December Avenue – Langit Mong Bughaw (2019)

decemberIs it just me, or the album cover of December Avenue’s Langit Mong Bughaw really looks like that of a worship album—or worse, songs for funeral services? Listen to “Intro” and tell me if it doesn’t feel like riding really slow and heavenly and cold at the same time. It may surprise some that this band has been around for more than a decade already. It took them five years to release their debut, which houses the lone Tagalog title “Eroplanong Papel,” which I deservedly dismissed—it’s not Sugarfree nor Typecast nor Silent Sanctuary ca. Fuchsiang Pag-ibig. A competent emo-pop bar band and decent musicians, you’d wish they invest more on the songs than whatever tricks they have up their sleeves. Then, they actually did. Invest on the writing that is. And like the boy-best friend who’s always there, the less popular girl who got ditched for the prom queen, or the nerdy teen you never gave a chance, the band just move along until they finally find their darling listeners. Not the third gen emo crowd but YouTube/Spotify/WishFM one. “Kung ‘Di Rin Lang Ikaw” may be their most viewed hit but my vote goes to the song they released in 2017. And while I prefer the alternate title over the official one, I’m relieved that with YouTube/Google, no one’s going to get lost in the record store looking for “Hanggang Sa Dulo Ng Walang Hanggan.” So, you take it all, cheesy title included, and immerse yourself in love/pain/whatever. Maybe someday, you’ll get sick of it all and finally learn to let go. Of course, this could use a little variation, some diversion, something light, different, like Sanctuary’s “Pink 5ive” or “Summer Song.” Otherwise this would be of little use once you’ve finally moved on. B+  

Ben&Ben – Limasawa Street (2019)

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

Shirebound & Busking – For Princesses, By Thieves (O Mga Awit ng Hiraya Para sa Guni-guning Sinta) (2019)

shireNo ‘Lloydy’ here and he’s no Frodo either. And if you’d ask a Star Wars die-hard fan, there’s only one “Return.” The opening track put a smile on my face like in some deleted scene from Avengers: Infinity War—I thought The Mountain Goats—almost. That smile didn’t last long unfortunately, as I waited for the next winner (“Miss Mosh,” “Waltz of Four Left Feet”). C+

Zild – Homework Machine (2020)

You’ll get the impression that the lyrics are mostly somewhat broad for anyone to parse, sometimes vague enough for one to take a second look. Some acerbic lines tell that there’s a word war still going on, between you know who and who. Others reveal that this is most probably made in mom’s and pop’s basement — with their credit limit to spare. Ideas, images rarely pop out; stories, characters seldom come to life. But they’re there, floating around in colorful 3D wallpaper. A track or two remind me of that lo-fi girl with her headphones, and we already have plenty of that on YouTube. So, yes, redundant, recyclable. Musically, he’s craftier than his “Mundo” co-writer, who probably ran out of TP after one album, that he had to fart around with a boring instrumental and an even more boring sound collage.

Zild – Huminga (2021)

The problem with going retro isn’t with sounding old, it’s with not sounding like new, fresh. Sometimes it’s just rehashed stuff, sometimes it’s just wallpaper music, interchangeable, recycleable i.e., Zild’s not-really-that-old old group’s debut. On his second, Zild managed, not quite surprisingly, a few exceptions, the ones about respite, repose, dying. I also kinda like the one about his shape-shifting girlfriend (“Di mo kailangang baguhin ang iyong anyo”). Though I’m probably more intrigued by it more than than I actually liked the song. Is her skin blue? Does she have thick hair on her back, arms? Is she a mutant? An aswang? (My aunt expert in this branch of folklore said aswang are commonly very beautiful people.) Is she like Natassia Kinski in Cat People? I could go on. And whether it’s in UP, QC, or wherever, Zild blows his cover when he asked her mother (whom he addresses as ‘queen,’ which makes the girlfriend, y’know, a princess!) for permission. Up to five o’clock only — in the afternoon, I suppose. 5 AM? You can imagine Zild’s face brighten up and then turn into disappointment when the queen says, “No, PM.” What the fuck was he thinking? Maybe because she shapeshifts at dusk? Overnight? During, um, sleep? I don’t know. Again, I’m intrigued, not because the song calls for or deserves it, just the poor choice of word, which he admits to as much. B+ 

Callalily – Destination XYZ (2006)

