Independence Day is meant to celebrate the day Don Emilio Aguinaldo unfurled the Philippine Flag at his home in Cavite on June 12, 1898. This has become somewhat stale given the changing of the times. The government may continue to exert effort in maintaining its relevance, but most Pinoys don't even give a damn anymore. In fact, just ask anyone and we're pretty sure most of them would be inclined to say they welcome the red-letter date simply because it allows them respite from work.
Maybe we should just try and change its aim once and for all, celebrating instead Pinoys who embody the indie spirit: free, brave, defiant, and most importantly, self-sufficient.
Here we list some local music acts who are all that and more:
Poppy and almost always upbeat, the Cheats have been indie darlings for as long as they've been together. They released their eponymous debut in 2015, leading to more prominent gigs here and abroad. Some say, it's just a matter of time till the band breaks through. Well, we say that time is here and now.
We know little about Grandi Oso apart from the fact that they create cool sounding folk-rock that is seemingly equal parts Tom Waits and Johnny Cash, only weirder. If this is the future of Pinoy rock, well, consider us sold.
Much like Grandi Oso, we discovered the Turncoats on Soundcloud following the recommendation of a hip friend. Their easy-on-the-ears throwback guitar pop is so refreshing. It should be said, however, they are seemingly reminiscent of the many British shoe-gazing bands we used to listen to in college. But that's not a bad thing, of course.
They're not exactly indie anymore, having signed with a major label of late, but MilesExperience still very much embody the indie spirit. How? Well, for one they still refuse to be categorized. Quite atypical for a Pinoy band, they're not rock nor pop; they actually delve in a wide array of genres, mixing rock, jazz, blues, classical music, and hip-hop, coming up with groovy soul food that is as delicious as it is replenishing.
MilesExperience—we kid you not—is a discovery that would restore your faith in OPM.
Peryodiko traces its beginnings to Twisted Halo, an alternative act led by Vin Dancel. Just like Twisted Halo, their music is self-assured Pinoy pop-rock that wouldn't be out of place in radio. With such outstanding anthems as "Tayo Lang Ang May Alam," "Bakasyon," "Agawan Base" and "Kumapit ka Tuwing Lunes," Peryodiko is one band you'd want to keep to yourself, but that would be selfish, of course.
Those who remember Abay mainly for his work with Yano, and to some extent Pan, should be surprised to know he has been releasing albums independently since 2005, including Filipino and Rebulto.
His voice still sounds the same, but the music has grown in leaps and bounds. Where Yano and Pan sound punk more than anything else, Abay covers so many grounds on his own that you could never pigeonhole the legend.
Seemingly coming out of nowhere, Dumas was quick to impress industry stalwarts like Ryan Cayabyab and Joey Ayala, joining the first ever Elements National Music Camp in 2010. He gained more acclaim a few years later in 2014, following the release of his EP, which includes such crowd favorites as "Pssst!" and "Ninuno." Dumas' music is a very earthy form of folk made unique with his beuatiful vocalizations. He could only get bigger once he discovers how to write catchy choruses.
Whatever your political leanings are, it's easy to appreciate the musical efforts of Kai Honasan, daughter of rehabilitated former coup d'état junkie-turned senator, Gringo Honasan. Though not really the most orginal of acts, she manages to make it more than listenable given her lilting vocal delivery that sounds both sexy and comforting.
She released her first album In Your Face (and other songs about other faces) in 2014, an ambitious collection of catchy tunes that prove she is not just your average ukelele-strumming hipster wannabe.
This is definitely not for the faint of heart. Listening to Mumuy is like like living in a Blade Runner world, only you don't die an easy death at the hands of androids. Mumuy makes use of all things electronic to craft artistic soundscapes that defy classification. Is it dance? Is it electropop? Whatever it is, it's far braver than most.
The Ransom Collective
If you like The Lumineers or Mumford & Sons, then The Ransom Collective is right up your alley. The band is best known for winning first place at the Wanderland Music and Arts Festival's Wanderband competition in 2014. More great things followed after they released their self-titled EP in 2014, followed by the full-length Traces early this year.