Archive for August, 2011

Sandata fires on all cylinders

Monday, August 29th, 2011

Sandata is a interesting specimen of a band – they’re a group that clearly has one foot firmly placed in the realm of classic rock, thus making their sound oddly familiar and instantly recognizable in the current scene. The other foot is clearly one that takes things one step further – to a sound that updates classic rock and roll that was so prevalent in the local scene in the 1990s to a the next logical evolution of the music.

The band released their five-song EP The Light back in 2009 and the record continues to be one of the best rock releases in recent memory. Almost two years to the day of this launch, the band once again comes out strong; this time with a full-length album for their fans and followers to gobble up.

The eponymous album contains four songs from The Light as well as tracks that were written in the past two years. The old songs were also re-recorded and remastered just to give it that extra kick.

The band has certainly mastered a larger than life sound that almost evokes anthemic qualities due to the effective guitar riff intros and gripping lyrics. This is very evident in the standout track Luha” where the band pulls back from going heavy for most of the song. Writing emotional and yet thematically-sophisticated songs have always been tricky in the vernacular but for some reason, vocalist and chief lyrics writer Aldrich Policarpio seems to have this down pat.

Chris Caldoza’s guitar parts for ‘Unos’ was also altered slightly to improve an already awesome track. If you’ve never heard of Sandata, ‘Unos’ would be the best introduction. It combines the band’s obvious technical skill as well as the Policarpio’s penchant for doing challenging vocal arrangement for the singing parts. An old arrangement of the song is actually available on Splintr – you may compare the nuances in the changes in the arrangement and harmonics once you grab a hold of the album.

‘Bangaw’ takes the band to a very different direction as the tempo favors a more constant marching pace as opposed to the commonly dynamic arrangement featured in Sandata songs. The blues and classic rock influence is definitely more evident in this track compared to the other tracks – and to a certain extent, Policarpio’s singing is definitely different. Instead of holding high notes like in other songs, the Sandata frontman resorts to a different tool from his arsenal – his ability to change up the tempo and hit precise notes at very fast intervals.

Another obvious strength that the band explored repeatedly in the album is their penchant for changing up the mood and feel of the music within song. It was very easy for Sandata to shift gears from angry battle cry-esque proclamations to very gentle verses like in ‘Gods, Kings and the Unforgotten’.

Policarpio, Caldoza, along with bassist Mario Consunji and drummer Myles Guillermo have definitely delivered one of the best sounding records of the past few years. It will be exciting to see how Sandata’s music will continue to develop and evolve in the coming years but for now, this new album is certainly making a good case on how promising the band’s career can potentially be.

Exclusive music downloads from Sonic Boom!

Saturday, August 27th, 2011

In celebration of their 5 years existence, Sonic Boom is not only giving their supporters and fans a great party tonight, they’re also giving their fans access to four great downloads for free!

Use the code on your ticket to unlock the download page!

The four tracks you can download include ‘Small Victories’ by Amterible (Singapore), ‘Crusades’ by Salamin, ‘Escape’ by Faspitch and ‘Sleep Tonight’ by December Avenue!

This page will be up for a limited time only!


Sonic Boom’s Shockwave at The Fort Strip (August 27)

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

In celebration of their fifth year anniversary as a dynamic force in the local music scene, Sonic Boom will be throwing a monster rock extravaganza as they turn a big chunk of  the Fort Strip int0 “Rock Central”. There will be three different venues in the conjoined establishments of Katsu, Craft Grill and Amber Ultralounge on Saturday so you’ll definitely be hearing all sorts of music – and as luck would have it, Sonic Boom is also bringing in two foreign acts; Pee Wee Gaskins from Indonesia and Amterible from Singapore.

Home-grown talent will also be showcased for this event. Topnotch bands such as Urbandub, Faspitch, Hilera, Taken by Cars, Typecast, Intolerant, December Avenue, Subscapular, Tonight We Sleep, Butchercons, Malay, Jejaview, Curbside, Faintlight, Bethany, Severo, Maria Campbell, Pitik,  Imbuenokudos, Sirens and Arcadia are all slated to have their turn on the stage.

