June 20, 2013

NEW TRACK: Moscow Olympics - "Alphonsine"

Interfaced with sonic possibilities that have nothing to do with the real world, Moscow Olympics’ new track “Alphonsine” paints dreamy, abstract images of summer escapades and nature trips in the countryside. You can actually feel the wistful sensation of otherworldly bliss from a distance, the sunny shoegazer instrumental floating and stumbling from side to side, mining hazy guitar soundscapes that imply something magical is about to happen.

NEW VIDEO: The Ringmaster - "Parallel To My Universe"

The Ringmaster finds his sanctuary yet again on sparse triphop-laden ballads carved from the relics of ‘90s icons Billy Corgan, Moby, Portishead and Bjork. On his new single “Parallel To My Universe,” the sensitive gent delivers what we’ve come to expect from him: minimalist elegiac pop shaped by electronic trickles and hypnotic strings, bending his own voice on haunting evocations of heartbreak and angst.

The best moment in the song comes when Francis felt completely defenseless to his intense emotions despite the effort to harbor a relaxed, carefree vibe. Held in dazed gasps, he could only murmur “you don’t have the right to find me” and do away with any grand gesture of melancholy to hide from the world that he’s hurting inside, bleeding in the deep as the music swells in moody calmness and lush, orchestral ambience.

June 18, 2013

NEW TRACK: Lexi Hex - "15"

When Lexi Hex dropped her debut single “15” yesterday, a surplus witch-rap opus that combines industrial gear-grind with cutesy feminist drill, the internet netherworld breath down on its neck with heavy anticipation, even going to as far as christening the Cult Shit Media muse, the next big thing. Lexi sounds like a screechy, underage chick who loves warehouse sex and bloody sect rituals, far removed from the prim and proper aura of her contemporaries. But it’s when she raps over trap beats, repetitive yowls, and synthetic noise (Kanye West’s Yeezus, anyone?) that her personality transforms into bad-assery that barely falters, ticked with a lot of weirdness that would make you scratch your head, and say “wait a minute, this joint is fuckin’ sick and legit.” We told you so. Download it here.

June 17, 2013

NEW TRACK: Grandi Oso - "Blue Ruin"

Built from glistening piano lines and subtle orchestral ornaments, Grandi Oso reveals swivel of heartbreak, brood and ambition on “Blue Ruin.” Not every band can capture such understated complexity, supplemented by some breathtaking chamber-pop arrangements that bring to mind The National and Leonard Cohen at their most downtrodden. Grandi Oso mines this time-worn template so effortlessly while allowing free flow of sparser, mind-swept moments to spread and grow diamonds all over your ears. It felt as if modern rock has gradually ascended to baroque territory, leaving room for calm and grandiosity to meet halfway and create a beautiful offspring.

June 14, 2013

NEW TRACK: KaapiN - "Taxi Taxi"

Rarely can you hear an electronic track rip through depth and menace with such radical confidence. On “Taxi Taxi,” KaapiN extract the aforementioned asset with spazz-raver sonics and sinister piano riffs plucked from the glitchy end of homemade dance music. This time though, they’re not afraid to let the beat and aggression pound on pummeling levels. While KaapiN have taken a sinister direction on most of their songs, “Taxi Taxi” retains all the weirdness and edge of its sonic fibers with post-apocalyptic approach, brewing a magnet of storming assaults suited for goth proms.

June 13, 2013

NEW TRACK: June 12 - "Big Beautiful Country"

The kind folks at Bomba Press recently unearthed an obscure kundiman gem from the ‘70s by Leyte-based folk trio, JUNE 12. “Big Beautiful Country,” a track that’s been making rounds in the internet for the past few hours, sounds breathtakingly stunning in its lazy daydream harmonies and stripped folk instrumentation. I know it’s too early to tell, but this song fits just as nicely into the Filipino music canon of undiscovered rarities. Listening to this song on repeat just makes you appreciate life even more. Download it here.

