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May 20, 2017
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Here’s what you need to know about local music in 2017: it’s packed with promising releases. As proof of a bountiful year, FHM.com.ph gives you access to a heaping pile of details on upcoming albums and EPs produced this side of the hemisphere.

We’ve covered all bases, from obscure underground recordings to crossover smashes, to make sure every genre of music is represented. As part of the process, we’ve also talked to band members, managers, label heads and industry insiders to help us secure a more credible list that packs a punch.

Ladies and gentlemen, here are a few notable releases that will make you optimistic about the state of productivity and creativity in local music:

1) AOUI

Release Date: 2017/2018

After opening for Japanese math-rock ensemble Lite. AOUI have made quite an impression in the local gigging scene with their invigorating stage presence and intricate musicality. The post-rock band, which is composed of Giniling Festival drummer Franco Malaya, Maude bassist Glenn Calingasan, Salamin guitarist Sho Hikino, and Sound Motion Sequence guitarist Paolo Yazon, is currently in the studio, recording their soon-to-be-released debut album. Definitely something to look forward to before the year makes an exit. 

2) Apoc the Death Architect – Loob Ng Kabaong

Release Date: September 2017

There is no shortage of promising local hip-hop releases in 2017. At the forefront of the game is Apoc the Death Architect, the latest urban poet to get signed under Uprising Records. The 14-track album is definitely a step in the right direction with its knockout verses and intricate production, but wait ‘til you hear his upcoming collaboration with two legendary emcees: Kemikal Ali from the '90s hip-hop group BB Clan and Denmark of Blind Rhyme Productions. This is one for the books.

3) Assembly Generals

Release Date: August 2017 

Assembly Generals are in and out of the studio, working on the follow-up to their critically acclaimed self-titled debut. “It will definitely be a more diverse set of tracks, even weirder and more experimental than the first album,” Paolo Toledo tells FHM.com.ph. “We're basically going in and out of our comfort zone, exploring and having fun with different styles and seeing what can come out of sudden inspirations or ideas. But it's still all based on hip-hop, sample-based music, and lyricism.” The hip-hop collective has already introduced new songs into their live sets, including the crowd favorite “Abaka,” which was inspired both by Blackalicious' Alphabet Aerobics and an old Fliptop verse by BLKD.

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4) Beast Jesus - Triangular Inversions in Nautical Twilight

Release Date: July 2017 

Aside from gifting the internet space with hilarious and thought-provoking memes, Beast Jesus also moonlights as an art-rock collective capable of releasing game-changing records that are hard to pin down and extremely boundless in scope. Although we don’t know exactly what will transpire in the follow-up to the 16-minute epic Eros Obfuscate, we’re pretty sure that it will push Beast Jesus back to the conversation spotlight.

5) BP Valenzuela – Crydancer

Release Date: July 7, 2017

Armed with a more confident approach in production and songwriting, BP Valenzuela’s upcoming album Crydancer trades the wallflower finesse of her previous releases Neon Hour and be/ep for a more no-holds-barred, confessional outing.  “I realized that it’s okay to be scared, to be vulnerable, and to be honest,” shares BP during an interview with Philippine Star Supreme. “I’ve gone through a lot of rough times on a personal and professional level, and that motivated me to make something as personal as this. Now, I’m more open to failure, more receptive to people’s influence.” The new record to be released under Party Bear Records will feature collaborations with her closest pals and trusted music peers in the biz: producer extraordinaire and Moonwlk frontman Nick Lazaro, electronic producer Similarobjects, beat experimentalists CRWN and JP Del Mundo, and more.

6) Calix – The Lesser of Your Greater Friends

Release Date: June/July 2017 

Calix’s The Breakout Satirist was one of the best releases of 2017, a strong hip-hop debut that bursts with incisive storytelling and vitriol. While it does stake its claim as a potential classic, the record sets the rulebook on fire with socially aware lyrics that are hellbent on pissing off the government. The same could be said about his upcoming release, The Lesser of Your Greater Friends, which includes collaborations with hard-hitting names in the urban community: BLKD, skinxbones, Illustrado, Den Sy Ty, Emar Industriya, and more.

