Narda – A Postcard from (2002)

narda postLo-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-

Narda – Suwerte (2002)

narda swrtMore 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-

Narda – Burador (2003)

narda brdrWhile 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- 

Narda – Salaguinto’t Salagubang (2003)

narda slgntSmart 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-

IV of Spades – ClapClapClap! (2019)

IV_of_Spades_-_ClapClapClap!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 released each time they were reduced to a trio (It’s Not Easy Being Green in ’99, Bagong Liwanag in ’07). Maybe, the more precise comparison would be Buhay, Maya’s first full length album with Jason Fernandez—scattershot but not without a few bright spots (“Come Inside of My heart”, “Dulo Ng Hangganan”). And though they lost the ‘old disco’ fans can still grind with rehashed early 2k’s garage-funk (“Take That Man”) and a few other rehashed stuff. 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.

Juan Karlos – ‘Buwan’ (2018)

81OBJGxpHoL._SS500_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’y 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.

Juan Karlos – Diwa (2020)

diwaThe 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

Unique Salonga – Grandma (2018)

Grandma_by_Unique_album_artworkUnique 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. Emulations abound, the Beatles obviously, 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 kind of stuff. 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. B-

Unique Salonga – Pangalan (2020)

unpShorter, more coherent 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. B-

Reviews: Kamikazee

Kamikazee – Kamikazee (2002)
Buruguduystun minus the funny fillers–that’s OK, the gags are in the songs (Susuntukin ko ang kili-kili mo). Parokya Ni Edgar only punkier, heavier, ballsier, more profane: PU–tangina nasan ang chinelas ko? Ballsy enough to make fun of and at the same time celebrate angry nu metal (“Chinelas,” “Turon”). You don’t have to take it too seriously, they seem to say. What separates them from the pack of angsty bands with downtuned guitars? They’re self-aware. They also know fortune and fame isn’t all (“Lucky”). Their melodic-hardcore/pop-punk doesn’t suck either (“Mmm Sarap”, “Girlfriend”). That insufferable Ariel Rivera ballad we all thought was beyond redemption? Salvaged with a rollicking cover. A-

Kamikazee – Maharot (2006)
Just when I thought they knew when to trim that which needs trimming — the length of their songs, the number of tracks — they got overly cocky. Maybe because they knew they got surefire hits long before this CD hits the record store. That is, months before Eula Valdez grace the cover of Maharot, and before the band would complain that they always use up all their load to vote for their own songs to push them up the radio/music channel charts, some of these songs (“Narda,” “Chiksilog,” and “Sobrang Init”) were already crowd favorites, partly because Angel Locsin plays sexy superheroine on GMA7, partly because the kids play Ragnarok, but mainly because these songs were catchy as hell. With 14 cuts and an hour long (excluding bonus materials), this is more padded than their debut, and definitely could use a trim. But in an industry that doesn’t allow for B-sides to exist, can’t really blame them if they insist in putting in every inch of their, um, this whatever they are offering here. B+

Kamikazee – Long Time Noisy (2014)
Paulit-ulit man, ‘di ka pagsasawaan — in love, um, relationship, yes. In punk/rock, not all the time (see [late] Ramones, Rancid, RHCP, or Parokya Ni Edgar — those who made the same album over and over). Small changes, little variations, some innovations are welcome, though not always to be expected. So, is this more of the same? Yes, but they’re still good at what they do best (“Ikaw,” “Unang Tikim,” “4:20,” “Hot Mami”), and they even came up with with bad-ass tribute to FrancisM. And? They’re still bad at trimming that which needs trimming — the long noisy non-killers and fillers. B+

Reviews: Sugarfree

Sugarfree – Sa Wakas (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 fourth line. And then mercilessly 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. It’s like cycling thru the five stages of grief, but you’re stuck between acceptance and denial for the most part. Sugarfree write songs about love that will make you swear never to fall ever again. And yet also tells you how sad it is to be alone (“Mariposa”) — among other things: depression (“Insomya”), growing old (“Fade Away”), and the glory days of pre-videocall telebabad (“Telepono”), which also tells us incidentally, how technology can connect and disconenct us — from other people, from reality. Years before Junot Diaz’s The Cheater’s Guide to Love, Ebe Dancel sings about love that would linger on long after it ended (“Burnout”). With a simple last-minute switch from past to future tense, Ebe gave us that immortal the half-life of love is forever. A

Sugarfree – Dramachine (2004)
How’s this different from their first? Ebe wrote more distorted riffs into his Dramachine, which Mitch Singson answered with prolly his best works on drums yet. Or ever. Including his works with Ciudad, yes. And the best songs here are punchier, maybe more immediate for a wider audience (“Sinta,” “Tulog Na”). Ebe’s self deprecating humor (“Hari Ng Sablay”) works better here than in the one about cheating on the first album. There’s nothing here that matches the heartaches of “Unang Araw” and “Burnout,” but there’s one about moving on (“Kwarto”) and finding what makes one truly happy (Natagpuan ko na ang tunay kong papaya). And it also have that giddy as first date “Prom.” A

Sugarfree – Tala-Arawan (2006)
Sugarfree returns with a more restraint third album. With less distorted guitars, slower tempos, more silence and spaces and more introspection. Older, wiser. “Dear Kuya” is the perfect AT&T jingle it never was. “Kung Ayaw Mo Na Sa Akin” is “Burnout” for the mid-aughts irony; “Huling Gabi” is Before Sunrise to “Unang Araw.” There’s probably little here that they haven’t covered before, but they sure could write about them again. Some deeper, some at least as good as before. Ebe cycles thru losing, finding, pining, searching, waiting, to finally finding that someone (“Kailan Ka Ba?” “Ikaw Pala”). And I swear it’s way way way way way way way way way way way way way way better than that duet by Bryan Adams and Barbra Streisand. Btw, “Barbra Streisand” is a good song. A

Sugarfree – Mornings & Airports (2009)
This is Sugarfree’s Sticker Happy. Not only that the songs sound and feel more varied/different/adventurous than before, but also in that the songs aren’t about things easily relatable to teens and twenty-somethings anymore. These songs are about mornings, airports, twin beds, being hungry, sleepy, the life on the road, the constant gigging, the demands of being in a successful band. Even “Wala Nang Hihilingin” hints on an intermittent LDR due to out of town gigs. Well, not all the songs are, really. Some songs are still about heartbreaks and stuff. It’s just that, whenever Ebe threads the same old narratives, it takes a little longer to get there this time. Side A is as solid as on any of their previous outings (“Feels Like”, “Patawad”) but Side B is kinda meh, save for “Form Factor.” B+

