Narda’s new song drops today

Narda released a new song today, the somewhat misleadingly titled “Juskopo”. And the first thing that I thought was “this is dark”—music, lyrics, the accompanying lyric video. Like Discotillion-dark, minus the neon pink and disco. Though it couldn’t be darker than the last four years. If anything, it’s just a piece of broken glass reflecting what has been and what is still happening around us. Like an exasperated fuck you drowned in the noise of celebration of “the triumph of ordinary people over the oligarchy”, the pandemic clusterfuck, online propaganda and fake news, the song is inciting us to be angry and stick it to the man.

Putting the song in the context of recent re-issues of Narda’s earlier EPs online, the contrast couldn’t be more jarring. It seems that this song comes from a world where things that inspired the bright and jangly indie pop on either Burador or Suwerte had ceased to exist.

And while we’re at it — it being songs that incite anger — I would like to suggest a few more songs to push your anger deeper. You might have heard already of Friends of Alternatrip’s “Ngayon ang Panahon”, a song written by Ang Bandang Shirley’s Ean Aguila and performed in collaboration with more than a dozen other artists from bands like We Are Imaginary, The Strange Creatures, and The General Strike. And speaking of The General Strike, you might want to check their Facebook page for their covers of Bob Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released” and Jess Santiago’s “Pagsapit ng Dilim”.

I would also like to add The Purplechickens’ “Dayami” and “Ang Landas ng Walang Kapatawaran“. And then I’d pick Narda’s “Molotov” to top it off, with its imagery of anarchy spilling out of the bigscreens, of kontrabidas finally getting their comeuppance, of people lining up to the movies and then lining up on the streets joining political rallies.

Khruangbin, Narda and… Napalm Death?

Narda‘s Salaguinto’t Salagubang EP will be available on Spotify soon. Their first three EPs are already available there. And if you have nary an idea about this band, maybe you should check their songs. You could start with these: “Meron Ba?” (reportedly recently covered by Sponge Cola on their latest album), “Kusina”, “Tanga”, or “Saan Na?”

And hey, they only have, like, twelve songs on Spotify right now. So, what are you waiting for? It’s not like you’re diving into a smorgasbord of Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention’s humongous discography where you’d surely have trouble deciding where to start. And don’t waste your monthly subscription on Spotify playlists which are actually rigged to play more Ed Sheeran. Go seek and find wonderful music both old and new!

Anyway, if you already are one of Narda’s fans, then I have good news for you. I’ve just discovered Narda’s new official page on Facebook and they also have one on Instagram. And they — I mean the page admin — post old gigs and merch photos and stuff. But here’s the real good news: They’re currently working on new songs. Wincy Ong posted a snippet of a song on his FB story but I wasn’t able to listen to it (I was busy and I forgot that stories only lasts 24 hours).

And from what I heard through the grapevine (not much longer would you be mine), members from the band’s old and new line-up are onto it. You know why this is super-awesome news? Because it’s like that grindcore classic album Scum, where two different line-ups of a band converge to make one great fucking metal album. The old line-up on Side A, new line-up on Side B. It’s really stupid, you know, making this Napalm Death connection, but I’m just really excited. And I hope to hear more about this, soon.

PS. If you’re looking for CDs of Formika and Discotillion, please contact the band’s guitarist Tani Santos on FB.

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Now, our next band may not be as heavy as Napalm Death, but these guys are cool—like Tarantino movie soundtrack cool. They’re called Khruangbin and I would say they’re cooler than any Tarantino movie or soundtrack ’cause I’m not really a big Tarantino fan. I discovered them on YouTube. See, YouTube’s algorithm isn’t really a very reliable friend. It’s hit and miss. But sometimes, sometimes, you get something that’s really good. By the way, I read that their name is pronounced as “Kroongbin” and means Engine Fly in Thai.

And I’m not going to squeeze my brain out here trying to come up with something about the band, I’m straight up copying their bio from their Bandcamp page. Here it is: Khruangbin is a three-piece band from Texas, formed of Laura Lee on bass, Mark Speer on guitar, and Donald Johnson on drums. Taking influence from 1960’s Thai funk, Khruangbin is steeped in the bass heavy, psychedelic sound of their inspiration, Tarantino soundtracks and surf-rock cool.

Khruangbin’s Mordechai came up on my suggested videos on YouTube. I listened to a few bars and thought the album art is really cool. So I tried to dig further. And fell in love with the bassist a few seconds into this Tiny Desk Concert video. Of course, I love the two guys too. First song is called “Maria Tambien” and if you’re not really into music with no lyrics, listen to the third song, it’s called “White Gloves”.

Using my grandmother’s trowel, I tried to dig deeper and I found that Mordechai is band’s third album already. Their first album is called The Universe Smiles upon You and their second, Con Todo El Mundo. And if you want to know how cool these guys are and how perfect their music is for getting stoned, you better check that link above and their music videos — I got two of them below.

Upstream Color (2013)

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I remember watching Shane Caruth’s first film Primer (2004) years ago. I fell asleep midway through it. Not that it was boring. It was just that my brain went on auto-shutdown after failing to follow the plot multiple times. If I remember correctly, I fast forwarded it to the end hoping I’d get some answers but I didn’t.

You’re probably thinking, why would someone do that? Skip to the ending to figure out the whole story? Well, don’t ask me, I don’t know why I did either. Maybe, I was thinking it would be like those movies where there would be flashbacks near end to explain the whole thing?

That’s the reason I wasn’t really excited when Carruth’s next film, Upstream Color came out in 2013. Even when it ended up in many year-end lists later. Shane Carruth’s movies have a difficulty level of Calculus and maybe, for some people, just as boring.

Still, I gave it a try the other night without reading reviews, plot synopsis or what it is about. And I was surprised that it didn’t give me same brain-shutting difficulty as Primer did. If Primer was like solving complex math equations, Upstream Color is more like attending a Biology class.

It’s probably less challenging than Primer. Instead of complex plot and parallel timelines to be solved, Upstream Color offers a story about two people drawn to each other, for reasons unknown to them. And the movie is about them figuring out their past and them trying to break free from whatever it is the enslaves them.

Following these two broken people is a lot easier than trying to follow two people who goes in and out of a box (which happens to be a functioning time machine) and the complicated timelines that they create. And I think the score helps as well. For me, this movie makes Shane Carruth the Johnny Greenwood indie equivalent.

