You probably caught wind of the Twitter incident involving a handful of local bands who were exposed for their alleged sexual misconduct against women. This issue has thrown some shade on the local music scene, leaving others to second guess their support for homegrown budding artists. While we must not take the issue lightly, there's no reason to completely lose our faith in this industry: a community brimming with real talent and fresh sounds that make modern Filipino music more promising and uniquely resonant than it has probably been in a decade.
That being said, if you're looking for a fresh batch of bands to pay closer attention to, here's a list of highly recommended acts that will urge you to strongly support the local scene now more than ever!
1. IV of Spades
Visually, this four-membered bunch (managed by Callalily's Kean Cipriano) will already tickle your curiosity with their strong retro aesthetic. However, it's is their '70s-charged, nostalgia-inducing sound that captivates their audience. As a live act, it's impossible not to get your groove going during "Sentimental" and wish they'd release a recorded version of the romantic tune "Mundo" already! For now, relish their singles "Hey, Barbara" and "Ilaw Sa Daan" on repeat as you patiently wait for these cool kids' next bar gig.
Soaring vocals, rich instruments, and heartwarming lyrics—Ben&Ben will surely spark a cozy yet passion-filled flame in you. The nine-piece folk-pop band sings of love in its purest forms, even tackling themes such as loss with a refreshingly hopeful voice. Watching them live will surely give you all the warmth and fuzzies especially when you sing along to the hearfelt "Maybe The Night" and release your heartaches with the too-real "Kathang Isip" (Minsan siya ay para sa 'yo, pero minsan siya'y paasa!) The band, along with Kiana Valenciano and Reese Lansangan, also represented our country at this year's Music Matters Live in Singapore, so you'll definitely be indulged with world-class tunes when you check them out!
3. Basically Saturday Night
Recently hailed as Wanderland's Wanderband for 2018, this five-piece crew left our jaws hanging with their in-your-face, funky sound! The instrumentation will make your hips pop and your entire body sway in an upbeat tempo. The vocalist's pipes are also something to marvel at—that deep yet soaring quality in his tone can totally send chills down your spine! Thankfully, they just released their track "Chemical Love" on Spotify which is Basically what our Saturday Night dreams are made of. (Get it? got it? Good.) You're welcome.
4. Carousel Casualties
Another Wanderbattle contender, this indie-alternative quartet is an easy favorite. Their garage sound is definitely made for the hip crowd. If you're a fan of "Oh, Flamingo!" or even "Tom's Story", then you'll surely find "Carousel Casualties" appealing. Their six-track EP Madison is loaded with tracks that are the "Add To Playlist" type, such as their first official single "Safety" (even Sarah Geronimo can vouch for this LSS-inducing song!) and the head-bopping tune "San Junipero." Watch out for them at next year's Wanderland Music Fest, alongside Basically Saturday Night, IV of Spades, and more local and international acts!
5. Rob and The Hitmen
A band that can also get your groove on, Rob and The Hitmen will make you get up on your feet and clap along once they take the stage. Their R&B-pop sound is fun to dance to on any given evening, making them a fixture in gig lineups all around the metro. With their single "Don't Be Shy," these guys will lure you out of a peaceful weekend night and urge you to spend it with them instead. It's not hard to catch a live performance of this band, so just be on the lookout for the next one!
6. Where's Ramona?
If you're into that pop-rock genre (A.K.A. the kind of music that would remind you of your highschool crush) then Where's Ramona? is worth your attention! You won't find them yet on Spotify, so be sure to catch them live when you get the chance. Their head-banging beats (such as the anthemic "Tonight") and contagious energy on stage will make for a euphoric live experience! Another song we're digging is the rock-charged yet soft-on-the-inside "Kiss Me"—if this song had arms, then we'd need to be wrapped up in them, stat!
7. Over October
For a feel-good vibe, Over October's music will get you going any day of the week. With a fresh mix of pop, rock, and acoustic, their well-rounded sound is definitely a treat to the senses. You'll surely put their latest release "Never Stop" on loop, and before you know it, you're already scouring through every gig poster online just to find their next live stint! Yep, you'll be obsessed, and you can thank us later.
8. One Click Straight
With popping guitars, subdued vocals, and beats that will perk you up while sitting in traffic on a weeknight, One Click Straight's music is well-deserving of the attention it's getting. If you're into that The 1975 kind of pop, then make sure to check these guys out! Their recent release entitled "Small Talk" makes for a refreshing alternative pick that will jive smoothly right into your daily playlist!
On our first listen, Munimuni's heartwrenching vocals were the first thing to convince us that this folk band is worthy to be put in the spotlight. Couple those pipes with tenderly written Filipino lyrics that talk of poetic love, and we're sold. Their EP Simula is packed with exquisitely heartbreaking tracks of that "hurts so good" type, giving us a wistful mix of flavors that homegrown veterans Ebe Dancel and Join The Club have dished out through the years. Just listen to "Sa Hindi Pag-Alala" and you'll know—or feel—exactly what we're talking about.
The local scene is rich with soulful music that you surely won't find anywhere else. More than anything, these sounds are proudly our own. Keep discovering these gems, and support them in any way you can!
Which of these homegrown bands are your top picks? Anyone else you'll recommend that didn't make it to our list? Share your love for local music in the comments below!
ALSO READ: The Six Fix: Feel-Good Local Songs That Will Start Your Day Right