Who you should be listening to from the local music scene.

As American preppy-foursome Vampire Weekend arrive in town to treat us to their ethnic pop sounds, we decided to turn our ears to the local scene. Scouring Bangkok’s bars, clubs, festivals and radio waves we went all A&R in a bid to try and discover the best in local talent—gifted and exciting musicians you can actually watch and listen to every week.
The good news is live music isn’t dead yet, and while it might not be in the rudest of health, we are happy to announce that there is life after Moderndog and Groove Riders—and plenty of places to go listen to some top new bands. Here, we make it easy for you to support the local music scene with our shortlist of the hottest bands in town. And don’t miss our round-up of live music venues at Bars to Hear Great Live Music HERE.

POOMJIT

Who they are: Puttiyos “Put” Phalajivin (vocal, piano), Kasem “Kan” Janyaworawong (guitar), Thitinan “Bomb” Chantangpol (bass) and Asanai “Max” Artskool (drums)
Why they’re hot: Their new single “Ngen Meun” strikes a perfect balance between luk thung and luk krung. And if you read BK closely, you know how much we love our mo lam. These guys get kudos for fusing khaen-inspired guitar with tight rock arrangements and whimsical lyrics.
Band Bio: Put and Kan first met at Kasetsart University through a mutual friend. Sharing a love for the same kind of music, the boys decided to form a band and entered their first band contest at the Kaset Fair. With two additional members, they continued to play at gigs and festivals for a while until Tar from the band Paradox discovered them. Their first self-produced album Found and Lost took five years to make with Tar’s help. The name Poomjit is a Thai translation of Put’s favorite band, Thai psychedelic pop quartet Proud.
Sound: They describe themselves as pop with modern psychedelic influences. Their upcoming second album is heavily influenced by the sound of the Isaan instrument khaen, and lyrics inspired by song-for-life music.
Who we think they sound like: A dumbed-down version of Dream Theater or a Paradise Bangkok party and Morrisey getting jacked up on ya dong.
Why you care: Poomjit is a band with real integrity as they’ve always played their own stuff at contests and festivals whereas many bands end up doing covers. Plus, it takes guts to fuse mo lam with modern rock, and Poomjit does it so damn well.
What next: The band is scheduled to play at the Fat Festival and the Big Mountain Festival in November and December, respectively.
Website: http://www.myspace.com/poomjit

Sound Bite

As a child?
Put:
To serve and protect.
Kan: Wanted to be an astronaut.
Most annoying thing you have to encounter everyday?
Put:
Intellectuals without real wisdom.
Kan: Inconsiderate people.
One word that best describes your sound?
Put:
City-people-going-upcountry rock.
Kan: A Bangkokian-impressed-with-Isaan.
In 20 years?
Put:
Staying at home, reading and cooking. Occasionally going on tour, like Bono.
Kan: I will be independent, take up photography and try to apply traditional Thai music to my music as much as possible.

The Jukks

Who they are: Saruyot “Gan” Kongmee (lead singer, guitar), Yutthana “Ter” Francis (bass) and Chayanont “Maew” Khrae-aiam (drum)
Why they’re hot: Having signed on to indie label Smallroom, the fun-loving trio released their debut single “Ornanong” on the Smallroom 007: Boutique album last year. Thanks to its catchy pop sensibility and tongue in cheek humor, plus a quirky video on YouTube, it was a big hit on the charts. The boys are also busy working on their as yet untitled first album and a soundtrack for Pranakorn Film’s new movie which will be in cinemas by the end of the year.
Band Bio: The three started playing together while studying at Silapakorn University. After graduating, and while holding down “boring” office jobs, they managed to self-produce their own single “Love Love Mobile Mobile“ on Myspace and build up a following playing live at parties. Their big break came after they cheekily posted a link to their single on Fat Radio’s DJ Nor’s webpage. He was suitably impressed and introduced them into the music circle, helping to get them a gig at Cosmic Café. They then worked with Lemon Factory before signing on at Small Room.
Sound: They describe themselves as alternative comedy—“irritating, naughty, funny and dirty”—and list their influences as the Cribs, Greenday and Loso (all trios), along with luk thung legend Chai Muangsing. They’ve definitely got a sense of humor as you can probably tell from their name which is short for jukkarae (armpit).
Who we think they sound like: Ramshackle and up tempo, the way they bounce along on songs like “Jukkarae” remind us of the Libertines at their anarchic best with a bit of Arctic Monkeys thrown in for good measure. Like the Monkeys the punk vibe to their sound is softened by a sense for what makes a good musical hook and a wry sense of humor.
Why you care: Sick of bands that take themselves too seriously? Well there’s none of that with these guys. Noisy and playful, upbeat and funny, they are a breath of fresh air with their carefree approach. Fortunately, they also happen to have some super catchy tunes and a great live presence to back it up.
What next: You can catch them live at midnight on Fridays at Cosmic Cafe, RCA.
Website: http://www.myspace.com/jukkarare

Sound Bites

Can’t leave home without?
Maew: Skin disease.
Most annoying thing you have to encounter everyday?
Gan:
Eyelashes falling off.
Maew: Skin disease.
One word that best describes your sound?
Gan:
Funny.
Ter: Dirty.
Maew: Xie (slang for “nearly something”).
In 20 years?
Gan:
Water filter salesman.
Ter: Old.
Maew: A great man.

