Category Archives: Reviews

Quid Pro Quo lands in Saguijo

Surprises make for great storytelling as Quid Pro Quo—shocked as they were, too, of what just happened—pulled off a surprise gig last Saturday (July 29) at SaGuijo; not to mention that it was also their first time putting together a gig at the distinguished bar in Makati. Quids Next Door, the group’s staple concept as it stands, represents their core value as a thriving community. For Quid Pro Quo, it showcases “new and have-yet-to-be-loved artists alongside the leading lights in the local independent scene.”

That being said, Quids Next Door stands for the collective’s ideal of exchanging art for art, and you better believe it. The Quids especially take it to heart.

Last Saturday’s gig was the third installment of Quids Next Door. It was originally planned to happen on the last Wednesday of every month at Pablo’s in the Bonifacio Global City in Taguig, but due to some sudden changes in the past week and bad weather, the third edition was temporarily put off and moved to the weekend… much to everyone at Quid Pro Quo’s surprise. Because biglaan.

IMG_20170729_220604-01

Moving on, the show started off about an hour later than the intended 8:30PM, but then again: it’s the weekend, and the weather’s just about clearing up after a couple of days of heavy downpours. So, there’s some moderate traffic that allowed most people to come just in time as the show began with Manila-based alternative rock outfit Alpha Caeli taking the helm, playing the kind of music that’s just refreshing to hear. They were followed by the funk ‘n roll titos of Lovecore from Southern Manila with a bluesy, funk/rock and roll jam of James Brown covers coupled with their originals. If you managed to catch their set, surely enough, you were dancing along the bassist’s groove.

Lovecore

Lovecore

After much of Lovecore’s funk, Over October played next—not backing down from the bar set by the band prior to them, but also leaving some room for everyone to catch their breaths. Carousel Casualties came up next, played most of the tracks from their latest EP, Madison, and absolutely killed it.

Over October

Over October

Carousel Casualties

Carousel Casualties

[From the author: I’ll divulge more about Carousel Casualties and their Madison EP in a separate article, so sit tight and stay tuned. *winks*]

Following the Casualties’ set came singer-songwriter with a heart from Cainta, Earl Generao who played a soulful acoustic set back to back with E.R.A., eventually capping off the night.

Earl Generalao, with his band

Earl Generalao, with his band

E.R.A

E.R.A

Suffice to say, Quid Pro Quo nailed their first-ever SaGuijo gig! *pops confetti*

Biglaan as it may have been, the flow of the show went real smoothly, with little to no technical difficulties. On top of that, Quids Next Door concluded some 15 minutes earlier than the 2AM closing time. It’s one for the books. With that, we hope to see more of how they grow the next time around.

–RS

Ian Penn’s latest LP Water from the Creek is one you’ll keep in your pilgrim

 

THE STORY

July may be summertime in some parts of the western hemisphere, but here in ours, it’s the season of rain.

Now picture this: It’s a downpour outside—but not the kind that would put anyone in harm’s way, of course—and you’re at home, safe, and covered with a blanket, with a cup of tea or your favorite joe in hand. What better music to accompany yourself than the ambient acoustic kind that would make you feel even more at home and cozy? Or maybe you’re on the road, going on about making a living; although there’s still a bit of rain as you look outside the bus windows, the foot-thumping folk rock jam that you have on your playlist has your back.

Whichever it is, and wherever you are, Ian Penn’s Water from the Creek is one you’ll keep in your pilgrim.

The 10-track LP launched last July 1 offers us a look from Penn’s pensive perspective of life on the road, his hometown of Arayat, and of Intramuros, among other things.

19598785_1483091435080367_4354966252748440050_n

THE TRACK-BY-TRACK GUIDE

  1. Only One

I want to remember you just like this. You’re the only one. You will live in my heart. As much as I am filled deep in your tears, you’re the only one.

The album starts off with Only One. And it’s like waking up early in the morning just before the sun rises; just before the rest of the world prepares to deal with life. More importantly, waking up beside someone you cherish, and memorizing every detail of that person’s being as they lay asleep.

  1. Water from the Creek

Running back home where we used to dream. The sea rises, I’m on the edge of my seat. Nothing much to say, I am longing to be with you.

The titular track of the album is about Penn’s hometown of Arayat, Pampanga, as their house sits beside a creek. Water from the Creek could well be about a childhood friend you meet after such a long time of being away from home. You meet them again and the both of you are a changed person, so you make the effort to know and start over again.

  1. Ticketman

There’s a boat that’s hanging on my window. There’s an orchard lying by the sea. In the morning, I’ll begin to see you. Find me where the buses never sleep.

This song would’ve been the brainchild of a Beatles and Dylan collaboration if that ever happened. If anything, Ian Penn made and turned that into a reality with this track.

  1. Bluebirds

If I seize the time given on my days, would I seem to find peace?

When, in the wee hours just before dawn, you feel as if you’ve been running around in circles all this time, and you’re just exhausted, Bluebirds is your serenade.