7) Cheats

Release Date: October 2017 

After teasing us last year with the instant charmer “Ringer,” Cheats keeps our hopes up with a sophomore album that falls squarely in line with their big, warm indie-rock anthems. Recorded at Kodama Studio, the band’s 10-track album is produced by Raymund Marasigan, and mixed/mastered by Shinji Tanaka. It’s also Kyle Quismundo’s debut as Cheats’ newest member and guitarist, so expect a much-welcomed shakeup in terms of the overall sound.

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8) Farewell Fair Weather – Blank Pages

Release Date: October 2017 

Ever since the release of their debut single “Rough Skies,” music fans have been waiting with baited breath for details on Farewell Fair Weather’s debut album. Luckily, we got an exclusive chat with the jazz pop quintet’s frontwoman Mic Manalo about their plans to put out a full-length record before the year ends. “We’re releasing a 16 track album,” Manalo says. “This album means so much to us not only because of the time and effort we've been putting into it but also because we have been waiting for this for years, we had so many struggles as a band and as individuals. We have Francis Reyes on board as our co-producer.” The upcoming album will also feature production by Urbandub’s Gab Alipe, as well as collaborations with Autotelic’s Josh Villena.

9) GYHT - Maybe In Another Universe I Deserve You

Release Date: August 2017

The new record from electronic shoegazers GYHT is the follow-up to their self-titled EP released in 2013. Heavily influenced by bands such as Jesu and Slowdive, Maybe In Another Universe I Deserve You centers on the band’s fascination with the concept of a multiverse, where everyone hopes to find a better version of themselves.

10) Honeydrop – Signs

Release Date: June 2, 2017

Greats news, Honeydrop fans! The Cebu-based band will be visiting Manila next month for the launch of their highly anticipated EP, Signs. Co-produced and distributed by Bomba Press, the 5-track record combines left-field sensibilities of their newfound influences with the indelible pop direction of the first album.

11) James Reid – Palm Dreams

Release Date: Late 2017

James Reid is no stranger to immaculately produced singles that venture outside fluff territory. Huwag Ka Nang Humirit and Randomatic succeed in large part because these songs aren’t afraid to broaden pop music’s horizons with cutting-edge ideas and earnest songwriting—a rarity in today’s fan-service artista albums. Fast forward to 2017: James is working through as many forms and ideas as possible for his upcoming R&B/hip-hop release under Viva Records. The Diary Ng Panget star has recently recruited electronic producer Paulo Tiongson a.k.a. Poor Taste for a more DIY treatment in terms of sound and feel. “Funny thing about this project is that you’d think it was a really big budget, like an extravagant, crazy thing,” Tiongson told Philippine Star in an exclusive feature last March 2017. “Pretty much the whole album was made on really cheap Windows laptops with occasional guitar parts for me.”

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12) Kjah - Kamao ng Kankaloo

Release Date: July 2017

Much like Kjah’s past hip-hop efforts, Kamao ng Kankaloo blurs the lines between the personal and the political, providing a cutthroat commentary on issues hounding the urban jungle at large. The 5-track EP to be released under Uprising Records will also feature production by DJ SupremeFist, Sun Valley Crew’s Juss Rye, Moki mcfly and Similarobjects.

13) Like Animals - Transmutation II; Fury

Release Date: 2017 

Like Animals took 2016 by storm with his third full-length record Transmutation I. The sonic alchemist is set to drop a new collection of lush, experimental tunes that are overflowing with mood and vigor. “The new record is all about dropping what ties you to societal expectations, learning to truly love yourself, and celebrating it,” says the eclectic beatsmith. We’ll just have to wait and see.

14) Lions and Acrobats

Release Date: Third Quarter, 2017

Lions and Acrobats have been holing up at La Balls Studio since last year, recording the follow-up to 2013’s Points and Perspectives. With Nicholas Lazaro on the production helm and vocalist Icoy Rapadas citing Grammy Award-winning artist Frank Ocean and dreamy pop-punk band Turnover as his newfound inspiration, expect the new material to be worth the wait.

15) Ωmega x skinxbones - Self-Help Mixtape: The Checkup

Release Date: June 2017

After putting out a host of mixtapes, one-off singles, compilations, albums and EPs in a span of a year, No Face Records is slowly but surely dominating the internet hip-hop domain with groundbreaking releases from underground discoveries Calix, slutgirl, Riyo Washington and Knife. Their resident producers and co-founders Ωmega and skinxbones are also active in releasing their own material. In fact, both artists are set to collaborate on a joint mixtape sometime next month, which will feature hip-hop rookie Saint Ice Rocks in one of the tracks. 

