January 31, 2013

NEW TRACK: A Problem Like Maria - "When You're Sober"

A Problem Like Maria comes out with a contagious pop sensibility on her new track “When You’re Sober” off the recently released album Lagniappe (available for free download on Bandcamp). The song takes you back to the 90’s with its easy melody and cheerful female vocals.

“When You’re Sober” is the right mix of catchy melodies and quick, bright, and upbeat arrangements. APLM takes these ingredients and drops them all in the blender, making a sweet and fun song for everybody to enjoy; it’s simple, original, and full of energy. Behind the perky and lively exterior, though, the song reflects talented pop songwriting and real lyrical skill. It’s as poppy as pop music gets, but it’s pop done right. Not surprisingly, the rest of the album is just as well made, and just as fun to listen to. Plus, it presents different moods and more musical variety very worth listening to. It features some other great artists too – go ahead and hit that download link! via Joey Gutierrez

January 30, 2013

NEW TRACK: Howler Flavors - "Strange Machines"

Rock n’ roll never gets old. There’s always someone new coming along that would reinvent the heavily-rooted sound by the baddest rules. Garage-punk duo Howler Flavors work on this premise, fusing The White Stripes’ bare-bones energy with raw aggression and good-time kicks. And they seemed to channel all these elements in the sing-shout messiness of “Strange Machines”—a track that tosses psychedelic blues guitars, bruised drums, gleeful noise and handclaps into dinosaur-rock stomp. It is in parts, insane and ill-tempered, well sort of a musical equivalent of a husband-and-wife rabid catfight in the basement, but a compellingly fun experience to hear if you’re into that kind of yowl. Download it here.

NEW TRACK: Rizza Cabrera - "Crash Test Dummy"

On “Crash Test Dummy,” Rizza Cabrera breaks into the ‘90s-referencing singer-songwriter mold with a radiant grasp of subdued soulfulness and storytelling. Heard in its undiluted promise, her debut single brings to mind the curdling confessionals of Alanis Morissette and 10,000 Maniacs, delivered with openhearted vulnerability and bluesiness rarely explored by singers her age. Check it:

January 29, 2013

NEW TRACK: Similar Objects - "Petite (12th house edit)"

The great Moon Fear Moon gave rise to the producer-as-auteur movement here in the Philippines, but it’s Jorge Wieneke of Similar Objects that exhausted beatmaking's left-field opportunities to a more accessible form, taking advantage of the internet to spread the gospel of IDM and instrumental hiphop with a style that’s inimitably his. “Petite” sets his standards and breaks it into severed pieces. Here, he makes another carefully built ambient R&B devoid of a real structure and flow. Smothered with wafting electronic tones, pastel synths and jerky stutters, his work on “Petite” shows his laid-back vibe, heading towards more abstract pastures and less of that glorious filth.

January 28, 2013

NEW TRACK: Moonwlk - "T.A.G. Look"

“T.A.G. Look,” a new song from the duo of Nicholas Lazaro (Twin Lobster) and Gabbi Buencamino, is a shot at the arm for those who want to veer away from sleepy and fuzzy tracks. The playful vibe of the song can be attributed to the musical style that Lazaro carried over from his other band, Twin Lobster. This isn’t a bad thing, though, because that is what Lazaro and Twin Lobster is known for – energetic guitar riffs and uptempo beats that will make it hard for you to stand still while listening to it.

The track opens with drumbeats followed by an infectious, jazzy electro pulse, both serving as the perfect backdrop for Buencamino’s smooth and clean vocals. Buencamino’s voice is a great addition to ever-strong female voices among new local artists. The song has the qualities of what can induce a Last Song Syndrome – simple yet addictive beat, a distinct musical texture and steady vibe on the vocals. The duo’s combination seems to be working on all levels and this song seems to be a good kickstart of more things to come. Listen to this song and be ready to hit the ‘repeat’ button a number of times.
via Weng Cahiles

January 27, 2013

NEW TRACK: Dr. StrangeLuv - "Stained Gown"

Dr. StrangeLuv’s “Stained Gown” is 227 seconds of weird, thrift-store folk filled with subliminal moments of brilliance and Wayne Coyne camp. It’s also quite unpredictable in a surprisingly good way, boldly pushing their sound towards more risk-taking horizon—a fun and entertaining attempt to be exact. The last 40 seconds prove to be a gut-punching climax swinging to what passes off as twee fiesta: epic, colorful, tossed in lush orchestral chaos. Folks, this is how you mess a final big celebration. Download the track here.

January 26, 2013

NEW TRACK: Techy Romantics Feat. Somedaydream - "New Frontier"

Unabashed youthfulness and surreal imagery permeates this collaboration between the sleek and modern indie dance trio of Techy Romantics and the sparkly, boy-next-door of Somedaydream (Rez Toledo). It's a clear testimony of how synth/technopop-laced music and heartfelt sentimentality, when juxtaposed, can provide pure and innocent fun, and at the same time allow you to get in touch with all your senses (for a more saccharine effect, perhaps). Instead of dwelling upon how Toledo sounds like Ben Gibbard on estrogen or how TR always reminds you of that crazy/embarrassing drunken party night, think of "New Frontier" as your quintessential chaste dance tune and let its uplifting, pop-leaning EDM naturally grow on you. via Klaris Chua

NEW VIDEO: Womb - "Good"

After months of teasing us with their accessible brand of ‘90s alt-meets-triphop kind of vibe, Cebu-based band Womb returns with the video for “Good,” the first single from their upcoming album Anesthesiac. Helmed by Keith Deligero and Gale Osorio of Humba.tv, the grainy clip, which we’re not sure if done intentionally to depict a lo-fi and visceral kind of suburban loneliness, mostly consists of frontwoman Chai Fonacier running away from home as if struggling hard to escape from the cruel world. Interspersed in the drama are two of its members Anthony Uy and Fender Figuera playing with their monome and guitar respectively and a guy in a barely lit room, probably upset about his girlfriend. Or however you want to interpret it.

Give this video some love and watch it:

January 25, 2013

ALBUM REVIEW: Up Dharma Down - Capacities (2012)

There are few bands in today’s music scene more intriguing than Up Dharma Down. On one hand, their heart-wrenchingly honest ballads are not only meaningful, but also immensely catchy; their music easily connects with every love song-obsessed Pinoy. On the other hand, Up Dharma Down is also largely respected and admired in the indie scene, the underground, and whatever other musical demographic there exists, for their technical prowess and obvious musical talent.

