10 New Songs From Filipino Artists To Check Out Right Now
Online lists about who you should be listening to are a dime-a-dozen these days, but you gotta admit they’re effective if you’re scouring the interwebz for fresh ear candy. New is certainly subjective (the latest Paramore record dropped a long time ago, like, four weeks ago), but if you’re not actively scouring Spotify, YouTube, and Soundcloud and hitting play on all their hot-off-the-presses tracks, it’s likely that you’re hearing each of these songs for the first time.
Discovering a new favorite song is a bit like enjoying an ice cream cone on a hot summer’s day. Here are a few new ice cream flavors to try out:
1| Wonggoys' “On My Way”
Wonggoys are Cebuano brothers Kyle, Gabriel and William Wong. I don’t know them, but I imagine they’re like that likeable, nonthreatening group of kids back in high school who were neither jocks or nerds. “On My Way” is breezy, thoughtful and feel-good, a shiny gem in their new album High Hello that’s already filled with a bunch of finger-snapping, head-bopping guitar-driven pop songs. The band reminds me of Light.Peace.Love-era Bamboo with touches of early Sugarfree and Walk The Moon.
Also try: “Gay is OK!”
2| Caffeine and Taurine's “Keep Dancing”
The chorus is just the track title with “Don’t you ever stop” thrown in. Simple enough, but with a fun bass line and playful synths, you’re pretty much under the song’s spell for a full five minutes. I hear traces of The 1975 and Passion Pit, which isn’t a surprise since the band lists those two as influences. Earlier single “Put The Glass Down” isn’t that much different, which makes Caffeine and Taurine a band you should turn to if you’re feeling like cutting a rug, or, you know, just happy (it’s not a crime).
Also listen to: “Put The Glass Down.”
3| Ysanygo's “Imprinted”
When I first heard “Imprinted,” I had visions of making my way inside a darkened nightclub, blinking red and blue lights hitting my face and sweaty, writhing bodies dancing all around. It’s a dance track, sure, but there’s something nostalgic and melancholy about it, too. Nineties rap and R&B also make their way to brother-sister duo Ysa and Ygo Ferraz’s sound, especially on Friday Afternoon Drive. They look like they’re barely out of their teens, but that the duo has already produced polished and confident music says a lot about how much more talent could possibly be simmering inside their heads.
Also listen to: “Friday Afternoon Drive”
4| Over October' “Never Stop”
A long drive to the beach, palm trees swaying in the wind, friends laughing over cold bottles of beer—whatever pops into your head when you hear this song, it’s more than likely they’re all pleasant and good. The song is so sunny and joyous you can almost see vocalist Josh Buizon’s smile. Play and listen to when you need an instant pick-me-up.
Also listen to: “Wait”
5| Loop's “Appalled and Disgusted”
It’s not as bad as the title sounds. On the contrary, with Kim Trinidad’s breathy, ethereal vocals, it’s an appealing and delicious track that’s on the good side of a snooty indie pop and cheesy watering hole showband mash-up. The four-piece band hails from Iligan, and straddles the line between commercial viability and arthouse favorite. Their instrumentation is a stone that could use a bit more polish, but given the right focus and direction, they can certainly give Manila-based bands a run for their money.
Also listen to:"I Want You"
6| Ian Penn's “Water From The Creek”
Ian Penn is what Neil Young and Pete Seeger would sound like if they were a skinny 20-something reaching their peak in 21st century Philippines. I’ve followed Penn’s career since 2015 and this new song is his best yet. “Water From the Creek” is country and Americana by way of Pampanga, where Penn is from. Compared to the songs from his last EP Wild Abandon, Penn’s vocals are fuller, more developed and more controlled this time. There are wisps of John Mayer circa Paradise Valley, but the roots are firmly in folk, acoustic-guitar-and-harmonica territory.
Also listen to: “Wild Abandon”
7| Rosh Munez's “Gitling”
“Gitling” is the Tagalog word for hyphen, but in Rosh Munez’s song, it represents the emotional distance between two people who are actually physically close. It’s clever wordplay and it’s to Munez’s credit that even though the song switches between English and Filipino, it doesn’t grate the ears.
8| Paolo Mallari's “I Can’t”
Paolo Mallari is an avowed fan of John Mayer (check out his YouTube channel) and the influence is evident in this track. The song sometimes slows down to a sad crawl, but what Mallari lacks in vocal flourishes, he more than makes up for with his guitar work and production skills. Put this on during a late night drive in the pouring rain for maximum effect.
Also listen to: “Skyline”
9| At The Moment's “City To Burn”
For fans of Royal Blood and Arctic Monkeys, check out this five-piece that transports the Brit indie rock sound to Manila. The song has a strong “Fake Tales Of San Francisco” vibe, one of the standouts from AM’s debut. I’ve no objections, especially when the track is this good.
Also listen to: “Home”
10| Rob and the Hitmen's “One Night Boogie”
For some new funk in your life, look no further. The best of 70s soul and groove are alive and well in Rob Sugue and his hitmen Miguel, Earl and Jiggy. This song ticks all the boxes of a summer dance anthem, and just like British funk-soul group Mamas Gun, they make it sound so effortless and essential.
Also listen to: “So Right”