It’s more fun indie Philippines
The Philippine indie scene has been making waves for the past few years, and it just keeps getting bigger. With the tide of indie appreciation at an all-time high, you might want to ride that wave now—because OPM sure as hell isn’t dead.
Genres: pop rock, alternative rock
Formed in 2012 while you were busy in high school listening to your favorite pop songs, the rock band has since released numerous singles throughout the years, such as Close Your Eyes (2015), Gising (2016), Laro (2016,) and Languyin (2016). Currently, they only have one EP, Autotelic, released in 2013, and one album, Papunta Pabalik, released in 2016.
As one of the most widely known indie bands in the Philippines, Autotelic’s distinguishing trait has to be in their kickass instrumentals. Made with the synthesis of Japanese vibes, alternative rock, and dance music, listening to their songs sort of makes you feel like you’re standing in the middle of a bustling city during the evening rush hour, with the city night lamps and blurred headlights lighting up your romantic urban imagery.
Ang Bandang Shirley
Genres: post-rock, alternative pop, punk rock
Aside from wanting to make you stop what you’re doing and bawl your eyes out, Ang Bandang Shirley is known for their ability to deliver songs with catchy tunes and romantically relatable lyrics. The band has released three albums so far: Theme Songs (2008), Tama na ang Drama (2012), and Favorite (2017).
Dubbed as the “masters of romantic song craft,” Ang Bandang Shirley uses colorful metaphors to portray one’s innermost feelings, distinctly empathizing with the listener’s lovehighs and lows. Whether it be about heartbreak or falling head over heels with somebody, there’s bound to be a song of theirs that will hit you right in the feels.
Genres: R&B, soul
Former PBB housemate slash millennial aesthetic personified, Jessica Connelly is popular not only in our country, but also in the international scene because of her collaborations with well-known artists like crwn and fellow Filipino artist Curtismith. She maintains her SoundCloud account for updates with her latest music, and her collabs can be listened to on Spotify. Connelly also has an apt taste in visual aesthetics that blend very well with her music’s vibes.
While Jess Connelly does amazing in the R&B/soul department, her style also gives off a “midnight chill” kind of feel. Her songs set the perfect mood for a late-night roadtrip—one that can make you either gaze blankly out the window or simply close your eyes and feel the music (though both are recommended only if you’re not the driver).
The Ransom Collective
Genres: indie rock, indie folk
They say, years don’t define a relationship—well, that’s certainly the case for this band. The Ransom Collective was founded by Kian Ransom only in 2013 and the six-piece band already has undeniable chemistry. Compared to the other bands, you could say that this one has already found their collective sound.
For modern music lovers, don’t let the ‘folk’ genre tag turn you off though. Their songs are the go-to tracks for windy daytime road trips or a sunny afternoon at the beach. Nothing boring like teaching the hardships of farming (which is totally educational, by the way), but just as iconic. Basically, the core of their sound is based on the experiences of the young, because according to the bassist Leah Halili, “Youth is what makes up our music.”
Genres: alternative rock, indie rock
Formerly known as Sense of Sound, the band was founded in 2007 by four University of Santo Tomas students who wanted to produce songs people can easily relate to. At some point, they decided to switch to a new concept—thus the birth of December Avenue.
Among all the bands having songs with high replayability (if that’s a word), December Avenue takes the cake. Some of their popular songs are Sleep Tonight, Eroplanong Papel, and Dahan— all which you may or may not recognize from the title, but the moment you hear it: “Ah, I’ve heard this before.” Cue the “headphone-wearing, screaming kid listening to music on full blast” meme.
Genres: indie pop, electropop
Making music since she was 12 years old, BP Valenzuela is the complete package. Singing, songwriting, producing—you name it, she’s done it. Valenzuela became widely known after releasing her EP, be/ep last 2014, which was, according to her, inspired by a breakup. Following that are her albums The Neon Hour (2015) and Crydancer (2017).
If you’re familiar with the indie film Sleepless, the score of the film are Valenzuela’s songs, and they’ve done a bang up job in setting the insomniac vibe of the story. On one hand, the singer-songwriter’s music delves deep into the seemingly typical process of falling in love, and on the other, it’s a straightforward expression of raw affection. When it comes to local electronic pop, there’s probably nothing better out there than her music—at least not yet.
IV of Spades
By all means, young bands are nothing to be underestimated. IV of Spades (pronounced ‘four of spades’) is an up-and-coming indie pop band that has so far only produced two singles, but is already showing promise in the Philippine indie scene.
From a very OPM, Eraserheads-like style to an amazing revival of the good ol’ catchy 70’s music, this band has shown off their talent in making songs that—along with their growing fanbase—will launch them to the top of the industry. Looking at the pace of their rapid evolution, they have the potential to become the face of Philippine indie pop in the years to come.
Interview transcript with IV of Spades
Q: What’s the most difficult part of being an indie artist?
Lack of financial support and being underestimated.
Q: What’s the message you wish to express through your songs?
We always want our songs to be informative whether it’s about a certain belief, an experience or a thought.
We want to inform the listeners what we wanted to portray.
Q: What do you love/enjoy most about being an indie artist?
Having friends in the scene who experience the same struggle that we face and having the freedom to be creative and innovative with our own music.
Q: Do you have any tips for aspiring and upcoming indie artists?
Don’t think too much. Music has to make you feel alive.