March 31, 2013

ALBUM REVIEW: Gaijin - Sunday Kodama (2013)

Playing straight-up rock n’ roll music was an even greater risk than it was four decades ago. Today, everybody wants to thicken and complicate their material with complex ideas and some messianic level of theatricality and experiments, ditching the punk vigor and slacker looseness of what made classic rock, classic in the first place.

But what better way to revive the glorious days of “less is more” mantra than with a garage-rock record articulating romantic frustrations in the most frivolous and enjoyable way possible. Gaijin’s new album, Sunday Kodama imposes these conventions with a goddamn Spaghetti Western-feel and poetic songwriting. They rock at a controlled volume without trooping on weirder, outsider sensibilities, yet they still manage to play around catchy, two-chord riffs and indelible pop hooks that have loose, wandering qualities to it.

Track opener “Gintong Sala” seems eager to fill the stereo space with an ambient guitar jam resembling the perfect score to a Texan thriller set somewhere in the dusting roads of nowhere, with its sparse, trad blues instrumentation stretching over quiet tension and snoozer honky-tonk. It jumpstarts the mood of the album into the introspective territory, eventually giving breathing space to catchy stompers “Just Like This” and “Monster Ball,” both of which grounded in classic rock and post-punk grit, mining ragged sounds that make greatness sound so easy and effortless.

Gaijin’s brand of slacker love anthems is in lean fighting form all throughout the record and it’s impressive to hear the band take this element a little further into the dirtier side of the pit, with the same vital, driving energy and earnestness heard in the way they render songs into high octane live performances. In what could be their best songs to date, “Soft Spoken” and “Parachutes” invest on this strength by combining solid pop songcraft with raw-powered riffage and hard-hitting drums, keeping the momentum fleeting as it rolls against the tides of time.

There’s a timeless quality in Sunday Kodoma that felt widely misplaced in an era dominated by manufactured pop machines and eccentric chiptunesmithery about to rule the world in a single mouse click. The way they rehash rock n’ roll at the wrong place and time, within the confines of bruised guitars and skins, makes the entire effort a bold act in itself. Sunday Kodoma might sound old school to some, but it’s is just too good and addicting to be missed out. Don’t say you weren’t warned.  B+

March 30, 2013

ALBUM REVIEW: Spazzkid - Desire (2013)

There is no point in contention when it comes to electronic music being a groundbreaking event in the local scene. Last year alone, we saw an epiphany of breakthrough producers and artists delivering their finest opuses one after the other. It brought about a collective consciousness to most artists, deviating from and mixing innovative ideas to their traditional ways, welcoming change, thus upping the level of everyone's game.

California-based Filipino producer Mark Redito, a.k.a. Spazzkid, has been pottering, mixing, and experimenting with electronic music since 2005. 9 EPs after, he is lauded as one of the best in the scene. His deft production style, shaped by lo-fi grit and lithe electro-pop, has been picked up by international music blogs and coevals. On April 9, he will be releasing his latest album, Desire, which he considers as his 'best sounding album' and 'best effort yet'—citing Bibio's 2011 album, Mind Bokeh and his Soundcloud peers as inspiration.

Combining what sounds like torrential wave of Western beaches, summer solstice, East Asian autumns, and cherry blossoms, even—Desire is like a film score of enthralling landscapes and seasons, but fundamentally focuses on inner yearning. It gravitates around human desires, each track echoing different facets of longing but ultimately bears mutual significance to each other. Only, Spazzkid dresses them with his own brand of warm melodies and aesthetics. His capability to exhibit the zealous nature of our covert feelings while not falling prey to copious, lidded pop elements maintains the balance of it.

Spazzkid greets us with a chiptune ditty, “Getting To Know You” then proceeds to his sparse tracks, “Kokeshi Doll,” “40 Winks,” and “Marquez”—a personal favorite. “Loving Free” bursts with fuzzy elysian tones, while a more intimate lovestruck vibe encompasses “Candy Flavored Lips,” a hazy R&B number featuring Davao-based act, Skymarines.

