Singapore nu-jazz outfit The Steve McQueens drop soulful new single ‘Firefly’

Singapore nu-jazz band The Steve McQueens have released their long-awaited brand new single ‘Firefly’ via Singapore based indie label Umami Records, exactly 143 weeks after their last release, full length album ‘TERRAЯIUM’ in 2017. The release comes fresh off the band’s ‘Nerd Lounge’ tour at the start of the year where they played shows at the Jakarta International Java Jazz Festival, Tokyo Big Romantic Jazz Festival and the Esplanade Singapore.

The Steve McQueens have provided the following statement announcing the new song:

“Firefly generates its own light
Firefly generates its own beauty
Passion flies like fire
Passion dies with no desire
Passion is beauty
– The Steve McQueens”

‘Firefly’ is the lead single of The Steve McQueen’s new EP ‘Nerve Endings’, scheduled for release on 7 August 2020, featuring music from the band’s ‘TAPE’ tour in 2018. The band is currently writing and recording new material for their fifth album, ‘The Observer’, to be released in 2021. The band provides some insight into the thinking behind the project: “The Observer stands apart, an indifferent spectator at the ongoing culture clash between the jazz traditionalists and the new guard, smiles quietly to himself and just makes music.”

‘Firefly’ by The Steve McQueens is available everywhere at this link.

About The Steve McQueens

The Steve McQueens refuse to be pedestrian; they don’t live in the transient, or the touch-and-go. Swerving between cool seduction and gripping magnetism, they are ambitious to light the world up with their progressive brand of self- titled neo- vintage soul- funk. They have played to growing attention at festivals like the Tokyo Jazz Festival and Summersonic (Japan), Java Jazz (Indonesia), SingJazz (Singapore), Melbourne International Jazz Fest (Australia) and Jarasum International Jazz Festival (Korea). The quartet formed in 2013 as a forging of four mercurial talents in Singapore, a small country punching above its weight in Southeast Asia’s music scene. Critically acclaimed, The Steve McQueens will leave an indomitable mark on any listener with their music.

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.

UE Jam Sessions pay tribute to the frontliners with original song, “Lalaban Tayo”

UE Jam Sessions (UEJS), the premiere music organization in University of the East, released a tribute music video dedicated to the medical practitioners and frontliners of the country, who are risking their lives amidst the pandemic crisis.

“Lalaban Tayo” was written by Jenny Legapi, arranged by Choi Felipe, and executive produced by Tommy Tanchanco. Featuring 34 singers and musicians from UEJS Manila and UE Caloocan, the collaborative effort was recorded and filmed during the lockdown period in the confines of their own homes.

Despite the limited resources and massive challenges that the students have to go through in the recording process, they were able to improvise and produce a studio-recording quality of the uplifting pop-rock anthem that champions the daring and uncompromised sacrifices of our modern day heroes. It’s their contribution for all the hard work that our medical, security and essential frontliners had to endure during these uncertain times.

“As we move forward in these trying times, we put our hopes in one another,” 12 Stone Records CEO Tommy Tanchanco shares. “Reshaping our lives this quarantine can never be easy for all of us, but still, let us not forget those people who risk their own lives on the front line and go beyond their call of duty.”

Its accompanying music video, which was edited by Cher Manulit, interspersed individual recordings from the participating student-musicians with inspiring clips showcasing the acts of kindness and compassion of our frontliners, particularly those in the medical field.

“Lalaban Tayo (A Special Tribute To Frontliners)” is now released via 12 Stone Records.

Details and image provided in a recent press release.

Singapore electronic producer Xinister teams up with Asian-American rapper Blahza on new single “Break”

Singapore electronic producer Xinister collaborates with Los Angeles based Asian-American rapper Blahza on ‘Break,’ released via Singapore based indie label Umami Records.

The lo-fi rap tune emphasizes the importance of staying humble while grinding and hustling for that big break. Blahza shares, “Rappers nowadays feel like they have to be loud and obnoxious to get on. This song has a similar message, but approaches it in an opposite style. Plus, with the whole COVID-19 thing going on now, I feel hating is at an all-time high. People seem to be so quick to point fingers.”

