Monday, January 31, 2005

Look Up

Your friends hold the lullabies, they watch the way the night lies. Soft sounds; head's like a radio, heart's wrapped in blankets laying low. My heart's wrapped in blankets laying low. You're cold, maybe you just missed the sun. You fall, feeling like it's just begun. So far, keeping it together's been enough, but look up...

-- lyrics from "Look Up", by Stars.

Friday, January 28, 2005


"There's a part of me that's still a 15-year old music fan.
My fans are wounded nerds everywhere."
                                     --Tanya Donelly

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Buy Yourself Something Pretty, part 2

Newly unveiled at the Apple convention, and destined to be another hit among the trendies--ladies and gentlemen, presenting the iPod Shuffle. Smaller than a pack of gum, lighter than your car keys, plugs directly into your USB port. Prices begin at US$99, although I'm told it will retail here for PhP6,999 up.

Now, as soon as I'm done making money angels on the floor, I'm going to get out and buy one.

(Oh, but really, if you have extra cash, please don't forget to continue donations towards tsunami disaster relief. Not as pretty as an iPod, but it's incredibly good for the soul. This public service announcement was brought to you by Kristine's conscience.)

Monday, January 24, 2005

Buy Yourself Something Pretty

Dear Readers of this Blog:

If anyone were to ask us if the glamorous work of writing for and editing music magazines paid well, I would only answer with a bitter laugh. Fortunately, one of the nice benefits of the job is the loads of CDs that come our way. No, we don't get anything like pension plans, car plans, maternity leave or anything useful at all, but we do get CDs. We're easy that way.

What do we do with the CDs that we get? Well, mostly we keep them long after we're tired of them. As Thor once said, "Ang mga CD, parang mga anak. Hindi sila pinamimigay kahit hindi pinakikinggan." Words of wisdom, my friend, words of wisdom.

I used to be fanatical about my keeping my collection intact, but lately I've come to terms with the fact that this is no longer practical: the new CD shelf that moved into my room is full, again, and I've run out of space in my office drawer, where I used to stash my runoff CDs. It's gotten so that the newer CDs now have to live in the flat, but until I can afford one of those fantastic CD towers designed by Philippe Starck or somebody, the growing pile of plastic squares in and around my table will only distress the neatness-worshipping K2.

So I'm doing something I've never done before. I'm going to go through my stacks and weed out the albums which--let's face it--I'm never going to listen to again. Not that they're bad; it's just that they're just not re-playable, or that they're just not my thing, or that I'm not in the mood for that kind of music (and never will be). But, hey, that doesn't mean that they won't find a nice, loving home somewhere else.

I'd like to give them for free, but, heck, that Philippe Starck CD tower isn't going to buy itself, if you know what I mean. So I'll let these CDs go for P150 each, unless otherwise indicated. Prices negotiable if you're getting three or more CDs, or if you're somebody who has bought me a drink sometime in the past. Please contact me on my cellphone (you should know my number by now), or leave a post on the comments section of this blog entry if you want to buy anything.

(And, really, whose life won't be improved by the purchase of a William Hung CD?)


ALL-AMERICAN REJECTS: All American Rejects (brand new, P200)
AVRIL LAVIGNE: My World (two VCDs)
CALL & RESPONSE: Call & Response
CIUDAD: Hello, How Are You, Mico the Happy Bear?
CLUB 8: Nouvelle (rare, P200)
THE CURE: The Cure
D12: D12 World (brand new, P200)
DEVOTION: Devotion (OPM, P100)
EVERLAST: White Trash Beautiful (brand new, P200)
FILTER: The Amalgamut (brand new; P200)
HEFNER: The Fidelity Wars (rare, P200)
HOOTIE & THE BLOWFISH: Scattered, Smothered, and Covered
KATY ROSE: Because I Can
KJWAN: Kjwan
KYLIE MINOGUE: Body Language
GENERATED X-ED: Protest and Survive
INNER CIRCLE: The Best of Inner Circle (brand new, P200)
LILLIX: Falling Uphill
LIVE: Awake: The Best of Live
MARY J. BLIGE: No More Drama
MATILDA: Matilda
MATTHEW SWEET: Son of Altered Beast (P75)
NANACO: Luminus Love in 23
NICK WARREN: Global Underground 018: Amsterdam
ORANGE & LEMONS: Love in the Land of Rubber Shoes and Dirty Ice Cream
PATRICK BARNITT: When the Time is Right
RETROSPECT: Past Forward
RICKY MARTIN: Almas del Silencio
RYAN CABRERA: Take It All Away
SIMPLE PLAN: No Pads, No Helmets, Just Balls
SPAN: Mass Distraction (brand new, P200)
SUGABABES: Angels with Dirty Faces
TIMO MAAS: Music for the Maases 2
TYPECAST: The Infatuation is Always There
WILLIAM HUNG: Inspiration


Big: 18 Super Hits (2004 release, 18 tracks: Black Eyed Peas, Maroon 5, Usher, The Corrs, Beyonce, Jason Mraz, Britney Spears, Outkast, Justin Timberlake, Simple Plan, Linkin Park, Avril Lavigne, Alanis Morissette, Evanescence, Dido, Tamia, Michael Buble, Westlife)

