Israeli indie-folk singer-songwriter VANNA releases ‘Let Me Fall’, the second single from her upcoming debut EP

Israeli Indie-Folk singer-songwriter VANNA releases Let Me Fall, the second single of her 5-track debut EP High Hopes released via Umami Records. This song explores the meaning of embracing the vulnerability that one has while falling in love. The ambient production centred around a finger picked acoustic guitar and pulsating bass lines exudes a powerful calming feeling to listeners’ ears throughout the song.

Produced by Roy Avital of Tel Aviv based indie-electronic trio Garden City Movement and mastered by Matt Colton (James Blake, Muse, Coldplay), Let Me Fall is an ambient-folktronica song about letting yourself fall completely in love, and embracing the vulnerability that comes along with that. “When you fall in love, you expose yourself to getting hurt. It’s an endless paradox. When you let someone enter your inner world, you’re allowing them to gently break down your walls and then amazing things can happen.”, shares VANNA, “I was scared that one day I’d lose this feeling, and when it really happened I felt so alone trying to move on. This is the risk you take for falling in love.”

VANNA builds up the energy from the verses to the choruses, culminating in the bridge. “And all I could ever ask is to be someone else / To know what I am for you to feel that you want me too / And I wanna clear my head I don’t wanna be so scared / To leave all my fears behind / To know you’re on my side”, she sings, before releasing all that tension in the final instrumental drop.

VANNA tells the story about how she wrote the song: “At one of my gigs I did a cover of RY X’s Deliverance, adding a minimal beat and playing on my keyboard. When I finished singing the cover I kept going with the beat and sang a new song, which became Let Me Fall. It was a special moment. After I finished singing I told the audience that I felt like a rapper improvising lyrics on the go. I said I hoped that someone in the audience recorded it because this would become my new song.”

A music video accompanies the release of this single, directed by award-winning independent filmmaker Matan Balalty and French-Israeli artist Noémie Dahan, shot at the Beit Talal In Jaffa featuring four professional contemporary dancers.

Born and raised in Tel Aviv, of Indian and Iranian parents, VANNA grew up immersed in music, culture and diversity. Creating music is her way of confronting and understanding the turmoil she feels within herself, and she hopes her songs will touch others going through the same struggle. She is also a graduate of the Rimon School of Jazz and Contemporary Music.

Over the last 3 years, VANNA has been working closely with producer Roy Avital on her debut EP High Hopes, delivering a delicate fusion of indie electronic, pop, and folk influenced by artists like RY X, Oscar and the Wolf, SYML and Sóley.

‘Let Me Fall’ by VANNA is available everywhere at this link.

Photo and details provided by Umami Records in a recent press release.

The Itchyworms return with back-to-back singles under Sony Music

With live shows on a temporary standstill and the global music landscape currently at odds with the challenges that come with the complete shift to the digital realm, more artists are surprisingly making records that represent the specificity of the times. Never mind the logistical restrictions on the music-making process: What’s important is that they’re channeling their personal experiences during forced and self-imposed quarantine through songs that function like the pep talk the world needs right now—most of the time, comforting and hopeful, but sometimes a complete validation of our collective rage, loneliness, and frustration inside.

Now returning with two new singles that capture the universal sentiments of grappling with an invisible peril, The Itchyworms drops back to back releases under Sony Music Philippines—their first under a major label since 2008’s Self-Titled.

Two new singles

“Armageddon Blues” and “The Silence” are two new songs inspired by the band’s response to the ongoing social, mental, and emotional crisis that people from around the globe are facing in the midst of a pandemic.

“Armageddon Blues,” in particular, is an update of an old demo recorded by Jazz Nicolas (lead vocals, drums, piano, keyboards, keytar) and Chino Singson (lead guitarist and backing vocals). With crunching guitar riffs, Beatlesque pop melodies, and raw but in-your-face production, the latest track from the band exhibits both ends of the emotional spectrum, as filtered through the lens of happy-sappy music geeks. As Chino recalls. “I remember it being a fun song to record. If you listen to the lyrics, you’ll see it’s very tongue-in-cheek, but very heartfelt.”