Another favorite is “Forgiveness,” a gorgeous serenade well-placed in the middle of the album, which also features a sample of an old OPM classic. It anchors a weighty amount of exalted feelings, and might as well be an ode to a widely missed Manila sound. “If Not You Then Who” resonates the epilogues of Asian melodramas, a progressive cadence that punctuates the 42-minute album with a graceful flourish.

It only goes without saying, it's Spazzkid's best effort indeed! And we couldn't wait for another round of burgeoning, genre-defying electro-pop on his future releases.

Support Spazzkid's continued efforts to bringing the best in electronic music by participating in his fundraiser here, which will run until April 1st. You can also score limited merchandise, including his EP Desire in cassette format by Portland's Purr Tapes. The 8-track digital album will also be out on April 9.  A- 
via Mary Christine Galang

March 25, 2013

NEW TRACK: Coexist - "Bouvier"

It seems like the trend in music nowadays is for artists to make things as unclear as possible. Songs are filled with ambiguous messages – cryptic lyrics alluding to something or other – and the dawn of electronic instruments has added countless filters and effects to the sounds musicians make.

Chillwave is the miracle child of this movement – some describe it as pop music on pot, swallowed by the sea, and washed up on the shore two weeks later. Luckily for us, the local scene doesn’t lag behind in this department, and is home to several exciting acts. Coexist (Ethan Namoch) is the latest artist to jump on the wave, and he does so with a subtle electronic sensibility. His latest track, "Bouvier," plays like a lazy summer day on the beach. The melody is heavily filtered and the lyrics are barely comprehensible, yet it all comes together nicely in a hazy torrent of sound. The track is futuristic and effect-laden, but it manages to be warm and melancholy at the same time.

As chillwave is a relatively new genre, most artists who identify with it need some polishing. That said, artists like Coexist are starting to give the genre a little direction locally. And no matter how unclear the music itself seems, one thing is certain: chillwave is here to stay, and we couldn’t be happier about it. via Joey Gutierrez

NEW VIDEO: Earthmover - "Two"

You probably shouldn’t spend time overthinking on a music video littered with stylistic approaches to introspection or maybe, the lack of it. But in the case of Earthmover’s “Two,” you’re compelled to examine the cinematic reel to nowhere and beyond, the troubling melancholia as seen in the lead character’s eyes. Director Sari Cruz is brilliant at capturing the mood and feel of someone literally drowning on his own personal debacles, sending mixed messages with a hint of grim.

It’s easily one of the most interesting local videos of the year. And it helps that the visual companion somehow matches Earthmover’s brand of atmospheric, proggy post-rock, devoting to moods and moments, and everything in between.

March 24, 2013

NEW TRACK: Library Kids - "White Winter Hymnal" (Fleet Foxes Cover)

The sense of magic in The Library Kids’ version of Fleet Foxes’ “White Winter Hymnal” lies on how they managed to maintain the hushed simplicity and wistfulness of the original while stuffing air-tight vocal harmonies with guitar-keyboard pop. It definitely sounds like those summer balmy nights in the tropics, and even when they’re going the delicately minimalist route, their version aspires for greater altitude.

Ridge and Ifrit sang effortlessly, light and above breeze, unveiling genuine surprises and moments of both beauty and despair. And in this chemistry, we get to hear their blending coalesce so smoothly, it’s almost difficult not to get smitten by the song's graceful charm. Watch it below, fellas:

March 23, 2013

ALBUM REVIEW: Identikit - Out Of The Floodways and Into Your Homes (2013)

It makes perfect sense that after 4 years and an EP, Identikit have finally mastered their unique brand of messily catchy guitar-rock sound covered with thick layers of scuzz, shoegazery feedback and heavy riffs. And on their debut album, Out Of The Floodways And Into Your Homes, they’re not scared as shit to turn candy-coated noise and excess into pure pop pleasure. Honey, this is how you design a nervous breakdown in a fashionably sweet but in-your-face affair, delivered in full volume, perpetually stuck between confectioner goodness and your Tito’s Sonic Youth CD collection.

