Re-Turning Japanese

About two weeks ago,  my cousin posted some links on Facebook because he had nothing better to do. One was to a video of a song from the anime Bleach, another one was to a song from Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood, and the third was another song from the same band. About a week ago, I clicked on the links. Not that I had nothing better to do, I was merely putting them off. I got the those things done, eventually, and the Scandal that I found turned out to be a pleasant surprise.”””

It’s not the first time I’ve listened to Japanese rock ‘n’ roll. When my friends and I were in Inhaler, we listened to a good bit of Japanese rock. We even played some of the songs in our weekly practice sessions. Here are some of my favorites from that time.””””””


Twenty Years With the Lights Out

Our little group has always been and always will be till the end.

Today marks the 20th birthday of Nirvana’s seminal album, Nevermind. This album is a landmark in my appreciation of music. Of course, my real introduction to rock music happened by way of glam metal. Guns ‘n’ Roses’ Appetite for Destruction, to be exact. However, 1991 brought a slew of great albums, as this freshly-pressed blog here reminded me. The Use Your Illusion double album was amazing! It even had its share of Satanic back-masked message urban legends. And the Black Album is still my favorite Metallica album. But Nirvana’s Nevermind was the gateway that led me to discover so many great acts from that year until the turn of the millennium, just before the rich diversity of rock music was killed by the proliferation of rap metal and pop-punk. No offense to those rock sub-genres and their legion of fans, but yes, those killed it for me. But that’s a rant for another day.

Life changer.

And so… Today, after three weeks of not featuring any music, let’s revisit Nirvana’s Nevermind. The whole album is so great, I’ll give you the first half! Enjoy!

1. Smells Like Teen Spirit”

2. In Bloom”

3. Come as You Are”

4. Breed”

5. Lithium”

6. Polly”

If you’re wondering what that baby on the album cover looks like, now that he’s 20, check this out.

Sifting Through Ash

I planned this thing to be weekly, but I guess that was easy to do during the summer. Now that I’m working again, it will have to be a weekly-thing-if-I-can.

Today, I’m thinking Ash.

Genuine real teenagers.

Ash is a rock band from Ireland that was formed in 1992. They were just in their teens when they recorded their early material. Their first commercial release was 1994’s Trailer, a mini album with 7 tracks. But their follow-up album 1977, released in 1996, would be the one to achieve more considerable success.  They’ve released 6 studio albums, but shifted to releasing material in single format in 2007. A greatest hits album is in the works with a scheduled October 2011 release date.

1. Girl from Mars

This is probably the first Ash song I heard. It’s from the 1996 album, 1977. There is also a UK version of the video, but there are audio dropouts near the end, plus it was just weird.”

2. A Life Less Ordinary

This is a track in the soundtrack of the 1997 Danny Boyle film of the same name.”

3. Shining Light

This one is the first single from the 2001 release, Free All Angels. I didn’t really pay much attention to this when I first heard it, but it’s one of my favorites now.”

Some Negativity

I’ve had this headache since noon today, so I’m going to skip all the band/artist background info and just post the songs. I’m just grateful for the 4-day weekend coming up. This week just crept by soooooo slowly.

1. Everything Falls Apart by Dog’s Eyeview”

2. I’m a Slut by Howlin Maggie”

3. Sick of Myself by Matthew Sweet”

Don’t Reinvent It

I got the idea while on the walking leg of my commute to work one morning.

Cake and (Surprise, surprise) the Foo Fighters return (again) for this week’s three. The band to introduce is Athenaeum.

Athenaeum was a rock band that was formed in Carolina in the 1990. They released an independent self-titled album in 1995. Radiance, their major label debut album in 1998, yielded minor hits. But here in the Philippines, Flat Tire became pretty popular, getting a lot of airplay when it was released. The band was dropped by their major label after their self-titled second major label album in 2001. The following year, they released a collection of outtakes and demos called Hourglass. The band toured and played their final show in 2004.

1. Wheels by Cake

This is very characteristic Cake. Easy, groovy, and lyrics that paint interesting images in your head. It’s from their 2004 album Pressure Chief.”

2. Flat Tire by Athenaeum

This one just makes me remember the carefree days of college that shouldn’t have been carefree but really serious instead, but would take a year more for me to realize…”

3. Wheels by Foo Fighters

This one is one of the two tracks in the their 2009 ‘Best of’ collection that were previously unreleased. Classic Foo.”

Kent Svenka?

Rock icons of Scandinavia

Kent is a rock band from Sweden. The roots of the band go as far back as 1990. They’re one of the biggest bands in Sweden, with 9 studio albums, millions in sales, and 20 Swedish Grammy awards under their belts. But they pretty much just have a cult following in other parts of the world. In 1998, they released an English version of the album Isola in an attempt to break into the international mainstream. They followed it up in 2000 with an English version of Hagnesta Hill and supported it with a US tour. Even with these efforts, the band did not gather enough attention to draw in significant sales. As such, Kent has dropped all efforts of releasing further English albums, which to a lot of fans outside of Sweden, is a bummer.

