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100 Essential Filipino Tracks of 2015 (#20 – 1)

January 8, 2016 8:32 am by: Category: Features, Lists Leave a comment
Ourselves The Elves

Photo courtesy of Marga Mina

If you type the words “Bandcamp Philippines” in google and click it, you’ll find 400+ titles containing homegrown singles, EPs, and albums released within the time frame of February 2015 to December 2015. Add to the equation the total number of current releases from Soundcloud, Spotify.ph, Beatport, iTunes and various streaming and downloading sites (amplify.ph) that have mushroomed in recent years, you might get overwhelmed by how productive Filipinos are in terms of the stuff they put online, bare and subject to judgment. Everybody wants to rule the music world, apparently.

The internet is a landfill and a forest, depending on how you look at it. But the real challenge here is how to separate the trash from the decent, the decent from the good, the good from the gods—a common practice that most music blogs do in every waking day of their lives in the attempt to keep the interest burning. Come December, it’s culmination time—the last stretch of the year when we break down our coverage to the barest best, throwing accolades to the releases that left us in gleeful celebration and awe, all-year round. Given the overwhelming number of releases this year, it’s comforting to know that everyone is invested in the passion that is making music, and that no amount of criticisms or economic hindrances can take it away from them. We can toss around our favorites and shove it down your throats, but at the end of the day it’s the public that gets to decide what they want to listen to. Our lists are nothing but guides, not rules for you to follow and break.

Special thanks to our panelists who took the challenge seriously despite their very busy schedule: Ian Urrutia and Mary Christine Galang of The Rest Is Noise/Vandals On The Wall, Itos Ledesma and Klaris Chua of Vandals On The Wall, Mariusz Herma of beehy.pe, Camille Castillo of Bandwagon.asia, Roy Oliver Macasaet of Mow’s, Jeremy Lopez of Intramuros Rising, Jethro Sandico of Listen Baguio, Jam Lorenzo of Alternatrip, Milley Habito of Gabi Na Naman Productions, Ajie Recto of Green Apple Productions, Archie Del Mundo of Dlist.ph, Erick Antonio Fabian Sr. of TicTiger! Productions/Opinyon, Jay Rosas of New Durian Cinema, Ren Aguila of Art+Magazine, and Nestor Domingo of Slick Master Files.

20. Pupil – Why
492 points, 8 mentions

Pupil
Pupil comes full circle again with “Why”—a fist-pumping anthem that proves to be as memorable as their previous singles. The band’s long-standing relationship with the deeper, more cut-throat pulse of post-punk has somehow diminished in favor of a more aggressively contemplative classic rock bent: more Stones, more grunge, more The White Stripes, more QOTSA, but still familiarly grounded in pop sensibilities that anchored every Pupil track straight to the upper tier of the local music charts. Their more refined arena sound coupled with bastardized riffs, melodic menace and big choruses, is played with a straight face here—loud, live, and recklessly livid as it should be. Add this mammoth shredder to Pupil’s unmistakably successful line of modern rock singles that deserve more airtime in the radio. (IECU)

PUPIL: WHY from Ely Buendia on Vimeo.


19. CRWN – Marco Polo (Feat. Kajo)
507.5 points, 8 mentions

CRWN

Alt-R&B may have reached its saturation point, but CRWN never ceases to break out from the mold with his inventive, boundary-pushing take on the form. If you think there’s nothing that could topple “On My Mind” and “Under Blankets”, then you must be under a self-imposed exile on Soundcloud and other streaming music sites. His latest sensual sweet spot “Marco Polo”, a collaboration with US-based artist Kajo, conjures both polar extremes of R&B: the raw authenticity of Miguel and Frank Ocean records mixed with the thrilling impressionism of CRWN’s distinct instrumental jams. It picks up where “Under Blankets” have left off, but it warps those comforts into experimental curiosities, mining carnal, groove-based soundscapes straight from a smokin’ midnight joint. Now this sets the bar way too high for CRWN. It would be challenging to come up with a follow up that is as pleasure-satisfying and brilliant as this. (IECU)