  1. Road

Asked about what Water from the Creek could be, Penn wholly described it as being day and night—with the first four songs you could just listen all through the day, and with the rest you could listen to during the night. Road serves as the interlude.

  1. Midnight Talk

Our train of thoughts coincide like you are dreaming with me. And your midnight talk is all I have at the end of the day.

If you ever back up at the end of your day before you sleep, and you recap what you’ve done, seen, and said all in a span of a day, Midnight Talk is for you.

  1. Naked at Three

Troubles will find their way on your door. Your heart will remember you’ve been here before. Carry the stones or crucify me. No one remembers you’re naked at three.

Past midnight hours are real vulnerable hours with no one around to judge what you say or think about. For some, it’s the most peaceful time of day because they get to be alone without worry of anyone or anything bugging you to do something and—as what this song is about—naked.

  1. It’s Going to Rain

It’s going to rain all weekend, so let us stay indoors and let it rain. I’ll never get tired of the road home, it’s where I belong.

Penn debuted this song nearly a year ago (along with his band) in the Teatrino Promenade in Greenhills for the album’s fundraising gig, telling us that the song was inspired by the rains of Intramuros whenever Intramuros Rising happens on the weekend. We were braving the uncharted during that time last year as well. Now, it’s Saturday, and it’s raining outside as of this writing. There’s coffee on the table, and the chill wind makes for perfect company. The best thing anyone can do about rain is to let it rain. Stay safe.

  1. Two Weeks

Don’t carry all the weight. Lean on my shoulder and hear me, ‘cause I see a river mist rolling by. Old boats are leaving a new morning light.

For when you feel like leaving everything behind to yesterday, it’s okay do so. A new day rises for you to start over and do things that matter.

  1. Visiting a Zeppelin

Dying to see it slowly come my way. Only few people sitting there to stay. You look for me to take me home. Foolish lines, let’s fall in love.

Listening to it at first may seem like the track is pirate recorded, but there’s an interesting fact about Visiting a Zeppelin: it’s recorded live and on-the-spot at the Makati Museum using an old upright piano that’s possibly decades old. Penn said he would’ve recorded with a much better piano, but the feeling wouldn’t just be the same.

“The band really made it tasty. The band knew who I was, and it was them who made the songs come to life.”

THE VERDICT

Right from the get-go when Ian Penn debuted his band in Teatrino last year, we knew he would be a different monster. His dynamic with the band is just so organic in this record that it’s a step further—a wild abandon—from his Wild Abandon EP. “The band really made it tasty. The band knew who I was, and it was them who made the songs come to life,” he says. In addition, Penn expressed how, with the record being finished, he feels like he’s made an audio postcard of his travels, as it’s also thanks to the people he’s met and everything in between. We have no way of knowing, but one thing is certain, we’re waiting for what Ian Penn offers next with great anticipation.

17522588_1384088344980677_5250698441268417033_n

3 = Emotion (3/3)

3 = Storytelling/Lyrics (3/4)

3 = Music (3/3)

______________________________

9/10

Stream this beautiful LP now.

-RS

#ICYMI: Banna Harbera released MV for ‘Sorrys & Goodbyes’

THE RUNDOWN

It was an intimate night at saGuijo last April 29 when independent soul/funk band Banna Harbera released their first ever music video for Sorrys & Goodbyes, the second track off their sophomore EP, Persistence. By “intimate,” we mean the venue was already nearly packed and standing room as early as frickin’ 8pm! That was some following, man. It was tight. It was a good thing we managed to stand outside by saGuijo’s glass window so we could get to watch the performances.

If you missed the experience last Saturday, here’s a rundown of what occurred:

The show got on the road at around 9pm with Tom’s Story as the opening act, and you can never go wrong with these guys whether you have them opening shows or you line them up somewhere in the middle because they never fail to deliver. And what’s arguably the best way you’d know it’s Tom’s Story is when you hear them play their signature track, Anchors, along with another favorite such as Mugatu.

Tom’s Story is followed by Mayonnaise, playing hit anthems like Jopay and Tayo Na Lang Dalawa that surely brought people down to high school memory lane.

What’s more, in keeping the momentum steady for people to be able to breathe after two exhilarating acts came Rob & The Hitmen, a 4-piece pop band that injects R&B and funk rudiments in their music that gave people that chill funky vibe. And to amplify that chill, funky vibe with a dash of bluesy-LoveSupreme-intimacy is where MilesExperience came into play, raising the momentum up once more which paved the way for the climactic performance of Jensen & The Flips right after.

SMV_toms

SMV_mayo

SMV_msex

SMV_bh

#SORRYSMV

Then came the soulful heroes of the hour, Banna Harbera. Though before they started off with their set, they gave us the chance to watch music video for ‘Sorrys & Goodbyes’ first. It was every bit as emotional as its titular track. Keep in mind that the song is like a letter to someone who had been left behind; alternatively, someone who’s left another one behind.

