7 new local music releases to listen to

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From the return of beloved bands like Ciudad and Sandwich to fresh tracks from new acts like IV of Spades and Kiana Valenciano, here's a roundup of some of the best local music that’s come out in the year so far.

Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — While there’s a lot to look forward to in music in 2018, we’ve already had a handful of fantastic local first-quarter releases.

From the return of beloved bands like Ciudad and Sandwich to fresh tracks from new acts like IV of Spades and Kiana Valenciano, CNN Philippines Life rounds up some of the best local music that's come out in the year so far.

“Get You Closer” by Ciudad

It’s been six years since we’ve had a Ciudad album, but “Get You Closer” feels like it jumps back in where they left off. It’s a love song in the way a Ciudad love song has always felt — warm, nostalgic, and honest. The track takes their old wistfulness and adds dreamier synths and guitar pedals and just a dash of saxophone. Sometimes a new song can sound like an old friend and this feels like one we’ve missed for far too long.

“bruised” and “boy” by TALA

R&B singer-songwriter Tala Gil seemed to emerge from nowhere fully formed in 2017. 2018 sees her coming into her own with two new songs that feel complementary, like two pieces painted with the same emotional and lyrical palette. “Bruised” is an ebullient break-up song running on a playful keyboard riff, while “boy” is a mid-tempo ode to finding new love after spending time feeling lost. These are companion songs where love is lost, then blissfully rediscovered.

Mundo” by IV Of Spades

IV Of Spades’ disco-tinged rock takes a gentler, more romantic turn on the scintillating “Mundo.” Lead singer Unique Salonga sings of an all-consuming love over luminous synths and guitars. In love songs, the smallness of love is often placed side by side with the hugeness of the world; the lover hyperbolically becomes cause to forget the world, or becomes the world itself. “Mundo” plays out as a hypnotic ode to intimacy in all its massiveness.

“Time Lapse” by Sandwich

Alt-rock band Sandwich celebrates 20 years since their inception with new single “Time Lapse.” The song finds them at their moodiest and most nostalgic. It’s a track you can imagine as background music to a pivotal prom scene in a coming-of-age movie. Aptly enough, the song speaks of the ways time expands and contracts, how a moment plays out in slow motion or how our lives seem to fast-forward without warning.

“Siglon” by Brisom

Coming off the synthesized daydream of “Balewala,” one of the most underrated tracks of 2017, Brisom comes into 2018 with “Siglon” (a portmanteau of “sigaw” and “talon”). It’s a song about cutting past pain loose and working towards hope, set over ‘80s synths, drums and “Hey!”’s. There are moments the song achieves a near-anthemic immensity. As nostalgic as the band’s sound is, “Siglon” arrives with a certain urgency, like it needs to be heard today.

“Caught U” by Kiana Valenciano

New EP “Grey” sees pop ingenue Kiana Valenciano adding funk and R&B elements to her palette. “Caught U” is a bouncy mid-tempo R&B track with just the right touch of brass. The song feels like a spiritual sequel to her star-making 2017 single “Does She Know?” It’s the cool, confident kiss-off after the emotional tumult of the affair in the earlier song. A new playfulness in Valenciano’s performance gives the sense she’s really coming into her own as an artist.

“A Million Little Things” by Shirebound And Busking

Shirebound And Busking — solo singer-songwriter Iego Tan — has been an elusive artist ever since his first release in 2015. We knew from the start that the man could write a song, but you’d only ever find him on Soundcloud, occasionally playing on the radio. His new single “A Million Little Things” finds him finally caving to the demand for his songs. It’s a gentle, tightly-produced track that’s a reminder of the Shirebound we knew and an exciting look at where’s he’s looking to go moving forward.

Sandata” by Sarah Geronimo

In “Sandata,” love is a weapon to protect the beloved. The song continues Sarah Geronimo’s streak of Filipino dance pop anthems that began with “Ikot-ikot” then led us to “Kilometro” and “Tala.” While its production feels more low-key, less anthemic than past turns, “Sandata” makes up for it by finding Geronimo at her most polished and nuanced. This one’s a grower, and as far as Filipino pop goes, it’s a risk well-taken.