Blog Music News and Interviews

Niki – “High School in Jarkarta” Song Review

We’ve heard a handful of (teen) breakup and traditional pop songs about being heartbroken but never from an international perspective.

Niki is an Indonesian singer-songwriter that is now part of 88rising, however, she grew up in Indonesia before she moved to the States to study music and pursue her now-career.

Hearing about her high school experience in Indonesia and seeing how it compares to the ups and downs of American high school was unique. I personally haven’t heard many songs where American artists have incorporated their culturally unique upbringings into music. 

Throughout the song, Niki tells the story about her friends and the chaos that took place on the walls of her high school along with her emotional journey being in a relationship during that time.

The lyrics feel significant when she writes “High school in Jakarta, sorta modern Sparta | Had no chance against the teenage suburban armadas |  We were a sonata, thanks to tight-lipped fathers |  Yeah, livin’ under that was hard, but I loved you harder |  High school in Jakarta, an elaborate saga |  I still hate you for makin’ me wish I came out smarter | You love-hate your mother, so do I | Could’ve ended different, then again |  We went to high school in Jakarta” 

Just that chorus itself holds so much meaning. The way she describes her suburban life and how she had to be hush-hush about her relationship but it was all worth it even though her parents were strict.

There’s one verse that sounds straight out of Niki’s high school diary at times. “Natasha’s movin’ to New York (New York) |  Probably sometime in August (ah) |  And I’m spendin’ the summer in Singapore (ah) |  I’m so sad I can’t tell you sh*t anymore | I made friends with Abby this year (this is how I met your mom) (oh, my God) |  We’re movin’ in March or so |  And although you bring me to tears | I’m glad that we gave it a go” 

It all sounds like typical high school where you think the person you’re crushing on or with will be your forever and want to tell them everything that’s going on in your life. 

The song honestly feels like one big letter to this guy who Niki leaves unnamed – of course. She thinks back on her their relationship ended because of his mom and wonders how he’s doing now that they’re both older.

What I love is that though she grew up in a different country, it’s interesting to hear how similar the high school experience really is.

Melodically it’s very mellow and upbeat. Like all of Niki’s songs, it’s are light and simple.

Her lyricism is what makes the song pop with the storytelling and her ability to make words rhyme even if they have different spellings. 

If you’ve never heard Niki’s music before I definitely recommend giving it a listen.

Check out the music video here!

Weekly Charts

Underground Charts 8/16

1DENZEL CURRYMelt My Eyez See Your FutureLoma Vista/Concord
4070 SHAKEYou Can’t Kill MeG.O.O.D./Def Jam
5ROBERT GLASPERBlack Radio IIILoma Vista/Concord
6ACTION BRONSONCocodrillo TurboLoma Vista/Concord
7LITTLE SIMZSometimes I Might Be IntrovertAGE 101
8MILAN RINGI’m Feeling HopefulAstral People/PIAS
10MCKINLEY DIXONFor My Mama And Anyone Who Look Like HerSelf-Released
Weekly Charts

Afterhours Charts 8/16

2NAKED FLAMESMiracle in TransitDismiss Yourself
4CLUB ANGEL“Pop Them Threat!” [Single]Astral People/PIAS
5KUEDOInfinite WindowBrainfeeder
6I JORDAN“Always Been” b/w “First Time Back” [Single]Ninja Tune
7MOON BOOTS“Come Back Around” feat. Cherry Glazerr [Single]Anjunadeep
8ROBOT KOCH, BLANKFORMS“Migratory” [Single]Trees and Cyborgs
92004“To You?” [Single]3260508 DK

Afterhours Adds

2NAKED FLAMESMiracle in TransitDismiss Yourself
3KUEDOInfinite WindowBrainfeeder
4CLUB ANGEL“Pop Them Threat!” [Single]Astral People/PIAS
5MOON BOOTS“Come Back Around” feat. Cherry Glazerr [Single]Anjunadeep
6SLEEPY TOM“Time and Time Again” [Single]MNRK
Weekly Charts

Chainsaw Charts 8/16

1SUBLATIONThe Path to BedlamSelf-Released
2PLAGUE YEARSAll Will Suffer [EP]MNRK Heavy
3SERPENT CHURCHQuake of Our EchoesSelf-Released
4CHAMBERCarved In Stone [EP]Pure Noise
5VOLCANDRABorder World [EP]Prosthetic
7HALO EFFECT, THE“Feel What I Believe” [Single]Nuclear Blast
8ITHACAThey Fear UsHassle
9IMMORTAL GUARDIAN“Echoes” [Single]M-Theory
10LORNA SHORE“Cursed To Die” [Single]Century Media

Chainsaw Adds

1NECROFIERProphecies of Eternal DarknessSeasons of Mist
2PHOBOPHILIC“Survive In Obscurity” [Single]Blood Harvest
3FRAGMENTUM“Quirigua Successors” [Single]Zoorka
4SCARS OF ATROPHYNations Divide [EP]Self-Released

Dive into “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou”

Exploring the seas terrifies me. The endless blue waves that roll and span out into infinity leave too much space on the horizon. And underneath all that water, are an unknown quantity of mysterious and dangerous creatures coming in the strangest shapes and sizes. Maybe some of that fear is why Wes Anderson’s “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou” is such an appealing film to me.