You could practically hear solid gold moments crawling out of Identikit’s new album, and it comes out with the kind of explosion that blasts in front of you without warning. “Weird Just Friends” thrives on this strength with infectious arrangements and driving rhythms. It opens the record on a caffeinated note, towering 12-stories high of galloping rage and a lonely heart. Its Sputnik Sweetheart fuzz-punk romance is carried over on “Skeptics” and first single “Me and My Japanese Bike,” drawing strength from Sandy Buladaco’s isolationist-as-sad lyrics and the way it’s gloriously cemented into some form of an upbeat menace.

There’s something quite morose in Sandy’s songwriting tone that emanates from the dark corners of the room, desperately seeking for comfort and affection without screaming out loud for attention. But there's emotional restraint even in her sadness; she sings about unrequited love and yearning while ending it all too soon with a painful goodbye. Without turning back, without lingering on the drama. This earnestness, as caught between heartbreak and finding the strength to begin picking up the pieces, is pretty much heard on Out Of The Floodways and Into Your Homes, articulated, let alone shared in ways relatable to everyday human experience. Songs like “Celebrations” and “Peach” emit this vibe as it scrapes against the speaker and goes out of your room with cursory ferocity, with the latter revealing an exquisitely bittersweet farewell to a ho-hol, mo-mol affair.

“Dysfunctional” keeps the mood on an even sadder perspective, tackling the dynamics of abusive relationships with poignancy that breaks your heart. A torch ballad shaped by its ethereal shoegaze figure, it radiates with warmth despite its sensitive subject. “Hello Mr. Brown” ends the album on an eviscerating note, slowly working its way to your headspaces with no signs of leaving, at all. It’s easily one of my favorite tracks in the album, an alt-rock gem that despite its bruised sentiments, still managed to fill the air with optimism and extended instrumentation that bursts in a cold, midnight fireworks display.

Sans the post-rock fillers and ethereal ambient-pop remixes, Identikit’s Out Of The Floodways And Into Your Homes comes closest to sounding perfect and vulnerable all at the same time, with its fragile moments that remind us of how painful sometimes love can be. In another artist’s hand, this could come off as too depressing. With Sandy’s top-shelf songwriting and the band’s penchant for noisy but genuine earmworms, it definitely makes a huge difference. 5 years from now, it won’t be surprising to look back to this record and see it as essential to Identikit’s discography.  A-  

March 21, 2013

NEW TRACK: Lucas - "2k Ok"

There’s been a deluge of breakout artists from Davao City lately, from dream-pop duo Skymarines to singer-songwriter chanteuse Jad Montenegro, with an attempt to put the city back to music history map once stamped by the likes of Joey Ayala, Cynthia Alexander and Bayang Barrios—all highly respected folk luminaries that influenced a bunch of musicians to write their own material and get heard, at all cost. And then, there’s Lucas—a newbie indie rock outfit whose fuzzy, feel-good garage rock sound and inherent youthful charm could excite the hormonal teenager in us.

Their new track “2k Ok” takes their beloved fuzz back into the ‘90s, stirring up Britpop candy out of catchy riffs, twilight vocal harmonies, and sweet melodies that sound drunk on love and the feeling it exudes. The songwriting is deceptively simple and fresh, with an ingenious way of turning romantic sentiments into something bigger than emotions. “It’s you and me, it’s you and me,” mantra-speaking, it’s everything we all want to hear. And Lucas brings all these possibilities to seep through our dreams with their own brand of love bug.

March 19, 2013

NEW TRACK: The Ringmaster - "The Reference"

One of Francis Lorenzo’s well-known talents is his ability to weave romantic narratives with emotionally charged honesty. Every word that came out of his mouth paints scenes of warm details and touching vignettes, with the instrumentation perfectly shaping up into comforting intimacy that not even willful forces can break.

The Ringmaster’s new track “The Reference” picks up right where his previous material left off, marching on the same emotional threading with quiet, somber moments and open spaces. It starts off with a slow piano figure, then followed by sparse electronic beats and strings that build and sprawl into dramatic fireworks lighting up the sky with your heart on it. It’s a rewarding experience, really. With every swooning melodies and poetic wordsmithery, Francis makes sure that the emotional spectrum feels much spacious and expansive this time, plumbing emotional depths in the way you've never expected it to be.