So, in the music video, we saw a character—broken and alone—grieving the fallout of a relationship that did not seem to work out. Imagine all the things you could’ve said, would’ve said, or should’ve said, but you didn’t get the chance to do so. And you try to mend your pieces back together albeit self-destructive tendencies linger.

Elements like crumpled pieces of paper on the bed signified old love letters; an attempt of smoking about half a pack of cigarettes tells of self-destruction as a mean to an end; most notably among others is the scene where our character is soaked with water, drenched in her pain. They all fit in quite perfectly that they add such artistic depth to the music video which left us in breathtaking awe.

-RS

Track Review: Caffeine and Taurine wants us to ‘Keep Dancing’

STORYTIME

Caffeine and Taurine is back after an indefinite hiatus! And from the looks of it, they are here to stay. Now, pay close attention to this caffeine-and-taurine-brought-to-you-by-Red-Bull-infused writing as we have much to look back on with the trio from the Mapúa Institute of Technology (MIT)—chief among them was the band’s erstwhile stint in Intramuros Rising 3: OPM Weekend back in 2015.

Back then, what we saw were budding electronic synth-pop youths composed of Brandon Garcia on bass and vocals, Daniel Ching on synth programming, guitar, and vocals, and Nathaniel Pelareja on drums whom were out playing live at a bar in Quezon City and with a triple-track EP to match. Because of their fresh and distinctive sound that could go with the likes of CHVRCHES and The 1975, and in keeping with the tradition of Intramuros Rising to stage and revel homegrown acts, we immediately decided to put them on the bill. While Caffeine and Taurine had much to improve on their live performances and camaraderie back then, we saw them grow rapidly on the road to Intramuros Rising 3.

A couple of years went by, and they now have two new members: Joshuel Bautista on the keyboard, and Anthony Abitona on bass. Garcia now focuses on synth programming and vocals, while Ching now focuses on guitar and vocals.

“It’s our way of saying that we’ll keep going; we had an indefinite hiatus and almost did not come back.”

Moving on to their new track, “Keep Dancing,” the beat goes on and so is the dance, per the band’s description of the song. Clearly, “Keep Dancing” is a far cry from their previous material prior to the hiatus. It’s almost ambitious to say that this Caffeine and Taurine is a different monster, and one to look out for.

“Another day to crawl out your bed. Is it worth to think that you should try again?” Garcia’s vocals in this track is, in a way, reminiscent of Daft Punk’s “Doin’ It Right,” topped with synth-pop elements from the band’s musical influences. Asked about what inspired the song, Garcia only had this to say, “It’s our way of saying that we’ll keep going; we had an indefinite hiatus and almost did not come back.”

Honest and straightforward; a winning combo.

3 = Emotion (3/3)

2.5 = Storytelling/Lyrics (2.5/4)

3 = Music (3/3)

______________________________

8.5 / 10

Track Review: ‘Oh, Young Love!’ – KISSLING!

DELIGHTFUL is what falling in love is in our youth, especially in our 20s. It’s nothing like when we were 15 (albeit those times were just as fantastic). There’s just that giddy feeling; we become a child who got his first Marie cookie. We wake up the next day knowing that we are with the one we’re so crazy about—not to mention lucky enough to be with—and everything around us feels so light. It is magical, the sheer elation of being in a relationship. Or so how it goes at the start… and in this case, you’re in your mid-20s and she’s a looker at only 19. Nice.

Even so, any fully grown adult man could still feel like a little girl when he finds himself in the clutches of love. It happens to the best of us, and it ain’t that much of a creepy thing. With that being said is where KISSLING! comes into play—an off-key indie quartet, as they would playfully like to call themselves, with Jeremy Lopez at the helm. Formed in late 2015, KISSLING! started off as a solo-project by Lopez, following the disappearance of his former band, Motto Stella. Heavily influenced by British tunes, post-punk, indie pop, and Clem Castro, KISSLING! debuted on that same year with a full band set-up—comprised of Lopez on rhythm guitar, Charles Abian (formerly of Motto Stella, along with Lopez) on lead guitar and backing vocals, Andrew Harder (formerly of Kontra Tiempo) on bass and backing vocals, Sean De Leon (of Maryzark and CHNDTR) on keyboards/guitar, and Markuss Javier (the youngest in the group) on drums—and with a bootleg/demo EP called The White Bootleg to top it all off.

WHAT’S IN A NAME?

Inspired by one Richard Kissling, the Swiss sculptor responsible for the Rizal Monument in Luneta, KISSLING! is born after Lopez’s subsequent departure from Motto Stella. Chief among the reasons why are “incompatible musical influences” and “creative differences” from the latter, according to Lopez. As it all seemingly went downhill, it didn’t stop Lopez from immediately going inside the studio to record everything he had been keeping for so long, even if that meant sitting down and playing all the instruments on his own, and only with the help of producer/label head Inigo Mortel of the Banana Rising Recording Studio.

