Narda’s new song drops today

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

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

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

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

Khruangbin, Narda and… Napalm Death?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Narda is back; NU107 returns

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

Reviews: Sugarfree, Cheats, Narda

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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Narda photos by Rain Contreras.

Have you ever wished you were a 90’s kid? FYI, the 2000’s was awesome too!

Note: This was originally written in September 2016, around the time everyone was going crazy over a TV ad featuring the Eraserheads.

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“We grew up listening to the music from the best decade ever.”

                                                             – Lariat (Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks, 2014)

Everyone wants to be a 90’s kid these days. Everyone wants to relive those times when “Pare Ko” hits the top of the charts; when “Alapaap”, “Banal Na Aso” and “Laklak” almost got banned; when Rivermaya premiered their music video for “Elesi”; and when the boys of Parokya Ni Edgar debuted on national TV, wearing skirts and dusters. Nostalgia moves in mysterious ways. There’s probably another Eraserheads reunion brewing around the corner (or maybe that’s just how a certain Telco giant wants us to think and feel). There’s also this rumor spreading around of the band re-recording Ultraelectromagneticpop. But the Eraserheads and their fans aren’t alone on the reunion bandwagon. Four out of five members of Rivermaya’s 1994 lineup had a one-night reunion last January. For some, it was a night to remember, with or without Bamboo; for the others, their wish remains the same – the reunion of the “original” Rivermaya.

We’re halfway past the 2010’s already. It makes me wonder. Are we gonna be nostalgic soon for the previous decade, as we were for the 90’s ten years ago? In case you forgot, Ultraelectromagneticjam came out in 2005, a few days before the 10th year anniversary of Cutterpillow. And if you want to gauge how nostalgic we were back then, just think about this – Ultraelectromagneticjam was a tribute album for a band that disbanded merely three years prior. Yeah, that’s how badly we missed the Eraserheads, specifically the Eraserheads of early-to-mid 90’s (the Eraserheads of late 90’s to early 2000’s? Not much, I guess).

How about the 2000’s? Doesn’t anyone want to go back to the early to mid-2000s? Are we not going to see our collective nostalgia snowball into a Sugarfree reunion? Or at least make the members of Orange & Lemons play together again? Would there be online petitions for the members of Bamboo and Rivermaya circa 2004, to double-bill one big concert?

Continue reading “Have you ever wished you were a 90’s kid? FYI, the 2000’s was awesome too!”