LONER, Make Noise
Bedroom pop musician Loner aka Lean Ordinario has been trafficking in mellow electronica to foreground his thoughts on romance and heartbreak. “Make Noise,” his latest EP, may appear he’s ready to jump into the merry pranksters’ bandwagon but majority of his new tracks remain in the sad sack zone. It’s not a misery rut, by any chance, because cuts like “Cut To The Chase,” “Ikaw Lamang” and the titular track radiates with the giddy feel of happy release by your lonesome. In that context, even the boisterous beat of “New To Me” seems right at home with the laidback company.
SPOON, Lucifer on the Sofa
For most music fans, critically acclaimed American band Spoon have always existed between user-friendly pop and the more raucous yet compelling strain of guitar-driven rock. Ten albums into an illustrious career, they double down on the former, proffering a string of relentlessly massive choruses, crowd pleasing hooks and striking chords that will likely resonate with the next generation of power-pop bands. Frontman Brett Daniels’ soulful voice is a thing of beauty stitching together the acoustic elegance of “My Babe” to the shifting melodicism of Wild” to the ecstatic blues rock of “The Devil & Mr. Jones.” ‘Lucifer in the Sofa’ is a handsome package of staggering breadth.
SNAIL MAIL, Valentine
Too late for this month’s red-letter day, you say? No worries. The Valentine on the album title refers to affairs of the heart that have gone wrong. Right at the title track, vocalist Lindsey Jordan asks, “So why do you want to erase me, my darling Valentine?” Elsewhere, on “Headlock,” apparently a song about suicidal tendencies, Lindsey bares her jealous heart, singing, “When did you start seeing her?” Both songs are of a piece with other tracks such as “Ben Franklin” that deals with the darker side of falling out of love. The strange thing, you go through the pains of loss since the luscious soundscapes dished out by folk-pop band Snail Mail are such attractive backdrops. There’s beauty in hurt? You tell me.
SAM FENDER, Seventeen Going Under
Riding on a musical platform that shouts out Bruce Springsteen wannabe, 27-year old singer/ songwriter Sam Fender’s sophomore album goes for broke not for “Thunder Road” but for the working class. Then again, not John Lennon’s “Working Class Hero” but for the anonymous workingman who’s marginalized economically and politically. So, you get fist raising anthems and stirring romantic tunes that warms the warmth and spurs the mind to cry for the dispossessed. They’re enough to overcome Fender’s bleak observations even as they give hope to fight for another day.
VARIOUS ARTISTS, Alternatripph: Pa-Extend Po!
An all live! Compilation, the main agenda here is that All of the songs were recorded and mixed during the live stream. Megumi Acorda is a favorite in this corner so do Shirehound & Busking, no question about that. The biggest surprise is The Alex Pinpin Propaganda Machine whose two contributions,“Kahon” and “Ano Ang Aming Kasalanan?,” are Rage Against The Machine-like adaptation of the progressive poetry of Alex Pinpin, one of the Tagaytay 5 abducted by the military in 2006 and subsequently accused of being “communist rebels.” That is, if RATM backpedaled to a more accessible, less strident rock attack. Alyana Cabral’s “Jimmy’s Song” belongs to the same spectrum with the acoustic singer/songwriter adopting a Peter, Paul & Mary sensitive pose in describing the travails of a detained activist.
For You I’ll Stay: A 2021 GSS Sampler
Issued by a queer-run, queer-focused cassette label, this sampler wants you to check your transphobia, homophobia, sexism, and toxic machismo by the door. Once done, you get to savor the harder-than-thou punk rock of Catpuke, the metal ‘gaze of Polar Lows and the twee pop of Grrl Cloud. The ‘fuck you’ implied in the label description is obvious only in the punchy rockers but make no mistake, it grows on you slithering underneath the more accessible fun stuff.