Sugarfree – 100% Greatest Hits (2011)
I remember calling the label’s (office?) number once, asked if there were still remaining copies of the repackaged second album, and the person on the line told me that initially, there were plans to reissue the band’s albums, in time for the band’s farewell tour. But since that would take more time, effort, money — y’know, reprinting CDs, sleeves, etc. — they ended up going for this. Which is very much worth it if you don’t own all their albums, especially the first three, but pretty worthless if you do. Hastily, lazily, thrown together for the sole reason of you-know-what — this is a prime example of that. I can do without the overly sentimental “Makita Kang Muli,” one of the two songs here not penned by the band. And I can forgive the lack of imagination (the brown envelop cover art, the title) but not the obvious lack of love and care. If they bothered to include the Apo cover, why not their cover of Eraserheads’ “Tikman”? Why not include those rare tracks they used to insert back when repackaging was a hot trend? Why not include that rare gem “Cuida”? Or the alternate/live versions of “Burnout” and “Mariposa”? Sure, this has all of their best-known hits, but a lot of their best songs are also missing: “Fade Away”, “Ikaw Pala”, “Kailan Ka Ba?” “Patawad,” just to name a few. 100% Greatest Hits? More like 100% Cash Grab is what it is.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)/ Ip Man (2008)/ A Short History of a Few Bad Things (2018)/ Slumberland (2022)

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
I watched Eternal Sunshine for the first time since I don’t remember when, and I thought afterwards that Foo Fighters “Everlong” MV is still Gondry’s most imaginative work (i.e., dreams within dreams, horror tropes). The memory erasing scenes kinda loses its novelty after the nth time. And there’s one thing the movie could use a little bit more of its playfulness — the part where the characters tend to reconnect or subconsciously remember the person they’re supposed to forget. Something 50 First Dates (released earlier the same year) does a bit better (the part where Drew Barrymore remembers Sandler’s character by singing The Beach Boys’ “Wouldn’t It Be Nice”). Funny, which I only realize now, how both movies are about forgetting and remembering and that love/relationship needs work for it to work.

A Short History of a Few Bad Things (2018)
Can’t wholeheartedly recommend. Pero may ‘something’ sa pelikulang ito. That above, by the way, is a Wong Kar Wai reference.

Ip Man (2008)
Ip Man mixes martial arts, fictionalized history, period piece, and bits of melodrama quite as effectively as Donnie Yen mixes different modes of attack, defense, counterattack against different opponents in the well-executed fights in the movie. The movie’s first act feels like an homage to old kung fu movies, with familiar tropes and beats. The second act turns it into a period piece drama, where the respected Kung Fu master, once affluent, now struggles to make a living in the Japanese-occupied China. It’s probably the high point in the movie, at least dramatically, and leads into the promised final showdown. Though the third act’s centerpiece fight is lacking in thrills and somewhat anticlimactic, and the ending you can see from a mile, it’s hardly a reason for disappointment.

Slumberland (2022)
Momoa shines in this otherwise bland CG sleepyland. Thought it would deal with the loss of one’s loved ones and coming to terms with it but then the movie sidestepped that in the end, and dispenses some corny message every movies for kids almost always tell.

Breeder’s Digest

I probably should’ve not gone to work today. I wasn’t planning to, two weeks ago. I was supposed to go back home for one day holiday, then return Friday and go back again. But the circumstances changed, at work that is. And so here I am, with my brain and body seemingly not cooperating with me. Despite being ‘active’ during the morning meeting, brain seems to have stopped functioning after that — haven’t received the memo, it seems to tell me. Well, anyway, here’s some draft I wrote maybe two months ago.

Fuego! (1996), Grin Department. This is, without any reservation, the greatest ’90s album of all time. Very underrated stuff. Yeah, better than anything by the Eraserheads or Rivermaya or Radiohead. Better than Cutterpillow or Donna Cruz’s Habang May Buhay. Except this isn’t really the most consistent album you’d ever find — one-third of the tracks are fillers, skipworthy. Anyway, Grin Department aren’t really avatars of consistency, but funny stories, yes. Green jokes and double entendres as well. There’s “Sion,” about a guy who repairs Cinderella’s, er, Sion’s shoes (Kikinis at kikinis nang kiki-ni-s ‘yon / Lagyan mo ng biton / Titibay nang titi ba ‘yon / Lagyan mo ng takong). In my pirated version of this album, “8 Pa” is one of the bonus tracks (because pirated CD always have bonus tracks). “8 Pa” is probably one of the most accurate portrayal of urban poverty in a song (Lunes hanggang sabado, puro na lang trabaho at pagsapit ng Linggo, kailangan may negosyo). Yes, it’s more accurate than anything by Dong Abay, believe me. And yes, it’s about a working class guy who sells meat and his long fat longaniza on weekends just to make ends meet.

A Postcard from (2002) / Swerte (2002) / Burador (2003) / Salaguinto’t Salagubang (2003), Narda. I could’ve put Narda’s double-disc compilation Salamin Sibuyas Tetrapak (2018) here but that compilation doesn’t really exist. It would’ve been nice though if the band put some effort to pick their best songs and make a sort of greatest hits and put them up on Bandcamp or somewhere. Something like Teeth’s Dogs Can Fly. Anyway, so instead of picking just one of their albums, I included all of their first four EPs. Because, well, isn’t it nice to hear “Meron Ba?” and “Tanga” in one sitting? Or “Biyernes” (off Formika) and “Kusina” in the same playlist? “Tanga” and “Tayo Na”? Then “Molotov”? I’ll tell you what. It is the nicest thing in the world. It’s like lying on your stomach while enjoying a very dry Thai massage after a really long day.