Known for his intense, high-energy trap/dubstep tracks which have already been featured on Spotify’s Bass Arcade, Beast Mode, Dubstep Don, and Trap Mojito, ‘Break’ is Xinister’s first hip-hop production. “I want to be more versatile and to keep pushing myself out of my comfort zone”, shares Xinister. “With ‘Break’, I was going for a chill COVID-19 stay home vibe. Blahza definitely killed it.”

In the midst of the COVID-19 lockdown, from their homes on opposite sides of the world in Singapore and Los Angeles, both artists went back and forth to write and produce ‘Break’ without ever having met each other in person. Xinister says, “it’s just two guys from different countries, only talking to each other online, yet we connected with each other instantly.”

“It was pure musical chemistry”, adds Blahza.

Xinister has 3 more singles planned for release in 2020, and Blahza will be releasing his LP, Sad Songs For Happy People over the next 12 months.

Listen to ‘Break’ by Xinister and Blahza everywhere at this link.

About Blahza

Los-Angeles based Asian-American hip hop artist and producer Blahza’s makes music with a larger than life sound about his afflictions, aspirations, and accomplishments, inspired by the American counterculture of the late 1960s and music from the early 2000s.

Blahza recorded, mixed and mastered Blueface’s record ‘Next Big Thing’ in 2018. In 2019, Blahza opened for Members Only at the first stop of their album tour, and released his EP ‘Bloom’.

Born and raised in Van Nuys, of Puerto Rican and Chinese parents, Blahza grew up surrounded by music and diversity. He fell in love with rap music and especially how it bridged different cultures.

Blahza is currently working on his full-length debut album ‘Sad Songs For Happy People’ slated for release later this year.

About Xinister

Singapore electronic producer Xinister is known for his intense, high energy trap/dubstep tracks which have already been featured on Spotify’s Bass Arcade, Beast Mode, Dubstep Don, and Trap Mojito.

With more than a million Spotify streams, Xinister’s music has also been featured on Russian football club FC Zenit Saint Petersburg’s YouTube channel totalling more than 4 million views.

‘Break’ is Xinister’s first hip hop track and will not be his last as he continues to develop his versatility with several more releases planned across genres the rest of this year.

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.

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

 

Listen to Twenty-Nine Eleven’s take on 6cyclemind’s “I”

Filipino pop-rock outfit Twenty-Nine Eleven has finally released their remake of 6cyclemind’s “I,” off the upcoming Sige I-Cover Mo Lang Project.

The song serves as the second single of the online compilation, produced by 6cyclemind and their management Soupstar Music, and released by Sony Music Philippines.

The aforementioned tribute record aims to introduce the band’s legacy as reliable hitmakers that continue to define an entire generation’s collective consciousness.

A captivating take

Twenty-Nine Eleven’s version of the alt-rock classic was handpicked as one of the three winners of the Sige I-Cover Mo Lang Project—an initiative that encouraged fans to submit covers of their favorite songs from 6cyclemind’s catalog.

Their captivating take stands out with its earnest simplicity and delicate arrangements, giving the song a refreshing spin while maintaining the original’s timelessness and emotional appeal.

According to Fony Alfonso, the lead vocalist of the five-piece band, the song is already great on its own. “However, in order to make it sound like us, we wanted to rearrange the song and add more of our personality to it. As with all of the songs that we’ve done before, we experimented with it until we got the right ‘feel’ that we wanted to express as a band.”

An inspiration to young musicians

The independent band considers 6cyclemind as one of their inspirations. “After spending time with the members of 6cyclemind, we were able to understand that it wasn’t only their music style that made them successful, but also their perseverance in pursuing their career and passion,” guitarist Alexandre Abesamis shares. “As they’ve told us back then, there were a lot of other better and more skilled bands than them, but what made them stand out is that they never stopped playing.”

Currently, Twenty-Nine Eleven is working on new material and experimenting with various sounds and techniques culled from their individual music influences. Drummer Jerell Co adds, “Ever since high school, we were subjected to various styles and genres of music from the most dramatic love songs to the heaviest rock songs. That alone has developed the kind of music we could make now.”

Twenty-Nine Eleven’s rendition of “I” is now available on various music streaming and download platforms worldwide.