Written in 2005, the song was supposed to be included on the quartet’s critically acclaimed album, Noontime Show and the follow-up record, Self-Titled, but The Itchyworms felt that it was thematically different and completely ahead of its time. “Time jump to more than 15 years later, I was the only one who had a copy of the demo,” Jugs Jugueta (co-lead vocals, rhythm guitar, percussion, keyboards) narrates. “Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) happened, and I sent them the demo of ‘Armageddon Blues,’ telling The Itchyworms to release the song, because it captures the somewhat end-of-the-world vibe of our present situation. A couple of weeks into the ECQ, we realized that we’re in this for the long haul, and that we had to do something creative. We decided to write and record a few songs inspired by our experiences during COVID-19.”

The songwriting sessions birthed another single, which already made its rounds on Facebook a week earlier. Following the official release of “Armageddon Blues” on all streaming and digital platforms worldwide a day late, “The Silence” was written by Jugs Jugueta and Jazz Nicolas, and recorded and produced by The Itchyworms entirely during the Enhanced Community Quarantine imposed over Metro Manila due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. “It’s what we think everyone is going through right now. Nobody could’ve foreseen 2020 to be like this,” Jugs shares the underlying theme behind the song. Musically, it’s a mish-mash of influences that put Depeche Mode, Radiohead, The Beatles, and The Walking Dead in a blender: The production seethes with soaring builds and nuanced sonic details, but ends abruptly in faded noise—as if the transmission is suddenly lost in the background, its silence “killing us” infinitely and metaphorically.

A “Quarantine” Album

Both songs are part of their upcoming album, Waiting For The End To Start, which was conceptualized and recorded while the members of The Itchyworms were confined in their homes, connected digitally by their resounding “shared” experiences. “Expect it to be unpolished and imperfect,” Jazz describes the new album. “Maybe a little lo-fi. It’s not necessarily all about COVID-19, but this is the result of what we feel during this time. So there’s restlessness, loneliness, boredom, delirium, fear, uncertainty, and all that jazz.”
Chino puts into perspective the concept behind the 8-track release, which will most likely drop sometime in July 2020. “Like any collection of music, it is a record of its time: A snapshot of the artist’s reaction to his or her circumstances. But it’s a concept album in that our aim was to create art in the midst of a pandemic, to capture our emotions in the music we record, even with the limited recording gear we have at home. So you’ll hear amp buzz and imperfect vocals, but for me that’s part of the spirit of true rock.”

Reunion with Sony Music PH

Waiting For The End To Start is their second album to be released under Sony Music Philippines. After their groundbreaking major label opus, Self-Titled, which made an impact in the local music scene at the tail end of 2008, the band was forced to go indie after the label’s short-lived hiatus handling domestic releases.

Speaking of their reignited ties with the international record label, Jugs tells in a statement: “Aside from the fact that we felt a sense of familiarity with Roslyn Pineda of Sony Music PH, as we’ve known her since our college days, we believed that Sony, being an International record company, could help us reach a wider audience. We want to reach new and foreign audiences, because our music is universal and capable of touching several hearts here and abroad.”

Chino adds, “I feel that Sony is a good place to be for an artist. Their team is small but they work hard and have their artists’ interests at heart.”

Armageddon Blues” is now out on various digital and streaming platforms worldwide. “The Silence” was officially released on May 22, 2020.

Image and details provided by Sony Music Philippines in a recent press release

Watch Rico Blanco’s inspiring music video for “This Too Shall Pass”

Rico Blanco has finally dropped the official music video for his new solo single in four years. With various footages taken here and abroad, the visuals for “This Too Shall Pass” take a closer look at how the pandemic has brought the entire world to a standstill.

Given the unprecedented uncertainty and challenges that COVID-19 poses, the video doubles as a tribute to the unsung heroes and frontliners leading the fight against an invisible enemy, showing us the true meaning of bayanihan in times of crisis.

