Monday, July 30, 2007

The Review Crew

Since I was finally able to upload the photos from my phone to my PC (thanks Jovan!), I'll be putting up those pix here every now and then. This is a shot of some of my Review Crew, the people I go to when I want CDs for BURN or savaged -- I mean, critically assessed in a fair and balanced fashion. This was taken during a Saturday morning at the Megastrip, when I was distributing CDs for review. (Notice the Katelyn Tarver album on top of Kristine's stack.)

Left to right, that's Kristine Lim, Dodo Dayao, Karlo Samson, Eric Melendez, Cris Ramos Jr, and Erwin Romulo's green right shirtsleeve. Not in shot: Aldus Santos, who was sitting at a table off to the right, and Yvette Tan, who was sitting beside me.

A great bunch of people, and excellent, honest reviewers all. Am very proud to be working with them. Am also relieved to have people to share all the death threats from disgruntled artists with. I kid.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

The IKON Semifinals!

Thanks to all those who braved the rain and went to Le Pavilion for The IKON Philippines Semifinals! For those who don't know, IKON is ASEAN's newest, biggest music contest, with some of our country's best acts as participants. The Philippine finals winners -- one solo star and one band -- will go on to represent our country in the Grand Finals in Malaysia.

There was much tension earlier, as it was only announced just before the show which of the 18 initial contestants would go on to the semis. In other words, a handful of bands and solo stars had to trudge home, without getting another chance to compete onstage. This must not have been easy, as all the participants are well established artists, but some mildly bruised egos were inevitable with the stakes this high. And while the whole idea of competition between these acts might have displeased some, I gotta say, it made for some really impressive performances.

Backstage before the show was fun, with the press people having no less than 18 artists to choose from to photograph or interview. It was like speed dating, but without the potential emotional damage.

The lovely Yvette interviews the lovely Sitti, and apparently asks something amusing.

Cris Ramos talks to Grace Nono, while Yvette and Vina Morales trade secrets.

Skarlet wonders if the food will be served soon.

Julianne, no doubt plotting something dastardly.

Sitti again, posing in front of a buncha logos.

Our host Asia Agcaoili, wearing an outfit I never thought I would see outside of 90s Image comics. If you see the bottom half, you'll know what I'm talking about. (Watch the IKON show tonight, on RPN 9, at 7 PM).

I should probably take a moment to explain here that there were lots of acts present at the presscon -- The Dawn, Chicosci, Kapatid, Sponge Cola, Noel Cabangon, Kjwan, etc. Just because all my pictures are of the female artists doesn't mean that there weren't any guys there.

After the show, Yvette and I had shrimp puffs and veggie rice:

Excuse the blurry picture. I'm practicing to become a food blogger. Because apparently, it's the food bloggers who get invited to cool events and stuff, not us whatever-bloggers. ;p

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Favorite Bad Albums

This is fun: Blender features "Our Favorite Musicians' Favorite Bad Albums"!

"Many of us will go to bat for that highly uncool and/or critically slammed record adorning our otherwise impeccable collection, and musicians are no different. We recently caught up with some of our favorite bands, producers and DJs to find out what awesomely bad albums make their hearts go tick and their feet go tap."

Oh man, A-ha's first two albums! I loved those. I might even still have the cassettes somewhere. "Manhattan Skyline," what a great song. And dear God, Animalympics! I can't believe anyone else even remembers that movie, and those songs. I was absolutely crazy about those songs as a kid. I managed to track down one or two through file-sharing -- I included one as a 'hidden track' on my October mix last year -- but I am a long way from assembling all the songs. If anyone has a copy of this, please let me know. :)

My favorite 'highly uncool' album? That's tough. I think half my CD collection is highly uncool. I own almost everything the Pet Shop Boys ever made, after all.

Happy Birthday to Me

Guess what I got in the mail today? Those of you who read, or used to read, British music magazines may recognize the logo on the right. Yes, I got the July issue of Q magazine, sent straight from London. Thank you thank you thank you, Indira! :D Yay!

This issue features the "Ten Most Exciting Bands in the World Right Now" (a list open to much debate, but whatever), interviews with the Arctic Monkeys, Arcade Fire, and Muse, a tribute to Sgt. Pepper (incidentally, have you heard the BBC-organized cover versions of songs off the album? I rather like the Razorlight one, to be honest. And I didn't like the Magic Numbers' number as much as I thought I would), and the usual assload of reviews. Best of all, this being the summer issue, there's a free CD stuck to the cover! This one features live tracks recorded at Glastonbury (which I didn't get to go to this year, but what the hell).