While the story is somewhat easy to follow, Carruth’s filmmaking and storytelling style may prompt others to say that this is as interesting as “watching paint dry”. It’s not for everyone. Carruth’s storytelling isn’t what most people would describe as—for lack of a better word—conventional. Some critics even compared his style with that of another filmmaker—Terrence Malick, particularly with his movie The Tree of Life.

One review says Upstream Color is a “head-scratching science fiction drama”. It’s metaphorical, maybe philosophical as well.

The title is probably a reference to the beautiful blue orchids in the movie that grow near a stream. The same little blue orchids from which the Thief gets this thing he uses to manipulate his victims. We tend to like things of beauty, sometimes unaware of their nefarious origins. Where those orchids get their blue pigment, I am not going to disclose here. While Shane Carruth dispels those that say that the movie is really about Capitalism, my confirmation-biased reading of it is that it is about Capitalism.

Breeder’s Digest No. 4

How do you find new music? Me, I find them while searching Google for this particular album cover and one thing leads to another which then leads to another which then leads to another which then—you know this could take me all day, CTRL+C, CTRL+V, until I get sick of it. In short, I ended up with this pretty cover art from Lucid Moon‘s self-titled release. It was released only last year but it’s really eye-catching and I thought it looks old, the art looks old. I thought it was from one of those classic vinyls Continue reading “Breeder’s Digest No. 4”

Ranking Your Favorite Pogi Rock Bands Part 2 Or Why We Should All Hate Sam Milby

If this is your first time (here), I’d like to let you know before anything else that I am very very glad and ever so slightly honored to inform you that this is actually an old post. And the only reason I’m re-posting this, is because I thought things couldn’t get any worse (i.e., COVID19, Terror Bill, etc). But I was wrong—very wrong. And the worst news came at the very worst time. (By the way, you may want to go check the original post in case you want to see this very explicit picture of Madonna taken from the album inlay of her critically acclaimed LP Erotica). And so as promised in the title, let’s rank and roast all of your favorite pogi-rock bands — from worse to worst. If you still haven’t figured out why we should all hate Sam Milby — Sam f*cking Milby — then… Continue reading “Ranking Your Favorite Pogi Rock Bands Part 2 Or Why We Should All Hate Sam Milby”

On Rob Jara’s Tila (Monsoons)

tilaThe current pandemic, which keeps most of us indoors, gives a new shade of meaning to Rob Jara’s Tila (Monsoons). In real life, we are faced with a virus that’s killed hundreds of thousands all over the world and made us rethink our whole lives over. In the movie, Rob Jara locates his story (maybe) not in a distant future but in an alternate yet familiar present: a Philippines where it’s always raining, where our dry and wet seasons had been reduced to an unending rainy days with varying levels of rainfall throughout the year.

“The rainfall will be kept at Level 3 for the rest of August”, a PAGASA forecast announces on the radio. The sun never comes out, the archipelago always hidden under overcast and nimbus clouds. Like the current pandemic, this fucked-up climate also brought up a new normal: illegal vitamins, expensive bulalo soup, private flood control companies, and maybe, expensive umbrellas. The neverending rain lasted for years and years that there are people who were born without seeing the sun nor experience a sunny day.

Among those are the two main characters in the story: the flood control worker and the call center agent. In one scene, the guy looks up to the sky and asks a co-worker (who’s older than him) what was it like seeing the sun. In another, the call center agent chats with the security guard in the convenience store about how it was before and after the climate changed.

Framed as an unlikely love story, an impending romance after a meet-cute in a convenience store, the movie is also able translate some of our present problems into a (not really) futuristic setting. Like for instance, a college diploma hanging on the guy’s wall tells of underemployment. The company he’s working for is privately owned. Despite the high demand for flood control, there’s a mass layoff near the end of the film. Since it was made in 2014, the movie somehow, predicted a future where “endo” has not ended yet.

Ironically, the flood control worker lives in a house that’s perpetually flooded, sleeps in a bed that more or less doubles as flotation device which may or may not save him from drowning from rainwater while asleep. While call center jobs relatively pays more, there’s a scene where the girl has to work two shifts since her co-worker is going to take a vacation in another country. That her company offers travel packages to other countries “where it’s more fun and sunny” somehow mirrors the gloomy state or lack of job opportunities here as compared overseas.

With limited running time, Tila wasn’t really able to flesh out its will they or won’t they plot—if it’s really that it’s aiming for. But it was able to say a lot. Technically, you’d be impressed on how the filmmakers were able to achieved the movie’s constantly gloomy look. While watching the movie, I thought of how shooting the movie on rainy days must have been a logistic nightmare. It turns out, the rain was actually integrated digitally unto the frames.

Kumuha ka ng Superproxy

A Non-review Review of Mervin Malonzo’s Sawa Ka Na Ba?

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Kung sakali mang hindi n’yo pa nababasa ito, ay ‘wag nang magatubili. Basahin n’yo na ang “Sawa Ka Na Ba?” ni Mervin Malonzo na matutunghayan sa website ng Haliya Publishing. Kung tinatamad ka o sawa ka na ring mag-type sa Google para mag-search, maari lamang na i-click ang text na ito. ‘Yan, maaari mo nang basahin ang kahindik-hindik at kapana-panabik na kwento na isinulat at iginuhit ni Mervin Malonzo na siya ring may-akda ng paborito kong “Tabi Po” komiks.

Pero bago mo basahin ang komiks maaari ring manatili ka sa website na ito at basahin muna ang aking review na hindi naman talaga review. S’ya nga pala, ang “Sawa Ka Na Ba?” ay parte ng komiks anthology na Bagong Buwan na gawa nina Mervin Malonzo (Tabi Po), Hulyen (UGH), at Julius Villanueva (Ella Arcangel). Continue reading “Kumuha ka ng Superproxy”

The Real True Meaning of Eraserheads’ “Kaliwete”

Kurt Cobain, widely known for playing guitars left-handed (like Jimi Hendrix and Paul McCartney), was actually right-handed and wrote with his right hand.

