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 ang 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”

Bummed Playlist

This could’ve been a Friday Slide playlist, trademark Jam 88.3, I’m making this bummed out playlist instead. A missed opportunity at work due to some late capitalism assessment tool. Then, I have drive to work for at least two weeks (my carpool friend got himself “sanctioned”). Not that I don’t like driving. Continue reading “Bummed Playlist”

Reviews: Kitchie Nadal, Juana, Session Road

Juana – Misbehavior (2005)
I would’ve seen them live one time they opened for Rivermaya — had I come early. But I was late, always late to the party. Late to seek this underappreciated mid-aughts little gem. Late to catch this “Reyna Ng Quezon City” back when she was still queen. By the time I got into them, the band wasn’t Juana anymore — the singer left, their name changed, etc. By the time I looked for their CD, I had to do search & rescue in the remaining record stalls in the malls, meet scalpers, join online second-hand CD groups. What did I miss to have on CD? Turns out, plenty. The minor hits “Ikaw Pa Rin,” “Goodbye,” “Pansinin Mo,” and more. “Connected” is your lost ’90s teenage anthem (I am a lost cause I am a zero / Always the victim and never the hero). “Jealous,” another upbeat number, about a bitchy coworker. In “This Year,” Shirley de Guzman does better than Chantal Kreviazuk, whose earlier version of the song appeared on the Serendipity OST. Whether it’s anticipation, yearning or maybe even desperation — mas ramdam mo ‘yung kanta sa version ng Juana. Mas may gigil din ‘yung tugtugan nila. ‘Yung kay Chantal parang medyo tinatamad pa s’ya eh. A-

Kitchie Nadal – Kitchie Nadal (2004)
See how a single song, a Koreanovela, massive airplay, and poster girl for-cover art helped this turn “megaplatinum” — though probably not in a Nina Live! sort of way. Or see how its success made the label execs/artist management finally realize how to market female rockers: relaunch their careers as solo acts, double-bill ex-Band X and ex-Band Y in concert, and expect windfall from the huge amount of goodwill. Because everybody loves female rockers/singers/songwriters/bandleaders — except when you’re jealous, or just a hater. We’re not even talking about the product endorsements and TV ads that followed. But but but the rest of this album rarely inspire nor evoke the same energy as the famous Koreanovela/radio hit — yes, the one with Onemig Bondoc cameo in the MV. “Run” and “Same Ground” do suffice respectively, as the forgotten first single and obligatory but solid follow-up, but the rest don’t quite stir up as much. Don’t like it when she gets preachy (“Bulong”) but I do like that she strains her cords in the final track, “Fire” — something this album could definitely use a little more of. B

Session Road – Suntok Sa Buwan (2004)
Competent bar band with a few songs to show for (“Suntok Sa Buwan,” “Cool Off”) and at least a couple of cuts, betraying their influences. Regretfully theirs or not, “Leaving You” borrows not only its I-ii-iii-IV from “Garmonbozia” (the song, not the creamed corn from Twin Peaks), but also its hook. Sure, it is its own thing, as with the rest. But the whole LP also kind of drags, esp. after blasting your speakers with Superdrag. B-

Bamboo Dogs (2018)

Bamboo Dogs is set in the ’90s, said to be based on actual events. Four criminals were arrested and brought to the precinct due to miscommunication between different police departments. They are police “assets” as said repeatedly by one of the cops. And so they had to be brought to the camp and to be released later, as ordered by a certain “chief.” The road trip begins: four guys and four cops inside an old L300. Might probably be best not to know which actual events this was based on — to keep one guessing, or keep one from having expectations. Not that we can’t expect Khavn to do something “twisted,” or make his own version of the “official” report that we got from the news. It does have the elements to be expected in a road movie — a Khavn road movie that is: a freak parade, song numbers, a cat caught and obliterated in the van’s wheel, jokes about sex, women, and jokes about the youngest gang member — because he’s 14 and still a virgin, still uncircumcised — “supot” just like Sylvester Stallone in one of those “bold” movies. Interactions both rowdy and earnest help flesh out these characters. They’re most probably “assets,” but some of them have families too waiting for them at home, just like the two officers tasked to transfer them to the HQ, Esquivel (Dido dela Paz) and Corazon (Sue Prado), who just happened to be the ones “assigned” to do “the task.” Curiously, the two other cops sitting in front of the van were kept in the shade for most of the movie. Their stories, the playful back-and-forth make obvious the link between the two groups — the cops and the crooks — something those who were behind the actual events wanted to bury, liquidate. At 80 minutes, Bamboo Dogs is relatively easier to sit thru than Balangiga. It’s dark, twisted, pointedly critical, and oftentimes funny — with a surreal ‘life flashing before your eyes’ moment near the end, and a Rez Cortez dance number in the credits.

