Monday, April 28, 2008

Trash Radio Manila Episode 14 Part 2: Who Needs TV When We've Got...

Here's Part 2 of Episode 14. (Yes, we are still at Episode 14.)

We have included some songs that have a rather interesting and/or complicated history. For instance, the first song, "All The Young Dudes", was written by Mott The Hoople. The version popularized by David Bowie has a line that goes: "Man, I need a T.V. when I've got T-Rex...." This version by The Skids, whose members count the late Big Country frontman Stuart Adamson, went a little further, changing said line to "Man, who needs T.V. when there's Subway Set...."

Or, check out the lyrics to "Surrender", wherein the narrator's parents were depicted to be "a little weird" but are "alright", just the same (also has allusions to the Philippines: "Before we married, Mommy served in the WACS in the Philippines.") "Surrender" has seen numerous resurrections and more than 30 cover versions of this tune have been made, to date.

"Baby, I'm Yours" has likewise been covered by a myriad artists. Written by Van McCoy, this was originally done by Barbara Lewis, then covered by the likes of Peter and Gordon, Debby Boone, Cher, Petula Clark, and more recently, Arctic Monkeys. This lovely song goes out to a lady from the district of hope whom we fondly call Ashi.

All these, plus a few more engaging tunes by The Knack, Billy Squier, Little Murders, The Romantics, and The Get Up Kids, make up this segment's playlist. Here goes.

1. THE SKIDS - "All the Young Dudes"
2. CHEAP TRICK - "Surrender"
3. THE KNACK - "Good Girls Don't"
4. BILLY SQUIER - "My Kinda Lover"
5. LITTLE MURDERS - "I Need a Holiday"
6. THE ROMANTICS - "Forever Yours"
7. THE GET UP KIDS - "All That I Know"
8. ARCTIC MONKEYS - "Baby, I'm Yours"

Download high bitrate version of the playlist here.

We do admit. We have been bitten by the summer bug. :S But hey, we're back in business. :D

Doing business with the sea, sand, and the hammock.

Photo thank-you's: The Skids photo from their website, The Knack photo courtesy of Tropical photo of Bohol Beach Club is, well, mine ;)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Sweat, Spike, and Alcohol: April 18, 2008, Dayo Bar

As expected, I was late for last Friday's gig at Dayo Bar called Pin-oi Punk or Else. Arrived at around past ten at Betty Go-Belmonte St. and saw a little bit of everything outside the bar: punks, skins, hc, crusts, etc. Got inside and felt a sudden urge to kick myself for my tardiness. The act Nekbu (fronted by Bunek, a lady who can belt out one Descendents song after another effortlessly) was playing their last song that time, and I wanted to see them live but I missed them. Maybe next gig.

(I know. I missed so many bands. I'm listing the few bands that I have seen that night. :( )

Grabbed a bottle of beer in time for the next act, The GoSignals. The band is made up of ex-Private Stock Mel Maniego, his brother, Throw's bassist Dennis, and Spyk, Bunek's son, a young man showing tremendous promise as a ferocious drummer. The GoSignals gave a pretty solid performance as they played covers of The Jam, The Clash, and Private Stock's Future Generation. Against Man, a band that derives its contituents from the Malabon-Navotas area, followed suit, again stirring up restless souls on the mosh pit.

The GoSignals: Dennis, Spyk, Mel

Against Man!

It must be the combination of the summer heat and the alcohol that was giving me migraine, but heck. Throw was already onstage. Al Dimalanta and the rest of the band have always been consistent. Spyk, who was rivalling Albert Ascona for the most number of bands playing that night, was once again pounding the drumkit to the delight of the punks...and the punkettes ;)

Throw's Al Dimalanta

Up next was Tame The Tikbalang. What can I say. This band is awesome, though I wish they would write more materials. Maybe there lies the charm of Tame The Tikbalang: you know they are around, but you will never know what they are up to, or when they will be making one of their rare but anticipated appearances. Tame's drummer, John Persius Carpio, is arguably one of the best drummers of his generation.

Tame The Tikbalang: Russell, Aries, Boyet

John Persius Carpio

Music Front is just as enigmatic. Sightings at the most unexpected places have been reported: Club Dredd, Dayo, Liwasang Bonifacio. The lads are getting tighter as a unit. They sang an original, some Sex Pistols, and some Urban Bandits, including "News Of The World" the words to which was recited for the most part by Hard K's Jun Idiot. It was frenzy. Hard K played next, this time with Jun Idiot on the mic. By this time I had lost most semblance of physical wellness. No amount of ice cubes can soothe my throbbing temples, and my gait was swinging aimlessly despite having had only a few bottles. I simply remember being brought to a hospital called Sausage (oh, it's not a hospital then?) before losing track of what happened for the rest of the night. Fun night, fun night, on the whole. I must not forget to bring a bottle of Avamigran next time though. See you in the next gig.