I’m not really into songs’ lyrics. Not that much. At least not as much as those who make himay-himay the lyrics of their favorite songs. Or like those IV of Spades fans on YouTube. By the way, I’ve already made up my mind. I like the Ben&Ben fans more — those who post their heartbreaking sob stories in the comment section. Guess what, Ben&Ben even made a song about a story from one of their fans. Y’know, the “I’ll hide my feelings for you to keep our friendship” type of story. Only to know before the wedding, that the guy feels the same way too. Awwww. I read a similar story before, from a guy, in the comment section of “Pagtingin” on YouTube. Can’t tell who copied who, or… could it be that… that guy was the guy in the girl’s story? And vice versa. Shucks! Sherlock-Tom-Cruise-fucking-Katie-Holmes! Continue reading “The Real True Meaning of Eraserheads’ “Kaliwete””

Eraserheads, Marimar and Christmas albums

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Maybe Billy Corgan was right. The world is a vampire — sent to drain. Not that humanity being evil or unfair, as per the phrase’s definition on Urban Dictionary, but keeping abreast with the latest news and what’s happening around you, that could really drain you. Like for example back home, we haven’t really flattened the curve yet. And yet people were already allowed to go back to work — to save the economy. The f*cking economy. And there are even uglier things that I don’t want to mention here. Continue reading “Eraserheads, Marimar and Christmas albums”

Narda is back; NU107 returns

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“I’ll send you a postcard from hell, if in case I don’t get well.” That’s the chorus of “Hypochondriac”, the second cut off A Postcard from Narda, the very first EP from one of the best local bands in the last twenty years. A Postcard from Narda came out in 2002, back when getting fresh new music could cost you a leg or an an arm. There was no Facebook, no YouTube, no Spotify yet at the time. Suwerte, Narda’s second EP followed soon after. Continue reading “Narda is back; NU107 returns”

‘Di ba Huwebes ngayon

black cassette tape on top of red and yellow surface

Updates: Tried watching Ang Huling El Bimbo The Musical few days ago. A friend said it was perfect for crying alone, or that I could let it on the background while working from home. So I tried and after a few minutes I started wondering if theater audience are allowed to sing along if they feel like it. And if not, being a huge fan of these songs myself, how do I stop myself from singing or at least humming along? I thought it would be a real struggle. But then, maybe theater or musicals aren’t for me. I stopped it before the 10-minute mark. Then I chanced upon comments, takes, reviews, which totally spoiled the ending for me. Also, it’s almost three hours long! I did lose some sleep to that Bea-John Lloyd video call, which I already knew then was fake, scripted Continue reading “‘Di ba Huwebes ngayon”

Dark Phoenix (2019)

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As I’ve suspected, Dark Phoenix isn’t really as bad as all those negative reviews would have one believe. Not saying it’s one of the better films I’ve seen recently but it is watchable, fairly enjoyable even.

Sure, a lot of things didn’t work. The villains were forgettable. I thought Jessica Chastain was kind of wasted in the movie. The visual effects were great but the fight scenes and the wire works were almost bad—nothing special, maybe just a tad better than the first X-Men movie. There’s some palpable tension in some of the earlier scenes (e.g., that scene with the chopper) but that battle on the streets of New York was a mess. Continue reading “Dark Phoenix (2019)”

20 Questiones (Tame Antelope Remix)

Let’s have another go at this. I’m taking it a little more seriously this time.

1. Which bands/artist do you have the most albums by?
Eraserheads—I have all of their 8 albums.

2. What was the last song you listened to?
“I Would Hurt a Fly”, by Built to Spill.

3. The first album you bought?
Pearl Jam’s Live On Two Legs, cassette. On CD that would be Sponge Cola’s Palabas. But that’s only because I couldn’t find any Nirvana (out of stock) or Eraserheads CD’s (out of print) at the time.

4. What was the last concert you attended?
I’ve seen a few gigs–more or less five, but I’ve been to a concert only thrice. The last one was Eraserheads’ Reunion concert. Continue reading “20 Questiones (Tame Antelope Remix)”

Movies: Matangtubig, Your Name, The Whistlers, The Gentlemen

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Matangtubig (Town in a Lake) (2015). The film starts with a heinous crime: two girls were abducted, one raped and murdered, the other ran off and went missing. A local fisherman (Amante Pulido), one of the witnesses, saw the two girls being offered a ride home on the night of the crime. He promptly called the police to report what he saw, but the police chief seemed to dismiss the allegation. Until one of the girls’ dead body was found the morning after. Revelations after revelations, we get to know more of the characters and the town. The journalists who came to town, the inherent fakery in their news stories, the town mayor who’s more concerned with the town’s image in the media, and the police chief who’s seemingly confused about who he should serve and Continue reading “Movies: Matangtubig, Your Name, The Whistlers, The Gentlemen”

Movies: Sex and Fury, ‘Tol, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Heavy Trip

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Sex and Fury (1973). Was finally able to watch Norifumi Suzuki’s Sex and Fury, one of the most popular example of Pinky Violence, the Japanese equivalent of America’s grindhouse. This is said to be one of inspirations for Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill. Uma Thurman’s Black Mamba versus the Crazy 88 was probably inspired by Reiko Ike engaging roughly a dozen men in a sword fight in the snow. Though I’m not sure if Tarantino really watched the movie because in Sex and Fury, Reiko Ike fought those men in the nude while in Kill Bill, the Black Mamba didn’t, wasn’t Continue reading “Movies: Sex and Fury, ‘Tol, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Heavy Trip”

Reviews: Beabadoobee, The Buildings

 

Space Cadet EP | beabadoobee | 2019
Imagine if Reese Lansangan listened to Pavement. Filipino-British indie darling Beatrice a.k.a. beabadoobee released a whooping 5 EPs in 2019 (Space Cadet is EP #5) and she did what most Pavement lovers never thought of before (“I Wish I Was Stephen Malkmus”). Of course being half-British she wants to see the “Sun More Often” and she says “often” with a “T”—unlike her American English-taught Filipino fans. B

Listen to: I Wish I Was Stephen Malkmus

Cell-O-Phane | The Buildings | 2016
This doesn’t deadpan Pavement in the same way Yurei’s screams Nirvana. Maybe because they kept the Pavement signifiers on the periphery (the Bob Nastanovich narration buried near the end of “Sue Me Jack” is echoed in the opening track, the obvious “Shady Lane” MTV references in that “Lucid Sister” music video). And if you listen to them looking for that Pavement influence, which is somewhat hard to parse, don’t think Slanted & Enchanted or Brighten the Corners. Maybe Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain—but only because their best songs are infectiously melodic (“Different Shades of Blue”, “Lucid Sister”) and sometimes has the side effect of sounding like The Breeders (“Museum Tower”), which isn’t bad at all. Some of Wowee Zowee‘s laid back country vibes are here but that’s probably because they are indie-folk darlings Ourselves the Elves’ more indie-rock leaning sister band. The surest point of reference then would be Spiral Stairs “Painted Soldiers” and its music video where Nina Gordon and Louise Post took over Pavement after the dissolution of the band. A-

Listen to: Different Shades of Blue

Movies: Unli Life, Dormitoryo, Blue Bustamante, Brownout sa Neighborhood Namin That Day

Here are some of the movies I watched during this on-going lock down. Some of them you can stream for free (links provided) courtesy of TBA Studios, CinemaOne Originals and the folks of Lockdown Cinema Club (you can check their FB page, they have a lot of short films and they’re accepting donations for film industry workers affected by the lockdown). Jerrold Tarog’s Bliss is also available on YouTube though there’s a glitch (there’s no audio near the end of the movie). Other notable movies available for streaming are Matangtubig, Six Degrees of Separation from Lilia Cantupay and Khavn dela Cruz‘s Alipato.

