Paramore- Hard Times

A month back I was so psyched to hear that Paramore was writing music again; not so much now that it’s out.

Hard Times, posted late last week on Fueled by Ramen’s official YouTube account, is the first single for Paramore’s After Laughter, which comes out May 12th.

The first time I listened to the song, I had to check twice to see if I was listening to the right track. The seven second jungle boogie percussion is so out of place even with that stylized transition. The dance vibe of the single takes a bit of getting used to but gets stale after a few times on repeat. The bridge takes it down to a very off-putting mood, and I don’t even know what the hell that pseudo daft punk breakdown is doing there. I do appreciate the glum lyrics contrasted with the jumpy music. Though nothing new, it’s a nice touch and is one of the few things I like about the release.

The MV is a mess and I don’t know which audience they had in mind for this. Have I been so lost in touch with what’s “It” that the minimalistic hipster visual has been replaced with retro-psychedelic-neon-clutter without me noticing. Don’t even argue that this is vaporwave aesthetics because the visuals on this is not even on the same continent as that.

Aside from Hayley’s iconic vocals, there isn’t a trace of Paramore in this track. There are, understandably, some changes that will occur along with the not-so-tragic (sorry, not sorry) breakup, but blaming this mess on that alone is lazy and sad. I’m not going to discredit all the well-deserved support this comeback has because Paramore did influence the scene greatly, but I’m certainly hoping that this will not be the theme of the forthcoming album. Till After Laughter comes out, I’m just praying this won’t be the summer anthem of 2017.

Quest- Walang Hanggan

Jose Villanueva III, better known as Quest, released a music video for his single, Walang Hanggan, on his official YouTube channel late last month.

Walang Hanggan is a fresh step away from Quest’s signature RnB vibe. Musically, the track couldn’t be any more perfect. The heavy piano backed by the despondent heartbeats and eerie strings create a perfect stage for Quest’s soulful vocals.

Noong ika’y nilalamig, ako’y iyong init
Kapag takot sa bukas, ako’mg unang sisilip
Ginawa ko na ang lahat
Di pa din sapat kasi ika’y mawawala na
Nawalan ng gana ang tadhana
Nanlamig ‘yong dating nagbabaga

The lyrics, as with most of Quest’s music, are very inspired. The helplessness of holding onto an ending relationship couldnt be any more clearer in his metaphors.

Iindahin ko ang sakit na gumuguhit
Ngingiti sa likod ng luhang pumupunit
Baka masulyapan mo yung dulo
Kasi sabi mo walang hanggan, ba’t merong dulo?
Ibibigay ko ang lahat paulit-ulit
Bawat pagkakataon ay aking isususlit
Basta matalikuran mo yung dulo

The video is just as amazing although I think it should be watched only after hearing the song at least once. It’s an amazing concept and has a stunning twist at the end which deserves as much attention as the song. I very much appreciated the level of detail put into that MV. That one heavy sigh after he says ‘I’ll be fine’ right before the heartbeats start was too painfully familiar.

‘Wag ka munang tumalikod. Bumalik ka muna dito
Padampi kahit anino. Ayokong mag-isa dito
Wala na bang bisa aking dalangin?
Tinataboy na ba ng langit? Nakikiusap na lang sa hangin

For updates on this and future releases follow Quest on Twitter and subscribe to his YouTube channel. I am especially looking forward to a set of future MVs he’s teased on a twitter post.

New Found Glory- Happy Being Miserable

New Found Glory released the official music video for their new single, Happy Being Miserable, earlier this week.

Carried your burdens in my heart
Sidelined your shallow ways
It just tore me apart
I used to think I was your savior
I see through you now
You indulge in this behavior

New Found Glory has already built for themselves a permanent spot in the pop-punk scene and this track is nothing more than the band doing what they do. Pop-punk has taken a backseat to post-hardcore and OPM (among too-obscure-to-mention) tracks in my current playlists, and this track is an amazing reintroduction to the genre. It has this carefree vibe that just sends nostalgia through me.

