Arts & Entertainment

How to Attend Wanderland Without Looking Like a Pretentious Wannabe

Study up. Get to know (and actually appreciate) all the headliners at this much-anticipated soundfest.
IMAGE Esquire U.S.
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First, they brought us to a funky playground full of the wonderfully weird and monstrous. Then they wowed us with their whimsical version of a carnival. Next, they welcomed us to the summer camp of our childhood fantasies. Last year, they went galactic and transported us to the stars and beyond. This 2017, they are inviting us to go on a wild adventure and unleash our spirit animals.

Wanderland Music and Arts Festival is back this year for its fifth iteration with “Wanderland Jungle.” (“The wild is waiting,” as its cheeky tagline says.) The local annual festival, organized by Karpos Multimedia Inc., has been featuring a varied and interesting mix of both foreign and homegrown musical acts since its first staging back in 2013. 

Unlike concerts that highlight a single band or a solo performer (with an opening act or two), Wanderland is a haven for audiophiles who love music in all its forms and in every genre imaginable. Indie pop, hip hop, indie folk, dance, acoustic, electronica, dream pop, instrumental rock, synthpop—you name it, and Wanderland has probably featured it.

The so-called “local Coachella” also invites artists to do live art performances and installations, making the daylong festival truly a feast for all the senses. Wanderland 2017, which will be held on March 4, is also changing addresses, from Makati City all the way to Filinvest City Event Grounds in Alabang, Muntinlupa. 

Last year’s musical lineup included the American bands Death Cab for Cutie and Bon Iver as the festival headliners. This year’s roster is no less amazing, especially with the return of Australian alternative-rock band The Temper Trap, which first came to Philippine shores when they played at the inaugural Wanderland festival four years ago, and the addition of instrumental rock group Explosions in the Sky. 

Bands and singers from the United States, England, Australia, Malaysia, and Canada will make music alongside local acts like Up Dharma Down, Gab and John of Urbandub, and Reese Lansangan, to name a few. Plus, Wanderland is again putting a spotlight on emerging young bands with the inclusion of the top three acts of the festival’s yearly battle of the bands, or Wanderband.

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Here’s a cheat sheet on Wanderland Music and Arts Festival 2017’s musical lineup—both foreign and local acts and what you can expect from them this time:

 

The Temper Trap

Country of origin: Australia

Genre: indie, alternative rock 

The Temper Trap is back in Manila, and with a new album in tow. Fronted by Indonesian-born Dougy Mandagi, the alternative-rock band’s most recognizable song is the rock ballad “Sweet Disposition,” which was featured in the 2009 romantic-comedy hit “(500) Days of Summer.” 

Founded in Melbourne in 2005, the now London-based band is more than their sweet disposition, however. (Mandagi is reportedly sick of talking about—but not playing— the band’s infamous hit). This year, they’ll be hitting the Wanderland stage with new songs from “Thick as Thieves,” their third studio album. Released last year, “Thick as Thieves” received generally positive reviews.

One particular record off their latest album, “Burn,” shows off what The Temper Trap does best: hit that sweet spot of a sweeping, anthemic melody complemented by Mandagi’s powerful vocals.

 

 

Check out their album’s title track “Thick as Thieves,” plus the record “Tombstone.” Visit The Temper Trap’s official website and Facebook page for more information. Listen to their music and watch their videos on Spotify, YouTube, and YouTubeVEVO.

 

The Ting Tings

Country of origin: England

Genre: indie pop, dance

The Manchester-based duo of Katie White and Jules De Martino is best known for their early danceable, earworm pop tunes like “Great DJ,” “Shut Up and Let Me Go,” and “That’s Not My Name” off their 2008 debut album, “We Started Nothing.”

 

After a challenging time making their sophomore album (“torturous” was one word bandied about in reference to the 2012 album “Songs From Nowheresville”), The Ting Tings is back to their disco-pop, dance-funk roots with third studio album, “Super Critical,” released in 2014. 

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Co-produced by Duran Duran’s Andy Taylor, “Super Critical” was recorded in Ibiza, Spain, and boasts The Ting Tings’ trademark catchy beats and interesting hooks but with a ‘70s vibe. Listen to the title track “Super Critical,” “Failure,” and “Communication.”

Learn more about The Ting Tings through their official website and Facebook page. Check out their music on Spotify, YouTube, and YouTubeVEVO.