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Unli Life (2018). It takes a few restarts before the jokes start to land. And if you’re not a fan of Vhong Navarro’s usual shtick you probably need more convincing to buy into the movie’s time-travel shenanigans which is brought about by drinking a glass of “Wishkey” in a mysterious bar called “Turning Point” that seems to appear not just out of nowhere but also out of plot convenience. Continue reading “Movies: Unli Life, Dormitoryo, Blue Bustamante, Brownout sa Neighborhood Namin That Day”

Reviews: Parokya ni Edgar

Khangkhungkherrnitz | Parokya Ni Edgar | 1996
TVJ’s Tough Hits is the blueprint they patterned this from. And anything by Yoyoy Villame. And since they’re three heads harder than TVJ, the goofs are sandwiched between originals and parodies come in full form. Radiohead’s first hit became “Trip”, a tale about addiction to siopao made in Shaolin House, one from The Clash became “The Crush”, and “Tatlong Araw” was supposedly borrowed from Yano’s “Mc Jo”. The originals are no less catchy and memorable (“Buloy”, “Maniwala Ka Sana”). If Stephen Malkmus and Spiral Stairs once made up a story about getting into a fight while auditioning for Beverly Hills, 90210, PNE has a song about trying it out for the Tuesday Edition of Kuya Germs’ That’s Entertainment. Up to this day, I’m still apprehensive about playing “Lutong Bahay” really loud, that my neighbors—elderly folks, mothers, from Batangas and elsewhere—would find the play on cuss words and innuendos offensive, disrespectful. That Darius Semana’s mother (they’re from Lipa Batangas) is probably cool with and even proud of it, I find a bit comforting. Still, a song about eating your girlfriend’s mother’s special pancake in the morning isn’t something your girlfriend and her mother would probably want to hear. A-

 

Buruguduystuntugudunstuy | Parokya Ni Edgar | 1997
It’s slightly less funny the second time around but you can always have a second helping. This has better packaging than the first. And I like it that they’re superheroes this time (probably a reference to Wilce Portacio’s work on Rivermaya’s Trip) and Chito Miranda’s superpowers is that of a metro aide. And much better title too—it sounds like a drum roll minus the cymbal crash at the end. With parodies reduced from three to one (“Alimango”, based on Pearl Jam’s “Animal”) one expects more of their own (“Sayang”, “Sampip”). Not all fillers are killers. Not all non-fillers are killers. But give ’em props for adding “tubal” and “walanjo” in the wiktionary and for giving their most earnest straight-faced ode to the bird without being too cocky or dicky about it. Have to thank them for salvaging “Harana” too, even though it is probably that one song that opened the doors to the sappy acoustic ballads that took over after (i.e., Aiza Seguerra, Paolo Santos). A- 

 

Gulong Itlog Gulong | Parokya Ni Edgar |1999
Their stab at sincerity is probably as worthwhile as their funniest gag yet, the non-song, non-filler “Cobra Bird”. Their parody of Cake’s cover of Gloria Gaynor’s disco hit is a winner but the non-killer fillers outnumber the killer non-fillers (“Saan Man Patungo”, “Inuman Na”). **

 

Bigotilyo | Parokya Ni Edgar | 2003
I remember listening to this on a bootleg tape a friend gave me, which was a bit weird at the time when pirated CDs come as cheap as 3-in-1 briefs from the baratilyo. IIRC this cassette has slightly different track sequence. It starts with “Mr. Suave”, then “The Yes Yes Show”, and so on. And I listened to this tape for weeks on end and was surprised to see a different track listing when I finally saw the CD. Surprisingly, there are only two fillers, which says a lot for a band who could probably put out a greatest hits fillers compilation. The parodies aren’t anywhere near as good as the old ones (“Chikinini”, parody of Yano’s “Banana Asshole, Suck on the pie Yo!” is OK, “Katawan”, possibly among their worst) but they have more songs than ever! And they’re all effing good (“Alumni Homecoming”, “Choco Latte”). Heck, even the deep cuts are hellishly gewd (“Absorbing Man”, “Ted Hannah”). And while their songs have always been varied as their antics (this has parodies of kundiman, hip-hop, bossanova, there’s even a Led Zeppelin-esque guitar solos near the end of Side A) this is slightly more varied than the usual. PNE shows noticeable growth and maturity here. That they’re sporting fake mustaches on the cover might be the most ingenious joke they ever thought up, or maybe, just pure coincidence. A  

Reviews: Hopia Mani Popcorn, Awit Ni Sampaguita

Bagong Banda… Awit Ni Sampaguita | Various Artists | 2008
Either you’re a curious Sampaguita fan or you just want to get that rare Sugar Hiccup or Session Road track that isn’t on any of their albums. This is for completists only. Covering Sampaguita is like doing The Beatles, except you don’t have tons of songs to choose from. You either get lucky in the lottery or try your very best not to fail. Most of these bands bungled it, with Paramita’s “Bongahan” probably the biggest dud. Little known band Lokal does a decent take on minor hit “Mahilig”. You could say Sugar Hiccup and Paraluman just got lucky “Tao” and “Ikaw Pa Rin” got assigned to them. Session Road, not so much. But thanks to Hannah Romawac, their cover of “Nosi Balasi” doesn’t suck. C

 

Hopia Mani Popcorn | Various Artists |2006
Not every artist could cover a Rico J. Puno hit and get away with it like Lourd De Veyra and Radioactive Sago did—the murderously drunk funny videoke sing-along “Kapalaran”. Didn’t like Kitchie Nadal’s “TL Ako Sa’Yo” when this came out. It actually sounds a LOT better now. Maybe it was ahead of its time. DRT’s hard-rock version of “Tao” is better than Sugar Hiccup’s version on that other tribute album. And props to Kapatid for shining a light on another classic (“Hanggang Magdamag”) and the usually forgotten funk bands of the ’70s (The Advisors, Soul Jugglers). I could do without Rocksteddy (“No Touch”), 6cyclemind (“Bonggahan”), Protein Shake (“Macho Gwapito”), and Sound’s soulless attempt at Rey Valera’s “Ako Si Superman”. Mayonnaise and Join the Club? They’re just OK. Soapdish’ sped-up version of Rey Valera/Rico J. Puno/Sharon Cuneta classic? Not bad. Up Dharma Down’s “Bitin Sa’Yo” is a miss. Medyo bitin. B+

