With strong roots in the Philippines and Canada, various Alternative artists from East and West collide to create an authentic experience with the compilation album titled, 'World Alternative Music, Vol. 1.' The album opens with back to back songs by Fir Street, a solo act hailing from Laguna, Philippines, better known as Jehiel Fernandez who mixes stimulating electronica with melancholy lyrics for a dynamic adventure.
As Fir Street opens the compilation album with his song "June Blankets," the project starts with lighthearted grooves for any listener to enjoy. With daydreamy electronic instrumentation through drifting synths, soft keys, and angelic female vocals from Jehiel Fir Street gracing the song with elegance, we love the modern and contemporary feel that Fir Street delivers with this heartfelt tune. His production drifts listeners through the celestials with help from the saddened and melancholy lyricism of searching for serenity. The mid-tempo instrumentation resembles a softer and more reflective Tame Impala, offering listeners a heartfelt sonic escape within the album's very first piece.
Another track by Fir Street settles as the album's second piece with "Loss Statement." Fir Street switches up his delivery and offers a blissful downtempo tune for listeners to fade into their dreams. Opening the song with somber acoustic guitar picking and Fir Street's soft vocals, he begins depicting the unfortunate lyricism of being forgotten and feeling exhausted with the world's insanity. As the instrumentation begins to pick up with powerful drum patterns, heavenly keys, steady acoustic guitar, and an added female's vocals, the track quickly offers this sensation of tranquility and transcendence with each minor melody and the song's introspective lyricism.
The next two tracks feature Sofia, a five-piece band based in Pangasinan, Philippines, consisting of Dex Soy, Mel Nicer, Justin, Jeeboy, and Polel; the band adds fire to the album and heats up instantly.
The album's third track "Broken," features Sofia's dynamic instrumentation ranging from reflective Alternative to scorching Alt-Rock/Punk. Opening the song with Dex Soy's warm vocals describing scenes of feeling like a new person while also being pulled in two different directions, the supporting instrumentation thus far is incredibly soft through heartfelt piano, plucky electric guitar, and downtempo drum patterns. Around the mid-way point, Sofia switches up the instrumentation and scorches through with blazing Punk-inspired delivery. Dropping heavy instrumentals and enraged vocals, we love the contrast within the instrumentals that reflect Dex Soy's dynamic lyricism.
Sofia's second track takes the album's 4th spot with their song "Lucid Dreams." Opening with airy instrumentals that drift over like a low rain cloud, the song is off to a heartfelt and passionate start. Once Dex Soy begins singing of being lost in a dream and not wanting to escape, the surrounding instrumentals offer this naturally alluring West Coast vibe through the soft and melodic electric guitar. Once again, around the mid-way point, Sofia picks up the power and pushes through with blazing Alt-Rock instrumentation while Dex Soy continues to narrate our dreams with powerful delivery. We love the dynamic flair that Sofia has added to the project so far.
The following couple of songs feature the rocking quartet known as Fifteen Minutes Later. Coming from Siquijor and Negros Oriental, Philippines, members Kerwin Elman, Mark Lui Ruiz, Sergel Esquierdo, and Joannes Jumadla attended high school together and push to create hi-fi Post-Grunge Alternative-Rock.
With their song and the album's fifth track, "Dim Light," Fifteen Minutes Later opens the song with mid-tempo instrumentation that rains down from the Gods of Grunge. As Joannes Jumadla's vocals begin to serenade us with a message of power and resilience, Fifteen Minutes Later throws their hearts and souls into the song's exhilarating and gritty instrumentals through the melodic electric guitar, gripping rhythm guitar, a thumping bassline, and heated drum patterns. We can't help but feel like we've entered a time machine back to the 00s with this hi-fi tune, not to mention Jumadla's warm and inspiring lyrical message of letting your inner light shine.
With their next track "Maybe," Fifteen Minutes Later offers a warm-hearted shift through their upbeat instrumentals. Opening the song with short electric guitar melodies and Joannes Jumadla's powerful vocals, the track quickly turns into another scorching hot delivery. Especially through the band's tight grunge-inspired instrumentals, we can feel our faces melting one inch at a time. While Jumadla continues to sing reflective lyricism regarding the turmoil of past relationships and attempts to navigate his way, Fifteen Minutes Later pushes through with fire and adds excellent emphasis to each introspective lyric.
Switching it up with the addition of Perfect Average, hailing from Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines. The trio consists of Rinz Ares, Nichol Lecera, and Andrei Garcia, always bringing active Pop-Punk to the stage for listeners to get lost in. Perfect Average takes the album by storm with their first track "Better Change," shooting us into the transcendent celestials with pushy Punk and exhilarating delivery, instrumentally and vocally. Rinz Ares' bright Punk-inspired vocals resemble a 2001 Tom DeLonge, raining down with incredible emphasis and energy. He sings of the constant changes humans must undergo to fit modern-day societal standards without getting lost in the mix. As the supporting instrumentals bring a vastly heavy aspect to the song through the fiery electric guitar, thumping rhythm guitar, a tight bassline, and hi-fi drum patterns, we can't help but feel exhilarated after Perfect Average's introduction to the album.