I don’t want to know you
I don’t think we should talk anymore
I want the best for you
But you’re happy being miserable
I don’t want to know you
Or someone who’s so focused on themselves
I’ll save my best for someone else

The hard hitting riffs of this track just take me back. Happy Being Miserable is a gateway to the angsty world of pop-punk, if you haven’t already been introduced to it; but if you have, it’s a scary reminder that pop-punk probably isn’t a phase and you’ll never ever grow out of it (ugh). Some would say this is just another NFG track but you can’t really go wrong with power beats and power chords. And if that vocal breakdown on the final chorus doesn’t hit the last nail on your nostalgia coffin, nothing ever will.

The video is hilarious. It has a softcore fourth wall break with the intro and cutaway narration which gets me every time. The shock factor of pie vomit definitely ups the rewatchability.

Happy Being Miserable will be on New Found Glory’s upcoming album Makes Me Sick, dated to be released on the 28th of April. Check out the song on Spotify for free.

Maude- Habol

Sadyang walang saklolo sa pusong bulag

I’ve had this song on repeat for the past three days and it never failed to send chills down my spine. I’ve always been adventurous when listening to new music, even with music I don’t immediately like. I listen to a new song over and over until I grow to like it more, get tired of it, or establish my hatred for it. This song, however, had an eerie familiarity to it. The first time I listened to the song, it was as if some stranger just came into my room, picked out my favorite book off the shelf, and just read to me on the bed – it felt right.

Araw araw, pag gising, tulala
Bago matulog, umiiyak

Maude is a three-piece, pop-rock group that has been gracing the scene since 2012. Habol is an instant classic, released mid-year of 2016, that I wish I had known about sooner.

Tama bang manghabol sa tanging tao
Na kaya kang saktan?

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Ang nag-iisang taong may alam kung paano ka saktan
Ay siya ring nag-iisang tao
Na hindi mo makayang iwan

On the surface, Habol may seem like a simple track which isn’t a bad thing, especially in this case as it lets the poetic lyrics stand front and center. A more intimate listen would reveal the subtle intricacy of the track. I especially enjoyed the sudden crescendo towards the breakdown that comes crashing in after a short pause. True to the lyrics, just like bouts of sadness, it comes in almost without warning.

The video, as with the track, is extremely detailed as well. The way they had to walk backwards to make it look like they were moving forward when reversed throughout the filming of the video is an achievement by itself.

Bakit hindi ka parin matalino?

Follow Maude on Facebook and Twitter for updates on this and future releases. I’d also like to give a shout out to Tangled Musings. I wouldn’t have come across this awesome song if it weren’t for the OPM Artist Recommendation post for Maude.

Moonstar88- Itulog Mo Na Yan

I honestly enjoyed Moonstar88’s new single, Itulog Mo Na Yan, more than I think I would.

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Released late last week, I went in expecting Moonstar88’s signature cutesy,

Ayokong sanang pakinggan mga pa-cute na hirit mo
Kasi minsan kinikilig parin ako

cheesy,

Wag mo naman sanang paglaruan ang damdamin
Kung sumpungin

and bittersweet lyrics,

Akala ko tapos na ang lahat sa ating dalawa
Diba sabi mo mag move-on ka na
Bakit ngayon kahit hating-gabi
Nagteteks ka pa ng ‘musta, sinta?’

however, this one line I really can’t get over

Parang lumpia na hubad
At binalot sa kanin
Na maasim

Rather than making the track sound tacky, the corny lyrics actually gave it more character.

I couldn’t help but fall in love with the sweet bass riff at the refrain. The generic solo is nothing new for the band but is made up for by the heavily stylized melody.

I enjoyed the track in all its cheesiness. I tuned in for a quick review but I might include this in my playlist now. I think what it is, more than anything, is me being happy I was able to find time to (sort of) get back into the scene and write about it.

Itulog Mo Na Yan is available on Spotify. Follow Moonstar88 on Facebook for updates on this and the forthcoming album. You can also check out this on point lyric video by MrHappyMan0123 on Youtube.

Padstow’s Farewell (Sea Shanty)

Sea Shanties are maritime work songs sung to keep rhythm and make ship work pleasant. These usually talked of a sailor’s everyday life including work, bottles of rum, and longing for home and girls. They are usually sung in a call-and-response format with simple lyrics. With the dream of finding your fortune across the vast sea, communal singing, and musical story telling I don’t see what’s not to like about shanties.

This particular shanty, called Padstow’s Farewell, is about sailing away. I thought it appropriate as we sail away from the past year and into the new one.