 

Explosions in the Sky

Country of origin: United States

Genre: instrumental rock, post-rock

American instrumental rock band Explosions in the Sky is one of the hotly anticipated acts in this year’s Wanderland. The quartet of Chris Hrasky, Michael James, Munaf Rayani, and Mark Smith started out back in 1999 in Austin, Texas. 

The music of Explosions in the Sky, often regarded as “cinematic,” has been featured in big- and small-screen productions, including the movie and television versions of “Friday Night Lights,” the film adaptation of Khaled Hosseini’s “The Kite Runner,” and the young adult drama “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl.”

Explosions in the Sky has written seven studio albums and has scored four films, including the aforementioned “Friday Night Lights.” In their most recent album, “The Wilderness,” the band “has crafted an updated version of themselves that’s ready for 2016 ears without sacrificing the band’s identity,” said AV Club’s Philip Cosores

Listen to the classic “Your Hand in Mine” off Explosions in the Sky’s third album.

 

 

And if you’re going to sample songs from “The Wilderness,” check them out on Scenes from the Wilderness, the album’s visual companion. Explosions in The Sky’s music coupled with the visuals by design studio CHIP and Munaf Rayani’s photography will definitely be a unique and mesmerizing experience.

Visit Explosions in the Sky’s official website and Facebook page. Check out their accounts on Spotify and YouTube to hear more of their music.

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Yuna

Country of origin: Malaysia

Genre: pop, alternative, acoustic, R&B

Los Angeles-based Yuna is making her Manila debut during this year’s Wanderland Music and Arts Festival. The Malaysian-born singer-songwriter has worked with international producer/hit-maker Pharrell Williams, R&B superstar Usher, and Adam Young of Owl City. 

Her third international studio album, “Chapters,” has been included in several top R&B albums of 2016 lists, including that of Rolling Stone Magazine and Billboard. Her sultry vocals have been compared to British soul and R&B icon Sade. Yuna, also known for her incredible sense of style, has founded an independent lifestyle store and has collaborated on a fashion line with Malaysian designer Hatta Dolmat.

Check out her single “Crush,” featuring Usher.

 

Give “Best Love” and girl power record “Rescue” a listen as well. Visit Yuna’s official website and Facebook page. Sample her music on Spotify, YouTube, and YouTubeVEVO.

 

Purity Ring

Country of origin: Canada

Genre: synthpop 

The Canadian synthpop duo Purity Ring consists of Megan James and Corin Roddick from Edmonton, Alberta. In a 2011interview with Pitchfork, they once described their sound as “future pop”—a categorization that Megan believed was still apt four years later.

They’ve released two full-length albums, with their 2012 debut “Shrines” getting a generally positive reception from both fans and critics. It was included in several top albums of 2012 lists, including music magazine Spin. They released their sophomore album, “another eternity,” in 2015. 

Check out “heartsigh” and “bodyache” from “another eternity,” and “Obedear” and “Fineshrine” from “Shrines.”

 

 

Learn more about the duo through their official website and Facebook page. Listen to their music on Spotify, YouTube, and YouTubeVEVO.

 

UDD

Country of origin: Philippines

Genre: alternative rock, indie pop

UDD, formerly known as Up Dharma Down, is an alternative-rock group comprising Armi Millare, Ean Mayor, Carlos Tañada, and Paul Yap. The award-winning homegrown band has opened for foreign acts, including Incubus, Tegan and Sara, and The xx, among others. BBC Radio’s Marc Coles apparently had said that UDD was the Manila band with the most potential to cross over to the North American music scene. The band was also featured in a July 2007 issue of Time magazine

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UDD is no stranger to the Wanderland stage, having performed in the festival back in 2013 (similar to The Temper Trap). The band, which was founded in 2004, is also reportedly set to release this year their self-titled, fourth studio album—the follow-up to 2012’s “Capacities.” 

Watch UDD play “Tadhana,” one of the hits off their 2012 album. 

 

And don’t forget to check out their latest single, “Sigurado,” as well. The song was released just this New Year’s Day. Visit UDD’s official website and Facebook page for more information about the band. Listen to their music on their Spotify accounts (as Up Dharma Down, and as UDD) and on YouTube.

