DARA PusPiTA 1966-1968 (sublime Frequencies)
During the 1960s in Indonesia, the rock music of The Beatles had been branded as “a mental disease” by Sukarno, the country’s dictator. That didn’t stop Jakarta from becoming a hotbed of garage-rock psychedelia where concerts were raucous affairs, even if the music played at them was banned from the airwaves. An all-female band who played, sang, and wrote many of their own songs, Dara Puspita was one of the most acclaimed bands of this era. It’s not hard to see why. Effortlessly channeling Dick Dale and the early Rolling Stones, these 26 songs, culled from their first three LPs and sung largely in Indonesian, are breezy blends of tropicalia, surf music, and bluesy, blown-out garage rock. The band has been given a new lease on life through Seattle’s Sublime Frequencies, a boutique label dedicated to resurrecting lost gems of global pop music. British and American ’60s pop is all over this record. While they never resort to covers, Dara Puspita inventively borrow from their heroes, as when they recycle the riff from “Satisfaction” on “Tanak Airku” (“My Homeland”). Their sole English-language song — “Believe Me” — is a hook-filled gem that would fit well on any best-of collection from the era of 1960s garage rock.
— Casey Sanchez