The exceedingly looped R&B/alternative sound doesn’t feel exhausted at all with this superiorly produced anthemic track. I wanna fuck that voice! (Archie Del Mundo)



18. Up Dharma Down - All The Good Things
520 points, 8 mentions

Up Dharma Down

“All The Good Things” represents the high point of Up Dharma Down’s sophisticated, ‘80s pop-leaning fetishisms circa Capacities: carefree, misty-eyed, and delicately packed with intricacies that thread the line between Kraftwerk and Hall and Oates. Despite the attempt to rekindle the hairspray heydays of ‘80s pop, the song reflects the mood of its times. Even Up Dharma Down’s maximum likeability doesn’t have a hand on the song: it speaks to a restrained kind of innocence that rarely occupies contemporary music spaces nowadays, but it echoes the distinct pleasure one derives from listening to Dharma’s more accessible material—minus the slit-wrist #feels. Right from the lush, circling synths that open the track to Armi’s relaxed, more confident singing style, “All The Good Things” is impossible to look away, a perfect little tune that drips with austere beauty and minimalism. It seals Dharma’s reputation yet again as one of the few bands that never disappoint, quality-wise. (IECU)



17. We Are Imaginary – Sunny Where You Are
520 points, 9 mentions

We Are Imaginary

(c) Mary Whitney Photography

It was early last year when indie-rock outfit Your Imaginary Friends almost ran into some legal trouble after a US-based band with the same name called their attention. But that did nothing to affect their love for the craft. Now sporting the moniker We Are Imaginary, Ahmad Tanji and the rest of the gang have brushed aside the controversy to focus working on the much-anticipated full-length release under Wide Eyed Records.

True to its form, the first single “Sunny Where You Are” is the answer for any perceived lack of ingenuity that some detractors hurled at the band in the past. Yes it’s a stylistic leap forward, where We Are Imaginary find pleasure in the littlest details, in cranking up fiery guitar riffs, atmospheric synths and infectious rhythms with unwavering, sensitive delivery. Loud and proud, the music explodes out of a confined space, grappling with sentiments too big to define and classify, but brimming with so much grit and passion and drama. Joey Santos and Raphael Pulgar also deserve credits for adding unfailing Midas touch to the production, providing layers of extra crunch and grit to the band’s surface noise-pop. The two seem to translate the band’s unassuming ambition to the studio, without losing the qualities that endeared us with We Are Imaginary in the first place. (IECU)



16. Farewell Fair Weather – Beyond
537 points, 10 mentions

Farewell Fair Weather

(c) Francis Reyes

Farewell Fair Weather’s sophisticated virtuosity appears in spades on their latest track “Beyond,” which many regard as one of their best. While the band shies away from the subdued nature of “Rough Skies” and “What Lies Behind,” they continue to blur the lines of pop, rock, jazz, blues and soul with a splash of youthful energy and excitement.

Giving the song another interesting dimension is the bright, captivating chorus that not only captures the quality of their live performance in sparkling clarity, but also highlights their regard for breezy and memorable melodies—an inherent strength that may earn them a crossover leap from alternative radio to top 40 given the proper promotional push. But there’s more to “Beyond” than its pop appeal: the fine jazz-pop rethreading transforms into a gloriously manic showstopper after the second chorus strikes in, taking you to another playful, crazy side of theirs that not a lot know about. (IECU)

This up-tempo number is proof that Farewell Fair Weather has, since they first came into my radar in 2012, become one of the few bands whose musicianship and enthusiasm shows not only in live performance, but also in recording. “Beyond” was recorded as part of the Jack Daniels On Stage competition, at which they won the top spot (and participated at the Music Matters conference in Singapore last year). The song takes a lyrical turn from gratitude to adventure, reflecting the band’s collective personal and musical journey that has earned the continued support of their friends, family, and fans. It helps that “Beyond” has the funk and a memorable, shout-it-out-loud chorus to keep it going in one’s head. (Ren Aguila)



