Archive for January, 2012

The Mars Volta to release sixth studio album ‘Noctourniquet’ on March

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

Right before At The Drive-In’s scheduled appearance at Coachella Music Festival on April, The Mars Volta will be releasing their sixth studio album called Noctourniquet. The album follows Octahedron (the 2009 release) and will be channeling songs inspired by Solomon Grundy (a villain from the Superman comic books) and the Greek mythology tale of Hyacinthus.

It will be interested to see Cedric Bixler-Zavala and company balance their time as At The Drive In has already hinted several times that they plan to keep touring well after Coachella.

No singles have been released so far but one could bet that one will be dropping soon – the album is slated for a March 27 release.

††† (Crosses) release the new song ‘Prurien†’

Saturday, January 28th, 2012

Not a lot of people have heard of ††† (read as Crosses) but its frontman Chino Moreno (of Deftones fame) requires no introduction. Joining Moreno is Shaun Lopez of Far and Scott Chuck. Their EP was named by Forbes.com as one of the best free albums for 2011 and while the band still takes a back seat to the more wellknown bands of Moreno and Lopez, the band is certainly making people notice due to their melodic stylings, Moreno’s distinct vocal timbre and of course, the unique way that the band has decided to name themselves.

The band released the song ‘Prurien†’ as a free download on the official Rolling Stones website. One spin and you’ll see that Moreno has definitely left his prints all over this creation – while his voice soars over the arrangement, the song is definitely a lot lighter than your typical Deftones song. The vocals are absolutely relaxed and soothing – just like most Deftones tracks but there’s certainly a different flavor to †††.

“Is Your Love Strong Enough?” by How To Destroy Angels

Friday, January 27th, 2012

How To Destroy Angels - a trio comprising of Trent Reznor, wife Mariqueen Maandig and musical genius Atticus Ross – is offering a free preview of a cover of “Is Your Love Strong Enough” originally by Brian Ferry. The song was released early December of last year and has since been played over 29,000 times on the official How To Destroy Angels blog.

The song is a very soothing with a lot of ambient moments. Mariqueen does almost all of the vocal chores on the track – and yes, as her surname would suggest she is very much Pinay. She was the lead vocalist of the band West Indian Girl for the most part of the last decade and was married to the NIN frontman October 2009 – just months after Reznor and co. played in Manila.

The song is part of the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo sound track. Reznor and Ross were the brains behind the Academy-Award winning score for The Social Network. The pair were finalists to the Golden Globes for the same category but they ultimately lost to Ludovic Bource for the Artist.

Are you willing to go abroad to watch a concert?

Friday, January 20th, 2012

Coldplay.

Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Foo Fighters.

Aside from being awesome bands that are famous all over the world, these three bands share something in common – they have been to Asia to promote their albums via a concert series but they’ve all decided to skip the Philippines for one reason or another. It’s quite frustrating since Filipinos have proven time and time again that they’re voracious concert goers. While Pinoys do lap up the pop sensations who visit, rock bands like Incubus have routinely been welcomed with open arms! They wouldn’t have played here three times if it made zero business sense on their part.

The Philippines used to be a good place to hold events in. The Araneta Coliseum played host to what is perhaps the most memorable fight moniker of all time – the Thrilla in Manila. Metallica has played here before and Rage Against the Machine likewise held a show here (in Pasig!) during the 90s.

So what changed?

For one, the world economy has changed so much that bands have had to scale back in a lot of things. It takes a lot of guts to bring a product like Foo Fighters or Red Hot Chili Peppers to the Philippines. While their albums are sure-fire number 1 hits in the US, it would be a stretch to expect a jam-packed Araneta if they do go into town. That’s why it takes a lot of faith and belief in a business model for a company to bring in an artist like Deftones or Nine Inch Nails to the country – they may not necessarily be the most mainstream of artists but there’s a lot to be said with their very devoted following.

A country’s economic standing also plays a good part in planning the concert. It’s not enough to have a lot of fans – it has to be an event that makes business sense. Will there be sponsors? Will there be enough people to build buzz for upcoming concerts? While we Filipinos can rest easy on how proficient we are in the social media game, we’re still a long way from being the country that people look at as far as the artistic and musical compass of the region is concerned.