The Forgotten Arm (2005), Aimee Mann. If you don’t know me by now, you will never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never. If you don’t know who Aimee Mann is, I’ll tell you who she is. She was the lady in The Big Lebowski who got one of her toes cut off because… Well, I forgot already. She played a very very minor character in that Coen Brothers movie. And there was this scene where Juliane Moore flies naked into a wall and painted some sort of post-modernist masterpiece. Yeah, she’s really naked in that scene. And it has nothing to do with Aimee Mann’s character. Anyway, Aimee Mann’s songs was heavily featured on Paul Thomas Anderson’s Magnolia (1999), which you probably need to see if you want to see frogs raining down from the sky. But this album, this album doesn’t need its own movie. The songs themselves tell a story, about a Vietnam war vet heroin-addicted pugilist and his “kind of white trash” girlfriend. How does the story end? I don’t know. But the melodies are great. Maybe my favorite Aimee Mann album. Like this better than Bachelorette No. 2 or the Magnolia OST.

Vive La Difference (1997), Eggstone. Found this CD when I was in Glorietta some time in the mid-2000s. It was in Tower Records and it was the first time I found out that you could actually “preview” or “pre-listen” these CDs — something you can’t do in most record stores. That you can request the saleslady to open the sealed CD and you could actually listen to these records if you like. So that’s what I did. Before that, I thought you just pick CD with an album cover you like and hope the songs don’t suck. See, I bought this CD by Clap Your Hands and Say Yeah (because the reviews were great) and later I realized that I don’t really like all of the songs. Anyway, I was initially confused whether Eggstone and Eggboy were the same band. After listening to a few songs, I remember that Mikey Amistoso onced mentioned Eggstone and Club 8 in Ciudad’s blog, said they influenced some of the songs on Is that Ciudad? Yes, son, it’s me. Anyway, this is one of, if not the best, indie pop/rock albums. From Sweden. Ever.

Hello! How Are You, Mico the Happy Bear? (2000), Ciudad. So, I emailed Mikey Amistoso, sent him a very long fan email telling them how I love to see them and I badly wanted to have a copy of their first two albums. He still had a few copies of Is that Ciudad? but Hello! How are you I’m fine thank you is already out of print. So he just burned and gave me a CD-R copy. I mean, fuck, this guy just gave a CD-R copy of the greatest indie-rock album of 2000s — no, just 2000, the year, not the decade, not 2000s — and I was the happiest fan in the world. “Bombsite” is what Pavement would sound if Spiral Stairs could carry a tune and Bob Nastanovich could sing backup vocals. But that’s not the only killer song on this album. Maybe you haven’t heard this song before, it’s called “Strawberry Jam” and it goes “Would you be my strawberry jam? I’m like a bread now, I’m ready when I’m all toasted.” Ain’t that like poetry? If not, then I don’t know what is.

Dogs Can Fly (Teeth’s Finest) (2003), Teeth. No greatest hits compilation is greater than this. You know why? Because Teeth only had four albums — three LPs and one EP (Bum Squad) — and this perfectly sums up their catalog. All the highlights are here. From the anti-alcoholism anthem (Laklak), to the anti-bum boyfriend anthem (Bum Squad), to their homage to H.G. Wells (Time Machine), to their attempt at writing a song about astronomy with the hopes that NASA would pick their song instead of that crappy song from Reese Lansangan (Shooting Star), down to the ultimate anti-slacker love song (Darating), this collection is just perfect, just like that True Faith song which not one of you probably remember. More perfect than the greatest Eraseheads albums on vinyl. Okay, there’s only one Eheads album on vinyl.

I’m So Tired

I’m so tired, sheep are counting me. No more struggle, no more energy. I’m So Tired, Fugazi. I like Minor Threat, but I just couldn’t get into Fugazi. I like one song of theirs, but mainly for the live version of it by a group of lovely ladies in sundresses. Was it called “Waiting Room”? Yeah, I’m not even sure. I like that song because, who doesn’t like ladies in sundresses rocking out a Fugazi tune? And I like this one as well, because of its title, because it’s slow, and it’s played on piano, which is probably the most hardcore non-hardcore thing the band has ever done.

Thursday night, I’m making Denise. Friday night, I’m making Sharise. Saturday night, I’m making Luis (?) Oh, why can’t I be making love come true? Tired of Sex, Weezer. Rivers made up an interesting situation here. He’s tired of banging different girls every night but he’s also sad because he’s missing something. Could this be a metaphor for work? Okay, I’m making this a metaphor for work, because there’s no way it applies to me in a non-metaphorical sense, as in being Rivers-(un)lucky, making girls come one each night — not because I can’t but because I won’t. Um, just want make that last part clear. Very clear. By the way, in its metaphorical, my made-up metaphorical reading of it, at work, it’s the bosses, the management that you have to make come. And I think I’m tired of that.

So tired, tired of waiting, tired of waiting for yooooooouuuuu. Tired of Waiting For You, Green Day. I think Green Day covered this for a soundtrack or something, maybe around the time Billie Joe Armstrong was getting into the Kinks, around the time he lifted inspiration from Kinks’ “Picture Book” for Green Day’s “Warning.” Edit: This was actually originally issued as B-side to “Basket Case,” which means Green Day recorded this way before they wrote “Warning.” By the way, “you” here means work — work with better pay and lesser stress.

Yeah, I’m waiting — for you, it’s been so long. Come Around Again, Jet. Yeah, this is from their debut album, which I think is fine, Pitchfork’s negative review notwithstanding. Some of their songs sound pretty derivative, as if they’re emulating Oasis, the Stones, or AC/DC. And I don’t think their lyrics are on par with that of Alex Turner’s on Arctic Monkeys’ debut. But you know what, I like some of the songs. It’s not a four star album, it’s not a classic, and I’m perfectly fine with that.

Tired Eyes. Neil Young. At this point, it should be obvious that I made this by searching the word “tired” on my Pulsar app (titles without the word “tired” are late additions to this playlist) whether or not they’re about being tired or not. In this case, it’s about drug murder in Los Angeles canyon, according to Neil Young. This is off the album Tonight’s the Night. And it’s not about being tired.

I’m so tired. I haven’t slept a wink. I’m so tired. My mind is on the blink. I’m So Tired, The Beatles. Yes, same title as the first song because it needs reiterating. I first heard the Elliot Smith version of this song. I think it’s Smith performing the song live. By the way, Elliot Smith also covered The Beatles’ “Because,” which appeared in the movie American Beauty, which won Oscars Best Picture, although film critic Noel Vera wasn’t a fan, and titled his not-so-glowing review for the movie, “American Boobies,” which I thought was apt, despite the fact that I like the movie, because it was highlighted by scenes featuring exactly that, American boobies! Still, that dream sequence where Mena Suvari is lying on a bed of roses, her privates barely obscured by petals of red red roses, and she’s floating from the ceiling above the main character’s bed, I think it’s one of the most iconic movie scenes I’ve seen. Or, maybe I should watch more movies?