“The Life Aquatic” is Wes Anderson’s fourth feature-length release. Bill Murray is the lead actor, and Owen Wilson and Cate Blanchett are two of the numerous supporting actors in this film.

Also in this movie is Seu Jorge, a Brazilian artist, who covers popular David Bowie songs throughout the film. His acoustic covers are homely and create a beautiful soundtrack for key moments in the film. 

Free Dive into “The Life Aquatic” with Chef

To start out, this movie is a classically designed Wes Anderson film, so pastel colors and a strong sense of symmetry are evident in each frame of the film. Anderson’s directorial style is so perfect for the script and story that take place. 

Take a look at this scene that describes the boat Steve Zissou and his crew live on:

Another great aspect of this movie is the use of puppets and CGI. The fictional sea creatures that Zissou and his team meet and encounter are gorgeous and colorful. In the opening scenes of the film there is a beautiful rainbow colored seahorse that encapsulates the audience’s attention and imagination. 

In terms of characters and character development, Steve Zissou and crew all become better people by the end of the movie. Zissou is a manipulative, womanizing control freak, but his softer sides prove that he deserves and can actually feel love. 

My singular favorite artistic contribution to “The Life Aquatic” are Seu Jorge’s covers. He translates and rewrites David Bowie covers like “Life On Mars?”, “Oh You Pretty Things” and “Ziggy Stardust”.

The tracks are all acoustic and create a beautiful ambiance on the screen (and off the screen if you listen to the tracks at home). Here’s a look at some clips of Jorge himself playing in a few scenes:

Surfacing Thoughts

I love this film. Everything from the music to the cinematography creates a beautiful, perfect planet where everyone loves nature and respects it. Maybe that’s one of the takeaways from this film, but I also love the characters. 

For being an a**hole, Zissou really does love people in his own way. It’s nice to see how terrible people can be and understand that even they need some type of love in their life.


Street Musicians in Québec

I took a little trip to Québec this week, more specifically Montréal and Québec City. There was an abundance of street performers and artists at many parks and gathering areas in the city.

Being from a not-such-a-metropolis that Montréal or a European-influenced city like Québec, I wanted to share my experience with street musicians and talk about how much I appreciate the art form.

Street musicians and performers have been around for centuries since 462 BC in Ancient Rome. 

It’s no lie how much joy they bring to people and can liven up any street or outdoor setting.

Maybe it’s due to the French influence on Québec that the prevalence of street performers and music was much more visible compared to cities in the U.S. 

Montréal has constant music festivals and festivals year long and music seems to be a big part of Québec’s culture. 

I saw a myriad of instruments as I walked through the streets of Montréal and Québec City. With artists playing the violin, guitar, singing, and other instruments I had never seen before. 

I haven’t yet found out the name of the instrument, but it looked almost like a wooden block with a kickstand. The man was sitting on the block playing the harmonica and kicking the block ever so often. It made me curious how many instruments are out there that I’ve never seen or heard of.

One spot in Montréal I loved particularly was an area in front of the Notre Dame Basilica called Place d’Armes. It was a cobblestone-lined courtyard with a fountain and tables scattered around the square for people to relax and sip coffee. Underneath a row of trees, there was a duo singing and playing the guitar for pedestrians and general visitors to the area. 

The moment felt unreal. Standing in that courtyard observing people enjoying their Saturday afternoon, the euphonious melodies of the street musicians filled the air. 

Even as I was walking through the cobblestone streets of Old Québec City at the Quartier Petit Champlain, it felt like walking through the streets of France. With street musicians playing instruments wherever I looked. 

They looked genuinely content and the joy on their faces as visitors to the city took videos of them playing was precious. 

The city is considered a city of pedestrians due to how walk-friendly it is. Hearing these musicians after walking miles and miles under the beaming sun immediately changed the environment. It gave it this whimsy and lightness.

An old man was sitting near the cul-de-sac of one of the streets playing his violin fully unbothered. He was lost in his own world immersed in his music and it made me wonder if that’s the best retirement plan in the world

Playing songs for people just to make them happy and share the wonders of music.

Seeing these street musicians is an experience that’s a bit difficult to describe in words and it’s easier to be there in the moment taking it all in. 

