Let’s talk about bands you probably heard of before but never heard from again.
Bembol Rockers. Chances are, you probably knew more about Bembol Rocco’s children than the band whose name was inspired by Bembol Roco’s children’s father, who’s no other than—take a guess—Bembol Roco himself. And you probably knew more about Bembol Roco himself and his escapades in Manila in the Claws of Neon and how he lost Ligaya (before the Eraserheads found her again) than these rowdy quartet who specializes in rockabilly and swing. One more thing this band specializes in: How to disappear completely. Unlike Bembol the actor whom you can still see on TV from time to time, Bembol the band hasn’t left much trace, scent, internet footprint or whatever that could be traced back to them. Found no articles written about them. They made one album apparently. Or maybe two. One is The Fabolous Bembol Rockers (according to Discogs.com) and two, this “Live” album found on pinoyalbums(dot)com which has the same tracklisting as the former.
The Bernadettes. I should probably stop writing this now because the band just released a brand new track last September. Like the Bembol Rockers, The Bernadettes were a hot commodity many moons ago. Never really heard anything by them until today, when I (re)discovered their song “Let’s Make Babies” on Lilystars Records’ Bandcamp page while looking for We Are Imaginary’s debut EP One Dreamy Indeterminate Hum. “Let’s Make Babies” is a great indie-pop song. Catchy chorus, great hooks. It’s like Nirvana’s “Molly’s Lips” meets Weezer and Oasis in a non-alcoholic bar and decided to have a threesome. Except all of them are males and therefore making babies is very much not possible at all. And the album cover featuring an elephant mounting a rhino? Not very wholesome, these guys. And I was really really disappointed when I found out that Bernadette Sembrano, Bernadette Allyson, and Bernadette Whatshername were not really the members of the band.
Your Imaginary Friends. Well, first off, they’re not real. Believe me. I used to have one when I was a kid. And my mom used to… Oh! You mean the band! Sorry, I thought… Okay, the band… Yeah, Ahmad Tanji & co. gave us “Nikita“, this EP and went into hiding, never to be heard from ever again. A lot of bands in Clem Castro’s Lilystars Records are like that, actually. The Camerawalls had only one album. The Gentle Isolation, The Viral Atmosphere, The Harsh Quarantines—all of them had only one album to their name. They’re still around actually, Your Imaginary Friends. Except they’re not your imaginary friends anymore. They turned out to be real. And they turned out to be not your friends. No, they changed their name to We Are Imaginary—I know, a little less catchy and imaginative if you’d ask me. At least they’re not imaginary anymore. Oh, wait, they still are.
The Butchercons. According to Stephen Malkmus, punk bands should release just one album and then break up. Maybe because there’s no merit in releasing same album over and over again. Maybe that’s The Butchercons’ credo too. One album and they’re done. Their album Coalesce may not be one of the best albums from the last decade but it’s a solid rock album. The guitars in this album totally owns, man! And these kids can really scream! Put this record on when you’re running low on energy. Or you can go to the nearest Family Mart and grab that energy bar. But if you have allergies, like me, then The Butchercons is your safest option. Of course, there’s also Cobra, Red Bull and coffee.
End of Contracts. You probably saw Edouard Canlas once on TV parading his bodega full of sneakers, but you probably never heard of End of Contracts, his musical alter-ego. End of Contracts’ lone CD Radioedito and Narda’s Discotillion came out around the same time. Thinking about it now, I actually regretted buying that Turin Brakes CD one time I was in Glorietta. Or Clap Your Hands and Say Yeah’s debut album. I should have bought Radioedito instead (and Moonstar88’s Todo Combo). I should have gambled on this one. It may not have been worth it but at least I wouldn’t be wondering now how the songs on this album sounds. I never really heard any song from this album, except for “Alamona”, which is actually a great song. Either it sounds like a long lost OPM gem from the 70s or a retro-hit in the vein of Itchyworms’ “Beer”, only it’s underplayed, underrated, and not a little bit vulgar.