I’m so tired of being alone. I’m so tired of on-my-own. Won’t you help me girl, just as soon as you can. Tired of Being Alone, Al Green. Tired of Being Alone? Here’s 7 Reasons Why You Never Attract A Healthy Relationship. Ok, that appeared on the search results. Also, based on my Google search, it says that this song was also covered by Texas in 1993. By the way, I like Texas’ “Say What You Want.” Who’s Texas? They’re a pop/rock band from, not Texas, but Glasgow. By the way, those lines are actually about getting that girl to join your team and help you because you are so undermanned (i.e., alone) and overworked.

You try so hard to be someone that you forget who you are. Hold On, Jet. I never listen to this song without auto-playing that scene in my head where Peter has to choose what to wear: is he gonna be Spider-Man tonight? Or is he gonna be just Peter Parker? That always comes back, that feeling, the struggle, the struggle to balance things out, the struggle to keep trying. I probably didn’t relate to this particular scene before the way I would later, the way I’m reading it now. Someone said on Twitter that the Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies were faithful to the character’s working class origins in the comics — something that has been lost in the other versions of the character in later, newer movies.

The damage has been done. I am not having fun anymore. Ann Don’t Cry, Pavement. I was wondering whether Stephen Malkmus wrote these particular lyrics before or during the recording of the band’s final album, Terror Twilight. I was wondering if these lines reflect how Malkmus felt about being in the band at the time. I checked the track listing of Farewell Horizontal so I can make an educated guess. Based on the tracklist, the first version of the song was recorded in Echo Canyon, Sonic Youth’s studio/rehearsal space(?) And in this version, Malkmus already sings the same exact lyrics. Which means, he must have written those lines already before things turns a bit sour later in the recording of the album. Which means, he wrote the lyrics not because he was kinda bummed about the difficult recording process of Terror Twilight, which, depending on who you asked, may have influenced the eventual dissolution of the band. Anyway, I’m just so fried.

A Walk To Remember

Once in a while, an old record pops in my head. Could be an old song I used to hear on the radio, or a record I used to listen to before. A couple of months ago, I remember the soundtrack of A Walk Remember. Remember that movie, with Mandy Moore and Shane West, and based on a Nicholas Sparks novel? Well, Nicholas Sparks’ movies are, for some people, these are the “shit.” For others, they’re simply, shit. Most of them are anyway, I suppose. In varying degrees of shitty-ness.

A Walk To Remember, the movie, is probably less shittier than the others. Though I can’t really say, I’ve only seen two of them, the other being The Notebook. And I trust Jolens with my life, when she said that The Notebook is one of the best examples of the movie being better than the book it was based on. But that’s probably mainly because the book is really shitty, there’s no way a decent movie could be worse than it, right Jolens? Between these two movies, I think The Notebook is the less shittier one. It’s more watchable, but only if you remove the part where the main characters are both old, and the old guy who used to look like Ryan Gosling with beard, can’t remember a fuck.

But first I want to ask: Can’t Nicholas Fucking Sparks just give his fucking characters a happy ending, a fucking real happy ending? In A Walk To Remember, bad boy Shane West finally gets the gospel girl (Mandy Moore), but then she’s terminal, she’s got cancer, and she died not long after their wedding. What the fuck? Then, in The Notebook, Ryan Gosling finally ends up with Rachel McAdams, against all odds, but then their story is framed as flashbacks or memories of two old people, both of whom are unreliable narrators, because you can’t really be sure the old woman’s memories are at least 50% accurate and true. Then, the old guy finally remembers, and them he dies. What the fuck?! And from what I heard, Kevin Costner drowns in Message In A Bottle, another movie based on a Sparks book. Yes, the girl in the story finds great love when she finds the guy who wrote that love letter inside a bottle, then the guy dies in a boating incident. What a twist?!

If you haven’t seen both movies, and can’t decide which to watch first, let me tell you this: The Notebook is worth watching for only one thing. And what is that? It’s worth watching for that very hot hot sex scene after the main characters get wet (no pun intended) in the rain, where Ryan Gosling has to walk up the stairs while carrying Rachel McAdams with his pants pull down to his knees. Honestly, it’s the pants pulled down to the knees part that made that feat so remarkable. And without tripping himself on the staircase! Really long strong pair of legs you have there, Mr. Gosling. Great balance too.

The scene plays out like this. Ryan and Rachel go boating on a river, a heated argument follows, then it rains. The two go for the banks, then Ryan picks up Rachel, her legs around his waist as they kiss. It’s still raining by the way. And they’re both soaking wet. Guy picking up a girl like she weighs nothing is already a feat in itself. Yes, haven’t tried it myself since it’d really look silly doing it with a pillow, but it’s not an easy thing to do.

Ryan goes inside the house, still carrying Rachel. I don’t remember how or who did it but his buckle gets undone, and his pants falls to his knees. Then he climbs the stairs, pants pulled down, while carrying and kissing Rachel. (This is what REAL multitasking is, not the one most managers in your office think. It’s something not everyone can do.) Then, Rachel proceeds to unbutton her top and takes it off. That scene could have go on further or longer but since it cuts after that, it would be too much already to ask for more, given how it already showcased a wet hot kissing scene and Ryan’s superhuman abilities.

On the other hand, A Walk To Remember has this really virginal scene where Mandy Moore lies on a picnic blanket while kind of trying to seduce Shane West into going to bed with her so that they can read the Bible together, while Shane’s busy with the telescope trying so hard to convince us, the audience, that these kids would rather put up a telescope and watch the skies or whatever rather than make out on the grass.

This is already longer than what I intended. And I haven’t gotten into the soundtrack yet. So, maybe next time I’ll write about the soundtrack, and Switchfoot. But before we end, which is worth watching first? Depends on your preference but I’d say The Notebook. Then, you can switch it off after the river-staircase scene described above.

