Monday, July 17, 2006

Yay for Yvette!

Now that the winners of the First Philippine Graphic/Fiction Awards have been announced, I can finally publicly congratulate the wonderful and talented Yvette on being one of the finalists! Though her story, Stella for Star, didn't end up ranked among the top three slots, I liked it the most, and not because I'm just generally crazy about her -- it was both genuinely horrifying and affecting.

I would also like to remind everyone that Yvette's column at has fresh installments every week or so -- my favorites so far have been her pieces on X-Men 3 and the McDo Greenhills breakfast club (especially the breakfast club one), but every installment has proven interesting, well-written and entertaining, even if it weirded me out to read about my brother and sister-in-law's mating rituals. Other topics covered so far include Stephen Chow, time management, and a food trip to Quezon. Go read!

Coming Soon to a Bookstore Near You, Part Two

Only about a month to go before my second book, The King of Nothing to Do, comes out from Milflores Publishing! Once again, that cover design you see on the right is just something I whipped up for fun. I love the actual cover design done by artist extraordinaire Elbert, and can't wait to see it in print and hold the book in my hands. It's going to have no less than fifty essays culled from over five years of writing -- stuff about love, city life, TV shows, secondhand books, writing workshops, imaginary friends, the concept of Pinoy time, how not to get your hair cut, the history of horse racing in the Philippines, and lots more. You'll laugh! You'll cry! You'll buy multiple copies for all your friends and relatives! Or at least I hope you will. I have a heroin habit to support. And by "heroin" I mean "pizza."

"The Awwww Song" by Jorel Corpus

Me and The Happy Meals, during the interview I conducted for BURN. That's Jorel on the right.

Here's a fun little song that combines a laid-back, at-the-beach feel with earnest, heartfelt sentiments: it's currently untitled, but its lyrics will make you go "awww," hence the placeholder name. It's by self-described "all-around music guy" Jorel Corpus, who you probably know from one of his many bands: Kjwan, The Happy Meals and Brigada. Go here to download it!

On an earlier post, Jorel has a disclaimer regarding the raw nature of the demos he puts up on his Multiply page ("I recorded them using my very basic set up. Which is ... MY PC, hahaha"), but the strength of this song really comes across. Heck, it's been days -- no, weeks! -- since I first listened to it, and I can still sing the immensely catchy chorus. Would love to hear a fully fleshed-out final version of this song someday. Maybe with a horn section and backing vocals... Okay, maybe not. Still, whether stripped-down or lavishly produced, I'm sure its basic charm will remain intact. Good stuff.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Pill-Poppin' Fun

Photo taken from The Bitter Pill's yahoogroup.

Yvette and I wrote about The Bitter Pill -- the indie super-band with Mong Alcaraz from Chicosci, Mikey Amistoso from Ciudad, Isa Garcia from Cousin Ed, Diego Castillo from Sandwich, and (at the time) Pao Santiago from Join the Club -- for the first issue of BURN. Here's the intro paragraph:
"More! More! More!" everyone in the bar was chanting, heedless of chairs and composure, all sweaty from dancing and yelling and crowding into each other. We had just been blown away by a handful of raucous, joyous, punk-energized, pop-catchy songs, delivered with astonishing attitude, liveliness, and an almost-psychic rapport by the five-piece band known as The Bitter Pill. Formed about half a year ago, they’ve been converting indifferent crowds into on-their-feet fans at every performance, and we were no exception. Alas, there was no ‘more’ to be had: "Sorry -- that’s all the songs we know!" apologized Diego Castillo, before staggering off the stage.

And now, you can feast your ears on one of The Bitter Pill's songs, specifically "You and Me and the Devil Makes Three" -- um, that is, if you join their yahoogroup and go to the "Files" section. (I don't think you can right-click and download it, but you can listen to it via Quicktime.) Though it's deceptively simple and one of their slower songs, I can attest to its hypnotic, near-delirious power when they play it live, and this cleaner studio version has its own charms.

It begins with a simple piano and electric guitar back-and-forth, then builds and repeats and builds and repeats until somewhere near the end when the guitars get all urgent and near-frenzied you can imagine the audience howling and breaking all the furniture in the bar, and then it quiets down and fades out. Very nice. I can't wait for a full album proper from these guys.