Celtic Emotions (2003 release)

The Family Value 2001 Tour (Stone Temple Pilots, Linkin Park, Staind, Static-X, Deadsy)

Modern Rock: (2001 release, brand new: Incubus, Five for Fighting, Binocular, Uncle Kracker, Vertical Horizon, Creed, Matchbox 20, Sugar Ray, Linkin Park, REM, Collective Soul, Travis, Filter, Wheatus, Nine Days, Fuel, Splender, Live on Release)

MTV Superstars (2004 release, 20 tracks: Beyoncé, Britney, Nu Virgos, Jessica Simpson, Tata Young, Hilary Duff, TATU, John Mayer, Hanson, Anastacia, Nickelback, Robbie Williams, Black Eyed Peas, Justin Timberlake, Kylie Minogue, Delta Goodrem, Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears, Gareth Gates, Jennifer Lopez, William Hung)

Pop! Party Edition CD+VCD (2002 release, 18 tracks plus bonus VCD: Pink, NSYNC, Britney Spears, Alicia Keys, Backstreet Boys, Westlife, Dido, Aaron Carter, Steps, Christina Aguilera, B3, Alcazar, Kosheen, Groove Armada, Blue, O-Town, LFO, Five)

Rock Easy (2004 release, 17 tracks: Splender, Santana w/ Alex Band, Stereophonics, The Calling, Jars of Clay, The Verve Pipe, Fuel, Vertical Horizon, Eve 6, Everclear, Lit, Our Lady Peace, Trik Turner, 311, Marcy Playground, Semisonic)

Mulawin, Songs Inspired By (South Border, Jolina Magdangal, Lani Misalucha, Jennelyn Mercado, Dingdong Avanzado, Janno Gibbs, Tux, Sipol)

Thursday, January 13, 2005

This and That

According to this test, deep down inside, I'm 26. Sounds about right; nice to know that my arrested development only dates back four years. (Thanks to Robyn for the link). Also, if my life in 2004 were a song, it would be "Float On" by Modest Mouse, apparently. Which is nice, except that I've never heard it (tho I do remember requesting a copy of their last CD for review, through Peach).

Been clicking through Stylus magazine's Top 10 archives -- fun stuff. My favorites so far include Top 10 Musical Turn-Offs and Top 10 Musical Moments From Pretty in Pink:
You think you’re the only one left feeling strangely unsatisfied by the end of Pretty in Pink? NO ONE likes that ending. If you found yourself rooting for Blaine ("Blaine? His name is BLAINE?? That’s not a name, IT’S A MAJOR APPLIANCE!!") and Andie to make up at the end of the movie, you have no right watching that movie and get the hell out of my Top Ten. This one is for the people who still watch that movie every time it’s on cable, hoping, praying that this time it’ll end differently, knowing deep down that the movie is better for ending this way and crying your eyes out because of it. You are not alone.

My PC's mp3 player is set on random now, and it's fun hearing stuff for the first time in weeks or months. Last few songs, in reverse order, were by Saint Etienne, Ella Fitzgerald, Toasters, Beck, PM Dawn and Prefab Sprout. Some of these songs I don't even remember ripping. "I Don't Give" by Avril Lavigne?! Nice 80s pop-rock vibe, but I think I'll skip it... ah, R.E.M. on now. "Sweetness Follows." :) It's these little things, they can pull you under. Live your life filled with joy and wonder.

One album I've been rediscovering -- since my friend Reitch returned it to me late last year -- is ebtg's Temperamental. I was going to attempt to write about how brilliant this album is, but luckily I found this amazing review from Salon circa 1999, and it basically saves me the trouble:
Everything But the Girl are among the greatest current practitioners of romantic pop. When Tracey Thorn sings, "I walk the city late at night" on the duo's new album, "Temperamental," it's as authentic an image of the genre as the cover of "In the Wee Small Hours," the blue-green painting of Sinatra idling under a 3 a.m. street lamp because anywhere is better than going home alone.

Self-pity is at the heart of romantic pop's great theme -- the search for love and the heartbreak of its aftermath -- and an undeniable part of its appeal. Assemble the right ingredients: Scotch (or bourbon); cigarettes (optional); low lighting; the right music ("No One Cares" or "Dusty in Memphis," "A Night in Manhattan With Lee Wiley" or "Al Green's Greatest Hits"). Blend. You've got the makings for a luxuriant wallow in romantic moroseness. Serves one.

Finally, I contributed something to this exhibit, opening at 6PM later, at Megamall. Hope y'all can drop by. :) Peach a.k.a. Isha, among others, will be performing.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Music Journalism

Did you know that the Philippines has the oldest hip-hop scene in Southeast Asia? And that rap and hip-hop are not synonymous? Yeah, I know: who the hell cares. I miss the days when all I had to do was write about Stonefree. Or The freakin' Purplechickens.

