Adding Credibility to the Local Easy Listening Scene

While the current local easy listening scene is littered with derivative bossa nova cover acts, one should remember that there are still bands that can make interesting, creative bossa-influenced music. For every ten or so “In Love With Bossa Nova”s, there are also some gems to be found in today’s easy-listening music crowd. Falling into this category are Sound and Liquid Jane, two of the current music scene’s better jazz/bossa acts.

Sound is probably best known for their single Habulan, a grabbing commentary on the brevity of human life and opportunity. The band blends a mix of influences from bossa, acid, and more traditional rock elements to produce an aural experience that is relaxing yet still lively. If my Filipino reading skills are still functioning correctly, they are also one of Armi Millare’s favorite groups. Certainly, they play a style of music that is different in today’s music scene. The band has undergone lineup changes, but have released two excellent albums in their debut Bossa Manila and the follow-up in Blue Monsoon.

Here’s Sound’s Habulan, from Bossa Manila:

and Bossa (Reprise) from Blue Monsoon:

Meanwhile, where the music of Sound is more laid back, Liquid Jane is more aggressive, like a  traditional rock act, at least some of the time. Like Sound, the band features strong influences from jazz and bossa. The two bands also share a tendency to have extravagant  titular track openings in their albums, as well as band members- at least one of them has been affiliated with both at one point in time. Nevertheless, the band, composed of Chad Rialp (bass & vox), Erwin Fajardo keyboards & vox), Dru Ubaldo (drums), and Gino Aguas (guitar), plays music that is decidedly different, but equally listenable. Their full-length release Newspaper, Bottle has a bit of the Dave Matthews Band sound in it, and mixing that in addition to an otherwise jazz-based feel, results in a interesting pastiche of genres that can drag at times but is ultimately a very worthwhile listen. In addition to their full-length debut, the band has also released a self-titled EP. Overall, the band doesn’t sound quite as tight as Sound, but they’re certainly very good in their own right.

This is Guillotine from their EP:

Meanwhile, this is Paumanhin, which was featured in both the EP and their subsequent full-lengther:

Remember, the local jazz/easy listening scene isn’t all bossa nova covers, and these two bands are testament to that.

For more on Sound, here are a few links:

A review of Blue Monsoon by Jewel Regal of Pulse.PH

More Sound coverage from Pulse

Listen to both Bossa Manila and Blue Monsoon on OdysseyLive.net

For Liquid Jane:

Liquid Jane’s Myspace page

Liquid Jane’s Soundclick Page

Listen to Newspaper, Bottle on OdysseyLive.net

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Get Daydream Cycle’s First Album For Free!

Recently, both Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails both released albums for free on their websites as a “screw-you” to mainstream record labels. Considering that both albums were unequivocal successes, it is good to see artists fight back against the oppressive mainstream.

As I’ve mentioned before, one of the biggest problems with those big record labels are their tendency to pick out cookie-cutter acts and push them down our throats. Meanwhile, deserving artists get overlooked as uninspired cover songs and pseudo-celebrities dominate the airwaves. One of these bands that have been passed upon is Daydream Cycle. An indie-electronic act, the band has Continue reading

Dirty Music

Ahem. I’m not talking about the “alternative rock” drivel on the radio today nor any of the plagiarized music that has made rounds on the Philippine music. Rather, I’m appealing to much more primal urges- meaning sex. After all, they say that sex sells, right? And sex is most definitely a factor in music, whether it is in the composition, the music itself, or what you’re doing while the music is playing (heh). For an interesting take on the topic, check out Sheila and the Insects’ official blog. Actually check out the whole thing, it’s a great read.

Getting back on topic, sex is most definitely prevalent in Philippine music. Continue reading

Drip’s New Album

On their Multiply-based newsletter, Drip basically announced the launch of their sophomore outing, Identity Theft. The album launches March 15, 2008 at Magnet High Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. Here’s the link.

Let me just say that I’m very excited for this one. I enjoyed their debut, Far Side of the World, and their cover of Kabilugan ng Buwan garnered them some recognition. Not to mention, their lead singer actually got a photo-op with FHM. Of course, their frontwoman’s good looks don’t really matter, right? Right?

Either way, their music is an exquisite pastiche of rock and electronica, and it is definitely enhanced by Miss (?) Calma’s vocal talents. Here is Listening, a live cut of a song that may or may not be on that new album.

Addendum: The song has been renamed as “Is Anybody Listening?”, and the song list, chords, and lyrics have all been posted on their Multiply journal here.