Jugz Jugueta, Jazz Nicolas, Chino Singson and Kelvin Yu have a gift for Filipinos while the Philippines is still battling against the new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The four musicians collectively known as The Itchyworms are releasing two new songs titled “Armageddon Blues” and “The Silence” under Sony Music Philippines.
“Armageddon Blues” and “The Silence” are two new songs inspired by The Itchyworms’ response to the ongoing social, mental, and emotional crisis that people from around the globe are facing in the midst of a pandemic. The back-to-back releases are band’s first under a major label since “Self-Titled,” which was released in 2008.
In particular, “Armageddon Blues” is an update of an old demo recorded by Nicolas and Singson, The Itchyworms’ respective lead vocalist, drummer, pianist and keyboardist and lead guitarist and backing vocalist. With crunching guitar riffs, Beatlesque pop melodies, and raw but in-your-face production, the latest track from the band exhibits both ends of the emotional spectrum, as filtered through the lens of happy-sappy music geeks.
“I remember it being a fun song to record,” Singson recalled. “If you listen to the lyrics, you’ll see it’s very tongue-in-cheek but very heartfelt.”
Written in 2005, “Armageddon Blues” was supposed to be included on The Itchyworms’ critically acclaimed album “Noontime Show” and the follow-up record “Self-Titled” but the quartet felt that it was thematically different and completely ahead of its time. Jugueta narrated, “Time jump to more than 15 years later, I was the only one who had a copy of the demo.”
“Enhanced Community Quarantine happened and I sent them the demo of ‘Armageddon Blues’ telling The Itchyworms to release the song because it captures the somewhat end-of-the-world vibe of our present situation,” The Itchyworms’ co-lead vocalist, rhythm guitarist, percussionist and keyboardist continued. “A couple of weeks into the ECQ, we realized that we’re in this for the long haul and that we had to do something creative. We decided to write and record a few songs inspired by our experiences during COVID-19.”
The songwriting sessions birthed another single, which already made its rounds on Facebook a week earlier. Following the official release of “Armageddon Blues” on all streaming and digital platforms worldwide a day late, “The Silence” was written by Jugueta and Nicolas and recorded and produced by The Itchyworms entirely during the ECQ imposed over Metro Manila due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s what we think everyone is going through right now,” Jugueta said. “Nobody could’ve foreseen 2020 to be like this.”
Musically, “The Silence” is a mish-mash of influences that put Depeche Mode, Radiohead, The Beatles and The Walking Dead in a blender. The production seethes with soaring builds and nuanced sonic details but ends abruptly in faded noise as if the transmission is suddenly lost in the background, its silence killing us infinitely and metaphorically.
“Armageddon Blues” is now out on various digital and streaming platforms worldwide while “The Silence” will be officially released on May 22, 2020 at midnight. Here is the lyric video of the former: