2014 has been a tunefully fascinating time for Pinoy music, with new sound varieties suddenly popping out like mushrooms that music heads would want to chew on. Look beyond Internet Rock, and you’d be surprised at how far and ground-breaking our local music has turned out these days.
Here are eight of them, each one worthy of your time and some space in your mp3 players. Being noticed doesn’t only count on playing a good instrument or having a good voice, but a certain kind of substantial ingenuity is present and tangible that makes the music of these acts hard to miss.
1. Jireh Calo (Jazz, fusion)
Photo by Jon San Pedro
Who she is: 19-year-old musical prodigy, Jireh Calo grew up listening to classic music and says that one rendition by Canadian pianist, Oscar Peterson, made her fall in love with jazz. Jireh is actually admitted to the prestigious Berklee College of Music, where she begins classes in January. Aside from performing solo, she plays with her band, the Jireh Calo project.
What she sounds like: Think of jazz mistress Esperanza Spalding’s voice but more sleek and fluid, and imagine the voice accompanied by mesmerizing keyboard play. Jireh sounds like your jazzy dream girl singing beautifully-written songs that tell tales about your bright mornings and velvety nights.
Why she’s worth listening to: Jireh is extremely talented and engaging to watch and listen to. Jireh’s self-titled EP is produced by Paolo Garcia, a guy more popularly known as Pasta Groove in indie circles. Not only will you get an abundance of sophisticated jazz in her songs, but the overall quality of her music is simply world class. Aside from jazz, Jireh incorporates and experiments with soul, world, and hip hop in her live sets rolling all inviting genres into one.
Catch her on: December 5 at the Christmas Madness Bazaar in Pasig’s Metrotent. Her band, The Jireh Calo project will play at Capital Commons on December 4 and 8.
For more, check out her Bandcamp site.
Here's a sample:
2. Sky Dive Academy (Hip-hop, Jazz, Soul)
Photo by Dipper Minds
Who they are: The nine-man band from Baguio City consists of an emcee, a common band set up, a keyboardist and a solid horn section, and altogether concocts a unique and addicting sound aesthetic that’s quite new to the local scene.
What they sound like: A soulful jazz band on caffeine with a male emcee (Jethro Sandico). Imagine the quirky lyricism of New York hiphop trio De La Soul backed by a jazz band with a funky horn section and Tagalog rhymes. This is the kind of ear party you want to be invited to.
Why they’re worth listening to: Have you ever heard of a local band that fuses hip-hop with jazz, soul and funk? Nope? Well everything’s about to change when you listen these guys. The rhymes are well-thought of and the instrumentalism, as expected from a jazz band, is impeccable. These guys could very well be pioneering the local jazz rap genre and it’s that good. Take heed, up-and-comers!
Catch them on: November 29 at Café Yagam in Baguio City.
For more, check out their Soundcloud here.
Video via Jethro Sandico
3. Ourselves The Elves (Indie, Alternative, Folk)
Photo by Mariah Reodica
Who they are: Composed of Aly Cabral, Aki Medina, and Ponch Salvador, the trio grew up in different parts of the Philippines but met in UP Diliman and hasn’t stop playing music together ever since. They might not be real elves, but they’re one of the most imaginative folk acts of the local scene with their intricate guitar play and sedating vocals.
What they sound like: If your movie was to turn into a quirky indie film, songs by Ourselves The Elves can be the perfect score. It’s safe to say that they’re like a local version of indie pop giants Beach House or Belle and Sebastian, but with more silk and clouds under each note. It’s real dreamy.
Why they’re worth listening to: All the hard things in life can easily go away within five seconds of listening to Aly’s calming vocals. These guys definitely raised the standard of local indie acts.
Catch them on: November 29 at Glorietta 5 for Logiclub live, December 5 for Ukulele Manila Jam Session at The Four Strings in Cubao Expo, December 6 for the Sun Surf Strum Festival at Circle Hostel, Zambales, December 7 for Rock da Riles at Boni MRT Station.
For more, check out their Soundcloud page here.
Video via Sofar Sounds
4. SINYMA (House, future garage)
Who they are: Made up of ex-PBB housemate and model, Jess Connelly on vocals, guitarist Cyril Sorongon, and DJ Madz Abubakar (Abdel Azis), SINYMA (pronounced cinema), is an electronic trio that gave electronic and house music a new, layered twist.
What they sound like: A beat-heavy, thumping house act with smooth polished vocals all rolled into an audible energy bolt.
Why they’re worth listening to: Because like us, you might dig this “future garage” thing, especially if you frequent or like to spend your weekends on hip clubs around the metro. SINYMA is unlike the usual house DJ act, especially with the hints of UK garage, funk, soul, IDM, and drumstep in their sound.
Catch them on: Mad Fest on December 5 at the MOA Concert Grounds(Kimbra live in MNL).
For more, check out their Soundcloud page here.
5. Hana ACBD (Electronica, synth pop)
Who she is: a 23-year-old musician and illustrator from Quezon City, Hana composes all songs and music all by herself using an assortment of music software and instruments. She uses this unique talent to make her own compositions straight from her fingers to your floating self.
What she sounds like: A really sexy dream if it had a sound. The smooth r&b undertones on her glassy vocals are interlaced with synth-dotted beats that can easily lull anyone into a seductive trance. Her main influences include ambient masters Massive Attack and Portishead. Classic trip hop elements can be found in her music.
Why she’s worth listening to: Hana ACBD composes love songs, but the kind you want to listen to while on a long drive, during a vacation, or while drinking in a chill spot, alone or with company. In short, you can play her songs everywhere and she’ll set a good mood for any setting.
Catch her on: Dec. 6 for the Christmas Madness Bazaar in Metrotent, Pasig.
For more, check out her Soundcloud here.
6. Small Hands (Pop punk, indie)
Who they are: This four-piece band comprised of Alva Presbitero and Tani Cariño on vocals and guitars, Typecast's Chi Resurrection on bass, and Sep Roño on drums, is a fresh and fun take on sing-song pop punk and hardcore.
What they sound like: Gritty-yet-endearing, Small Hands’ sound emits a vibe that will remind one of the glory days of pop punk but with a sedated punch. The members listen to a lot of punk, progressive, grind, and hardcore, and all these elements are present in their sound.
Why they’re worth listening to: Small Hands' sound is heavy-but-not-overpowering, with elements of outstanding drum work and vocals. It’s entertaining, unexpected and it’s something will keep listeners on the edge of their ears.
Catch them on: December 28 in Saguijo, Makati, Dember 5 in Apache, Parañaque, December 13 in Alfspot, Taguig. The band will also be bringing the party to Cebu for Sinulog 2015! The band just released a five-track ep called ‘Wet Dog,’ which can be downloaded or streamed on Spotify.
7. Dearest, (Indie, alternative)