While Ang Bandang Shirley’s “Favorite” is a charming record wrapped in pure pop perfection on the surface level, from the inside, it reveals a realm of possibilities that none of its size and sparkle could limit. Whether it’s an anti-love song from the perspective of a heartbreaker or a 9-minute epic that excavates wounded feelings, Ang Bandang Shirley harnesses uncomfortably familiar experiences with wisdom beyond years.
When local rap music took a sharp turn to a more progressive canon, Calix was in front of the picket, turning his focus on perpetrators responsible for the systemic oppression of the poor. With confrontational lyrics and unrelenting angst, he condemns the policies of the Rodrigo Duterte administration, rails against institutional violence, and keeps his beef game intact.
Cheats’ second album is filled with beautiful observations on the intricacies of adulthood and responsibilities, seamlessly zooming in and out of the band’s collective experiences. Gliding with a modern power-pop sheen and dreamy arrangements, “Before The Babies” retains the earnestness of songwriting and raw, relentless energy of their music into world-conquering anthems.
On “Humanidad”, Dong Abay reflects on contemporary social issues with the unassuming wisdom and wit characteristic of his previous solo releases. There Fragile moments that highlight Dong’s knack for exquisite songwriting and warm melodies mix with riotous punk, reasserting Abay’s position on hard-hitting issues that continue to be relevant even up to this day.
In their attempt to capture the spirit of female power albeit sifted through Deng Garcia’s lens, Flying Ipis upholds the punk virtues of its debut while also acknowledging the fissures and cracks that come with its package. “Roach Motel” is the result of this imperfect but masterful undertaking, a strong follow up that forges an uncharted path, lyrics- and sonic-wise.
In method and intent, Bea Fabros’ brand of soul adds spunk to the band’s remarkable playfulness, elevating their new record “Natural Selection” into a more sonically adventurous beast that it already is. There’s something about her vocal presence that makes it easier to get lost in: an earthy instrument devoid of theatrics and affectation, but one that pumps with life and color.
His new EP, “Blue Rare”, presents Lean Ordinario as a captivating young voice capable of writing effortlessly catchy songs about romantic foibles and longing. It’s a debut that captures the recklessness that comes with being young, sad, and carefree. As LONER—an indie rock project whose confessional retelling of a life about to fall apart, it shows character and promise.
With its mystical edge and simplicity, the debut EP of Minimuni has a haunting ambience that extends beyond the instrumentation. While most indie-folk luminaries would rather court millennial music tastes with a smattering of artificial quirkiness, Munimuni ditches the trend as they take their listeners to a place of comforting warmth.
On their new self-titled album, Musical O continue to carry on with the familiar math-rock approach, employing a balance between technical prowess and tasteful subtlety. There are intricately arranged numbers with sophisticated textures and introspective lyricism as well as some that represent a more straightforward kind of beauty that’s been absent in most modern rock releases.
Comparisons to BP Valenzuela, Hana ACBD and Clara Benin are inevitable, but Ruru’s Sleep shows she’s primed for prominence, ready to share her outsider perspectives on teenage life and give every discerning wallflower a story they can relate to. Never straying from her diarist internet persona, Ruru dishes out home-recorded pop intimacy that finds its pulse on all things sweet, confusing, and seventeen.
On “Whatever That Was”, She’s Only Sixteen merge pop sensibilities with sonic ambition, and they sound current and fresh while wandering off into unexpected places. From the psych-pop swirls to the Mac De Marco-sampling stunts of Sweden, the record illustrates the complex experience of adolescent life with a rare balance of recklessness and newfound wisdom.
With an elegiac sound that doesn’t come off as overly dramatic and contrived, the post-rock outfit’s latest release explores ethereal darkness with a glint of hope, where you can find refuge from decay and loss, where the textural contrast between the heavy and subtle creates a rewarding effect. No details should be spared from your ears with Sound Architects’ spectacular debut.
Their boldest and most intimate record yet, Taken by Cars’ “Plagues” is breathtakingly pastoral and dreamy, telling stories of resilience and possibilities in the aftermath of an emotional unrest, each song forcing you to unplug from the world and embrace the beauty of solitude. Veteran bands attempting to make a glorious comeback should learn a thing or two from Taken By Cars.
With a looser but more sophisticated take on ‘90s riot grrrl, the Cebu-based quartet rumbles to a rewarding chaos of blistering guitar riffs, infectious energy and incredible playfulness. And that’s what “Residuals” is all about: furious, excited, and liberated, it’s the sound of angry women torching the rock n’ roll establishment with all their might.