The Return of eLf ideas

ideas of an eLven being in Canada

Monday, November 21, 2005

Vol. 5: How Can I Assume to Sing about the Moon?

I'm delighted with the messages that I've been receiving concerning this compilation series. My gratitude to all the music enthusiasts who regularly visit my blog site to partake of my favorite music. Like you, I'm excited to know what songs will comprise the next volume: Even I am surprised by my spontaneity once in a while.

I suddenly realized that selecting which pairs of songs to include in every volume is difficult, chiefly because I have loads of favorites to choose from; add to that, the challenge in thinking of a single theme that will unify the songs.

Lastly, an article is not an eLf idea if it does not tell a story or contain a researched information. So, yes, I do my homework diligently; ' always been like this since grade school. I regard each of my blog articles in the same manner that I regarded my school projects and the articles that I edited and wrote during my stint as an editor of scholastic textbooks and magazines. And to all these I do owe my having developed the knack for coming up with reliable information and for upholding grammar and substance without sacrificing style and occasional unorthodoxy.

And, of course, above all, I sprinkle my writings with my own secret eLven ingredients—pixiedust, as one might say; but, really, it's nothing but my personal style—honed through all the years spent on writing and reading—years measured in ponderous days and sleepless nights, elegia and nostalgia, boredom and euphoria, and moments of making love with music, prose, and poetry in a seeming ménage à trois.

Volume 5: How Can I Assume to Sing about the Moon?

Most the artists comprising the current volume of a dozen and a haLf favorites originated in either the mid-'80s or the early '90s. As always, the "New Wave" melodies of such songs weaved into intricate, seemingly symphonic masterpieces are what caught my eLven ears. I prefer instrumentally complicated music—the reason Classical music is my third favorite genre. I admire artists who can come up with a single piece of song made of a mélange of melodious harmonies.

Belle & SebastianDear Catastrophe Waitress
Belle & SebastianI'm a Cuckoo
EggstoneApril and May
EggstoneWrong Heaven
Fine ChinaLabor Saving Device
Fine ChinaWe Rock Harder than You Ever Know
FossilJosephine Baker
Gin BlossomsFound Out about You
Gin BlossomsHey Jealousy
MonacoWhat Do You Want from Me?
Poi Dog PonderingLiving with the Dreaming Body
Poi Dog PonderingLove Vigilantes
PulpThe Trees
Soup DragonsDivine Thing
Soup DragonsPleasure

I've been familiar with the Scottish band Belle & Sebastian as early as the late '90s, but only in 2003 when I heard their sixth album, Dear Catastrophe Waitress (2003), that their music caught my interest. The Belle & Sebastian songs I chose for this compilation are the catchiest and most infectious. First listen and you'll immediately find yourself humming along the guitar melodies and singing along the lyrics. Many music journalists compare this Scottish band with, once again, The Smiths. Obviously this is because of the jangly guitar elements of Belle & Sebastian music.

Eggstone was one of those obscure bands whose names I used to see in compilation albums. Only in 2003 did I first hear this Swedish band, courtesy of my friend Rudolf Paz (vocalist of Dead Pop Stars), who in the same year gave me a CD-R of MP3s which included Eggstone songs. I remember playing "Wrong Heaven" almost every day in my last months in the Philippines, catching the fancy of my friend and former officemate Jayge Salvan, who will certainly remember me for this song. "Wrong Heaven" comes from the debut album, In San Diego (1992), while "April and May" from the fourth, Spanish Slalom (1998). The vibraphone-sounding keyboard melodies of both songs will surely delight you.

Last year, my friend Timmy Tan from Ontario, Canada, sent me a CD-R of MP3s of New Wave–influenced Christian Rock bands; Fine China is one of those that I haven't heard of before. Fine China is a relatively new band from Arizona, USA, but they could pass as a classic English New Wave band in the league of Modern English, Pet Shop Boys, and Yazoo. In fact, "We Rock Harder than You Ever Know" sounds uncannily like that one song from Modern English which I'm sure you also love and have already listened to a thousand times. Both songs come from Fine China's first full-length album, When the World Sings (2000). Check out Fine China on Myspace and get to listen to three songs off their third and latest album, The Jaws of Life (2005).

When I heard the song "Moon" on NU 107 back in the mid-'90s, when Grunge music was at reign, I felt relieved. I remember thinking, there was still hope for the resurgence of New Wave music after all. And who's victorious now? What bands are being cited by contemporary Alternative Rock bands like Franz Ferdinand, Interpol, and The Killers as their major influences? New Wave music will always be the genre of Alternative Rock that showcases brilliant melodies and lush soundscape. As soon as I learned that "Moon" was by a band named Fossil, I immediately looked for a copy of the album. Luckily, Jett Pangan of The Dawn lent me his cassette-tape copy of it. I almost did not return the album. Hahaha! I remember Jett's reminding me about it when a month passed and the tape was still with me. Anyway, Fossil was an American band from New Jersey which, unfortunately, got to release only one self-titled album. This is the reason finding information about them is difficult. Lastly, because of their song "Josephine Baker," I took the time to research who that lady was: Josephine Baker was Freda Josephine McDonald, an African-American dancer, actress, and singer who had a successful career in France in the '30s.