With Coldplay, Red Hot Chili Peppers and now Foo Fighters (playing in Singapore, March 2) becoming more open in playing in more Asian locations, the idea of flying out for a night or two just to catch a show becomes a valid proposition. For people who have the means, it’s definitely a choice that is considered for a long time. After all, this could be the most cost-efficient way to catch a band – the alternative option would be to buy a more expensive ticket to a location that is farther than Singapore and Hong Kong. But still, shelling out for airline tickets (this would at least set you back 5-10 grand) and good tickets (5-10 grand, probably as well) would eat into your wallet.

If anything, we could take solace in the idea that the times are changing a bit. Bands are starting to consider Manila (again) as a destination. Hopefully, the choices that Deftones, Korn, Incubus, Thursday, 30STM, Saosin and many others would resonate with the other bands.

Taken By Cars to play at South by Southwest this March!

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

Taken by Cars had such an awesome year in 2011. After releasing their well-acclaimed Dualist album in a packed Amber Lounge early last year, the band successfully came up with two singles that are now being played over the airwaves. The band also released their music video for “Unidentified” during the Splintr yearender party Eat Your Beets.

While international citations is nothing new for Taken by Cars – they were named as one of the top Asian bands to watch by Time Magazine not so long ago; something truly big just got served on TbC’s plate. The band was invited to play at the annual South by Southwest (SXSW) Music Festival to be held in Austin, Texas from March 13 to 18.

The band is currently raising funds for this expedition of sorts and all the preparation will culminate on March 3 at Republiq where Taken by Cars will play for their fans one last time before they make their way to Austin. The band is also planning to release outtakes and performances from their preparations and 2012 SXSW experience on DVD.

This is definitely a great opportunity for the band and an awesome chance for Philippine music to be heard outside of our borders. We’ve already seen some bands cracking the scene in international festivals in Singapore and it’s about time that OPM gets its due in stages elsewhere. The SXSW festival is a melting pot of different musical styles and ethnicities. Last year’s festival attracted bands from 57 countries and this year’s festival promises to be as diverse.

We wish Taken by Cars all the best! Congratulations!

Blaster looking for the “King of the Bands”

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

Blaster Studio is on the lookout for the next big band! To give a head start for bands that have already found a good groove with their collective musicianship, Black Kings Bar and Blaster Studio are now launching a big search for bands to see who has the most promise to breakthrough and translate their potential into recorded material.

To register simply go to the Blaster Studio (#29, 2nd flr, Rd 8, Project 6, Visayas Avenue, Quezon City) and secure a registration form. Each band would only need to pay 200 pesos! Bands would then be scheduled for screening and if your band is really awesome, you can get P1000 in gift certificates from Black Kings Bar and a chance to record one of your band’s songs professionally in the ultra-cool Blaster studio!

Once you’ve been named a monthly winner, your band will also be included in the Blaster compilation album and be in the running for the grand finals! If your band ends up winning the whole shebang you will win P 25,000 cash, P5,000 worth of gift certificates to Black Kings Bar and a band’s greatest dream – a full album recording FOR FREE at the Blaster Studio (A P50,000 value)! Aside from this, the winning band will also be featured at Rakista.com and the band will also be given 150 copies of their recorded work. Exciting prizes will also be given away by Draven Shoes, Lyric and Sennheiser!

Imagine the opportunities that this would open for your band!

Come on! Register, you never know if your band’s dreams could actually come true with this helluva shot from Blaster!

 

At The Drive-In to play at Coachella!

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

And just like that, 11 years of silence is broken. At The Drive-In will be playing in this year’s Coachella after over a decade of not doing anything as a musical unit. The band broke up after their 2000 breakthrough release Relationship of Command and its founding members went their different ways; eventually forming standout groups such as The Mars Volta and Sparta.

The talks regarding a possible reunion is nothing new, especially since Cedric Bixler-Zavala had already hinted at the idea of a reunion as early as 2009. This announcement regarding Coachella 2012 takes the band full circle as one of the most unique rock acts the scene has ever had.