16) Mistress – EightSevenFour

Release Date: 3rd or 4th quarter, 2017

“Our songs were written 7 years ago, and recorded a few years after that, and then finally mixed and mastered just this year,” Mistress’ Jaycie Tanseco says about the long-delayed release of their debut record, EightSevenFour. “Clearly, there was no pressure in releasing this album for us. This four-track EP is a time capsule we’d like to share: the offspring of our creative efforts, taking us back to our carefree days in just eight hundred and seventy-four seconds.” The jazz-pop trio self-produced the upcoming release, with Reklamo’s Ciro De Leon playing the drums, Malay’s Miguel Dayanghirang manning the bass, and Jaycie and Honey’s Jaycie Tanseco-Flores taking charge of the songwriting and guitar duties. 

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17) Neverdie – Carry On

Release Date: Late 2017 

Neverdie’s The Life I Lead is a pretty tough act to follow, an anthemic pop-punk release dripping with refreshing rawness and youthful energy. Fast forward to 2017, the band resumes songwriting duties and recording with two tracks (“Carry On” and “Repetition”) already out in DIY download site Bandcamp. With a new lineup on roll, we’re excited to see where Tani Carino and friends will take us on their new journey.

18) Nights of Rizal – Summer/Salt

Release Date: 4th quarter, 2017

After sharing his production expertise on music projects of his peers, Migi de Belen is back on his own with a new album that combines oddly crafted bangers with crossover potential. Taking into consideration Nights of Rizal’s recent releases “Penelope” and “Little Ocean,” Summer/Salt is shaping up to be an exciting follow-up to 2013’s Karma Zero.

19) Not Another Boy Band – 69g

Release Date: June 9, 2017

“This is an album of songs Japo mostly wrote around 2009-2012 when he was broke, alone and struggling with abandonment issues,” Tino Poblete, one-half of comic punk duo Not Another Boyband explains half-jokingly. “We started working on it around that time, going through a couple of producers who all gave up on our stuff, until Fran of The Ringmaster took us under his wing. He mixed our stuff while constantly stress massaging his head and whining the entire time. But by the end of that year, we were done.” Aside from Francis Lorenzo, UDD’s Ean Mayor also contributed beats in this album, which will be released next month via Terno Recordings.

20) Sheila and the Insects – Love Or Limbo

Release Date: 2017/2018 

It’s been 12 years since Sheila and the Insects dropped the critically adored fourth release, Flowerfish. But the long wait is over. The Cebu-based indie-rock outfit is ready to make 2017 their year with an album’s worth of material. As of the moment, SATI is gearing up for the release of a new single called “Always,” which the band finished recording a year ago.

21) Shirebound and Busking – For Princesses By Thieves

Release Date: 2017 

Following a successful stint at movie soundtracks, Iego Tan returns in full force with a new record called For Princesses By Thieves. It’s still pretty much under wraps, but the folk troubadour has recently revealed the track list on Facebook, which includes the online hit “Waltz of Four Left Feet,” “Waltz,” “Tunnel,” and “A Million Things.”

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22) Similarobjects – Ugat

Release Date: 2017 

A man of many projects and monikers, Jorge Bautista Wieneke continues to keep himself busy with genre-defying releases that leave a lasting impression to discerning listeners. This year, Wieneke is wearing the producer’s hat with experimental bass music inspired by lost languages, arts, ancient practices and the ethno musical philosophies of Dr. Jose Maceda. The restless artist is also set to headline the first-ever Boiler Room broadcast in Manila via Black Market.

23) Sound Architects – In Time of Need

Release Date: June 3, 2017 

Sound Architects staked out a place as one of the most promising post-rock bands of the last two years on the strength of their infectious live performances alone. This year will definitely put their recording prowess to test with the release of their debut album In Time of Need. Recorded at Point Bee Media, the 6-track EP will be launched on June 3, 2016 at Mow’s Bar, Quezon City. The instrumental act will also headline a series of out-of-town shows with Dagupan-based post-rock band Through the Waves, and with other friends from the Metro like Neverdie, Capacities, and The Gory Orgies to promote the new record under DIY label Continental Records.