Just like any successful artist – especially on a third album – the band tries to build on this success while also providing something fresh to make an even heavier mark. Capacities, Up Dharma Down’s latest studio album, does just that in many ways. As always, Armi Millare’s vocals are prominent, powerful, and at times utterly captivating. Capacities, however, is less about Armi’s voice and more about the band as a whole exploring their newfound experience, skill and chemistry – and sharing it with the listening public. Armi, Carlos, Ean and Paul are all audible on each track, more so than on any of the two previous albums.

“Turn it Well,” the first track of the album no less, is a fantastic testament to this maturing process. It’s decidedly upbeat, but is still full of that tenderness we’re used to hearing from the band. In fact, the track features a little bit of everything we’ve grown to expect from Up Dharma Down: solid vocals, catchy riffs, a magnetic bass line, and all that 80’s synth goodness from the backbeat. The elements come together, though, into a song that blows away all expectations. It’s somewhat of a false prelude, as the rest of the album turns more sentimental after track one. The group goes back to the formula that got them to where they are now – emotionally viscous keyboard and vocals, light and airy guitar, and a heavy, pulsating beat. Still, the formula works, and with it they make some of the best songs they ever wrote in “Indak,” “Feelings,” and “Luna.”

What makes this version of that formula so special, however, is the incorporation of a fresh electronic sound that, I feel, has been dying to be heard. Listening to the album, there are times when you’ll think that the romantic, almost heartbreaking foreground of the vocals and guitar blend flawlessly with the heady synthesizer and drum samples. “Tadhana” is the perfect example of this style, and when you’re wiping up your tears at the end of it, you won’t know whether they were tears of emotion (because of the lyricist’s unfailing love) or tears of joy at how damn good the song sounded. Probably both.

It took four years for Up Dharma Down to release this album, and who knows how long it’ll be until the next one. It probably doesn’t really matter – the band has more than enough ambition and musical firepower to keep itself relevant indefinitely. They’re so much better in person that it’s almost a sin to say you haven’t gone out to see them (if you’re guilty, go check their site and see when they play in a bar near you).

As far as recorded material is concerned, Capacities is more than enough for the moment. It is, in its entirety, an excellent album. On it, Up Dharma Down doesn’t stray too far away from its musical identity, and at the same time explores an exciting new dimension that’s raw, original and still immensely intriguing.  A  (Joey Gutierrez)

NEW TRACK: Our Numbered Days - "Carlos"

At first, the quiet intimacy of “Carlos” can make it easy to overlook the small, meaningful details and nuances layered in its effortless basement-folk arrangement. Upon repeated listens, it slowly reveals the kind of hushed loneliness that you often hear in Nick Drake and Jose Gonzales records, fragile yet delicate in its depiction of a young man mourning over the death of his loved one.

Like Color It Red’s “Paglisan,” Ridge Tan of Our Numbered Days cruises along these lines of poignant sentimentality with softly keened singing and gently strummed guitars. He renders an elegy that hits a perfect balance between melancholy and serenity, his delivery—as sad sack as it is gently uplifting, made all the more affecting by sparse vocal harmonies spewing an air of hope and sunshine despite its lyrics hanging heavy with cold hopelessness and surrealism. Descriptions such as “rare talent” are pretty much thrown around all the time these days, and Ridge Tan shows that he fits the bill of someone who makes deeply moving songs that are not quite like anything you’ve heard and felt before. And “Carlos” is a living proof that someone this effortlessly capable of writing hymns about death and pain, can make so much impact and warmth regardless if he's an established personality in the music biz or a struggling newcomer sharing his song to the world. Stream it below and download it here.

January 24, 2013

ALBUM REVIEW: Multo - Quiet Places (2013)

There’s a new Multo EP out this week—the stripped down but quite faint Quiet Places, and it contains a selection of rarities, acoustic bedroom jams, covers and outtakes. Allan Lumba describes the over-all vibe of his new compilation as a reflection of “slower moments, like introspective breathing spaces in this world of constant social mediation.”

Actually I’m partly on his side with this. “Swimming Santiago” is a testament to his twisted nod to melodic pop sensibility and lo-fi charm, the music in this setting is so lax and warm that it felt like you’re listening to your friend rant while strumming an acoustic guitar. “Caught in a Current” and “From Autumn Seeds” follow the similar thread, wringing all the inspiration out of anti-folk sentiments and subtle background noises. His cover of Kath Bloom’s ballad “Come Here” is modestly pretty, but lacks the subtle emotional punch of the original.

It’s an odds-and-ends collection, to put it bluntly. You can distinguish the drop-off in quality between his earlier materials on Footnote to Youth and the obscurities on Quiet Places. There are way too many instrumental jams and half-baked experiments that stray too far from the strengths of the debut album, haunting and moving along in circles but devoid of a clear structure. While I recognize the aesthetic merits behind Lumba’s work and his ability to write a non-conventional pop song spiked with earnestness and quirk, most of the tracks here still need some serious reworking even though it falls under the clause of a rarity.

As much as it pains to say it, Quiet Places’ occasional misfires would’ve been better left in the garage. What could’ve been an intriguing glimpse to his creative world turns out to be a polarizing experience, hardly groundbreaking but mixed in, however are a few decent tracks worth a listen. B- 

You can download Multo's Quiet Places here for free.

January 23, 2013

ALBUM REVIEW: A Problem Like Maria - Lagniappe (2013)

It’s hard to pin down what A Problem Like Maria (APLM) would do next. It wasn’t even a year ago when she stormed the internet landscape with the release of her lo-fi hiphop album 99 Problems And Maria Is 1. A couple of months after the release of her debut, which barely even dented into public consciousness save for a few online scribes and curios, APLM dropped Saudade—a collection of stripped down folk-pop tunes that, for the first time, showcased her chops as a singer-songwriter. Her deliberate decision to distance from the urban-leaning jungle of 99 came out as a bit of surprise, because we know she’s a big hiphop enthusiast and even finds time writing about it on a local music website. “This one is anything but, which is probably confusing for some. I've always had trouble sticking to a genre,” APLM waxes excited on an interview. “But there's a perverse sort of thrill in what I'm doing.”

On the new album Lagniappe, APLM returns as the unpredictable post-internet pixie that she is, combining the feral highs of art-damaged pop with electronic textures, laptop spooks, triphop beats, and light industrial touches, often recalling a low-key version of The Knife or Nite Jewel. That’s not to say that APLM has veered away completely from the music she’s made before: we can still hear the soul-inflected hiphop beats of 99 minus the MCing, and for those people who quite enjoyed her attempts at introspection in Saudade, you guys don’t have to worry. APLM still writes intimate songs that have more to offer over time. The only difference is that Lagniappe doesn’t box itself to a specific sound or mood.