Music Front: Je, Arnold

Jun Idiot

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Is This The Blues I'm Singing? The Binky Lampano Companion Playlist

Who the hell is Binky Lampano?

Ask this question right this very moment and what you might be getting are incredulous stares from your "in-the-know" pals. If you know your original Philippine music, you OUGHT to know Binky Lampano, they might even hasten to add as they irritatingly wag their crooked fingers. Point well-taken, the best antidote to situations of these sort. Binky Lampano has indeed reached a cultish popularity. Not as deafening popular as The Eraserheads, but a byword in the subculture just the same. His is a very interesting career, spanning two decades, starting with the new wave band Deans December, taking two steps forward to try his luck at a solo career, then responding to his blues calling via the Newly Industrialized Combo, and, presently, Lampano Alley.

So, we, your good friends over here at Trash Radio Manila, deem it fitting that we devote a playlist that roughly traces the musical travails of this charismatic man. Binky has left Manila after some shows with Lampano Alley just recently. Heaven knows when he is coming back, much more, when he is performing. For the meantime, contend yourselves with this little collection of his songs. You might even want to guess whose voice is it doing a spiel at the start of the set list, impersonating THE Ferdinand. :) And yes, do yourselves a favor. Get the original works. The search may prove to be a bit daunting, but it will be very well worth it.

BINKY LAMPANO - Kuwentong Looban

Have a great Sunday, luv. And do pay attention to the blues.

Photo credits: First two photos from the Lampano Alley website. Third photo from ye reliable catalogue.

Is This The Blues I'm Singing? Listening To Binky Lampano's Blues

The blues have not exactly played a role of significance in my life. More than twenty years ago, my only reference to the blues was a line from a song done by, ironically, Echo and the Bunnymen. That is how I remember my blues then. Hearing Ian McCulloch sing "Is this the blues I'm singing?" over and over, in his feeble attempt to be heard and rescued. (Anytime, Ian ;))

But a couple of decades have passed, and I have played a generous host to life's numerous playlists. Has my understanding of the blues changed? I admit to the fact that I will never fully understand the blues, no matter how honorable its evolution is. The birth of what was to become blues music has been attributed to hollers in the slave fields, later transforming into emotional song solos; its elements (i.e. blue notes, 4/4 rhythm, flatted thirds and sevenths, a 12-bar structure, and lyrics in a three-line stanza in which the second line repeats the first) derived mostly from African music.

The blues may have personally become more listenable with time. As a genre the blues seems difficult for me to fully fathom, but then it should be remembered that it is a music borne out of struggle, " expression of anger against shame and humiliation", to quote B.B. King. If this is so, then there must be hope for me to understand the language of anger, sorrow, and struggle of the human soul.

Which brings me to the topic of Binky Lampano. The man to whom, together with harmonica player Tomcat Colvin, the formation of the Philippine blues band Newly Industrialized Combo, and later on, Lampano Alley, is credited.

There is no denying that Binky possesses one of the most distinctive voices in Philippine music. Raspy, almost guttural, bespeaking of brewing extremes of emotions. He could actually turn a bland song into an emotionally wretched musical excerpt. Binky will always be remembered as the hyperactive frontman of Deans December, a new wave band that enjoyed considerable popularity in the late 80s. To the best of my knowledge, Deans December was the only chong band that got to play in the punk joint Katrina's (included in their set was The Smiths' "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now") --- and came out surprisingly unscathed. Binky was a livewire, swinging off the ceiling of Red Rocks while covering The Lords Of The New Church's "Method To Our Madness", providing one of them humorous adlibs, or simply, just simply, belting out a gut-wrenching original. A precursor to the blues he is singing right this very day.

Binky Lampano was in town a few weeks ago, and I saw Lampano Alley perform on two occasions. They were at 70s Bistro last April 3, 2008. Around a week later, they were at Mogwai Bar at Cubao X. Their repertoire consisted of original materials from the Songs From The Alley album, as well as some tunes by Muddy Waters and Van Morrison. In both performances, Binky appeared physically more settled (I say more settled, for I still cannot get over his past ceiling-swinging and boot-throwing antics), though some habits tend to persist, like the obligatory towel, or the obligatory bottle of beer that he held on for the most part of the gig. The spiels have remained just as humorous.

