BY MC GALANG
This week’s edition of New Music We Love rounds up a great variety of fresh releases from Asian artists, including Manila’s Oh, Flamingo!, Asch, The Sundrop Garden, and newcomer Dana Blaze.
We’re also featuring singles from newly released albums and EPs from South Korea’s Se So Neon and DPR Live, Singapore’s brb., and introducing all aforementioned international artists, plus a couple of old and new favorites from, including Thailand’s January, South Korea’s Adios Audio, Cotoba, and Wetter.
Found new artists you like? During these times, we urge everyone to consider helping musicians whose means of living are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Stream and/or purchase their music, buy merchandise, commission them for work, or find other available ways you can help. Stay safe and always practice proper hand-washing and social distancing. Be vigilant and let’s continue to look for each other safely and responsibly.
‘watch u burn’ – DANA BLAZE (PH)
Let me preface this by saying that this is perhaps my favorite vocal work in a long time (reminiscent of Emily Wells and Zola Jesus).
Dana Blaze burns through the bedlam with the first single off her upcoming EP, Revenge. Her songwriting carries the emotional acuity of a woman who has to choose, time and again, to inflict pain inward to spare others of suffering—saying so much with so little.
It bears mentioning that The Ringmaster (née Francis Lorenzo) is a producer that understands how to wield the full weight of female fury, adding ample dimension that allows the nuances of our expression to expand in its most complex forms and layers.
‘LOVE IS ALL AROUND’ – wetter (KR)
The South Korean indie rock quartet are heeding us to celebrate all kinds of love in their latest single, “LOVE IS ALL AROUND.” Vocalist Choi Won-bin explains, “I feel like we need love to shelter our mind.”
The track is a slight departure from the band’s previous synth-heavy and alternative rock production, favoring a more blues-y, Brit rock arrangements in their last two singles.
Stream on Spotify
‘Fluff Up’ – January (TH)
Thai instrumental rock trio January premiered their latest single, “Fluff Up,” from their upcoming album, Hometown, the follow-up to 2018’s Rev and Vive.
The accompanying music video, shot on location in Khao Yai, Nakhon Ratchasima in Thailand, sees the band on a road trip and out in the fields, a stark contrast to their music video for their earlier single, “Cave,” which was shot indoors—feels like a continuing visual narrative is in store.
Stream the band’s music on Spotify
‘Sun’ – Asch (PH)
Following a sleek string of releases, Manila-based electronic producer Asch wraps up the first quarter of 2020 with “Sun,” a visual sound cut from his upcoming EP, Drown.
‘Kiss Me + Neon’ – DPR Live (KR)
Seoul-based DPR LIVE’s (née Hong Da-bin) visuals for “Kiss Me” and “Neon,” off his latest album, IS ANYBODY OUT THERE?, is a dystopian sci-fi short flick that stars DPR LIVE inside a dream as a lone spaceman trapped in a “dry, distant planet beyond our universe.”
The music video is helmed by fellow DPR creator, DPR +IAN, with the songs produced by DPR CREAM.
‘Sunsets’ – Oh, Flamingo! (PH)
Easily an early contender for best song (along with their excellent previous single, “Naubos Na”) AND best music video, Oh, Flamingo! are back with their latest offering, “Sunsets”—a song that, as I interpret it, rhapsodizes the underrated solitude in silence and space in friendships: a relationship, like many others, that is almost always defined by contact and communication, rarely in shared silence and quiet presence.
Apol Sta. Maria colors and fills those spaces with grainy secondary colors, illustrating moving pigments, which, by definition, “absorb some wavelengths of light and reflect the remainder.” While one can be without the other, mixing them together “subtracts light.”
It’s a pretty neat allegory for sunsets, and a genuinely affecting song to honor our friends who know us in our messes, who are still here, and could care less.
Stream on Spotify; Buy Oh, Flamingo! merchandise
‘Melon’ – Cotoba (KR)
Cotoba shared the live performance of “Melon,” along with “reyn,” off their upcoming album, Name of the Seasons. The instrumental rock act from Seoul, South Korea are a joy to witness live, their relentless energy translating from the studio to the stage.
Name of the Seasons will be out on May 30.
Stream the band’s music on Spotify
‘shuh shuh’ – The Sundrop Garden (PH)
The artist formerly known as June Marieezy has gone through creative transition, seeking to sculpt sounds “from the world directly around me.” Since changing her artist name to “((( o ))),” she baptized her songs as “sundrops,” releasing the first collection in 2019.
“Shuh Shuh” connects the artist with nature, the sound of a stream faintly in the background. Surrounded by nothing but earth, trees, and water, ((( o ))) quiets down the rest of the world.
‘undone’ – brb. (SG)
Singapore R&B trio, brb., just released their debut album, relationsh*t, a collection of songs that “showcases the trio’s thriving repertoire of songs about the highs and heartbreaks of romance, unravelling the ambiguous and timeless motif of love into its progression from thrilling ambivalence to inevitable submission and/or extinction.”
The album’s closer, “undone,” is a radio-friendly jam straight from the early 2000s era, a portrait of desire and affection wrapped in nostalgia.
‘DISSOLVE’ – Adios Audio (KR)
South Korean band Adios Audio’s latest song,” DISSOLVE,” is “about a person who has to face and admit losing somebody she loved. Adios Audio wants to dedicate this song for everybody who has lost their loved ones.”
Stream on Spotify
‘Midnight Train’ – Se So Neon (KR)
Our last entry from South Korea this week is Seoul-based indie rock band Se So Neon, who were supposed to perform at SXSW this year before the entire conference and festival was cancelled (for the first time in its 33-year history) due to the escalation of COVID-19 pandemic.
“Midnight Train” is the second single off their latest album, Nonadaptation 비적응, out today.