Pinoy indie music albums you must pick up
by rick olivares
The Philippine indie music scene is alive and well. The technology of today has made it possible for bands to release albums without being on a major label. If they don’t have them pressed (compact disc) locally, they go abroad either for production or for release (cassette and vinyl). Some bands are literally abroad!
Because it’s indie that means many releases do not get mass production so they are available in limited quantities. Furthermore, in spite of information supposedly being at one’s finger tips, many bands still fall within the cracks talented they may be.
Here are some albums you should check out:
For the Love of Death – Richard Collier (TakeFour Collective records)
Okay. This is a stretch right here. Released sometime in 2005 it sounds like it did come out of that era when bands like Thursday and Taking Back Sunday to name a few ruled.
There are some copies left that you can get at the Middle Finger shop in Cartimar, Recto or through those swell guys at Still Ill Records.
Named after the late Christopher Reeve’s character from the film “Somewhere in Time” (there is even a picture of Jane Seymour in the liner notes), this album features 19 earnest songs of love, heartbreak, and yearning. It’s that type of album you’ll play again and again while listening to every word sung and taking in the razor sharp licks.
Unfortunately, this band has called it a day (although two of their members have gone on to form another interesting band called the Skeleton Years).
Movin’ Up Movin’ On – Various Artists (Delusion of Terror/Still Ill/Love from Hate Records)
The heir to Twisted Red Cross’ “Rescue Ladders and Human Barricades” that ushered in Pinoy punk in the 1980s. In this massive compilation album, there are thirty-two songs from 18 punk rock bands from all over the country from Metro Manila to Cavite to Laguna to Pampanga to Baguio to Malaybalay and even all the way from the United Arab Emirates who vent their angst or poke fun at life. It goes to show that there are music scenes everywhere and that’s good.
There’s a lot to like in this album with the contrasting styles of punk rock. After giving this a listen, you’ll be looking for the individual bands herein. As this was DIY and recorded all over the country, the quality of the recordings differs greatly. But hey, it’s punk rock. An incendiary album that if is your introduction to the local scene then is money well spent.
Secrets & Lies – The GoSignals (Paisley Cloud Records)
Oh, yeah! A Mod album released in 2011 that has me recalling my love for the Jam, the Who, the Lambrettas, and the Modfather himself, Paul Weller. This three-piece outfit channels their inner Weller as well as their other influences with songs that bite with its social commentary. I like the fact that they opted for a throwback sound that is so different from everyone else in the local scene. I got my copy from Mutilated Noise Records so check ‘em out for stocks.
Mabuhay ang Pilipinas – Isidro Project
A thought provoking and biting album that has me thinking that this is how Yano would sound if they performed punk rock.
Complex Disorders of Adult Life – Dystocia Curve (Dystocia Records)
If you loved the Magnetic Fields’ “69 Love Songs” that was released in three albums in 1999, then you’ll want to pick up indie rockers Dystocia Curve’s magnum opus. Released in three albums in 2010 (the covers all make use of Juan Luna paintings that are another treat) and in a nifty box package that calls out to you as “Gamot sa Heartache”. Yes, three albums with 36 songs about love, loss, and life. It’s a pensive and insightful album. One you have to listen to when sitting around and doing nothing. Because the music and their gift for prose and melody demand your attention. And if you cannot get enough, look for their follow up effort, “Metro Love” that was released in 2014.
If you like the music of Paul Westerberg, Yano, the Magnetic Fields, the Eraserheads, and Death Cab for Cutie then you should look for this band’s works.
The Cheats (self-titled debut)
This eight-piece indie rock outfit only released a buoyant and wonderful debut album two years ago (and re-launched last April in its proper corrugated pizza box type packaging) and to this day, I enjoy listening to the boy-girl harmonies and the clever melodies. You can feel and hear the love and hard work that went into the production of this album and this is why this is one of the best ones released in a while.