They didn’t come out of some teenage girl’s computer, like Kelly Lebrock did in Weird Science, though they might as well have, since they perfectly fit the bill — the teenage girls’ wet dream — the perfect pogi rock boyband. Hale for the good looks, Sponge Cola for the swagger. Too bad they sound closer to 6cyclemind, and you’d likely fail the blind test, if you don’t know the songs. Worse, they sound like second-tier 6cyclemind i.e., most of 6cycle stuff post-Permission to Shine. Not just the teary-eyed choruses, but insufferable lyrics too: “You are my light/ You are my home/ You are my sanctuary/ You are my peace/ You give me hope/ You are my sanctuary.” Yes, that’s from a song called “Sanctuary” for chrissakes. There are hints of hooks in the not really frontloaded first side (“Pasan”), and there’s the much needed energy missing mostly, in the passable closing tracks. It’s overall lacking, a dud — unless, the absolutely mid “Star” already made you cream your pant(ie)s. B- 

Callalily – Fisheye (2008)

This supposedly more mature, more emotional second effort confirms what was only sus in their first: they’re far worse than 6cyclemind (thanks, mainly, to J. D. Hernandez). Another suspicion, they’re pop balladeers trapped in a pop-rock band. That they’d probably do better writing pop ballads — slow, downtempo, melodramatic. That is, if they could only write really good songs, which of course they don’t. They go for overly dramatic choruses (with sentiments worthy of bad telenovela), which they set up with predictable intros and the most leaden verses/pre-choruses. Suggested experiment: compile all the songs’ choruses and excise the rest (verses, intros, string arrangement — btw adding strings to your song doesn’t automatically makes it epic), and make something like Neil Young’ Arc, except instead of feedbacks/noise, it’d be chorus cringe-fest galore. Belabored, constipated, amelodic, and what emotional? Sample lyrics: “Wala na naman akong kausap/ Nalulungkot na ako / Nalulungkot na talaga ako.” Depressingly bad and sad, isn’t it? Wait till you hear Kian Cipriano lose his sanity while he sings them. D+

Kiko Machine – Kiko Machine (2004)

Not only do they idolize macho and mustachioed ex-VST, they also want to be surrounded by groupies and be on the cover of Pulp Magazine. And if all else fail, they’ll settle for the best worst job in the world: to star in adult movies (“Boldstar”). Of course, they’ll do everything for love, even when faced with plain rejection, which never sounded so diverting and heartening as the one about winning in Takeshi’s Castle. Should’ve gotten into them back when their DVD (which isn’t really a DVD) was still available in the nearest record store, back when this “action movie” was still on display in the store’s movie section. Not a big loss, but a loss nonetheless; that fake action movie DVD cover alone is an all-timer. What else did I miss to have on compact disc? Not the lame-ass TV show themes they commissioned for Studio 23 (one for a “youth-oriented” talk show, the other for a “youth-oriented” animated shorts), which should have been placed as bonus tracks after “Gabi,” the last song on this CD. Mainly because they take you out of the album’s central concept. That said, the song about “Royal Rumble” makes you nostalgic for the days when you’re still not sure WWF was scripted or not. Their tribute to “Val Sotto” is also an all-timer, prolly beats PNE’s “Mr. Suave” by a pube or two. I’m not sure they already made it to the cover of Pulp but this I’m sure: their funky number about McGyver is a hoot (“Suka at toyo, kayang gawing bomba / Lumang tubo, kayang gawing bazooka / Lumang bumbilya nagagawang granada / Wala pa ring tatalo kay McGyver / Ultimate problem-solver”). B+ 

Cheats – Cheats (2015)

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

Cheats – Before the Babies (2017)

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

Various Artists – Ultraelectromagneticjam: The Music of the Eraserheads (2005)

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

Various Artists – The Reunion (An Eraserheads Tribute Album) (2012)

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

Various Artists – Pop Machine the Album: A Collective of Artists Turning Heads This 2020 (2020)

cs4366581-02a-bigTurning heads, I’m not sure. Munimuni certainly did a better job than Callalily. But they covered the wrong song. Think they should’ve tried “Kailan” instead. Ciudad’s “Aling Nena” is just too clean, too precise, too close to the original (except for the hilarious spoken parts i.e., “ee-sang ae-raaw”), therefore totally defeating the purpose. Most of these are recyclable. (Ask: why should I listen to this instead of the original?) Except for 1) The Borrachos’ raspy gin-fueled bluesy cover of “Poorman’s Grave.” Borracho as in drunk. (In Bicol, we call them burat. No, not that “burat”—put it back in—the other one.) And 2) Reese Lansangan’s transcendent version of “Huwag Kang Matakot.” Ely Buendia said he wrote the song for Eon. Reese Lansangan re-imagines it as a mother’s lullaby for her child–vision, material, execution—all aligned to perfection. B

Various Artists – The Best of Manila Sound: Hopia Mani Popcorn (2006)

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

Various Artists – The Best of Manila Sound: Hopia Mani Popcorn 2 (2008)

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

Various Artists – Bagong Banda… Awit ni Sampaguita (2008)