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

 

Danzz releases fifth single “Blurred Visions (Acoustic)”

Amid these turbulent times, Danzz is back with the release of her fifth single, Blurred Visions (Acoustic) on 5 June 2020. The single was produced and recorded by dMCreative from Singapore.

Blurred Visions tells the story of someone who has hit rock bottom. Paralyzed. Unable to move and see clearly. With no way forward in sight. Someone who has lost in the game of love. Many of us have gone through extremely painful heartbreaks and Blurred Visions is a reflection of that experience. “Voices in my head, telling me to stop and look to the mirror, is this what I want,” she laments.

This acoustic rendition to Blurred Visions by Danzz, recorded during a live studio session, is her way of thanking her fans for all their support in pushing her hit single, Moonlight onto the Top Hits Philippines Spotify Editorial Playlist and hitting over 1 million streams. She delivers this heartfelt melancholic story, mixing metaphorical lyricism with honest singing, while showing a different side to her. Stripped down. Vulnerable. No beats. No noise. Raw. Just Danzz.

“Blurred Visions” is her first acoustic release. Danzz has a number of songs under production with a number of other producers as well as some collab songs with other artists, due for release later in 2020. We look forward to more from Danzz!

Image and details provided by dMCreative in a recent press release.

Shopee partners with CJ ENM to bring KCON online, featuring Kpop icons

Shopee Live Kpop Fest kicks off on June 10, with an exclusive free screening of KCON:TACT 2020 Summer featuring GFRIEND, (G)I-DLE, ITZY, MONSTA X, Stray Kids, and more from June 20-26

Shopee, the leading e-commerce platform in Southeast Asia and Taiwan, partners with Asia’s leading entertainment and lifestyle company CJ ENM to bring KCON, the world’s largest Korean culture festival, online for the first time.

KCON is a highly-anticipated annual event for Kpop fans across the globe, entering its ninth year of bringing the ultimate Korean culture fan experience worldwide including the US, Japan, and Thailand. It will go online for the first time in Southeast Asia and Taiwan, with Shopee as the official live stream partner for the KCON:TACT 2020 Summer concert. This partnership will see Shopee air live performances, concerts, and more from KCON:TACT 2020 Summer for free to users on Shopee Live.

KCON:TACT 2020 Summer will be the highlight of Shopee Live Kpop Fest, which will kick off on June 10. Launched in collaboration with CJ ENM, the festival aims to meet the growing demand for online entertainment amid social distancing measures in the region. Popular Kpop groups including GFRIEND, (G)I-DLE, ITZY, MONSTA X, and Stray Kids will also make special appearances on Shopee Live, while Shopee users can enjoy daily Kpop themed streams and challenges.

Agatha Soh, Head of Regional Marketing at Shopee said, “Shopee is proud to be the exclusive partner of CJ ENM to stream KCON:TACT 2020 Summer to fans in Southeast Asia and Taiwan for the first time, as part of Shopee Live Kpop Fest. This partnership builds on our efforts to connect people through entertainment and shared experiences, and comes after a series of successful collaborations with Kpop stars. Shopee Live Kpop Fest and KCON:TACT 2020 Summer reflect our commitment to meet evolving needs, as people around the world stay home and turn to online entertainment. We look forward to more exciting collaborations with CJ ENM in the future.”

Don Kim, General Manager of Global Festival at CJ ENM said, “KCON is the largest festival of Korean culture in the world. Bringing the festival online, we have lined up an amazing experience for KCON:TACT 2020 Summer including interactive events with state-of-the-art technology, a star-studded concert lineup, and more. We are excited to go above and beyond what fans have experienced so far, and we are excited to partner with Shopee for fans in Southeast Asia and Taiwan to join the festival.”

From June 10 to 26, avid Kpop fans can look forward to a wide range of live streams and challenges daily at Shopee Live Kpop Fest, including:

  • Exclusive appearances by popular Kpop idols, WJSN and Weki Meki on Shopee Live at 8PM (GMT +8) on June 10 and 15 respectively. Users can enjoy first-hand access to the groups with exciting performances, interviews, games, and more in each stream.
  • Daily Kpop themed challenges for fans to show off their knowledge, recreate iconic Kpop looks, and more. The best fans stand to win attractive prizes such as vouchers and signed merchandise from their favorite idols.