Sure it’s got some difficulty figuring out where to go next, but as you delve deeper into the direction that Lagniappe is heading to, you’ll realize APLM does everything the right way, walking barefoot while allowing herself to get lost in loops and trails. With the help of her collaborator-friends from all over the world, APLM blurs the genre lines to produce an effortlessly effervescent laptop-pop that nurtures a variety of futurist soundscapes.

Some of the finest tracks in the album are “Christopher,” where she sings over stuttering, robo-funk beats and innocuous synth riffs, the Portishead-dripping “Best Friend,” the hazy, string-laden ballad “Steal Your Heart,” and the demented avant-R&B “Petrichor” in which producer StratosFear pounds seismic synth pulse and ghostly clatters like it's about to cause tremors with every little stroke of movement. But the album's best track belongs to “When You’re Sober," ideally the most accessible among the bunch. It’s catchy and sweet, fun and breezy, providing the kind of sing-along pulled from the minty sun. It’s the same kind of feeling you get when you listen to Chairlift’s “I Belong In Your Arms” or Camera Obscura’s “Lloyd, I’m Ready To Be Heartbroken” and when it ends in twinkly guitar fizz, you’re left with a single option of raping the repeat button again and again, until you succumb completely to its heavenly flourish.

After listening to the album, one might ask: “How could APLM get away with something unfocused but beautifully diverse as this?” Boy, let me get it straight. Lagniappe is the moment when APLM no longer gives a fuck about what people say. She makes music that refused to be defined and stopped, breaking into various sound designs that navigate in suspended air freely above us. The more you dip your ears into it, the more you’d discover her world of canned frequencies— that kind of product that remains interesting and exciting even if it’s created behind a trinket of a computer and then some. B+ 

You can download APLM's Lagniappe for free here.

January 21, 2013

NEW TRACK: Uela Feat. Rye x Artstrong - "Love Is What You Do"

Chillitees first album Extra Rice has that rare kind of urbane sophistication and endearing charm that it was difficult to imagine they could even make a record that could at least match the debut’s awesomeness. Dan Gil, who happened to produce the bulk of last decade’s finest R&B—from Julianne’s “Unsaid” to Bituin Escalante’s overlooked “Ur Luv Thang”—may be the perfect collaborator for Uela, capturing the frontwoman’s silky croon at its most in-the-moment despite punctuating every sensual vibe with horn stabs and carefree retro sensibility.

On Uela’s solo single post-Chillitees, Dan Gil gives the same treatment that works best for Uela—that organic mix of laid-back lite soul and warm keyboard tones in Extra Rice topped with Midas touch of shiny pop production. As usual, Uela is all sweat and sexy on this without trying too hard; sweet midtempo lilt seems second nature to her. Ryan Armamento of Sun Valley Crew drops a few delicate lines while Artstrong provides a stirring vocal performance that complements Uela’s pillowy singing. Once again, Dan Gil has opened up the possibility of recreating the mellower end of R&B into retro-modern gloss and without fetishizing on trends, he went back to old school route and gave Uela a glorious new track that worms its way right into your heart and soul. Stream it below and download here.

January 20, 2013

NEW VIDEO: Skint Eastwood - "Triduum (Three Days of Darkness)"

Shot in black and white, the video for Skint Eastwood’s hauntwave banger “Triduum (Three Days of Darkness)” looks like a scene in one of those post-apocalyptic movies that we’ve grown to like, following the lead character (played by Skint herself) on her pursuit to survival in the countryside. On the video, Skint stumbles upon an abandoned hospital. She walks aimlessly inside, perhaps searching for some company and a place to stay, but to her disappointment—all she could find are war-torn walls, empty rooms, a deserted bus, seeping in cold emptiness and ghosted ruins. The talented, all-around guy Idris Vicuna directs this atmospheric shortie, going beyond the call of gimmickries and plot-driven clichés to come up with something simple and refreshing, yet fangs with gripping solace. Watch the video below:

January 18, 2013

ALBUM REVIEW: Rebelle Fleur - The Blashuvec (2013)

It’s been years since I’ve enjoyed homegrown, visceral rock music that conveys exactly the perfect balance between raw frustration and emotional restlessness, that kind of uncontrollable throat-ripping vitriol that urges you to bang your head to the wall and find aural pleasure in rock’s mercilessly parodied noise and clichés. With only 3 5 tracks under it, Rebelle Fleur’s debut EP The Blashuvec picks up where The Replacements, Husker Du and Nirvana left off, redefining noise—all muscle and ragged psychedelics—into a nuanced mesh of authentic live sound and blistering sonic assault.

Rebelle Fleur’s loud, blustery sound doesn’t really offer anything new to the genre, but their uncompromising and masterful approach to music provides a complete contrast to the reliance of most 21st century indie rock to stylistic girth and laptop knobs. With authenticity upped at its arms length, The Blashuvec sounds like a work of pent-up aggression, of a real rock n’ roll fury bristling with energy, expertise and a whole lot of drunken machismo, one where you can actually hear strain and chaos find a comfortable niche in your loud speakers.

From the visceral blast of guitar squalls and alt rage on “Playing Cards” to the infectious, power-pop noise of “The Mailman,” Rebelle Fleur shows that they can be technically polished as they can also project an image of innocent kids running in the woods just for the fun heck of it. Leave it to producer/mixer Raphael Pulgar for extracting ways on how to pull off a fuller, aggressively raw sound devoid of tricks and glitchy effects processing. He knows this shit really well judging from the work he’s done for bands playing the loud kind, handling off-the-cuff mess with sustained burst and control, yet explodes in front of you without warning.

With that said, you can hear a lot of things going on Blashuvec in terms of range and risk-taking, with members of Rebelle Fleur coming full circle to what passes off as a great rock n’ roll band. Wait a sec, what does a great rock n’ roll band exactly mean, without name-checking the Led Zeps and the Stones of this rugged planet? Is it about channeling the recklessness of youth culture and ennui? Is it about the genuine level of technical fluency, the urge to play difficult, mathematical arrangements at the most sublime way possible? Or more than anything else, does it have to be all about translating personal life fuckeries into diarist sentiments people could read and play along? Sometimes, rock music isn’t about what makes it great. Sometimes it’s the looseness amidst curled screams and riffs that make it really work, driving to some place where hardly anyone can detect direction and security. This makes it  exciting and all the more, unpredictable to deal with. Rebelle Fleur’s Blashuvec gives you that kind of feeling. And hopefully, they’d be able to release a follow-up record in the similar vein ASAP. How about next month? B+ 

You can download Rebelle Fleur’s Blashuvec for free here.

