We’re back to regular programming on the Local Outsider, after last month’s election-themed thing. Call it us being inevitably caught up in the crazy state of affairs. Anyway, we all know there’s a lot of local acts to get to – and in the four past columns I realize I have meant to add one act or another, only to forget about it. Weird, that, because those acts are the inevitables, so to speak: the acts that, if you’re just new to the local indie scene (like I always will be), will always be mentioned. Or so I believe. These acts always seem to get mentioned. This column is me doing some housekeeping, my bit of spring cleaning… unless I forget a few more names, and I spend the next few columns doing some more catch-up.
First, a band that I have long been meaning to write about – even before I hatched the idea for this column. I first heard of Cebu band Honeydrop, inevitably, on Jam 88.3 – those few days when I had the car at the right time; you know what I mean by now, right? – and was impressed by their dreamy, subdued take on indie pop. This is the sort of band the in kids know, and for good reason. They’re just right, you know? (I did not want to push through with my Little Bear’s porridge metaphor, but you get the idea.) Just a few months back Honeydrop went to Manila on a celebrated tour of the scene’s usual hangout spots. I should have written about them by then, but, again, things got in the way. I guess I’ll just listen to their new single, “Set Apart”. That one’s also just right, but a bit jumpier, a bit edgier.
She’s Only Sixteen is another one of those bands I’ve long heard of, perhaps partly because of the biting tweets from vocalist Roberto Seña – someone always retweets them, at least until said retweeter quit Twitter. But, again, that’s reducing an act to their public pronouncements. Yes, these guys have been out for a while: “Dying to Meet You” got some traction a few years back, and last year they performed at the Baybeats Festival in Singapore.Now, often I feel I am in the wrong age to appreciate local indie acts. My “coming of age” was during the mid-00s “golden age” of Philippine alternative; while you can say there’s a sort of revolution now, I feel like it’s not aimed at me, or I’m just in the wrong circles. That aside, I feel oddly comfortable with She’s Only Sixteen: it’s a familiar sound which manages to be both timeless and of the moment. No throwback, but not trying hard to be hip, too. (And they can do quiet, too.) (I, on the other hand, am trying so hard. And failing. But anyway.)
Finally, the Ransom Collective. I remember them for that one time I was flipping through Scout (just for the design – I think I am averse to their articles) and seeing them described as a “post-millennial” band. I get why, though. It’s that kind of indie folk: anthemic, carefree, definitely sing-along-able. In other words, typical. But it’s a surprise to hear such a sound coming from our shores. You think of Filipino acts holding guitars and you end up with folkies doing love songs. Here you have a band that’s best described as Of Monsters and Men meets Grouplove. Nothing wrong with that, but this is different, in context. How can you be typical and different at the same time? I guess, well, context. Anyway, they’re working on a new album – their first full-length, I think – and “Settled” (which you can only hear on Spotify right now) hints at a band getting closer to figuring out what its own sound is. [NB]