According to the official At the Drive-In website, the band is set to play on April 15 and April 22 for the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. The new album by The Mars Volta is also set to be released around the same time.

 

Check out Midnight Youth from New Zealand!

Sunday, January 8th, 2012

New Zealand may not be necessarily the hotbed of mainstream rock exported to the rest of the world but an up and coming rock band may be soon raising the Kiwi flag for the rest of the music world to see. Midnight Youth is fast emerging as one of New Zealand’s most promising bands. They released their first album The Brave Don’t Run in 2009 and finally after a couple of years of not having anything to share to fans, Midnight Youth came up with World Comes Calling late 2011. The band prides itself in producing honest-to-goodness rock that is a throwback to the times when music was a lot simpler and bands were the forces driving the direction of the music industry. Midnight Youth re-visits this nostalgic take on old school with their new tracks – don’t take our word for it, you may preview their new tracks ‘Who Said You’re Free?’ and the title track on the Midnight Youth official page.

There’s absolutely a lot of get up and go in the title track ‘World Comes Calling’. It’s a very catchy and riff-driven song that has plenty of very nifty hooks that could definitely get someone nodding or tapping along to the rhythm. The music feels honest and confident, but at the same time, very familiar and non-contrived.

The band has been very successful in capturing the imagination of the public and the press. The NZ Herald (a local publication in New Zealand) lauded the latest release saying that “World Comes Calling comes front-loaded with five beautifully produced tracks that don’t muck around in delivering pure audio adrenaline and will be among the best rock songs released by a Kiwi band this year.” The two singles from the album also debuted at impressive ranks in the NZ charts during the week of their radio releases. The band also been very strong in the online music department with its downloads pulling in significant numbers.

The band is set to start a New Zealand-wide tour to promote their latest album starting May 2012. The songs are undeniably great! Give Midnight Youth a spin and see how the Kiwis rock!

The music year that was: 2011 in blogs

Monday, January 2nd, 2012

2011 has definitely been one of the best years in recent memory as far as live music events are concerned. A good number of international rock acts went to the Philippines much to the thrill of the local fans and a lot of Filipino-bred talent also pushed the development of the Pinoy sound by releasing their new albums. Here’s a monthly set of events that has shaped 2011.

January  – Bamboo and Sugarfree both disband.


Few bands ever got the same level of mainstream awareness, critical acclaim (at least from music award-giving bodies) and commercial success as Bamboo.  Led by their charismatic front man who lent his name to the band, Bamboo was in advertisements, headlining major concerts and winning awards left and right. It was a sad day when the band announced that they will be parting ways. The original members of Bamboo sans Bamboo Manalac ended up forming Hijo – with Nathan Azarcon doing the vocals.

Sugarfree fans also had to go through a tough time when they found out that front man Ebe Dancel wanted out. The band revealed that they will only be playing through their already scheduled gigs through February but after those dates, the band would cease to exist as the scene knows it. Sugarfree was together for well over 11 years and it was a shock to a lot of fans.

February - Deftones rocks Manila with a 25-song set.

For many people, the Deftones concert would probably be the best concert for 2011. The band played a very long set in front of a rowdy World Trade Center crowd in Pasig. The mosh pit was appreciative from start to finish whether the song was from Adrenaline or the new album Diamond Eyes. Splintr released an interesting behind-the-scenes article on what transpired before and after the concert. Slapshock and Urbandub primed the crowd before Chino Moreno and company ripped through what was a mammoth playlist.

March - STP brings back grunge in a big way.


The Stone Temple Pilots were one of the biggest names in the grunge genre and in their current form, they are quite possibly the strongest one of the original bands from those eras. The news of STP coming to Manila kicked up a lot of interest. The band played 17 songs in the premiere performance in the country (the Araneta Coliseum) and had Sinosikat as front act. There’s an STP album full of photos on Splintr’s Facebook page.

 

AprilUrbandub sends a very strong message.

In a nation starved in terms of major concerts by its  biggest rock bands, Urbandub sure did its share in making sure that its fans got the high profile show that they deserved. Set in the hallowed halls of the Music Museum in Greenhills, the band ripped through hit after hit that they have amassed throughout their storied years in the music scene.