Intercut with scenes of the “new normal” from around the globe, it also depicts the alt- rock icon performing the song at the confines of his home: devoid of flashy production designs and envelope-pushing concepts, but framed with an underlying message of resilience and hope.

Positive Reception

Two weeks earlier, “This Too Shall Pass” was released on all digital and streaming platforms worldwide under Sony Music.

The massive anthem has received critical acclaim from various publications in the country. MYX Philippines praised his work for giving listeners “a sense of reassurance, something we all need given the current situation.” Bandwagon Asia called the song an “ode to the light of the human spirit in dark times,” while GMA News described it as “a perfect source of inspiration.”

An Initiative for COVID-19 Response and Relief

To help fund the collective COVID-19 response in the Philippines, Rico Blanco is waiving his artist royalties for the music video of “This Too Shall Pass,” and Sony Music Philippines will be donating 100% of the net global proceeds to www.puhon.ph for the first six months of release.

Puhon means “hopefully” in Visayan. The site contains inspiring stories and messages of encouragement to people at the frontline of fighting the pandemic.

Using the tagline #MakeHopeViral, to date, the site has raised P4.6M for personal protective equipment (PPEs) & nutrition support for frontline healthcare workers, COVID-19 testing kits, and relief goods for daily wage workers. Other SME Philippines artists with messages of support & encouragement on the site are SB19, Zelijah, Dionela, Nathan & Mercury, Alex Bruce, Ace Banzuelo & syd hartha.

The music video of Rico Blanco’s “This Too Shall Pass” is now available on  all other video platforms worldwide.

Images and details provided by Sony Music Philippines in a recent press release.

HubbaBubbas teams up with Korean indie star Kwak Pareunhaneul on new single

Singapore indie-pop trio HubbaBubbas collaborates with K-Indie darling Kwak Pureunhaneul on their brand new single Rumble Under My Toes, released via Singapore based indie label Umami Records. The release also includes a Korean
version of Sunset In My Pocket featuring Kwak Pureunhaneul, of which the original version has just been nominated for five categories at the Singapore Youth Music Awards 2020.

HubbaBubbas’ first show in Korea was when they played at Seoul’s indie music festival Zandari Festa in 2017. They loved the country so much that they went back again to tour in 2019, and that was when they wrote this song with Kwak Pureunhaneul, also known as “Hongdae IU”, a nickname she picked up from her time on Korean television talent show series Superstar K.

Stephanie of HubbaBubbas shares about the story behind the song: “When we were facing uncertainty, we weren’t able to find much music to relate to because a lot of the music that we were listening to always had a clear feeling of the artist’s emotions – joy, sorrow… and for good reason. But we felt this was a part of ourselves that was not so clear, and we wanted to encapsulate it in a song. We also thought that perhaps there were people out there who felt the same way, and we found Kwakpu. She shared with us her personal reasons for being on a hiatus from music, and you can feel her emotions from her performance in the studio.”

A music video accompanies this release, as well as several behind-the-scenes videos telling the story of this collaboration and the band’s Korea tour.

HubbaBubbas are working on their new EP titled ‘New Home’, which they will start releasing at the end of 2020.

Rumble Under My Toes by HubbaBubbas is available everywhere here.

About HubbaBubbas

Singapore indie-pop trio HubbaBubbas comprises lead vocalist Stephanie Lim, guitarist Ryan Chan and beatboxer Mervyn Ye. The band is the recipient of the inaugural Singapore Youth Music Awards 2019 for Best Cover Artist, and have been nominated for five categories at the Singapore Youth Music Awards 2020. Their debut EP Amy(gdala) was released in Aug 2016 at a sold-out EP launch.

HubbaBubbas have been called upon to perform at events like the 2015 SEA Games, the ASEAN Paralympic games, Singapore Night Festival, Music Matters 2018, Bangkok Music City, as well as Zandari Festa, South Korea’s largest music festival, among others.

