Electro-pop band Dustybuns offers reassuring comfort on new single “Seasons”

Dustybuns, an electronic pop duo formed by Charles Baltazar and Jok Oloquina, has finally released their second single “Seasons”—out today on indie record label, Lilystars Records.

Expanding the eclectic pair’s sonic palette with delicate harmonies, bright keyboard tones, and subdued arrangements, “Seasons” delivers an effortless, almost slick sound pulled from vast music resources that range from indie pop to chillwave, electronic music to ‘80s pop.

Despite its incredible mélange of influences, the song remains confident in its delivery and intent. In fact, “Seasons” stands out as an anthem that offers reassuring comfort and warmth. It packs a punch, while also inspire listeners to stay strong even when the going gets rough. 

“The song is about being there for the people you care about no matter what, and reassuring that you’re never alone and there’s always someone out there ready to lend a hand when you need them,” Charles Baltazar shares.  

To date, Dustybuns is currently busy writing songs for their debut EP to be released soon. “We’re not yet sure if Seasons will be included in an EP, but we have some songs already made that will sit well along with it. We’ll just see when the time comes,” multi-instrumentalist Jok Oloquina says. 

Seasons” is available on digital and streaming platforms worldwide via Lilystars Records.

Kubra Commander debuts first official single “The Now” under Lilystars Records

Kubra Commander joins Lilystars Records’ impressive roster of music acts from the Philippines and beyond.

Prior to signing up with the indie record label, the Cebu-based psychedelic rock outfit has been making waves online since the release of their breakthrough track, “On Your Left,” which made it to CNN’s 8 New Local Releases for your Listening Pleasure and earned a glowing review from indie music website, Flying Lugaw.

Kubra Commander’s “The Now” lyric video

To mark their debut on Lilystars Records, the band has finally released their latest single “The Now”—a brooding, post-punk number about “gaining a new perspective on things through experience, and having an inclination to share the experience with other people in hopes that they can gain something new in return.”  

Propelled by Kubra Commander’s inherent brand of disaffected cool, “The Now” starts off strongly with glistening synths straight from the ‘80s pop playbook, and builds up into an anthemic chorus at a brisk pace. Music-wise, it sounds more indebted to the band’s post punk and new wave influences, as well as the escapist, modern indie rock anthems of music acts such as MGMT and Empire of The Sun.

“I believe the chiming synth riff was what nailed it for me, playing it over the chords and beat gave a danceable feel to the track which I really liked,” vocalist and guitarist Bobbi Olvido shares the details about the music arrangements. “Everything just followed through from that point. It’s the first song where in all the members we’re able to contribute in the recording process, and it was quite easy to have everyone be on the same page production-wise. I also wanted to try to play with the idea of singing all the verses first and having all the choruses after.”

“The Now” will be part of Kubra Commander’s upcoming new album, Rhythm Tourists to be released in 2021. 

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

The Geeks return with new single “The First Time”

After two years of not dropping any new material, indie pop quartet The Geeks are finally making a comeback with the release of their new single “The First Time”—out today via Lilystars Records.

Strumming its way comfortably into slacker and honeyed guitar pop territory, The Geek’s latest song rejects the notion of predictability by going vintage in aesthetic and function, while connecting on an emotional level with newfound grace. 

“Our new single in two years is an homage to local Filipino kundiman music – a tribute to a time when we still wrote letters and the internet was non-existent,” vocalist and guitarist Jam Lorenzo shares the inspiration behind their new song. “Partly inspired by the portrayal of young romance in Filipino period films, ‘The First Time’ discusses in vague detail the enduring cliché of being stood up on the eve of a planned elopement.”

With its subtly heartbreaking observations on a kind of love that’s a product of a different time and milieu, “The First Time” shines through more than ever with a sharper, more deeply layered turn in The Geeks’ songwriting style: its sense of defeat is more palpable, and the verses wreck when you’re least prepared. 

The Geeks’ “The First Time” is now available on all streaming and digital platforms worldwide.

Maris Racal shows her introspective side on new single “Not For Me”

Aside from making a name for herself as one of the breakout young actresses of her generation, Maris Racal has successfully dabbled in writing her own songs and challenging industry expectations with her intimate and refreshing take on pop music. From penning the chart-topping confessional “Ikaw Lang Sapat Na” to collaborating with Rico Blanco on the city pop-influenced ditty “Abot Langit,” Racal is surprisingly an effective chronicler of love anthems for the modern age—a guitar-toting songstress known for balancing commercial appeal with artistic integrity.

