By MC Galang and Ian Urrutia
Header Art by MC Galang
Without preamble, here’s our latest edition of New Music We Love this week (i.e. we’ve been on lockdown for 12 weeks).
‘Like this’ – 박혜진 Park Hye Jin (KR)
Park Hye Jin’s “Like this” revels in its own private dalliance, the way it bounces and chimes ever so coyly, a great exercise in the art of making house music in isolation. She repeats one line—“나는 오늘도 이러게늘도,” which translates to “I’m like this today”—throughout the song, not with the tedious sameness, but almost like a bored-but-amused quality to it. This attitude seemed to define Park’s records, most prominently on 2018’s IF U WANT IT, her quiet confidence dripping over sophisticated, jazzy chord stabs. “Like this,” however, opts for more mood and ambiance: hazy, yet intriguing and instinctive.
‘Untitled 2’ – It’s Your Fault (TW)
Taiwanese alternative soul band It’s Your Fault has a knack for making desire unyieldingly potent. Their brand-new album, the conspicuously titled User Guide:1, poses the question: what if longing is just seduction without the lure of pleasure? One of its standout tracks, “Untitled 2,” is candid and confessional, preoccupied with its aloneness. “You’re in my head like sunset in the east / On the road, nowhere to go,” vocalist Hana Lin admits. It borrows heavily from the late ‘70s quiet storm era: with its down-tempo intimacy and deep, full bass soaked in implicit lust. It’s a recommended listen during the late hours.
‘Isolated Dancer’ – King Rambo (JP)
Once in a while, we find something good in our inbox. Newest Chinabot signee King Rambo’s “Isolated Dancer”—off his upcoming Strange Reality EP, out on June 3—is a statement to the wonders of discovery. The Japanese producer uses grimy techno and propulsive bass to depict the rawness and excitement of danger, one that “conjures up the sweaty hedonism of the club, tempered with an off-kilter sense of humour.” It’s a Charles Bukowski novel roused to life, jostling its way into the carnal pit of abandon. You can’t help yourself, you’ll come back for more.
Pre-order Strange Reality
‘Galaw’ – Pamcy (PH)
The beauty of electronic dance music is its unflinching determination to keep everybody moving all night long, a principle it adapted from its unofficial predecessor, disco. It’s a defining movement through and through, finding its way in sacred spaces: whether it’s the dance floor or our living rooms. It brims with ecstasy, one that Mark Twain knows “will not go into words; it feels like music.” And ecstasy it is indeed. Filipina songwriter, DJ, and producer Pamcy switches the pace with her latest, “Galaw,” from the upcoming Sayaw EP, a project she aims to “transcend the limits of physical spaces where conventional dance music is expected.” The appeal of “Galaw,” in true Pamcy fashion, lies in its rebellion against limitations, whether physical or creative, and finding meaning outside of concrete structures. I mean, dance music diva Rozalla herself belted it out, “everybody’s free to feel good.”
‘Mental Fortification (beat by. JINJI)’ – GORDOMELLOW
Rapper GORDOMELLOW (whose listed zip code is “FUCK YOU, Philippines”) drawls out a narcotic rap number, a somewhat welcome respite from the dime-a-dozen local blazed trap selection. *Kanye shrug*
‘RIFF-RAFF (리프라프)’ – BAND 88 (KR)
If the Drive soundtrack has found refuge in a club, then this majestic banger might just be the perfect iteration that you didn’t know you need. With its neon-damaged soundscapes and ‘80s fetishism, BAND 88‘s “Riff Raff” revels in the visceral pleasures of breakaway cars, towering skyscrapers, and highly stylized noir visuals, where night life fumes with both excitement and trouble, and the only way to pull through is to embrace the chilling menace that comes with it. Paired with a music video that considers nocturnal city ambience as more than just a mythical setting but also a way of life, the song ratchets up to something glossy and spacey, seducing you to dance against a backdrop of arpeggiated synths and pulsating electronics.
‘Today I Look At The Sky (오늘도 난 하늘을 봐)’ – 코넛 (Conut) (KR)
There’s effortless cool in Conut’s latest single, “Today I Look At The Sky,” that feels inherent to her distinct brand of alternative pop. With a flair for minimal instrumentation and easy-going rhythms, the song allows her voice to be front and center, sashaying with breeze, and forcing its way to your consciousness. Her singing is melted butter in form, but inescapably light as a sunshine. “Today I Look At The Sky” takes advantage of this effect: confidently bright in energy and vibe, but nevertheless captivating to the ears. It’s mood music for the soul.
‘Talk’ (Inside Your Home Version) – Cheats (PH)
Cheats debuted a shoegaze-lite, electronic version of their single “Talk” at Oh, Flamingo!’s Volumes EP listening party held at Club Matryoshka last month. Filtered in washed-out visuals that evoke grainy memories from a VHS outtake, the song dissolves in glitter as it soars and finds comfort in barely lit spaces and melancholic yearning. Sure, it lacks the anthemic punch of the original, but there’s something about its subtle textures and stripped-down touches that make it even more emotionally affecting. I’d love for the band to explore this sound in their future release, because why not?
‘Small Lanes’ – M1LDL1FE (SG)
All of the Noise alumnus M1LDL1FE sharpens their pop sensibilities with “Small Lanes”—a melodic, guitar-driven anthem that sees the band dismantling our expectations in surprisingly good terms. More Dirty Projectors than Last Dinosaurs, the song glimmers with menacing synths and lush instrumentation, and its mood liquefies to crystalline effect as it progresses. The shift to a more retro-leaning, global sounding direction doesn’t feel calculated at all. And it’s probably for the best that the Singapore-based band retains the playful and impossibly catchy appeal of their previous releases, but this time, it’s leaner and more open to sonic possibilities, edgier and more dynamic.
‘Nara’ – Hauste (SG)
“Nara” captures the idyllic warmth of a tourist hub in Japan that bears the same name—a tribute to a city filled with quaint neighborhoods, lush gardens, and temples that meld traditional style with modern elements. With these visuals impeccably brought to life, Hauste trades proggy instrumentals for something more relaxed; soothing to the senses, if there’s a better description for it. Methodical and nuanced in approach, the Singapore-based trio explores subtlety that seems intent to curl up and brew cozy, little feelings like appreciating the scenery in the afternoon, with little to no people around. It’s refreshing to hear jazzy keyboard tones brush smoothly against groovy basslines and playful guitars, and what makes it more interesting is when the silken whole peaks past three minutes, it mutates into a sonically berserk take on nostalgia and city pop, minus the shimmering excess—something that I didn’t see coming.