“Two can play at that game.”

“Better Than A Kiss Itself” by Chocolate Grass | Let’s make it four local songs in a row! Here’s something that Jayvee sent me over. Chocolate Grass. Yes, we’ve written about them a couple of times. They just released an album, and I badly want to review it, but I just don’t know where to find it. (I told you, I’m just a normal guy.) This song was out a few months ago, and unlike the rest of the band’s stuff that I’ve heard, this is a more straightforward jazzy affair… but then they take the pillow fight to sexy new heights and I find myself rethinking that metaphor I just laid down. [NB]

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.

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“And I testify that life is good.”

“Testify” by Chocolate Grass | As I am not a man about town, I have to rely on people who do watch gigs (a lot) to turn me on to new local artists. (This is one reason why I call myself a “sort-of music blogger”.) Eena recommended one such band last month: neo-soul outfit Chocolate Grass, who just released their EP five weeks ago. She particularly pointed towards the stage presence of vocalist Nikki Cabardo Abs Haw – “her voice, her moves, how she performs,” she said. “Labels, watch out. She’s phenomenal.” I’m only judging from this one video – the closest we have to a music video at the moment; YouTube’s full of live performances however – and there is something entrancing about her. A completely different animal from, say, Kat Agarrado of SinoSikat?, who’s all out sultry and jazzy. Nikki’s a little more playful here, outwardly shy but everything seeps out anyway. But then again, I have to watch her live to describe that properly. [NB] (Have things I should hear? Drop me a line here.)