 

Hopia Mani Popcorn 2 | Various Artists |2008
This has a better lineup than the first (no 6cyclemind, no Protein Shake). Giniling Festival have always been much much more fun than Rocksteddy. Surprise, surprise! Melany is actually fronted by a guy and they did a decent Soapdish-like job with “Bakit Labis Kitang Mahal”, a welcome alternative to the Ogie Alcasid remake. Brownman Revival’s “Binibini”? Way better than Janno Gibbs’. Pedicab’s “Awitin Mo…” is just OK but Diego Mapa making fun of his kuya (Jao Mapa), funny. Highlights? Kiko Machine’s piano ballad version of “Tayong Dalawa”, Juan Pablo Dream’s mod-ified “Bato Sa Buhangin”, Swissy’s minimalist take on another Cinderella hit. There’s also Imago. Except for that raised eyebrow, Aia de Leon perfectly updates the Dina Bonievie classic (“Bakit Ba Ganyan”). Color It Red? Chilitees? They’re fine. Cueshe? Again, not bad. Session Road’s “Kung Kailangan Mo Ako” doesn’t totally work tho. A- 

RSP artwork from this site.

Reviews: Juan Karlos, Unique

Pangalan | Unique Salonga | 2020
Shorter and more consistent than his debut with a few hooks poking through (“Bukod-Tangi”). None of the new songs are as memorable as “Ozone” (probably still his best, though I find it a bit exploitative and insensitive when I think about the families and victims of the tragedy). And no, “Delubyo” is neither dark nor disturbing. It’s a sound collage and anyone can make such. Eight cuts, six songs—that’s just slightly more than half of what’s in his debut. That’s good if it means we get less fillers and less of Unique telling us how the IVoS management robbed him of royalties (But where’s my money / Don’t waste my time) or why he left the group. But not really. Turns out, he can’t stop singing about himself (“Bukod-Tangi”, “Pahinga”), can’t stop bragging about, can’t stop trash-talking like he’s up against you-know-who in a FlipTop battle (“Dambuhala”, “Mga Katulad Mo”). Either he’s excessively self absorbed or he’s still hurting. Maybe both. Writing songs to exorcise his own demons? Maybe. C+

 

“Buwan” | Juan Karlos | 2018
Almost there but not quite. Either it makes you push replay or it leaves you wanting. I’d say it’s the latter. There’s enough anguish in Labajo’s singing but his lyrics needed work (“Halina tayo’s humiga”). Sure, he’s in love. Truly? Maybe. Madly? Yes. Deeply? Not, if you read the lyrics. And what’s with the moon? Is he going crazy? A lunatic? Is he gonna turn into a werewolf? More like he’s just plain horny.

 

Diwa | Juan Karlos | 2020
The refrain of “Sampaguita” sounds a bit odd the first time but it works, Gloc-9 makes it work. Gloc-9 paints a heartbreaking picture of OFW life and then somewhat ruins the song in the third verse with that ‘tragic’ ending. As if people having no choice but to work overseas isn’t tragic enough. As if unemployment and underemployment should be accepted as the norm. Don’t like it when this JK Labajo dude puts extra kinks to his singing. It pulls attention to itself and not in a good way. I’m talking about some Jeff Buckley-ish kinks here—some of them are, not all. All the ten cuts here sounds warm, live, sweaty and real, especially after listening to Unique’s self-indulgent, cold electro-psychedelia. Like Unique, JK Labajo has good pipes. Maybe Unique should take his cue from JK and get himself a backing band. In return, he could help JK fix some of his lyrics. Maybe Unique could also learn from JK how to write about things other than himself. Find himself someone/something to love, lust for or think about other than fame. B-

Movies: Come to Daddy, Spring, One Cut of the Dead, Crawl

Now may not be the best time for horror movies. I mean, what could be more scary? On the other hand, these movies also show us how people can resist and triumph over great odds (wait, that sounds like spoilers) or end up dead (there, fixed it). Giving people hope to fight, resist, survive—that’s definitely a good thing, right? So, here we go—five horror movies I saw recently. I would say I like them all—all of them are good. Though I wouldn’t easily recommend them all. Not without warning anyway. Viewer discretion is advised. And make sure to wash your hands properly and frequently. Which reminds me… did that IT guy sneeze on my keyboard when he fixed the IP phone this morning?

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Come to Daddy (2019). Elijah Wood seldom plays the ‘normal guy’ in movies. I saw parts of Maniac (didn’t like the movie’s POV-camera style) and it reminded of his role in Sin City (yes, he’s in that movie). This movie started slow but it’s good. Some of the plot developments may come as jarring but they’re never not interesting. It’s a bit uneven but it’s darkly funny and gory. Continue reading “Movies: Come to Daddy, Spring, One Cut of the Dead, Crawl”

Reviews: Pop Machine, The Reunion, Ultraelectromagneticjam

Tribute Albums Galore

Ultraelectromagneticjam | Various Artists | 2005
That no one thought about making an Apo Hiking tribute until this came out probably tells the difference between love and respect. Or maybe it’s just that the Eraserheads are insanely more popular and there’s more demand. Tribute albums are usually reserved for die-hards but not this. Alternate versions of Ehead’s lesser hits are fun (Sugarfree, OnL, Imago). There are covers better than the original (e.g., The Man Who Sold the World) but not in this album. Barbie and Kitchie? Cute. Especially Kitchie’s half-giggle on that line about shaving. Cueshe’s “Hard to Believe” at x1.25 speed? Not bad. Sponge Cola’s “Pare Ko”? Just a little bit better than my neighbor singing it on videoke. And it’s fucking 6:02 long! Can’t really play this loud beyond 10 PM. Or expect stones raining on your roof (Magpatulog naman kayo)! There are a few unexpected but interesting left turns too (MYMP, South Border, Isha). I wonder if Isha changing Ely’s “beeper” to “cellphone” is already outdated—I’m still calling them “cellphones” and not “smartphones”. Didn’t really expect Ciudad or Narda to be in this album. But where the fuck are Kamikazee? Hilera? Itchyworms? Maybe, 6cyclemind aren’t really worthy to do “Alapaap”. And they even made it worse by making it sound like a 6cyclemind song. A-  

