“Love Is To Die” by Warpaint | This is a reminder to myself (mostly) that Warpaint are also coming to Manila – returning, actually – to be the front act for, of all people, Harry Styles. Today the latter’s name is all I’ll see, because the hype machine is out and it’s like all we ought to be thinking is, this guy from a boy band is here and we should have #nochill. (Guys, we don’t have chill, not these past few weeks.) My brother is watching the concert; I shouldn’t be surprised, but then, I only knew about this a couple of weeks ago, complete with how his girlfriend forgot to update her credit card details and they ended up getting only GA seats as a result. That was me. Or perhaps it’s because the acts I like don’t come around anymore. I’m that age. The last time I got crazy over tickets was when Kimbra came here. Since then, I’ve become really skeptical of the hype machine that works around live music. That, and tickets are just damn expensive. And I’ve gotten lazier. I no longer have the urge to watch everyone I marginally want to see. That means when I do – see Sandwich‘s anniversary gig – we never get to. Ah, well. I ramble. Maybe it’ll be different if, say, Mamamoo went here, and that is a long shot. [NB]
Warpaint’s second album has a notable difference from its first, The Fool: it’s surprisingly less intense, a bit dialed down on the occasionally menacing booms and thuds, but it still maintains its mysterious qualities. The all-girl four-piece from Los Angeles have stripped things back, letting go of the interesting layers of their first release and focusing more on keyboards and synths. The end result is good, especially if you’re into Mazzy Star and Massive Attack – second track “Keep It Healthy” is a brooding four-minute piece that builds up the album’s atmosphere really well. Despite the razor-sharp focus on recreating shoegazer music with a bit more summer, Warpaint remains to be a band that, while undoubtedly talented, will tend to get a bit lost. I still don’t quite know what they stand for; it can’t just be “brooding-slash-mysterious downtempo rockers”. Warpaint suffers from not being distinct, although there are things to enjoy here. [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.