LET ME GUIDE YOU FROM NOWHERE

With a track like Oh, Young Love!—the band’s latest release—KISSLING! attempts to bring out the kid in our hearts that’s falling in love like it’s the first time: everything is new and innocent and right with the world. Starting off with and sustaining peppy beats and a twangy rhythm, the record captures that playing-along-the-beach-under-a-fine-sunny-day kind of vibe.

“We’ll be together, I swear, and I don’t care. Who is laughing or who is there? We are old souls lost in time. Oh, young love!”, Lopez sings in what seems to be the chorus of the song, followed by screams out of sheer joy. The line in particular is suggestive of the euphoria we experience in loving another person with reckless abandon. It’s as if life becomes a thrill and is filled with a newfound sense of adventure.

On the one hand, compared to KISSLING!’s other tracks such as Downhill and Daydream, the track hasn’t the most expressive and tell-tale lyrics, though. It could’ve used a little more cohesion. And on the other hand, the wraithlike reverb of Lopez’s vocals which stems from his British post-punk roots, however off-key he sounds, makes it safe to say that Oh, Young Love! doesn’t try so hard to be a complex track. It’s also for good reason. That way, in its entirety, it makes it easy for people to catch on with the record—and the band—especially when played as an opening track live. Consequently, Oh, Young Love! proves that KISSLING! is a band that truly makes music regardless of how it will sound.

3 = Emotion (3 / 3)
1.5 = Storytelling/Lyrics (1.5 / 4)
3 = Music (3 / 3)

7.5 / 10

-Roy Salamat

Album Review: ‘Minsan Sa Lupa’ – Oswald Sleeps Tonight

THE STORY

TO OVERCOME difficult moments requires a great deal of strength and an inordinate amount of time. Each passing day becomes a struggle as the rug beneath your feet gets pulled off, and you look for any sort of certainty and inspiration. And what for? To cope with longing, with the brokenness of the heart, or with the passing of a loved one.

Having previously reviewed one of their singles, Oswald Sleeps Tonight (OST) are out last January 21 with their first LP and latest offering, Minsan Sa Lupa. With this record, OST articulates the above stated sentiments in the only way where words alone seem to fail: by using anthemic pop-punk and hard rock tunes that are sure to purge you of those big emotions and get your head banging and your feet tapping.

OST Album

THE TRACK-BY-TRACK GUIDE

  1. Ang Simula

The record is introduced by OST’s signature sound check track, setting the tone and offering listeners a taste of what they could expect to hear throughout the band’s LP.

  1. Larawan

“Sa mga sandaling ako’y nag-iisa, ang larawan mo ang kinakausap ko. Ngayon ang panahon sa ati’y nagdaan, paano malalaman na ako’y nandito lang?”

Written by Jhera Nazarea, the song is about a childhood crush that had just gone with the wind, according to OST frontman Jim Bernardo. Time went on by, and they’ve met all sorts of different people that came and went. And when they met once again after so long—with the girl being an educator now—that’s when things started to look up, intimately. But not for long, however. Responsibilities and priorities caught up with them which ultimately made it harder for the relationship to work out.

  1. Minsan Sa Lupa

“Ito ang huling pagkikita natin na minsan sa lupa nakapiling namin. Ala-ala ng bawat sandali na kailanman hindi mawawaglit. Ang liwanag na iyong taglay na aking kasama sa paglalakbay; ang ilaw ng tahanan, pumanaw man, hindi ka namin kakalimutan.”

Originally, the album was supposed to be a self-titled one until the band changed it its titular track, Minsan Sa Lupa. With heavy undertones, the song is about the passing of the mother of Johannes Horena’s (OST’s lead guitarist and vocalist) bestfriend.

  1. Markado

“Nakatatak ka na sa isipan ko, kasama ang pangakong binitawan mo. Sa puso ko’y parang tattoong ipininta na magpahanggang ngayo’y hindi ko mabura-bura.”

Referring to the track review I’ve written a couple of months back, Markado talks about the agony and vexation of being in a long-term yet one-sided relationship, and then be left behind with hollow promises.

  1. Gabay

“Lilipad ako nang ‘sing bilis ng tinig. Sasabay ako sa hangin tulad ng isang lawin tungo sa presensya ng Ama sa langit. Sa kanyang kamay ay di na mababawi. Sa kanyang kamay liwanag ang mananaig.”

According to frontman Jim Bernardo, the track is for all of those who believe that they can do everything by themselves without asking for the help of others. Moreover, it speaks about how one keeps his faith in God. Because even if the person who listens to this song is a non-believer, it can still serve as a reminder that none of us can do everything on our own. And even if we could, it would end up being so toxic, Bernardo adds. It’s an elevating track to listen to for when you feel things are all coming down on you.

  1. Manhid

“Kahit piliin kong aminin ang lahat, wala ka rin namang maramdaman. Baliwala pa rin kung susuyuin, sayang lang oras, basted lang naman. Di ba sinabi ko naman sa ‘yo, ikaw lang ang laman ng isip ko. Mahal mo nga ako pero bilang kaibigan lang.”