15. Pastilan Dong! – Aphrodite
540 points, 9 mentions

Pastilan Dong

Pastilan Dong! seem to be a bunch of industrious individuals. Barely a year after their spectacular debut, the band returns with another luscious soundscape of a song that will herald their second release Every Step Is Backward. “Aphrodite”, the initial glimpse into the upcoming album, finds the band exploring its less abrasive side; they seem to be exposing the naked, vulnerable shingles beneath the jagged waves of sounds borne out of a variety of effects. Despite retaining their experimental spirit, “Aphrodite” is, at its very core, a charming noise pop tune, which happens to be given more depth and dimension by the group’s fascination with the more minimalistic side of shoegaze.

The song, which is equal parts Dinosaur Jr. and Medicine, seems to be further proof that each member of the band is essential to its overall potency: Kaloy Olavides’s understated, detached vocal delivery — in the vein of Hum’s Matt Talbot or Failure’s Ken Andrews — punctuates the track’s emotional crests and troughs; Alvin Zafra’s simple and steady beat and Cos Zicarelli’s thumping basslines provide a sturdy foundation for Pow Martinez and Kaloy Olavides to build towering, voluminous structures. “Aphrodite” is the sound a band working as an impenetrable unit, and if this is the carrier single for the eventual album, there is plenty to be excited about. (Itos Ledesma)



14. Flying Ipis – This Song Is Not About You
541.5 points, 10 mentions

Flying Ipis

The latest offering from Flying Ipis is a remarkable collision of the quartet’s well-known manic sound – both on stage and in the studio – and dangerous, come-hither charm – a result so palpable in ‘This Song Is Not About You’, it pounds through the skin. Its most forthright credit arguably goes to Ymi Castel’s ominous guitar riffs, a less cathartic version to its predecessor ‘This Song Is About You’, but with more sensual frenzy apt for a catwalk – as the band intended. But for all its tenacity, the riffs did not upstage the rest of song’s elements, with the rhythm section more than capably providing a solid structure and pace for the beat, both the bass and drums making their presence felt steady, but pronounced. Even Deng Garcia’s voice is feverish, almost restrained, singing the reprise with daring and a little bit of mischief. ‘This Song Is Not About You’ resembles not much of Flying Ipis’ past work (with the exception of ‘Sssikreto’ and its gratifying bass lines), although their sound and charm, as described above, are invariably embedded to their band identity that it further highlights a stronger balance between their brazen musicality and empowered sexuality. (Mary Christine Galang)



13. She’s Only Sixteen – Just Another Face On The Wall
555.5 points, 10 mentions

She's Only Sixteen

It goes without saying that “Just Another Face In Wall” captures the wounded pride of someone trying to mask his feelings after a breakup. Here, Roberto Sena confronts the aftermath of romantic loss with earnestness, allowing a brief glimpse into the frontman’s vulnerabilities. But there’s so much in “Just Another Face in The Wall” to appreciate other than its melancholic meditation on loss. It’s a creative departure from their skinny garage-rock leanings, a more sophisticated and mature effort that straddles the line between craftsmanship and emotional heft. The words are cutting and powerful, but the delivery, wrenching at its most confessional, can make you rethink about everything you know about letting go and heartbreak. This is the timely comeback we’ve been wanting for She’s Only Sixteen. They’re off to a great restart. (IECU)



12. The Gory Orgies – One Hell of a Godsend
592 points, 9 mentions

Life

Upon first impression, “One Hell of a Godsend” sounds like an interesting post-millennial permutation of everything adorable about ‘90s indie-rock: the youthful naiveté of bands like Pavement, the unerringly sweet, lo-fi noise of Dinosaur Jr. and Sebadoh, the shaggy guitar-pop of Built To Spill. The Gory Orgies may not have been aiming for high stakes when they channel the past with refreshing shimmer, but as showcased on “One Hell of a Godsend”, they’re capable of writing sophisticated pop songs with pleasing melodies. There’s no escaping it, really: it’s a thoroughly enjoyable song that screams ‘summer anthem’, minus the feel-good part. (IECU)