NEW TRACK: Boogie Romero - "These Thoughts"

Stuck between the indie-folk odelay of Elliott Smith and the 60’s pop of The Byrds, Boogie Romero’s new single “These Thoughts” bristles with wistful acoustic tones that roll in the warmth of the afternoon breeze, finding its solace in stripped down arrangements and mesmeric vocal harmonies. The gentle basement-folk motif and graceful whimsy play an integral part to the song’s charm, but its windswept, simple melodies carry much of its weight to the cozy, golden path. Beautiful and disarming, it merits layers upon layers of repeated listens. Stream it below:

June 12, 2013

NEW TRACK: Dash Calzado Feat. Syke and Bambu - "Prestihiyosa"

Dash Calzado assembles an all-star hiphop crew for the Independence Day tribute track “Prestihiyosa.” Produced by Pino G. Abenturero, this banging opus doesn’t shy away from the nationalist eloquence of Dash’s recent singles, displaying the kind of maturity and street-savvy brilliance that you’d expect from a celebrated hiphop veteran.

Equally great are the compelling verses delivered by some of the country’s most respected MCs, from Syke’s graceful, vintage flow to Bambu’s well-articulated hustle. Their contributions somehow propelled the track with added resonance, its meaning transcending over arena-rock guitars and amped up fuzz.

NEW TRACK: Brandon Cueto - "Feeling You"

Brandon Cueto’s “Feeling You” plucks that familiar bass-driven chill in the wee hours of the evening. With a nary a false note, he creates a sonic haven for us to get lost in, conjuring sublime moments with the smallest of  ideas. And in case you’ve heard that familiar trinket of chopped vocals, it’s actually a sample of Moonwlk’s internet smash “Choose Me," processed and smoothed out like delicious cherry on top.

NEW VIDEO: Nouvul Feat. Miki Hahn - "Hopes Up"

How can you not adore a typical romantic video rendered in neon-washed, 8bit goodness?

The official clip for Nouvul’s R&B come-on “Hopes Up,” basks in the retro vibe of ‘90s computer games, indirectly paying tribute to one’s good old childhood. As much as the treatment revolves around Jorge Wieneke seemingly focused on his computer screen, there lies the motive that got him inspired to complete the game: he needs to fight through hell and mud to save his princess, played by the lovely and svelte Miki Hahn, who in return, also sings over the actual track. It all plays out like the antithesis to the radio cult hit “Dota o ako,” minus the legit patok-jeepney mix. Watch it:

June 11, 2013

NEW VIDEO: Eyedress - "Nature Trips"

Watching all Eyedress’ music videos one at a time can keep your optic nerves crammed up at least for an entire day. For all its neon-acid glow and isolationist beauty, his videos are more than just about “quirky and interesting storylines mainly featuring hot fashionable women who are either slightly deranged or high on drugs,” as recently pointed out by this blog. It has this rare poignant quality to it that makes every details or facial expression an eventful mapping of Eyedress’ scribbled history—his loneliness and inner struggles, his broken heart removed for the public to see.

Count “Nature Trips” as another addition to Eyedress’ long list of low-budge but slick-looking vids. Helmed by Bee Eyes’ Julius Valledor, it features Idris Vicuna’s real life girlfriend, Maya Kibbel as the waifish, big-eyed muse who makes fun of herself at the camera, treasuring every moment like it’s the last. Nothing really special here, but Maya’s gawky charisma and quirks can razzle a sensitive gents’ feelings without even trying. The video looks specifically made for her, about her—an MPDG turned real life sweetheart of your dreams. Watch it below:

June 10, 2013

NEW TRACK: Kontra Tiempo - "Left"

Sculpted around the wild abandon of ‘80s post-punk, Kontra Tiempo sounds more sonically exciting and savaged than ever with new single “Left.” This time, they’re taking big-beat dramatics to impressionistic heights, copping widescreen melodies for a stab at arena gold territory. One thing noticeable about Kontra Tiempo’s newfound direction aside from adopting a more atmospheric stance is that they feel comfortable in embracing great little melancholic moments that tease listeners with heart-clutching sparkle. They write indelible hooks the way they want us to linger on heartbreak, wanting us to feel every inch of the lyrics’ misery on textbook terms.

June 7, 2013

NEW TRACK: The Geeks - "These Days"

For anyone who digs the casual intimacy of lo-fi recordings, The Geeks’ excursion to homemade indie-pop might instantly win you over. Their songs sound like it was recorded straight in the bedroom after a greasy ugly cry, allowing the carefree acoustics to seep in and calm down every few bars-- one bucket of tears after another.