January 17, 2013

NEW TRACK: Nights of Rizal x Aina Sevilla - "Goodnight"

The lullaby is one of the purest forms of music on the planet – a good nighttime melody can induce relaxation in even the most chronic insomniac. Indeed, lullabies are a testament to the psychological power of music.

Nights of Rizal and Aina Sevilla’s new track, "Goodnight," is not a lullaby per se, but explores similar themes with a distinct electronic flavor. The melody comes in slow and heavy, and the slight dissonance gives it a spacey feel. Sevilla’s voice, on the other hand, is sweet and sincere, and is reminiscent of that purity with which our mothers sang to us at our bedsides. The two musicians layer the notes and effects so skillfully that it’s hard not to think about how good their upcoming EP will turn out.

With this release, Aina Sevilla and Nights of Rizal prove that a lullaby need not be boring, and it need not put its listeners to sleep either; music lovers would enjoy this song just as much as any insomniac. "Goodnight," though, is really their new-age electro take on the classic lullaby. Listen to it before hitting the sack and letting the night wave over you – but don’t sleep on these two artists. via Joey Gutierrez

NEW TRACK: Archaster - "Oakwood Avenue"

Archaster could not be more spot-on when he described his music as “afternoon lullaby for the melancholic-alcoholic”. “Oakwood Avenue,” the last track on his five-song EP Would You Like Some Tea? is best listened to in the comfort of your own room, windows just slightly open to see the spirals of dust follow the train of sunlight while nursing a glass of your favorite liquor. This dreamy track opens with a tambourine tap forming alongside a darker piano tune in the background. The combination of the two different spectrums seems to be the perfect intro to the baritone and smooth vocals. You feel as if you are tiptoeing on very flat grounds because of the even rhythm sustained all throughout the track – which isn’t a bad thing. If consistency is what he was aiming for, it was consistency that he served on a platter. You can just imagine a deep slumber induced by this modern lullaby. When you listen to this, take it all in and feel weightless as you imagine in your mind a walk along the Oakwood Avenue of your imagination. via Weng Cahiles

January 16, 2013

NEW TRACK: Eyedress - "Old Fashioned Ways"

Rather than brewing some serious magic on his own, Idris Vicuna recruits his beatmaker friends Similar Objects and Justin De Guzman on a funky, sci-fi R&B that shoots itself to the outerspace in rubbery motion. The new track is called “Old Fashioned Ways,” and it’s the kind of futurist music that plays not only on the feel that it wants to project, but on the layers of paranoid noise and galactic synths exploding repeatedly in fireworks display. Eyedress and friends juggle so many trendy styles in a single stroke, exhausting new tricks to come up with a minimalist banger. And it sounds all the more groovy with every bend and continuity, ready to transport you in some cosmic dancefloor somewhere in 2046. Stream it below:

NEW VIDEO: Yolanda Moon - "Path"

Yolanda Moon’s self-imposed willingness to explore various sonic templates from one song to another is commendable, often tearing into the minuscule details to make sure every material doesn’t sound like anything they’ve done before. Their new single “Path” mans up to the challenge and as surprisingly charming as it turned out to be, unfurls into a fragile piano lullaby backed by soft, headphone-tweaking effects and a delicate drum beat. It sounds like it could fit into a Radiohead demo circa In Rainbows—accessible, blearily beautiful stuff melted into diamond particles, the sound in which, it leaves us breathing in silence as we watch the sunset pass the rooftops and fade.

January 15, 2013

PINNED: Your Imaginary Friends

Every so often, we hear a band translate their uniquely fucked-up, individual experiences into a string of embarrassing confessionals, often showing signs of openness in terms of songwriting perspective and musical direction. After the release of debut EP One Dreamy Indeterminate Hum, it seems like Your Imaginary Friends are heading to that trajectory, making deeply personal songs that no longer sugarcoats, and as Ahmad said it best, those  moments captured  “through hells of an adult heartbreak.”

We’ve recently cornered Your Imaginary Friends about these recent developments: concept behind the sophomore EP Silence Is A Villain, the arduous process that took place in the recording and some sad stuff that motivated them in writing bulk of the record.

1. Based from what we’ve been hearing, your sophomore EP Silence Is A Villain sounds like a departure from the sweet guitar-pop of One Dreamy Indeterminate Hum and more of a stab at the noisier and perkier side of indie. In terms of scope and theme, how is it any different from the material you’ve released in the past few years?

Ahmad: Growth is an overused term when it comes to sophomore album queries. We are using that term too in this release, but we applied its definition literally. The 1st EP was an unintentional concept album about a coming-of-age tale. We tackled first kiss, first love, first hurt --- all the firsts you can expect from puberty. The next one is an intentional concept album of the same character from the 1st EP going through the hells of an adult heartbreak: Escape, Lust, Regression. So yes, there’s grit. And there’s dirt.

Khalid: You can say that it’s a bit darker compared to our first EP, and this is a DIY album.

Emerald: And more aggressive? And you could totally relate to the lyrics. (I could. Haha)

Eric: I guess we laced it with more hurt hormones to equalize the saccharine tinge of the first EP. Basically, we put all our personal hurts on the table and made little trinkets with them.



2. Given that most of you have side projects and day jobs, how do you guys juggle your time doing gigs and recording songs in the studio?

Khalid: We just have a plan ahead of our schedules in order for this to materialize. It’s really hard because we need to sacrifice (time, sleep and vacation leaves) something in return.

Eric: Mind you, given all the real world things we all have to live with, like work, love, and life and what not, everyone manages to be in the studio to support each other. And with that, we have become more hands-on with this album.

Ahmad: We do make it to the point to have weekly meetings, or an email/FB thread to keep each other updated of anything we are thinking or going through.

Emerald: It's cliche, but nothing really beats doing what you love. Ayeee!

3. First single “Your Silence Is A Villain” echoes the ‘90s revivalist trend that’s been happening in some indie releases lately, from Yuck to Pains of Being Pure At Heart. Is it a conscious effort to somehow relive that great era in music?

Ahmad: A natural progression, that’s what it is. It just came out from nowhere. Do note that almost all the songs included in this new EP were written years ago. The single Your Silence is the Villain was written just before we record our 1st EP (2010). We decided not to include it then because we want to exhaust all arrangements so that we can find the right feel to complement the words.

Khalid: Besides, the sound we are projecting right now is what we grew up listening to. It’s where we came from.

Emerald: Listening to those bands mentioned somehow influenced how we create our parts.

Eric: But like what Ahmad said, I guess everyone else matures, but some grow in one direction. Oh, not One Direction.



