25 BEST PH RELEASES OF 2018

Looking back as 2018 about to come to a close, I can say that we as a team have done a lot as a collective of like-minded outsiders; choosing to see music not only as subjective wiggly air but also as the catalysts for cultural change. From withstanding commentary savagery, helping a person get through a tough time in their lives, and messing up a ton of band information, we can say we’ve done quite a lot. Beyond the mishaps and achievements made this year, The Flying Lugaw shows no signs in stopping, especially when “YEAR-ENDER LISTS” are brought in the conversation.

It’s the end of the year, also the perfect time to cash in on the feeling of temporary finality. In less pretentious words, we’ve compiled what we think is 25 of this year’s most technically impressive, culturally relevant, and game-changing albums/EPs/mixtapes released in and outside of the Philippines, made by Filipinos for a wider audience. Enjoy, and try not to get cut on our more-than-obvious edges.

25. savedhistory – los drogas

All coated with dreamy production, melancholic songwriting, and a ghostly presence, savedhistory’s los drogas is minimalist in scope but packs a heavy punch. This release has definitely made itself felt in the current trend of lo-fi bedroom materialism on the internet.

24. Devices – The Element of Surprise

An EP I didn’t expect to like, Devices’ The Element of Surprise is a knockout punch for all up and coming pop acts in the Metro. They provide a dashing yet strong release full of tracks that are influenced with a ton of mid to late 00’s new-age rock ideas (i.e. The Killers, Franz Ferdinand, and Humbug-era Arctic Monkeys). A pleasant surprise that leaves me wanting more

23. Crispy Fetus – Kabihasnan

Batangas’ Crispy Fetus plots different stories and twists in each take in these five songs. Kabishanan EP is hardcore hip-hop executed brutally in an ambitious scale. Whether it’s oddball mysticism or vivid imagery that speaks to the element of fear in you, it’ll leave you satisfied, if not perturbed. 

22. The Juliens – Flatback Reaction

Shoegaze became one of the main genres to look out for with new and old bands emerging from its deep roots. A notable example is the comeback project of The Juliens, a delicate balance of dream-pop, synth-pop, and shoegaze held together a charming atmosphere that envelops the entire project.

21. Pamcy – Deep Sea Pearls

Deep Sea Pearls became the heart of many aspiring female musicians by presenting tracks that are filled with bubbly variety and quality dance-y bops. With a solid sound palette that never misses its mark, this EP is an example of electronic music done right in the hands of Pamcy.

20. KRNA – The River Gold

CDO and its small music scene is building from the ground up. Somehow it manages to reach out and catch the attention of Metro Manila. Northern Mindanao’s KRNA and their astonishing debut, The River Gold, contains breezy production choices, inspiring instrumentals, and powerful vocal performances.

19. DB – Aether

The female hip-hop spectrum is no stranger in the local music scene. Some of the most pivotal female rappers (Peaceful Gemini, NikkAape, and DB) went on to rest and hibernate last year. But BaryoBerde’s very own DB came back with a bang. Aether is her most sonically expansive and lyrically precise record yet.

18. Calix – Ikugan

  His most confessional and personal record yet, Calix’s mini-album Ikugan proves that the self-proclaimed Ghetto Priest still fits snugly in the realm of discussion of the most ruthless rappers existing in the game. Merging protest tracks with audio-animated storytelling, Calix stabilizes his position in Ikugan in the post-TLOYGF era hip-hop.

17. Extremophiles – Rated EXP

 If diversity and determination can be described in a mixtape, this would be it. The Tacloban pride duo/collective(??) Extremophiles’ Rated EXP is a grower. The emcees, even though majority of the bars don’t hit as much as hard for common Tagalog folk, are clear with their vision and open-minded narratives. The thought of bringing the Eastern Visayas music community to the spotlight, is a dream worth fighting for in a community that is still Metro-centric. 

16. Nights of Rizal – Summer/Salt

An album that is composed like a thank you note and at the same time containing a handful or two of other surprises, electronic music producer/singer-songwriter Nights of Rizal gave a toast to his trials and errors in his full-length record, Summer/Salt. De Belen’s lyrics can often be overlooked but that doesn’t stop him to sing his heart out in a record that’s made for people who are grateful what live offers in the way.

15. Delinquent Society – Detour

Delinquent Society or also known as the team of four from Davao City took the Mindanao hip-hop scene by storm in their debut album, Detour. With the entire album reinforcing different sets of skills to show the group’s rap and singing abilities with the help from their local producers.

14.  The Strange Creatures – Phantasms

Indie-pop has went on to evolve from the dive bars of twee to the dazzling royalty in stadiums today. The Strange Creatures’ debut album Phantasms manages to keep that particular twee era of indie-pop alive and vibrant by bringing in a couple of songs that leave the listener wander around its rich and dramatic background.

13. Material Support – Terror Prone Nation

The female-led hardcore outfit from NYC showed that a band could purposely kick fascists in the face with their angry yet realistic take on themes that needed to be addressed. If you’d expect that a band could only hate on Trump for the entirety of their life span, you’re wrong, not to only express hate on Trump himself but also a generation of hate and abuse he’s left. And Terror Prone Nation became a message for the masses in both the East and West.

