An old fart like me misses the days of going to a no nonsense bar to watch a solid live band. Nothing against hitting a club and listening to DJ’s, obviously they are very good at what they do, lord knows I’ve had my fair share of dancing in a club (meaning idly standing in a corner with my mates as we checked out the ladies). But the unique experience of watching a close knit group of musicians riff off of each other is like watching magic – the rabbit mysteriously appearing right in front of your eyes. The art of playing musical instruments and making music may not be as appreciated as it used to be, but damn, those were good times.

Thankfully in this EDM obsessed culture, we’ve still got a few soulful acts floating around. Thanks to the people over at 22 Tango Records, an indie record label – many of their artists happen to be based in Cebu, for keeping the good fight going.

Here are 8 artists to keep your eye on:


“Like other great duos such as Simon & Garfunkel, The White Stripes, Daft Punk, The Civil Wars, and of course, Paul and John, there is an intangible tether that dwells between Cilee Kuizon and Jad Bantug of The Labrats. Genuine and ingenious, The Labrats is one of Cupid’s successful ventures to date yet.”

Martina San Diego

“A self-assured singer-songwriter with a beautiful voice that exudes a lot of the pleasant, yet still coming to terms with that little tortured soul within every artist.”

Undercover Grasshoppers

“This 5-piece indie rock group weaves the 60’s rock, post-punk, nu wave, and everything else in between and transforms it into something of that experimental rock music.”


“A new mix of soul and synth has made our local shores with Auckland-based singer-songwriter and producer Shana Llorando also known as Valere. With a palate of new wave sounds served with pop melodies and heartfelt lyrics, Valere’s search for worth in the right places is a journey definitely worth following.”


“A band of brothers who exude mirth and lyrical storytelling with their feel-good tunes bordering on folk rock, jazz, and rhythm & blues.”


“Sometimes heavily produced, other times raw. “For as long as it tells a story,” says Cattski. Incorporating elements of folk, rock and electronica, her army of words is the most integral part of the music with the sounds beneath the lyrics also having much to say.”

Ella Melendez

“With a writing voice that’s uniquely her own, Ella’s music conveys maturity and wisdom through lyrics that speak honestly about love and fear, embedded within a cacophony of folky guitar riffs.”


“Guitar-delay crescendos, ambient arrangements and blistering guitar and bass licks fill this trip hop trio’s dramatic atmospheric music, with sensitive, captivating lyrics as the cherry on top.”

Show your support to these artists by grabbing their CD’s and merchandise at the Assembly JY Square.

* Photos and musical descriptions from the 22 Tango Records Website. Main photo by April Ordesta.

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