4. Why EP and not a full-length album?

Khalid: Budget and time constraints.

Ahmad: There are a lot of distractions meddling with the brain’s activities, so a short but exceptional output will be enough to catch their wandering attention.

Emerald: We don't want to release an album just for the sake of releasing one. We consider quality recording as well. Although we're dying to have a full-length, it's quite expensive given that we're an indie band.

Eric: And isn’t the EP the new LP these days?

5. So both Ahmad and Khalid spent their younger years in Bicol. How do you guys describe the music scene in Naga and Legaspi?

Khalid: Eric is also from Bicol by the way. The music scene there is slowly growing and opening up to home grown band that plays originals.

Eric: I can’t speak for Legazpi, but Naga is a haven for really good original talent. There are lots of artists like local punk band Pennies For Jane who deserves to be heard everywhere. Way before Your Imaginary Friends and without any idea that we will be bandmates in the future, Ahmad and I both agreed that good original music should find its way out of our small town and get heard everywhere.

Ahmad: The Bicol Scene is a late bloomer. Our fellow musicians there are just learning to record and share their music. You have to go to Legazpi too. There are good bands like The Doldrums and Stolenshots who knows what they are doing. We have the talents, but not the media support so it is a struggle to play and organize gigs. I do hope our fellow Bicolano musicians will be inspired to find their original sound and not rely on trends.

6. What are the things that we should expect on the date of your EP launch?

Khalid: Feel-good kind of noise.

Ahmad: A celebration of good music. And group hugs!

Eric: Your Imaginary Friends.

Emerald:We'll be performing alongside 4 awesome bands too. What more could you ask for?



7. If there’s one OPM album you’d be playing for the rest of the year, what would it be and why?

Khalid: Besides our newest EP, I can’t think of just one. There’s a lot of great OPM album right now, like Capacities, Tama na ang Drama, The Oktaves etc. and I like to have diversity in my playlist to suit my mood.

Eric: Silence Is A Villain. It will never grow old.

Emerald: Yeah, not to be vain or anything, I would play this EP all year long. It's my soundtrack of the year (as per Kuya Ahmad)! Haha

Ahmad: Choosing just one OPM album is hard, but I always go back to those lost CandyAudioline/SoftPillowKisses demos. And Rivermaya’s Free. Plus, Ciudad’s Is That Ciudad? Yes, Son, It's Me album. Yes I am cheating but what do you expect? So many good Pinoy music and so little time.

---
Join Your Imaginary Friends as they launch their highly anticipated sophomore EP, Silence Is A Villain this January 19 at B-Side, The Collective. EPs and band merchandise will be sold at the gate.

January 14, 2013

NEW TRACK: PE - "You're Lost"

British-Filipino rapper PE is all set to drop his new album Lonely Walks The Prophet sometime this February, and the first song we’ve heard from it is “You’re Lost,” a funky, boom bap banger with soul-slow keyboards and turntable scratches pinballing around a bouncy beat with ease. PE—who, in a few lines, proved himself to be a globe-trotting newcomer spewing rhymes with nerve-wracked urgency— finds a perfect pocket for his braggadocio punches. He spits words like he never runs out of one, wasting no time spraying anger and confidence in all directions. Download it here.

NEW TRACK: The Gentle Isolation - "Alone For A While"

Lilystars-signed The Gentle Isolation recently came up with a new demo called "Alone For A While." Like what you'd normally expect from this Bulacan-based twee-pop group, it's a track that perfectly encapsulates the quintessence of nostalgia and quiet smiles.

This sonic dress-up brings in the familiar feeling of longing and waiting masked in an exuberant yet peculiar tone that is full of childlike wonder and self-assurance. Perhaps its charm lies in the daydreamy vocals that leave fine wisps of felicity to the ear. Or perhaps it's all about the retrogression in the latter half that triggers a blissful vibe; one that makes you feel like you've finally demystified the idiosyncrasies of life, as if you're just waiting for the closing credits to roll. via Klaris Chua

Stream it below and download it here.

January 13, 2013

NEW VIDEO: KaapiN - "Everyone's The Same"

Perhaps this should not surprise us, but our comrades from Cebu and Cagayan De Oro City have been doing a pretty good job stretching their creativity to unimagined levels. KaapiN, whose members Michael Nuesca and Rotsanjani Mojica could give their Manila counterpart a run for their gas, continues to make eclectic, post-internet pop brimming with forward-thinking ideas and gaily soundscapes.

Their first single “Everyone’s the Same,” which we described in a recent review as a “wallop of cyborg ideas that articulates the new kind of loneliness and longing brought about by our constant connectedness,” is now out with a lovely video directed by Katrina Tan Conte. The music video mostly consists of Italian theater actress Lucia Palozzi touching and throwing rocks, hiking in the mountains as if searching for life’s infinite secrets. It’s a startling visual experience that carries a real sting in its tail, and for what it’s worth, captures emotional warmth in postcard delights. Watch the video below:

January 11, 2013

The Best Filipino Albums of 2012

2012 will end up in history as the year when two conflicting sides of the spectrum debated about the fate of OPM. Is it dead? Is it pretty much alive and kicking? All these talks have bullshitted us with empty answers to the question, leaving us only half-baked assumptions measured at the impact and cultural relevance of the biggest band ever to conquer Filipino consciousness—yes, I’m talking about The Eraserheads, a band whose commercial and critical success remains unparalleled up to this day. 

“The times, they are a-changin,” as Dylan easily points it out. We live in the democratization of the internet, an era where we practically have a say on what we SHOULD listen to, and what we could dispose in the bins. Well, it’s not just the digital age that’s at work here, but the accessibility employed in this kind of venue. Same could not be said on the fate of physical CD sales, which Gartner estimated “to slide from approximately $15 billion in 2010 to about $10 billion in 2015.” Record labels have been struggling to press new CDs because aside from the fact that sales have been on a spiraling steep downwards, CDs cost more money to create, store and distribute.