11. Autotelic – Close Your Eyes
642.5 points, 11 mentions

Autotelic

The 1980s is alive with this anthropic track that welds synthpop and indie rock with exciting dimensions, rousing hooks, and lots and lots of verve. (Archie Del Mundo)

From an outsider perspective looking in, Autotelic might be one of the few formidable music acts fully capable of cranking a lucrative career—with or without major label support. In less than 3 years, they’re already considered a powerhouse with a tight following, backed by strong online hype, incredible live performances and consistently excellent pop singles. And now, they have a legitimate alt-radio hit in their hands via “Close Your Eyes”—a bouncy synth-pop anthem that understands the thin line between immaculately rendered ‘80s nostalgia and crossover appeal. This isn’t “Misteryoso”, “Dahilan” or “Balik” in scope and stretch, but it has the same vital sense of urgency, that overpowering swell enough to fill a stadium. And to their advantage, Josh Villena’s emotive vocal delivery comes to greater prominence here, carrying the song into a massive entity that only seems to grow bigger and better as it ascends to a higher altitude. Autotelic have always understood the meaning of pure pop perfection, and on “Close Your Eyes”, they seem to expand it on their own terms—one that still manages to surprise music fans in a big way. (IECU)

This tune, the first “single” from the limited-edition Jack Daniels On Stage compilation, is arguably the most popular one on this list if topping the Jam 88.3 Top 88 2015 poll is any indication. The song was Autotelic’s first and only number-one hit so far on the alternative music station’s weekly chart. Since late 2014, it has steadily appeared on their live playlists along with such favorites as “Dahilan” (which placed at #7 in the 2014 Jam chart) and “Unstable.” Like “Dahilan,” “Close Your Eyes” is an upbeat, soaring number that ends on a high note and highlights the band’s musical strengths. However, its lyrical tone is that of celebration, of a release of a burden that signals, for the band, a turn to the future. (Ren Aguila)



10. Peryodiko – Tayo Lang Ang May Alam
647 points, 9 mentions

It could be said that Up Dharma Down’s “Indak” had the distinct pleasure of humanizing misguided affection or infidelity the same way the late Bodgie Dasig ached his heart on the drunken karaoke staple “Sana Dalawa Ang Puso Ko”, evoking resigned melancholy that isn’t driven by guilt, but by the inability to let go of both persons of interest. It’s also a hauntingly beautiful ballad that anchors us towards moments of reverence and isolation, unfolding into something fragile and bleak, yet hopeful in its insistence to find the answers in a slow dance, in the hush-hush glimpses shared in the most intimate of spaces.

Peryodiko’s “Tayo Lang Ang May Alam” was written by Vin Dancel as a response to Up Dharma Down’s “Indak.” While both bands have shown mastery in tackling the woes of broken hearts, Peryodiko’s portrait of a relationship undergoing terminal decay, feels more like a slow-motion punch to the chest. “Tayo Lang Ang May Alam” is in fact, light in execution and relaxed in feel; but its pain, like Dasig’s “Sana Dalawa Ang Puso Ko” and Dharma”s “Indak” is the type that is too strong to be easily washed away. When Dancel sings, “Tayo lang ang may alam / nandoon sa pagitan ng paalam at pahiram”, you can feel the world crumbling into pieces as the Peryodiko ringleader tries to mask his feelings in smoke; in denial that he might have been taken for a ride. It hurts hearing it from Dancel, especially from someone whose songwriting comes from a very sincere, vulnerable place. (IECU)

Exceedingly vivid with its description of love and all its fleeting madness and recklessness, this core piercing melodious indie outing is awkwardly reveling with its spacy fermentation of glum vocals and tranquil instrumentations. (Archie Del Mundo)