Reminiscent of OST’s bassist, Manolo Fadrilan’s lovelife, Manhid is essentially a song for those who’s made all the effort he can do, yet still ends up being put in that one dreadful place we like to call the Friendzone. (Remember that one fast food chain’s series of ads for Valentine’s?) Ouch.

  1. Dalawang Tao

“Salamat sa iyong binigay na pagmamahal, sa maliligayang araw, buwan at taong pinagsamahan. […] Pag-ibig na pinagsaluhan, hirap at ginhawang pinagdaanan. Bawat isa’y naging daan upang makilala ang sarili.”

Supposedly a good-bye letter of sorts after a more than 3-year-relationship, the track is about how a simple relationship could change a person, says Bernardo. Because the relationship had been a way for both parties to grow and mature into the person they are now.

  1. Sesa

“Dahil ikaw ay prinsesang tunay at ako ang iyong alalay, handa kitang pagsilbihan habang buhay. Lagi na lang nagkukunwaring tayo, minamasdan ka sa malayo. Hanggang dito na lang kaya ako?”

Simply put, Sesa is similar to songs with the concept of the guy and the girl he likes and the rift between them is akin to heaven and earth. If you ever feel the clutch of katorpehan, this song is for you.

  1. Sa Pagtulog

“Gabi-gabing nananalangin, sa langit ay humihiling na minsan pa’y mayakap ka kahit na sa panaginip. Gabi-gabing laman ng isip, huling sulyap ng iyong ngiti. Kung oras ma’y nilisan ka, sa puso ay mananatili.”

Sa Pagtulog is perhaps one of the heaviest and most emotional songs in this LP. It’s stirred from the loss of Jim Bernardo’s brother, Oswald, to his battle with leukemia. Jim and Oswald were tight; not only as a brother, Oswald was also a mentor, a best friend, and a bandmate to Jim. With the chorus, Jim explicates that it was written during the time he broke into tears because he felt extremely uninterested with music, and that he was looking for an inspiration to push on.

Now, they have reached a milestone with this LP. It’s safe to say OST is the living legacy of Oswald, and we will keep on extending a helping hand for this band of brothers.

  1. Alam Mo Ba

“Wag naman sanang mabaliwala ag pagtinging hindi nakikita ng iyong mga mata.”

Comically, Bernardo thinks of this particular track as a joke. (lols) Because they weren’t really expecting Alam Mo Ba to be a song people would love for them to play. Bernardo adds that it comes from different sorts of hugot; like, whenever a friend has a girl he has a crush on and making his moves on, the girl always ends up being with some other guy; or when you see a looker in a jeepney but that’s just it because you’re both strangers to one another.

Alam Mo Ba is simply a fun track in itself which never loses its quirk even when the band plays it live.

THE VERDICT

As a whole, Oswald Sleeps Tonight’s debut LP stirs different sorts of emotions which are as layered as the mixing of each of the tracks in the album. Admittedly, I am not the knowledgeable type when it comes to the technicalities of production; all I can say for sure is that with OST’s Minsan Sa Lupa, it’s not enough listening to it once if you want to get behind the songs and really appreciate them. I personally had a bit of a hard time chewing it the first couple of times, but when I finally got to breathe it in and had the chance to talk with Jim Bernardo about the stories that inspired the album, my perspective changed. The band has put a lot into this record, and it’s clear that it’s intentional for whomever listens to this album would give it a chance at another listening or two.

2 = Emotion (2 / 3)
3 = Storytelling/Lyrics (3 / 4)
3 = Music (3 / 3)
_____________________

8 / 10

-Roy Salamat

Track Review: ‘Markado’ – Oswald Sleeps Tonight

HEARTBREAKS are such a bother to begin with. It leaves us at a loss for words to describe how we feel. At one moment, we would feel happy and content with whomever we’re with; the next moment when we’d been left behind without an explanation—especially then—we just feel lost. Promises broken. Plans for the future, gone. Of course, the wounds would heal over time and we would move on, but the scars would still be there—leaving our bodies marked by the ones who broke us.

Enter the band Oswald Sleeps Tonight (OST), they have been with us since around the time we were raising funds while also being part of the roster for Intramuros Rising 3 back in 2015. Formed in August 2013 and composed of Jim Bernardo on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Johannes Horena on back vocals and lead guitar, Mygi Mesina on modulation and second lead guitar, Manolo Fadrilan on bass, and Jude Judavar on drums—OST is a five-piece pogi rock band, as they would call themselves, hailing from Buendia and representing the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila. With musical styles ranging from Christian contemporary to pop-punk, blues, and hard rock, the band created a distinct pogi rock sound that birthed their identity.