Gramaphone Children

Who they are: Jaree Thanapura
Why he’s hot: Representing indie electro pop label Kitsch Kat, Jaree Thanapura takes us on a journey back to the glorious era of disco with seven synth-driven numbers on his debut EP Ah-Huh, Ah-Huh. We love the fact that while his music is highly influenced by the 70s and 80s, it all sounds very hip and future-forward.
Band Bio: Jaree first learned how to play piano when he was a kid living in the US. After moving to Thailand, he switched to guitar and drums before starting to record live. Jaree didn’t settle on any specific genre until 5-6 years ago when he teamed up with Smallroom’s seasoned producers and artists like Cyndi Seui (Cesar B. de Guzman) and Yuri’s Nominee (Peera Sukasa) to launch indie music label Kitsch Kat, concentrating on lush electro pop. The name Gramaphone Children refers to the lo-fi quality of the music he produced using the far more basic technology available back then, and the fact that he wants to perpetually look at things with childish excitement. Other than his solo project, Jaree also doubles as PR and marketing guy for Kitsch Kat.
Sound: The 80s flair is handled skillfully, without sounding too archaic. It’s got some punk and hip hop overtones at times, making the electro easier to digest for the uninitiated.
Who we think they sound like: While he says he’s been influenced by the artists he grew up with like the Beastie Boys and Run DMC, newer indie electro outfits like Cut Copy and Chromeo do come to mind.
Why you care: Because everybody predicted the death of electro, yet it’s still alive and kicking thanks in part to Gramaphone Children and a host of other electro-loving artists on Kitsch Kat.
What next: Kitsch Kat Compilation 2 is due out November and he’s currently working on his second EP. Gramaphone will be playing alongside Cyndi Seui on Oct 22 at Club Culture with La French Riot (see +nightlife, page 22).
Website: http://www.myspace.com/gramaphonechildren

Sound Bites

As a child?:
I’ve always wanted to have superpowers, and I still wish I could attain those powers now. I have somehow failed miserably in this area of expertise.
Rule for life?
Just do it and don’t complain, and then do it again over and over and over until you annoy someone in order for them to understand the point you’re making.
Last lie?
My last important appointment, I blamed my lateness on the traffic when it was actually my elephant walking extremely slow during my commute. I’m gonna purchase a new one soon, preferably with functioning tusks.
Most inspirational person?
The inventor of the Talkbox [Bob Heil] and the Vocoder [Homer Dudley]. Hmm, it was the army that invented the vocoder for scrambling messages during the war; they also invented equalizers, limiters and compressors. So, I gotta praise war for the gear they put on my table, even though I’m a pacifist.
One word that best describes your sound?
Funky-synthamagic-ear-candy (this is one word).
In 20 years?
Our high-end music production studio will be in full effect. And of course making music until I reach the grave. Oh, and my yacht as well as a bowling alley and aquarium full
of lethal jellyfish set to a colorfully lit disco floor as seen in Saturday Night Fever, in my living room.

PLOT

Who they are: Ponwit “Wit” Rattanatanatevilai (bass), Jitivi “Pai” Banthaisong (vocal, guitar) and Wongsagorn “Wong” Santiwattanakul (drums).
Why they’re hot: The “Thai trio,” as they refer to themselves, fully embrace the power of punk and channel it with intensity on their first EP Artificial Boyfriend. Koichi Shimizu, founder of indie music label So: On Dry Flower, once said that PLOT doesn’t play music like musicians, but like architects. The band recently played a gig at the monthly indie night, Club Soma, alongside fellow indie outfit The Why Oh Oh (see this page).
Band Bio: The lads went to the same all-boys high school, where they each picked up an instrument. The band PLOT came about two years after university, when they were spotted at a gig held by Mind the Gap. They subsequently signed to So:On Dry Flower, thanks to their first fan, Bangkok-based Shimizu.
Sound: Frontman Pai describes their sound as “punk chip hai.” Expect raw bursts of youthful energy and tell-it-like-it-is lyrics.
Who we think they sound like: Marilyn Manson and Boyd Kosiyapong are cited as their inspirations, but their in-your-face guitar riffs reminds us of legendary post-punk outfits like Joy Division and The Cure as well as newer arrivals like Interpol, the Editors and even the Klaxons.
Why you care: If you dig punk, you’ll dig PLOT. Plus their likeable, humble personalities, unusual for a typical indie rock band, is sure to win you over.
What next: They will be playing at SOL (581/3 Ramkhamhaeng 39, PrachaUthit Rd., 089-770-5022. www.solbkk.com) in November, and they promise we’ll get to see them again at upcoming Club Soma parties. Their new album is due out early next year.
Website: http://www.myspace.com/plotplotplot

The Why Oh Oh!