It is time to go now
Haul away your anchor
Haul away your anchor
It’s our sailing time

This particular version is from Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag. It is my favorite game in the series because of the sailing and naval mechanic and you get to play as a pirate captain and commandeer your own ship.

As you brave this vast new sea that is 2017, remember – like the sailors of old, that there is music to keep you in rhythm as you haul and shove to keep your ship afloat.

When your sailing’s over
Haul away for Heaven
Haul away for Heaven
God be by your side

Here’s a rendition of another shanty by a group called The Eskies.

Elizabeth Grace- In Like A Lion (Always Winter) [Relient K cover]

I first came across Elizabeth Grace on her cover of Pierce The Veil’s King for a day. She is one of my favorite YouTube musicians and I thought that this cover would be a great holiday treat for those who have yet to hear it.

I’ve talked about my appreciation for Relient K and their music on my review for Come Right Out And Say It, and In Like A Lion (Always Winter) is one of the many amazing tracks of theirs I’d like to talk about.

The title alone is evidence or Relient K’s amazing wordwork. In like a lion is the first half of an adage that is often used to describe March and how it begins cold and harsh like lion but ends mild and pleasant like a lamb.

The song was written during development of the film adaptation for The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, with the intention to have it included in the Inspired By album. Instead, when the band wasn’t asked, they included it on their Apathetic EP.

And everything it changed overnight
This dying world you brought it back to life
And deep inside I felt things shifting
Everything was melting away
And you gave us the most beautiful of days

The melancholy lyrics might leave your heart breaking but your soul will definitely be warmed.

What I like about this cover, more than the original, is the slightly slower tempo. Also, Grace’s vocals peaks a bit sharper on the highs and are much softer on the verses.

Cause when it’s always winter but never Christmas
Sometimes it feels like you’re not with us
But deep inside our hearts we know
That you are here and we will not lose hope

Faintlight- In Transit [Album Review]

Faintlight is a QC-based five-piece alternative rock band. I first encountered them on the Rakrakan Festival’14  Rock Till You Drop Volume 1 sampler CD with their single You’re Fire.

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Maybe I’ve been away from the scene too long, but from what I can tell, the band is partially underrated. Even after a couple of crucial roster changes, where other bands would probably have called it quits, the band continues to play; going as far as opening for big acts such as Chunk! No, Captain Chunk!, Franco, and Urbandub.

I may be a little late to the party, nevertheless I’d like to show my appreciation for the band and what they do for the scene by reviewing their latest EP, In Transit.

In Transit, released late October, is not far from their old material. Given that I’ve only listened to a handful of songs from their previous album, Flight, the EP still has that strong post-hardcore vibe to it.

She Knows Me Well

This track is not bad as an opening for the EP, especially considering that this is my first in-depth look of the band. It’s very hard not to notice the intense imagery the lyrics create. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t taking a drag myself at the end of the track. The mild delay effect was an impressive technique that brightened up the track.

Losing Control

The band’s hardcore roots really show through the riffs as well as the technical drum fills on this track. Though it is another grim number, it is a great showcase of the band’s overall musicality.

Chase Away

Chase away is snappier compared to the previous tracks. With the heavily effected percussion and the pseudo-techno melodies, I had expected for glitch effects to jump in any time only to be disappointed with a tiny record-brake drop.

Rainfall

The ominous intro of this track is bound to give any listener chills. Rainfall gives us another peek at the band’s technicality with the entrancing lead phrase. The bassline on the second verse is definitely my favorite on the EP. One of the more lyrically poetic tracks on the EP, the intricate layers of the song is just as worth mentioning. The little addendum at the end was probably meant as a secret track and is a nice little follow-up.

This Place

On this track, I get the glitch effects that I’ve been expecting from the vibe the whole EP has been giving off. The warm musicality of the ballad makes for a great and chilled-out finish.

In Transit is a satisfying first listen for Fainlight. Though I was half-expecting their music to be closer to the prominent bands in the genre, it was a nice surprise that they have developed a sound that works from them and the local scene. If anything, the EP is evidence that the band can hold their own.

Listen to In Transit for free on Spotify. Follow them on Facebook for updates on this and future releases. Catch them live at Rakrakan Festival on the 14th of January 2017 at the Mall of Asia Concert Grounds.

