Big Phony – Straight to Bootleg Volume 1

8.0 out of 10 | iTunes | Buy CD

We are obviously Big Phans of Big Phony (ha!) @ BIC. When Euge told me that he (Big Phony/Bobby Choy) was releasing a new album, I jumped at the opportunity to pull a double bill and review his previous album as well. We got the news that the new album was being postponed, which was providential as this reviewer wasn’t getting it done. But the new album has had its official release, so on to business…

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The Kuwagos Launch Sophomore Album

The Kuwagos of Bergenfield, New Jersey

If you’ve never had the unusual and delightful pleasure of flying and dancing at the same time, then you don’t know what you’re missing.

I finally got my hands on a copy of The Kuwagos’ new album Lagi Sa Kama, and that is what it did to me on the first listen. It made me dance first, and then, before I knew what was happening, I was flying.

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John Balicanta releases new EP on iTunes

John Balicanta

John Balicanta

New York – For anyone who has ever sweated, cried, laughed and/or screamed at a Lola Ray concert, you’ll be happy to know that the former band’s intrepid frontman John Balicanta has spun himself into a whole other universe entirely. And in this new universe, it is not dark and cold, but warm, vibrant, and hella cool.

Balicanta, a Filipino-American artist based in Los Angeles, announced on February 1 that he released a new all-instrumental EP on iTunes, a musical score that he has just composed for playwrite Jonathan Goldberg’s new play “Luck of the Ibis”, for which the EP is named.

While Lola Ray is on an indefinite hiatus (yes, as a hardcore Lola Ray fan, my heart can only deal with saying “hiatus” for the time being), Balicanta seems to be leaping and bounding over all sorts of things to bring to life new creations that are simply…in one word…stunning.

“Luck of the Ibis” is a 3-track EP that outlines Balicanta’s first attempt at producing an original musical score. But for a first attempt, this EP is a sumptuous feast for the ears. Deeply rich in depth and magnitude, the music shows how Balicanta adeptly steps outside the realm of shredding guitars, lyrical angst, and that rock god persona to achieve a higher plane of epic countenance.

I have been saying to myself that work such as this belongs not just to the theater stage, but on the big silver screen of movies. Hollywood, are you listening to this!?!?

This EP gives us just a small inkling of what Balicanta is capable of as his ability and songwriting/music-writing process matures. I daresay, Lola Ray fans the world around, our beloved John is alive and kicking. And here is the proof.

To purchase the $2.97 EP please visit iTunes.

To preview a track, Underwater Dance, from the EP please visit Balicanta’s myspace page.

Review by Feliza Mirasol

Neah Lee – The EP

CD_cover_2009EP9.0/10 | Download CD

When I was first given the opportunity to review Neah Lee’s new EP I was optimistic.  When I actually got the chance to sit down and listen to Neah Lee’s new EP, I was in love.  Neah Lee’s hypnotic voice carries listeners off into another plane of existence.  I could imagine myself sitting alone in my room with this EP and feeling at peace with everything…her words and music are just that moving.  Although it’s only 5 tracks (4 tracks and 1 hidden bonus track), the EP, mixed and mastered by Robin Lai, is still chock full of substance. Continue reading

Alfa: Second Skin

CD1 29 / 10 | iTunes | Buy CD

It’s not often that I get emotional during morning rush hour.  Normally, I’m too sleepy/tired to even think straight, let alone notice things like, say, words or feelings.  However, the final track on Alfa’s first full length album, Second Skin, not only made me stop playing solitaire, but had me completely absorbed in the song’s message of familial love and growth.

Mind you, the rest of the album is just as good. Continue reading

The Happy Analogues: School Tales

l_f22fe9bb72112b89285fa51987e1ccdd8.0 out of 10 | iTunes | Buy CD

With their first album release only a few years ago, The Happy Analogues have done it again, taking fans back to school with their follow up double album, “School Tales” which as the band describes is “a collection of songs celebrating school life in the Philippines.”  Even though I’ve never been to school in the Philippines, there are still similar themes we can all relate to – puppy love, youthful shenanigans, homework and the sadness that comes when it’s all over.  If one were to compare THA to the Beatles, one of their stated influences, then certainly the first album is like the mop top band of the early 60s and the second album is like their sound later in the same decade, demonstrating a definite progression with expansion and experimentation of different musical styles. Continue reading