Ang Babaeng Walang Pakiramdam (2021)

Not really into movie love teams. But if this real-life couple, this Kim-Jerald tandem (not that Kim-Gerald, this Kim-Jerald) is considered such, then I am somewhat into this particular pair. There are bits that are laugh out loud funny (you probably saw already in the trailers e.g., Pinoy Henyo, pork & beans, the lugaw/goto scene), and there are annoying unfunny parts. Candy Pangilinan as the tsimosa/kapitbahay kills it as usual, even if she’s playing a type. But that bit about parents not wanting to see their child get bullied/get hurt/feel pain and child wishing to spare the parents from experiencing and sharing the same, is played so straightforward, so “undramatic,” thus making it a genuine MMK moment. It’s dramatic, minus all the drama, if that makes sense. Makes you wonder how a movie so un-PC and “insensitive” could also say something about trauma, bullying, suicide that actually rings true. That despite all the ngongo jokes and gags about Tasha’s inability to feel pain, it also managed to be (somewhat) sincere? And best of all, this movie has a WTF ending — probably my favorite WTF ending of the year.

Best Movies I’ve Seen in 2021

“Movies are our cheap and easy expression, the sullen art of displaced persons. Because we feel low we sink in the boredom, relax in the irresponsibility, and maybe grin for a minute when the gunman lines up three men and kills them with a single bullet, which is no more “real” to us than the nursery-school story of the brave little tailor.” Pauline Kael. Trash, Art, and the Movies. It’s a nice read. Even though I don’t know all the movies she mentioned in it. Continue reading “Best Movies I’ve Seen in 2021”

Mga Paborito Kong Kanta sa Taong 2021

A few months ago, I was listening to some of Zild Benitez’s songs on YouTube. On the second or third song, I wondered, these songs don’t sound the same as I remember. Only then did I realize that I was actually listening to a different set of songs, from a different album, Zild’s second album. I thought they were from Continue reading “Mga Paborito Kong Kanta sa Taong 2021”

Alcoholiday: Drinking Songs

Bakit Ba? Siakol. Nagaaliw sa usok at beer lang ang kasama. You can forgive the song’s overt sentimentality. Obviously, the guy’s already drunk even before the first line. And you know some guys are like that when they’re brokenhearted. And drunk.

Syota ng Bayan. Grin Department. Probably the most un-PC in the list. And it isn’t totally about drinking either. But you know me, I’ll include a song even for the slightest hint of alcohol in the lyrics. Even if it’s denatured or rubbing alcohol we’re talking about. This is what lack of alcohol does to a MF.

Di Ko Alam. Grin Department. Why this song? Because it’s hard to drink with the girl when you’re in the friendzone.

Salamat. The Dawn. Corporate rock at its finest but corporate rock nonetheless. I don’t really like The Dawn or this song, even though it automatically makes me think of ice-cold San Miguel Beer. But if you’re a fan, you can argue that even Fernando Amorsolo worked for La Tondena before (back when it was Ayala Distillery).

Sige. 6cyclemind. The thing with 6cyclemind is that, no matter how you dislike them, most of their songs (the better ones) are videoke staples. Also, because Eraserheads’ songs are usually harder to sing (Spoliarium, El Bimbo, Magasin).

Sabado Nights. Rizal Underground. The band sampled a riff from Juan Dela Cruz’ “Mamasyal sa Pilipinas.” And you may forget about this JDC tidbit but maybe not the lady in black T-shirt in that Sabado Nights TV commercial.

