Review: Ang Bandang Shirley’s ‘Themesongs’

Themesongs isn't really as great, much less original, as all those millennial kids who raved about it before would have you believe. Musically, it's mostly just second-hand twee. But the songs are playful, quirky, they'd make you wanna jump, dance or chase around your hun and give him/her your tweest embrace when you catch him/her.... Continue Reading →

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Review: Ang Bandang Shirley’s ‘Tama Na Ang Drama’

Now this, is Album Of The Year material. Probably the most exciting local indie-rock record from the 2010's. This sophomore effort is said to be more collegial, mature and sophisticated than the debut. The band, easily averting the proverbial sophomore slump---if there is still such a thing. All this, according to the fans, critics, and... Continue Reading →

Teenage Retirement (Chumped, 2014)

Chumped's Teenage Retirement is for the young and restless, even the young at heart, those who dance to punk, power pop, anything with fuzz as long as its fast, melodic, those who love getting drunk with friends, talk about their "shitty" lives, teenage woes. It's an unhealthy mix of broken hearts, drunken nights, wasted time, melodic... Continue Reading →

Head Trip In Every Key (Superdrag, 1998)

Some said 'Rock is dead' in '98 and electronica (i.e., Prodigy, The Chemical Brothers) is the next big thing. Well, Grunge died, sort of---after Cobain's death, Pearl Jam's No Code flopped, and Soundgarden split up. Unbeknownst to many, Pavement's Brighten the Corners actually saved Rock n' Roll in '97. And paved the way for Superdrag's... Continue Reading →

Hebigat Sounds Volume One (Razorback, 1995)

Hebigat Sounds sounds fine--but Inuman Sessions Vol.1 would have been more apt for this debut from Razorback. From the opening motif of "Tabi Ng Bulkan" to that riff that's played repeatedly and ends "Diwata," Razorback delivers bad-ass goods---equal parts booze, rock & roll---but not much else. "Stand by...rolling." Self-reflexivity: Check. I took one bottle, poured... Continue Reading →

Kupal Destroyer (Tubero, 2018)

Tubero Brings Heavy Honest Pure Metal Music To The Fore There's no beating around the bush, no matter how thick the bush may be. They play hard, erect and direct. With songs the starts and expires as fast as one can say "Mamatay Ka Na," titles that could make blush even the likes of Boy... Continue Reading →

This Year (Moonstar88, 2012)

This Year, Moonstar88’s answer to their fans, is either a long EP or a short LP. Or rather it’s more like a second disc to a repackaged Todo Combo. Only you don’t have to purchase the same album again (in case you already have) just to get the bonus disc. Nor their label needs to repackage that... Continue Reading →

Kiko Machine (Kiko Machine, 2004)

The lads of Kiko Machine, indie/comedy/rock band composed of Fine Arts students from UP, aren't very fine, to say the least. Not only do they idolize a second-rate moustachioed matinee, they also dream to be on the cover of Pulp magazine, and if all else fail, they'll do everything to become boldstars. Musically, I'll put them somewhere... Continue Reading →

All My Friends (tide/edit, 2018)

Is this where it all starts to bleed together? Is this where it all starts to sound the same? I’m mean those towels hanging on the cover of IDEAS. Towels, ideas, songs—spin them thrice in the washing machine and colours will bleed for sure. Ditto with these tunes, tracks, songs.After Lightfoot, I have little use... Continue Reading →

Foreign Languages (tide/edit, 2014)

Math makes the intangible tangible, defines the imaginary, helps explain what seems to be, well, unexplainable---like our universe. With Foreign Languages, indie-rock quartet tide/edit does something---not exactly opposite---different. The tunes in Foreign Languages, they aren't easy to describe or explain---not that one needs to---yet they could easily capture one’s attention and/or imagination. tide/edit's music has... Continue Reading →

Effect Desired None

Probably Not But Most Definitely had me confused. They could have easily given Cynthia Alexander a run for her money (not that record sales equates to big money in the early aughts, not that there were any significant record sales numbers to begin with), I just don't get what the (vagina) monologues are for. What... Continue Reading →

The Oktaves (The Oktaves, 2013)

Not quite as dismal as the last collaboration album with Ely Buendia's name on it. But not quite as good as Pupil's (or Hilera's) last album either. In case anyone's forgotten already, The Oktaves is Ely Buendia's kind-of-full-time-but-not-really other band, a supergroup who don't seem to hang out together. Or maybe they do hang out,... Continue Reading →

Rivermaya Albums Ranked From Worst To Best

Rivermaya never got rejected by record labels because their songs weren't "pop enough." They never experienced selling tickets only so they could play in Club Dredd. If there's anything naysayers had to say about Rivermaya, it's that they were manufactured (they were the brainchild of Chito Roño and Liza Nakpil), they never toiled the underground... Continue Reading →

Follow the Leader (Ciudad, 2012)

The trajectory Ciudad took from Happy Bear to Follow the Leader, isn't quite slanted and enchanted turning into bright corners until terror twilight comes in. See, Pavement references Ella Fitzgerald, not Helmet; Ciudad, on the other hand, echoes Korn, the fathers-in-denial of the bastard sub-genre called Nu Metal. Maybe they're more like The Dead Milkmen, who... Continue Reading →

Atomic Bomb (Rivermaya, 1997)