 

May - Taken By Cars’ “This Is Our City” goes up on Splintr.

Taken by Cars went with a very soothing and cool track to serve as a teaser for their second album – Dualist. Interestingly, the album would be hailed as one of the best albums of the year. It’s quite a great gesture on the band’s part to let fans in on the new songs for free via the Splintr website. Taken By Cars would later launch a music video later into the year in Splintr’s yearender party.

June -  3 Headed Dog shares their EP with Splintr fans.


The band 3 Headed Dog is certainly a rock supergroup. Razorback’s David Aguirre and Wolfgang’s Wolf Gemora need no introduction while Danny Gonzales sure did hold his own in Lokomotiv. 3 Headed Dog brought to the forefront of the scene the classic rock sensibilities that could be best experienced live – it was rock in its raw and unadulterated form.

July – Incubus comes back for a third time. 30 Seconds to Mars makes a stop in Manila


Incubus has always been warmly received by Filipinos and the third time was no different. The band earlier went to the country to promote A Crow Left of the Murder and Light Grenades. The latest album was clearly more melodic and far removed from the earlier sound that Incubus went with during the start of their career but the release was still well-received by the packed Araneta crowd. Franco warmed up the crowd with their rock ditties before Brandon, Mike and company hit the stage.

It was a great concert that started off with ‘Wish You Were Here’ and closed it with ‘Nice To Know You’ – both from the album Morning View.

Thirty Seconds to Mars was well on their way to setting a world record when they passed by Manila. By the end of the year, they got to 300 shows promoting their current album – This Is War. The Tri-Noma parking lot sure was a great venue for thousands of 30STM diehards.

August - Korn finally plays a set in Manila.

Given how much Korn influenced a lot of bands more than a decade ago here in the Philippines, it’s surprising that the band has never done a show in Manila. The Korn concert while not happening at the peak of the band’s popularity was still more than a welcome development given the sheer amount of fans they have in the country. As expected, the show whipped up a crazy mosh pit that few concerts could probably top in terms of sheer volume and adrenaline factor.  Jonathan Davis promised that they will be back. You have to wonder how long Filipino fans would have to wait til the next time…

 

September - Happy birthday Mr. Jack!

It was the birthday of good ‘ol Mr. Jack [Daniel's]! This great show at Handle Bar during the end of September combined the Chosen 7 – Blue Boy Bites Back, Kelevra, Paramita, Playphonics, Mr. Bones and the Boneyard Circus and Stories of Now in an unprecented number of collaborations and jamming experiments. It was definitely a unique show!

October – Supergroup Kapatid reunites for one night.

Local rock supergroup Kapatid re-united for a one-night only gig at B-Side – a venue that is fast becoming one of the most preferred rock venues in the metro. The band infused the scene with a good helping of funk-infused rock during the early part of the decade but have fell into inactivity in recent years. Just the same, the band proved why they were one of the most sought after live acts from back in the day. With a line up can consisted of Karl Roy (P.O.T.), Nathan Azarcon (Bamboo), J-Hoon Balbuena (Kjwan) and Ira Cruz (Bamboo), how can you go wrong?
November – Slapshock releases their seventh album in 15 years.

Love ‘em or not, there’s no denying that Slapshock is an enduring force in the local rock scene. Few bands can stand next to the band in terms of dedication to create albums year in and year out. The band released their seventh studio album in 15 years of existence Kinse Kalibre during the month of November. Slapshock’s first single ‘Ngayon Na’ was also well received.

December – Splintr ends the year strong with Eat Your Beets!


By the end of December it was sure clear that we all had a great year of music! Starting from the excitement brought about by the Deftones concert that were carried through the Korn, Incubus and 30STM shows, Filipinos sure had an awesome 2011. Splintr capped off the great year with an undeniably strong yearender – Eat Your Beets. Along with sponsors who have been very generous throughout the year, Splintr put together a show that combines the biggest names in the rock scene as well as the up-and-comers.

 

 

Judging from the intensity of the performers it sure looks like it was a great party! [photos by May Arguelles]

So there you have it 2011 in just a few words and images. Hopefully you enjoyed the past year as well as we here in Splintr have and here’s to an even more rocking and awesome 2012!