Spoliarium. Eraserheads. It’s not about something so sinister as some people think/used to think. By the way, “Wasak Waltz” is medyo cringe (Sorry, so conyo). Medyo pilit s’ya. At saka cliche na ‘yung ‘wasak’ nung ni-release ‘tong kantang ‘to. If I remember correctly, Ely once said that some of his songs (post-Eraserheads) were intially written for beer commercials. Maybe “Wasak Waltz” was one of those.

Bananatype. Eraserheads. Hey! What’s your name? Hindi mo ba alam na akoy lasing? This is Ely at his wackiest, and maybe Eheads at their bluesiest. Watch out for references to Tekken’s Jun Kazama (aahh, ‘yun pala ‘yun) and Mario O’Hara.

Giyang. Razorback. Conyo rock not at its finest but conyo rock nonetheless. Ugh.

Baso. Maude. The rare 2010’s song in the list. And… that’s all.

Hudas. Bamboo. ‘Pag sila’y nagtatawanang malakas, tinatawanan lang tayo. O ‘di kaya isang tropa lang sila, ang demonyo, si San Pedro at ang Diyos. ‘Nuff said.

Straight No Chaser. Rivermaya. Nathan Azarcon, patron saint of the broken, wrote “She’s So Uncool,” “Homecoming,” and this. While it is really about drinking it straight — no chaser — like that Siakol song above, this is also about a girl.

Gin Pomelo. Radioactive Sago Project. How the f*ck did I forget about this one the first time?

Inuman Na. Parokya Ni Edgar. This song could go on and on for as long as everyone knows the chorus (nevermind the verse) and until the guitarist couldn’t play the right chords anymore. Because he’s drunk already. We’re drunk already. And neighbors were already angry.

Pare Ko. Eraserheads. The post-basted group therapy song. You can be Siakol and drink alone with your misery or you can drink with friends which is probably a lot more fun.

Masaya. Bamboo. Ako’y malungkot na naman. Amoy chico na ako, ilang tagay na hindi pa rin tulog. What I wrote about “Straight No Chaser,” I should have written for this. This song hits really hard. Ang pag-ibig, ganyan talaga. Sa una lang masaya.

Alkohol. Eraserheads. This one’s from Raymund Marasigan. He wrote a Larry Alcala Slice of Life, where people are drunk, drinking, and all the things described in the song.

Laklak. Teeth. Someone needs to write a song about different type and brands of beer (or whiskey or whatever your weapon of choice is) the way The End wrote and sang about cars in “Drive My BM” just for the sake of it. Just for fun. You know, a song where there’s a line that mentions Heineken, San Miguel, Tiger, Sapporo… and rhymes Carlsberg with Spielberg. Why not a song about the perils of alcoholism? Well, because Teeth already did that.

Beer. Itchyworms. If including a song that has little to do with drinking (see above: Syota ng Bayan) is what lack of alcohol does to a MF, this song is what lack of pussy [and plenty of alcohol] does to a MF. Is he in denial phase? Or he got drunk so hard that he reached the tipping point of letting go. Either way, this song asks the ultimate fucking question. Ano ba talagang mas gusto ko: ang beer na ‘to o ang pag-ibig mo?

Photo from Reddit.

Movies, DVDs, and other horror stories

The Shining. Me and my cousins watched this together with other kids in a ‘piso-piso Betamax movie house,’ which is not really a movie house by the way, but an actual house. We watched this movie in somebody’s living room. You know what’s just as scary as the movie itself? My cousin whispering to my ear Continue reading “Movies, DVDs, and other horror stories”

Breeder’s Digest

If you haven’t read or seen anything (trailers, reviews, clips) related to On the Job: The Missing 8, maybe the better, for maximum impact. Because that’s what I did. Of course, I knew that John Arcilla won an award, and I saw somewhere a meme-able Agot Isidro with the bangs. What I didn’t know was that Dennis Trillo is also in the movie, sporting a mullet and a broken nose — because mullet is action movie thugs signature haircut and having a broken nose is the surest way you can make Trillo convincing as a convicted criminal — something director Erik Matti probably learned in the first movie after they cast Gerald Anderson to play an inmate/hitman. Watched it as six-part mini-series on HBO and found that they split and re-edited On the Job (2013), the first movie, for the first two episodes. Episodes 3 to 6 is basically the second movie, The Missing 8 (2021), which was screened this year in the 78th Venice International Film Festival. It’s almost 4 hours long — maybe too long to watch in one sitting and probably works best as a mini-series. And if you’ve seen On the Job before, you can skip the first two episodes. If you haven’t, then this is the best chance to see it. And before I reveal more information about the series (since I’m recommending to go in blind), let me say that it’s one of the best movies/series I’ve seen this year. It’s despairing as it is entertaining. By the way, here’s pogi-rock classic for ya.

