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

Vienna Teng: Inland Territory

ZOE1125_Cover8.0 out of 10 | iTunes | Buy CD

When I finally sat down to listen to Inland Territory, Vienna Teng’s fourth album, it had already gone through the digitalization process, been purchased online and transferred to my iPod. It was, therefore, ironic to me that the first thing to be heard on the album is the sound of crackling vinyl. But this sound is somehow comforting and is no doubt a reference to several of her influences. Just like the heroes of the 60’s folk movement, Vienna Teng has written lyrics that are poetic and intelligent. And her classical training has heightened her song-writing abilities, which together form a style that is more complex than much of what is written today. Continue reading

Kevin So: Best Foot Forward


8.0 out of 10 | iTunes | Buy CD

Kevin So has been in the game for a little over a decade now.  Constantly on the road or recording, he’s toured all over the country, the world, and has 8 albums under his belt.  Another contemporary of his, Annie Lin, one told me that she was in a remote, isolated town in the Southwest US when she stopped for gas.  While browsing the random pamphlets at the rest stop, she came across a flyer for none other than Mr. So, advertising his local show. Continue reading

Blip Blip Bleep: Alarm Clock Snooze Bar Get Up


8.5 out of 10 | iTunes | Buy CD

I’ve been a fan of Blip Blip Bleep ever since their debut EP, Wireless, came out back in late 2006.  The main architect of this 3-piece synth-dance-rock outfit is Sean Han, whose laid back persona belies the stomping, dancing, singer who steps out on stage to front this band at various clubs around Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Photo by Tim Devine (

Photo by Tim Devine (

BBB’s sophomore release, Alarm Clock Snooze Bar Get Up is a 6-song concept EP.  The album gives us a Han’s eye view of a day in the life of a New York City 20-something (or perhaps a 30-something… Because, after all, 40 is the new 30, which makes 30 the new 20, I suppose). Continue reading