March 18, 2013

NEW TRACK: Frills x Nick Lazaro - "SLT​/​DVSN"

Although Candy Gamos of Frills has only released two tracks so far, she seemed to be so generous to allow a random producer take a chameleon approach in brewing a particular sound for her to fit in, gobbling out and spitting sonic palettes that she’d wear proud, depending on the weather outside or the mood she’s into. On “Dreamboy,” Ernest Aguila makes the most of the icy stillness and yearning in Candy’s voice, employing chilled bedroom production with an equal pull of menace and sadness. It’s post-internet pop with brooding textures and tossed off vocals that sound hazily distant and cold, kind of like Aluna George finally ended up collaborating with Purity Ring.

Nicholas Lazaro on the other hand, takes exactly the opposite route on “SLT / DVSN.” The light synth-pop gloss sits right where Candy’s sparkly coo meets J-pop obsession. Nick throws puffy rainbow stickers and Kool-Aid confetti in the streets and wastes no time recruiting Candy to be the cheerleader of the pact, delivering bubbly, hands-in-the-air euphoria while hinting at an even more youthful vibe. Download the track here.

March 17, 2013

NEW TRACK: Cut-Up Imagery - "Best Foot Forward"

It’s refreshing to hear Cut-up Imagery’s feathery brand of twee-pop set to ‘90s Eurodisco euphoria, recounting suburban melodrama with the night-time rush of cityscape beats and sweetly arpeggiated synth arrangements. You could easily feel the Saint Etienne spirit running through their blood as if it’s a living, breathing part of the band’s experience.

On their debut track “Best Foot Forward,” CUI builds on the foundation of this glimmering aesthetics. It makes for an invaluable addition to any music fan embracing the clubby, strobe-lit end of indie-pop—secretly wishing Kylie Minogue or Goldfrapp would listen to a Belle & Sebastian record and call it a day. As should be expected, the track coasts along a chilled cruising altitude, exploring the icy warmth of dreamscapes filled with yearning, melancholia and a little bit of dancing on the side. Download the track here.

March 14, 2013

NEW TRACK: Similar Objects Feat. August Wahh x Allan Malabanan - "Saquasohuh"

Summer is closing in, according to the weather authorities (though only technically, because the temperature doesn't lie). People scurry to the nearest beach, pool, or even just the mall, which is perfectly normal in this sweltering heat. But sometimes, plugging your earphones and playing the right songs can douse the heat almost all the same.

It's still hazy as to when one of our favorite local beat smiths, similarobjects, will drop his new album, ~tilde. Meanwhile, we are being treated with this brand new track called “Saquasohuh,” featuring August Wahh of Chocolate Grass on vocals and Allan Malabanan on bass. Employing his finesse production skills on hemming the best possible electronic music can deliver, he also played to the strengths of the svelte vocals and distinct bass bumps, tailoring a lithe and breezy end product. It's so lavishly refreshing and vivid, you can almost feel the grainy sand under your toes, waves rolling in, and the sun kissing your skin with tender warmth. via Mary Christine Galang

NEW TRACK: Mic - "Halfway Drunk"

If there’s one hiphop rookie we’re betting our money on this year, it would have to be emcee/producer Mic. Even on the hands-in-the-air urb anthem “Halfway Drunk,” he isn’t trying to be anyone’s concept of an idyllic Fliptop superstar or a well-versed coño rapper. He’s every strand unique and gifted, trying to bring back the prime years of early ‘90s hiphop with contemporary verve and restraint.

The production, which he helmed himself, shows his monumental affection for criminally smooth beats as shown in his previous demos, swathed of deep funky drums, vintage keys and uncanny samples. His flow, devoid of theatricality and rapid-fire cadence, remains incredibly polished and confident. It’s the kind of stuff you’d play all summer long, bursting forth with a hook that temporarily glues on your feet, everywhere you go. Stream it below:

March 13, 2013

NEW TRACK: Cymo - "Escape"

Until now, Cymo were easily identified by their sugar-coated and melodic jazz-pop style, with a bit of Everything But The Girl and The Cardigans sprinkled on the sunny side. Although they’re fun and easy to listen to, which somehow allowed a hint of brightness to glow every single time they perform on stage, Cymo have always employed solid musicianship and clever arrangements in the way they make music no matter how pretty conventional it may sound.

