It's The Japanese HELLoween Occupation!!!

It's The Japanese HELLoween Occupation!!!
Degenerate (Osaka), Demanda (Nara City)



United One Blood Records Show

United One Blood Records Show
12.6.14 IDB Sucat, Paranaque



Friday, October 10, 2014

The Skeleton Years - Pieces Of Recovery

REVIEW: The Skeleton Years - "Pieces Of Recovery"

As a reviewer, this proves to be a challenging feat for me as half of this band are extremely good buddies of mine and I must admit to being biased. A great deal. But I have tried for the past couple of hours to listen with the intent to understand, enjoy, and review. (yes, in that order.) And the fact remains that on this 7-track care package, there simply isn't any filler and the songs have me thoroughly enjoying what I hear. The Skeleton Years, who formed sometime in 2012, initially released their first 7-song EP, "Between Lunacy & You" back in July 2013. In such a short span of time, we now find the band more than ready to give us their second 7-song EP, titled Pieces Of Recovery" which sees them launching a series of shows this October to get their new music out.

"Awkward" starts off as an acoustic jam, with a different flavor on the guitar work, which I suspected was not traditionally how Ebong and Sharen play. Turns out I was right all along as this "unique" guitar-playing style was lent by none other than Banat Boys' Paga Manikan. It is a perfect match, though, and sets the mood for the rest of the record. Reminiscent of a Skiba-led band, "Beginnings" puts me back to the familiar sound I knew the band from, on their first EP, though my musing would seem to be an isolated case for this song, as for the rest of the EP, the band have finally managed to capture a sound I would call as their own, which, in itself is a feat that's difficult for new bands to execute. "Make Up, Break Up" is a fucking reincarnation of an old Richard Collier fave. Did anyone say redux? The TSY flavor they injected on this cover is amazingly fresh, and, in some way, is different from just a plain cover, in terms of arrangement. This becomes a problem for me as I love both Richard Collier's original version and this treatment they have given it. So now I love both versions. "Discarded" is a really cryptic tune, leaning heavily on the edge of their goth/post punk roots. "Turn Away" has Paga Manikan lending additional drum programming duties this time. This cut can easily be TSY's poppiest, but if you know the bandmembers themselves, then you know they will never subscribe to anything "pop"-media related. TSY has strong DIY roots and I would love to see them keep it that way. An acoustic version of this cut is hidden as an unlisted last track on this EP. I just fuckin' love the soaring guitar solos in "Closure", which had been another favorite of mine early on as I had been hearing this track played live for it was one of the early songs they played after releasing their last EP, and I immediately took a liking, nay, a craving for this song live whenever I go catch TSY perform.

There comes a time in everyone's life, that, after breaking up with your partner, wallowing in your own sorrow for an extended period of time, you finally conquer and shut off your inner demons, and exorcise that nasty motherfucker out of your system. You get up, get dressed, leave your room, go out, cigarette lit, and walk off into the night, eager to start your next adventure. Upon hearing Darwin scream and sing his songs with that tad bit of pain and the wounded, struggling fighter in him slowly surfacing amongst the strain of his voice, you know The Skeleton Years have traveled their pieces of recovery fully well.  

Another stellar effort for The Skeleton Years. And If you are looking for honest music from a hardworking band who have soldiered on in their own little way, sans the glam of hipster magnet, corporate sponsored, chopsuey-arena rock shows, (TSY has played only DIY shows if my memory serves me right..) raising the Sucat "Mabangong Punks" flag defiantly. I declare this a must for any self-respecting post punkers, new wavers, goths, and plain old romantic fools. Call it genre-bender if you will, but this is a must for my collection. 

Because Charles, Sharen, Ebong, Mavic, and Darwin.

Now go tell your friends to get this.

