March 31, 2012

NEW TRACK: Rjay Feat. June Marieezy - "Catch You"

Rjay has dropped the video for his soon-to-be urban smash, “Catch You” featuring this blog's favorite girl, June Marieezy. We know this song is going to be huge, with such vibrant commercial appeal and stoked-for-summer vibe working for it. And did we just smell a single of the year stamp on this? That sticky chorus hook that leaves an indelible mark? That hook-up that reeks of undeniable chemistry? Whatever your thoughts are, this is certainly good pop music you can enjoy to while sipping down on your tropical tea.

March 28, 2012

NEW TRACK: Fando and Lis - "Sapat Na"

Breathtakingly beautiful. Indie folk duo Fando and Lis' has just released the delicate piano ballad “Sapat Na”, with its lovely one-take video debuting on the viral stream yesterday. Vincent Moon, an acclaimed Parisian filmmaker responsible for documenting works by indie music frontrunners around the world, directs this video, masterfully conveying the sparse mood of the song in close-to-home fringes.

Watch it below and get stoked.

NEW TRACK: Some Gorgeous Accident - "Your Gaze"

As previously reported, Some Gorgeous Accident will release Sleep In Symmetry sometime this year, a record which Dale described in an interview as an “interesting but challenging concept.” So far, we’ve heard the effortlessly gorgeous “Blush” featuring Connie Francis on vocals. And based from the teaser track, things might be picking up well for Dale’s shoegaze project.

Wait ‘til you hear “Your Gaze,” another track off Some Gorgeous Accident’s upcoming 6-track EP. It’s a heartbreak lament that prides a hazy swell of Cathedral noise and layered guitars, with Dale’s singing reduced to a wash of filtered echo that felt like hissings of a longing, lonely lover. Gavin Priest of indie pop band, The Proctors also contributes some zoned out, dreamy guitar squeals on the track, adding some sense of blissy, airy atmosphere to an otherwise claustrophobic sound. Give yourself a treat and listen to the track below.


March 26, 2012

People's Future new EP out soon!

We’ve always been supportive of underrated acts who continue to push their artistic envelope despite the lack of support from major labels and gig productions. Filipino rap collective, People’s Future embodies such inimitable vision that we truly admire, bringing social consciousness and lyrical patriotism back to modern hiphop. After months and months of waiting, we’re glad to know that they’re finally all set to release their forthcoming EP What The Dilis which features collaboration with June Marieezy, Nyko Maca and Tao Aves.

As a tease to the new record, they’ll be previewing EP tracks this Friday, March 30 at the Vito Crew Listening Party happening at the Offbeat CafĂ© in Makati. Duende and RBTO will also be playing unreleased albums, with guest performers that include Similar Objects, June Marieezy, Justin De Guzman, just to name a few. The event is for the benefit of the farmers of Hacienda Luisita, so make sure to drop by and support the cause!

For those who aren’t oriented with People’s Future, here’s a track called “Latest News" available for streaming.


March 24, 2012

NEW TRACK: June Marieezy - "Summertime"

Summer love is constant in pop music, profusely conveyed as a theme for short-lived romance that disappears long before you say next. June Marieezy turns this fleet of a feeling into sensual, downtempo bliss and gets her funk on where it naturally belongs. Over sparse beats and groovy rhythms, she gets giddy with the thrill of being romantically swept away, comparing love to “summertime around the corner.”

Stream the track below and make sure to buy the single on  Beatport  for just a couple of bucks.

March 23, 2012

ALBUM REVIEW: Earthmover - First Sighting (2012)

It’s easy to dismiss Earthmover as bandwagonists relying on the aesthetics of distorted pedals and textures, long instrumental jams, and surreal soundscapes to cop out the feel of an authentic post-rock band. Well, in the spirit of fairness, they’ve pinned down quite exactly the sonic bombast that made up the foundations ascribed to anything post-rock. But instead of drawing its strength from the shuddering noise and experiments that the genre is capable of producing, Earthmover would rather embrace the ferocious intensity of modern rock music and convert atmosphere to relentless energy. Such is the case of their debut EP, First Sighting-- a vocal-less, spaced out record that finds the band fancying prosy, multi-layered music with aggressive riffs and calculated mayhem.