 

HONNE

Country of origin: England

Genre: electronic, soul

The British electro-soul duo of Andy Clutterbuck and James Hatcher is reportedly “destined to reinvent babymaking music” with their 2016 debut album, “Warm On A Cold Night.” The sensual and soulful collection of smooth bluesy numbers and danceable pop tunes explores and celebrates the various permutations of love and relationships. As Hatcher said in an interview with The Independent: “With this record, we wanted there to be a message of respect to all sexes, all relationships between whatever gender. Peace and love, is what it’s all about really.”  

HONNE, which means “innermost feelings” in Japanese, has been enjoying a string of sold-out shows during the duo’s tours across the United States and Europe. HONNE has also included several stops in Japan and South Korea during last year’s tour. Aside from Wanderland, they will also be playing in this year’s Coachella, one of the biggest music and arts festivals in the world. 

If you’re looking for an addition to your after-hours soundtrack, why not try out the title track of HONNE’s debut album and see if it can really keep you warm on a cold night. 

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Go to HONNE’s official website and Facebook page for additional information. Listen to the duo’s music on Spotify and YouTube.

 

LANY

Country of origin: United States

Genre: dream pop, alternative, electro-pop

Les Priest, Jake Goss, and Paul Klein make up the alternative indie-pop trio LANY. The relatively young group got their big break when their song “ILYSB” became a viral hit. If LANY’s most recognizable song seems ubiquitous, as if you’ve heard it everywhere, there’s a good reason for that. “ILYSB” was the most streamed song in Spotify’s Discover Weekly playlist during the first year of the streaming app’s popular feature.

LANY (pronounced “lay-nee”) has yet to release a full-length album, instead dropping a couple of EPs since the three got together back in 2014. Paul, in an interview with Billboard, said their debut album is “going to feel like this enormous, beautiful story of everything coming together.”

Watch the official music video of “ILYSB” and I dare you not to sing along to it.

 

Also, listen to “pink skies” from their 2016 EP “kinda.” To know more about LANY, visit their official website and Facebook page. Check out their music on Spotify and YouTubeVEVO.

 

Woodlock

Country of origin: Australia

Genre: acoustic, alternative, folk, pop

Acoustic folk trio Woodlock is made up of New Zealander brothers, Ezekiel and Zechariah Walters, and Australian Bowen Purcell. The three started their musical career by busking, or performing in streets, in Melbourne, Australia, and have since released multiple EPs.

Critics have noted that Woodlock’s sound has evolved as they grow as artists. Most of their earlier songs were in the acoustic-folk genre. However, their recent singles, including “The Only Ones,” show the band embracing a more electronic-synthpop sound. 

Watch the music video of “Lemons,” the titular track of their 2013 EP.

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Visit Woodlock’s official website and Facebook page for more info. Listen to their music on Spotify and watch their videos on their YouTube channel.

 

Gab and John of Urbandub

Country of origin: Philippines

Genre: alternative rock, acoustic

A lot of people thought it was an April Fool’s Joke when the alternative-rock band Urbandub announced on April 1 two years ago that the group was splitting up after 15 years. Much to the dismay of the fans of the band, the news wasn’t a prank. Gab Alipe, John Dinopol, Lalay Lim, and JanJan Mendoza played their last concert together as a quartet a month after the announcement was made.

That was two years ago. Gab and John, however, didn’t let this “indefinite hiatus” stop them from entertaining their fans by performing Urbandub’s music—albeit a more stripped down version of it. As a duo, Gab and John played an all-acoustic set of Urbandub’s biggest hits last year at Music Museum, were one of the special guests in December Avenue’s recent concert, and have continued doing gigs all around the metro.

Vocalist Gab has also released a new song as a solo artist, while guitarist John took on frontman duties for rock group Cables & Spaces

Check out this stripped-down version of “First of Summer.”

Visit Urbandub’s Facebook page and listen to their music on Spotify and YouTubeVEVO.

 

Tom’s Story

Country of origin: Philippines

Genre: instrumental rock, post-rock, math rock 

Tom’s Story is an instrumental rock band from Manila that has started gaining a name for themselves in the local music scene. The trio, with their lyric-less songs, wowed their audience during their set at last year’s Fête de la Musique, proving that music needs no words to convey a story.