Alien Vs. Ninja (2010)/ The Debt Collector (2018)/ The Gray Man (2022)/ Copshop (2021)

Alien Vs. Ninja (2010)
Drop a Yautja into the Great Plains ca. 1700s and you get Prey (2022). Drop an alien/predator hybrid (more like  Xenomorph’s or the Yautja’s uglier low-budget cousin, really) into medieval Japan and you get Alien Vs. Ninja (2010), which is exactly what the title says. Released in the same year Predators came out, AvN had the advantage of having no pre-established lore about the titular alien, thus the freedom to give it all the killing and fighting abilities imaginable — VFX budget be damned. Which, of course, makes the Yautja a little less interesting by comparison, in that we know that this gross gross alien “likes” female ninjas, too, and that it could be a little bit horny sometimes. We couldn’t really blame it since the lone female ninja is played by Mika Hijii. The supposedly funny character isn’t really funny most of the time (read: annoying), and the special effects are nothing special, but, BUT, this has the best crazy final fight and third act I’ve seen in a while. You’ve got to see the movie if just for that. Also, did I forget to mention Mika Hijii plays one of the ninjas? 

The Debt Collector (2018)
Watched The Debt Collector the other night and it’s probably one of the better “B-action movie on Netflix without a Wikipedia page.” Van Damme direct-to-video movies aren’t usually this good. Well, Scott Adkins direct-to-video movies aren’t usually this good. It’s also a little surprising that the action isn’t the primary draw here, but the two leads, the characters, the dynamics, and the story that seems to skip into the third act suddenly, maybe due to budget constraints. Bone-breaking brawls come aplenty. And then there’s the one big job — it comes with one hard decision to make. Character actor Luis Mandylor plays perfect foil to action man Adkins. I came to see Adkins beat up (or get beaten up by) some thugs, I stayed for Sue’s (Mandylor) alcoholic debt collector. It’s not Ryan Gosling-funny, more like French (Adkins) getting his ass beaten, while Sue gets to fuck one debtor’s hot wife-funny. 

The Gray Man (2022)
For sure it’s not Man from UNCLE, but it’s seldom boring. Partly because it has Chris Evans as a less menacing John Travolta as Vic Deakens baddie, with Henry Cavill’s CGI-proof mustache, minus the ambiguity — thus, less fun. And mainly because it has Ryan Gosling in John Wick mode with a dash of Holland March’s self-aware jokes — which Gosling sells very well, of course. And also because Ana de Armas plays a CIA agent, who at one point carries all the armas she could carry, while playing Rambo and blowing up things. The fights, the setpieces could have been better. But given this is the Russo brothers, I’m thankful I could actually make out half of them and not everything is concrete and gray and over-edited. A scene stealing Alfre Woodward in Vienna, the ensuing shootout in the park, the explosive tram chase, are among the movie’s few highlights. It’s messy, tonally inconsistent, watchable, kinda fun. Kinda the type you watch on a weekend when you’re too lazy to think and pick among the many movies parading on your Netflix homepage. 

Copshop (2021)
Interesting setup, disappointing finish. Maybe it’s the side effect of focusing too much on the antagonists. And leaving your protagonist with nothing much to do — until the final act, which of course devolves into a generic shoot ’em up. There’s little to nothing of that uneasy alliance or shifting loyalties or payoff whatsoever. That a secondary antagonist, a psychopathic balloon man, steals the show from the main heavies should be telling. The premise is good, but the resolution lame. Not gonna lie, it had me in the first half.

Deep Blue Sea (1999)

Not to be confused with The Deep Blue Sea, the one with Tom Hiddleston and Rachel Weisz, this science fiction thriller finds a crew of scientists, lab workers, and a corporate executive played by Samuel L. Jackson, trapped in an underwater lab about to collapse, attacked by three genetically-enhanced sharks. Scientists found that the shark’s brain protein might be the cure for Alzheimer’s. So they made the sharks’ brain bigger, which led to a scientific breakthrough (almost!) but also made the sharks smarter. Saffron Burrows plays the sexy scientist, who together with another scientist and co-conspirator (Stellan Skarsgard) decided to break the law of science in order to fight Alzheimer’s. An argument was made about sacrificing the lives of the workers, for science, and I’m glad to report that science didn’t win. LL Cool J plays the lab’s resident chef, Thomas Jane, the wrangler, and a foul-mouthed parrot plays LL Cool J’s bird. The sharks are more visibly present here than they were in Jaws. The special effects were mostly convincing, save for some of the gorier underwater scenes. With Titanic sets, sharks animatronic and CG both, and plenty of water to spare, this movie delivers some really bloody biting scenes, some well-timed scares, and a few well-timed laughs to break the tension. While LL Cool J may have the best lines (“You ate my bird.” “I appreciate the irony, Lord! Cook dies in his own oven!”), and Jane, the silliest and most absurd of all harpoon situations, Samuel L. Jackson takes the cake. Well, he has one of those lengthy (kinda) monologues, like he did in Pulp Fiction, and then delivers one of the best punchlines ever in the history of cinema. A truly memorable performance. The best shark movie, no but a good movie, yes. The second best shark movie behind Jaws, maybe. 

Breeder’s Digest

May mga kantang nagkakapagpangiti, mayroon ding nagpapakilig. Mayroon din namang nakakapagpalungkot, mga kantang mapanakit. Mga kantang may melodies at lyrics na makapagpapadama sa’yo ng kung ano mang nadama mo noong una mo itong napakinggan, na magpapaalala sa’yo kung ano man ang nasasa loob mo, dinadala, o iniisip mo noong panahong narinig mo ito sa radyo, sa CD, o sa MP3 player. Nga pala, wala akong iPod kasi wala naman akong pera.

Hindi ako ang unang nagsabi at nabasa ko lang din sa iba, na sobrang underrated daw ng “Bakit Part 2.” Actually, di ko rin agad na realize na mas maganda ito kaysa sa “Bakit Part 1,” na siguro ay mas madalas ko mapakinggan kasi nasa Side A s’ya. Nasa Side B ang Part 2; kumbaga sa kung fu, deep cut s’ya. ‘Di rin ata ito nai-release bilang “single,” ‘di gaya ng “Eddie’s Song” at “Jopay” (Hindi ako nanonood ng GMA7 o ng Sexbomb, pero dahil sa kantang ito napasearch ako at nagka-crush din (ng konti) kay Jopay). Matagal-tagal ko nang hindi napapakinggan itong kantong ito. Pero noong minsan narinig ko sa jeep, bumalik lahat ng ala-ala ko. Nagkaroon kasi ako ng amnesia. Lols. Medyo mapanakit pa rin ang kanta kahit matagal na s’ya. Kung nagtataka kung ano tinutukoy ko. Pakinggan mo lang ang chorus, nandoon ang sikreto.

