Live things: the highs and lows of the GoodVybes Festival

Hello. Niko here. Our review of the GoodVybes Festival, which took place last Saturday, would be a little different than we envisaged. We planned an essay of observations for the first major (arguably) music festival of 2016. We had a man on the ground: one of our contributing writers, Dexter Tan, bought tickets, making good on his vow to see Chvrches once and for all. And he was there.

Continue reading

Review: The Neon Hour by B.P. Valenzuela

The Neon Hour by B.P. ValenzuelaAdmission: my first exposure to B.P. Valenzuela were her tweets, often retweeted by my hipper-than-me friends. It’d be easy to dismiss her as another smart kid with a Twitter account, but then I saw her live and sort of understood the hype. Now I’m closer to getting it. The Neon Hour, her debut full-length, sounds accomplished and confident. It’s her cool coo, combined with the drum machines she’s always played with, combined with a few elegiac spins: unobtrusive synths, a bit of piano here and there. She sits comfortably in between the singer-songwriter and electro molds that define most Filipino indie artists today, and the result is a record that amazes with the surprises it pulls off… for the most part. If I had a minor quibble, it’s the album’s turn towards the bigger world on “Veneers”: the well-intentioned track somewhat killed the momentum and what followed it suffered, at least to me. Still, her subtly veiled lyrics, her delivery, and those little tricks – tip of the hat to the last minute of album opener “early/late” – make The Neon Hour a record that should transcend those tweets. [NB] | 4/5

Live things: The rest of the Jack TV MAD Fest

Sandwich was one of the many local acts who performed (or, err, warmed up for Kimbra) at the Jack TV MAD Fest.

Friday night’s Jack TV MAD Fest was, arguably, a festival built around the fact that they got Kimbra to perform. I mean, save for the four DJs that followed her – I didn’t watch them for obvious reasons, and also because Rainy and I were really tired – the acts were limited to three songs each. But it was a nice way to be reacquainted with the best Filipino music has to offer: a good mix of established acts and new ones bubbling under, making you wonder what the hell happened to “OPM is dead”? So, in the following paragraphs, my five highlights, plus a quick run through the rest.

Continue reading