On First Sighting, Earthmover keeps it short and simple: four songs (one being filler) inspired probably by an alien invasion as depicted in the album cover, its sonic assault shaping up into vaguely resembling musical structures and post-hardcore instrumentals that felt expansive as it is raw. They’re obviously inspired by bands such as Isis and Pelican, two of post-rock outsiders that fuse DNAs of rock and metal, textural abrasion and restraint, loping tempos and brooding guitars.

Earthmover’s willingness to showcase technical fluency without being overbearing in its approach warrants some attention. Flipping between noise and near-harmony, epic builds and curves—they have weird ways in coming up with sonic patterns that make listener expectations fed in full. And while there are moments of awkward transitions and pointless fillers, sometimes a result of grappling with identity, they still play the entire thing like sound board of daydreaming, letting their music do most of the talking. That makes the imperfectness in First Sighting seemed like a positive quality, and keeps our attention guarded from unwanted wandering. 

March 20, 2012

ENCOUNTERS WITH A YETI Album Cover Revealed!

Following the high octane of a performance (and exceptional, if we may add) at last night’s Toe Live in Manila concert, Encounters With A Yeti has just revealed the cover design of their new album under Terno Recordings.

Their self-titled debut album, Pilot is expected to drop sometime this summer. For those hiding under the rock for ages, Encounters With A Yeti is a Manila-based, post-rock band known for their electric and ultimately triumphant live performances. EWAY is best experienced live and loud; their dreamy concoction of guitar layers and arpeggios, loopy effects, reverb-drenched melodies and sweet noise, handled in fighting fit and precision draws attention without begging for some. It comes out effortlessly natural, euphoric even.

Below is “A Body In The Woods,” a track recorded a year ago and is rumored to be part of their upcoming album. Listen and kill them awakened souls!

March 18, 2012

NEW TRACK: Similar Objects - "Michael's Cloak Extended"

Similar Objects’ music inspires imagination. Even in its many incarnations, his music always takes a boundless, map-scrunching approach, exploring moods and space, timing and the lack of it. On his latest track off Similar Objects’ upcoming EP, Jorge continues to sketch his ambient ambition on a hazy, virtual ride—melding bedroom electronics with a swab of digital burbles and hiccupping synths. There’s a shift in sonic composition when the track hits 2:45, where in a brief time, everything felt like subhuman glips imploding in disco heaven bursts. Music for the dampened soul, my friend.

You can download the track  HERE  for free. 

March 17, 2012

NEW TRACK: Up Dharma Down - "Sana" + "Sana Dalawa Ang Puso Ko" (Bodjie Dasig Tribute)

Photo courtesy of Up Dharma Down  fanpage

In an awe-inspiring Terno Inferno performance last night, Up Dharma Down paid tribute to the late songwriter/composer Bodjie Dasig by interpolating their song, “Sana” with the seminal ‘90s hit “Sana Dalawa Ang Puso Ko.” Armi Millare as usual, pounds her heart out in another emotionally gripping performance. But it's the smooth, wa-wang transition from the wailing guitar solo of “Sana”  to the opening intro of the classic Bodjie’s Law of Gravity song, that pretty much sealed the deal for us. We can’t explain in words how breathtakingly beautiful it is, so just watch the video below and find it out for yourself.

Video courtesy of Bel Certeza.

NEW TRACK: Juancho Man - "Sweetness (You Make Me Sing)"

Stumbled across this guy from a friend’s Facebook page and got instantly hooked with his new stuff, which safe to say, falls toward the mellower end of folk/alt-country music and tasteful tunesmithery of post-Elliott Smith pop. We later found out that the guy hiding under the moniker Juancho Man is Joms Gaspar, guitarist of post-hardcore band Time’s New Romance. A week ago, he uploaded on music-sharing site, Soundcloud the DIY track called “Sweetness (You Make Me Sing)”—a love song rendered in unapologetic straightforwardness and summer whimsy. The track shares stylistic similarities with Ryan Adams, Rhett Miller and Wilco (Sky Blue Sky-era), with carefree, emotional lyrics worn on its sleeves. Stream the track below and find out why we’re floored the first time we listened to it.