And then there were the blues. Am I finally able to recognize what the blues is, without being coaxed? I am not quite sure, honestly. I can say however, that Binky sang "Ganyan Lang" with shimmering poignancy, in spite of its positive message to let life's hurts pass; or that he empathically stressed "You messed it up!" as if one really did. Many times Binky made his rounds from table to table, singing, or getting the audience to chant with him ("I don't care how you sing it, so sing with me: Got my mojo working!") The voice is and will always be unforgettable; the emotions it carries however, are unmistakeably richer, imparting a much more mature texture to that unforgettable voice.

I definitely enjoyed both gigs. BUT.

Alack, there is little use in pretending that I understand the blues, even after more than twenty years, and in spite of Binky Lampano. But as have been said, while there's life, there's struggle, and as such, there's reason to sing about the blues.

For more about Lampano Alley, visit

Photo credits: Deans December pic courtesy of Ourpeboritpinoypop. Second photo shows Binky Lampano and Tomcat Colvin. Third photo, Lampano Alley in action. Fourth photo, Binky and Simon Tan.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Trash Radio Manila Episode 14 Part 1: Birthdays, Soul, and all that Shite

Before everything else, I would like to wish a number of friends a happy birthday. So many cool souls celebrating their birthdays this month. Must I enumerate your names, boys and girls? You know who you are ... just send some booze over here (you know where to find us.)

Seriously, I hope you guys had a great birthday. But for some whose day may have been ruined by "retarded" people who can't seem to take a hint, we've uploaded for you this nifty soulful playlist:

1. GLORIA JONES - "Tainted Love"
2. BILLIE KENNEDY - "This Is A Groovy Generation"
3. THE OLYMPICS - "We Go Together (Pretty Baby)"
4. JAY and the TECHNIQUES - "Apples, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie"
5. THE EXCITERS - "Blowing Up My Mind"
6. THE UNTOUCHABLES - "(I Spy For The) F.B.I."
7. PAUL ANKA - "I Can't Help Loving You"
8. FREEDOM SUITE - "Sunshine Girl"
9. THE MARQUEE - "Turn Me On"

About the artists and the songs:

In her youth which was spent in Texas Gloria Jones sang gospel, and eventually wrote songs for Motown along with writing partner Pam Sawyer. She is probably best-known for "Tainted Love", a popular song remade over and over and thought by some to be a Soft Cell original (worse, a Put3Ska original.) Gloria is also known as the girlfriend of T. Rex's Marc Bolan at the time of his death.

There is not much written about Billie Kennedy online, except that he was part of vibrant 60s Detroit soul scene, and that came out with "This Is A Groovy Generation" off the Thelma Label. Thelma Label is responsible for releasing records of soul artists like Emanuel Laskey and, at one point, The Temptations.

The L.A. based The Olympics are best remembered for their danceable novelty songs. They had churned out a string of hits from the 50s to the 60s, and were better known for tunes such as "Baby Hully Gully", "Big Boy Pete", and "Mine Exclusively".

Out of Allentown, Pennsylvania comes Jay and The Techniques, an interracial band formed in the 60s, a rather conservative era for mixed race endeavours. The group is best known for their Top Ten bubble gummish/poppy/rhythm and blues hit "Apples, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie." The said song is in this segment's playlist.

The Exciters is a 75% girl group which was formed off two groups: The Masters and its sister group, (you guess it) The Masterettes. Herb Rooney of The Masters hooked up with Brenda Reid (who was to become his wife), Carolyn Johnson, and Lillian Walker to form The Exciters and recorded memorable hits such as "Tell Him" and "Blowing Up My Mind". The latter is included in the list as well.

The existence of a brief ska-reggae revival movement in L.A. and Southern California in the 80s is being credited to the involvement of The Untouchables. Their music has been described as highly energetic. Find out with their song "(I Spy For The) F.B.I." which is the second single from their first full-length album Wild Child.

Who doesn't know Paul Anka? There is no denying that this man, who has enjoyed immense popularity in the late 50s and early 60s as a singing teenage heart throb, is primarily a songwriter, and not just any other songwriter. His immense catalogue includes songs like "Put Your Head On My Shoulder", "Diana", "Puppy Love", and the Kodak theme song "Times Of Your Life"; he is also credited for the English lyrics of that Frank Sinatra classic that affected nearly every videoke-loving soul in the planet, not even sparing that man called Sid Vicious.

