Anoa Records and Leeds Records collaborated together for the release of Derby Days: Indonesian Indie Rock Compilation. The compilation, which celebrates the Indonesian indie scene’s adoration of ’90s American indie rock from 14 indie rock bands from Indonesia.
‘Derby Days: Indonesian Indie Rock Compilation’ glistens with bittersweet melodies and crunchy guitars glistens, unabashedly evoking all the glory of early-mid ’90s US indie rock. There is the lackadaisical flush of Gascoigne’s ‘Friday Fight Night’, which brings to mind Pavement as much as it does power-poppers Superdrag; the Belly-via-Throwing-Muses hush of Much’s ‘Go Easy’; and the multiple nods to Dinosaur Jr.’s wall of sound on Barefood’s ‘Truth’ and Sugarsting’s ‘Chasing Pony’.
Despite the ‘indie’ in its title, many of the compilation’s entries owe their composition more towards the more mainstream era when ‘indie’ as a lexicon morphed into ‘alternative’. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing: the 14 participating bands deliver full-rounded songs with arrangements that borrow equally from the compact, radio-ready fare of bands like Gin Blossoms, Better Than Ezra, Tonic, Dishwalla, and Australia’s Tumbleweed – as they do the unpredictable clanking and buzz of Superchunk or Sebadoh.
The twentysomethings in these bands showcase an eagerness to move on from Indonesia’s current ‘indie’ trend – ultimately upper- and middle-class kids writing lounge-ready light jazz and ultra-produced electro-pop – to something more discontented and meaningful, like the early days of underground rock.