March 16, 2012

OPM RELEASE CALENDAR for 2012 *updated*


With the little help that we could, we’ll make sure to update this page for all the necessary information about the current and upcoming OPM releases, when it'll drop, and where to  find them. And if the world does crumble sometime this year, at least we did our part in trying to put the local music scene back to the map. Click the photo to enlarge.

March 13, 2012

Immortalizing KARL ROY

Karl Roy passed away early this morning much to the distraught of every rock music fans out there who have witnessed his debacle as a struggling artist all the way to his reformation as a funk god that honed the '90s Pinoy rock landscape. Karl’s sister, Kathryn Roy broke the news on Facebook, and although the reason of his death remains unknown, it is common knowledge to everyone that the Kapatid/P.O.T. lead singer has been suffering from an infected heart valve since his P.O.T days.

It’s inappropriate to sweep aside all the great things that Karl has done for the rock music industry before he sank under the weight of his own misanthropy. It’s the music, the live performances, and the swagger of a personality, after all, that Karl should be remembered for. Everything about the drug-related issues that might have led to his untimely death should just be taken as part of his humanly imperfect past. Not even such can overshadow an icon as fierce and bold as THE Karl Roy.

One can trace his ineffable greatness as early as the late ‘80s when he used to front the alternative rock act, Advent Call—a then-underground sensation that brought Karl to prominence. But it was when he formed P.O.T. with Ian Umali and Mally Paraguya that the world took notice of his game. He, along with his fellow crew brought back the funk, sex, and soul in rock music, merging the rootsy sound of their peers with vibrant sentimentality and oomph that recalls the antiseptic dead-end of ‘70s Manila Sound. Yes, Karl and his band are nothing but funk revivalists. But what makes them a cut above the rest is that they incorporate the brand with personality and pure skill, making sure that every live performance brings fire and rage to the table.

P.O.T. only released one album under its helm. Released in 1997, their self-titled debut went on to become a huge critical and commercial success, carving an important marker in the explosion that was the golden age of Pinoy Rock in the ‘90s. The only album released by P.O.T. managed to spawn a hit out of covering The Advisors’ “Yugyugan Na,” a well celebrated, funk-pop jam that drives the crowd wild every time they perform it on gigs. And then there’s “Panaginip” and “Piece Of This”, two songs that showed the softer side of Karl Roy. Sharing co-writing credits with Ian Umali, Karl turned his personal anguish into music more pleasurable than painful, crafting sentimental cheese with vulnerability that resonates with people’s experiences and heartbreaks.

Internal issues and Karl’s “alleged” flirtation with drugs have taken its toll on P.O.T, eventually leading to the disbanding of the group. Karl then took a short hiatus from music to recuperate from his health problems. But first love holds a special place in Karl’s heart, so in just a span of years, he went back to the gigging circuit and recruited rock music veterans Nathan Azarcon, J-Hoon Balbuena, Ira Cruz, and Chico Molina on rhythm section to form the band, Kapatid—a heavier, more hard rock-leaning version of P.O.T.

Kapatid, over several line-up changes produced two albums, the self-titled Kapatid and the underrated gem, Luha. Both records raise the bar of Karl’s maturity as a musician, revealing a newfound songwriting perspective that takes a profound look at the real conditions of society and its people. Songs such as “I Like It Like This” and “EDSA 524” touch down the socio-political slant not just on a surface level, but on a more universal vibe that aims to bring people together. The sophomore album, Luha on the other hand, is a more intimate, if not personal, collection of songs that deal with love, frustration, and loss—and moonlight too as a tribute to the death of beloved Kapatid guitarist, Chico Molina. While the commercial turnout didn’t match half the success of P.O.T, Kapatid stayed on for almost a decade, with its presence still as resonant as before.

