The Local Outsider #14: Meagan Trees, Nikki Nava and Rob & the Hitmen

This month’s Local Outsider is brought to you by “I am doing a lot of things, but I should have time for this – wait, I don’t have time for this!” But here we are. I’ll admit, again, that the acts I’m writing about today are cobbled at random, sort of. Sort of. I can say two of the three artists today, I found because I was intrigued by their names. I know, don’t just a book by its cover and all that. But sometimes serendipity gets us here. And some people like them well enough for me to notice them, too. All right? All right. This intro is getting too random.

 

 

The Camerawalls are back, and for their recent concert at the Music Museum they brought in a new artist from the Lilystars roster. Meagan Trees is her name, and my first thought was, “is her actual last name Puno?” It isn’t that obvious – it’s Montesa. Born in Bais and based in Dumaguete, she found her way to music, according to her bio, when she realized she wasn’t really slotting into her biology studies. She’s only got this one song out (and a music video should be coming soon, she says) but, wow, I love this. It’s lovely and delicate but it’s not stereotypically pastoral, which is an adjective I would usually reach out for. There’s a… it’s not calming exactly. “Haven” somehow keeps me on my toes, makes me look forward for more – and that, I am doing.

 

 

Sticking to the singer-songwriter lane – I guess this is one of those days when I gravitate towards this – I say hello to Nikki Nava, whose name I just encountered the past few weeks but who’s apparently done some stuff before. This is a more straightforward thing, but I find myself appreciating that quaint vocal from her. She feels like someone I would be devoted to, if only fleetingly, and then loving her again when I chance upon her another time. But then the first track from hers I listen to is “Night Time”, released over a year ago, and clocking in at just under two minutes – but it does a lot in that time, quite a lot. Sublime and evocative, it’s a good first impression.

 

 

Now, to change lanes, never mind that it sort of messes up the segue I wasn’t planning on doing. Rob & the Hitmen is another band I have just heard of in the past few weeks, and another band who caught my attention because of the name – because, a few exceptions aside, it’s not often you meet a band vocalist named Rob. (There is a guy named Rob.) Anyway, their first EP, Illusions, is actually available for free download (nose around their Facebook page for a link) and its four tracks given me this Maroon 5 feel without the cloying feeling you get from Adam Levine lately. “Burn to Ashes” is surprisingly slick; “One Night Boogie” makes the most of its lo-fi feel – but “Illusions”, which I’m highlighting, gets me grinding. That one’s sexy. A crowd pleaser. It’s the sort of song you can slot in anywhere without having to worry if it’ll stick out. The band’s accessible, groovy feel works. [NB]

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