Just came across this amusing overview of a bunch of music magazines, by a Dr. David Thorpe, who is quite possibly not a medical doctor. I'm guessing he has a Ph.D. in Applied Physics or something, but that is just a wild guess. Anyway, I love what he wrote about Rolling Stone:
When many of us think of music journalism, we think of passages like “Hurtling across the Mojave Desert, half-blind from the sun and half-crazy from the delectable Afghan hash, I exchanged a portentous glance with the beautiful man-monster who calls himself Gary Cherone. ‘This is real,’ I thought. ‘This is now. This is Extreme.” Rolling Stone practically invented this bullshit.

Funny, and true. Am just glad this guy has never even laid eyes on PULP magazine.

"As I sucked on my last cig and chugged down my third Red Horse for the night -- at the same time, so you can imagine the mess -- I asked the living rap legend seated across me what he thought of the local hip-hop scene. He launched into a monologue involving the origins of hip-hop culture, and the founders and pioneers of Pinoy rap. As I watched his lips move, I slowly slipped into a sort of muffled state, as if invisible elves had packed my head with cotton into an invisible box, and I wondered: will we ever build a distinct and honest Pinoy hip-hop culture of our own? And furthermore, can't this guy afford a deodorant?"

Monday, January 03, 2005

Song for the New Year

Here's what I usually do on New Year's Eve: I take a glass of wine, excuse myself from the family festivities, and go to my room, where I usher in the New Year with a solitary toast and Victoria Williams' "This Moment" playing on CD player. Not this year: midnight and I was with K2, no music except for the music playing in my heart. (Awww.) And no, it wasn't Jeff Buckley's version of "Hallelujah." ;)

It took me a couple of days before I found my song for the crossover into 2005, the song that memorializes all the hardship and turmoil and the joy of the year that went past, and expresses all the hope that carries us all into the coming year. Not a new song, but one that's been around for a while, which, come to think of it, is what we want out of the things that matter.

Love Like Laughter

Some of the worst wrongs
Get righted on three chords,
Like a promise,
Or a kiss goodbye.
When the sneer on your lips
Is the liveliest thing,
Just alive enough to die.

Open my heart,
In my heart there's something telling me
To open my heart.
Open my heart
Yeah, I've been blind,
And all that's been lost
Is a short loop running round my mind.

Love is like laughter
See it happen by chance,
Like a promise,
Or a kiss goodbye
When the smile on your lips
Is the liveliest thing
More alive than any sky I've seen.

I open my heart
In my heart is there's something telling me
To open my heart.
I open my heart,
See I've been blind,
And all that's been cut
Is a short loop running round my mind.

I open my heart
In my heart there's something telling me
To open my heart.
I open my heart,
See I've been blind,
And all that's been cut
Is a short loop running round my mind.

It's just running round my mind,
Running all the time.
Running all the time
It's a short loop
A short loop

Saturday, January 01, 2005

"Anger is a Burglar Who Steals Our Brains" (or, Happy New Year, All)

So this is 2005. I've just watched the final episode of Justice League season 2, and am now therefore devoid of any real purpose in life. My laughable recent attempts to abide by a healthier diet have left me without a molecule of comfort food in the house -- just whole wheat bread and watery-tasting apples. If the usual superstition applies and January 1 is indeed indicative of the way the rest of the year goes, then 2005 should be a lot of fun. And before my sarcastic head disappears any further up my own sarcastic ass, yes, I do realize that for tens of thousands of people, this new year is already worse beyond anything they could have imagined.

Change of topic! Look, it's the Best Albums of the Year. Allegedly. (Or audibly, as some people might say). Wow, almost nothing in the Top 30 is readily available at record stores here. Then again, Orange & Lemons and the complete works of Lito Camo aren't readily available abroad either. Life is full of trade-offs.

Speaking of trade-offs, I want to kill my neighbors so much right now. I don't know what that has to do with trade-offs, exactly, but I really do want to kill them. It's not just the fact that it's almost five AM as I write this and they're still playing their stupid music. It's the fact that the stupid music that they're playing is loud enough for me to be driven insane by its mindless repetitive bass lines, but not so clear that I can make out any actual songs. Somehow not even being able to make out the tunes, horrible though they probably are, makes it all even more excruciating. I feel like I'm being experimented on by giant mad scientists who are trying to determine the most efficient ways to make humans explode using sound waves.

Lucky for my neighbors, I have just been watching episode after episode of morally sound entertainment (if you don't count premarital sex as basically immoral, and I don't -- not that any sex takes place onscreen of course, but it is heavily implied between Green Lantern and Hawkgirl, Green Lantern and Katma Tui -- hey! That Green Lantern's a studmuffin!), and thus, with the shining example of Superman and friends to guide me, I am not as easily inclined towards wrongdoing as I usually am.

Anyway, as one of my best friends once told me, nothing is wrong forever. So eventually my neighbors will die and I will get some sleep.

Goodbye 2004! ;p Happy New Year, everybody!

PS. Look, Achewood meets Peanuts, or at least Ray meets Charlie Brown. It's both crushingly depressing and hysterically funny! You know, like life. More Achewood goodness (or badness) here. That last line had me laughing out loud.

PPS. I want nachos. Nachos with lots of thick melted cheese and salsa. Mmm, nachos.