Childish Gambino- Awaken, My Love! [Album Review]

Childish Gambino, also known as actor, comedian, and musician Donald Glover, released his third studio album, Awaken, My Love! earlier this month.

awaken_my_love

Awaken, My Love! is unmistakably a step away from Gambino’s previous musical style but it’s something I can well appreciate. Unlike the hip-hop-heavy sound of his previous releases, the record has a sharp funk and R&B mood. Expect a dose of fancy vocal work, sweet basslines, church pipes, choir chants, and intricate guitar leads from this release.

Me And Your Mama

One of the two lead singles of the album, this track establishes the sound and feel of the record. It starts off with a sweet entrancing intro before it shoehorns the heavy bass of the track. It is an in-your-face power track with a hook that sends chills down your spine.

Have Some Love

Have Some Love is a very upbeat blues-y track. A hot and heavy love track, maybe? Lyrically, it is a bit creepy and is made more so with the breakdown. This song has one of my favorite beats and percussion fills in the album.

Boogieman

A call-to-mind about the very real issue that is racism. Simple, compared to the first two songs, but it is striking. With a gun in your hand, I’m the boogieman/I’m gonna come and get you.

Zombies

I get a lot of indie vibes from this track because of its (kind of) lyrical vagueness. If that amazing funky wailing guitar doesn’t get you maybe Kari Faux’s eerie chorus will. We’re coming out to get you/We’re oh, so glad we met you/We’re eating you for profit/There’s no way to stop it.

Riot

Riot is an awkward step from Zombies. It’s loud and fast that is over as soon as it starts. I think it could have been placed better elsewhere in the record. Musically, I think it’s one layer too many. I guess the Funkadelic screams redeem it, maybe?

Redbone

Redbone is the second lead single for the album and one of my favorite tracks. Sultry guitars, yes. Falsetto, hell yes. Soul, definitely. If the vocals doesn’t get you sweating at the end of this track, you have a serious problem. The lyrics are inspired. They remind me of Letter Home and L.E.S. from Gambino’s first studio album, Camp. I have had this track on repeat since its release in mid-November and even until now that the album is out.

California

Another favorite of mine. No other track is a more perfect fit to follow Redbone than this one. I feel like there is a connection between California and Redbone; like, how it follows the same heroine who’s just trying to get her life straight.

Terrified

It’s not hard to appreciate Gambino’s vocal ingenuity in this track especially at that breakdown, which is backed by a sick guitar solo. Sure it’s short, but it’s hella satisfying.

Baby Boy

Baby Boy is a song to his newborn child. Though it also somehow hints at racial issues, this slow jam is a bittersweet love letter to a child to a father in crisis with himself and the world. It has one of the best basslines in the record.

The Night Me And Your Mama Met

This is what you play when you take your girl to Makeout Point. Though instrumental, it holds its own well among the other numbers.

Stand Tall

Stand Tall is one of the more poetic tracks in the record. Though it still has that funk vibe to it, it’s not as blunt without being too plain. That chant breakdown is something to look forward to. Give me morning/When you’re gone to yourself.

Everybody’s calling Awaken, My Love! a more mature Gambino. They say the lyrics are deeper and more meaningful. However, I think that his previous material were just as intelligent and substantial it was just harder to read in between his witty and playful lines.

Overall, I enjoyed the record. It was fun seeing Childish Gambino take a different step with his material. Follow Donald Glover on Facebook, if you don’t already. Also, here’s a live version of Redbone.

Kate Nash- My Little Alien

Kate Nash released a music video earlier this week for her new single, My Little Alien. It’s been too long since her last music video and though there seems to be a lot of hate going around, this is more than enough to keep me interested until the album.

My Little Alien is a fun song that is nothing unexpected considering Nash’s history of far-out tracks and playful lyrics. It has a cool bounce that dances around Kate’s distinct vocals. The piano at the chorus solidifies its blues-y feel. The lyrics have a melancholy vibe to them but are actually really sweet. If you listen closely, you could just feel the love overflow when she sing-shouts You light up the sky!

The music video is an excellent supplement to the track. It reveals how the track is really about Nash’s rescue pup, Stella. The video is a simple, almost random collage of scenes of the two of them.

My Little Alien will definitely be on my playlist for a while. Follow Kate Nash on her social media for updates on this and her ongoing UK tour. You can also go here for more information.