Commercial slump all over the world aside, I’m glad that young, Filipino artists have the balls to showcase their albums through music sites such as Bandcamp and Soundcloud as well as in small, intimate gigs. More took risks and embraced DIY at heart, even exhausting the limitless possibilities of social media to promote and distribute their work. Some would even go to as far as making their album available for free, disregarding production costs in favor of getting as many heads to turn in their material. This time, it’s no longer just the majors or the small independent labels. Empowered by mouse clicks and internet connection, anyone can do multiple things all at the same time and be the system that he/she wants to be, blurring the line between amateur and professional. So should we still care about whether OPM is dead or not? Let these albums do the talking for you to find out:

20. THE CHARMES – The Charmes
Available at: Terno Inferno gigs, Fully Booked stores

The Charmes’ self-titled album wraps up a modern day version of garage rock with airtight austerity, its sheer energy apparent and solid right from the opening buzzsaw guitars of “You Gotta Be Kidding Me” to the angsty demeanor of “Plastic Scissors.” If this were early 2000s, it could have been gobbled up into a hypestorm, where they might be placed as top shelf guys responsible for the sudden resurgence of rock music filtered in fun, traditional style: stripped off synths and looping samples, no reverb-laden effects, zero laptop tricks. Just pure, dirty riffing monsters about to herald the second coming of Stones, Stooges and Velvet Underground.



19. HIDDEN NIKKI - Found
Available at: Terno Inferno gigs, Fully Booked stores

On first few spins, Hidden Nikki’s Found comes across as one of those pop-jazz records that appeal to a more contemporary crowd, a product tidied up on the edges, smoothened and manufactured for a potential crossover slant. But the more I engage myself to it, the more I end up discovering how good it actually is, and how little by little, it grows on you like an album grounded in sophistication and tender moments.



18. DIWA DE LEON – Memories On Two Strings
Available at: CD Baby online, Conspiracy Bar and Garden Cafe

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. Diwa’s new album, Memories On Two Strings is his love letter to the traditional instrument. Not surprising in an album filled with jams and mood-trotting ambient pieces, the Hegalong instrument 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.



17. RBTO – Inverse
Available at: Bandcamp (free download)

RBTO’s Inverse is a moody, hazed-up record filled with philosophical musings that sift life questions at microscopic levels, a theme he’d often associate with Thomas Young’s concept of Wave Theory of Light. But this doesn't pose as the weird, geeky internet rap of Kendrick Lamar’s Section.80 or just another all-star ensemble drowned in the excess of production. Surprisingly, RBTO has strong singles to boot in this quite eclectic hiphop compilation, from the casio-toned soulfulness of “Hermano” to the delicate environs of RH Xanders-assisted “Blue Light.” With the music so focused and constrained, Inverse shows a different side of RBTO, one that takes risks when everyone else is comfortable recycling composite, archaic shit.



16. ALESSANDRA DE ROSSI – Adrift
Available at: Last.fm (free download)

Loop after loop and layers of ambient minimalism in, it’s clear that Alessandra De Rossi wanted to encapsulate an imagery of dreams and poetic flutter on her solo music project, Adrift—a fine collection of vaguely airy, electro-pop songs built on homemade convenience. An inviting entrance to her world of sounds, Adrift is uniquely beautiful in conjuring womanly emotions and otherworldly frames, trading chilling artifice for something that’s flighty but organic, something that resembles the mechanical beat of breezy, midnight air and ocean waves.



15. J-HOON – Noodles
Available at: Pocket Universe, Vinyl On Vinyl, Capital G

Arranged on a sonic tableau that is dark, soulful and sensual, Noodles takes J-Hoon’s atmospheric, lingering hiphop compositions to a self-contained volume. Like intimate conversations in bed at 3’oclock in the morning, the minimal production and futurist beats complement J-Hoon’s small room aesthetics, fully committed to the idea that less is probably more. It seems to me that more than hatching creative run of impressive production work, J-Hoon is also receptive of unearthing sonic details outside his comfort zone, leaping from one genre to another as naturally as possible.



14. GLOC 9 – MKNM: Mga Kuwento Ng Makata
Available at: All record stores nationwide

Gloc 9 didn’t change the local hiphop landscape the way Francis and Andrew E did. He just made it more relevant and exciting, opening the doors for third world street poets and like-minded individuals to make socially relevant songs aimed at chart supremacy and still invoke public consciousness on matters that sought to elevate our understanding on the Filipino way of life. MKNM: Mga Kuwento Ng Makata, his sixth album to date, succeeds at tackling stories of the marginalized kind, getting people to think and hear what too often remains silent. As a storyteller with flair of immersing himself to the narrative, Gloc 9 for most of his part delivers spit-fire words that act upon life, viewed as the voice of the poor, urban Filipino youth whose lives are affected by limited economic means and social depravity. He acts as a unifying voice, a role he has taken upon since the release of his previous three albums.



13. LAMPARA – Lampara
Available at: Bandcamp

Copping post-punk feel with anthemic modern rock, Lampara’s self-titled debut album echoes ‘80s –era The Dawn and Joy Division with authentic pull of romantic angst and gloom. It’s sensitive enough to charm you, yet with songs that are as brash and immediate as your impulse, it aspires for something equally bigger as the band’s ambition, transcending their influences while recruiting everyone they find at the ballpark to mosh in their arena-sized mayhem. It may fit neatly with the current crop of new wave revivalists, even bearing the same slot of caffeinated lushness, but Lampara’s new album doesn't sound anything like a second-stringer. Not once does the album dip below electrifying. It’s a hard-rocking album worthy of the praise that it has received, and that’s all you need to know.



12. KIDSTUFF – Nothing But A Test
Available at: Cult Shit Media Blackout (free download)

Anyone who’s been following Francis Cabal’s solo work must know by now that he’s the type of guy whose fascination with lo-fi, fuzzy folk and intimate garage acoustics channel the ghost of Nick Cave and Nick Drake, and for all its worth, hearkens back to a time when music is equivalent of a memory you might have heard a long time ago, haunting you just as it was about to scream in warm fizz and reverb. His new solo record Nothing But A Test speaks volumes of his often conflicted and disconnected stories, an imperfect world wrapped in downtrodden blues and tragedies, only that it’s saved by melodies that pierce straight to the heart and frequencies that felt like distant radio signals beneath the surface. For both horror and hope, Francis makes music that howls of pervasive ease and lunacy. He keeps on going even if there’s no such thing as a finish line, because he knows that the world is a lonely place and that the only way to adapt is to write songs about it.



11. CIUDAD – Follow The Leader
Available at: Gigs, Amazon (online)

It’s different yes it’s different… It’s not the same old shit you know,” Amistoso shares on “You Know The Answer, Just Follow The Leader”. Everything about it reeks of maturity, heading towards a more studio-disciplined direction that might alienate old fans who adore their raw and carefree aesthetics. With the help of Jazz Nicholas, himself a self-confessed maximalist who made a Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band out of The Itchyworms’ Noontime Show, Mikey and the rest of the gang shows that they’ve finally come of age, offering love homilies and wisdom nuggets through the most basic pop syntax. Follow The Leader, Ciudad’s fifth studio album clings to a musical ambition that soars in twinkly bursts. Obviously it’s not my favorite Ciudad record, but Follow The Leader‘s approach of conveying timelessness and ambition, echoing familiar song forms of yesteryear’s golden age pop with unusual turns and quirks, ups the ante of Filipino music in terms of production style and musicality, a feat that makes this album a definite listen.