Maliit ang chance na maririnig mo ito sa radyo, sa FM dahil sobrang “indie” ng bandang ito. I’m talking about Ciudad. Sa Myx ko ata unang narinig at napanood itong “Monica (Karl’s Fantasy)” ng Ciudad. Na-hook agad ako sa catchy guitar riff sa intro. Na-hook din siguro ako sa lungkot nito. Walang malinaw na mensahe o meaning ang lyrics ng kanta kaya bahala na ang nakikinig kung ano man ang gusto n’yang interpretasyon. Basta dapat malungkot, one-sided love, parang ganun. Tapos dapat medyo geeky, dorky, at awkward pagdating sa girls. Si Mikey Amistoso na mismo ang nagsabi, hindi masaya ang kanta na ito.

Pwedeng fan ka ng mga kanta ng Ben&Ben at ang mga sawing kwentong nakapaloob dito, pwede din namang hindi. Pwede ring OK lang ang dating nila sa’yo, pwede rin namang medyo super slightly hate mo sila. Kung hindi ka fan, meron akong alternative. Hindi s’ya gaanong mapanakit. Pero interesting s’ya na alternative sa mas nakararaming love songs ng Ben&Ben, SUD, o Moira na halos magkakahawig na ang tema. Medyo informative din s’ya, kung dating (i.e., ligawan) ang paguusapan. “Easy Boys and Easy Girls” ng bandang The Strangeness ang sinasabi ko.

‘Di ko na maalala kung paano ko nadiscover itong kantang ito. Naghahanap yata ako noon sa YouTube ng mga kanta ng Smoking Popes tapos nakita ko itong “Megan.” Tingin ko mas una akong namangha sa fan-made music video nito. Ang video ay kuha sa isang camera na nakakabit sa likuran ng tren habang tumatakbo ito. Sobrang poetic nito; sobrang nostalgic din. Pero may sariling tema din ang kanta, sariling kwento, drama. Dagdag pa na nakoronahan bilang Miss World si Megan Young noong mga panahong iyon. Kaya tuloy imahe ni Megan Young ang pumapasok sa isip ko pag naririnig ko itong kanta, kahit wala namang nakakalungkot sa pagkakapanalo n’ya.


WTF: The Eraserheads Are Reuniting This X-Mas!

After the pandemic-fueled delay, finally, Pavement are having their “much awaited” reunion, their second since their breakup in ’99, touring parts of the world. They’re coming to Australia next year! And that’s probably the closest they’ll ever be to this god-forsaken country of ours. We had beabadoobee, however, just last week, in Manila. And she’s probably the closest we’ll ever got to getting Pavement-adjacent artist or band on our shore — I mean, she’s a Pavement fan — so, maybe, “adjacent” isn’t even accurate at all. And the latest juice? The Eraserheads are reuniting again, for the nth time, this coming (near) Christmas, whether they’re really “friends” or not, whether “Spoliarium” is about the dead actress or not, or you’re stance on the Marcus Adoro issue notwithstanding.

So, what do I say? Terror Twilight: Farewell Horizontal was a massive disappointment. Though I think that was expected already. I’m not a big fan of Terror Twilight anyway. Comparatively, Farewell Horizontal has the worst set of extra materials among the five reissues in the band’s catalog. Sordid Sentinel Ed. is second worse but it’s actually a lot better than the former. The Pavement tour? Well, the band introduced me a “new” song called “Witchi Tai To” by Jim Pepper and I was listening to it on repeat for awhile after the first time I heard it.

beabadoobee? Not sure how popular she is now, if she’s more popular than when I first learn about her “I Wish I Was Stephen Malkmus.” Well, she’s cute. I like some of her songs. But upon browsing her IG account and seeing more of her stuff there, my strict Catholic upbringing tells me that she’s prolly not a virgin anymore, with all those tats and wearing bikinis and stuff. Y’know, we want our idols to be chaste and pure, just like Britney Spears was back in ’99, before it was later revealed that she had a boyfriend even before she became a pop star. Of course, I’m just kidding. I just hoped beabadoobee didn’t say “Mahal ko kayo!” in her fake Filipino accent, during her concert here.

Eraserheads? News like this doesn’t make me excited anymore. Curious, yes. I was thinking, it’s probably gonna be a reunion concert, more likely than any other thing, like a new CD, or vinyl, or picture book or coffee table books that’s worth a trip to the movies for the whole family (depending on your family’s size of course), with the possible risk of contacting COVID by the way. The last time I was excited or had a case of FOMO, was when they released two songs on an issue of Esquire magazine. But it was mainly because I was overseas then. And I read the news a few days late, maybe because I was so busy at work. I thought the magazines would be out of stock in a few days, just like when Jinri Park released her first gravure. But boy, I was wrong. When I came back to the country few months later, there were still a few untouched copies of that Esquire mag in National Bookstore. I didn’t sold like pancakes. Contrary to what some people say, contrary to what was expected. Maybe because the songs (and the music videos) were also out on YouTube, the next or on the very same day. People aren’t going to buy stuff that they can get for free.

Why bother buying something you wouldn’t read anyway? No one likes reading anymore. That is, most people don’t like long reads, they just want information dump, just like most MCU movies. Trivia, tidbits, Easter eggs, whatnots. Why bother purchasing the magazine for the CD? I’m not sure but maybe people don’t play music on CD players anymore. In fact, I haven’t even played that 1995/Sabado CD since I bought it. And I don’t have a CD player either. But I like reading stuff about the band. I like what Erwin Romulo wrote about Eraserheads on that Esquire issue. Even if Erwin Romulo inserted himself in the picture and wrote about his wife divorcing him, which ended up with him writing a song with Ely Buendia. Which is then called “1995.” So, if you’re thinking, that “1995” was about the peak of the ’90s music scene, you couldn’t be any more further from the truth. It’s about divorce. It’s about Erwin Romulo and his ex-wife. And if you wanna know the truth, go search for that Esquire mag on second-hand shops. And read. You can probably get it cheap — since no one wants to read magazines anymore. Unless there is a centerfold.