They launch this new EP on Saturday 10/11 at BKB, West Avenue, Quezon City, and Saturday, 10/18 at IDB Bar, Sucat, Parañaque. You have to go.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Sister Bastard x Tinimbang Ka, Ngunit Kulang

It was mid-June/July 2014 when punk artist England Hidalgo brought up the idea of doing a release show launching his current band, Diliman-based Tinimbang Ka, Ngunit Kulang's split cassette tape output with Rizal locals Sister Bastard. Initial plan was set for August 30th (It was a royal pain in the butt cancelling a work-approved leave that I took great lengths to obtain, well, fuck that.), but there was a catch: England wanted the set to be a face-off kinda thing where both bands will play alternately, resembling somewhat a cage-match showdown of sorts. This presented a minor obstacle as the Pojax Kvlt muddrafukas ain't rich trust-fund brats who leisurely use momma's credit card on whim: It was gonna cost more than our pockets could allow to hire 2 sets of equipment to pull off this show. But determined to go get shit done OUR WAY, we presented this plan to fellow skull-worshippers Dead Scene and Delusion Of Terror, who, from the get-go got our fat behinds covered. Because, in reality, that's how our scene works. With one crew lending a hand to another, no ifs, no buts. 

Engineer Oca took care of the venue and equipment rentals, (Mad thanks to uncle Sharen, IDB all-around bossy motherfucker), England and Pig Champ lined up artists friends willing to front the show, Cristo Mamaw coordinating tactical SWAT expenses between the organizers, and Dead Scene, Delusion Of Terror, and Nine Iron (Bad Omen's Albert Sy's cassette tape label, who is known for his minimalist-run releases, yeah, some of his tapes have a total run of ONLY 20 copies being pressed, ever.) lending backbone support for the show.

England (Pinoy Raymond Pettibon, yes.) was able to put to good use the poster of 70's iconic action/comedy film "Ang Hari At Ang Alas", the Ramon Zamora-Rey Malonzo starrer, by doing his own take on our show's poster. See for yourself:
Prior to the show, a day ahead, on Friday, the Philippine government, in conjunction with their crime boss the US of A unleashed another tropical HAARP typhoon, affectionately named "Mario" by their puppy weather agency that devastated major parts of the Luzon region, causing massive floods brought about by the Ondoy-scale "rain" showers. We almost thought of cancelling the show due to the literal shitstorm that plowed Manila's ass heavily. Lo and behold, the very next day on our gig night, the HAARP went away. This reminded me of another Pojax-initiated show we had last year "Disharmonic Ritual" where prior to our gig date, another shitstorm HAARP was thrown our way by our lovely 2-digit IQ government. Well, no fucking shitstorm gets in our way, ever. Didn't you clowns get our memo?

This face-off theme (yeah, I've read some idiots' comment on how this show was "flip-top" styled, yung rap-rap showdown ng mga gangsta...sheeeeezas.). My brown lazy-ass homey, these brothas don't spew ill rhymes like yo momma exchanges nasty dimes, froot. This is straight up PINOY FLAVA FUCKIN POWERVIOLENCE DOUBLE-PENETRATION ASSAULT, full stop. 
And hey, my man JCS-Uno, stop referring to Drastic fuckin bubblegum Noise as POWERVIOLENCE, when they clearly aren't, mmmkay? Skull love. my meth-od man.

See the vid taken by Crapsalad above. Play it. Repeat that shit when it's done. And stencil the fuck up your skull worship at your local parak outpost. In broad daylight. Preferably along Edsa.

This is Sister Bastard slugging it out Pojax-stylee with their contemporary Tinimbang Ka, Ngunit Kulang. Remember their names. It has NEVER been done before. But we fuckin pulled that shit off. Now you know.

Oh, all 50 first-run tapes have now sold out. If you didn't make it to the show and did not bother irritating both bands enough to secure your copy, tough luck, you tourists. 

The fuckin poster served it best. "BE THERE, OR BE SQUARE".

The NINE IRON charity-stream can be heard HERE:

On the left corner: Sister Bastard

Jiar Castillo/Colin Farrell - drums
Romualdo Susaya, Jr./Brad Pitt - guitars
Rommel "Pastor" Liberato/Johnny Depp - bass, Pojax high priest, tigas tite
Israel "Indoy" Cabanlig/Matt Damon - vocals

On the right corner: Tinimbang Ka, Ngunit Kulang

England "Pettibon" Hidalgo/Kalbong Kulang - bass, vocals
Roman James Soleño/Don Romantiko Kulang - drums, vocals
Miguel Puyat/Luis Kulang - guitars, vocals

Go nuts!