Bursting with youthful fervor and charismatic edge, Maris Racal’s latest single “Not For Me” stretches her introspective side of music-making to interesting places, while retaining the accessibility of her recent crossover hits. Her resounding confidence translates perfectly into the musical output, but it’s her conversational and matter-of-fact songwriting style that earns the stripes, revealing a degree of self-assuredness that comes with experience.

Inspired by Britpop acts such as Aqualung and folk-pop chanteuses like Lily Allen and Regina Spektor, Racal wrote “Not For Me” not so much for intriguing unconventionality, but as an outlet to express herself in a way that feels truthful and inherently raw. The driving piano chords and the soaring arrangements give her storytelling a more authentic spin, lending it an effortless breeziness while making sure it doesn’t lessen the emotional impact of the song.

With “Not For Me” putting a spotlight on her songwriting strengths, Maris Racal explores the complexities of romantic uncertainty with a surprisingly nuanced approach—unfiltered, no longer afraid of possibilities, and ready to own the moment.  

Not For Me” is out now on all digital platforms worldwide via Sony Music Philippines.

Project Orange chronicles the growing pains of romance on “Play Pretend”

In less than three years, Project Orange has slowly but surely gained traction outside of Bacolod City’s relatively small but thriving music community. Thanks to their maiden singles “Ctrl + Esc” and “Sputnik Sweetheart,” the promising quartet earned their chunk of streaming listenership on cities such as Taipei, Manila, and Hong Kong—a proof that their brand of music sees no boundaries, and resonates on a universal level. 

Formed by vocalist/guitarist Diana “Moose” Mapa, guitarist Ann Marie Pillado, bassist Martin Garces, and drummer Miguel Gabriel San Miguel, Project Orange returns with a distinctly laid-back affair that chronicles the growing pains of young love and the unsteady circumstances that define it.

Their new single “Play Pretend” captivates listeners with their sophisticated blend of bedroom pop and indie rock. The four-piece outfit employs a lush and dream-like palette in terms of musical approach, fully embracing a deceptively simple arrangement that wouldn’t feel out of place side by side with the breezy pop sensibilities of Clairo and Boy Pablo. 

“Too many people get caught up with the immense amount of music elements these days and I try to avoid that,” lead vocalist Diana Mapa shares in a statement. “The additional portions like the distorted guitar and synths were suggested by the producers in the studio and it added a stunning perspective to the song.”

Steeped in melancholic pulse, “Play Pretend” provides glimpses of a promising music act informed by the sound of its time, but never allowing trends to envelope the finality and packaging. It’s all heart, less feels: the more you immerse to the song’s intimate revelations, the closer it hits home.  

Lyrically, “Play Pretend” demands to be felt. With its wandering verses, a bridge that makes you feel like you’re at a wit’s end, and a chorus that hits you with a sanguine yet somber tune, the song represents built up feelings that will never see the light of the day. Mapa shares, “It’s like you’re running out of time, but at the same time you aren’t. And that distorts what you think of love, whether it be imaginary or reality.”

“Play Pretend” is the third official single of indie pop collective Project Orange under Lilystar Records. Stream their new track here.

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

Orange & Lemons wax poetic on new indie pop single “You Bring Out My Best”

Orange & Lemons have proven time and again, that they’re capable of writing infinitely hummable, indie-pop classics that maintain a distinct sensibility and effortlessness amidst shifting trends. 

Their new single, “You Bring Out My Best” is among their most delightful work to date: a song that finds Clem waxing poetic on the intimate moments that he once shared with a fictional ex-lover. 

According to Orange & Lemons’ chief songwriter and producer, Clem Castro, the song was intended as a pitch for a commercial project, but the band decided to release it as a stand-alone single. “We just love how the song turned out,” Clem reveals in a statement. “It’s the first time we sat down together working on a concept material, with no relevant inspiration for it. Just a play with words and melodic lines.”

The production packs a punch in a way that is seamlessly understated but compelling—never overdoing the process to gain attention or impress music fans. But it’s the songwriting that remains front and center to this massive release, a distinct mold whose appeal transcends generations of any kind. “You Bring Out My Best” was written, arranged, and demo-recorded last February 2020 at O&L’s drummer studio from 4pm to 3am. The members of the band had to maximize their time together because they live far from one another, with Clem already having an approximate idea of a verse and chorus lines for the session. After jamming with the band, they brainstormed on adding sections and parts to complete the demo. “The resulting production has that trademark O&L sound, and much, much more because of the contribution of our keyboard player, who after more than a year of being an official member has immersed himself in indie-pop stylings,” the Orange & Lemons frontman adds.

Four months after the demo was shelved, Orange & Lemons finally braved the studio to resume recording of their new single “You Bring Out My Best.”   Armed with disinfectants and face masks, the award-winning band carefully observed health and safety protocols to finish the material. Clem says, “We had to remove our shoes when tracking, and only one person is allowed at a time to record. The rest had to wait outside at the receiving area of Sonic State Audio in Mandaluyong City.”