But make no mistake, as pogi as their sound may be, they sure know how pull some heartstrings with their songs of loss, one-sided love, and heartbreak. And with their latest offering, “Markado,” OST talks about the agony and vexation of being in a long-term yet one-sided relationship, and then be left behind with hollow promises.

The record starts off with a soft and melodic tone, and then breaks it down hard and heavy followed by electrifying pop-punk riffs and pounding hard rock beats that could give anyone listening the catharsis they need. Although it has a genuinely simplistic progression that could take some time to chew, like you could do a couple of chores while blasting the song on repeat, it would get under your skin when you least expect it. (Hint: The lead solo will get to you the most.)

“Nakatatak ka na sa isipan ko, kasama ng pangakong binitawan mo. Sa puso ko’y parang tattoong ipininta na magpahanggang ngayon ay di ko mabura-bura,” Bernardo reverberates in the chorus. The line by itself resonates well with the title of the track because when we get into a relationship with someone, whether it’s platonic or romantic, we tend to give pieces of ourselves to that someone. Bits of who we are, sometimes more. Conversely, we would ingrain into ourselves the idea that we have of that person, only to realize at some point that the affection we give will not be given back. We are left marked by whatever reminder we have of what was the relationship—a scent, a photograph, a memory.

With that being said, it’s a pretty decent track in its entirety. And while having clean vocals is good, it could use some texture; a little roughness to bring more of the emotion out. 8/10.


The band is set to launch their first album on January 21, 2017 at Mang Rudy’s Tuna Grill & Papaitan in Makati. Click here for more details about the gig: http://bit.ly/OSTAlbumLaunch

THE AFTERMATH: There’s ERA! EP launch, plus Telenobela EP review

THE STORY

To be long-time friends is already a great thing in itself; the amount of experiences shared be it good or bad could range from playing music of similar interest during breaks along the school corridors to being rejected by the person you like, hence, the heartaches—and to have that friendship be the foundation of being in a band, even more so. With that established, the boundless loyalty and all, as in every endeavor, blood, sweat, and tears are necessary to keep the fire burning.

era

There’s ERA! – a band of brothers

The way we see it with There’s ERA!, they sure have come a long way in the 3 years they’ve spent as long-time friends and as a band, and there’s no sign of anything to keep them from growing. Last Saturday night (December 3, 2016) offered solid proof with the launch of their first EP entitled Telenobela at Mow’s which included performances by 88 City, The Oemons, Mayonnaise, KISSLING!, and Jensen & The Flips. On top of that, the volume of attendees made the launch even warmer as they nearly filled the whole venue.

Kicking it off with sheer excitement, it was indeed a December to remember for the band of brothers.

Going to Mow’s by commute may prove to be a pain in the neck as the venue’s in Diliman, which means having to deal with the dreaded Diliman, Q.C. traffic. But as the show got on the road, off-key indie band KISSLING! set the tone by opening with their track Oh, Young Love! followed by Daydream, both which gave an ambient start to warm up the incoming audience, most of whom were meeting up with one another and getting drinks. They gradually gained momentum with the following song, One Night Stand, off their unnamed and upcoming LP. Comically enough, the band noticed they had a bit more time left during their set, so they proceeded to play a couple more songs off their repertoire, before finally going loud and taking control with their post-punk track, In Control—in which a cymbal got detached from its stand by the end of their performance.

KISSLING! opening the show with an unexpected long set.

KISSLING! opening the show with an unexpected long set.

The second act, pop-rock/alternative 88 City—formerly known as Jejaview—made it a point to follow up and intensify the show with energized riffs and hammering drum beats that surely got the people jumping and banging their heads. With seminal tracks like SUMMER TWENTYELEVEN, You and Your Fantastic Friends, and Paperskin, 88 City easily managed to get the audience hyped and singing along. How they could pull off such a feat, it’s because the band themselves are pumped and engaging when playing live. Even during the time when they were Jejaview, they always had this camaraderie between them and the audience that never waned.

88 City delivering an electrifying performance.

88 City delivering an electrifying performance.

With that being said, the people were glued to where some of them stood and where some of them sat as crowd favorite Jensen & The Flips set their gear up, skipped the foreplay, and went straight to play their hit song, Lovechild. And as soon as the band started playing, the crowd was taken away by the soulful performance of Jensen & The Flips. Along with tracks like Slow and Dangerous, where things were toned down a bit, people couldn’t resist to dance until the end of The Flips’ set. These guys just know how to heat you up and feel the passion.

Crowd favorite Jensen & The Flips (Photo by LK Doble, no watermark)

Crowd favorite Jensen & The Flips (Photo by LK Doble, no watermark)

Following The Flips’ set was The Oemons—a ska-punk band hilariously dubbing themselves gone wrong as “if ska-punk had wild, passionate, and sweaty orgy sex with metal, world music, pop, and dick jokes,” they’d surely be the understandably conflicted and totally demented lovechild. Although The Oemons had been around for a while now, blaring trumpets and horns with each performance, they’re still definitely worth listening to for a solid good time singing songs about sex, kebab, and shawarma. Lol.