“Now what sets HubbaBubbas apart is that they aren’t your typical band. With siiiick guitar playing, crazy intense beatboxing and insanely beautiful vocals, they bring something totally different and fresh to the table” – Native Entertainment

“Quirky indie-pop ditties bookend the five-track EP, including the infectious feel-good electro-pop tune ‘Dancing on the World’, which was composed for the 28th South-East Asian Games in Singapore last year” – Time Out

About Kwak Pureunhaneul

Kwak Pureunhaneul is a singer-songwriter, also known as the IU of Hongdae. She talks about her honest life stories with her acoustic guitar and soothing voice, which helped her quickly establish her realm in the industry. Despite her young age, Kwak Pureunhaneul is capable of singing, composing, writing lyrics and even arranging. Let’s find more about her beautiful musicality.

Kwak Pureunhaneul first picked up the guitar when she was a high school student and then released her first album, “Without a Present,” upon graduation. She made herself known in the indie scene with the project gig “Hongdae IU” and secured her spot with the EP,

This singer-songwriter also took part in the audition program Superstar K7 and is set to release her second full-length album this fall.

About Umami Records

Umami Records is a Singapore-based indie record label founded in 2013. Much like the “5th taste” reputation of its namesake, the label strongly believes in discovering new, interesting sounds that run underground and away from the mainstream. The label’s tight-knit, curated roster thus far has included releases from Linying, The Steve McQueens, brb., Evanturetime, CampFire, Martin Baltser, Phoria, Oriental Cravings, and more.

Scrubb’s songs on 2gether soundtrack, now a Philippine hit!

After the massive hype surrounding 2gether: The Series, its official soundtrack featuring the music of Thai crossover sensation Scrubb, continues to dominate streaming platforms such as Spotify with an average of four to six entries a day on the Philippines Viral Top 50.

Their back catalog, which features previous hits, “ขอ (Wish),” “ทุกอย่าง (Everything),” “รอยยิ้ม (Smile),” and “ใกล้ (Close),” has consistently charted on the local digital and streaming services for more than a month. Its success in the Philippines and the Asian region is propelled by the publicity it received from the smash series, which currently airs on Thailand’s GMM 25 and Line TV, as well as the YouTube account of GMMTV.

“The author is one of our fans who started writing this story as an online fiction inspired by our songs,” recalls Scrubb’s Torpong “Ball” Chantabubpha on how their infectious set of melodic guitar pop tunes made its way to the Original Soundtrack (OST) of the Boys Love (BL) hit. “Then it got published as a book. Finally, the series came out, which encouraged more people to listen to our songs. We have to thank Jitti, the author, for putting our songs in the original story and making all of these things happen.”

Scrubb’s songs have somehow aided in championing a narrative that supports the unique romantic experiences of the LGBTQ+ community. Their involvement in the official soundtrack of a pop culture behemoth encourages visibility and representation in mainstream media, which has long shunned stories that go against societal norms. “As an artist, we have no specific audience,” shares Muey Thawatpon Wongbunsiri, the other half of Scrubb. “Our songs are our diaries. It’s a way for us to keep the good memories from that period of time. I think the listeners can also relate to the song as they face similar situation or atmosphere. We are happy when anyone can enjoy and get inspired by our song no matter who they are.”

Aside from their contribution to the 2gether soundtrack, the Smile duo has recently released their new single “ธรรมดา (Everyday)” earlier this year with a music video directed by prolific filmmaker Domu.

To date, the folk-pop duo has been receiving offers to play a number of shows abroad from international promoters. Ball adds, “Our plans to tour outside Thailand are forced to stop because of COVID-19 outbreak. At the moment we are writing, rehearsing, and preparing to be back on stage once again once this pandemic is finally over. We also hope that we’ll get a chance to be there and play for our fans in the Philippines soon.”

The songs from the official soundtrack of 2gether: The Series, which prominently feature the music of Scrubb, are now available on all digital and streaming platforms worldwide via Sony Music.

