COCONUTS PLAYLIST: Negative Lovers transform heartache into ‘controlled noise terror’

Coconuts Playlist is where we spotlight Jakarta’s hottest up-and-coming musical talents, giving you the lowdown on their sound and the audio links you need to know if they’re the right band for you. This week, Marcel Thee takes a look at dream rock noise terrorists Negative Lovers.

When old friends Tony Setiaji, of garage rock titans The Brandals, and Benedict Pardede, from Sinjitos Records, decided to form a noise rock band in 2006, little did they know how dramatic the ride would be.

First, they recruited their then-respective spouses to join them as Denial, quickly making a name within the underground scene for their majestically-inhumane ultra loud performances. Then, both romances imploded, almost-simultaneously, and the duo was forced to start from scratch, renaming themselves Negative Lovers, a thinly-veiled reference towards the absence of their romantic partners.

The soap-worthy drama would mean little though, if Negative Lovers didn’t write great songs. Now a boys-only club of four – Tony Setiaji (Vocal,Guitar), Benedict Pardede (Guitar), Yoga Indrista (Drums) and Respati Nugroho (Bass) – the band has released vinyl EPs on the American label Picture In My Ear Records. 2013 saw the release “38. Loves Me” on 10” vinyl, which boasted the title track and “Flooded Eye,” two tracks which feature dreamy sung-spoken vocals, looping Middle Eastern riffs, tambourine rhythms and endless feedbacks. The shoegazer and art-house flourishes bring to mind UK noise rockers The Jesus and Mary Chain as well as the legendary Velvet Underground.


For the boys, the volume and shaded sweetness of their music is purposeful. “The intense live shows and high volume is just a part of the Rock’n’Roll experience to us,” says Setiaji. “That kind of consuming rock experience is what look for.”

According to Pardede, the band wants to evoke a controlled kind of “noise terror.”

“We used to just get in a venue, plug in our equipments, punch everything to the loudest it can go, and just blast. Now, we consider every detail of our sound – no matter how loud it may end up being.”


The “Faster Lover EP” which followed this year, is even better than “38.” Delivering more dream rock goodness in tracks such as the electronic drum driven “Last Sex,” the grungy-pop psychedelia of “Hit & Run” and the Kraut rock-ish title track. Famed UK DJ Jagz Kooner, known for his work with Oasis and Radio 4, even lent a hand at remixing some of the tracks for the EP. You can list to all of them right here!


Where to watch them next: Thursday, October 9, Fez Dungeon in Kemang. Free admission!

You can listen to both of Negative Lovers’ releases in full over at Picture in My Ear Records’ bandcamp:



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