Freedom Suite is a Mod band from Japan. Hiroshi Yamashita, the band's vocalist and guitarist, takes after Paul Weller, and the band pays tribute to Mod greats Small Faces and The Who. Together with their compatriots The Marquee, their songs can be found in the Mods Mayday 25th Compilation.

So there you have them. Hope you like our segment. Well worth the wait, no? :"> Really, nothing beats putting a little soul in your life, not even a teeny weeny hint of shite, err, affection from your "retard" of choice. So, cheer up, and have a grand birthday, you, you know who you are. ;)

Photos of Gloria Jones, Jay, The Exciters, Wild Child Album, and Mods mayday album borrowed from the artists' sites. Click on the linkies above.

And before I forget, a high bitrate playlist can be downloaded here.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Trash Radio Manila Episode 13 Part 2: Esoteriska

Yes. We're still doing Episode 13 :">

Part 2 goes out to a friend who visited the house last week. Initially professing that he abhorred ska and reggae, he somehow modified his statement after discovering The Specials featured extensively in a recent issue of a popular UK magazine. "Ok," he says, in essence, with renewed conviction. "Actually, I like traditional and two-tone ska; I just couldn't dig the so-called third wave ska sound. Reggae? Maybe I'm just sick of the usual Marley stuff." (For this statement, I could not quite blame the guy. I know a lot of people who, after listening to just a couple of Bob Marley tunes, pass themselves off as reggae connoisseurs. But I digress.) And yes, he hates DOT reggae twice as much. Go figure.

We do hope he doesn't end up hating the playlist that we have prepared for him. I mean, you have here Hepcat, ska legends in their own right, as well as St. Petersburg Ska-Jazz Review, a ska band off the Russian Federation which can swing and skank at the same time. Oh yeah, this friend of ours admits to liking Lily Allen, so we have also included a song from this talented artist. He might as well find the Skoidats and Skavoovie delightful as well. And how about the collective known as BOTAR? At any rate, if you have not heard of these guys yet, then check out this playlist:

1. HEPCAT - "I Can't Wait"
3. LILY ALLEN - "Friday Night"
4. SKOIDATS - "Still Standing"
5. SKAVOOVIE and the EPITONES - "The Coffee Connection"

High bitrate playlist can be downloaded here.

We're entering into another (busy) week. Do stay with us for more playlists, as well as a write-up on a local artist. Have a great week ahead.

Photos of Hepcat, St. Petersburg Ska-Jazz Review, Lily Allen, and Skavoovie all come from their respective sites, links which are provided above.

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Jerks' "Rage" On YouTube!

Caught The Jerks live at 70s Bistro along Anonas St. in Quezon City, Philippines last March 28, 2008. The line-up during the set were as follows: Chicoy Pura on vox and guitars, Nitoy Adriano on lead guitar, Edwin Aguilar on bass, and Jun Nogoy of Coffee Break Island pitching in the drums. Well-received set as expected. The Jerks played some of their originals (like "Rage" and "Sayaw Sa Bubog") as well as covers of The Beatles, Joe Jackson, and Big Audio Dynamite, to name a few.

More videos in our YouTube account can be found here.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Trash Radio Manila Episode 13 Part 1: Leftfield Pop

Hello and welcome to Episode 13. Trash Radio Manila, as you may have noticed, is already 3 months old. Yay! Thanks to all of you for sticking it out with us.

Again we are featuring some pop tunes that we wish we could hear on radio. There are just some bands and artists that are not too mainstream, a little off the beaten pop path, and as such not exactly popular. Sometimes it makes you think about keeping your pretty finds to yourself and not sharing them with anyone (sound familiar?) ... and yet when you find yourself back in the arms of some run-in-the-mill pop tunes that could spell auditory death after a couple of spins, you end up wishing that the so-called purveyors of good pop music have heard about the songs that you like at least once in their puny lives.

Case in point is Chumbawamba, a band that in the late 90s became feverishly famous for their song "Tubthumping". It is a known fact that the band started out playing anarcho-punk and that they are self-professed anarchists to this very day, but who would really care about this when you have a very catchy hit that goes something like "I get knocked down, but I get up again; you're never gonna keep me down…"?

Or how about Elliot Smith, this generation's icon of coolness? This man's fan base may have swelled after his death, but until now his extremely personal songs are not exactly what the majority would hear on radio. Too heavy, perhaps.

Or John Otway, an artist who has added elements of comedy to his music which helped him gain a loyal following? Or The Caulfields, a band in the 90s that never got beyond two albums? (How apt that the song included in this playlist is "Where Are They Now?")