4-Track Mind: Sony BMG’s 2-in-1 Series Revisited

Remember Sony BMG’s 2-in-1 series? The series of reissues of albums from renowned musical acts of the ’90s? No? Nevermind. I do. Color It Red, Yano, Sugar Hiccup, Sandwich, Mojofly, Wolfgang, Razorback, Grace Nono, FrancisM, and… (gasp) The Company. The Company? Yes, bruv, The CompanY. The thing with the internet is, anything related to the series — promotional stuff, reviews (if there were any), posters, etc. — you wouldn’t find any trace of it now. Zero. Nada. Except for this PX thread, which if you think about it, is just one server (or cloud server, if they use cloud servers) mishap away from internet oblivion.

Yes, the aforementioned thread is the last piece of history about the series that one can find through Google search. Not sure if anyone out there is selling posters, related ephemera, etc. on Carousell. Of course, the CDs, you can still find them on online second-hand CD shops and reselling websites — more often than not, unreasonably overpriced. You can still find the CDs online, most of them I supposed, but not much history, related literature or whatsoever. Okay, all of the albums are most probably listed on Discogs.

Well, I have a few of them CDs (by the way, I’m not selling them, at least not for now, but I might in the future). I have Color It Red, Wolfgang, FrancisM, and Sandwich. And while the whole series boast cover arts from no other than Cynthia Bauzon & Arnold Arre, the lack of liner notes or anything more than rudimentary information and the whole packaging of the albums is actually lacking. 

I think Sandwich’s is the most sulit “double album” of the bunch because you get both Grip Stand Throw and 4-Track Mind, the band’s first two albums. Which means you get “Butterfly Carnival,” “Paano Sasabihin,” “Hair Pin, “Bottleneck”and a lot more for just Php 285. If you’re thinking why these two and not Thanks to the Moon’s, it’s because only these albums are licensed under Sony BMG. Sandwich’s other albums are on another label.

Wolfgang’s 2-in-1 features Semenelin, their second album (it was their first under Sony/Epic), and Serve In Silence, their fourth album. I have no problem with Serve In Silence, but for some fans, it would’ve been better if these were Semenelin and Wurm, the band’s third album, which honestly, I’m not really that familiar with. See, Serve In Silence was the first Wolfgang album I was able to listen to from end to end. Can’t say it’s my favorite of theirs, but “Atomica” and “Hiwaga” are easily among my favorite songs by them. And I can’t remember any song off Wurm or Black Mantra (if I’m not mistaken, this is the one where they incorporated some Korn-sounding guitars, which kind of turned me off on first listen). Other fans wished it was Semenelin and Wolfgang’s debut instead, but the band’s debut is on Ivory Records. So, there was no chance Sony BMG was gonna go for that.

What’s kind of disappointing about this double album, is that the version of Semenelin included in it was the US version. Which means instead of “Mata Ng Diyos,” you get “Watermarks,” which is an English version of the song and “Mula sa Kamandag,” the other Tagalog song in the original version, was replaced with “Roadworthy Man.”

Yano’s double CD was also a bit disappointing in that instead of Metro, the band’s second album, Yano’s debut is paired with Tara, the band’s third and last album. Tara is no doubt the band’s weakest record. I’m not sure if the rationale behind this is that Tara didn’t sell as well as the other two, so this is one way for the label to make profit off it? Maybe.

Color It Red’s debut has “Paglisan,” probably their most popular song (though I kind of doubt kids these days even know the song, or the band) and that little known gem “I Need You Here.” The other CD on this double whammy is the band’s sophomore effort Fool’s Circle, which to be honest, I haven’t really listened to. The only song I know from Fool’s Circle is “Pagguhit Ng Bilog,” which I used to hear on the radio around the time the album was released. I think the song is about the confusion between love, lust, and sex?

If you’re thinking that FrancisM’s double album is also a double whammy, no it’s not. It’s a let down. This could’ve been Free Man and Happy Battle. We got Free Man and Free Man 2 instead. On why that is, you might want to read back what I said about the inclusion of Yano’s Tara. Sure, Free Man is a winner, without a doubt FrancisM’s best album. His second best album is either Meron Akong Ano!, which is not under Sony BMG, or Happy Battle, which is under Sony BMG. No, Free Man 2 is nowhere near as good as those two. And yes, this would’ve been a double whammy if it was Happy Battle on Disc 2.

How about the other albums, which I don’t have? Mojofly’s 2-in-1 coffee features their first two albums, one of which houses the minor hit “Scooter Boy,” which according to the band, its title’s resemblance to Avril Lavigne’s “Sk8r Boi” was a mere coincidence. In case you don’t know, these two albums feature Kitchie Nadal on vocals. This was before she left the band, went solo and passed the mic to Lougee Basabas, who prior to joining Mojofly, appeared in Sugarfree’s “Sinta” music video (and I had a crush on her from then on). With Lougee on vocals, the band produced the hit “Tumatakbo,” which of course, isn’t included in this 2-in-1 chai tea.

I haven’t really listened to Mojofly’s first two albums, so I’m listening to Birthday right now. I’m on the fourth track now and so far, it’s pretty good. I like “Minimalas” and “Sinusubukan” is also fine.

Now, after checking the year these albums were originally released, I noted that A Million Stories came out in 2002, it was the “newest” album in the series. These reissues came out in 2006. Considering the four years gap, and as a fan of good album packaging, I wonder if it was wholly possible that the label could’ve just reprinted the two Mojofly albums, just like I presume how they did with Eraserheads albums sometime around late ’00s to early 2010s. I also wonder how come Mojofly albums are out of print already in 2006, considering again, the four years gap. 

But then again, record labels don’t probably print CDs in huge numbers unlike with cassette tapes which were much cheaper. It’s probably only around the mid-00s (when prices for local CDs were adjusted from around Php400 ~ Php450 to around Php250 ~ Php300) l’d ASSUME, that more fans started to buy CDs, especially since labels stopped releasing albums on cassette around that time. I’m sure Sugarfree’s Dramachine was released on both CDs and cassette because I initially bought it on cassette, probably one of the last records to be released on that format. 

Going back to the series, Razorback’s double murder has their second and third album on Disc 1 and 2 respectively. Beggar’s Moon, which I like, and Star, which I haven’t really had the time to listen to. Why not Hebigat Sounds Vol. 1? Well, because it’s on a different label, just like Wolfgang’s debut. Beggar’s Moon has “Munting Paraiso,” and other rifftastic songs. By the way, there’s a line in this song which I initially thought was “Pinili ang suso mo’t iba ang kulay.” When I checked the lyrics online, it’s actually “Pinili ang asul at iba’t ibang kulay.” Talk about an embarrassing case of mondegreen.