Image and details provided in a recent press release.

The OPM Archive Foundation launches initiative to collect Filipino music artifacts

During the virtual presser attended by members of the press last August 26, 2020 (Wednesday), The OPM Archive Foundation has announced its official plans to collect Filipino music memorabilia and champion digital archiving in a time that needs preservation of cultural artifacts.

Heading the OPM Archive Foundation are the “next gen” members of the group, Moy Ortiz, President; Krina Cayabyab, Vice President; Dinah Remolacio, Treasurer and Chevy Salvador, Secretary, while the more senior members will stay on as board members and advisers.

The archive is a separate entity from Organisasyon ng Pilipinong Mang-aawit (OPM) in that it will serve as a foundation that collects and documents not just the actual original Filipino music, but also narratives, photographs, music sheets and press releases. Originally, the term “OPM” referred to the inclusive period from the 70s to 80s when a rich influx of new and modern sounds, melodies, lyrics, singers and musicians flooded the airwaves, and even the theater, with original dance musicals as “Rama Hari” and “Tales of the Manuvu”. Among the familiar and popular voices that emerged, aside from Celeste Legaspi’s were Basil Valdez, Hajji Alejandro, Sampaguita, Mike Hanopol, Florante, Freddie Aguilar, Leah Navarro, Didith Reyes, just to name a few.

The archive, however, for the purposes of music research and study for future generations, shall extend its borders to the precedents of this era, the 60’s, and extend to the present, and hopefully can be sustained into the future, for the identification and recognition of music development. The accompanying narratives will seek to contextualize the music in its specific social relevance that defined each period, and perhaps identify continuity to the next period.

Plans for the OPM Archive gave rise before the lockdown, when the Filipinas Heritage Library (FHL), where the archive was to be housed, was ready to receive the hard copy donations. With the lockdown, FHL head, Suzanne Yupangco and the archive group agreed to go digital. This does not, however, preclude the collecting of hard copies once the quarantine period is over. There is nothing like seeing the original “in the flesh”. While each hard copy donation will be digitized, the original copies will also be preserved through actual preventive conservation, knowing how digitization alone can be prone to obsolescence because of evolving digital formats.

Music plays a major role in peoples’ lives. It is something everyone cares about. And the archive hopes to ensure that the musical gems it documents and collects will live on from generation to generation, so children, grandchildren and even great grandchildren can appreciate, learn from, and perhaps someday, revise, improvise, follow or change approaches to music.

The archive is now open for digital collection, and is open to the public for donations. Just log on to opmarchive.com.

The launch of the OPM Archive is an initiative of founding members of OPM, led by its founder and first president, Celeste Legaspi, with Girlie Rodis, Tats Rejante Manahan, Lyca Benitez Brown, next generation members, Moy Ortiz, Chevy Salvador, Dinah Remolacio and Krina Cayabyab.

Image and details provided by the OPM Archive Foundation in a recent press release.

Rico Blanco releases fun, upbeat single “Happy Feelin”

Alternative rock icon Rico Blanco spreads love and positivity amidst difficult times on his new single, “Happy Feelin”—now out on all digital platforms worldwide.

On his second release this year under Sony Music, the award-winning producer and singer-songwriter delivers a bright, upbeat number that soars with an inescapable chorus and a rockabilly vibe.

For someone who has spent a career pushing pop music to exciting new places, Rico Blanco succeeds in releasing a diverse selection of tunes that blends crossover appeal with an adventurous edge. Count “Happy Feelin” as the latest addition to his winning streak: a finger-snapping, retro-leaning bop that finds Blanco dialing down his sonic ambition for something that resembles a big ball of sunshine.

“Happy Feelin” is the second song written and produced by Blanco in his home studio during the lockdown period. It’s the follow-up single to “This Too Shall Pass,” which was released on the first week of May 2020.

Stream Rico Blanco’s latest single here.

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

The Itchyworms to launch quarantine-themed album with a virtual event

The Itchyworms will be hosting a virtual album launch to celebrate the release of their highly anticipated fifth album, Waiting For The End To Start

A few hours before the 9-track album drops on digital platforms worldwide, the acclaimed pop-rock outfit is set to debut the songs for the very first time through an online listening and live commentary party, which will be streamed live via The Itchyworms’ official Facebook page on August 17, (Monday), from 7:30 pm onwards. 

Expect a night of fun and entertainment as The Itchyworms perform select cuts from their upcoming release, and promise music listeners to deliver a riveting music experience like no other. 