Who they are: Skolpol “Kol” Sutthikul (vocal, guitar), Sutthirit “Oat” Hemnasai (guitar), Bird (bass), Thiti “M” Khamvithit (drums).
Why they’re hot: Hot from signing with indie music label Lemon Factory, the quartet recently played at Club Soma’s party, and drove the crowd nuts with their raw energy and unpretentious rock ‘n’ roll numbers. “Rock ‘n’ Roll Mai Mee Kwan Mai,” one of the songs included on Lemon Factory’s compilation Human Wave Attack, reflects what The Why Oh Oh! is all about: blues-inspired rock ‘n’ roll paired with suitably satirical lyrics.
Band Bio: Kol used to be in an underground metal band, but he wanted to write proper tunes. Not too long after he met Oat, who was already in a band with Bird and M. The Why Oh Oh! is a derivative from their friend Yoo who always came to see them rehearse.
Sound: They say rock with a bit of blues although their influences range from the forefathers of Thai rock like Micro and Billy O’gan to The Bee Gees and B.B. King to Vinnie Moore.
Who we think they sound like: They remind us of The Strokes and Muse.
Why you care: Judging from the success of their previous singles, The Why Oh Oh! has a long future ahead of them in the indie music scene. Their satirical take on love and society is refreshing and noteworthy.
What next: The boys are working hard on their debut album. Watch out for their new single coming out in November.
Website: http://www.myspace.com/whyoo

Sound Bites

As a child?
Oat:
Addicted to handheld video games.
Kol: A BMX rider.
M: Was a skater.
Last lie?
Oat:
Recently posted Facebook statuses.
Kol: The price of my bike.
M: I only tell the truth.
One word that best describes your sound?
Oat:
Crunchy.
Kol: Soul.
M: Emotion.
In 20 years?
Oat:
Sipping beer in a quiet place.
Kol: Playing acoustic guitar.
M: Playing with my cat and hopefully still making music

THE YERS

Who they are: Yotsatorn “Ooh” Boonyatanapiwat (singer, guitar), Tana “Tao” Kusump (percussion and keyboard), Panit “Tor” Monthakarntiwong (guitar), Tiravat “Boom” Poomuang (drum) and Nitit “Boat” Warayanon (bass).
Why they’re hot: Another group signed to Smallroom, and another group to have a single featured on Smallroom 007: Boutique. Their single, “Garn Sue San” (Communication) received praise and they were dubbed the coolest post punk in town.
Band Biog: While all the members spent their high school and university years playing in bands it’s perhaps lead singer, Ooh, who has the most musical pedigree as younger brother of Bu the bassist from Slur. It was Ooh who came up with the name The Yers and landed them gigs at major festivals like Fat Fest.
Sound: Their Myspace describes them as folk, punk, post punk and it’s all tinged with a dark outlook courtesy of Ooh, who believes that pessimism has its own charm and beauty. They tackle negative feelings through stylish ballads, moaning guitars and meaningful lyrics. Introspective groups like The Editors, The Arcade Fire and White Lies are top influences.
Who we think they sound like: Despite obvious musical references to all the above there is also something refreshingly unique about The Yers. Maybe their country-tinged acoustic numbers and rock-inspired tracks have a bit of Bodyslam about them.
Why you care: While they definitely have a punk sensibility underpinning a lot of their tunes, they stand out from similar bands thanks to Ooh’s striking voice, some interesting harmonies and intriguing percussion. We also can’t help but embrace their dark outlook on life.
What next: Releasing their first album early next year.
Website: http://www.myspace.com/yeryeryers

Sound Bites

Most annoying thing you have to encounter everyday:
Ooh: Sunshine.
Tao: BB.
Boat: No one laughing at my jokes.
Boom: Rats.

One word that best describes your sound: Heartbroken, dark, cool, punk, rock.

In 20 years:
Tor:
Living my life.
Ooh: Teaching my kids to play piano.
Tao: Carrying a cane. 
Tao: BB.
Boat: Comparing my bass with The Richman Toy to see which is more dilapidated; Boom: Dead.