All right, shall we rush back into this? February means the Local Outsider feels like it’s coming by much sooner, because the month is shorter than most – a neat four weeks, except once every four years – and all of a sudden, the idea that it’s almost March is staring us in the eyes. March! The days are getting longer and the sun is getting brighter, uncomfortably so! March! Next thing you know it’s April, and people are being idiots on Instagram again. (I don’t have an Instagram account myself.) Anyway, before I ramble on any further, let’s get back to the tunes, and what I’d like to believe are songs that fit this transitional period between “Manila is really cold” and “Manila is really hot” well. Well, I’d like to believe that. This is, as always, random, sort of.
We begin with someone long overdue to be featured on this thing. June Marieezy is leading the charge at this year’s Malasimbo Music & Arts Festival, and she says it’s her last gig under that name. Crap. Now this feels urgent. I have not listened to Throw Away Love Songs, her critical darling of an EP, at least until I had to write this. (Urgency.) That one is an all-killer no-filler affair. She has released a couple more things before, and all throughout has remained a bit of an enigma, or perhaps it is just me. I have always wondered if we’ll ever have a breakout like Malaysia has Yuna. I know it’s an easy comparison, but June has all that at her hands, and yet she’s remained a relatively niche affair. Good thing, perhaps? You know what I feel about that. But maybe the fact that she seems on the verge of a reinvention is something to watch out for.
So that’s the chill part, and this one’s the blurry bit in between. This one, I found through FHM. Again. But the hook really is that the vocalist is Evee Simon, formerly of the still-missed (considering, frankly, what came to replace it) NU 107. July XIV has been bouncing around for a while, I’m sure – “Revelations I”, the only song on their Soundcloud page, has been up for eight months; I’m pretty certain I’ve chanced upon them in gig announcements here and there. Yes, I am basing everything on this one song, and I like how this is very accessible, but with that rumbly sound that would turn on anyone who thinks their taste is better. It’s the song you play just after you finish loading your luggage in the car but before you turn the engine on. It’s sharp. I want to hear more.
Finally, yes, BoybandPH. The product of the ABS-CBN reality show Pinoy Boyband Superstar – that show where Sandara Park made her return to Philippine television – is complete, and, well… okay, I was actually looking forward to watch it, and then I fell out after the first two audition episodes because it’s ultimately not really my thing. Boy groups that are image first are not really my thing. I’m not saying they’re terrible musically – “Unli” is catchy, and even has that weird turn to darker territory halfway through – but whenever I see their music videos I always spot the concept, the image, first. (I mean, that logo is supposed to remind me of EXO, right?) I know it’s the same criticism I have of Top One Project, but I at least trust ABS-CBN to do a much better job with these guys, so I’ll say: perhaps lots of time is all we need? Perhaps they’ll grow into something special. But, as Shalla and I once discussed, we Filipinos are not really predisposed towards groups like this, at least not anymore. I once thought ABS-CBN should snap up Produce 101 as they can do genuinely buzzy television. But it’s just not going to work as well, not for lack of trying. [NB]