Saturday, January 1, 2011



I have made the resolution of keeping this blog updated. So here I am, off to another fresh start. I know I promised you a list, didn't I? Well here it is.

My Top 5 Albums of 2010.

The truth is, I wrote this post in early December. Before posting this article, I just had to make sure that this did not appear elsewhere. Having confirmed this yesterday, I now post where I think this article should be most appropriate: HERE. JUST HERE.

Please read on, and tell me what you think.

My Top 5 Albums for 2010
Selecting my Top 5 for this year has been trickier than difficult. I can easily spew out titles of albums whose songs stuck to memory and made an impression, but the process is trying, to say to the least. One of the things that I loathe doing is to leave out equally deserving works. There are clearly many bands worth a listen whose works remain lurking in blog sites, unearthed only by a few persistent music lovers who are on a constant quest for novel stuff.
My choice is definitely reflective of the year that has been. But shouldn’t music serve to be reflective of the times? My list is made up entirely of Pinoy artists: all have been around for quite sometime (the youngest of them being Goodleaf). Their albums contain songs that bespeak of the political and economic times: the turn-over of political power, the society’s persistent ills, and such. It is almost like reading the editorial section of the newspaper.
So here is my list.
  1. “Believe” – Throw
Throw, as every self-respecting punk and underground music scenester may have known by now, is a powerhouse band made up of Al Dimalanta, Dennis Maniego, and son Spyk. This album came out in January, paying tribute to late hardcore luminaries Jay Dimalanta (Dead Ends), Luis Guiang (G.I. and the Idiots, Put3Ska), and Je Bautista (Betrayed, Music Front, Beatdown Boombox). Albert Ascona of The Beauty of Doubt and Bad Omen played guitars on this one. This album is definitely a group effort and not an Al Dimalanta show at all, which I feel is what Al had been quite conscious about throughout Throw’s existence. The title track and “Choose” (which happens to be my favorite), for instance, are written by Spyk and Al: both songs are riveting melodic paeans of hope and of deciding wisely. This one is probably Throw’s more melodic outputs.
  1. “’Wag Kalimutan Ang Ingay” – Throw
Sadly, Throw disbanded last month after ten years in the hardcore scene. While Al has assured that he will continue with the acoustic gigs, I will certainly miss Throw. The band left us with this effort, “’Wag Kalimutan Ang Ingay”, dedicated to the memory of Al’s parents Ernesto and Ophelia (who both passed away this year) and his brother Jay. For this album, Against Man guitarist Alan Roldan plays for the band.“’Wag Kalimutan…” is clearly angrier than its predecessor, a reaction to the recent political changes. My favorite track will have to be “Karapatan”, which is part spoken word and all aggression that has always been Al’s trademark.
  1. “ No Hero” – Coffee Break Island
Coffee Break Island is one of the most hardworking bands around. “No Hero” is their long-overdue sophomore album. While there is no clear stand-out song in the mold of their very popular song “Party Song”, the tracks are more cohesive. CBI is just as politicized in their own way, if you manage to get past the strong groove of their songs and give the lyrics a listen. I like “No Hero” and “Walang Hanggan”
  1. “Dubpilipinas” – Goodleaf
Their gigs do not come all too often, leaving a good number of people wondering what exactly these guys play, except for the genre generally termed dub. People who have seen this band perform live swear that they know their dub pretty well and that they are able to incorporate numerous musical elements in their works. Goodleaf has, finally, come up with an album that showcases their skills. Listen to the title track, “Digital Roots”, and “Solusyon Ka Ba o Problema?”
  1.  “Back To Kindergarten” – T.S.A.
T.S.A. is a bunch of Bulacan kids who grew up playing hardcore. All three members are now in Singapore, continuing to wreck hardcore havoc on our Southeast Asian friends who seem more pleased that offended about this fact. Ojie, Bimboi, and Pedro, as far as I know, have long been raring to make a tribute album, their own interpretation of punk and hardcore tunes that have largely influenced them. The body count can easily be guessed: Dead Ends, Urban Bandits, Betrayed, R.D.A...mostly from the Twisted Red Cross era. Some may have criticized their album as “too clean”: maybe so, but it is not a problem with me as we speak of eras that are decades and technologies apart. My favorite may well be reflective of my bias towards the band that they have covered, in this case: Urban Bandits’ “Hoy!”

I know that I have missed a lot, as my disclaimer states. Either I did not get to hear them yet (like Juan Isip's new EP) or I just ran out of slots.  There are bands whose works I await (calling The GoSigmals, Tsunami Tsunami ... ) and more bands to unearth. It is all a learning experience, and all we have to do is open our ears and minds.

Next in the list of items to update is the playlist. I will get back to you really soon. To keep you company in the meantime is a video from Coffee Break Island's second album launch called "Walang Hanggan".

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