The bands from the JD Chosen 7 will also be in attendance! That’s Blue Boy Bites Back, Mr. Bones and the Boneyard Circus, Kelevra, Stories of Now, Paramita, Playphonics and Jack vs. The Crab.

Show starts at 5:00 PM due to the number of bands who will be playing! The ticket price of 500 pesos will cover for all the three venues and will also get you some nice goodies. Tickets are currently being sold at the Built by Sonic shop at Eastwood Citywalk 2.


You may use the code found on your ticket to download free tracks here in Splintr! Keep posted for details!


Sandata album launch – August 24 at Route 196

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

Sandata will be launching their first full length album tomorrow (August 24 9PM) at Route 196 in Quezon City. Entrance is free and other great bands like Kastigo, Mara, Halik ni Gringo and Greyhoundz will be on hand to play before the main event.

After working for long hours in the recording studio, Aldrich Policarpio, Chris Caldoza, Mario Consunji and Myles Guillermo are now ready to showcase their homegrown take on hard rock and metal. Their previous EP The Light was warmly received by a jam-packed crowd during its launch at Mag:net Cafe almost a couple of years ago and this full length album will surely make the band’s fans go in droves to once again support one of local modern rock’s most dynamic acts.

The songs from the new album feel like as if they were the natural progression from the songs off The Light but there is still definitely a marked difference on how melodies end up melding with each other. The changes in vocal approach of Policarpio are certainly easy to pick up in the song “Luha” – one of the album’s stand out tracks.

See you all tomorrow!


Music Matters for Japan – Help out for the earthquake relief efforts!

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

Japan was devastated by a magnitude 9.0 quake earlier this year and this disaster along with the tsunami and aftershocks that followed challenged the country. Help came in through different channels and all corners of the world as people banded together to help one of the world’s most generous nations during their time of need.

In line with this, 49 music artists from 18 countries that included the boys from Simple Plan, Evaline and These Kids Wear Crowns met up in Singapore to record a special version of Coldplay’s ‘Fix You’ to help raise funds for the rehabilitation and relief efforts. It may have been almost half a year but the resultant effects of one of the strongest earthquakes in recent memory are still very evident in the stricken areas. All proceeds from the track’s sales will be forwarded to the Japanese Red Cross and Peace Boat (a charitable organization that seeks to help out in the rebuilding efforts).

You may also go to or to donate.

Pinoys can rock the region!

Friday, August 19th, 2011


It is quite surprising that most Filipino artists would rather go on a North American concert than an Asian Tour. While North America sure is filled with Pinoys that have been spread out by the great phenomenon of diaspora that has affected the past three generations, Southeast Asia still remains to be a big market that has shown to be a welcome recipient of ‘foreign’ music.

Fortunately, what may be one of the next frontiers of Philippine music is opening up. We now see concerts and gigs in Singapore and other parts of Asia as a regular occurrence as opposed to a one-shot deal. Wolfgang played in the Mosaic Music Festival last year while bands like Razorback and Up Dharma Down have similarly done shows for a expatriate/ international audience.

This weekend marks the Baybeats Music Festival – an eagerly awaited musical event in  Singapore. Among the headliners for this weekend is Wolfgang al0ng with a host of other big name bands from the Philippines.

Last June, Ang Bandang Shirley had a chance to play in Singapore. This event further opens up the foreign stage for our local talent to somehow showcase their wares in other lands. The following is a piece by Ang Bandang Shirley’s vocalist Selena Salang on her experiences as a Pinoy who dared to ‘rock the region’.




On my first trip to Singapore in October 2008, one of the first places my friend who was based there took me to see was the Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay. It’s a beautifully designed cultural center that’s shaped like a durian fruit and situated next to Marina Bay. I was wowed by the facilities there available to the artists of Singapore, especially by the Outdoor Theatre, which was a tented amphitheater right by the bay. I looked at its empty stage and saw the promise of an amazing experience. “One day,” I said to myself, “my band is going to play on that stage, and it will be awesome.”