Kirsty MacColl, John Watts, and Nick Lowe are all familiar names in the British music scene, but have remained low-key, leaving their craft to speak for themselves. Kirsty is best remembered for her collaborations with Shane McGowan and The Pogues and Billy Bragg, and has unfortunately met her untimely (and highly controversial) death in Mexico in 2000. Strains of Fischer-Z can be heard in John Watts' solo works, which should not come as a surprise since Watts was the band's vocalist/guitarist. Nick Lowe, on the other hand, is known more for his catchy pop ditties like "Cruel To Be Kind", which came out in the late 70s, and continues to make records the way he wants them to be, his latest being "At My Age", released in 2007.

The playlist:

1. CHUMBAWAMBA - "I'm Not Sorry, I was Having Fun"
2. ELLIOT SMITH - "Son of Sam" (Acoustic)
3. JOHN OTWAY - "Green Green Grass of Home"
4. THE CAULFIELDS - "Where Are They Now"
5. KIRSTY MacCOLL - "A New England"
6. JOHN WATTS - "Involuntary Movement"
7. NICK LOWE - "Little Hitler"

Our high bitrate playlist can be downloaded here.

To sum it up, your neighborhood purveyor of good taste who professes to be into leftfield pop may come up to you one day and say "I know these guys. I listen to them", so on and so forth. Just give him his moment; you know better. You're a lot cooler than he is for not divulging what he does not know.

By the way, if you haven't seen Little Hitler yet, go check the photo on the siderail. ;) Til the next segment folks.

Photos courtesy of the artists' respective sites. Except Dante, the leftfield pup :D

Friday, April 4, 2008

Trash Radio Manila Episode 12 Part 2: Trashtalking

I would have wanted to name this episode "Too Old To Work, Too Young To Die" ... but "Trashtalking" it shall be. The sentiments expressed in this tune are more apt, more universal.

Go think of someone you wanna trash talk and spit the following lines on their faces. (That shouldn't be so hard.)

"You talk too much!
Trashtalker, shitspeaker, just shut your mouth!"

Ahhh, doesn't that feel great?

More trash talk here:

1. BLOOD FOR BLOOD - "Love Song"
2. MADBALL - "My Rage"
3. THE VIGILANTES - "Too Old To Work, Too Young To Die"
4. THE AGITATORS - "Trashtalker"
5. THE CLASS ASSASSINS - "Without Warning"
6. THE UNSEEN - "Waste of Time"

Want high-res trash talk? Click here.

The Agitators image is borrowed from their MySpace. Check it out.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Trash Radio Manila Episode 12 Part 1: LOST DOGS

We're late, but we're back in business. What a loooooooong weekend that was. :D

The title of our newest episode is lifted off Pearl Jam's album "Lost Dogs" which came out late in 2003. "Lost Dogs" is a double-CD collection of B-sides and other unreleased songs which include "Yellow Ledbetter" and "Bee Girl", a cut that contains the hidden track dedicated to the memory of Alice In Chain's Layne Staley. This compilation was in the Top 100 of numerous album charts worldwide in 2003 and 2004, affirming Pearl Jam's steady popularity through the years.

"Lost Dogs" may also be what one can call a myriad bands virtually lost in oblivion because of Pearl Jam's phenomenal shot to fame in the 90s. This is not to say that Pearl Jam did not deserve it at all; it's just that there were many bands also worth their salt and yet did not get the recognition due them.

The playlist consists of songs from some of these "Lost Dogs" that we are referring to. They are:

1. LIVING COLOUR - "Memories Can't Wait"
2. 24-7 SPYZ - "Spill My Guts"
3. SINISTER DANE - "Where's My Parade"
4. THE WILDHEARTS - "Shame On Me"
5. ZODIAC MINDWARP and the LOVE REACTION - "Let's Break The Law"

Living Colour initially achieved mainstream recognition with their album "Vivid" which spawned their memorable hit "Cult Of Personality"; sadly, subsequent releases did not help much in sustaining their momentum. 24-7 Spyz, on the other hand, may have been more musically diverse than Living Colour and have earned themselves a loyal following, but never achieved considerable commercial success.

And Sinister Dane? Other than being referred to as one of the bands that came off the St. Louis music scene, not much has been written about them at all. The Wildhearts was plagued by numerous (including drug-related) problems hindering their growth as a band. Zodiac Mindwarp, which is but an alter-ego of an artist named Mark Manning, has played songs (with the band Love Reaction) that during his time seemed to be too campy for public consumption.

So there you have it. If you want a high bitrate version of this playlist, tick here. More songs coming up soon ... as in, sooner than you think ... ;)