Pushing through their second track "Bluemoon," Perfect Average opens the track with whaling electric guitar melodies and haunting ghost vocals. Once the entire instrumentation sets in with boundless energy through upbeat percussion, textured rhythm guitar, and a gripping bassline, Rinz Ares enters the track and blazes through the atmosphere with force. He begins singing lyrics of feeling lonely and not himself when he's missing his partner, Perfect Average does an incredible job of pushing high energy instrumentals with meaningful lyrics that swoon the listener. We love the back and forth between the band's energy on this track, adding perfect emphasis to aspects representing our inner turmoil.
The album's next couple tracks feature Icebox (Vince Dela Cuz), an Artist/Producer from the Philippines to Toronto, Canada. Listening to Icebox's Alternative sound will inevitably put listeners in a trance where they're emotionally connected to his songs of love, loss, and the transition in between.
Sweetening up the next song "One Sweet Love," Icebox opens the song with a daydream through downtempo drum patterns, a bluesy bassline, melancholy electric guitar picking, subtle synths, and Vince Dela Cuz's warm filtered vocals. Moving from the softened intro to the sweltering hook, the instrumentals deepen and add this gut-wrenching element through the song's grunge-inspired rhythm guitar. With multiple instrumental switch-ups, Icebox pitches camp in our hearts with his reflective lyricism regarding the infinite love he has for someone, no matter the circumstances. Icebox adds an incredibly versatile aspect to the album, and we're excited to see what comes next.
Warming up the album with Icebox's second track "I'm Missing You," without missing a beat, the instrumentals open the song on a highly passionate note through modern synth arrangements giving the track a psychedelic appeal. We're feeling this Mac De Marco vibe through Icebox's delicate synth arrangement and slightly filtered vocals offering a warm embrace. Icebox brings a heartfelt lyrical message by serenading someone he loves with relatable lyrics that anyone can resonate with. Once the hi-fi electric guitar begins whaling, the instrumentals seep through our speakers with the utmost passion and love.
Changing up the artists with the next two tracks featuring How Now (Brian Josef), a solo Alternative-Pop/Rock Artist/Producer from Manila, Philippines. Garnering vast attention from the likes of his bedroom studio, How Now allows listeners to relate to his limitations, being himself.
Brightening the album with How Now's track "Drive Away," he opens the song with upbeat instrumentation through a driving bassline, textured percussion, melodic electric guitar, and How Now's softly filtered vocals. As he begins singing of missing someone dearly and wanting them to make a U-turn back to him, the song adds this bright and cheerful aspect through the uplifting instrumentals, uniquely contrasting How Now's deep lyricism. The song offers playback of what goes on in our minds when encountering a devastating breakup, and How Now provides the most relatable, heartfelt, and vivid lyricism to back him up.
Giving the album an 80s flair with How Now's next track "Angels Cry," the song opens with rich synth arrangements, lively drum patterns, and shimmering electric guitar melodies. How Now begins singing a heartfelt message of searching for stability within a relationship, the supporting instrumentals drift through and add a highly reflective atmosphere. How Now's picturesque lyricism pours down from above and allows listeners to feel every inch of his aching emotions while floating along with the song's tender instrumentals. We love the authentic passion that How Now has placed into the album, as we're left doing some needed introspection of our own.
The last group to grace the album goes by the name UPPERCASE, a Filipino-Canadian Alternative-Pop/Rock band based in Toronto, Canada. Consisting of Allan Lagat, Mark de Leon, Joey Giagonia, and Kyle Andre, the band has quickly garnered attention from international radio stations and Spotify playlists.
UPPERCASE wastes no time and jumps into the album with their song, "Tanging Ikaw." Although the lead vocalist Mark de Leon serenades us in his native Filipino tongue, we can feel the life and passion exuding from his delivery without completely understanding the lyrics. UPPERCASE's instrumentation is highly passionate and energetic, giving us the warmth that Alt-Pop/Rock has to offer. This uptempo tune brings listeners deep into a bright and sparkling atmosphere with the band's playful instrumental delivery and Mark de Leon's clean and melodic vocals. Around the hook, a tender electric guitar solo adds heightened energy to the song while shifting into the uplifting outro that closes the track with nothing but heart.
UPPERCASE sets out an intoxicating mid-tempo groove with their second track, "In You." Switching up the vocal delivery from Filipino to English, we could initially tell that Mark de Leon was singing with heart and passion, yet this song clarified that. He sings lyrics of longing to hold someone's hand and be by their side through thick and thin while UPPERCASE's supporting instrumentation drifts through with poise and passion through the electrifying guitar, gripping bassline, and playful drum patterns. The band throws us into a warm atmosphere exuding life and love from all corners with this track, and we can't seem to shake the song's anthemic melodies that linger in our minds.