Three years later, one studio album and countless bar gigs in Manila, my band Ang Bandang Shirley got to do just that. In June 2011, the Esplanade produced Rockin’ the Region 2011: Philippines and featured us alongside two other Pinoy bands, Archipelago and TOI – all of us showcasing different shades of the Filipino indie rock spectrum. It was a first for all three bands to perform in Singapore, and we were eager to bring our music to a different and potentially more receptive international audience.

Most of the members of all bands flew in the night before the first Friday gig on June 17, so we all expected that the trip combined with having to do three shows for three consecutive nights was going to require endurance. We showed up in the afternoons for soundcheck, experiencing a different level of professionalism from the sound technicians and the Esplanade crew. The sound system was amazing, and Ang Bandang Shirley almost couldn’t believe how good we sounded – we almost felt disoriented with not having to compensate for a substandard sound system for once.

And that was just soundcheck. The actual performance was divine. Can you imagine playing the songs you’ve worked on so lovingly on a stage with the backdrop of the Singapore skyline flashing behind you? Everything about being a musician just felt like it was brought to a higher level playing through a perfect sound system with expert technical support. Each note, each word was reaching the audience in almost pure form: Archipelago’s driving guitars, TOI’s soaring vocals, and even Ang Bandang Shirley’s messy melodies. We were reaching out to people with our music, and they were responding in turn. It was immeasurably satisfying to see walk-ins, Filipino and foreign, fill up the theater, and even more rewarding to actually meet some of them when they approach to tell you how they enjoyed the show. TOI’s CDs almost sold out on our first night there, and Archipelago and Ang Bandang Shirley both did just as well by the end of the series. People were telling us that they were happy to find that such music existed in the Philippines and that we were slowly making our way to international audiences.


Another great thing about the trip was getting to travel with my bandmates and bonding with the other bands on the lineup. We were sharing our pork jerky with Archipelago, swapping funny stories with Wendell Garcia. Who knew that Pauline Diaz of TOI with the ethereal voice could be such a bro when the situation called for it? My bandmates eyed  Pat Tirano’s guitar and effects setup with awe every time we were in the dressing room! All this was made possible through the kindness of Joff Cruz of Kindassault, and we are – and ever will be – grateful to him for the experience. Here’s to hoping that all Filipino artists will one day enjoy this kind of support and enriching musical experiences in our own country!

Photos by Mei Tayengco, Poi Hierro, and Matt Cayaba.

Korn jolts Araneta

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

Just as when Korn was making waves with Follow The Leader and Issues – two of the band’s most commercially-successful albums; the Philippine music scene was also going into a state of flux. The general mood and sound of the scene was changing before the Filipinos’ eyes and ears and much of the changes were coming from overseas. With music becoming more pervasive over television and the internet, the influence of foreign music towards the local mainstream intensified and Korn emerged as one of the most influential bands of this generation.

It was a long time coming, but finally, 2011 saw the coming of Korn to the Philippines. The angst-filled teenagers who scribbled KoRn on their notebooks with the mirror image “R” were now in a different stage of their lives – one decade weaned from their juvenile issues and probably considerably richer from years of working for the Man. (more…)

The third time is a charm for Incubus

Saturday, August 13th, 2011

Before the much-anticipated Manila leg of Incubus’ If Not Now, When? concert tour, Ben Kenney (@vatoben on Twitter) mentioned that it was the third time that the band was returning to the Philippines for a concert. Think about it. Incubus – one of the most popular rock bands of this generation – has gone back to the Philippines three times in the last seven years. It’s either the Philippines is slowly becoming a more viable part of the Asian concert tour route or the band has fallen in love with their loyal legion of fans here in the country – a fan base that’s cuts through boundaries of various demographics and just like the music rich discography; a base that also come from very diverse musical backgrounds.