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

She’s Only Sixteen – She’s Only Sixteen (2012)

sixteenWhatever happened to these buzzworthy garage/punk bands of the early 2010s. The ButcherCons, She’s Only Sixteen, the relatively lesser known Rebelle Fleur. Okay, we got one full length album (Coalesce), another EP, and this. Four cuts plus a bonus acoustic version of the first single. “Nothing to Say” would have made this even better. Like The ButcherCons before them, She’s Only Sixteen demonstrates the credo other startups should adhere to—take something and make it your own—at least with the A-sides (“Amygdala,” “Dying to Meet You”). Which makes the Arctic Monkeys-The Strokes influence/comparison the B-sides seem to have made more obvious, easier to ignore. B+  

She’s Only Sixteen – Whatever That Was (2017)

shesonlyIn some alternate timeline, this is already full-length album number 2. But in our timeline, this is the full-length debut. Five years is a long time. And their former label “shelving” them for the same length of time effectively prevented them from releasing that (alternate timeline) first album that would connect the dots between Whatever That Was and their eponymous EP. Sure that first album would have sounded different than this. But then again, if this is album number 2, this would probably sound different too. The long wait and disappointments that comes with it seem to have turned the once sweet into sour, slowed down their tempos, sucked out the fun. This has none of what little lighting in a bottle they captured in the first EP. I liked them better back when they had more energy to spare, even when they had nothing really meaningful to say, back when they’re dying to date underage girls—roughly same age as them I suppose—instead of wanting to be left alone, back when they thought they had this “can’t get you out of my head” effect on them girls, who go to their gigs and love them. B- 

Yurei – The Problem of Grunge… (2015)

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

Maude – Pelota Court (2014)

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

Maude – Aurora (2018)

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

This Band – ‘Kahit Ayaw Mo Na’ (2018)

kahitI first heard this song somewhere but the first time I really paid attention to it was when I heard a young girl sing the song on videoke in a birthday party. And even though the song starts off somewhat like a Moira copycat, even though what it is about, we already heard more than a dozen times before, the song’s build up and chorus pretty much made it what it is—a hit—it very much deserves all kinds of accolades, hit/like/views it gets. Whether it’s the miracle of engineering (i.e., mixing), each member’s restraint or both, you have to admire them for zeroing in on band dynamics, minimalist arrangements, and sounding like really tight band on an acoustic night open mic and nailing every breath, every note, every beat.

Tiger Pussy – People You Hate (2013)

a3361513058_10You thought Oh, Flamingo! narrows the gender gap. Though the boys play guitars and the girls, backbeat and rhythm. As the old adage goes, no one comes to shows for the drummer, much less the bass player (except maybe if they’re girls and one of them is Pat Sarabia). Well, wait till you see/hear Tiger Pussy because Jan Sunday doesn’t like relegating women to the back. And if you’re thinking you heard it all before—no, NOT exactly, the “drums are punchier, the structures trickier” (Christgau) and the songs are twenty-fold punkier than what’s in Dookie 20 years ago. Despite the genre’s supposed familiarity, this four-piece punk rock band from Cebu keeps you at your toes, keeps it interesting. Yes, they’re from Cebu, home to Urbandub, Sheila & the Insects and… that famous lechon (no, I wasn’t gonna say Cueshe but that’s also true). And having withdrawn from this type of music for quite a long time now (and lechon as well — yes, I turned semi-vegan almost a year ago), Tiger Pussy’s People You Hate comes as a forceful, refreshing re-introduction to the loud, fast and spunky — that I’m tempted to, and therefore might as well, eat lechon again — if I’m given another crunchy tasty roasted chance. Jan Sunday and co. keep the ‘grrr’ and the ‘riot’ in the riot grrrl punk.

The Buildings – Cell-O-Phane (2016)

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

beabadoobee – Space Cadet (2019)

beabadoobeeImagine if Reese Lansangan listened to Pavement. Filipino-British indie darling Beatrice a.k.a. beabadoobee released a whooping 5 EP’s in 2019 (Space Cadet is EP #5) and she did what most Pavement lovers never thought of before (“I Wish I Was Stephen Malkmus”). Of course being half-British she wants to see the “Sun More Often” and she says “often” with a “T”—unlike her American English-taught Filipino fans. B

Megumi Acorda – Unexpectedly (2018)

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

Munimuni – Simula (2017)

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

Coeli – Here Today (2018)

coeli“Under a Bluer Sky” reminds me of Cynthia Alexander. But it’s not the real highlight in Coeli’s 4-track EP Here Today. It’s the nearly six-minute “Magkaibigan o Magka-ibigan”, a modern kundiman about, well, read the title again. Despite clocking at 5:50, which makes it the second longest song in the EP (the shortest is 4-minute plus btw), the song has an LSS-inducing chorus that just gets more LSS-inducing with repeated listening. A-

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-