Song: This wasted heart feat: Hana Abd Aziz by Tinderfist from the EP this wasted heart (2011). Visitors can listen to the Featured Song by clicking the play button above.
Tenderfist is a humble indie gem nestled in Kuala Lumpur. Maybe too humble. They’ve described themselves as “three kids banging on toys trying to make pop music,” but the “toys” are things like drums, guitar, synthesizer, and a sequencer — and the trio has actually become quite adept at using them to craft pop songs.
There is some truth to what they say about themselves — the brothers Edzwan and Faiq and laptop wrangler Nazri Muhi do like to add in the odd toy keyboard and other inexpensive sound effects. But if you listen to their recently released EP This Wasted Heart, you’ll realize they way undersell themselves.
Tenderfist’s gentle synthpop avoids bombast. It won’t demand your attention, but it will reward it. Old school twee and new school chillwave cuddle up together for a breezy sound that lies somewhere between Toro Y Moi and El Guincho. The music might be produced with knobs and wires but it still hums with green life — bedroom pop, but with the windows open to let in fresh air. What’s more, plenty of it could get you dancing.
Perhaps a bit of modesty is appropriate, they’ve only been around in their current form for a few years after all. But, then again, in that time they’ve already opened for Norway’s Kings of Convenience, US stalwarts The Rapture, and Indonesia’s Homogenic. They’ve also won a shout out from Sweden’s Jens Lekman and loads of affectionate local press.
Certainly, a self-effacing attitude can be charming, and sometimes a band as talented as this one can get away with being a bit of a shrinking violet. Fans of sunny synth have been tracking them down regardless.