9. Jensen and the Flips – Slow
682 points, 11 mentions

Jensen and the Flips

Jensen’s mad vocals has the quality that easily intersects, transcends, and diminishes the borderline that divides music in styling genres. That performance elevates this somewhat seemingly offshoot piece into a level greater than its inherently potent but ostensibly familiar fusion of soul, jazz, and indie. (Archie Del Mundo)

Everything seems to be going fun in Jensen and The Flips’ video of their latest track “Slow,” another sweet-talking feelie that bears all the hallmarks of a sunny, hip-swaying Motown smash from the early ‘70s mixed with Bruno Mars and Miguel’s alt-urban appeal. Playful, random scenes with the band are shot entirely in breezy, slo-mo style ala Sandwich’s “New Romancer”, matching the track’s somewhat laid-back but vibrant attitude. But the stylistic liberties grant it some memorable visuals, some of it just pure fun and chaos. (IECU)



8. BP Valenzuela – Steady
684 points, 11 mentions

Nix Puno

There is no greater tribute to how this song about the uncertainties that come with intimacy has impacted those who’ve heard it than one who’s used it in a film. Prime Cruz, who discovered the singer through VOTW, chose “Steady” to close his debut film Sleepless, which won the NETPAC Jury Prize at last year’s QCinema festival. Explaining why he chose it, Cruz told us, “It wasn’t really about the lyrics. It was the way BP was singing, like there’s a certain sadness in this world that she has learned to accept.” Indeed, in earnest, heartfelt language and melody, she relates the challenges of love, loss, and life, all to a beat that starts slow, moves faster toward the end, and slows down again, cathartically. (Ren Aguila)

The thing about BP Valenzuela is that apart from being a respectable young producer, she is first and foremost a confessional singer-songwriter who is not hesitant to reveal the scars of her own heartbreak, pulling it off quite well with meticulous sonic details and moody simplicity. It’s the very reason why a lot of people are drawn to her music: It’s relatable and easy to grasp, but it’s disarmingly emotional that it stings from the inside. Her new track “Steady” serves yet another soundtrack to wallowing in mope—typical BP stuff that delivers harrowing observation on young love. It’s easy to dismiss this as pure teenage fluff, but its pulse and demeanor say otherwise. When BP tries to excavate into her own experience, it feels like she’s not only opening up to the world, but she also looks back on the good and old times without any hint of regret, without lingering too much on memories. Excruciatingly sad songs have done a wonderful job for the careers of Joni Mitchell, Taylor Swift, Elliott Smith and Adele. It has too, for BP. (IECU)

The unwavering music-feels of the female countenance soothes and upraises with this BP Valenzuela electro-pop song about openhearted devotion of the feminine expressions and their many complexities. (Archie Del Mundo)



7. Stomachine – Nice Choreography
712.5 points, 12 mentions

Stomachine

Somewhere in the underground pits of the internet, there exists an underrated newcomer whose unabashed hearts-on-sleeveness and shambling charm would instantly remind you of the good old days when indie-rock sounded more artisanal and exclusive. Stomachine gives off that feeling: a band that makes no effort in showcasing intricately sculpted melodies and drifting, lilting guitar lines, without the need to appeal to a broader reach or pull off a grand statement. As heard on their latest track “Nice Choreography”, Stomachine knows when to hold back and give their all, in the expanse of a 4-minute anthem. Their deft, confident musicianship is backed with blissed-out exuberance here, staying true to the sparkly infectiousness of previous single “Your Turn”, while helming a captivating, lush sound that conjures impressions of glass windows, rainy weather and infinite melancholia. Its ringing guitar hooks and climactic sweeps in the tail end make for a breathtaking finale, finding something worthwhile in the most hushed of spaces. (IECU)



6. Assembly Generals – Kontrabida
717.5 points, 11 mentions

Assembly Generals

(c) JC Gellidon

Only a few have achieved the level of boundary-pushing creativity and spectacle of The Assembly Generals in a short timeframe. Their new single “Kontrabida” alone, arrives with a massive splash that takes sonic sensibilities and drama to uncharted territories. The structure and production call for grandiosity, from the drums and samples that zoom off in amplified direction to Paolo Toledo’s ferocious chops. There’s no room for the weak here; only for those who vow to claim the top spot no matter how bloody it gets.