It made me realize that musicians and performers come in all different forms. Seeing artists sharing their talents to the world in unique forms is something I’ll never get enough of.


Albums for the Beach

Nothing says summertime quite like a trip to the beach with your friends. Between the hot summer sun, the relaxation, the good eats and the memories made– a beach vacation is an utmost pleasing experience. The following are some albums that are great options to soundtrack your summer vacations to the beach.

“CRASH” – Charli XCX

A fun and lighthearted album from Charli XCX that leans more into traditional pop than her usual experimental side, this LP is perfect for dancing to, tanning to, driving to and is just straight up fun. “CRASH” is a  perfectly high energy and approachable album to jam out to with your friends.

“My Own Mess” – Skegss

It’s no surprise that an Australian surf-rock band makes great summery music. “My Own Mess” juxtaposes Skegss’ bright sound with existential lyrics and sounds oh-so-good while doing it. I exclusively stream this album during the summer because it’s designed to listen to while the sun shines down on you.

“More Adventurous” – Rilo Kiley

Like Skegss’ “My Own Mess,” “More Adventurous” by Rilo Kiley is a bright-sounding album with some seriously existential moments. Jenny Lewis, lead singer of the now broken-up Rilo Kiley, is amazing at making even the saddest lyrics sound hopeful. I recommend this album for listening to while on a walk or run down the shore.

“Jump Rope Gazers” – The Beths

This 2020 album by the indie-pop New Zealand band The Beths is a short but sweet project that I think would be best listened to whilst laying out in the sun and reading a book. At times high-energy and at times low and earnest, “Jump Rope Gazers” is perfect for beach-listening.

Happy listening and don’t forget SPF,


Weekly Charts

Underground Charts 8/9

2ACTION BRONSONCocodrillo TurboLoma Vista/Concord
3ILLISMFamily Over EverythingThe CRWN
5DENZEL CURRYMelt My Eyez See Your FutureLoma Vista/Concord
6LITTLE SIMZSometimes I Might Be IntrovertAGE 101
7MILAN RINGI’m Feeling HopefulAstral People/PIAS
9ROBERT GLASPERBlack Radio IIILoma Vista/Concord
10SAMM HENSHAWUntidy SoulDorm Seven/AWAL
Weekly Charts

Daytime Charts 8/9

1MAMALARKY“Mythical Bonds” [Single]Fire Talk
2BLACK MIDIHellfireRough Trade
3BIG ORANGE“Love’s Not Enough” [Single]Self-Released
4CONWAY THE MACHINEGod Don’t Make MistakesShady/Interscope
6FOOTBALL, ETC.Woodwork [EP]Self-Released
7MARBLEThe Shadow In MeSelf-Released
8RAAVI“Lazy Susan” [Single]Self-Released
9REDVEILlearn 2 swimSelf-Released
10ACTION BRONSONCocodrillo TurboLoma Vista/Concord
11SOUND OF CERESEmerald SeaJoyful Noise
12CURLS, THESmothered & CoveredTruth Zone
13WHEEL WORKERS, THE“Suck It Up” [Single]Sinkhole Texas
14BLYND BIRDSSongs To Sink Yachts ToSelf-Released
15ELAJAH MOUHAMMEDThe Curious Die Young [EP]PaintMeRed
16GUERILLA TOSSFamously AliveSub Pop
17MOMMAHousehold NamePolyvinyl
18PAPERCUTSPast Life RegressionSlumberland
20SAMM HENSHAWUntidy SoulDorm Seven/AWAL
22HORSE JUMPER OF LOVENatural PartRun For Cover
23FRANCIS OF DELIRIUMThe Funhouse [EP]Dalliance
24SHIVAS, THE“Doom Revolver” [Single]Suicide Squeeze
25HOVVDYBillboard For My Feelings [EP]Grand Jury
28YARD ACTThe OverloadZen F.C.
29CAMP COPERunning With The HurricaneRun For Cover
30CATE LE BONPompeiiMexican Summer
Weekly Charts

Afterhours Charts 8/9

2DEV LEMONS“Autopilot” [Single]Self-Released
3ROBOT KOCH AND BLANKFORMS“Migratory” [Single]Trees And Cyborgs
4COMFORT CURE“They Told You Wrong” [Single]Self-Released
52004“To You?” [Single]3260508 DK
6I JORDAN“Always Been” b/w “First Time Back” [Single]Ninja Tune
8KY VOSSThe AfterPlay Alone
10TDJTDJ123Disques Durs

Afterhours Adds

2DEV LEMONS“Autopilot” [Single]Self-Released
3ROBOT KOCH, BLANKFORMS“Migratory” [Single]Trees and Cyborgs
42004“To You?” [Single]3260508 DK
5COMFORT CURE“They Told You Wrong” [Single]Self-Released