“Doesn’t it feel much better when you’ve had a better day than yesterday?”

“So Human” by Lady Sovereign | I do follow through on my plans. I did listen again to Couleur 3, and while I can’t write about this French song because I can’t find any lyrics to it, I will write about this song they played on the same stretch. Also, I have a question. Whatever happened to Lady Sovereign? When I was still stumbling my way into British music, she, somehow, was up there on the list. Maybe it’s the ill-informed “novelty” of a female rapper. Maybe it’s me actually liking “9 to 5”. (As well as “Nine2Five”, the one with the Ordinary Boys.) Ah, the days when I was still stumbling towards British music, when everything was (to me) fresh and new and ripe for the learning and understanding. And now you play some songs more than others, and some songs you like fall by the wayside, only to be rediscovered. So whatever happened to Lady Sovereign? She hasn’t released anything since Jigsaw back in 2009. There’s this thing about her coming out as gay and getting involved in a spitting scuffle in Australia. And then, no leads. [NB]

“…looking for a clear spark up in your eyes.”

“Milk” by 13 Year Cicada | It takes me a whole to go through my inbox, especially as we only post once a day and sometimes we receive just a lot. This almost fell down the cracks – well, the album was released last week – but it caught my attention for some reason. This is “Milk” by Berlin band 13 Year Cicada. They say it’s about “messed up communication”, as epitomized by this traffic cop doing weird things on the road. I don’t exactly understand where the song was going, or perhaps it’s because I was distracted while listening to this. Why do I always get emails from obscure European bands? I’m not complaining, but have I really been listening to a lot of European radio stations? The zig between the verses and that entrancing keyboard interlude, though, snaps me back to the task at hand, and here I am, telling you that the album is called Totem Tongue and it’s now out in the usual places, and that they’ll be touring again this week. But, again, I am on the wrong side of the world for that. [NB] (Have things I should hear? Drop me a line here.)

So, about Passion Pit saying he’s yet to be paid for GoodVybes…

GoodVybes Festival(Update: GoodVybes released an extended statement, admitting that while there is a “disputed amount of additional costs”, they have paid 86% of the total Passion Pit is owed, and added that “to say that we have not paid them is not only dangerously reckless, but libelous and slanderous.” Michael isn’t happy: “How this is being handled pretty much explains it all.”) This morning Michael Angelakos, aka Passion Pit, started some sort of thunderstorm, tweeting that he has yet to be paid for his appearance at the GoodVybes Festival last year. The festival’s organizers, Vybe Productions, have told Bandwagon that they have, in fact, paid his agency, and raised the possibility that the agency has not paid Michael. (As I write this, we’re still waiting for an official statement from the outfit, but we have a couple of tweets.) It’s a weird situation, at least from my viewpoint. The story took a while to be picked up by some media outlets; I am pretty sure Bandwagon is the only music-centric outfit that has written about it. Manila Concert Scene deleted the tweet – an innocuous one, marking a year since the festival – that Michael replied to. But that’s trivial stuff. As a country that’s looking to be a stop for all these foreign acts – and at the risk of sounding like I’m taking sides – why the hell is this thing happening? Nobody’s sure what the real situation is, but there can’t be no fire if there’s no smoke. There is a deeper story here, I think, but ultimately, in the world’s odd way of doing things, it wouldn’t matter much to the public – what matters to them is that they get to watch their favorite acts live here. All that said, this kerfuffle becoming public is a reminder that there is a lot of work to be done, and constantly. [NB] (Photography by Jobelle Natividad.)

“You remind me of true love when there’s nowhere to be found.”

“Nowhere” by East of Eli featuring Chyler Leigh | When you’ve got a lot of things on the inbox you really start hoping to get that one hook that would make one song stand out from the rest. The press release accompanying this one had some star factor: Chyler Leigh. “Chyler! I remember her dying on Grey’s Anatomy!” A throwback to my old job, that. She is, of course, married to another actor, Nathan West (another throwback) and he’s been doing songs under the name East of Eli (another throwback, although I don’t remember how). Apart from being a collaboration between husband and wife, “Nowhere” is a Valentine’s Day gift from him to her. And yes, it may be a gloopy song, but it’s a nicely produced one, with just the right shades of Los Angeles. And yes, I know it’s been a week, but we all need a good love songs once in a while. [NB] (Have things I should hear? Drop me a line here.)

Review: Human by Rag’n’Bone Man

Human by Rag'n'Bone ManFor a few months “Human”, the breakthrough single of British singer-songwriter Rag’n’Bone Man, was quite ubiquitous – at least in certain places – and for good reason. It felt real. It felt sincere. It was familiar but it seemingly did not rely on all the tropes of the “deep-voiced, all-knowing blues man from southern America” stereotype. It was refreshing despite the constant rotation, so I was admittedly looking forward to the rest of the album. Surprisingly, Human is disappointing, in that it leaned heavily on said tropes. Well, not as much lean as not really move the needle a bit. Rory Graham can deliver a mean sentiment, and there are well-timed flourishes to drill down the “upheaval” angle of many epic-sounding anthems, but throughout most of the album you can see the signposts from a mile away. There are some flourishes of his past as a rapper – after samey tracks, “Ego” managed to be as refreshing as “Human” – but it seems he was forced to stick to a formula that gave him notice. Don’t get me wrong, it is not a bad listen, but you do tend to forget about it. [NB]3/5