Monday, June 19, 2006

"So Hard to Find My Way" by Jackie Greene

I swear to God, if my life were a sitcom, this song is what would be playing over the opening credits sequence. As Lazlo Bane's "Superman" is to Scrubs, as They Might Be Giants' "Boss of Me" is to Malcolm in the Middle, so this song is to the nonexistent, award-winning, cult success series based on my life:

I've played this song so much over the past two days that the stray cats who occasionally wander into my garage can sing along to it now. I air-guitar to it. I air-horn section to it. I air-handclap to it. No, wait, scratch that last part: I actually do literally clap my hands to it. Because that requires no actual musical ability. It's "a fantastic upbeat, retro-sounding tune combining piano, banjo, and Memphis horns," as Heather of I Am Fuel, You Are Friends says; what more do you need to know? Go here and get it already!

PS. CONGRATULATIONS to Indira! :D Yaaay! You rock.

PPS. Welcome back, Kristine F.! Now post something with words! ;)

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Poptastic! Too: Absentee, Casper & The Cookies, The Bees (U.S.)

More songs to put a spring into your step and a hum into your heart! (Yes -- hearts can hum. Some of them are often off-key, though.) This time, instead of solo artists, it's a buncha bands. If three can be called a buncha.

First, you must go here and download "You Try Sober" by Absentee. It sounds happy and jaunty -- and Dan Michaelson's ridiculously deep voice is a treat -- but listen to the lyrics and they tell a tale of a relationship fucked up by alcoholism. "You can't just come here when you're drunk," Michaelson grumbles; and keyboardist/vocalist Melinda Bronstein answers (I love boy-girl tradeoff vocals in pop songs, btw) -- "I wanna make things right." "Why don't you try sober, if you're so sure?" Michaelson retorts. Great stuff.

Then go here for the 70s-sounding "Learn How to Disappear" by Casper & the Cookies. Yes, I know, horrible name. Good song though -- like "You Try Sober," the tune will get your toes tapping while the lyrics get your brow furrowing. "Better learn how to disappear, get yourself away from here. Change your name and your address, and get a brand new face. Erase the memories from your head and act like someone else instead." It's so catchy you'll be singing along to the paranoiac chorus as if it were "You Are the Sunshine of My Life."

Finally, my current favorite -- go here and get "The Country Life" by The Bees. No, not those Bees -- The Bees U.S., apparently. This piano-enhanced country-pop-rock song has even more of a 70s vibe than "Learn How...", and it rollicks. It is rollicking. It will have you hand-clapping and harmonizing and forgetting you are a city boy (or girl). "I just wanna sing my song. So long to city lights, so long to neon signs -- I'm gone!" Sweetness. Over much too soon. Hit the repeat button.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Coming Soon to a Bookstore Near You

It gives me great pleasure to announce that my second book, "The King of Nothing to Do," will be out very very soon, from Milflores Publishing! In July, most likely. Here's the brief intro I wrote:
Hi there.

This is a collection of nonfiction pieces that I wrote, for various otherwise reputable publications, over the past five-plus years. (To my horror, the earliest of these essays dates back to over a decade ago; talk about time flying.) Many of the pieces collected here -- particularly the ones dated from 1999 to 2001 -- originally appeared in the much-missed online magazine LegManila, either as features, contributions to the Urban Shoes section, or installments of my column, "Where is my mind?"

The more recent pieces are from "The King of Nothing to Do", my current column, which appears on a biweekly basis in the i section of the Manila Bulletin. A handful of these essays came out in magazines like MEGA and the Philippine edition of Cosmo. Those of you who have followed what could be jokingly referred to as my career (hi, Mom) know that I wrote a truckload of stuff during my years as a staffer on PULP and MTV Ink -- interviews and reviews and events coverage -- but, though I’m rather proud of that material, I decided not to include any of it here; perhaps it will be gathered in a future collection dedicated to music-related matters.