Just as Kapatid is about to make a comeback this year, a depressing news came out of the bolt and crushed our hopes to see the band perform their beloved hits onstage. Yeah I know. It’s sad that we won’t be able to see Karl Roy rock the stage again with his signature swag, his sexy yet manly funk strut that demands attention without pleading for it. A wise man once said, “’the skill in attending a party is knowing when it’s time to leave.” Karl’s gone, but it doesn’t mean we have to stop attending parties. There will be more gates open, and more to immortalize the funk god that started it all. +R.I.P. Karl Roy+

March 11, 2012

ALBUM REVIEW: Bagetsafonik - Bagetsafonik (2012)

In pop music, sadness perhaps is the easiest emotional cloak to wear. It’s abused and crushed to the ground, sold in bargaining numbers to a crowd that chips on its every chunk and bits. It’s easy to see why it has become a diamond of commodities for the last few decades. People relate to heartbreaks, almost everyone has felt the ruins of a bad breakup holding onto pain for months and years; some, even got stuck to it for as long as cavemen were with their eating habits.

But there are only few records that could translate the purest of emotional scars in a beautifully executed, deeply moving package that rings any truer to that of a real human experience. Sugarfree’s breakup opus, Sa Wakas was an ode to desolation, one that occupies a painfully specific spot in our collective memories. Music junkies like us who grew up listening to Sugarfree understand that at one point in our lives, we’ve memorized every lines by their songbook, moshed in hysteria every time we hear the songs get played on the radio or in some cramped outdoor gig, and at the dimmest part of our existence, screamed “Ayoko nang mag-isa, ayoko nang mag-isa” in endless, rapturous loop—teary-eyed, lost for words. This, and maybe Beck’s Sea Change, Bon Iver’s For Emma Forever Ago, and Adele’s 21 managed to embrace solitude and despair with soaring wings flapped high and proud, crafting a hard sell therapy for those who refused to move on with their exes.

Bagetsafonik’s self-titled sophomore album follows the emotional blueprint of Sugarfree’s Sa Wakas, swaddling the hurt in a lush assortment of morose guitar-rock now made niftier with striking pop sensibilities and intimate songwriting right up the alley. While the band's debut album Travelogue is at its best, more experimental and sonically adventurous in terms of production style, the follow-up album Bagetsafonik tends to lean more on a straight-up conceptual album that showcases confessional tales of farewell and heartbreak depicted at its most harrowing, carefully sequenced like a total cinematic experience for those who loved breakup Hollywood classics in the High Fidelity/Blue Valentine vein. Also, it’s ten-times more thematically consistent as compared to the debut record, even more emotionally resonant, serving as the best possible portrait of a person who experienced the blunt side of love, that there is indeed beauty in finding meaning out of “passing hours and days” and “sweet delusion.” Infectious, delightful and soaring, the songs in Bagetsafonik drift in bittersweet melodies and dreamlike coating with Ace Cada’s vocals playing a clean, deep instrument that wounds the cut even deeper.

Opener “Curtain Call” sets the tone of the album, that bickering rant of loneliness ricocheting in four minutes of psych-pop meltdown and misty cocktail lament. It is then followed by the head bopping, alt-pop ringer “Asterisk” and album highlight “Airports,” with Ace’s lyrics turning into an imagist direction that punctuates even the most indescribable of emotions. In what could be a heartbreaking soundtrack to parting ways in of all places, the airport, Ace sings, “Falling in transient states, a discourse through faulty lines. Blank stares come in pairs” as probably his own take on the difficulty of bidding farewell at the very last minute.

“Disguised Compromise” and “4:24 PM” comes off as continuation to the saga that is “Airports”, casting a helplessly heartbroken dude that pleads for his girl to stay in his arms for the longest grasp of time that he could, even if he has to “pause the world for a moment.” It felt like the songs were written for a particular scene in a movie, a cringe-worthy scope of all things romantic and heartbreaking. While they’re at it, it’s quite a noble, tough act for Ace Cada, Bagetsafonik’s chief songwriter to be able to understand the idiosyncrasies of a man who chased the odds of love, like the protagonists in Nick Hornby novels. He’s miserablist a writer as Ebe Dancel, Mikey Amistoso, or even Gab Alipe to some extent, illustrating the push-pull dynamics of relationship with sympathetic cool or in the case of “Radio Silence,” a mere admission of love falling apart with balls taken away from the man, himself.