Comprising Gabba Santiago, Tom Naval, and Christer de Guia, Tom’s Story was formed back in 2010. Some of their influences include Taking Back Sunday and Explosions in the Sky. They released their 10-track album last January 2016, which was well received by fans and critics alike

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Watch the official music video of a combo of their two songs, “Dream” and “Catcher.”

Also, check out Tom’s Story’s excellent “Mugatu” and “Anchors” from their self-titled debut album. Visit the Facebook page of Tom’s Story for additional information. Check out their Spotify and YouTube accounts to hear more of their music.

 

Fools and Foes

Country of origin: Philippines

Genre: indie, folk, post-rock

Indie-rock quartet Fools and Foes was formed in 2014 and looks to American indie rock band Local Natives, Japanese rock group Toe, and English folk singer Lucy Rose as some of the band’s musical influences. The group, which comprises Isabelle Romualdez, Miguel Querubin, Ralph Gonzales, and Gabba Santiago (also of Tom’s Story), has released an EP, “Underneath The Roots,” two years ago.

They’ve opened up for Lucy Rose’s intimate show last November—the folk singer herself a Wanderland alumni, performing in the festival back in 2014—and are reportedly working on a full-length album to be released, hopefully, by next year. Listen to Fools and Foes’ “Blindfolded” and “Undesired” from their 2015 EP.

Learn more about Fools and Foes by visiting their Facebook page. Go to their Spotify and YouTube pages to listen to their music.

 

Reese Lansangan

Country of origin: Philippines

Genre: indie pop, folk

Reese Lansangan is a member of the millennial hyphenates, a unique breed of young creatives who wear multiple hats, often more than one at a time. She is, and this according to her website, “a visual artist, graphic designer, fashion designer, published author and singer-songwriter—all rolled into one convenient sushi.” 

Reese has a quirky sense of style and writes even quirkier lyrics. Her songs’ topics range from the fan-favorite American film “Mean Girls” to English language grammar (yes, you read that right). She even wrote a little ditty about the thieves who stole her laptop. Check out her first album “Arigato, Internet” on Spotify. Also, watch the very “Wes Anderson twee” music video of “Grammar Nazi.”

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Read more about Reese on her official website and Facebook page. Listen to her music on Spotify and check out her videos on her YouTube channel.

 

Lola Amour

Country of origin: Philippines

Genre: indie rock

Lola Amour, an all-male indie rock group, grabbed the top spot in the battle of the bands portion of the festival’s Wanderland Jungle Battle held last November. The eight-member musical act is not your ordinary band. Two of their members are brasswind players, one a trumpeter and the other a saxophonist. 

Lola Amour is relatively young, formed only in January 2016, according to their Facebook page. But with their electric performance and amazing stage presence, as noted by some during the Wanderband finals, the group is clearly a welcome addition to Wanderland’s stellar musical lineup.

Check out “No Tomorrow,” Lola Amour’s entry to the Wanderband competition.

Know more about Lola Amour through their Facebook page.

 

Banna Harbera

Country of origin: Philippines

Genre: soul, funk

Banna Harbera (a spoonerism on Hanna-Barbera, the American animation studio that produced iconic cartoons like “The Flintstones,” “The Addams Family” and “Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?”) started out as an academic project for music production majors Yzabel Torres, Jake Masigan, Josh Planas, Patrick Felipe, and Theo Blanch.

The five-piece group, which has two EPs out (“Something New” and “Persistence”), is one of the runners-up of Wanderland’s band contest. Banna Harbera will inject a little hugot and a whole lot of soul in this year’s Wanderland festival. Check out the title track “Persistence” and “Sorrys & Goodbyes” from their 2016 EP.

 

Visit Banna Harbera’s Facebook page for more information. Check out their music on SoundCloud, Spotify, and YouTube.

 

Mickey Sulit

Country of origin: Australia

Genre: acoustic, indie pop, jazz

Mickey Sulit and her band won one of the coveted spots in the Wanderland musical roster after battling it out with 10 other musical acts during the festival competition. The 18-year-old singer-songwriter hailing from Canberra, Australia, has performed with Filipino crooner Mark Bautista during his Australian tour and with Amber Nichols of The Voice Australia

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Watch Mickey’s video entry to the battle of the bands competition.

 

Go to Mickey’s Facebook page for additional information. Check out her videos on her YouTube channel.

 

For more information about Wanderland Music and Arts Festival 2017, visit its website, Facebook page, and Instagram

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