“Escape” gives life to this claim. Its discernible hooks and charming lyrics are stuff of female-fronted 90s alt-rock, made even more strikingly crisp with introverted melancholy applied in the singing. Truth be told, you’d recognize hints of despair and longing beneath their upbeat, shiny pop surface, a conflicting mesh that weirdly enough, translates into a wistful mood quite applicable to their style. It’s this awkward, slightly sadsack prettiness that gives the song its unique push though, a quality that they might want to develop in their future songwriting sessions. Stream the track below:

via ndfy.me

March 12, 2013

NEW TRACK: Shuriken - "325 (IQ Mix)"

Ferociously uninviting punk rock reclaimed with feminine confidence is what modern rock needs today. And Shuriken, with their grasp of confrontational attitude, hold some rare kind of grit and beer-soaked sexiness that’s long been missing in the scene these days.

Their new track “325” pretty much defines what they’re capable of, good or bad-- conjuring the torturous riot grrrl wail while also mining the noisier side of classic rock with every bit of emotionally naked femininity present within reach. There’s a primal urgency to it that’s purely inescapable all year round. You can hear modern rock riffs evolve clearly into blistering wall of proggy noise and directionless sonic assault, pile driving drum fills that sustain its energy before the instrumental kick, and of course, short but sweet—Valine Evangelista’s compelling vocal performance that would easily remind you of Corin Tucker in her Sleater-Kinney days. Even the staunchest pundits could find something arresting in Shuriken’s new jam, especially with how the band made good use of raw confidence that’s both rough and chaotic on edges.

NEW TRACK: The Ringmaster - "Merry Frolics of M'lady"

It’s difficult not to notice the ambition and dramatic ferociousness of The Ringmaster’s new track “Merry Frolics of M’lady.” Francis echoes the strained grit of Billy Corgan’s tone—beautiful and doomed, leaning towards childlike space angst. And in what could be an entire stretch, Francis  lets his vocals glide and soar over an alt-rock sprawl of volcanic proportions, turning moments of indulgence into a kind of experience that’s phenomenally cathartic, it almost felt like you've dropped your heart somewhere without even noticing it. Stream it below:

March 10, 2013

NEW TRACK: The Gentle Isolation - "Sea Horses"

The Gentle Isolation (TGI) comes out with deft musical arrangement and massive appeal on their new release, a cover of Blueboy’s 1992 original "Sea Horses." The song that was written more than two decades ago gets a new breath of life from this promising pop-rock quartet.

You may not have ever seen the band’s name on promotions or in your favorite bars – they have had difficulty finding the time to play gigs and publicize themselves – but their recorded material, judging by this track at least, should be enough to tickle your fancy in the meantime. TGI’s cover of Blueboy’s single has an entirely different feel; you can hear the poise and hopeful energy injected into every note of the song.

That energy reveals itself through the sheer simplicity of the music. The guitarist plucks single repetitive notes throughout the track; the percussion and bass tracks are straightforward; and the vocals, bright as they are, are unassuming. Even the cover art is minimalist, featuring a blue watercolor boy (a subtle homage to the songwriters) against a stark white backdrop. Some listeners would understandably liken the band to Deerhoof without all the experimentation, or Barbie’s Cradle with less emoting. Amid that simplicity, however, lies the beauty of TGI’s style – it’s optimistic, catchy, pure, and vibrant.