10. SWISSY– One Hour By The Bed, The Rest In My Head
Available at: Fully Booked stores

Following the 2008 debut release She Smiles which perfected her style to charismatic, jazzy pop-folk inflections, Swissy returns with a more confident rainy-day offering, a new album that lifts off on vanilla-lilt arrangements and late-night ambience. One Hour By The Bed, The Rest In My Head, a collection of heartfelt songs that took a really long time to make, contains evocative lyrics of nostalgia and young love, retaining the blissful confusion of her debut with moments lush and beautiful, but never less than daring. At its finest, One Hour By The Bed, The Rest In My Head shows Swissy picking her way carefully through the puzzles of relationships, as viewed through her soul and lens.



9. SIMILAR OBJECTS – OverSoulUrgy
Available at: Bandcamp (online)

Whatever’s going inside Jorge Wieneke’s mind is none of our business, but for sure, it’s something that would blow minds and woofers. OverSoulUrgy, another great addition to his ever-expanding discography, works like an abstract conquest to possibilities outside our emotional limits. This time, Jorge builds pastel-painted soundscapes in the sky, only to get shattered into crystal pieces that fall in agitating spirals and spikes. He deconstructs the very sonic fiber that defined his previous releases, twisting it into something that’s hardly grounded by words and social constructs. OverSoulUrgy leaves a lot of room for listeners to think about, a feeling that’s best approached in meditative doses.



8. DONG ABAY – Rebulto
Available at: Team Manila stores

Backed with skittering synthwork and subtle electronic flourishes that strike in between the ‘80s futurism of New Order and Kraftwerk and the cognitive-social poetic readings of Joey Ayala, Dong Abay teams up with studio producer Shinji Tanaka and esteemed musicians Raymond Marasigan and Buddy Zabala on a concept album that pays tribute to Jose Rizal. Straight and simple, Dong thought of how in a fictional account, the beloved historical figure would rise one day from its Luneta monument stillness and start giving his piece of mind on the country’s current social, cultural and political landscape. Fittingly titled Rebulto, Dong Abay takes his cue from where Jose Rizal’s renowned essay The Philippines, A Century Hence left off, presenting both a critique and homage on the National hero’s vision of the country after 100 years. “Matuto tayong magka-kalayaan,” he repeats in as many times as he could on the near end of “Rizal Day.” He does it with a mantra-like grind that questions how we Filipinos have lived a life of liberty clothed in neo-colonialism and globalization, compromising our unique indigenous culture to keep up with the pace of modernity. It’s in this fulcrum that he lays the foundation of Rebulto as red-printed afterthoughts pondering on the real essence of freedom, its strength tearing up the stereo with words that razor across critical thinking.



7. DASH CALZADO – Return of The Phunky Juan
Available at: OPM2go (online)

At its most sun-worshipping fun, Return of the Phunky Juan pulls off something that other local hiphop releases haven’t been able to do for a long time: create a living, breathing piece of urban oeuvre that is super funky fresh as it is restrained. Dash of Legit Misfitz returns with a solo album that isn’t about braggadocio or street mofo cred, expressing his craft instead with across-the-board appeal through catchy songs that mixes timeless soul with contemporary hiphop values, pattering an overwhelming sonic force that takes pride on Filipino culture and identity without the overbearing corniness that seemed to hound most records sharing the same vibe. Yes it reeks of artful ambition filled with a palette of delightful beats, soul-charged sonic struts, and samples that reference everything from New Orleans funk to Francis M, but Dash’s rap delivery offers something refreshing for both the ass and the mind, going worlds beyond words in a loosely fun way.



6. ENCOUNTERS WITH A YETI – Pilot
Available at: Terno Inferno gigs, Fully Booked stores

Encounters With A Yeti’s Pilot, their first record under Terno Recordings is anything but boundless and magical, an album constructed around a cinematic canvass that’s thoroughly unique even without words to paint them. At its best, Pilot throws some of the most beautiful post-rock moments I’ve heard in recent memory, sticking to lengthy instrumental compositions that wander into untapped realms and territories. With just a basic set-up—multiple guitars, drums, keyboards, and a bit of bass—they were able to create a singular sound that adjusts to emotional ambiguity, building into a marvelous swivel the vanishes in the horizon, only to come back with a rainbow drop that arcs from waterfalls to the other end of the city.



5. THE VENUS FLYTRAP COLLECTIVE – D’Wata
Available at: Bandcamp (online)

An album this wraithlike and powerful has to be doing something right. Under the guidance of Paolo Garcia a.k.a. Pasta Groove, D’Wata shapes up into ethereal experiments that make excellent use of soulful female voices and emotional strains stretched beyond limits. It’s a collage of kundiman sighs, world music murmurs, hiphop beats, electronic stomps, folk enigmas, record samples, and a tropical slur of soundscapes known and unknown to mankind, with Paolo stitching it together to form an earthy piece of sci-lab wonder rich with sybaritic images. While undeniably beautiful and weird, D’Wata designs a tribal feminine sound never before imagined, gorgeously orchestrated like a tribute to the women we all come to worship and love.



4. RICO BLANCO – Galactik Fiestamatik
Available at: All record stores nationwide

In his early years with Rivermaya, Rico Blanco was the introspective singer-songwriter who made bold pop hits that gush around Filipino sentimentality. Anthemic while carrying the tradition of touching many people’s lives, Rico tried to push the envelope of alternative rock to unimagined places. The songs he’s written were canonical additions to the OPM songbook, modern classics whose universal appeal bear semblance to The Eraserheads, only of the lesser wit and appeal. After a string of critical and commercial smashes, he left ‘Maya and released two solo efforts under his name. His latest experiment of some sorts,Galactik Fiestamatik showed what a wunderkind he is in terms of production and creative control. Bracing the sounds in his head with theatrical conceit, Rico explored uncertain futurism and indigenous culture, sometimes blurring the lines of these two opposites to come up with a Bowie-inspired zeitgeist that is both eclectic and puzzling. Here he tries to integrate martial beats of the Ati-Atihan kind with lush digital sounds and synth-pop, but he sticks to pop culture references when it comes to songwriting, a style that he’s never abandoned since the start of his career.