 

The Reunion: An Eraserheads Tribute Album | Various Artists | 2012
Aiza couldn’t ruin “With A Smile”, more so with Mike Villegas on her side. But Callalily definitely could. “Minsan” is probably the toughest Eheads song to cover and they should have given it to Vin Dancel. But only so that he wouldn’t have to re-do “Overdrive” because Barbie Almalbis’ cute version was more than enough. We all know Brownman Revival built a career out of their reggae-corrected version of “Maling Akala”. But it also sounds too close to the original. The better alternative then is Itchyworms’ country-fied version, which makes you wonder again why they were not included before. You probably never heard of Iwa Motors and Jennylyn Sucaldito but Tanya Markova’s “Hey Jay” is one of highlights here. Johnoy Danao and Razorback/Gloc9? Just OK. Though you have to wonder why ’90s dinosaurs like Razorback even bothered. We’ve finally got Hilera with “Kaliwete”, but they kind of overloaded it with rockabilly. They would’ve probably done better with a folk-rock “Poorman’s Grave”. Still, no Kamikazee. “Insomya” would’ve been a good fit for them. “Alkohol”, too. A naughty kupaw version of “Bogchi Hukbo” would probably work. And they could definitely do “Magasin” justice better than Chicosci (boobs mo’y gawa ni Belo). Again, 6cyclemind doing “Alapaap”? Fucking shameless. B-  

 

Pop Machine | Various Artists | 2019
Munimuni certainly did a better job than Callalily. But they covered the wrong song. Think they should’ve tried “Kailan” instead. Ciudad’s “Aling Nena” is just too clean, too precise, too close to the original (except for the hilarious spoken parts i.e., “ee-sang ae-raaw”), therefore totally defeating the purpose. There are nine cuts already (as of this writing) and most of which, recyclable. (Ask: why should I listen to this instead of the original?) Except for 1) The Borrachos’ raspy gin-fueled bluesy cover of “Poorman’s Grave”. Borracho as in drunk. (In Bicol, we call them burat. No, not that “burat”—put it back in—the other one.) And 2) Reese Lansangan’s transcendent version of “Huwag Kang Matakot”. Ely Buendia said he wrote the song for Eon. Reese Lansangan re-imagines it as a mother’s lullaby for her child. Vision, material, execution—all aligned to perfection. ** 

Awesome header art by Felix Taaka.

5 Songs by The Beatles—Explained

Scrambled Eggs, Socialism & Getting Hitched

TheBeatles

1) “Yesterday” (off the album Help!
In one episode of GAME KNB? Kris Aquino revealed that “Yesterday”, one the Beatles’ chart-topping hits, was originally titled “Scrambled Eggs”. Not only that, it had a totally different set of lyrics with the words “omelette” and “eggs” in it. John Lennon even suggested to change the title to “Here Comes the Sunny Side Up” but this got him into a heated argument with George Clooney. It wasn’t until Paul McCartney came up with the title and lyrics in a dream that they were able to finally record the song after months of waiting. That it was written in a dream also explains why “Yesterday” sounds so beautiful and Continue reading “5 Songs by The Beatles—Explained”

Reviews: Sugarfree, Cheats, Narda

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Before the Babies | Cheats | 2017
I’ll probably never look at this album the same way again. And not without thinking about Jim and Saab’s little angel. This has the sound of a band slowing things down a bit, turning reflective as if looking at the dawn thinking about settling down. Less dance-y headbanging music and more like songs to play when mapping out that 5-year plan (“Talk”, “Before the Babies”). A little more varied than their first yet still containing the same ingredients: twee pop-ish vocals, memorable guitar riffs, and the reasons kids love the Bilinda Butchers of the world. Less driving music, more like music for safe and defensive driving (“Melon”, “Crumble”). Go back to the debut if you miss the restless hooks and singalong choruses but play this one in the car when the babies are on board. A  

 

A Postcard From | Narda | 2002
Lo-fi and indie don’t mean much nowadays. Bedroom recordings could sound as good as studio ones. Not when A Postcard From Narda came out in 2002. This EP sounds like it was recorded on an 8-track tape, unproduced like early Pavement, only it’s indie-pop instead of post-punk. More than the sound, they have songs, each one as perfectly imperfect as the others. If I have to pick a favorite, it would be “Kusina”, written by Wincy Ong (Patience Dear Juggernaut, San Lazaro), a vividly cinematic work of fiction. “Tanong mo ay iyong sagutin”—tonight I’ll make a playlist with “Meron Ba?”, “Suntok Sa Buwan”, and “Wag Na Wag Mong Sasabihin” in it. I’m sure it’d be awesome. A-

 

Suwerte | Narda | 2002
More upbeat this time but still sporting that lo-fi indie sound. Another four track-EP that’d make you think that they could have waited a li’l bit and made a full length album instead. Except maybe they didn’t have the funding. Which is what going indie used to mean before Bandcamp and Spotify happened. At least they sound happy. Or maybe just foolish (“Tanga”, “Suwerte”). Let me play that opening riff again. A-

Sa Wakas | Sugarfree | 2003
Can’t think of any other song that starts and sounds like “white lace and promises” then puts a dagger into your heart right on the third line and then totally drowns you in the chorus. That vaguely optimistic, vaguely in denial “Ito ang unang araw na wala ka na”, reminds me of another break-up song, Beck’s “Guess I’m Doing Fine”, though it doesn’t quite reach the same level of tonal ambiguity as “Unang Araw”. There’s also this “Monkey Wrench” kind of break-up catharsis in there but it’s more sad/re-assuring than angry. It’s like remembering your first day together and then realizing this is the first day after your last. Sugarfree write songs about love that would make you swear never to fall again. And yet also tells you how sad it is to be alone (“Mariposa”), among other things (“Insomya”, “Fade Away”). Years before Junot Diaz’s The Cheater’s Guide to Love, Ebe Dancel sings about love that would linger on long after the relationship ended. With a simple last-minute switch from past to future tense, Ebe gave us that immortal the half-life of love is forever (“Burnout”). A  

 

Burador | Narda | 2003
While they’ve always been a bit rough around the edges, the songs here neither sound like demos nor drafts. Rumour has it that the band’s drummer sold his drum set only so they could make this record. After which, they’re left with nothing but guitars and so they went acoustic and gathered themselves around the campfire (“Another Day”, “Ang Gabi”). A- 

 

Salaguinto’t Salagubang | Narda | 2003
Smart Tagalog lyrics, one fan noted. That it’s easier to write songs in English may not be always true; that it’s easier to spot cheesy Tagalog lyrics is. And that’s one reason why Narda have always been a notch higher than other indie bands in the local scene who sound more British or Swedish. Time and time again, they’ve written indie-pop gems laced with memorable riffs, it also sounds good when they slap distortion on it (“Liwanag”). This more or less wraps up the songs and sounds of their three previous EPs. After “Meron Ba?” comes “Saan Na?” while “Jaywalker” recalls the vintage sound of Suwerte. A-

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Narda photos by Rain Contreras.

