For most Americans, their background knowledge of Thailand comes only from films and TV shows. When I think of Thailand, my mind instantly jumps to the comedy movie The Hangover: Part II. Yet, this Southeast Asian nation has more to offer than drunken misadventures for white dudes. It houses a diverse, variegated music scene that’s still relatively unknown to Western and international audiences. Musicians and bands here take American music genres and add their own dash of native Thai spice to produce unique sounds unlike any other. So, let’s explore a mere sample of some current releases from modern Thai bands.
The Maroon 5 of Thai Bands
First up is pop-rock quintet Moving and Cut. Its members are vocalist/guitarist Parin Korawis, guitarist Supakorn Boonjimawat, Jitlada Nualnetr on synths, drummer Khrinsaphat Phommin, and Theerat Ninvadee. On their self-titled debut album, released in November 2015, the group displays an airy, tranquil sound. The song “Let Me Go” possesses a comforting tone formed from its light, lulling guitar lines, soothing synth melodies, and Korawis’ hushed, whispered vocals. “Consolation” blends those same vocals with melodic guitar riffs and chiming keyboard chords to create a relaxed, laidback mood. Meanwhile, smooth bass riffs and tempered drumbeats give the song a classically catchy pop rhythm. Then, there’s “Another Day”, a calming ballad filled with slow, easygoing acoustic guitar lines. Check out the album here at: https://soundcloud.com/kanottonp/sets/moving-and-cut-1st-album.
Refreshingly Familiar Debut
Next is Almost Ready!, the debut album from alternative rock band Triggs & The Longest Day released this past April. Consisting of Sanpawit Soikum, Nopphon Cheng, Tokin Teekanun, and Panmanus Nakata, the quartet skillfully recreates the lo-fi sound of the early ‘90’s. The album’s lead single “Sometime, Somewhere” mixes buzzing distortion with smooth bass riffs, steadied drums, and reverb-drenched guitar riffs which gives it a pleasant, beachy feel. The songs “Longest Day” and “You Don’t Need to Say Anything” both prove to be vibrant and energetic through the use of loud drumbeats and cymbal crashes, throbbing, groove-laden bass lines, and jagged, slashing guitar riffs. Matching in liveliness is “The Deal” with heavy, fast riffs and a steady, pounding rhythm. Listen to it here at: https://triggsandthelongestday.bandcamp.com/album/almost-ready.
Unique and Thrilling Beach Rock
The last of our Thai bands featured here is Khun Narin’s Electric Phin Band, an instrumental music ensemble led by Khun Narin with a rotating door of Thai musicians that spans from high school children to elderly men. They play a genre of Thai music known as phin prayuk. The group recently released their sophomore album II this past March. Its first track “Phua Kao” is loaded with languid, fluid riffs from the phin, a traditional Thai lute, that dances across the serene, rhythmic cohesion of bass and drums. In contrast, “Chackim” has a faster tempo through which the phin riffs shift back and forth between mellow & flowing to screeching & distorted. The album’s final song “Sao Ubon Ro Rak” has such a placid, even flow to it that it conveys images of laying on a beach and watching a sunset. Hear the album at: http://khunnarin.bandcamp.com/album/ii.
The main takeaway is that, if America’s music scenes aren’t satisfying your musical tastes, there are other places in the world to find the sounds you’re looking for. And the best part is, they’re now only a click away.