Yes, it is way, way overdue. But it is never too late to praise great musical talent. Here's a rundown of some of the best full-length local releases of the year that was and where these artists are now. Let it also be known that there were many other local releases that deserve praise (from the likes of Zia Quizon, Paranoid City [yes, I do their bookings for them, but objectively speaking, they should be worthy of being noted if you give their album Viewfinder Dreams a chance], Similar Objects, D-Coy, Razorback, Arcadia, Techy Romantics, The Sleepyheads, The Strangeness, among many others.
It is also reassuring to note that this year is shaping out to be an incredible year for local music as well, with great releases by Kamikazee (Romantico is their best album to date), Ciudad, Outerhope, Encounters with a Yeti, Red-I, Gloc-9, etc. plus equally exciting upcoming releases by Domino, Oktaves, Ang Bandang Shirley, Up Dharma Down, et al before the year ends.
Without further ado, my own Top 5...
5 » THE BUTCHERCONS
College rock? Punk? Garage? They manage to sound like all of these without aping the canon, but by capturing the heart, the dynamics and, most of all, the manic energy. And kudos, too, for the super-DIY packaging. The band has emerged this year as one of the most exciting acts to watch in the indie live circuit. Their follow-up is currently in the works.
4 » TAKEN BY CARS
This is where the promise of their first album Endings of a New Kind is fulfilled tenfold. Dense musical arrangements combined with an evidently better grasp of studio wizardry, a better sense of editing and maximizing of lead vocalist Sarah Marco's singing prowess. TBC is not merely a great "dance-rock" band, but a great band, period. The band achieved a milestone this year by being the first Philippine band to make it to the prestigious SxSW (South by Southwest) festival in the US.
3 » PUPIL
Limiters of the Infinity Pool
This is another tour de force display in technical prowess, production and songwriting from one of the best local bands around. The band had no trouble recovering from the dissolution of Sony Music Philippines, as they got picked up by MCA Music. They are gearing up for their fourth album. Ely Buendia seems to have gained more musical inspiration, as he has formed a new band Oktaves with Hilera and original The Jerks guitarist Nitoy Adriano (they will soon be releasing their debut album under MCA), touring as a solo act and fulfilling the promise of reuniting the Eraserheads to tour the US.
2 » TWIN LOBSTER
The Wait of the Entire World
For their first two DIY releases, there was already a band brimming with a lot of potential. But with their third release, we see a band in full bloom creatively. The songs feature the band in full wickedness, making the sophisticated sound so deceptively simple.
1 » TARSIUS
(Edouard's Village/Number Line/Heima)
This was released digitally the week after I submitted my Top 5 local albums for PULP Magazine for the December 2011 issue of PULP. Primate is an electronica album that's dynamic, fun, stimulating, and of course, danceable-as-fuck. Diego Mapa (with some help from an eclectic and equally mad array of musical acts) shows a great sense of rhythm and clever references here. Teaming up with Radioactive Sago Project drummer Jay Gapasin has turned Tarsius into one of the best live acts in the local indie circuit.