Placed strategically at the centerpiece is “Pyromaniac,” this album’s “Mariposa,” “Endless A Silent Whisper,” “Patlang,” “Oo”—yes, that relatable, self-deprecating anthem that sums up why unrequited love can be a terribly painful matter to deal with. It’s stoked with unadulterated adolescent angst wrapped in soaring choruses and sapped down instrumentations, and a kind of song that might just get some cross-over success if handled very well by the team. “Word For Word” makes up for a smooth transition to yet another catchy number with a memorable hook built around melodica lines. “Silverstar” on the other hand, is unmistakably the best Ciudad song not written by Mikey Amistoso and company.

And there goes the transition to what could be the best troika of songs ever put in an OPM record for the last five years. “Ang Buhay Natin Ay…” is not an actual track, but a Danny Zialcita-inspired movie dialogue turned interlude that serves as introduction to the bitter pill cosmos of “Parang Pelikula,” a track that blurs the line between fiction and reality, reel and real-life endings. The band’s resident keyboardist/beatmaker Marcushiro Nada wrote this sentimental ditty that plunges into how romance is portrayed in the movies and why it causes some people to leave the cinemas quite reasonably lonely, upon watching the last few scenes. The song then breaks into silence and segues into the hushed, mawkish lullaby, “Despedida” where Ace gets to sing in an emotionally honest stride, backed by mesmerizing vocal harmonies, delicate guitars, and finger snaps. As soon as it hits the 4-minute mark, a lovely synthesizer breakdown just steals the show, lingering in and out like the sound of hopelessness and closure about to erupt in fanciful fireworks display. I love the quiet, resigned wisdom that it gives, beautiful in its ugliness to show a love that ended in terminal decay. Reality, you may call it, but to some, it’s an insightful way on how we look at relationships gone astray—that it doesn’t always have to be all about happy endings. Sometimes the resolution is in the acceptance, it’s the major facet that drives us to love, get bruised again, and remain graceful amidst the cyclic process. And that’s what Bagetsafonik brings to the table, a heartbreaking experience that leaves an aftertaste too strong to be washed away.  A- 

March 10, 2012

NEW TRACK: Joe Bataan - "Ordinary Guy" (VintageBoy Remix)

Getting us in the mood for some beach grooving is Dan Gil’s remix of Joe Bataan’s “Ordinary Guy.” Hiding under the moniker VintageBoy on music sharing site soundcloud, Dan flips the late ‘60s standard into a retarded mess of dance floor suavity, filled with smoothened afro-funk riddims and all that jazzy slush. Sounds fantastic isn’t it?

We’ve always believed in Dan Gil as a music producer who has done wonders to R&B/soul/funk-leaning music acts such as Chillitees and Julianne. And we’re really excited that the guy’s back on the game, mixing stuff for a possible solo project in the future. Oh we just can’t wait to hear more of him.

March 8, 2012

NEW TRACK: The Mighty Miscellaneous - "Ctrl.Alt.Delete"

5-piece hiphop crew, The Mighty Miscellaneous has dropped the video for their funky fresh single, “ControlAltDelete.” Shot in black and white, the video takes the group to random places in the bustling underbelly of Manila, with a tour van leading their way from one performance to another. We’re not really that big on the video as we really are for the actual song—the latter, we find more of an amazing throwback to soul n' funk-sampled, late '90s hiphop imbued with witty verses from Delphi and Switch. Watch the video below and make sure to check out more of their music here.

Their new album, Almost Done is slated to be released on June 15 under Locked Down Entertainment.

March 6, 2012

NEW TRACK: KidWolf - "Love Tonight"

Here’s a little something-something to quench your thirst for clubland summer. The track is called “Love Tonight,” and it’s produced and written by upcoming Filipino electro-pop artist/producer/DJ KidWolf. It’s a thumping Eurohouse-y jam that could soundtrack a swarm of peak-hour parties, and given some mainstream exposure—we think the song could really do well on pop radio. You can download the track here for free.