Thanks to all of you who greeted me happy birthday yesterday (whoops, it's almost 4AM -- I mean, the other day), and those sent belated greetings as well. I had a great birthday, because of Yvette of course. :D But special thanks also to Erwin, Yvonne, Isha, Juan, Malek and everyone else at the Preview shoot. Yay!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

My hamster says "Hello"

"Hello," he says. "I am reporting you for purchasing pirated DVDs."

Monday, July 23, 2007

High School Life

Watched Pisay: The Movie last Saturday, with, appropriately enough, my high school barkada, and our respective spouses/ girlfriends/ boyfriends. We had a blast. I didn't suffer nostalgia attacks as badly as I thought I would, and I think I can say with sufficient critical objectivity that it is a very good film indeed. Of course we convened in a nearby restaurant afterwards to talk about our Pisay days.

Got the soundtrack CD in the CCP Main Theatre lobby after the screening last Saturday. :) Here's the track listing:

01. Pisay Intro Theme/Act One: Rom and Wena's Theme
02. Lingunin Mo Sana Ako - Squid9
03. Poor Li'l Rich Girl Grown Up - Mcoy Fundales
04. Act Two: Mat's Theme
05. Egis, Er'p! - Lourd de Veyra and Raimund Marasigan
06. Love is in My Hair - Imago
07. Act Three: Andy and Liway's Theme
08. Ang Puso Kong Musmos - Ebe Dancel
09. Act Four: Halley's Comet
10. Pisay Graduation Theme/PSHS Hymn
11. Treasured Memories - Isha

Just started listening to it now. So far my favorite tracks are "Egis, Er'p," "Love is in My Hair," "Ang Puso Kong Musmos" and the little instrumental bits.

I never thought I would willingly pay money for a CD with the PSHS Hymn on it, by the way. ;p

Ran a search for blog entries on the movie and this came up. (How perfect is it that her blog's name is "If I Were a Subatomic Particle"? Ah, Pisay people.)

"Hindi ko maintindihan dati kung bakit hindi ko na-feel ang pagkawala ng Pisay. Ngaun alam ko na kung bakit. Hindi ko naramdamang binitawan ko ang Pisay kasi HINDI ko talaga binitawan. Nasakin pa rin ang Pisay. Ako pa rin si Cheska na tumawa, umiyak, nasaktan, natuto, lumaban, at nagtagumpay sa Pisay."

Well put. The rest of the blog entry is very much worth reading too.

Here's the schedule of remaining screenings (got this from The Mighty Dacs page):

24 Jul/Tue 09:00 PM Venue 1 - CCP Main Theatre
25 Jul/Wed 09:00 PM Venue 2 - CCP Little Theatre
26 Jul/Thu 06:15 PM Venue 5 - CCP Tanghalang Huseng Batute
27 Jul/Fri 10:00 AM Venue 1 - CCP Main Theatre
28 Jul/Sat 03:30 PM Venue 2 - CCP Little Theatre

For more info, bug the CCP Box Office at 832-3704 and Ticketworld at 891-9999. The navigation of the Cinemalaya page is pretty screwed up, but the Pisay page is here.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Prof Rock

Queen guitarist completes PhD thesis

"Over thirty years after he put away his thesis on interplanetary dust clouds in order to become the guitarist for Queen, 59-year-old Brian May has finally completed it, for his PhD in astrophysics. Although May had earned a degree in physics at Imperial College in London, and worked on the thesis from 1971 to 1974, once Queen began to enjoy success there was no time for him to pursue his doctorate." [//more]

Friday, July 13, 2007

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Free Problems

You can get Dog Problems, the second album by The Format, for free! (Yeah, so what? you might say. I can get all sorts of albums for free through the internets. The difference is, this particular download is officially sanctioned and will not send you to jail or hell.)

That's right: just go here and one of the best albums of last year will be yours. I love these songs, particularly "She Doesn't Get It," "Dead End" and of course "Dog Problems." Offer only lasts 'til JULY 16.

Here's an excerpt from the PopMatters review: "Horns abound, sugary Beatlesesque harmonies lace the songs, swelling strings kick in. In other words, it sounds like Disney on crack, and what’s really surprising is that it doesn’t crumble under all that feel-good weight. Ironically, it all sounds radio-ready in the most creative way imaginable."

Go go get it!

The Weekly Nothing to Do

With all the stuff that I've been doing lately, I totally forget to tell you all that "The King of Nothing to Do," my column at the Manila Bulletin, ever since I hit #50, now comes out weekly. Whoop whoop! :D So make sure to pick up a copy every Wednesday, because, you know, I writes good and stuff. Today's column is about my reaction to the news that Pisay, a movie about my old high school, is going to show at the Cinemalaya festival at the end of this month.