I first heard Kent on the radio in the late ’90s; the English version of If You Were Here getting a fair amount of airplay. But it was their second radio single, 747 that made my friends and I notice the band. Part of its charm was the fact that the song’s title was its duration in minutes and seconds. I also personally love the layered guitars with distortion and delays. A couple of years later, my friend was able to find a copy of the English version of their album Isola, which contained If You Were Here and 747. I borrowed it and got to listen to the rest of the album. I later found the English version of their succeeding album, Hagnesta Hill on sale at a mall record bar for 125 pesos. From that album, what eventually became my favorite is Rollercoaster.

Music videos of If You Were Here and 747 were made. But 747 was shortened to 4:25 and it also included a chorus that isn’t in the album version. I prefer the album version because of the long outro.

1. If You Were Here”

2. 747

Official Video”

Album Version”

3. Rollercoaster”


It’s not often that you get really good rock duets. But when you do, they’re quite awesome!

1. …Said Sadly by the Smashing Pumpkins (James Iha featuring Nina Gordon)

Rock ‘n’ roll + rock ‘n’ roll: This is a B-Side of the Smashing Pumpkins single Bullet with Butterfly Wings, from their 1995 double album, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. The song was written and sung by James Iha. Nina Gordon, formerly of Veruca Salt, sings opposite James.

EMI doesn’t allow any videos of the song on Youtube to play in the Philippines, so we turn to Dailymotion once again. There is no official video for it, and this is the ONLY video of it in Dailymotion.”

2. Good Morning Baby by Bic Runga and Dan Wilson

Pop + rock ‘n’ roll: This one’s from the soundtrack of the 1999 movie, American Pie. I think it was specifically recorded for the movie by Bic Runga and Semisonic front man Dan Wilson.”

3. Virginia Moon by Foo Fighters featuring Norah Jones

Rock ‘n’ roll + jazz: This song came out in the Foo Fighters’ 2007 double album, In Your Honor. It was also included in Norah Jones’ 2010 album aptly titled Featuring.

Here’s an interview clip of Norah Jones and the Foo Fighters about the song.”

And here’s the song!”

Geek Rock

The geeks of rock.

I know it has only been 2 days after my last music post, but that was for the previous week. As I’m waiting for my breakfast to cool, let’s tak about Weezer.

Weezer is a rock band that was formed in 1992. Their first gig was opening for Keanu Reeves’ band at that time. They’ve released 9 studio albums, a bunch of EPs, and have had some change in the lineup since then. Older people will probably know them most for songs from their self-titled debut album, which most people call Blue, but young ‘uns probably know them from the later-released self-titled album, which most people call Red. They also have a Green album. All the album nicknames are from the color of the album covers.

1. Island in the Sun

This one is from the Green album. It’s one of the songs that I associate with summer. And the cute animals! You have got to love the cute animals!”

2. El Scorcho

A single from their second album, Pinkerton. It’s THE geek love song. And don’t you just love the energy in this video?”

3. Across the Sea

Also from Pinkerton. Though not a released single, this is my favorite Weezer song.”

From Cover to Cover

This comes to you very late. At the end of the week, in fact. But never mind that. Let’s just look at this week’s three.

1. Smells Like Teen Spirit by Tori Amos (Nirvana Cover)

A rather interesting take on the song. What’s cool is that Tori Amos still makes it come across with intensity.”

2. Stay by The Smashing Pumpkins (U2 Cover)

One of my favorite bands covering my favorite U2 song. What else could you ask for? … Well, if they let D’Arcy sing too, that would have been just perfect. (pun not intended)”

3. Hit Me Baby One More Time by Travis (Britney Spears Cover)

This is the one that actually started this post idea. My wife showed it to me more than a week ago. It’s just awesome! Fran Healy’s the man! And Dougie Payne’s second voice is just killer!”

Blasts from the Past for the Soon-to-Be-Blasted Into the Past

My summer break is ending! As much as I want to deny it, the end cannot be escaped. I will have to work. But before that happens…

I want to offer three songs in future memory of my soon-to-be-dead summer break. And what better way to summarize and honor it than with a music genre that is likewise dearly departed, but whose ghost haunts the hallways of memory and can never ever be completely exorcised. In fact, the scorn for it that grunge and alternative rock brought about will fade into oblivion before the sweet, sweet nostalgia that is inherent to it.

Gone are the days of big hair and tight leather pants on straight men! But long live glam metal! Glam forever!

1. Winds of Change by Scorpions


2. Wasted Time by Skid Row


3. Paradise City by Guns ‘n’ Roses

Outright denial.”