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Skeleton Years - Between Lunacy And You

REVIEW: The Skeleton Years - Between Lunacy And You 

With today's bombardment of mediocre, sub-par, unengaging punk rock bands ruling the social media worldwide, It comes as a refreshing breath of fresh air when one is served with the perfect execution of what a good band sounds like. The Skeleton Years launches its debut offering in the form of a 7-song EP. I was lucky that after countless months of pestering the band members, they finally gave in and gave me an advance copy of this release.

It's no secret that I'm a sucker for New Wave and Punk Rock, and worship both genres with unscaled fervor. and these are equally encompassed by the music The Skeleton Years play. They pull it off amazingly without any hints of trying too hard (or without really trying at all, as I see it).

The cd cover sets the mood for TSY's music, having that dark red & black theme. Kicking off with their first track "Abandon", replete with their trademark fuzzy guitars guitar sound. I guess this version is a wee bit slower than their first demo recording. "Through" starts off with a playful drum-guitar alternate that takes you to their punk rock chorus. I'm not entirely sure that "Control" was a nod to Joy Division and was done on purpose but I'd love to think it was. The tune even starts with an intro that leans heavily on their JD influence. I can picture "Dead Night" being an anthem for young kids everywhere, the tune is catchy, but still with that dark haunting flavor that is inherently TSY's. I love how the two guitars sound like they are fucking flirting with each other. I gotta admit, without knowing TSY, I would've thought I was hearing "Simple" straight out of a Matt Skiba record. Or it could just be that I'm still unfamiliar with this track at all, as this was never released prior to this EP. Hands down, "Fade" has become my favorite on this EP. It has all the qualities of the band shining bright against the darkness of this release. This Ep treats us too with a demo version of "Abandon" added for good measure.

I don't even know how relevant the member's former bands were (I'd say not at all), but I do not care that some smart-ass babies throw accusations that TSY sounds like what their individual former bands sounded like. Just a thought, If you put Chris Cornell in Temple Of The Dog, Soundgarden, Audioslave, and whatever else band he used to front, he sure as hell sounds a lot like how Chris Cornell sounds, doesn't he?!?! It is not rocket science, fellas. This is an entirely new entity, and as such, they are called The Skeleton Years. 

Let me wrap it up by stating for a fact that "Between Lunacy And You" should be one (if not the only one) of the best EPs to come out this year, and is a perfect example of what new bands ought to prioritize first, because, frankly, you start a band to play music for the love of it and not to have your own clothing line of band name merchandise, yes? The only gripe I have on this release is that seven songs left me wanting more, and this early, I am already expecting a fuckin' full length from TSY. Do the right thing and get this EP from the band, support independent recordings. Be a part of your favorite band's life.. Because I said so.

Release show happening here:
contact the band @: The Skeleton Years


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Santelmo - "Kawal" (2010)

Santelmo - "Kawal" (2010)

01 Dedikasyon
02 Kalayaan Base Sa Amerika
03 Eleksyon
04 Huwag Mong Sabihin
05 Media
06 Mayoridad
07 Sa Ilalim Ng Diktaturya
08 Intelihenteng Bisita
09 Kawal Ng Malacañang
10 Militar Imperyalismo

I feel awkward not being made aware this band even existed until one day, a friend of mine told me he had cd's to sell of his friend's band and was singing praises for it. This band landed an interview on Incidental Afterthought zine's 9th issue (May 2009) and got me curious. After getting this record, I was glad I got this gem. Quality Pinoy "Tibak-Punk Rock" in all it's glory.

The band was rad enough to include the lyrics sheet on this release so it gave me a chance to know what they are all about. Imagine Dead Ends circa late 80's and Bad Religion before 1996 and you can imagine how these fellas roll. Props for the band for doing all 10 songs in the vernacular (Tagalog) as not many, in the Hardcore-Punk scene, at least, can ever achieve that. This recording is a culmination of songs done and recorded from 2007-2010. The title track is chilling. I sure wish one of these days I can get my lazy ass to see them and shake hands with these fellas.

Kids, stop listening to Terror and forget about that shit. They already played Manila and that's all there is to it. Support your local bands and Santelmo is one such band that would deserve all the support we can give them. The band is right up there with the likes of The Beauty Of Doubt, who I consider to be the best punk band to ever come out of our local shores this decade. The fact that Santelmo are a 3-piece band made it all the more better.