Anyway, I hope you have fun reading this. I had fun writing it, for the most part, but I imagine that the real fun will be when the royalties start coming in. Thank you for helping to make that happy experience possible.

Those images on this post (clickyclick to make 'em larger) are my attempts at mock covers for my book. Rest assured that the final cover will be much snazzier, as it will be designed by the very talented Elbert Or, who is also doing interior illustrations. YAY!

PS. The 26th installment of my column will be out this Friday, in the Manila Bulletin. That's right -- 26th! I've been writing my latest column for exactly a year. Yahoo!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Poptastic! : Lily Allen, Nelly Furtado, David Mead

Here are songs to make you smile! Unless you see your life as unending black bitter torment only occasionally relieved when you stop to drink the blood of infants, in which case they may only make you twitch a little.

First off is the appropriately named "Smile" by Lily Allen. Go here and download it now. "What can I say? I can't resist fun, summer-y pop made by pretty girls," says someone named Matt. You and me both, my friend. And speaking of pop by pretty girls, go here for "Glow" by Nelly Furtado, produced by Timbaland. "Are you fucking serious?" raves Rollie. "BRZZZZZZZZT that synth just gave me freezer burn... Can anyone agree that Timbo is like 20 years ahead of anyone else producing pop music today?" Let's see hands! Up in the air like you just don't care! Finally, go here for "Chatterbox" by David Mead, who is not a pretty girl, but has his good points anyway. "This is pretty much the most ridiculously infectious and happy pop song I have heard in a while," saith Ms. Browne. Woo, say I, followed immediately by hoo!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Talking Ducks and the Kama Sutra

Hey hey! I've got a new short story, called "Anas Luzonica," in the June issue of Manual magazine, on sale now. Here's a brief description of it, from the magazine's site:

"What's a guy to do if his best friend is a talking duck and his girlfriend, a potential aswang? Why, sit down to dinner, of course, in this amusing tale of love in the time of the bird flu."

The funny thing about Manual's monthly "Quickie Fiction" is that EVERY story they feature must make use of the following three concepts/elements: the Kama Sutra, aswangs, and bird flu. I know: how insanely random can you get? But sometimes it's fun to work with such oddball restrictions. The EIC told me that sometimes the writer just mentions one or more of the elements in passing, without really working them into the story, so I was determined to make each seemingly incompatible concept integral to "Anas Luzonica." I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. Yay!

Friday, June 09, 2006


Been sick for a week; came down with a fever and spent a whole night throwing up, which, as all-night activities go, is not one of the funnest. Have also not been online in almost that long; just been resting and reading, mostly. I can keep my food down now, but I still don't quite feel well enough to venture out into the world, which is why I don't have my own copy of THE NEW ISSUE OF BURN yet. But YOU -- you HAVE NO EXCUSE! Go out and buy it NOW NOW NOW. As you can see from the pix above (click on 'em to make them grow magically), the second issue of BURN has two covers, one with The Dawn (Happy 20th Anniversary!) and one with Pink.

(Thanks to Denise for the jpegs; since these were early versions that Dave laid out, the actual covers on the stands may look slightly different.)

This issue features Indira Endaya's lengthy interview with The Dawn, a feature on hot young bossa nova singing star Sitti by Yvette Tan (who also writes about industrial band Interlace), Eric Melendez interviewing Slapshock AND Cheese, a Kapatid feature by Denise Mallabo, a Chillitees feature by Cris Ramos, Inky de Dios giving samba percussion lessons, the debut of Sarah Meier's column (and second columns by Quark Henares and Lourd de Veyra), me writing about Bagetsafonik, The Happy Meals, and Swing Out Sister (corresponding with Corinne Drewery was a thrill), and more, more, including of course the FREE CD hosted by Zach Lucero, with tracks by the Chillitees, Bagetsafonik, Giniling Festival, Concrete Sam, The Happy Meals, etcetera. Wahoo!