I had never taken much interest in local music until quite recently when I discovered that they were just as good, if not better.
With some recommendations from a friend, I began to widen my listening habits and soon enough, I found myself being wowed by the superb quality of original music produced by our very own home-grown talents.
Not sure where to start? Why not check out some of these awesome bands?
An indie-pop band based locally, Lost Weekend was formed after a chance encounter in a guitar shop back in 2011. Sharing their love for music and Tiger Beer, the band has since produced some stellar tunes, each with their own unique undertones.
You might find that most of their songs are relatable as they deal with themes like broken relationships, regret and memories based off their personal experience. Singer-guitarist Rachel Tan definitely adds her own flair to the vocals which reminds me of Garbage’s Shirley Manson.
Songwriting wise, you can expect a lot from this contemporary indie band with their interesting lyrical concepts set upon a guitar driven sound. With vocals and instruments that meld together well, you can tell that every band member brings something special to the table.
As long as they continue putting out quality material, Lost Weekend will definitely gain a footing in the music scene both locally and abroad.
Popular songs: “Mornings”, “On a Sunday” and “What Do You Call It”| Facebook
Debuting in 2011, Hanging Up The Moon is the brainchild of local artist Sean Lam from influential Rock band, Concave Scream. Straying from the latter’s Rock ‘n’ Roll roots, Hanging Up The Moon plays acoustic music that relies heavily on the guitar and occasionally the ukulele.
Accompanied with smooth harmonies and brooding lyrics that are honest in the best way possible, this mellow band is sure to captivate anyone who lends them a listening ear.
What I like most about them is how real they sound; stripped-down and slightly rough around the edges, which is, exactly what makes them so imperfectly perfect.
In my opinion, they are the love child of Neil Young and Simon & Garfunkel.
Popular songs: “We Are, “Tiny Movements” & “The Divers” | Facebook
Pleasantry has been active in the local music scene since late 2010. A collaborative effort between various musicians from different bands, they have combined manifold musical influences to craft songs that speak to their listeners.
Lyrically, they write from personal experiences and are inspired by anything and everything. With relatable songs belted out by strong vocals and layered on with rich instrumentation, their dedication to the art they create is obvious. Here’s a band that is definitely in it for the long haul.
Popular songs: “False Realities”, “Swan Song” & “Coasts” | Facebook
Heavily rooted by Blues and Rock ‘n’ Roll, the Cheating Sons are a five-piece band that were formed in late 2008. They have since been critically renowned for their artistry and amazing showmanship. With old-school vibes and a vintage flair, their songs are invigorating and addictive to say the least.
At first listen, I was smitten by their hard-hitting lyrics that were centred around themes like love, loss and mortality. As a huge Dylan fan, it made me pay more attention to their poetic lyrics.
What really sets them apart from other bands though, is their use of unconventional instruments and antique recording amplifiers which, certainly adds to their exotic sound. They are musicians that invest a lot of time and effort into their craft and it shows.
Popular songs: “Honeymoon”, “Carry Me Down” & “Courage, Courage” | Facebook
In 2010, Alternative Rock quintet Bear Culture was born. Bringing you traditional Rock ‘n’ Roll vibes, this band is a eclectic mixture of Metal and Modern Pop. The music they create is testament to their amazing musical abilities.
Give them a listen and be wowed by majestic vocals, complex rhythms and hard-hitting guitar solos. Their diverse repertoire of songs range from cheerful, more upbeat tunes like “Cheesecake” to Metal masterpieces like “Mannequin” and “Premonition”. With such a distinctive sound, they are certainly a band to look out for.
Popular songs: “Premonition”, “Valkyrie” & “Fool” | Facebook
Conceptualised in 2001, The Observatory is an influential electronica band. Having performed in various countries such as Italy, Japan and Germany, these Art Rockers have take many stages by storm and are indeed a force to be reckoned with.
Musically, their sound is a mix of folk, jazz, hard rock and electronica so it is hard to pigeonhole them into just one category. Their melancholic tunes are filled not only with heavy riffs but also shifting rhythms and bluesy undertones. More than anything, their music is pure rock ‘n’ roll with an experimental twist.
Popular songs: “How’s life?”, “Killing Time” & “August Is the Cruellest” | Facebook
An Indie Pop five-piece band, Stopgap came to be in 2011 and has been going strong ever since. Featuring high energy tunes with upbeat grooves, their music really makes you feel like dancing and never fails to bring about “feel good” vibes.
Their delicate sounding tracks are derived from a wide range of musical influences but are most comparable to that of bands such as Two Door Cinema Club and Red Hot Chilli Peppers. With countless catchy tunes that get stuck in your head, their music demands to be heard and felt.
Popular songs: “Nervous”, “Bender” & “A Tough Nut To Crack” | Facebook
Rockin’ band Caracal has it all; from the powerful vocals to the epic melodies and signature guitar riffs. As a quintessential Metalcore unit that began in 2006, they are raw and aggressive, making sure that their voices are heard. Think bands like The Used, Underoath and Brand New.
Every note and lyric is visceral and genuine as they strive to connect with their fans on an emotional level. Their thought-provoking lyrics and heavy sound really shapes who they are as a band and I doubt that will change any time soon.
Since their inception, they have grown a loyal following of devoted fans who are typically seen moshing and singing along to their catchy choruses at their live performances.
Expect nothing but brutal honesty and sheer intensity from this dynamic band.
Popular Songs: “Welcome The Ironists”, “Cheers To Love” & “God Damn Tree” | Facebook
In 2012, Indie-Electronic duo [GIF.] was conceived as a passion project by talented musicians, Weish and Din.
The thing that drew me to them was the blend of tranquillizing vocals coupled with electronic synths and beats, which were, most enticing and trance-like.
One can really get immersed in the synergic tunes created by the pair as it feels strangely intimate and personal. The soothing quality to their music is precisely what makes them the perfect band to kick back and relax to.
Akin to artistes like Björk and Imogen Heap, their musical style is eclectic and somewhat avant-garde. The fact that their lush lyricism is inspired by the Arts including literature, film and theatre, also makes it undeniably meaningful.
Popular songs: “Juvenile”, “Godspeed” & “Money” | Facebook
Instrumental Rock Quartet Sphaeras was conceived in 2013. Known for their unorthodox and complex musical style, you can expect frenetic tempos, odd time signatures, and melodic riffs. These quirks have sky-rocketed them as one of the most innovative bands to emerge from the local scene.
Regarded as experimental geniuses, they are constantly churning out music that is unique to them and compelling to listeners. Their immaculate masterpieces have certainly pushed the creative envelop, showcasing the amount of raw talent they possess when it comes to song writing.
Do not expect to classify them under just one genre because there is no one way to properly define their music. As a spontaneous band, Sphaeras’ sound just keeps evolving and isn’t limited to purely Math/Post-Rock. You could say that they are musical deviants that never fail to surprise.
Popular songs: “Sun Seeker” , “My Wish is Your Command” & “Same Decaying Matter” | Facebook
With a hugely diverse music scape in Singapore today, local musicians are just as passionate as those from the past and are even more determined than ever. Regardless of the challenges they face in the music industry, they still continue thriving nonetheless.
These talented songwriters have unleashed their fullest potential and are constantly inspiring budding musicians who wish to pursue their musical dreams. As music is timeless and transcends age, I’m sure their songs will live on for generations to come.