Rock and roll means sex, kebab, and shawarma for The Oemons (Photo by LK Doble, no watermark)

Rock and roll means sex, kebab, and shawarma for The Oemons (Photo by LK Doble, no watermark)

Now, as we know while we’re on it, shawarma is often served with a mix of dressings such as some hot chili sauce and garlic mayonnaise. The band Mayonnaise, on the other hand, has been among the most notable artists in the music scene today; with tracks like Jopay, Bakit Part 2, and Sinungaling—all of which they have performed last Saturday night, following The Oemons—they aren’t hard to miss because even from outside the bar, the crowd can be heard singing their hearts out while the band performs. One other thing worth noting, Mayonnaise frontman Monty Macalino helped mastering some of the tracks in There’s ERA!’s debut EP.

An instant trip back to the mid-2000s by Mayonnaise

An instant trip back to the mid-2000s by Mayonnaise

And then it was time…

To cap off the EP launch came the boys of the hour, There’s ERA!. Championing the Colegio de San Juan de Letran, we’ve known the band since the second installment of Intramuros Rising—mainly because they were the homegrown act that finally had the Big 4 universities in Intramuros come in full circle on that fateful day. You might find yourself asking, “Who are these guys?” as the very first question that pops into mind, what with their melodramatic lyrics about heartbreak and missing someone, it all sounds so ordinary. And yet, it’s safe to say that even if you don’t know them or if you’re seeing and hearing them for the first time live, their music would get under your skin. Truth be told, it’s because as simplistic as their songs may be, their rhythm and harmony is genuinely catchy.

The boys of the hour – There's ERA!

The boys of the hour – There’s ERA!


 

THE TRACK-BY-TRACK GUIDE

  1. Intro

This near-2-minute instrumental introduces the EP. Similar to sound checks most bands do at the beginning of their set, the intro sets the tone of the record—giving listeners an idea of what they can expect throughout the band’s recorded material.

  1. Telenobela

“Mabubuhay na lang ban a parang telenobela? Hindi ba ako ang bida? Lagi kong pinapanalangin kong ako’y tignan mo rin. Isipin mo na rin kung ba’t ka pa tumingin sa iba, kung ang nagmamahal ng tunay ay malapit lang sa ‘yo.”

According to There’s ERA!’s bassist, Eric Evardone, Telenobela—aside from being the EP’s titular track—is supposedly the first song written by frontman Allen Guarnes. It’s dedicated to Guarnes’ first love in which he had long hoped to be with, and they did end up being together against all odds.

  1. Asa

“Hindi makapaniwala, gugunaw na ba ng aking mundo? Kinausap mo ako’t akala ko eto na, ngunit bigla kang lumiko oh oh…”

Direct to the point, the song rings of typical teenage days, Evardone says. It’s like someone who’s head over heels for a girl, but doesn’t have that much of a chance of actually being with the person he/she likes. Put it simply, the song would resonate well with people who are torpe.

  1. Di Makatulog

“Di makatulog sa kaiisip. Ano ang gagawin para mawala sa ‘king tingin? Kahit pa nakapikit, ikaw ang nakikita ko. Ano ang gagawin para mawala ka sa ‘king damdamin?”

With a running time of 48 seconds, Di Makatulog simply tells of sleepless nights people would have just thinking about the person they have feelings for, but don’t want to have anymore.

  1. Ako Kanta Ikaw

“’Pag di ka kasama, nag-iiba. Ang oras mabagal, tulog ay wala. Nalulumbay, hinahanap ang ‘yong kamay.”

It all started as a lighthearted jest among the guys of There’s ERA! as they didn’t really know how to put the words “missing you” in Filipino. So, they just rolled with it. (As in Ako = Me Kanta = Sing Ikaw = You.) According to Evardone, this was the song they struggled with the most as it had gone through several rearrangements in the past, but finally settled with the one in the EP. Ako Kanta Ikaw is straight up a song for people we miss—be it a friend or a loved one.

  1. Kung Kailan Kailangan Ka

“Darating ka rin. Sinabi mo sa akin na sa isang tawag ko lang, mundo’y iyong tatawirin. Puso’t isipan ko’y handa sa anumang ibabato nila sa akin. Bakit kung kailan kailangan ka, ngayon mo pa naisipang mawala?”

Kung Kailan Kailangan Ka started off as a form of an alliteration that’s entertaining to pronounce, until such time it ended up having a story. Straightforward as the other songs in the EP, the track is about friends who seem to disappear in our time of distress.

Telenobela EP cover by Ardie Aquino

Telenobela EP cover by Ardie Aquino

 

THE VERDICT

Overall, There’s ERA! reached a milestone with the release of their EP, Telenobela. The songs are reminiscent and reflective of scenes found commonly in movies or teleseryes that captivate Filipinos’ love for dramatic soap operas. With this record, the band stood out with their straightforward and honest lyrics, pumping drum beats, and pulsating riffs which makes it great to listen to. The cover art colorfully illustrates the band in the backstage of a warehouse set, shooting a movie with a pink-haired girl and a couple of aliens. It’s plausible to think that the girl is the main character who’s also an adventurer who crash landed on some distant planet, and the EP follows her story in search of someone dear to her with the company of her alien friends. How There’s ERA! could top this with an LP in the future, only they could figure out and do themselves.

