The Local Outsider #32: Peaceful Gemini, Moira dela Torre × Nieman, and D’Sound × Armi Millare

As always, I don’t know how to start this month’s column. I’ve been preoccupied, in case you haven’t noticed it in my entries in the past couple of weeks or so – and then there’s the packed editorial calendar for the last couple of months of the year. So I’ll be upfront and admit, like I always have, that I am writing this the night before publication with no plans – well, a vague idea of who to feature, but not much of an idea of what to expect. And that’s what we all expect from this column, yes? All right, let’s go.

 

I have been meaning to write about Peaceful Gemini, but, of course, I forgot, even when she released “Mind, Body and Soul” a few months back. She’s been on some sort of radio tour recently, which is as good a reminder as any for me to finally get to listening to the track. All right, can I first say that it’s interesting how her name lays out exactly what her sound is? You can call it hippy, you can call it chilled, you can call it jazzy – I’m not sure if I want to deploy those though, because that’d be lazy. But as I am pressed for time, and I still have to explore more of her stuff, I’ll declare that I am rediscovering my preference for this sort of music, a love that was stoked when I listened exclusively to the old 92.3 xFM, which played the likes of Drip and Nyko Maca. (Well, they were at the station’s launch… ten years ago. That experiment didn’t last.) Also reminds me of Chocolate Grass for some reason. Only thing is, those acts tend to be stuck with their niche audiences, which isn’t a bad thing per se, but if Peaceful Gemini can get a larger audience for her music, then that’s always for the better.

 

Was I harsh on Moira dela Torre? I mean, I reviewed her last album earlier this year, and while I like her voice I found that record quite tedious. Yes, the narrative here is how I like her more… pop-sounding stuff. I’ve been hearing a bit of hype about “Knots”, her collaboration with producer Nieman – okay, let’s not call it that, because that reduces one or the other to bit player, and the two (cousins, I think) have worked on a lot of other tracks, including the recently released “Tell Nobody”. This is clearly a collaboration of equals, each giving the other a lift, and the result is some nice channeling of 90s R&B with a modern spin – and one that, I’m happy to report, suits Moira better. Or at least breaks the monotonous upheaval of her last record. We could all do with some variety. It brings out the best in us.

Note to self: I’ve been meaning to dig into the Tarsier Records discography because they’re doing some really interesting stuff – and this considering it’s a sub-label under Star Music. I think that’s what makes it more interesting, admittedly. Those guys? But, as with everything I do for the Local Outsider, I tend to forget for months when I get busy with other stuff.

 

Finally, I will write about a foreign act. But then, we have to write about D’Sound‘s new track “Lykkelig”, which features our very own Armi Millare. This country has a long love affair with the Norwegian band, though, and that’s beyond “Tattooed on My Mind” – I’m very sure Doublehearted got a lot of spins on radio here, and “Do I Need A Reason” helped define what is my musical tastes now. So, of course it makes sense that the band would enlist Armi, whose coo helped define UDD’s music and a lot of our teenage years as well, for their new single. And of course it makes sense that this song, with a Norwegian title, is sung in Filipino. Of course, Niko, this makes sense. Nope, Armi isn’t replacing longtime vocalist Simone Eriksund; that’s someone else’s job. And besides, we’re still waiting for new stuff from UDD… well, “Sigurado” was last year, but I’m still waiting for an album, at least. We still do albums, right?

I was going to start this column with a reminder that more girls are now buying guitars in the US and the UK. (I was reading this think piece just before I sat down to write this, in fact.) Yes, it’s interesting news, but then women’s contribution to music go beyond that. Has always gone beyond that. We tend to think of rock as a male enterprise, sure, and it’s nice to see that broken down further, but it’s not as if it’s only a recent development. We’re just so self-absorbed.

Second note to self: finally write about the Male Gaze. But then, I’m waiting for recorded stuff to come out, so… [NB]

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