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The limited-edition cassette tape of Tomgirl's Heartbeats comes packaged like a retro cigarette box, complete with artwork by designer-artist Mark Ong aka SBTG. The tapes are duplicated in the UK while the packaging is hand-assembled in Singapore.

Tomgirl's Cherie Ko (above) says 2017 is looking bright for the garage pop-rock duo.

The music video for Heartbeats features a girl gang that includes The Sam Willows' Narelle Kheng (above).

All-star turnout for new Tomgirl single

Heartbeats features remixes by the likes of The Analog Girl and Jasmine Sokko while its music video stars Narelle Kheng.
Jan 20, 2017 5:50 AM

TOMGIRL, the garage pop-rock duo made up of Cherie Ko and Ted Dore, might be riding high on the success of their self-titled full-length debut - Apple Music called it "the best album of 2016" - but they are not about to rest on their laurels.

Just last week, the pair dropped their second single, Heartbeats.

The track has been given all-star treatment with a limited-edition cassette tape and digital release featuring remixes by the Who's Who of the local indie electronica scene, a sleek music video with even more familiar faces, and to top it off, the band will play a guest-filled secret show on Friday to mark the launch.

Ko says Heartbeats is a sequel and "psychological-thriller follow-up" to the tale of the two runaway rebels and lovers in Tomgirl's debut single, Darker Now.

She also shares that the song is about "that dizzying feeling of falling in love" and the "heady rush of romance that may seem wrong on all counts, but feels so right in the heart".

The four-track remix EP features the original version as heard on Tomgirl's self-titled debut album, alongside reworkings by electronic producers Jasmine Sokko, The Analog Girl and Ferry - whom Ko calls "some of my favourite musical heroines of the scene".

"Jasmine Sokko transformed the song into a totally danceable sparkly electro-pop number; The Analog Girl gave the song a really cool, grungy nineties spin, a la one of my fave bands, Curve; (while) Ferry completely dissected the vocals and piled it on top of lush, ambient soundscapes, making it the perfect EP closer," explains Ko.

She adds: "There's so much character in each of the remixes and they all have earned a special place in my heart ... It's been such a trip watching how everyone deconstructed and reimagined Heartbeats in their own unique ways."

The cassette-tape version comes packaged like a retro cigarette box, complete with artwork by designer-artist Mark Ong aka SBTG, who is known for his sneaker customisation works.

The latter was also behind the leather jackets Tomgirl wore at the debut concert and Ko is a fan of Ong's "impeccable taste and aesthetics".

On Heartbeats' eye-catching cassette-tape packaging, she says: "We wanted to create a special collector's item that would look great on anyone's shelves ... The femme fatale illustration you see on the box is called Lola and she has made her way onto other SBTG work as well!"

According to Ko, the cassette format was chosen because she loves reviving "old school physical formats". Tomgirl's debut album, incidentally, is also pressed on another recently-revived format: vinyl.

"I believe in the sentiment of owning music in its real, tangible form," she notes. "Also, doesn't fuzzy garage pop just sound the best on tape?"

The red theme of the packaging extends to the blood-hued music video directed by filmmaker Jacky Lee, who cut his teeth in the industry working in the art department of Royston Tan and Kelvin Tong's movies.

Filmed in a deserted building, it features a girl gang that includes The Sam Willow's Narelle Kheng.

Those who purchase Heartbeats on tape will receive a telegram-style invite for two to a secret launch show on Friday at a dive bar.

Sokko, who dropped her new single earlier this week and will be making her "live" debut with a band, and The Analog Girl, who has a new album Golden Sugar Crystals out on Feb 17, will be the opening acts, while KiDG will spin the decks between the "live" sets.

Ko promises "one hell of a riot, in the best ways possible" but don't expect Tomgirl to go quiet after that effort to put together the Heartbeats release and show.

"2017 is looking bright - we're going to be releasing our third single, and we will be focused on rolling out lots of exciting new material," she teases. "We also have our eyes set on playing some regional shows and festivals!