8/10 (Hint: An inclusion of liner notes a.k.a. a lyric book next time, maybe?)

– Roy Salamat

THE AFTERMATH: Mapúa SMVA Week 2016

A revolution doesn’t happen overnight. It requires fervent dedication to the cause, and rigorous effort to ensure victory. Mapua Institute of Technology’s School of Multimedia and Visual Arts (SMVA) internalized that and they stood tall, with heads up high, to celebrate SMVA Week. It was a full week from the 21st of November, filled with various art shops and exhibits, to the 26th (last Saturday night) where they capped off their event with a bang.

STDH-SMVA

Mapua SMVA’s SAVING THE DYING HOPE and their signature interstellar video playback/s.

Staged at the Puerta Real Gardens, Intramuros, and with a line-up of almost 20 homegrown bands that each have at least a couple of their members hailing from the technology institute—not to mention that several among them were Intramuros Rising alumni—the SMVA Supreme Student Council (SMVA SSC) managed to set the SMVA Night apart from your usual school concert. From the get-go, the concert started off with the pop-rock sound of Indigo Sweep as they swept the incoming audience off their feet and invited them to dance to the groove while breathing in the atmosphere of Puerta Real.

Around the venue, various pieces of art and photographs made and taken by the SMVA students were hung from the low-lying tree trunks where they can be easily found by people strolling around. Contemporary art stickers were sold as well at one of the booths in the event. The stickers captured the modern times with statements such as “pagod na c acoe”, “WIP nang WIP, may natatapos ba?”, and v a p o r w a v e art among others. And there were some characters from computer games and anime and erotic images, too.

STICKERS-SMVA

Stickers for sale on-site—from hilarious millennial jargons down to memes.

TESSERACT-SMVA

Tesseract Manila—whose owner is from SMVA—is one of the concessionaires during the event.

There were some light rains that night but it didn’t stop the audience from celebrating the event and having a good time. (It was a familiar feeling.) False Contender made sure of that and we were all jumping to their charged beats and rhythm. By the time people were calming down, The Geeks made us all feel the cool air and the rain with their calm, bedroom doo-wop music. By and large, the whole night was filled with energy and love for the arts and the homegrown talents like BennyBunnyBand, MilesExperience (that even got the crowd to come up the stage), and Saving The Dying Hope, and Shutter LIFE and a whole lot more. We then just knew this community will grow well in due time.

One of the highlights of the night halfway through the show was the brief but momentous modelling through the ramp of several SMVA representatives sharing their insights about what art is to them to community, followed by an encompassing message by the SMVA SSC President Dyanne Macatangay as if passing the torch to the people—to the future of the SMVA.

COUNCIL-SMVA

SMVA SSC President Dyann Macatangay (wearing black) finds time to strike a pose with her fellow SMVA colleagues.

SMVA-SMVA

The SMVA community high in spirits—at 3AM in the morning of the following day.

It was an auspicious night for Mapua to really untie artistic differences and unite and embrace one another that it will surely help them thrive not only as a community within the confines of the university, but also within the walls of the Walled City. We are grateful and honored to be of assistance and guidance to the SMVA SSC, and we are looking forward to see them reap the fruits of their efforts.

-Roy Salamat

IR-1

Intramuros Rising 1 | Official Aftermovie

A historical night within the historical walls of Intramuros. The first-ever (non-occasion) independent music festival staged within The Walled City, the first concert to be staged in Baluarte Plano Luneta de Santa Isabel — Intramuros Rising.

11 homegrown bands/artists (Saving The Dying Hope, Leo & The Tolstoys, Mellow Submarine, Engkanto, Soil & Green, Head Playback, Audio Drive Thru, Gnarlydork, Cedula, PAT, and RJ Ilano) shared the stage with guest performers Mr. Bones & The Boneyard Circus, Brisom, and Women’s Business Hip-hop, plus spoken word poets from Words Anonymous.

This uprising is made possible by the ILVSTRADOS, sponsored by the Intramuros Administration, Viva Manila, LYRIC, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, and the Metro Manila Development Authority.

Radio Republic review: www.radiorepublic.ph/8thingsthatmadeintramurosrisingawesome/
When In Manila review: www.wheninmanila.com/intramuros-rising-one-music-one-art-one-vision/

Videographers:
Jess Ang
Kyle Llave
Chu Perez
Donald Toboso
Emman Zosa

Editor + Colorist:
Jeremy Lopez

Music:
‘Muted In Color’ – Brisom
‘Ghost Train’ – Mr. Bones & The Boneyard Circus