The same can be said about their other recordings. Check out their studio material on Youtube or Bandcamp (free downloads!), and the volume of followers they have from around the world. That isn’t too surprising considering the quality of their tracks. This song in particular, we hope, is a message from the band to the listeners: “don’t cry, don’t sigh, there’s more to me than you think.” Keep it coming, TGI. Download the track here.
via Joey Gutierrez

March 9, 2013

NEW TRACK: FXXXYBLNT - "Window Water Baby Moving"

For those attuned to the ever-changing trends of Manila indie scene, you’ll notice the sudden shift from guitar-based, twee-cooing bands to bedroom producers with inventive approach to sounds, sometimes connecting the detached lines between pop music and the experimental through a laptop. You’ve been living under a rock if you haven’t immersed your ears to these new subgenres/micro-genres that have mushroomed from 2-5 years ago—chillwave, glo-fi, PBR&B, witchhouse, trap, seapunk, post-dubstep—all strained, electronic-based labels knobbed with a particular style or mood, all birth child of producer-based music.

FXXXYBLNT, the newest wunderkind in the emerging Filipino producer bloc, assumes his role with ethereal, slightly spooking approach, willing to make a statement in his uncompromising blend of post-R&B, bass music and chilled electronica. His debut single “Window Water Baby Moving” announces its own presence in such a laid-back fashion: blurry slice of vocal samples dripping over James Blake-meets-Timbaland warp-pop aesthetics, water-rippling sonics jumping in the air only to fizzle and fade, and some idiosyncratically unclassifiable moments that you’re not sure where in the vastness of celestial energies it sprang from. Only time can tell whether his stamp on producer-based music will keep him on the loop, but judging from the first single, this guy’s got some banging ideas that stretch the boundaries of electronic music in a 3-minute bump and grind. Download the track here.

March 7, 2013

SUNSET DAYDREAM: A Summer Mixtape

Summer is finally here, so what better way to celebrate it than compiling dreamy, sun-drenched jams that could accompany you on beach parties and long highway drives, or for the most part—give you that sense of euphoric, livened up feeling to last a day of outdoor activities. The Filipino indie tunes featured in this mixtape, as carefully sequenced for feel and flow, are meant to be cherished in continuous play. They work better as soundtrack than mood-setters, each with a story to tell, a beat to dance, and a memory that lasts an entire summer. Grab it as keepsake of everything  that's fun this summer and blast this off, loudly while you walk at the beach on your own, without having to worry about anything around you.

Download the Mixtape HERE for free.

01 SpazzkidMagical Oahu
02 No RomeDance With Me
03 KaapiNEveryone’s The Same
04 CerumentricThere Goes The Floor
05 Plant A Tree Feat. Glaiza De CastroPNP4
06 Similar ObjectsTheyDream
07 IdentikitPeach
08 The JuliensCamp 2011
09 Bagetsafonik - Silverstar
10 Bee EyesDasma Girl
11 A Problem Like MariaWhen You’re Sober
12 The CharmesIt’s Your Heart I Don’t Trust
13 Spirit OceanIn The Afternoon
14 Skymarines Baby I’m Not Sure If This Is Love
15 Theories of SweetnessEuphosphor
16 Outcasts of the UniverseOpen Hearts (Absorbed and Disposed)
17 Conclave Melted
18 The Gentle Isolation Sea Horses
19 The SleepyheadsYin Yang Song
20 The Satellites Disco

March 6, 2013

NEW TRACK: No Rome - "Rock With You" (Michael Jackson cover)

Filipino glo-fi nerd No Rome has shaped up to become one of the most promising discoveries of the Sound-cloud era. Even in his early incarnation as CHRK, he’s been doing intriguingly hazy dance-pop demos that spill watercolor palette to the ears. Recently, he uploaded a transfixing bedroom cover of Michael Jackson’s “Rock With You”—yes, that big pop song brimming with evocative moments only MJ can pull off. It turns out No Rome’s version have employed interesting details that somehow highlight the tight pop structure and brevity of the original, adding a bit of mid-80s light funk rhythms and laid-back synths to the brim and injecting his own chilled down persona to make it sound, absolutely his. Check out his take and download it here.

March 5, 2013

NEW VIDEO: Ruby Ibarra - "Guess Who"

Ruby Ibarra’s Lost In Translation mixtape introduced a breakout hiphop talent sharpened by time and experience, determined to show the world that the genre isn’t all about style and swag, but also about maintaining a balance between substance and lyrical dexterity. From the feminist anthem “Guess Who” to the crowd favorite “Nonconceptual,” Ibarra proves to be an immensely intelligent, once-in-a-generation rapper that we’ve been hoping to crossover mainstream.