Shopee will mark the finale of Shopee Live Kpop Fest by screening KCON:TACT 2020 Summer on Shopee Live from 20 to 26 June. Shopee users and Kpop fans can look forward to seven consecutive days of non-stop entertainment, including live concerts and interviews by some of the biggest Kpop stars in the world, including GFRIEND, (G)I-DLE, ITZY, MONSTA X, and Stray Kids.

Stay tuned for more updates on KCON:TACT 2020 Summer and Shopee Live Kpop Fest at http://shopee.ph/m/live-kpop-fest

Download the Shopee app for free via the App Store or Google Play.

About Shopee

Shopee is the leading e-commerce platform in Southeast Asia and Taiwan. It was launched in 7 markets in 2015 to connect consumers, sellers, and businesses in the region.

Shopee offers an easy, secure, and engaging experience that is enjoyed by millions of people daily. It offers a wide product assortment, supported by integrated payments and logistics, as well as popular entertainment features tailored for each market. Shopee is also a key contributor to the region’s digital economy with a firm commitment to helping brands and entrepreneurs succeed in e-commerce.

Shopee is a part of Sea Limited (NYSE:SE), a leading global consumer internet company. In addition to Shopee, Sea’s other core businesses include its digital entertainment arm, Garena, and digital financial services arm, SeaMoney. Sea’s mission is to better the lives of consumers and small businesses with technology.

 

LAY debuts at No. 1 on iTunes Philippines with new EP, LIT

International phenomenon and China’s top idol LAY (Lay Zhang) heads straight to No. 1 on iTunes Top Albums Philippines with the release of his latest EP, LIT.
A two-part release featuring six songs each, LIT also peaked at the summit of the iTunes Top Albums chart in 14 countries.

Stream Lit, Yixing (his Chinese name), and Zhang (his surname), immediately became trending topics on Twitter Philippines following its release on digital and streaming platforms worldwide.

All the tracks in the EP are co-written by LAY himself, ensuring his message and story is clearly instilled in each song. He has worked with producer heavyweight Murda Beatz (Travis Scott, Gucci Mane, Drake) on the latest release, which strongly holds a backbone in modern hip-hop with an enjoyable sound, never done before.

For this first part of the album, the hit-making team integrated familiar Chinese instruments and cultural metaphors with the soul of “Western music” and top-notch modern production techniques, mixing English and Mandarin lyrics in every song. The EP instantly grabs your attention from beginning to end. Each song has a rhythmic flow, entrancing vocals, and bass-heavy beats delving into the new “pop meets urban” sound.

Through the tunes, LAY explores the concepts of solitude, arrogance, self-confidence, loyalty, resolution and courage. These six songs blend very ancient musical elements and concepts with the modernity of contemporary pop. From the lyrics, to the production, be prepared for an emotional and auditory journey. The focus track for the EP is the booming anthem and title song “LIT” and the already released hit song, “Jade,” showcases a combination of traditional “peking opera” and Chinese instruments. The cutting-edge production for songs like “Eagle,” “H20,” “Fly,” and “Soul” will give you an extremely refreshing journey through passionate lyrics showing a whole new blend of music.

On the same day that LIT was released, LAY also dropped the cinematic music video that bears the same title via Zhang Yixing Studio. The world-class visuals amassed more than 1.5 million views and counting, and peaked on YouTube trending videos in the Philippines at No. 14.

About the Artist

LAY received tremendous success this year garnering international attention after joining forces with Steve Aoki and will.i.am for the hit cross-cultural collaboration Love You More, reaching #1 on the QQ Music China chart.
LAY first debuted in the music industry as a member of EXO. He became a household name in Asia and one of the most beloved stars in the region with a loyal 49 million followers on Weibo and over 11.8 million followers on Instagram. As a solo artist, LAY’s career has skyrocketed to becoming the highest-ranked Mandopop star on Billboard 200 chart and the first Chinese artist to enter the iTunes Top 60 in the US with his third album NAMANANA.

Outside of music, he is a powerhouse in the acting world of TV and film and hosted multiple top-rated reality shows in Asia. Last year, LAY released the digital EP titled Honey and its title track of the same name. The EP reached over 1.87 million digital sales in just three minutes after its release on QQ Music in China. The pre-order for Lay Zhang’s new digital album LIT went live on China’s QQ Music platform, and 9 certification records were instantly broken as it went live. The digital album surpassed 1.5 million pre-orders within 7 minutes and 19 seconds of launch, locking in the #1 position on QQ Music’s daily and weekly album sales chart.