Sugar Hiccup? You probably know them for the song “Five Years”? No? The band had two albums under BMG (before its merger with Sony). The first one was produced by Ely Buendia and Raymund Marasigan, and contains the song “Five Years” and “Moden De.” But my favorite Sugar Hiccup song isn’t on any of these two albums. It’s called “Someday” and it’s on Alphanumeric Sampler 502, a compilation of songs from then unsigned bands, among them are Sugar Hiccup and Keltscross.

What else? The CompanY? I have nothing against this church choir (church choirs are generally fine). It’s just that I don’t think I’m among their target audience, which I don’t know exactly what — old Tito’s and Tita’s perhaps? I like “Muntik Na Kitang Minahal,” which is probably not included in this reissue. Grace Nono? Again, not the type of music I’d usually listen to. I appreciate them fine, Grace Nono, and acts like Pinikpikan, them that incorporate ethnic beats and instrumentation, them that remake folk songs like “Sarung Banggi.” But if you would ask me what’s the best version of “Sarung Banggi” for me, or “Pantomina,” nothing could replace the versions I grew up with. The version of “Pantomina” which people would play on really loud speakers every time there’s a wedding in the barrio, that’s the best version for me — and the songs sang by Carmen Camacho. But that’s for another story.

Header borrowed from this post about the impending CDpocalypse.

Top 10 Worst Eraserheads Songs

You’re an Eheads fan I suppose. If so, which are your least favorite Eheads songs? Even Pavement bandleader Stephen Malkmus, a huge R.E.M. fan, so huge he wrote a song so explicitly and specifically about them, has his own least favorite song, which he also mentions in the aforementioned song about R.E.M. Continue reading “Top 10 Worst Eraserheads Songs”

Songs About Eeveeel

With loving hands
And their arms are stretched so wide they can’t seem to take a breath
Knowing evil will prevail
And a million people seems like a lot
And a million people can’t be wrong…
Continue reading “Songs About Eeveeel”

Oil Price Hike Playlist

The recent series of oil price hike reminded me of Lady Diane’s “Sa-Sa-Saddam,” which came out in the early the ’90s, during the Gulf War. If you’re thinking, is that the song that goes… yes, it is what you think it is. But instead of going with the obvious choices, like “Sa-Sa-Saddam,” or more recent songs like Narda’s “GasolinaContinue reading “Oil Price Hike Playlist”

Revisiting Cornershop’s “Brimful of Asha” On a… Compact Disc

Something renewed my interest on this indie rock band called Cornershop, who scored a hit with “Brimful of Asha” back in 1997. No, it’s not this new-ish indie rock group from London who call themselves Bombay Bicycle Club, who probably thought adopting a name based on a defunct Indian restaurant would make it sound like Continue reading “Revisiting Cornershop’s “Brimful of Asha” On a… Compact Disc”

Pavement’s Farewell Horizontal, Harness Your Hopes, and The Age of the Ass

After years of waiting, Terror Twilight: Farewell Horizontal will finally see the light. Of day. If you don’t know what that is, Terror Twilight is Pavement’s fifth and final album, and the only studio album of theirs that has yet to get an expanded or deluxe reissue. Brighten the Corners: Nicene Creedence Ed. came out in 2008; it was the last in the series Continue reading “Pavement’s Farewell Horizontal, Harness Your Hopes, and The Age of the Ass”

Peacemaker, Spider-Man: No Way Home, and Tony Leung’s balls in Lust, Caution

Said goodbye to February without having done what should’ve been done — that which most people tend to do especially during the Love Month. Go on a date, eat out, engage in an unhealthy amount of unprotected or protected sex both — no, I don’t mean any of those. I mean watch movies. Don’t most people watch movies Continue reading “Peacemaker, Spider-Man: No Way Home, and Tony Leung’s balls in Lust, Caution”

Arisaka (2021)

Arisaka is a survival action thriller that has a few prerequisites for it to be worthwhile: You must be able to ignore glaring plot contrivances, the blatant use of incompetent henchmen trope, and the silly part where our heroine (Maja Salvador) finds the remains of a dead WWII Japanese soldier in a cave and proceeds to steal the poor guy’s Arisaka rifle. (Thought it would’ve made more sense if it was the Aetas who gave it to her, but anyway.) Gorgeous cinematography, you say? Sure, but I would definitely dislike it less had the movie not drag and drag for most of its running time. Most of it is just Maja Salvador moaning, grunting, memorizing names for whatever stupid purpose it might serve her, and shambling through the forest just slightly faster than a Romero zombie. How was she able to outrun and escape the rogue cops who were after her? Incompetent henchmen trope, plot armor, lazy writing. The movie also preaches its message about indigenous people so lazily that it makes Lito Lapid’s Hindi Palulupig (1992), with its depiction of Aetas fighting against abusive hacienderos, almost worthy of being included in the National Film Registry — its local counterpart, if there was one. Sure, a lot of effort went into the movie’s look and sound design, and its painstakingly detailed depiction of head shots and exit wounds. And probably a lot less went into writing, plot, and whatever’s that which makes the action beats generate tension and suspense. Arisaka is a formulaic and frustratingly slow B-movie actioner (but will most likely get a pass because it’s) dressed in arthouse/festival circuit clothing.

14 Love Songs

Thought about picking 69 love songs for the Love Month. Then I realized that it was a daunting task, coming up with a list of 69 songs and writing about them. So I settled with 14. Because that’s Benjie Paras’ jersey number, back when he was with the Shell Turbo Chargers. By the way, I got this idea from The Magnetic Fields’ 69 Love Songs, which is Continue reading “14 Love Songs”

5 Cool/Great Album Covers (and 5 Which Are Not)

There are album covers that add something — tone, hue, context — to the listening experience. There are album covers that are just great to look at. There are great albums with ‘meh’ album covers. The opposite is mostly likely also true. Anyway, below are album artworks which I think are cool or great, and album covers which are not. Continue reading “5 Cool/Great Album Covers (and 5 Which Are Not)”

Brighten the Corners

Pavement’s Autumnal Fourth Record Turns 25

It was around the time after Matador released the superlative re-issue of Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain, when I rediscovered Pavement, through the internet, on one Radiohead fansite, on music review sites and online magazines. People were just sharing stuff, and before long, I have Pavement’s first, second, and fourth Continue reading “Brighten the Corners”