Last week's column, about childhood and children's books, is here. The Bulletin doesn't always archive its articles though, so it's still good to pick up the print version. ;)

Sunday, July 08, 2007

"This is what science is supposed to be."

"Its rock-hard surface can take a full-on assault from a baseball bat, yet remains flexible enough to allow you to kick, leap and roll with perfect ease. Crafted from cutting-edge science, its unique molecular structure means that while providing armoured protection against crude concrete and even barbed wire, it remains light enough to allow you to run at high speed.

"It sounds like the stuff of Batman comics -- but the superhero suit is here."

Read on.

Brand New BURN

Sino Sikat, Kitchie Nadal, Up dharma Down, and lots lots more: the July-August 2007 edition of BURN is available now, and you should get one! Features and reviews and fun stuff galore, and all for only Php70. That's right. Less than your latte cost.

Am particularly proud of this issue's Reviews section: totally uncompromising, often funny, sometimes savage stuff. Witness JP Ong fall asleep to Brownman Revival! Watch Kristine Lim eviscerate Join the Club with the help of her little brother! See Bernie Sim bitch-slap Gwen Stefani! Gape as Aldus Santos stops Hinder! And wave your hands in the air as Erwin Romulo stomps on Mig Ayesa!

It's not all negative, of course, and I don't mean to sound like I'm cackling like a cartoon villain while twirling a mustache. As always, it's the genuinely good albums -- and the subsequent sincerely positive reviews -- that are the reason I love my job. JP Ong surprises himself by liking Pernilla Andersson. Kristine Lim finds Regina Spektor quirky and charming. Eric Melendez loves Noel Cabangon's new album about love. Editor-in-Chief Conch Concio grooves to the Cold War Kids. And Nick Azarcon encourages drunk driving while listening to the Kaiser Chiefs. Make sure your insurance is paid up, Nick!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

"Somewhere between happy, and total fucking wreck"

I don't always agree with Joey Dizon, but I always enjoy reading his blog.

JOEY DIZON HAS A FRIENDLY WARNING: "If you're into rave parties, like talking about scoring with drunk college chicks, only have extreme knowledge about cars, sports, drag racing and stylish shirts with the collars-up, then stay the fuck away from me. Bunch of fucking faggots. Put some meaning into your lives. Again, stay the fuck away from me or I'll kill you."

JOEY DIZON'S FAVORITE VIDEO GAME IS: "Contra. Old school rules. No brains, just shooting everything in sight. I know there are a lot of video games like that these days, but there's a charm to controlling two 2D shirtless mercenaries who look exactly the same and can only be distinguished from another by the color of their head bands and pants."

JOEY DIZON ON BLOC PARTY: "Fucking makes me sick.... Dancing should be left in the clubs. Who the fuck forms a band so that people can dance? Guys who play in bands like Bloc Party are the guys who couldn't get into the real rock shows and gigs because they were pussies. That's total loser shit right there. Some excuse to NOT be a good musician... The sad thing is, everybody's calling it rock. I mean, Bloc Party is like fucking... I dunno... Libis music. Effortless, trendy bullshit. It's like music fucking Tommy Hilfiger or Tim Yap listens to."

Even when I don't agree with Joey, I admire his general lack of bullshit. And let's face it, many of us share his opinions about security guards, idiots on elevators, and Kris Aquino. We just don't express those opinions as vividly -- or at all, in some cases.

For those who don't know, Joey is the Editor-in-Chief of PULP, a position he has earned by working his way up from Staff Writer to Head Writer to Managing Editor to the very top. He was Head Writer when I was on the PULP staff four years ago, and it was always fun to talk to him during late nights at the office, when we were cramming our reviews and articles.

Joey also taught me one very important lesson, by example: never be ashamed of the music you love.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

There and BECK Again

So I first watched -- and wrote about -- BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad early last year. But Yvette just started watching the second half of the series recently, so it's been on my brain. I've got no time to go on a BECK marathon again, what with everything I have to do, but I have the DVD playing as I work. The awkwardly-delivered English bits (both sung and spoken) are still a problem, but the series is still an absorbing, affecting piece of work, and it's still one of my favorites.

I admit, I'm curious about the Pinoy dubbed version. Hey, Raimund Marasigan as Taira-kun! Has anyone watched this? Is it any good?

And by the way, this... this is just wrong.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Listen to "Listening"

Check out Drip's GarageBand page. Listen to the newly-uploaded song "Listening". Good stuff. Lots of lovely funky sounds going on. And of course, Beng. Just go already. :)