About the album

The Itchyworms’ upcoming studio album, Waiting For The End To Start was conceptualized and recorded with the members of the band confined in their respective homes during the nationwide lockdown. 

Thematically, the songs are written as a reflection of their individual and collective experiences during the quarantine period. It also inhabits a more adventurous and relentless approach in terms of production and songwriting, which produced captivating end results that music fans will surely love.

As Chino Singson, the band’s lead guitarist and back-up vocalist, shares in a statement, “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.”

The Itchyworms’ “Waiting For The End To Start” virtual album launch is presented by Sony Music Philippines, GNN Entertainment, and Linya-Linya.

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

Zack Tabudlo takes charge of his fear and soars in love with latest single, “Nangangamba”

“I wrote down some lyrics about the things I was going through at the time. I was in a situation where I felt like someone I liked was playing too hard to get, and the song pretty much circles around that idea: that sometimes when we play too hard to get, we lose people who really love us or people who [turn out to] feel the same way.”

Singer-songwriter and producer Zack Tabudlo finds renewed perspective on time’s delicate role in shaping your own destiny, setting an ultimatum on fear with his newest single, “Nangangamba,” out today on digital platforms worldwide.
On his first release under Island Records Philippines, Zack urges listeners to take ownership of their own feelings: that inaction may shield you from pain, yes, but ultimately it’ll get you nowhere. He brings love songs up a notch, infusing pop and R&B elements to his powerful vocals—a testament to his ever-evolving songwriting and production style. But moreover, it signals a shift on his creative choices in keeping his individual artistry as dynamic as his growth in the music industry. “With these new tracks, I’m sure people who have experienced these would relate so much more… [the latest single] is very different, music-wise and in terms of maturity,” he shares.

Part of this artistic growth is Zack’s experience of writing “Nangangamba,” a song he wrote a year ago. He cites an earlier failed romance as the inspiration behind the song. “I wrote down some lyrics about the things I was going through at the time. I was in a situation where I felt like someone I liked was playing too hard to get, and the song pretty much circles around that idea: that sometimes when we play too hard to get, we lose people who really love us or people who [turn out to] feel the same way.” The process of writing the actual song didn’t take long once the idea set in. “It all started with a melody that popped into my head while I was in class. Every time melodies or ideas pop in my head, I always grab my phone to record them just to make sure I won’t forget. But this time, I knew I needed at least a couple of chords on any instrument just to seal the idea. I recorded all the chords I needed using a ukulele. When I got home I went straight to my home studio and finished the production with my vocals and everything. Five to six hours later, ‘Nangangamba’ was born.”

Now finally set to be released, “Nangangamba” unintentionally—and fittingly—became a case of practicing what you preach, as he sings, “Ito na ang pagkakataon / Wala nang pipigil sa’yo / ‘Wag ka nang mahihiya / Sabihin na ang totoo.” In some ways, the lockdown allowed him to reprioritize. “I have a home studio and all the equipment I need. Having all the time in the world made me focus more and be motivated to write lots of songs compared to when I was also studying at the same time.”

Acquiring skills over time also made it possible to avoid tremendous adjustments to recording and producing the single despite limitations during the quarantine. “Just like in my old tracks, I’ve worked on them from top to bottom. I’m the producer, writer, singer, arranger, as well as the mixing and mastering engineer. It was really fun experimenting with different genres and I really like the vibe of each and every song I’ve been making lately. There are samples I’ve worked on from scratch with these tracks and I really can’t wait for everyone to hear it.”

His latest career step as part of the brand-new Island Records roster excites the multi-disciplinary artist. “Everyone in MCA Music Philippines and Island Records Philippines are amazing… They’ve been very supportive and very creative when it comes to ideas or projects, and I know I have a very strong team behind me.”

About Zack Tabudlo

Zack Tabudlo is a singer-songwriter and producer from Manila, Philippines. He joined The Voice Kids in 2014 and went on to establish his solo career, writing and performing his own music. His first single, “Stay Here,” was released in 2018 and was featured on several Spotify playlists, including “Men of OPM,” “Philippines Viral 50,” and “OPM Says Chillax.” His subsequent single, “Mahal O Biro,” was again included in “Men of OPM” and “Pinoy Love Ballads” playlists. Zack premiered his first single of 2020, the chill-pop track “This Is Love,” in February.

He has also collaborated with several OPM artists, undertaking writer and producer roles. He’s most recently been credited in arranging and producing Carlo Aquino’s single “Balisong” and Sharlene San Pedro’s “Everything Will Be Alright” and “Pusong Naliligaw.”

Now on a fresh path in his career, Zack sets his sights to winning the hearts of his audience both locally and internationally as one of the bold new signees to Island Records Philippines.

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