March 1, 2012

ALBUM REVIEW: Diwa De Leon - Memories On Two Strings (2012)

Given his stature as one of the most respected musicians in the country, it’s amazing how acclaimed and classically trained multi-instrumentalist Diwa de Leon would rather make an effort promoting the indigenous, two-string guitar from South Cotabato known as the Hegalong and develop its rhythmic and tonal sound into something that could be mistaken as ideal fit for Western and contemporary music. It’s actually a risk on his part, a determined shot to reconnect with one’s ancestral roots while being naturally smug on what’s already been established this era of popular music. After all, Hegalong is what Sitar is to India, Saenghwang to Korea, Flamenco guitar to Spain and Shamisen to Japan, except for a fact that only a select few have considered embracing its consumerist appeal, limiting its importance as an archaeological artifact representative of the T’boli tribe culture.

In an interview with the Philippine Daily Inquirer early this year, Diwa de Leon cited the main reason why he remained adamant in introducing the ethnic instrument to mainstream consciousness. “Ang gusto ko, pag sinabi mong Pilipinas, Hegalong ang unang papasok sa isip mo,” says the 31-year-old musician, expediting in what may still look like a long road to traverse, metaphorically speaking. Looking past the rough road, music greats Joey Ayala and Sammy Asuncion of Spy/Pinikpikan have also expressed their support in pushing the local instrument to every man’s platter, even to some extent, using it on live performances and album recordings. But Diwa de Leon is plain dogged in lobbying the cause, using the social networking platform to reach out to a broader audience. To attract the younger generation, he even made some covers of popular Anime soundtracks and had it uploaded on Youtube.

It must be the determination and love for the Minadanaoan guitar that drove him to such persistence, which eventually led to the release of a two-CD project called Memories On Two Strings, his love letter to the traditional instrument. Not surprising in an album filled with jams and mood-trotting ambient pieces, the Hegalong takes the center stage, revamped from its primitive, acoustic origins to a modern, electric-sounding musical tool that could be mistaken as an actual guitar. Diwa made it unusually captivating by cutting away from traditional song structure and experimenting with sampling technology, laptop music and raw, live instruments. Unsurprisingly, he also ups the ante here by crossing genres and leaping musical boundaries, shaping a meditative, sometimes celebratory collage of prog-rock instrumentals, chill-out and lounge music interludes, non-vocal jazz structures, and post-rock anthems, all of which conveying moods, themes, and spaces that explore the possibilities and impossibilities of music itself, with Hegalong playing an integral part.

In “Panorama” and “Rising Sun”, the Hegalong conveys a sense of solitude, subtly strummed as if it were an act of grieving. “Northern Lights” and “Orchids In Spring” give the ethnic instrument the sheer physics of emotional entanglement, like a kundiman finding its voice along the remaining trace. It’s unashamedly beautiful stuff short of 5 minutes, and it feels like an immersive journey that never stops and ends. Few musicians have this gift of transcendence, turning something restraint and singular, which could be alienating to some, to a scope that is phenomenally cathartic even without words. Diwa just embodies the description above, and matches the real emotional vibe with virtuosity in guitar-playing like no other.

That said, there are few actual songs in the album drenched in traditional, three-minute pop songcraft so as to provide a breather to the extendedly jammy, but thoroughly enjoyable wordless songs in the album. “Moonrise” is the closest we could get for what passes off as listenable to conventional music listeners, with Cookie Chua singing a love song that goes for deep emotional resonance other than just technique and lung power. “Fine Day” finds upcoming singer Zab Reyes expounding on the universal feeling like few can. Diwa provides some sort of Ryan Cayabyab-like classic pop arrangement to the track, mixing Hegalong’s warm sound with subtle piano melodies, strings, and electronic flourishes, one that actually builds into a sprawling inspirational number that even TVCs wouldn’t mind acquiring as music backdrop.

Despite tons of good things to say about Diwa de Leon’s latest opus, Memories On Two Strings, I still think that the album could’ve run a little work in terms of album packaging, and perhaps better track sequencing to make the listening experience smoother than before. But it’s a minor detail anyway. And as with any great double album, it’s easy to see how Memories On Two Strings placed itself atop everything else released in recent years with its artistic tactility fully bent on introducing the Hegalong instrument to a modern audience. That, more than the immortal sense of ambition in itself, is a laudable effort, and may start something bigger than the actual cause Diwa has been fighting for since day one.  B+ 


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