Fairlane is a devout Asian entertainment fan. On the side, she is a professional screenplay writer and author.
The Thai music scene isn’t as popular overseas as Japan’s or Korea’s, which is a shame because the country has as much – if not more – to offer talent-wise. In fact, Thai bands may be a little bit easier for foreign listeners to get into because they tend to exhibit musical stylings that are influenced by the West, compared to other Asian countries. If you want to check out what kind of music Thailand has to offer, here are 10 Thai bands you should listen to:
#1 - Bodyslam
Bodyslam is a rock quintet best known for mixing various musical styles with hard rock, driven by the unique voice of lead vocalist Athiwara “Toon” Khongmalai.
This song is a perfect example of Bodyslam’s MO of mixing various styles seamlessly within a single song. It starts with pounding drums and heavily distorted guitars, before settling into a slow groove that highlights Toon’s smooth vocal work amidst a walking bassline, then returns to hard rock.
The song starts out as a ballad, with an acoustic guitar and a piano serving as the sole accompaniments, but that soon changes as the verse is heralded by synth and distorted guitars remniscent of 80s metal.
#2 - The Yers
Formed in 2003, The Yers is an alternative post-punk revival quintet under Genie Records. The band’s oeuvre bring to mind 90s brit-pop acts, with their mix of slightly distorted guitars, synths, danceable beats, and melodic hooks.
This song sounds like what would come out if Pulp replaced Jarvis Cocker with someone who has better range and control, and started writing songs in Thai. This is easily The Yers’ catchiest tune.
Dance in the Dark
This one seems to operate on the same dynamics as Drive, but offers a slightly edgier and danceable tempo. A steady bass and drum beat, twangy guitars, synths, and vocalist Ooh’s catchy vocals on top.
#3 - Retrospect
Retrospect is a Thai industrial metal band that consists of Nap (vocals), Bom (bass), Not (guitar), and Birth (Drums). The band originally met each other as fellow game players on a netcafe, and decided to form a rock band out of disdain for the prevalence of pop music.
Eye on Me
This is easily one of Retrospect’s heaviest songs. Sure, the song has slightly melodic verses, but it’s punctuated by the kind of high-pitched screaming and growling you’d expect from a nu metal band.
This song still has Retrospect’s usual growls and screams, as well as the angular riffs, but in general Cold is a slightly slower (and more radio-friendly) affair. At least, until you get to the chorus.
#4 - Ebola
Ebola is a 5-piece hard rock band hailing from Bangkok, Thailand, under the Warner Music label. Their style is known for combining inspirational and positive lyrics with traditional hard rock.
A little heavier than Survivor, but more consistent in terms of sonics. The verse is still the usual spoken word mixed with singing and screaming, but there’s less changes in the tempo and time signatures, making the song a little bit easier to listen to for non-fans.
#5 - Silly Fools
While Silly Fools is commonly described as an alt rock band, the quartet is also known for a wide range of songs that include an eclectic mix of styles, including pop rock and ballad. They have gone through a couple of vocalists, but so far they have retained the emphasis on crooning supported by heavy alt rock.
Silly Fools’ repertoire isn’t as heavy as the bands previously mentioned in this list, but this is as close as they can get. The song is reminiscent of Incubus’ earlier material, further supported by the fact that former vocalist Toe’s voice sounds similar to Brandon Boyd’s. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. This is a heavy, catchy, and singable rock song representing Silly Fool’s heavy side.
Arguably the most radio-friendly song on this list. Khee Hung showcases Toe’s crooning vocals riding a slow acoustic verse, with chorus that maintains the same melodic stylings with only the presence of distorted guitars and crashing cymbals to add more weight.
#6 - Paradox
Paradox has been around since 1996, and has become known for their pop rock sound and unique live performances. The band consists of 5 members, which includes unorthodox designations such as “Screamer” alongside the usual positions such as vocalist, drummer, guitarist, and bassist.
It’s not exactly bubblegum pop, but Honeybee is an upbeat song (regardless of what the lyrics really mean,) something that wouldn’t sound out of place in your playlist during Sunday mornings.
Another feelgood song, this time a ska song, featuring horns, keyboards, and clean twangy guitar strumming. A song that you can bop, dance, and even jump to.
#7 - Asanee-Wasan
Asanee-Wasan is a folk rock band consisting of siblings Asanee Chotikul and Wasan Chotikul. The band has been around since the 80s, but is still popular and fills stadiums in Thailand to this day.
Grung Thep Maha Nakorn
This is a very popular song in Thailand, mainly because it puts into verse the lengthy ceremonial name for Bangkok. You’ll have to forgive the lengthy intro, though. It gets better, trust me.
#8 - The Mousses
The Mousses originally started four years ago and attracted a lot of female fans due to their fluffy hair and stylish fashion sense, but it soon became clear that they have more to offer than aesthetics, such as a healthy dose of bubblegum pop and radio-friendly ditties.
Tears and Travel
This song is the definition of easy listening. Melodic vocals, clean instrumentals, and a beat that makes you want to sing along.
The silly dancing at the beginning of the music video perfectly encapsulates the song. It doesn’t matter how silly or awkward, the song just feels good and should be enjoyed. It’s “feel-good” in every sense of the word.
#9 - Modern Dog
ModernDog is a 3-piece rock band consisting of Thanachai Ujjin on vocals and rhythm guitar, May-T Noijinda on guitar, and Pawin Suwannacheep on drums. The band has been around since the early 90s and has toured overseas, including performances in Tokyo and the United States.
If you haven’t seen their live radiohead covers yet, this song will be the one that shows how ModernDog was influenced by the British band. Aside from the ethereal instrumentals, Thanachai Ujjin does a pretty good job singing in Thom Yorke-style lilting falsetto.
A little bit heavier, but still a slow radio-friendly song. This time, Thanachai Ujjin is singing in his own tone, which is good as it shows that he’s not dependent on styles emulated from other artists, and that his own voice can stand on its own merits.
#10 - Ritalinn
Ritallin is frequently described as a pop punk emo band, and while it does fit the bill, it is best to approach the band without focusing on their genre, as their songs are very accessible without getting into bubblegum pop territory.
Say U Love
A slow rock song that is very easy to sing along to, containing just the right amount of overlayered guitars and cymbal crashes. Stick with it towards the end if you want to hear the screaming, which doesn’t sound out of place and is totally affecting.
Ruk Young Kong Yoo
One of Ritalinn’s heavier offerings, Ruk Young Kong Yoo has the band embracing the “punk rock” part of their assigned genre, featuring distorted guitars riding a standard 4/4 drum beat, with a hook that slows things down a little bit before returning to the pounding verses, ensuring that the song is interesting to listen to from start to finish. If you want the usual screaming parts, stay until the end.
Beca Jane on May 11, 2020:
Hi, I am currently learning Thai language now, are these bands still active nowadays. I hope to see more band/singer recommendations. Thank You :)))
Asha on April 07, 2020:
It's shame Scrubb is not in the list.