Let’s talk about the album name for a moment. Rave Tapes. Early press have teased it as a bit of a misnomer, because Mogwai have not suddenly gone all pulsating on the dance floor. This is, in ways, Mogwai continuing to tread through familiar territory: their take on melodic instrumental rock, slowly settling down from their loud early days. You might find the album a bit samey, especially when compared to their more recent releases. The name, though. Rave Tapes. It’s a nod to the more noticeable reliance on electronics. It’s really just an undercurrent: a bit of a synth track here, still sinister and a bit gutteral. But it elevates what would have been your usual Mogwai record, a kick up a mellowing body of work, updating it without alienating the new converts and comforting the old ones who’ve always been there. For all its moody highs and lows, though, my favorite has to be “Repelish”, with Lee Cohen in the foreground, pondering the things you hear when you plug Led Zep in. [NB] | 3/5
In the past few years we’ve seen more relatively out-of-mainstream acts perform in Manila. Gone, it seems, are the times when the only foreign artists who would stop here are 60s and 70s bands targeting baby boomers, or the obviously big pop acts. Now we’ve had visits from Grimes, the xx and Tegan and Sara. We’ve had the Wanderland Festival last April, an attempt at bringing summer festival culture to the Philippines (albeit with half of the line-up being Aussie acts with, likely, a very small following). And, of course, there were the bigger acts, like Joss Stone at Malasimbo (which has been going on for a while and has been, so far, mostly under the radar) and, last month, the Killers.