Reviews: Cheats, Maude, December Avenue

Mozzarella Cheats!

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Cheats | Cheats | 2015 
Keyboards and female vocal harmonies to enliven old guitar pop/rock; grunge repurposed as rocking party music. Imagine life before Girls. Then, Girls entered the scene. Life became more complicated but also happier, more colorful, fun. Imagine Ernville, a generic sounding band with a generic sounding name. Then, Saab and Candy entered the scene. And then we got Cheats, probably the most exciting 7-piece band of the 2010s. And this debut, probably the greatest thing since pizza came sliced (“Newspaper Girl”, “Summer”, “Headfoam”). It’s meaty, tasty, maybe a few pineapple bits in there (depends on your tolerance for the Hawaiian variety—me I like ’em fine) but HOLY MOZZARELLA! it’s bursting with cheese! Heat this up in the oven whenever you’re “Drunk”, feel like a loser (“Acumen”), wish to take a day off and just sleep (“Sleepist”) or want to call out the animal inside of you (“Accidents”).

 

Pelota Court | Maude | 2014 
“Great for chill-out kind of road trip in the car with the windows rolled down” probably speaks of this album’s limited appeal—not good enough for singing along while/or washing dishes or doing the laundry—except maybe when you’re not really paying attention to it and thinking about the monthly bills. Or maybe this is supposed to be unobtrusive music for undistracted driving. Or maybe not. The stories are there. It’s just that the songs and the hooks aren’t there yet (“Takda”). B- 

 

Aurora | Maude | 2018 
Maybe it’s this: Maude’s supposed Manila Sound-inspired pop-rock is just a little too clean a little too straight for me. The good news is, it’s better than the first. Sometimes it’s the stories (“Lagnat”, “Baso”), sometimes it’s the songs (“Brownout”, “Will”). Sometimes it’s just chill-out unobtrusive music for undistracted browsing. Sure, theatrics could could get tiring in no time  (i.e., December Avenue). But so is unimpassioned storysinging—especially if your usual M.O. is embitterment. True stories, fiction, or both, don’t just tell ’em. You also have to give ’em the feels. B  

 

Langit Mong Bughaw | December Avenue | 2019
Is it just me, or the album cover of December Avenue’s Langit Mong Bughaw really looks like that of a worship album—or worse, songs for funeral services? Listen to “Intro” and tell me if it doesn’t feel like riding really slow and heavenly and cold at the same time. It may surprise some that this band has been around for more than a decade already. It took them five years to release their debut, which houses the lone Tagalog title “Eroplanong Papel”, which I deservedly dismissed—it’s not Sugarfree nor Typecast nor Silent Sanctuary (ca. Fuchsiang Pag-ibig). A competent emo-pop bar band, nothing more. Decent musicians, you’d wish they invest more on the songs than whatever tricks they have up their sleeves. Then, they actually did. Invest on the writing that is. And like the boy-best friend who’s always there, the less popular girl who got ditched for the prom queen, or the nerdy teen you never gave a chance, the band just move along until they finally find their darling listeners. Not the third gen emo crowd but YouTube/Spotify/WishFM one. “Kung ‘Di Rin Lang Ikaw” may be their most viewed hit but my vote goes to the song they released in 2017. And while I prefer the alternate title over the official one, I’m relieved that with YouTube/Google, no one’s going to get lost looking for “Hanggang Sa Dulo Ng Walang Hanggan”. So, you take it all, cheesy title included and immerse yourself in love/pain/whatever. Maybe someday, you’ll get sick of it all and finally learn to let go. This could definitely use a little more variation, something light, different (e.g., “Pink 5ive”, “Summer Song”), otherwise this would be of little use once you’ve finally moved on. B  

Reviews: Unique, Yurei, Ben&Ben, IV of Spades

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Grandma | Unique Salonga | 2018
Unique may have drawn first blood but this is hardly a win. Too early for him to brag about ‘money in the bag’ (“M”, “Cha-ching!”), for which the IVoS gave him the dreaded slow clap. Nothing here comes close to “Mundo”, nothing remotely as catchy as “Hey Barbara”. But that’s probably the point—he wants to burn ‘old disco’ (“Ozone”), cut any association with his former band. So, this has to be different, which doesn’t mean it’s good. He’s probably slightly better with lyrics than his ex-bandmates but this is also wanting. Whatever this lacks, without Zild on his side, he overcompensates—with synths. With no Blaster to provide him the funk, he wisely slows down the tempo, goes for quiet acoustic numbers. If only he could reach the depth he’s trying to reach (IVoS’s “I Ain’t Perfect” beats his “Midnight Sky” by a few inches). Emulations abound, with Beatles being the most obvious, probably late Arctic Monkeys too. But we only make do with emulations when we can’t afford or access what’s being emulated, which is nearly impossible to be impossible when you have a data plan. I’m sure my grandmother didn’t listen to this type of thing. And you don’t have to over-analyze his lyrics to find meanings which aren’t there. He’s just turned eighteen–as in legal–is all he’s really trying to say. C+

 

ClapClapClap! | IV of Spades | 2019
Unique leaving IVoS wasn’t probably as big as Ely Buendia ‘graduating’ from the Eraserheads though it also broke fans, like when Rivermaya lost Bamboo. The more accurate comparison I guess, is when Dennis split up with his brothers Jimmy and Vinggo and christened himself April Boy Regino (the other two continued as April Boys). Unlike the April Boys, IVoS didn’t even have an album yet before the split up. While Unique’s Grandma could be likened to Bamboo Manalac’s debut after he left Bamboo (No Water, No Moon: eclectic, boring), ClapClapClap! is hardly comparable to what Rivermaya had each time they were reduced to a trio (It’s Not Easy Being Green in ’99, Bagong Liwanag in ’07). The more accurate comparison would be Buhay, their first full length album with Jason Fernandez—scattershot but not without a few bright spots (“Come Inside of My heart”, “Dulo Ng Hangganan”). They may have lost the ‘old disco’ but with rehashed early 2k’s garage-funk (“Take That Man”) and new wave revival (“In My Prison”) you can still grind. All in all, the songs rise and fall with tempos, falsettos, and styles. There’s just too much here to wade through, too much to weed out. But not enough weed. B-

PS. If it’s true that it was the Autotelic/December Avenue fans who started the hate bandwagon online, I would also understand.