Reaching the last track of the album 'World Alternative Music, Vol. 1,' Sofia makes their way back to close the project with their song, "I_m Okay, I Guess. Thank You." The sweet and savory four-minute instrumental outro opens with drifting electric guitar underneath a textured bassline, pulling us in closer to the midtempo tune. With soft drum patterns and faint synths capturing our attention, the song quickly shifts into another hi-fi and whaling Alt-Rock delivery through pounding rhythm guitar and highly melodic electric guitar. We must note how Sofia goes back and forth within their instrumental approach, as this song is truly dynamic and offers a powerful outro to the entire project.
With each artist/group that has graced the album 'World Alternative Music, Vol. 1,' it would be an understatement to say that we're impressed with not only the project's quality but the overall texture and depth that every act delivers.
We love the heart and passion that Icebox adds to the album 'World Alternative Music, Vol. 1.' Why did you want to add two deep and reflective songs to the album? Would you say these songs give listeners a solid introduction to your music?
Icebox: Being a fan of Alternative Music since 1994, these 2 songs mean a lot to me which reflects my real identity in making music. I really love laying melodious sound plus the grunge of it.
We want to start by saying how needed Fir Street's sweet sound was within the album 'World Alternative Music, Vol. 1.' How did you narrow down your song choices for the album? What do you think your two tracks add to the project?
Fir Street: I think, it's for the reason that those are both my favorites. I picked out those two songs for the album because I think a lot of people would relate to the lyrics on those songs, especially the song Loss Statements which sort of talks about the heavy feeling of being in the real world. I think what those two tracks added to the project is the familiar sound of the electronica, which can be often heard on retro video games. Most bands don't really do electronica especially when you're in a full band. So I decided to put those two tracks to somehow change the sound pace.
Sofia, you have three blazing tracks on 'World Alternative Music, Vol. 1,' and you blast through the album adding an incredible dynamic range. Would you say that your dynamic instrumental shifts are a typical sound for your group?
Sofia: Our music and songwriting are based on our influences plain and simple. But most of the time we try to make a good blend of the lush and heavy sound. To mesh both together might just be the reason as well that we create that dynamic and sonic vibe on the music.
Within the album 'World Alternative Music, Vol. 1,' we noticed UPPERCASE features two vastly different songs. Why did you choose an English and Filipino song for the project? Did you want to capture both sides of UPPERCASE by doing this?
UPPERCASE: Exactly. With “In You”, we captured our band’s musical influences from the past, and ended up with a pop-rock ballad song that is reminiscent of “Ventura Highway” by America, and with elements of modern rock guitar techniques. “Tanging Ikaw” is a reflection of how our band and our songwriting has evolved to a point where it can stand with today’s current OPM genre in terms of music dynamics, catchy melodies, and relatable lyrics. We think this song represents our growth as a band and the potential to appeal to most listeners today and in the future. Having songs in Tagalog and English reflects our Filipino-Canadian heritage as first-generation immigrants in North America and we are glad to share music that expresses that.
We love the classic Alternative sounds that How Now has captured within your feature on 'World Alternative Music, Vol. 1.' What inspired your reoccurring vocal filters and lighthearted sound for your two features on the project?
How Now: my inspiration for the treatments of my mix came from my love of listening to dream pop/new wave. It is always relaxing to me to make light-hearted music. Something that I can listen to before going to sleep or when just driving calmly. I have a band also that plays punk music so for How Now, I suppose my escape from all the noise.
Seeing as Perfect Average features two blazing singles within 'World Alternative Music, Vol. 1,' how do you feel your work differs from the rest of the album's pieces? What do your songs bring to the album that others don't?
Perfect Average: Perfect Average has the quality of being particularly remarkable. Among the albums released within World Alternative Music, PA is the only band that has the Pop Punk genre that makes it impressive since the genre is still pursued even in the diversity of music that would outlast it. Even so, Perfect Average pursues music that has lyrical themes true to life with a fast tempo and melodic. The songs written were not just mere ideas that were romanticized for the sake of making a song but it always been an expression of the band’s frontman to record life through music. Aside from its lyrical theme about romantic relationships, unknowingly, some of the songs were written about faith in God which also explains the band name itself.
The 'World Alternative Music, Vol. 1' album wouldn't be complete without Fifteen Minutes Later's two conceptual pieces. How do your tracks on the project give listeners a better understanding of who you are and the music you create?
Fifteen Minutes Later: Fifteen Minutes Later has created a unique blend as a result of each members’ varied influences that contributed to the band’s overall craft. Also, the members have a common ground which is an alternative rock in the early 2000s. As you listen closely to the two songs, they indeed are mostly influenced by the transition from the post-grunge era to early alternative rock music, an era that would define Fifteen Minutes Later’s music.