Galactik’s pan-global, genre-defying ambition says something about the direction Rico wants to pursue: a glittery stage persona dressed with vanguard reputation and mystique, not exactly in androgynous Ziggy bender, but more of a liberating force that represents the sillier end of art-pop. Sure it questions his relevance against trying times, but on Galactik Fiestamatik, Rico proves that he’s ready to drop everything in his closet and wear something that would shock us in the future, his music included.



3. BAGETSAFONIK – Bagetsafonik
Available at: Seventy7 Bar Timog, Vinyl On Vinyl

With its intelligible take on messed-up romance, Bagetsafonik’s sophomore album is a breakup diary at heart, showing how egos and insecurities could get in the way of relationships. Every song in the album deals with harrowing sadness, played like some sort of a mournful soundtrack about love won and lost. Ace Cada writes like the sensitive guy from that Gondry movie. It appears as if he scribbles sad bastard songs at the saddest time of the year, imposing self-exile in faraway place to get over an ex-lover. “Passing hours and days were written to be erased,” he confides in one of the songs in the album. Either he’s hell-bent on capturing our hearts while breaking it or he wants to convince us that nothing scars deeper than a love gone wrong.



2. ANG BANDANG SHIRLEY – Tama Na Ang Drama
Available at: Fully Booked Bonifacio Highstreet, Wide Eyed Records Shop (online)

Tama Na Ang Drama owes much of its greatness to the transcendent pop charm and immaculate production that Shirley tries to flaunt in sunshine drip-dry, combining big whiplash of fuzzy guitar noise with bright, euphoric pop hooks that could disarm even the most aggressive among terrorists. In their attempt to push the potentials of indie rock further outside the buffer zone, Shirley writes glowing confessionals that explore the subtler dynamics of young love. They rewrite everyone’s romantic story with equal grasp of reckless joy and wisdom, dreamlike and infinite you almost forgot it’s a sad album that climbs from headphones to tear your heart apart. In a year when the greatest local albums seemed to capture the dying embers of romantic relationships played out before our eyes, Shirley stands at the center of the field to get our attention, making sure that everybody’s all ears to hear their heart-warming stories that alternate between moments of happiness and pain, memorable as it cuts around the edges of your heart.



1. UP DHARMA DOWN – Capacities
Available at: Fully Booked stores, iTunes

Exquisitely crafted into timeless pop tapestry, Capacities billows and surges on tender moments that tend to look at love in an emotionally honest stride. One can’t help but compare it to Adele’s 21 and Joni Mitchell’s Blue, two breakup classics suffused with melancholy and soul, trying to conceal emotions even as it wrenches in pain. Unlike Adele’s scorned woman balladry or Mitchell’s tear-stained blues, Armi Millare finds the place where her broken heart truly belongs, seeking refuge in cold mountaintops while she sings, eyes closed, as if whispering gently to the moon. Here, Armi neither screams in neo-soul panic attacks ala Erykah Badu nor conveys heartbreak and pain in blustery screwed lung power. Instead, she allows the stripped down instrumentation to take the lead, her voice reduced to a cool breeze.

Veering away from the tranquil tone of the record, songs like “Kulang” and “Night Drops” embrace the abstraction and complexity of great art-pop with intricate blend of synthesizers and electronic beats. Both clutches into novel sonic ideas without losing its flair for chart crossover. The former bleeds with globe-spanning scads of ‘80s pop, more in the Talking Heads realm, while the latter basks in breathtaking night-glo experiments—think of a cross between M83 and The xx, crafting slumber party soundtracks inside a spaceship. Don’t be fooled though; it’s part of what makes Capacities an emotionally claustrophobic drama. Strip off the colossal experiments of these two tracks, and what you have are strings that connect the whole, a conceptual album that serves as unrelenting glimpse into relationship heaven and hell.



BEST FILIPINO TRACKS OF 2012 (60 - 41)
BEST FILIPINO TRACKS OF 2012 (40 - 21)
BEST FILIPINO TRACKS OF 2012 (20 - 1)
BEST FILIPINO ALBUMS OF 2012 (20 - 1)
BEST FILIPINO EPs OF 2012 (10 - 1)
BEST COVERS OF 2012 (10 - 1)

NEW TRACK: Skymarines - "There is a Light That Never Goes Out" (The Smiths Cover)

I'm still coming to terms with the fact that The Smith’s “There is a Light That Never Goes Out” will be covered over and over again over the course of the average lifetime. This fresh and vibrant cover from Davao-based electropop act Skymarines, however, has made such a fate more bearable (at the very least) for the simple reason that it is one of those few which feature soft, dreamy female vocals and a lovely backing that complements it well.

As you get wrapped in its produced beats, you also get stuck with a warm, fuzzy feeling that almost makes you want to skip through cotton candy-lined streets until you finally snap back into the song's lyrics which speak about destruction. Along with the realization that there's nothing peppy about being road-pizzaed by a bus, you'd also think that Skymarines and The Smiths are on rather dissimilar sides of the spectrum. The overlapping, heart-on-sleeve ride was incredibly teasing and romantic, though, that you wouldn't mind being taken again for another spin. via Klaris Chua

January 9, 2013

NEW TRACK: Identikit - "Me and My Japanese Bike"

“Is this some sort of a race I need to escape?” asks Sandy Buladaco on the catchy “Me and My Japanese Bike,” taking fuzzy, summer punk rock and beating it to all hell and emotional burnout. Considering its brief runtime, the song alternates between furious candy-coated bubble and giddy noise, sometimes twisting these two contrasting elements to pile up a bigger surf sound, crashing like ocean waves as it is about to wash out thick layers of fuzzed-out guitars and casio-toned synths in oblivion. Even Sandy can’t keep up with the sonic gallop. She catches her breath like a puppy finding its way home, singing about disappointments and heartbreak in a world that doesn’t give a single fuck about what she says. Give this awesome, solid stuff some love and stream it below:

NEW TRACK: Black Sheep Boy - "Morning After Pill"

I’m not exactly sure what this means, but there’s a seductive allure about how Black Sheep Boy redefines ‘90s slow jam with introspective, post-millennial approach. In its own darkroom drama, “Morning After Pill” takes us to the hazy aftermath of infidelity, a night-time R&B lament that finds itself drowning in melancholic sendoff. Entwined with cold, shuddered atmosphere and drugged sonics reminiscent of How To Dress Well’s nocturnal internet-soul, Black Sheep Boy sings in near tears, unmistakably stuck in the trappings of post-coital affection. “I’m afraid to wake you up cause your dreams feel more real than me,” he confides as he looks at the girl sleeping next beside him.  Pump this jam on full volume and prepare a tissue for a great ugly-cry. Stream the track below:

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