24) Taken By Cars – Plagues vinyl edition

Release Date: July/August 2017

Early this year, Taken By Cars surprised us with the release of their third album, Plagues under Party Bear Records. For a limited time, the new record was available for free download much to the delight of music fans. If you weren’t able to score a copy of the tracks, worry not, Taken By Cars is re-releasing Plagues in vinyl format to be released somewhere in July and August of this year.

25) Tarsius – Igado EP

Release Date: 4tquarter 2017

Independent label More Rice is the home to Tarsius’ forthcoming EP, Igado. The vinyl-only release will be distributed all over Asia by the label, and will be available worldwide through Lobster Theramin. Aside from Tarsius’ infectious electronic anthems, the record will also put a spotlight on a special remix by Swiss DJ and producer Manuel Fischer.

26) The Ransom Collective – Traces

Release Date: May 20, 2017 

Traces is a collection of songs that capture moments from a journey,” the Ransom Collective frontman Kian Ransom reveals. “From the upbeat, anthemic songs to the slower, more intimate ones, each song contains snippets of the ups, downs, and surprise twists and turns of life.” Set for a summer release, the 11-track album will feature tracks such as Doubt, Something Better, and lead single Open Road.

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27) The Ringmaster - Counting Ceiling Dots and Giving Them Meaning

Release Date: 2017/2018

Following the release of Delusions of Reference in 2013, The Ringmaster temporarily shelved his material to focus on production duties for Terno Recordings artists Skymarines and Not Another Boyband. Slowly but Surely, Francisco Lorenzo regained his momentum and started working on new songs of his own. The multi-talented artist’s upcoming album Counting Ceiling Dots and Giving Them Meaning is currently in the pre-prod stage, with Tide/edit’s Clarence Garcia and The Strange Creature’s Megumi Acorda helping him out in some of the tracks. 

28) The Strangeness - Scorned As Timber, Beloved of The Sky

Release Date: 2017 

For their long-awaited full-length release, The Strangeness strips things down with a more folky, Americana-influenced sound. The 11-track album will be released under Wide Eyed Records Manila sometime this year, featuring live set faves “Ramblin' Man,” “Easy Boys and Easy Girls” and more. 

29) Toni B – Mischief

Release Date: September 2017 

Toni B’s debut album, Carnival, chronicled the cycle of a breakup in a way that feels sassy and defiant. It’s difficult to imagine how she can topple the emotional intensity of the first album without resorting to tired clichés, but the soul vixen is the kind of artist that never backs out of any challenge. “Mischief is the continuation of the first one, Carnival,” Toni says of her soon-to-be-released record under Locked Down Entertainment. “Mischief is all about breaking that cycle and professing allegiance to self-love.” There is no word on the production details yet, but it’s going to be massive.

30) Two Hit Combo – In Stereo

Release Date: 2017 

In Stereo marks Two Hit Combo’s first EP release under Locked Down Entertainment. Produced by Raymund Marasigan with Shinji Tanaka behind the console, the debut EP is currently in the final stages of mixing. 

31) UDD

Release Date: 2017/2018 

How does a perennial favorite follow up a masterfully crafted pop classic? Thankfully, we might get the answer this year as UDD threads the nostalgic route with their fourth full-length release under Terno Recordings. So far, the band has teased us with the cosmic funk jam “Sigurado,” which topped the Spotify Global Viral charts for a week and the ‘70s pop-inflected “Unti-unti.” But given that every UDD album brings sonic surprises and twists, it’s impossible to pin these guys down with just two songs made available on streaming sites.

Other notable releases:

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Bullet Dumas (folk/world)

Jamesussher – The Womb (experimental/dance/electronic)

Jon Protégé (hip-hop)

Moonwlk (electro-pop/indie)

Nadine Lustre (pop/R&B)

Lindenwood – Steady Lives (pop-punk/melodic hardcore)

She’s Only Sixteen (indie-rock)

Spaaawn – Boxes (ambient/electronic)

$LEEPLES$ - Murk (hip-hop/cloud-rap)

The Buildings (noise-pop/lo-fi/garage-rock)

Thisbeing – Soft Hands (experimental/electronic/IDM)

Yung Simon – Beyond Repair (hip-hop)

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