The Local Outsider #28: St. Wolf, JCBX and Joslin

All right. Welcome back. Let me begin with a quick mention of the new single from Karencitta, “No Apology (Wala Akong Paki)”, which dropped early this week. It’s hot, simply said. But then I wonder if I would have had the same reason if I haven’t been immersed in K-pop the past couple of years. That’s really a slam at myself and how I closed myself to pop for a while – well, I closed myself from pop radio, which meant less exposure, which is a stupid thing in hindsight now. So, this song: hot. Will I hear this everywhere? I don’t know. I’m still closing myself from pop radio. And now we’ve done that, it’s time for the acts I have long (belatedly) listed for this month’s Local Outsider.


I have seen St. Wolf‘s name around for months now, but it took this one declaration from Indie Manila – that these boys could be the next big thing – for me to take notice. I’ll admit it took me a while because they called themselves “swabecore” and that gave me images of deodorant ads and how smooth they are. I mean, I like my smooth stuff, but sometimes it feels that all local indie has to offer is smooth. (Of course that’s not true, but think of the indie acts that have truly risen above the surface in recent years.) That’s not to say St. Wolf is all heavy: “Papara”, released last year, jumps between both loud and quiet effortlessly, with a really enthralling intro that made me go “wow”. It isn’t all aggressive, but it isn’t limp either. I get the tag. These guys can bring balance. And you will likely hear more of them now that they’ve released a new song that’s part of the Walwal soundtrack.


JCBX, on the other hand, popped up from out of nowhere for me. Are they a boy band? Nope. I was thinking of JCS. (Remember them?) Apparently this refers to “juicebox”, although “Future”, their first single, does not give me the Strokes vibes the name led me to expect. But then they’re relatively new – relatively because they’ve been together since high school; and also, Cheats’ Enzo Hermosa is on vocals. While we wait for their new EP to drop – which should be by the end of the year – we’ve got this track, which gives me a fair dose of Two Door Cinema Club vibes, both at its best (it feels easy) and not-so-best (it feels too easy).


Finally, Joslin. Unique name; thought I’d check her out. This one’s interesting because, from the lazy streaming I’ve done in the past week okay, last night) there are two sides to her. The latest single from the singer otherwise known as Nicole Macapagal is an intensely crossover affair, but “Kalawakan” is perhaps a little too wispy. But then, this one’s to a major label, so I shouldn’t have expected any differently? There’s “Carried Away”, which goes slightly on the other side of the spectrum: a cool pop affair that won’t feel out of place on the front room. The song on top of her Spotify listing is “Pieces”, which is comfortable and, if you ask me, shows off her voice better. But versatility is always a good thing – as long as they get to show it off without constraints. [NB]

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