It’s in this aloof kind of charm that makes people like me appreciate The Geeks. On “The View (Stalker Song),” they channel adolescent feelings with words that chug god-awful truthfulness in every heartbeat; its wistful guitars and minimal drums bared in its wimpy California glow. "It hurts that it’s over, you know,” Jam repeats and tosses off his beaten emotions down the drain. His frustrations, hopeless and intense, lingers just as you were about to freeze any attempts to revive old memories. Too bad, it would take time before you pull your ears away from its mopey sentiments.

June 6, 2013

NEW VIDEO: Similar Objects - “PASTMAYANFUTUREPRINCESS”

The video for Similar Objects’ IDM stomper “PASTMAYANFUTUREPRINCESS” contains some of the weirdest, most imaginative short filmmaking wonders this side of exotic tropicalia. Its narco-futurist, black-and-white affair blends intricately with the visual themes of the track—the mystical surrealism of natural and cosmic energies, the paranormal incursions to astral prophecies and Mayan occultism, and some images lifted from an '80s sci-fi videogame featuring a modern princess with special powers being chased by a mysterious man wearing the face of a teddy bear.

This complete acid trip is captivating in its quite possibly nonsensical sense. But stripped off its fractal plot, the video offers a beguiling entertainment that sets beauty apart from madness, brewing cinematic magic that’s bound to mystify, exasperate, and leave a bittersweet taste in the end. Watch the video below:

NEW TRACK: Halik Ni Gringo - "I'm Not Usually Like This"

Outside the fickle trend-hopping realm of indie, Halik Ni Gringo gamely throw themselves into the pits of meat and murder, blasting tortured slammers that capitalize on punk’s velocity and no-wave’s fuzzy, infectious noise. Too often, tracks lapped in the familiar sonic frenzy fail to get past its exuberance and drunkenness. But Gringo breaks this myth. Hardly 2 minutes go by in a blur. It’s all high-octane energy and pure chaotic fun from start to finish, the kind of sweaty, beer-soaked jam that your Tito would love to crank up at some ungodly weekday hour.

June 3, 2013

NEW TRACK: Read Between The Lions - "Boy On Fire"

From the outset, this catchy slab of punch-drunk power pop brings back a lot of memories in high school. Everything about it screams teen-angst boilerplate: purring guitar riffs that cling to sugar-high comforts, driving rhythms that reverberate in aching rush of elation and heartbreak, and a sticky energy indelible enough to let the listeners put their hands up in sky and scream. The only thing you need now is to lock yourself in the room, crank the volume up, and blast this soaring anthem away to drown the scarring that bleeds right through the center. There’s simply nowhere to go but inside its 4-minute euphoria.

ALBUM REVIEW: No Rome - Fantasy (2013)

When we've first featured No Rome with his early releases, “Dance With Me” and his cover of Michael Jackson's “Rock With You,” there was no sliver of a doubt that Number Line Records' prodigy is set to do remarkable things in a music confinement that's already brimming with outstanding talents.

Gone are the days when chillwave, electro-pop and other related bedroom projects find exclusivity in obscure music blogs, fading into oblivion the next week after. Now, its domain is available in wider varieties, thus catering to even the most finicky palates. But what appeals the most and what sets the best apart from the rest is when one capitalizes on a very unique style defined by his or her personal tastes. It might be a mix of influences, trends, technological innovation - all sculpted into a distinct form of its kind. And when you listen to No Rome, it sounds like a montage of your teenage years wrapped in his own twisted afterglow.

One might catalog his EP, Fantasy as K-Pop-slash-electro-slash-bubblegum-pop faddy, and it's completely fine. But that doesn't take away the fact that at first listen, it brings back nostalgic feelings of harmless firsts. Puppy love, first kiss, all these uncomplicated phases of our lives documented in a youthful, zesty take.