 

Rico Blanco returns with inspiring new anthem “This Too Shall Pass”

After a four-year hiatus in making songs of his own, Rico Blanco returns with a rousing new anthem to help us deal with the uncertainty of the times.

This Too Shall Pass is Rico Blanco’s first solo single in four years, as well as his first under Sony Music Philippines. The song was written from a place of discomfort and fear, witnessing how the much louder tremor of pandemic anxiety instantly changed our lives and left us with little time to mourn and move forward.

With frontliners risking their lives with little protection, people going hungry, and the social order crumbling to pieces, Rico felt powerless by the situation. Hence, he had to forego his difficulties of living alone and coping with his own emotional troubles, as there was work to be done. He shares, “My efforts are little in light of a pandemic like this. As big as my imagination is for this song, I also feel that it’s not enough. But it’s what I can do and contribute as a musician.”  

This Too Shall Pass succeeds in repurposing music’s mission: Outside of its function as an entertainment fodder and a way to escape, it carries the resilience of the human spirit. In darkness, it shines brighter.

The big, sprawling pop tune is his most personal to date, which he struggled over the course of two weeks to finish, and almost did not. “Some songs are anchored on truth, but they are wrapped and adorned in a lot of romanticized thoughts,” he shares. “This song is real, inwards and also outwards; it’s something that I really want to tell every single person. I wasn’t able to give a message to the frontliners, and I feel very guilty about this. I needed to finish this, and I want them to hear this. I know each one of us is going through something. I wrote this song as my way to reach out.”

With sonic elements that span continents and a carefully honed production which he supervised himself, Rico’s latest single defies convention with a global sounding opus that incorporates musical dispatches and personal anecdotes. From samples of his nieces laughing culled from a family chat group to his attempt to blur the cultural lines by incorporating European techno, hip-hop beats, Asian riffs, Afro chanting, and Pinoy fiesta in a seamless, genre-bending extravaganza, This Too Shall Pass is ambitious in scope and sound design, but its heart is for the people who need light and love.

There’s a sliver of joy in finding one of the most prolific artists emerge from a long silence. As Sony Music’s GM Philippines and VP Business Development Asia, Ms. Roslyn Pineda sums it up: “Music is important – we all know this.  But never more so than when we are faced with uncertainty, because it is then that the power of music becomes unquantifiable, almost limitless.  Music can make you feel you’re not alone. Music can save you from despair. And so it is with a song like This Too Shall Pass.  It is so relevant to the times that it becomes a declaration, a prayer, a mantra — all rolled into one.”

Rico Blanco’s “This Too Shall Pass” is now available on all digital platforms worldwide.

August Wahh drops soulful new single “Elated”

Following her first solo release, ‘Know What I Want’ last December 2019, August Wahh returns with a triumphant new single that is steeped in sophisticated warmth.

‘Elated’ navigates the nuances of carrying on with life with a recovered sense of identity and purpose. “I wrote Elated as a reminder to myself and to others that no matter what you’ve been through, the goal is to rise above situations that made you feel small – by accepting where you’ve been and the journey you’re on, even if you don’t know where you’re going,” the neo-soul singer-songwriter shares. “It’s a reminder to own yourself and live life to the fullest.”

With crwn’s suave beats and jazzy sonic touches, August Wahh’s ‘Elated’ makes a great case for both easy casual listening and soulful rumination. “The song was basically written on the spot,” the Sahara singer says. “crwn had a beat he played, and I wrote along it. On the same day, we recorded Elated.”

As accidental magic goes, the spur-of-the-moment recording birthed an empowerment anthem that finds refuge on timelessness and global appeal.

At a time when some of her contemporaries have chosen to embrace conventional approaches to songwriting, August Wahh channels her energy towards promoting self-worth as part of her personal mantra. She asks rhetorically “does it matter where I go?” while also guaranteeing to own every decision she makes, tackling the age-old question with emotional openness and introspection.

August Wahh’s new single “Elated” is now out on streaming and digital platforms worldwide.

Image and details provided in a recent press release.