Incidental Afterthough:
"What are your thoughts about the importance of music in a political setting?"

"Music is a powerful tool to convey messages, so why not use that advantage to put our ideas and let it be heard? There are so many bands out there that don't want to have an opinion politically; maybe they don't want to affect their major label "connections" or their fan base. I think punk music should always be about social and political consciousness. It's rewarding to put ideas out there and make people think. Concentrating on issues we think are important for people to know, of course, the aim is that once people are informed about ideas, they will take action in some way. And in the end, with any luck, we can put our arguements out there and somebody will consent with us."

Santelmo is
Richard - Bass
Jay - Drums
Boyet - Vocals/Guitars




Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Beauty Of Doubt (2002-2012.) Final Show

It is with a heavy heart that I declare a final closure for the passing away of The Beauty Of Doubt.
TBOD originally announced it had played it's last show back in February 2012, and my whole world came crashing down. This came unexpectedly and had crushed a lot of our hearts for those who believed that this band matters. I beat myself up about missing
that last show for months, and had looked at moving ahead for the remainder of the year being pissed off about the band's break-up.

So, imagine my surprise when in May 2012, a benefit show for a friend was supported by the band and had them playing this proper final gig. I laid out all the cards at work just so I can go fuckin' see this life-changing band once more, albeit for the last time.
Only a handful of bands can be said to have made a huge dent in the Philippine Hardcore Punk scene, and TBOD is right up there with the 80's TRC bands of old, as well as 90's greats Biofeedback & Mindrape, It was always a pleasure to be a part of their shows, savoring each and every moment the band took command of the stage be it club/bars, multi purpose halls, basketball courts, abandoned spaces, garages, hell, anywhere the band was invited to play. In a time of the scene's unwanted penetration of lost, clueless kids mouthng off their own versions of Hardcore-This and Punk-That slogans,The Beauty Of Doubt raised their own battlecry directive aimed at everyone claiming the scene.

Their message, simply put, was delivered loud and clear: "Question everything."

The band simply put the threat back where it rightfully belonged: in Hardcore Punk.

Salamat Boyet, Albert, Mark, Jepoi, Erwin at Ron.

I felt like the real fanboy that I am ever since the band started years back. and after their chilling, final set, I had to ask the band's autograph on their interview pages of Konspirazine # 3 (Dec 2009). A bittersweet "remembrance", if you will.

"The Humbling tackles human arrogance, and our misplaced sense of self-importance and how life proves us wrong everyday. The whole song was already done before I came up with the words. I came up with the lyrics the same way I come up woth all the lyrics I've ever written. It was what I was experiencing at that particular time.

I was having some existentlial crisis, and that's when I really felt like I do not know anything, No matter how much I think I do, and that my life is totally insignificant in the grand scheme of things. I think we all experience that dilemma no matter what role we play in this life. I just wish I could've written it better but that's all I am capable of, so even that was a humbling experience for me."

[- Ronald Schlander]

"Tara ilabas nyo lahat ng hinanakit nyo sa mundo."

We claim to have all the answers,
yet none of us hold a single truth
and tiny bits of information
are called knowledge by us fools!

But when life hits us in the face,
we realize that we have no understanding of what it takes
to find the meaning in our hollow lives,
our insignificance becomes more apparent in time

And time is an unforgiving tool
it reduces leaders and claimers
to fools what it gives it takes away,
and leave us all at the
mercy of another day

so don't think you've got it made,
'cause we're all the same
caught up in this humbling
and no amount of power, fortune or fame
will spare you from the humbling

'cause life does have a bitter taste!
no matter what part you play in its twisted game
It's like being lost in an endless maze
with every turn becoming harder and harder to face

But are we just paying for the arrogance of our ways
when we're touched by the humbling
'cause no amount of progress we've made
has spared us from the humbling

just when we thought for sure we knew it all
reality comes crashing in
and all we could do is live the best we can

Life is a humbling experience (No matter who you are...)


As one of my mentors from Incidental Afterthought zine so aptly put it: "Like all living things (and ironically, a title of one of their songs), everything ends. Thank you TBOD for the forward-thinking music and progressive art you've made in the Philippine underground."