The first two Incubus concerts in Manila were also for the concert tours of their then-newly released albums. The year 2004 saw the CCP Grounds as the venue for the A Crow Left of the Murder concert while the following concert was held in Araneta Coliseum – this time for the Light Grenades album. The band has never been easily boxed into a particular sound. Their earlier sounds delved into elements of hard rock, metal, funk, electronica and even jazz while their current sound has delved into a more melody-driven approach with a very strong sense of harmonics and vocal arrangements to leverage on Brandon Boyd’s immense talent that seems to have not waned through the over decade-long existence of Incubus.

Franco warmed up the crowd with tunes from their widely-acclaimed debut album. The band delivered their signature heavily textured sounds supported by strong messages on environmentalism.

Shortly after Franco’s set, it was Incubus’ turn to rock the stage. The reception was nothing short of electric – it was as if the band was playing for the first time in the Philippines for the first time. Just like in their 2004 concert, the band played their first single from the A Crow Left of the Murder album – ‘Megalomaniac’ – as their opening song much to the energizing of the crowd. You can literally hear thousands of people singing along to the song as Araneta erupted into a wall of sound. There’s a reason why Incubus has been in the Philippines for three years and the proof was definitely deafening that night.

If you were from the Incubus fan from the Make Yourself album onwards, you would have probably loved the set list to bits. It was mainly comprised of the big radio hits from the band from the last twelve or so years.

After the raucous reception for Megalomaniac, the band then segued into the first single from the Morning View album – ‘Wish You Were Here’. It was certainly fitting for the unlucky people who weren’t able to get into the venue – as expected, tickets were sold out and one look at the mosh pit would have been a visual treat as well. There were many VIPs from the world of music, entertainment and even sports in attendance to see Incubus play.

Since the concert was in celebration of the new album, the band also played their new tracks from If Not Now, When?. ‘Adolescents’, ‘Promises, Promises’ and ‘Isadore’ may sound foreign for fans who were knew about the band since the Fungus Amongus days but it still drew a lot of appreciation from the jam-packed coliseum. The new songs certainly showcase Brandon Boyd’s insane vocal range and knack for falling into the perfect melodies on top of the relatively simpler arrangements compared to what the band used to dabble on in the past.

Incubus was aware that they had some old-time fans in the crowd so they obliged with the song ‘Glass’ from the S.C.I.E.N.C.E. album. The song was certainly from another era of Incubus’ discography and while many people would probably want them to get back to this type of sound – a more choppy and textured approach to music instead of the heavily melodic and almost clean arrangements of today – the discord and the disparity of styles within the set list makes for a very compelling argument for the vast talent and musical philosophies that the band has crafted, created, developed and ultimately left behind.

With 17 songs as part of the initial set list and 3 songs as encore – including ‘Nice To Know You’ from Morning View as the closer; Incubus once again provided a very packed set list in under three hours. With the concert, the band was once again successful in letting people in by letting other experience their music live.

Watch Pupil’s ’20/20′ music video on Splintr!

Monday, August 8th, 2011

PUPIL’s music video for the infectious track ’20/20′ is now the number one song in the MYX countdown and if you want to see it outside of the idiot box, you can head to the New Releases section to watch the video as many times as you like. This is easily one of the best videos that the band has done over the years and the track can definitely stand on its own as well.

Show your support for Ely Buendia, Yan Yuzon, Wendell Garcia and Dok Sergio by viewing this video and sharing the link on Facebook or Twitter.

Kuwago’s ‘Verbose’ available for download – limited time only

Saturday, August 6th, 2011

Kuwago successfully released their album yesterday and now, they’re offering their track ‘Verbose’ as a free download at the New Releases section. The song will only be available for a limited time only so be quick about it and share this with as many friends as possible.

The track itself is a monster – around twice as long as a regular track. The textures, tempos and mood shift and change all throughout the song and the band shows deft skill in combining several elements of electronic music and rock into the very rich concoction that is ‘Verbose’.