Fantasy opens into a mellow foray with “2k5,” a hallmark soundscape that dabs on lush pads and supple ambient flourish, setting the Asianwave tone of the record. The remaining 3 songs are signature No Rome: melodically rich and injected with youthful vibe. Splashed with skippy grooves and darted bass, “Tru Feelings” is the best track to shimmy to all night long, pumping bright colors from its woozy millennial ambition. Title-track “Fantasy” frolics into a light-hearted love song glazed with poppy bleeps and chimes. It also features samples from the hit Korean series, The Princess Hours. And then there's a swooping quality in the Zeon Gomez-assisted “Don't Let Go” that makes it the perfect closing track, with its swirly synths and slushy beats taking all the flirting to its final base.

Rome's first 'blondeelectro' offering is still raw. But time after time, many have proven that rawness does not equate to mediocrity. And so this is why even at this point, we won't be surprised if this young man wins in the next beatsmith skirmish.  B   
via Mary Christine Galang

ALBUM REVIEW: Nouvul - TwinFlames (2013)

Jorge Wieneke has always been vocal in coming to terms with his urban roots. Even on the left-field serration of his solo electronic project, Similar Objects, his exploration of sounds and feelings sometimes echo Timbaland’s stuttering, futuristic production style and a lot of those you hear in PBRB records—from How To Dress Well’s minimalist ambient soul to Shlohmo’s late-night grooves. So it didn’t surprise me to hear him shred his soul to pieces on a new project called Nouvul—another solo venture of his that slides into the slimy vibe of late ‘80s and early ‘90s commercial R&B.

Reinterpreting the golden years of slow jams with detached prettiness, Jorge expands his repertoire with songs that might attract mainstream listeners who aren’t drawn to the sleek, lo-fi mutations of R&B: liquid and fragmented downtempo beats, wafting electronic tones, rhythmic counterpoints and all that Miguel-meets-Gaye quirks. His debut EP TwinFlames works on this premise, hard and cold, emphasizing the searing pain and joy of adolescent relationships while beating it under a sonic sculpture. Skeptics who still can’t get pass the trendiness of its bedroom production might dismiss this record as lacking in personality, even pick on the alienating approach that shaped its muddle of washed-out soundscapes and experimental energies. But unlike the bandwagon fetishisms of most releases filed under “drugged R&B”, Jorge makes accessible jams that weave impeccably through smoke and haze.

On “TheyDreamLady” and “Wayu” Jorge breathes new life as a pillow-talking gentleman taking on slow, seductive numbers that have more bump-and-grind feel to it than contemporary bluster. And while his production often lives up to the throwback breeziness and slink of R&B records in the 90s, the songs always connect with surprising amount of staying power and emotional sticking points.

Miki Hahn, who shares her languorous sweet vocals on three tracks (“Hopes Up,” “VIP,” and “EndofDay”), sounds great on slow-burning anthems developed with darker, more atmospheric strain. Her velvety singing, stuffed with melismatic sultriness and restraint, plateaus softly as it transitions from one beat to another, never too forced to peak that easily. It makes perfect sense that Jorge is careful not to overrun Miki’s vocal affectations with his trademark fractious production. After all, the inner beauty of these tracks lies on how calm and soothing Miki’s voice is, and a clever producer should know how to exhaust such quality to fuller effect.

Over the course of half an hour, TwinFlames churns lush, spacious bedroom jams that push the limitations of R&B to narcotic stretch. Jorge’s treatment on his new record doesn’t even come close to groundbreaking, but his efforts take it a step further to soothing extremes, enticing us back for a few more rounds.  B+ 

June 1, 2013

MUST DOWNLOAD: Cerumentric - Some Of These Songs Just Doesn't Belong EP

A remastered compilation of Cerumentric’s unreleased tracks, rarities and demos from 2009-2010 is already available for download. The set features ‘80s-inspired, synth-pop shimmers that Erick Fabian wrote mainly as “studies in composition and arranging” and not for official release. But make no mistake: despite being conceived as a rarity, these leftover goodies offer a richly rewarding experience if only listeners are willing to spend time with it, with spastic, neo-energizers “Pretty Tremors” and “Southern Tagalog Bulldozers” ready to spark a revolution in the dancefloor. Download it:

MUST DOWNLOAD: Soul_brk - Terminus EP

Sadwave instrumentalist Soul_brk has dropped his debut EP, Terminus. If you dig mood-trotting sound waves from graveyards to Mars, make sure to cop this young blood's banging new collection.

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