Took me a long time to fully appreciate Rivermaya's third album. Yes, the title's cliche and the album's more obtuse than a solid bang, but that's not it. Only lately did I realize what's keeping me from really enjoying this album. It's the track sequence. Of course, it's just probably me but I'm thinking about... Continue Reading →

RiverMaya (Rivermaya, 1994)

Aside from the hits (e.g., 214), Rivermaya, with this debut, gave what fans couldn't get from the Eraserheads: a pop-rock band with considerable skills and rockstars look and feel. (Though that's not something they couldn't get with either After Image or Alamid.) This idea of THE perfect band and the band's five-hit-string that parallels that... Continue Reading →

High & Dry: My Top 5 Radiohead LPs

"Hey, here's the new Radiohead album", a friend offered few months ago. I put it on, listened. So this is how they sound now. Interesting, I thought. But theirs is not the kind of music that I need. At least for now. Some people find meaning in lyrics that reflects the despairing things happening around... Continue Reading →

Your Universe (Rico Blanco, 2008)

Before we were re-introduced to the now solo Rico Blanco, the story went like this: the then-Rivermaya frontman went MIA; his former band, reduced to a trio, released the brilliant Bagong Liwanag, then staged an overblown TV search for a frontman, a new member. Meanwhile, some speculated Rico Blanco formed a new band and he's... Continue Reading →

Buddha’s Pest (The Mongols, 2004)

Got Buddha's Pest few months ago---got it pre-loved, second-hand, from eBay. As advertised, it is in mint condition. The CD inserts, with production notes and lyrics, are still intact---means the previous owner really took good care of it. It's quite amusing though, that the liner notes come with directions and precautions, warning about the dangers... Continue Reading →

Light Peace Love (Bamboo, 2005)

As The Music Plays, more than anything else, was about how "ecstatic" the band was, that its principal songwriter's friend, the rockstar vocalist had finally came back, after deserting them, some five years ago. It was good---that debut/comeback album---but not without its flaws. The lesser songs, I could barely remember now. This rushed follow-up is... Continue Reading →

Ultraelectromagneticpop! (Eraserheads, 1993)

Ultraelectromagneticpop isn't so much groundbreaking as it is an excellent pop record. The songs may sound pretty dated by now, but back in 1993, they didn't sound like anything else. Thanks mainly to the local mainstream music, which back in 1993, sounded like it was still 1983.

Ourselves the Elves, The Strange Creatures

Two excellent lovely twinkly EPs... It’ll Be Alright (Ourselves the Elves, 2013) What elevates this from the rest of female-fronted bands of local indieland, I don’t know exactly. Maybe it’s the lack of synths. Or the lo-fi prod perhaps? Maybe it’s the untamed cymbals occasionally clashing with the guitars. Or maybe it’s the intimate air... Continue Reading →

Sticker Happy (Eraserheads, 1997)

A few of my favorite records came out in 1997. Pavement’s fourth “masterpiece” Brighten the Corners was released that year. Ditto with Radiohead’s critically acclaimed OK Computer and Foo Fighters’ The Colour and the Shape. In the same year, Teeth returned with Bum Squad EP and a healthier Glenn Jacinto. Then the Eraserheads, fresh from... Continue Reading →

As The Music Plays (Bamboo, 2004)

They caught and drowned the front man of the world's worst rock and roll band. He was out of luck because nobody gave a fuck. The jury gathered all around the aqueduct, drinking and laughing and lighting up, reminiscing just how bad he sucked, singing “Throw him in the river, throw him in the river... Continue Reading →

Bananatype (Eraserheads, 1997)

Before Sticker Happy came out late in 1997, Eraserheads released an EP called Bananatype. For a band that has released one LP every year since 1993, a stopgap midyear release was nothing short of surprising. They just have too many songs for the new album that they have to put away some of them, the... Continue Reading →

Dating Gawi (Rico Blanco, 2015)

This isn’t just fantasy superband come true. This is the superband that supersedes all other superbands in recent memory – Bamboo, Franco, Audioslave, Atoms for Peace, and even the Oktaves. I mean, c'mon, this is Rivermaya’s main man and one-half of the Eraserheads – two godhead bands from the 90’s – in one album. Okay,... Continue Reading →

The Blashuvec (Rebelle Fleur, 2013)

Like with any guitar-heavy rock band, one can namedrop the usual suspects with ease - Nirvana, Pavement, Husker Du - as usual. But one has to realize how tonally and aesthetically disparate those bands were and that their least common denominator is a RAT pedal. Yes, the singer strains his cords like Cobain and the guitars are... Continue Reading →

Fat Salt & Flame (Sandwich, 2013)

Fat Salt & Flame opens with grinding of the axes that segues into a series of build up and release - a layer cake of feedback and guitar screech. Around the two minute mark, you start to wonder - either they forgot the lyrics or somebody forgot to switch on the mic. But it never... Continue Reading →

Zilch (Pupil, 2015)

Three albums in and Pupil goes back to zero - a restart, a new beginning. Yan Yuzon's out and erstwhile Mongol Jerome Velasco comes in. The angular riffs and dream-pop soundscapes are out - traded for the more compact ones. The alt-rock palette with strong post-punk leaning, they decided to explore no further. We saw... Continue Reading →

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