Paper Satellites: A Few Notes on Band Lineups, Filling Shoes/Going Barefoot, and “Try Again”

Get reacquainted with Paper Satellites through the uncharacteristic torpor of their new slow-burn single.

In my forties I find myself, little by little, reconsidering a few deeply held beliefs. One of them has to do with band lineups, and the idea that they should be intact and unsullied.

The default assumption being, when it’s the same four or five guys playing the same four or five instruments for the better part of the decade or more, they must have saintly focus as a creative unit.

Another being that their impenetrable musical shorthand—forged in time, familiarity, and shared history—is unrepeatable alchemy. Incalculable, hence impervious to duplication.

People are more rabid about this when it comes to legacy acts, of course, and that’s perfectly understandable. But when it comes to indies like Paper Satellites, the onus is (fortunately, and rightfully) on the sound they have forged in their fairly short existence: a sound that perhaps renders all biography secondary, if not absolutely irrelevant.

Cover Art by Faye Peñaranda-Carpio

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And so, when the band is freshly whittled down to a trio, the only musical question that appears to be of any real import is whether that alchemy has been diluted.

Or whether that dilution, if it is such, is essentially a crystallization to basics that work.
The answer, as soon as you start hearing the lethargic opening strains of “Try Again”—and later as the tune crescendos and settles into its sumptuous lo-fi denouement, like a plane landing on lumpy gravel, graceful despite its dawdling tenor—is that, well, alchemy is not a matter of if-the-shoe-fits.

In fact, “Try Again” sees Paper Satellites going metaphorically barefoot: smooth and threadbare, triumphant in the very limits it sets for itself.

It’s far from a smorgasbord; it’s closer to a street oddity, served on a skewer alongside disparate but ultimately complementary elements: post-rock, shoegaze, lo-fi, garage—sure—but also the studio sensibilities of a stadium piece.

From L-R: Aaron Escueta (drums), Jyle Macalintal (vocals, guitars), Paul Carpio (bass)

A “love letter” to people who’ve joined them on their band’s journey—as Jyle Macalintal, Paulo Carpio, and Aaron Escueta offer in a statement—a spectrum that covers the likes of Yuck, Pixies, Enemies, Interpol, and American Football can be heard in subtle dribbles across the track.

“It is more raw and slower than our usual sound. This is our attempt at making a track that captures the sadness and heartbreak that we want to portray instead of making a danceable tune drenched in irony.”

Put “Try Again” on a loop today. It’s the last standalone single you’ll hear from the band before their forthcoming Lilystars debut album Manila Meltdown comes out.

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