The latter, whose video is already out in the interwebs, brings back that wave of raw, living punch that comes from the pain and struggles of being a woman, a rallying cry that addresses the issue of relationship abuse and misogyny without being too abrasive about it. While Ibarra, as suggested by her recent interview with Yo! Radio, refuses to be boxed as a “female MC” because there’s no need to segregate rap from a whole bunch of micro-terms, she’s very much keen on inspiring young women out there to fight for what they believe in, and that they too, can get aboard in enacting change by starting with themselves. Watch the video below:

NEW TRACK: Chocolate Grass - "Roots" (Produced by Pasta Goove)

Imagine Jill Scott or Erykah Badu trekking the tropical mountains for spiritual conquest, and you’re pretty close to listening to Chocolate Grass’ new track “Roots”—a slow-burning, neo-soul jam that immerses you to a sensual and otherworldly experience. Soul diva Abs Haw captures the joys and pathos of an Earth woman, singing about the fulfillment of connecting to her ancestral roots and finally coming to full circle, spiritually. Her backing band, with the aid of prolific hiphop producer Pasta Groove, on the other hand, crafts a beautifully woven tapestry of languid, smooth beats and esoteric rhythms—shaping the music into a mythical ornament that floats in space. Check this gorgeous piece of work here:

March 4, 2013

NEW TRACK: Conclave Feat. Luxe Calip - "Ocean Star"

No, you’re not hearing Lana Del Rey vocal samples dipped into shimmering acid. Instead, it’s upcoming Filipina singer Luxe Calip taking the spotlight—often sharing the deep-toned, velvety seduction of Del Rey’s singing, but far removed from its artifice as she struggles and sings about the passing of her mother, half-doomed and hopeful. Prolific beatsmith Conclave captures Luxe’s gothic melodrama in a bottle, and with a magic in his hand, transforms the entire act into an uplifting electro-pop gem that arrives with some level of lilt and elegance. Stream it below:

March 2, 2013

NEW TRACK: The Sleepyheads - "Nights Without You"

Never had The Sleepyheads swirled quite like this: tremendously sophisticated ‘60s pop straight from a sing-along jukebox, stripped down guitars made to capture the perfect atmosphere of eternal summer and romance, and that singing voice—Jayvee pulling off his Brian Wilson or Glen Campbell, serenading all the lovely ladies out there with a love song that melts your heart away. Some say out of heartbreak or falling in love comes the sincerest form of music, and with The Sleepyheads’ new track “Nights Without You,” you bet there’s some truth about it. Download the track here.

NEW VIDEO: Karl Milherb Da 3rd - "Gold Facet"

Idris Vicuna makes the artiest, low-budge hallucinogenic videos this side of the tropicalia, and on Karl Milherb Da 3rd’s new single “Gold Facet,” he liquefies screen space with a kaleidoscope of abstract images and strobe-like circles, its overall effect straddling somewhere between nightmarish trance and free-form trip. Regardless of the visual accompaniment, the Similar Objects-produced track still sounds beast to me, with Karl throwing some sick, rapid-fire rhymes effortlessly over out-of-body soundscapes. Watch it:

NEW TRACK: Arvie Bartolome - "Maze of Love and Ruin"

Yes, this is exactly the sound of a depressed man spending all his recovery years in a tightly locked studio, harnessing the textural infinity of the guitar sound and its impact on a song trapped in its own emotional vacuity. Arvie Bartolome emits this sense of mastery, one that speaks of experience and breadth. But he made it look like he's accidentally slipped into the dirty, psychedelia-droned territory, and when he trips, from one to another, it felt like we, listeners are pulled from the hiccups of his personal meltdowns and frustrations too, intriguingly dealing with it while we allow the swirling pool of distorted guitars get into our head and bleed. Interestingly, it feels great after a while, a form of release to some extent. “So goodbye then to a towed glum.. I just wander, all is fine," the experience, caught in words, radiates.

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