 

Limasawa Street | Ben&Ben | 2019 
A track or two could be played at a wedding. And they do dress look like a wedding band. But the best songs here are those which doesn’t say “happily ever after”. It sounded fresh when Up Dharma Down did something like this almost a decade ago. With Ben&Ben, it just sounds like the 2010’s version of the ’80s or early ’90s pre-Ultraelectromaneticpop (see: Bodjie’s Law of Gravity)—just with less synths, more strings, acoustic guitars. Great musicians no doubt, they’re reportedly great live, but one song featuring Ebe Dancel suspiciously sounds like one of the hits of the latter’s former band. They’re a decent singles band (“Kathang-Isip”, “Leaves”). And on this album they have few decent ‘single’ songs as well—songs specifically written for those who want to move on (“Mitsa”, “Tala-arawan”). B+ 

 

The Problem of Grunge in 2015, or How to Deal with Boredom and Other Stories, or Memoirs of My Nervous Condition, or The Navel-Gazer’s Guide to Confronting the Self, or Meditations On Life and Death in Metro Manila | Yurei | 2015 
That’s not the review yet, that’s just the title. Five long titles for an EP containing five short songs with one-word titles delivered at 320 kilobits per second. Possible problems with Windows: ‘file name is too long’, ‘the path is too long’. They don’t sound like Nirvana, I SWEAR! But their vocalist looks like a Japanese Kult Cobain. B  

Reviews: Megumi Acorda, Munimuni, Tiger Pussy, etc.

Roasted Tasty Crunchy

Unexpectedly | Megumi Acorda | 2018
“The sadder I get, the faster I drive”, sings Yan Yuzon on “Lost Guide”. If you don’t go by this rule, by which, I mean your speed isn’t directly proportional to your loneliness, then Megumi Acorda’s Unexpectedly might be a welcome company. At 17 minutes, this EP could be perfect for long drives for someone who has nothing to think about – on repeat (you could also add some of Megumi’s vaporwave tracks from YouTube or Soundcloud). Acorda’s ethereal voice melds with waves of guitars and echoes that you don’t have to learn every word – the songs conceal her lyrics’ sad simplicity. She’s in love in the first and unexpectedly or rather expectedly, heartbroken for the rest of the EP. In love or heartbroken, really makes no difference for the unrequited. She gives the feels, music provides the medium. Sad shoegaze music for long drives or wallpaper bedroom music that has actual songs in it. Well, I’m just happy the opening bars of “Ghost” remind of an old Crazy Horse song and that the song itself reminds of an old sad song I still can’t put a finger on. B+  

 

Norman Fucking Rockwell! | Lana Del Rey | 2019
Goddamn, man child / You fucked me so good that I almost said, “I love you”—is how you open a good soft rock record. A fucking good soft rock record. Was listening to this album in a while and at one point I thought if she’s gonna say ‘fuck’ two more times it’s gonna turn into Chocolate Starfish and Hotdog Flavored Water. *** 

 

People You Hate | Tiger Pussy | 2013
I thought Oh, Flamingo! narrows the gender gap. Though the boys play guitars and the girls, backbeat and rhythm. As the old adage goes, no one comes to shows for the drummer, much less the bass player (except maybe if they’re girls and one of them is Pat Sarabia). Well, wait till you see/hear Tiger Pussy because Jan Sunday doesn’t like relegating women to the back. And if you’re thinking you heard it all before—no, NOT exactly, the “drums are punchier, the structures trickier” (Christgau) and the songs are twenty-fold punkier than what’s in Dookie twenty years ago. Despite the genre’s supposed familiarity (three-chord, angst-ridden), this four-piece punk rock band from Cebu keeps you at your toes, keeps it interesting. Yes, they’re from Cebu, home to Urbandub, Sheila & the Insects and… that famous lechon (no, I wasn’t gonna say Cueshe but that’s also true). And having withdrawn from this type of music for quite long time now (and lechon as well–yes, I turned semi-vegan almost a year ago), Tiger Pussy’s People You Hate comes as a forceful, refreshing re-introduction to the loud, fast and spunky—that I’m tempted to, and therefore might as well, eat lechon again—if I’m given another crunchy tasty roasted chance. Jan Sunday and co. keep the ‘riot’ and the ‘grrr’ in their riot grrrl punk. A  

 

Simula | Munimuni | 2017
Self-proclaimed poets playing indie-folk with “deep, poetic lyrics” having people Brazilian-wax poetic over songs they themselves branded with their own genre “makata pop”. Self-limiting as promotion, niche marketing as label. What’s next–poems without words? Now that would be math-folk. Bullish or not, they have songs to show for it. And maybe you could give them a pass—these self-proclaimed poets who probably never read Bukowski—simply because they have a flutician, which is like having a DJ in the mix when your band plays nu-metal (“Bukang-Liwayway”, “Tanikala”). B+ 

 

For Princesses, By Thieves (O Mga Awit ng Hiraya Para sa Guni-guning Sinta) | Shirebound & Busking | 2019
No ‘Lloydy’. He’s no Frodo either. And if you’d ask a Star Wars die-hard, there’s only one “Return”. The opening track put a smile on my face like in some deleted scene from Avengers: Infinity War—I thought The Mountain Goats, almost. That smile didn’t last long unfortunately, as I waited for the next winner (“Miss Mosh”, “Waltz of Four Left Feet”). C+

Reviews: Oh, Flamingo!, Coeli, December Avenue, UDD, Cheats

2010’s stuff I missed

Oh, Flamingo! | Oh, Flamingo! | 2015
They have some really nifty guitar-indie pop, with some odd, maybe not African-inspired beats (maybe) that you’d wish they have something more interesting to say. Or at least, interesting way(s) to say them. Maybe their latest, “Parara”, “Naubos Na” were attempts in trying to do that. Or maybe it’s just wishful thinking because, here’s a band narrowing the gender gap among other things (i.e., they got a cute girl drummer). You thought Two Feet was that good? Idk, I liked Go F*ck Yourself better. **   Continue reading “Reviews: Oh, Flamingo!, Coeli, December Avenue, UDD, Cheats”