The Local Outsider #10: Banna Harbera, Sixx and Moonwlk

The Local OutsiderWe’re back to (somewhat) regular programming on this month’s Local Outsider, with us playing catch-up to more acts that we’ve been meaning to feature on the column. And we have to, because next month is the last column (of the year) and we’ll unveil the results of our months-long hunt for the contents of the Philippine indie care package we’re giving to our friend in Kuala Lumpur. (You might have a good idea what’s in it if you’ve been following us on Twitter, or if you’re one of the bands involved.) So, well, on to the tunes – and we begin with a band whose name reminds me of that one time in Bangkok when I had nothing to watch but Boomerang, and I lamented why those classic cartoons are no longer on the Cartoon Network.

 

 

Yep, Banna Harbera. I have been meaning to write about them here for months, but I only get to it now. Am I late? Yes. They’re in contention for a slot at next year’s Wanderland and that could mean big things. And yes, I caught them mostly because of the name. And then, because of that cool sound. I’ve always leaned towards the soulful (also see Conscious and the Goodness from a few columns back) but there’s something enigmatic about the reverb on this track, from their latest EP Something New. (Their earlier EP, Persistence, doesn’t have as much reverb, but it flows so nicely I can’t help but groove in my seat.) Also, I’ve always leaned towards female vocalists, and at the risk of sounding creepy, I like how Yzabel Torres’ voice hints at the many possibilities she’s still keeping under wraps. It’s playful but firm. Okay, enough with the adjectives.

 

Only now have I figured out why, a few months back, there’s suddenly a blitz of publicity about a musician I’ve not heard of anywhere else before: Sixx is also known as Save Me Hollywood’s Julz Savard. So that’s why. I’ll admit I was not really drawn into the band’s work, but the minimalism of “Constellations”, which was released last August, means a gripping soundtrack to me belatedly realizing that it’s almost November, and the nights are long, and as I write this, the sun has already set, and it’s pitch dark, and it’s not yet six in the evening. It creeps up on you. It takes you a bit to let things to settle in. And then, well, you might as well embrace it.

 

Finally, as they’ve released a new music video a few weeks back, I figured it’s time to revisit Moonwlk. I saw them live two years ago, and all that time I was trying to remember where I have seen one half of the core group, Gabbi Buencamino, before. Only a few weeks later did it click into place: a year before that gig I was playing bingo with her at an event organized by the German Chamber. We were formally introduced, played on the same table. She won a vacation. I didn’t win anything. Now we’ve got that anecdote aside: I regret not being able to listen to their latest album, Of The Bed, as soon as they released it – would’ve loved to review it on here. For some reason, or magic or alchemy or whatever, the group has a particular gravitas, especially in their choruses – there’s an oomph when Gabbi and producer extraordinaire Nick Lazaro really merge. It was exciting to watch that first time, and I hope to see it again… provided I get my I-don’t-really-go-to-gigs ass off this seat. [NB]

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