As the local music scene continues to burst at the seams with quality content, we narrow the field down to five albums that made the strongest impression on us. The records below succeed in capturing particular emotions and moods with clarity and focus, while coming together either as coherent narratives or just a series of really great songs. Local music never died; it’s just been waiting for you to join the party.
Lions and Acrobats – Mundane
Don’t be fooled by the album title; Mundane is a prime example of exciting, no-frills, guitar-driven rock. Lions and Acrobats’ riffs are busy and dynamic, the tempo shifting drastically between songs—at times, even between verses. But the album is never difficult: every song announces its intention from the get-go and follows through. Lyrically, Mundane does come across straightforward at first, but it’s got sharp attention to detail and enough texture in the music that charges its simple sentiments with incredible emotion. It’s a reminder of how the ordinary can inspire the most extraordinary art.
Munimuni – Simula
Just as committed to crafting elaborate soundscapes as they are to writing shamelessly charming, poetic songs, Munimuni finds inventive ways to build on material that other artists might leave safe and stripped-down. It’s insane how far Munimuni transports you in the span of Simula’s six tracks. You go from the warmth of a song like “Bukang-Liwayway” to the romantic sunset of “Sa’yo,” and by the time the album is over, you’ll only want to take the trip all over again. And whenever that flute comes in, we dare you to try stopping that smile from spreading across your face.
Pedicab – Remuda Triangle
Remuda Triangle features the kind of grungy punk that’d be annoying and outdated if Pedicab wasn’t so damn likable. Diego Mapa’s distinctly monotone vocals give every song an extra layer of tongue-in-cheek humor, even as the band punches out music with stone-cold seriousness. The album is an absolute jam, where riffs and inserts interweave and push every song forward. But the compositions on display are never excessive, giving this record depth, contrast, and focus compared to their previous work.
Sound Architects – In Time of Need
Post-rock instrumentals aren’t always the easiest to get into. They aren’t built for easy listening, and neither are they the kind of songs you can blast in the background at a party. But Sound Architects doesn’t just throw walls of sound at your ears for no reason. Their tracks tell stories. In the band’s debut album In Time of Need, you rarely feel the time pass, each of the album’s six imposing songs frequently alternating between crashing noise and foreboding stillness. It’s the kind of record that rewards attentiveness, lest you miss out on the best parts of the stories.
The Strangeness – Scorned as Timber, Beloved of the Sky
You really fall into the mood that The Strangeness sets up in all of its songs—laidback, but with a swing that’s just the right amount of rough around the edges. The band possesses an ambience that feels cinematic, the lyrics painting pictures that complement their bluesy, country-like sound. Though Scorned as Timber, Beloved of the Sky maintains a relaxed vibe all throughout, the band’s songs know when to pick up into completely different moods sporting different textures—all in a cohesive flow that’s never jarring.