“Perfume” by Natalie Shay | Another act we’ve featured before – this time, Natalie Shay, whose last release (at least on our books) was from early this year. I smell a bit of improvement on “Perfume”, or perhaps I have been listening to a lot of older stuff lately and am thus a bit more conducive to it. But I like how this song gives me a bit of La Roux feels while being breezy and light, and while finally reaching those anthemic levels which I mentioned last time. That makes this a perfect summer song – but then, it’s rainy here in Manila, so, still, much appreciated sunshine.
“What’s In A Name” by Heather Featherstone | We’ll have to work double-time to catch up with our inbox, so here we are with the first one that caught our attention – although this is an easy decision, since we’ve written about Hannah Featherstone almost a year ago, and we were quite smitten at the time. More of the same this time: “What’s In A Name”, another track off her new record Word Bound, which dropped late last month, provides that playful, minimal, enchanting quality we’ve come to expect from her. But there’s a bit of a grandiosity to it this time. The beginnings of new things, it seems to suggest. We’re all for it. [NB] (Have things I should hear? Drop me a line here.)
“Under Fire” by Jessie Munro | As is traditional whenever I do Great Philippine Song Hits, the inbox fills up with music that you can’t put a hold on. Great. So let’s address the backlog, again, starting with this surprisingly light yet bouncy track from LA-based (but Toronto-born) musician Jessie Munro. All right, so the bass is rumbly which screams intense, but everything else about this makes me think of those perfectly sunny days… which we don’t seem to have lately, either because it’s too hot or it’s rainy. Only this is about a break-up, or at least the beginnings of one – the EP this is off of, On My Own, her debut, plays exactly on those themes. Also, I like how this is hard to categorize – it does strike me as indie pop, but then it isn’t, but then it is… it is an interesting debut. Good first impression. More! [NB] (Have things I should hear? Drop me a line here.)
“Golden Soul” by Polartropica | Without the back story, “Golden Soul” – the latest single from Los Angeles-based Polartropica, aka Ihui Cherise Wu – sounds like nothing I have encountered before. Yes, I know that reads much like the press release, but I’m buying that and I believe that. It’s definitely drenched in psychedelics, but there are traces of Chinese classical in there, or I am reading a lot from her Taiwanese heritage. With the back story, though, “Golden Soul” is a tragic piece of escapism. Dedicated to a friend who spiraled into opioid addiction, the song transforms into a vision for what should be, what is, and the lengths one will go to bridge the two. And then it drowns you. [NB] (Have things I should hear? Drop me a line here.)
“Secret Admirer” by Barbudo | Today’s moment of dread: realizing you failed to tag all of your inbox submissions as inbox submissions, which means there were more press releases on the inbox than you thought, some a month old. This one’s a month old. I’ll just go behind the new thinking I’ve seen from some promo people that timing everything on the release date doesn’t quite click in an age of Spotify where everything old is new again. That said, this song sounds very familiar. Barbudo are clearly channeling some yacht rock here, or some summer 70s funk jam – something definitely Californian. No, they’re British – from Havant, to be exact. It’s still a coastal town, but then when I think of the English south I think of something more idyllic, unless it’s Brighton. Nice way of bringing me to a place I did not expect to go to. [NB] (Have things I should hear? Drop me a line here.)