Breeder’s Digest

I had a really scary dream the other night. Can’t remember the earlier part of it but I remember the best parts. And guess what, it’s a two-part dream. In Part 1, I was visited by a ghost in my bed. I don’t really remember what she looked like and I don’t really want to remember. Maybe she’s a white lady. Continue reading “Breeder’s Digest”

Violator (2014)

Five men find themselves stranded inside a police station during a typhoon. And with them is a prisoner who may o may not be the devil. Violator seems to be about ‘beliefs’, preconceived notions, about life, death, religion, among other things. About how one’s belief is confronted — usually by horrifying experience (e.g., a dead student with pig’s head in a classroom, witnessing a cop casually murder a captured drug pusher), or how others confront their beliefs by doing horrifying things (e.g., committing suicide, shooting at the statues of the Sto. Niňo). Not a big fan of the “flashing light” effects. Find it more annoying than scary/disorienting/whatever it was intended for. But of the last three esoteric/mind fuck/horror movies I’ve seen, this one I liked the most. Violator (2014), In the Earth (2021), Midnight in the Perfect World (2021) (set in a future where smartphones don’t have LED flashlights?) — in that order, if I have to rank them. In the Earth has the most fully realized psychedelic nightmare, the annoying strobe lights notwithstanding. But Violator has the better story — stories — about ghosts, demonic possessions, religious cults, the inner workings of the police organization. The movie doesn’t seem to have a plot, at least not until the second half, when the puzzle pieces start falling into place. Even then, the pacing doesn’t necessarily pick up. There’s a sense of constant dread, that something isn’t right, but it never quite builds up. The devil may not be in the details, but the devil is the movie’s most interesting creation. And leaves you a hanging question: If you believe in the devil, does it mean you also believe in God?

Breeder’s Digest

Contrary to that Ben Folds Five song (which none of you probably knows), nobody wants to be Kate. No, not in this movie. Nobody would want to be in her position. Female assassin and young girl pairing works better here than in Gunpowder Milkshake, the same way the multiple double crosses works better Continue reading “Breeder’s Digest”

King of Comedy (1999)

There’s a stitched together quality to Stephen Chow’s and Lee Lik-chi’s King of Comedy as Sin-Tau (Chow) goes through boom and bust cycles (more like bust, bust, boom, bust… really) trying to land an acting job while frequenting a movie set where a production crew is shooting an action film starring Hong Kong superstar Cucko (Karen Mok). That said, King of Comedy is also terribly funny, full of hilarious stuff. The scene where Sin-Tau finally gets to audition for the male lead opposite Cucko, is hands down one of the funniest gag ever. The third act, which seems to come out of nowhere, where Chow goes undercover posing as a lunchbox delivery man to infiltrate a triad, is both tense and swift. Tense like Leonardo di Caprio in Martin Scorsese’s The Departed (which, by the way, is a remake of Hong Kong triad movie Infernal Affairs) and swift like Tony Leung in a movie by John Woo, whose over-the-top gunfights, this movie spoofed in one of its movie set sequence where Sin-Tau plays a background character — church shootouts, Mexican stand-offs, doves, heroine with arms outstretched firing two handguns, you name it. Some say this might be Stephen Chow’s most heartfelt film. Probably the most grounded too—no high flying soccer players, no mermaids, no kung fu masters. Just Chow playing a bit player trying to make it big in the movies, and Cecilia Cheung playing hooker with a heart of gold and transcending hooker with a heart of gold types. If you like Chow’s other movies like God of Cookery and Kung Fu Hustle, you’d like this one for sure.