When Paolo and Deng join forces in spitting, “Sa mga hari, sa mga siga, sa mga bida kami ang kumokontra”, you not only hear a pleasure-loaded showcase of hip-hop braggadocio, but an assertion of villainy power desperate to throw the status quo. It’s great to see The Assembly Generals push each other and have a blast doing it, claiming their throne with ease while everyone else struggles to even touch it. (IECU)



5. Fools and Foes – Undesired
722 points, 12 mentions

Fools and Foes

(c) Wanderland Music and Arts Festival

Fools and Foes’ “Undesired” picks up where their immediately pleasing “Blindfolded” left off, finding transcendence in youthful vigor and languid, sun-weary charisma. Still, despite the explicit desire to paint an impressionistic picture of an indie-folk anthem that coasts through lush, laid-back melodies before building to a booster shot of a chorus, Fools and Foes proves to be more than the sum of its influences.

On “Undesired”, they start off calmly and slightly introverted, taking a charmingly non-conventional aesthetic that enables them to translate their little whimsical flourishes into an asset. As the song picks up its pace and settles comfortably in the upbeat rolling, the indie quartet loosens their tight grip: the guitars and bass surge over a pulsating rush of drum beats, and Miguel takes over the singing with an energy whose bubblewrap has just been popped. The pounding climax gets the band moving to their feet, allowing them to feel happy, dazed and free. And then you hear them shout the words “Hey” a couple of times, and in those moments of communal bliss, you find yourself weightlessly captivated, and for a time, infinite. It’s a feeling you don’t want to trade. (IECU)

“Undesired” is a song that delights in the thrill and tragedy of love unrequited. As the chorus heads to its inexorable (and memorable) conclusion, longing’s loss becomes visceral and graphic, an imaginative turn that I found fascinating. I am happy to celebrate both their achievement (so far) and their promise and I look forward to hearing what new directions their music will take this year. (Ren Aguila)



4. Ang Bandang Shirley – Tama Na Ang Drama
793 points, 11 mentions

 Tama Na Ang Drama

Karaoke scenes in music videos can be quite cheesy under normal circumstances, but Ang Bandang Shirley’s “Tama Na Ang Drama,” makes excellent use of the device as an opportunity to let our minds drift into a convoluted wave of feelings and memories, masking our loneliness and frustrations by recalling some of the best moments of our lives, the people who are no longer with us, the challenges that we’ve overcome as part of growing up. UP Cineaste Director Joanne Cesario curls up in the concept of nostalgia to keep us tied to a specific timeframe, to a sentimental refuge that cultivates feelings of connectedness.

The video introduces us to a homecoming attended by two friends played by veteran theater actresses Mailes Kanapi and Erlinda Villalobos. There are balloons, disco lights, party poppers and a display that says, “Welcome Back, Batch 1980” hanging at the entrance of the campus building. But the hallways are empty. No one seems to care about reuniting anymore. We see Mailes waiting for company, alone and hopelessly stuck in rot. Thank goodness for Erlinda, who joins her in a karaoke sing-along to Ang Bandang Shirley’s “Tama Na Ang Drama.” The two reminisces about the past as they belt out the tune with unfettered joy. Interspersed in the music video are scenes in the karaoke itself featuring a bunch of friends hanging out by the creek, making great memories together. The two narratives intertwine and gain momentum overtime. But as soon as it’s over, both Mailes and Erlinda pissed drunk and passed out after downing a couple of beers, we are reminded that all good things must come to an end. The twinkly, bittersweet outro slowly fades in the background like memories and people we lock away bits of ourselves into. (IECU)