LAY’s new EP, LIT is now available on all streaming and digital platforms worldwide.

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

Gentle Bones and Joie Tan capture hearts with dreamy duet “Shouldn’t Have to Run”

Riding the wave of two notable collaborations this year, Gentle Bones is back with another captivating duet, Shouldn’t Have To Run, sung alongside Singapore’s melodic sweetheart, Joie Tan. Written by Gentle Bones and Fulses, one-third of R&B band, brb., Shouldn’t Have To Run explores the wistful relationship of two lovers whose stars are struggling to align.

“When Joie came on board to finish the song up with us, it became this beautiful duet that we knew we had to get out to the world.,” says Gentle Bones. “Joel and Fulses are both amazing artists I was thrilled to work with and I’m so happy with how the song turned out,” Joie adds.

Having discovered each other in the YouTube stratosphere almost a decade ago, this collaboration makes perfect sense when listening to the track. Gentle Bones and Joie Tan’s dulcet tones combined with the beat’s futuristic vibes transports listeners into a fantastic and curious dimension; whilst detailing the efforts of someone trying to reach out to his lover, but to no avail.

Enveloped in a mellow but brilliant harpsichord, Shouldn’t Have To Run imbues a vision of lilac skies and space-age aesthetic. Each chorus is preceded by the signature rising ‘boop’ of a message sent, drawing parallels with the current situation in the world right now, where many people are unable to physically meet their loved ones and have to rely even more now on virtual platforms. The song’s electronic influences intersperse nicely with a lush, vintage sound, which Bones elaborates further saying, “We intended for it to be a jazz-pop piece that was reminiscent of and influenced by a time in pop music where Corrine Bailey Rae and Norah Jones were favourites of the audiences.”

“It’s definitely one of my favourite collaborations to date,” says Joie. Shouldn’t Have To Run encapsulates a polarity of foreboding and longing captured in an intimate but all too familiar distant setting (the expressing of emotions through the phone) with its hopeful dream-pop synths.

About Gentle Bones

Born and raised in sunny Singapore, Joel Tan, who goes by his stage name Gentle Bones, is one of the city-state’s top English artists who has made waves across the globe. Since his #1 self-titled debut EP “Gentle Bones” in 2014, the 25-year-old now has three albums under his belt and has taken his music to fans across Asia with live performances, selling out solo concerts and playing festivals across South Korea, London, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Gentle Bones was the first Singaporean music act to be signed by Universal Music Group and was also the first youngest English music recording artist to achieve two sold-out concerts. In 2016, he earned himself a spot in the inaugural Forbes ‘30 under 30’ list for entertainment personalities.

Gentle Bones also boasts a range of notable songs that topped the charts, including Until We Die, Settle Down and Geniuses & Thieves. His latest EP Michelle, released in October of 2018, is his most streamed EP to date featuring its title track, I Wouldn’t Know Any Better Than You, which has amassed more than 20 million streams on Spotify alone a year after its release.

I Wouldn’t Know Any Better Than You earned him a spot in Spotify’s Top 5 Most Streamed Singapore artists in 2019, amongst his peers, namely JJ Lin, Jasmine Sokko, Tanya Chua & Stephanie Sun. Now, fully independent from 2019 and managed by The Linch Agency, the plan for 2020 is to tour his releases to the Asia Pacific region.

About Joie Tan

Joie’s foray into the scene started in 2008 with her covers on YouTube. Her vocal-heavy takes on popular songs were met with tremendously positive reception, and her audience started to swell.

From bedroom to live shows in Singapore, New York, London and Australia, the songstress dreams of sharing her stories through songs all over the World. She has crafted an iconic signature style and honeyed coo that uniquely intertwines with her personality, one that has been endorsed by chart-topping producers Avicii in his podcast and Kygo in billboard playlists & his Tomorrowland set in 2014.

Her debut album (released 2018), Joie features 10 self-written tracks and is available for streaming on all major platforms.

Details, images and links provided by Yung Lee 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

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.