12. Conformist – s/t

The short but sweet self-titled EP of Rizal-based chaotic hardcore outfit Conformist is a challenging but entertaining ride. With brutality being delivered at a blistering pace, this EP will leave anyone’s ears ringing in the best way. Perfect for veterans of the genre, and newcomers that want to dive straight into the deep end.

11. Mokua – Entropy

It’s exciting, masterfully curated, and a whole lotta fun to listen to in any mood. Mokua commands his debut full length Entropy like a captain in their ship, it sails by venturing across different areas of constancy by dissecting different kinds of beats and methods of performing electronic music.

10. Jason Dhakal – Night In

10. Jason Dhakal – Night In

“Night In” is the debut EP of Oman-born PH-based r&b singer-songwriter Jason Dhakal. Possibly creating one of the biggest victories in execution from start to finish. Influenced by adult contemporary soft jams and gospel high notes, Dhakal creates an atmosphere for lovers who had just lost their sight in affection and lovers who are aiding themselves for recovery after hurting themselves for affection.

9. Lexus – Paglaya

Mental illness shouldn’t be glamorized but rather should be addressed through an appropriate platform. Owfuck’s sole rockstar Lexus highlights his most painful experiences in the most haunting way imaginable. Citing anxiety, isolation, and crippling self-doubt, he then continues to cope his own struggles and at the same time make every listener aware that his vulnerability shouldn’t be taken for granted.

8. no rome – RIP Indo Hisashi

From performing in small bars around the Metro to touring along with one of the most famous rock bands in the planet, no rome’s grand debut to the world, RIP Indo Hishashi, went two steps ahead from the creative reservations and produced one of the most genre bending, eclectic, and enjoyable records in the current pop music landscape today. 

7. Irrevocable – Where is Home?

Irrevocable is a band where they feel like home is full of various blast beats, noodly riffs, and screaming about the end of your night shift. Where is Home? felt like an ode to the environment where hardcore punk had grown and found its place in the current zeitgeist of the music community. All said and done in under 25 minutes or less.

6. Andy Chlau – s/t

Andy Chlau is the debut album of mystery man Andy Chlau. The full length self-titled debut isn’t really concerned what’s thrown in the wall and see what sticks, but rather, the record makes it stick on the wall and becomes appreciated for what it is. Andy morphs in one identity to the other and still comes out as one of the most eclectic records released this year (or maybe in the last 3 years probably).

5. Stickfiggas – Realistick

The grown sound of Hip-hop is enveloped inside Realistick, a comeback record of dynamic duo of Ron Henley and Loonie, who famously go by the name of Stickfiggas. By the time you press play in this large body of work, it becomes clear that both Ron and Loonie aren’t only sticking to one scope but the entirety of everything that goes in their heads, in true Stickfiggas fashion. Adding several band elements to their repertoire, Stickfiggas still has the energy to produce several solid tracks in one package. 

4. Bandido – s/t

If you talk about music communities existing inside universities, you probably need to watch out for schools that promotes subversive ideas and how they’re going to bring it on the table. Bandido’s self-titled record presents itself as a callback to the bygone era of “pinoy rock”; a sound that immediately achieves different degrees of awareness with tracks that tackle extrajudicial killings, media propaganda, lower to middle class struggle, and many issues that continues to be strangled by liberalist ideals.

3. Megumi Acorda – Unexpectedly

Talking about how this record was made has been challenging to almost all of us but we find it easy to express how much it made us go through a lot of things in life. Megumi Acorda’s much-awaited debut EP, Unexpectedly, grants us a promise that not everything in life is permanent. All of the tracks hit right to the core, becoming a summarization of what makes dream-pop an amazing genre. The emotion that is poured in each note and line becomes a permanent audio memory for everyone who wishes to sing a long while they are in pain, and it’s unexpected for some to cry while listening to this record.

2. Narcloudia – Day Blind Stars

Narcloudia puts out an amazing record and everyone else who missed it needs to immediately listen to it. Given that the band has grown sonically and in age, Day Blind Stars is crafted to perfection with each track arranged in order to create something coherent and what might have seem look like it’s inherently made for the trio. Narcloudia’s 9-track masterpiece has darkness lingering all over it and this is what makes their surroundings absolute and blissful.

1. Outerhope – Vacation

Music is a part of life, and so is the pain of it that reminds us of someone/something we’ve lost, gained, angered, and saddened. The experience that goes with the music, it either leaves us with so much words for explanation or leaves us in silence. With Outerhope’s latest set of material, the sibling’s album translates that certain kind of speechlessness. In a world where death of a memory or a loved one can be common than anything that’s livingly strange, “Vacation” begins as an album with lush textures, bright production, and faraway vocals, and then ends with a note that lovingly tributes the journey of life after a passing of a friend or a life event in general.

[List by Lugaw]

Now what do you folks think of this year ender list? Do you like it or not? What is your opinion about it? Let me know in the comments below. Always leave a reaction below if you feel like it..

Honorable Mentions:

Mandaue Nights – Love City

RH Xanders – Questioning Answers/Answering Questions

Kartell’em – Tell’em Once

Brandon Cueto – Countless Times

Ozzga – When You’re Away

Limbs – Exquisite Corpse

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