Honest, sincere, and austere in its interpretation of a musical poesy. It riffs to demonstrate. It hooks to drive the fierce execution to the core. (Archie Del Mundo)



3. The Purplechickens – Casanova
803.5 points, 11 mentions

The Purplechickens

Aldus Santos has made a habit of writing emotionally moving songs that expose so much of the ugliness, beauty, tragedy, enigma and melancholy inherent in life’s most harrowing corners, exploring universal themes at its most cutting and direct. For all its brilliant but outsider insights, for every word that resonates with anyone who’s ever felt different, betrayed, and hopeless, Aldus’ work on The Purplechickens is less about the world and more about the feeling—a trademark that makes songs like “Casanova” a powerful piece of work.

The gut-level songwriting instincts simply give “Casanova” a clear advantage: a pop song stripped down to its core essentials, much of the beauty is due to the scaled-back instrumentation rendered with clarity and warmth. But the real highlight here is the lyrics, penned from the perspective of a smooth-talking charmer being objectified. The first line on “Casanova” gives the story away, “Ika’y hibang sa akin kahit ‘di mo man aminin, alam ko lang lahat” and sheds light on how some men are reluctant to stay in a relationship despite the promise that it may bring. Rob Jara’s music video, a poetic meditation on unrequited love, washes young romance down the drain with style and charm. What better way to capture the mood and tone of the song than by inhabiting a world where the rain’s madness doesn’t seem to stop. (IECU)



2. Oh, Flamingo! – Reflections
861.5 points, 11 mentions

It’s easy to reduce Oh, Flamingo into a bunch of art-schooled kids determined to sound like no other band out there. But there is so much playfulness and unpretentious elegance from the way Howard Luistro points a potential way forward without sacrificing pop immediacy, redefining a specific style of Afro-influenced indie-rock that has, for a time, pushed Dirty Projectors and Vampire Weekend to weirder, more pleasure-seeking places.  Now comes “Reflection”, a ragged cousin of their first single “June”. It screams summer, at least in the first half of its run: indelibly funky rhythms, tricky beat breaks, and effortlessly memorable choruses that sound mushy and drunken on the inside. Mid-song, it jumps into a whole other creature. A psychedelic instrumental breakdown easily robs the space and causes damage, but it’s a glorious mess and potentially the most bracing moment in the song. And though Oh Flamingo display virtuosity that feels like an excuse to flex great ideas rather than execute it—not that we are complaining about it, really—“Reflections” is a melting pot of musical perspectives cooked just right. Their unpredictability is a thrill to behold. (IECU)



1. Ourselves The Elves – Longing For
948.5 points, 14 mentions

“Longing For” sounds intimately at ease with expressing pure passion and best intention without having to resort to excessive melodrama and being desperately edgy. Touchingly poetic and symphonic with just the precise infusion of folk, indie, and alternative tunes. (Archie Del Mundo)

The ethereal, lush sound of “Longing For” drifts past you like December breeze, swelling over lovesick guitar arrangements and alt-country instrumentation with instantly familiar emotional heft. What’s more remarkable is how Ourselves The Elves’ gentle, earnest qualities remain unhinged despite steering clear of their sunshiney indie-pop past. But it has gotten more mature and less fragile this time, channeling the haunting specificity of Petersen Vargas’ acclaimed short Geography Lessons and at the same time—capturing its weathered, world-weary vibe. (IECU)


Our 2015 Year-End Lists:
100 Essential Filipino Tracks of 2015 (#40 – 21)
100 Essential Filipino Tracks of 2015 (#60 – 41)
100 Essential Filipino Tracks of 2015 (#80 – 61)
100 Essential Filipino Tracks of 2015 (#100 – 81)
20 Essential Filipino Music Videos of 2015
20 Essential Filipino EPs of 2015

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