Gin Blossoms is one of my music saviors during the '90s. Because of bands like them, I didn't succumb to the rugged music of Grunge. But don't get me wrong, I've also come to appreciate the music of the likes of Nirvana, Stone Temple Pilots, Alice in Chains, and Pearl Jam; it's just that I prefer the kind of Alternative Rock which showcases more of the jangly guitar and keyboard melodies than of the angst and crunch and guitar distortions. New Miserable Experience (1992), the album that contains "Hey Jealousy" and "Found Out about You," is truly a mine of brilliant songs. Gin Blossoms hail from Arizona, USA. According to references, they are working on a new album.

Monaco was a band formed in 1997 by Peter Hook, the bassist of the New Wave pioneers New Order. Thus, the catchy and melodic bass hooks and lovely saccharine vocals! Monaco released two highly acclaimed albums, Music for Pleasure (1997), where the songs I included here come from, and Monaco (2000). Need I say more?

Poi Dog Pondering is an American band formed in the mid-'80s that was mostly active in the '90s. The title of the album, Wishing like a Mountain and Thinking like the Sea (1990), which includes "Living with the Dreaming Body," was basically what brewed my interest in them. Fortunately, their music was as quirky and as interesting as their album and song titles. Also, I usually like bands that employ violins. Poi Dog Pondering's cover of New Order's "Love Vigilantes" is a brilliant rendition. I especially like the 'whistling' part of the song.

Because of their fashion sense, elegant music, and thought-provoking lyrics, Pulp became one of the leading instigators and best representatives of the '90s Britpop music. "Babies" and "The Trees" are my most favorite among their prolific discography. My former band used to cover "Babies" in our mid-'90s gigs, earning me Eraserheads' Ely Buendia's admiration, saying that I looked like and could assume the stage antics of Jarvis Cocker. Whereas "Babies" comes from the fourth album, His n' Hers (1994), "The Trees" is from Pulp's final album, We Love Life (2001). By the way, vocalist Jarvis Cocker, aside from contributing solo works to the soundtrack of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005), has a cameo role in the movie: Cocker appears as the lead singer of the fictitious band the Weird Sisters, which also features Jonny Greenwood and Phil Selway of Radiohead.

Although they were associated with '80s Alternative Rock, the Scottish band Soup Dragons was able to achieve prominence alongside the reigning Alternative bands of the '90s. Good! "Divine Thing" and "Pleasure" are as classic sounding like their earlier songs as they are '90s updated.

Download the compilation here.


Re-uploaded! You may now download what you missed.

Vol. 1: Raise Your Glass and Cry until You're Done
Vol. 2: When Consciousness
Begins to Falter
Vol. 3: Our Life
Would Be the Death of You
Vol. 4: Don't
Tell Them that You're a Fan


Disclaimer: Consider this compilation as your taste test of the music of some of my favorite bands. If you really liked what you heard, support these artists and the genre by purchasing original copies of their albums.


  • At Monday, November 21, 2005 10:32:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Salamat Alfie!!!Fave ko yang! PULP! Pre! hawig mo yang si Jarvis pag-malayo! hehehe

    Okay talaga yang PULP! disbanded na ata! sa tuwing gawa nila ng album laging pasok yung mga ibang album nila sa Mercury Prize!

    Yung Soup Dragons isa pa yan! Narinig k sya nung may "120 Minutes" pa ang mtv.

    Scottish bands are also good like Catatonia tska yung post mo yung Belle & Sebastian.

    May mga mp3's din ako dito like yung 1998 album ng The Bible, The Outfield, My Bloddy Valentine, The Delagdos, Longpigs, XTC-Blacksea. I think meron ka na cguro nyan! kaw pa!! hehehe

    Cge pre ingat sa mga Orcs dyan galit sa mga taga-Shire yang mga yan!! hehehe!


  • At Monday, November 21, 2005 10:45:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    TEKA ALFIE!!! Anak ng **** ang ganda pala nitong FINE CHINA! Influences nila yung mga taga-UK.

    Pero yung sa bigay mong link nila sa Myspace! may track dun "Prosecute, Electrocute Your Friends"! parang New Order! okay tong indiepop na to. SalamaT sa mga mp3!! Pinagkalat ko na rin tong blog mo! Cge pre ingat sa mga Yeti dyan!! he3x


  • At Tuesday, November 22, 2005 2:51:00 PM, Blogger eLf ideas said…

    Actually isa si Jarvis Cocker sa mga music icons ko. I remember during one gig of HLHD in 1995 at Chatterbox on Timog Ave. Ely Buendia came just to watch us, because he heard of the fact that we were covering "Babies" and "Disco 2000" by Pulp and he also wanted to see us perform our original "Butterflies" live. Then, after the set, Ely told me: "aLfie, hawig na hawig mo si Jarvis ah! Pati galaw." I always kept that compliment in my heart.

    Soup Dragons, yeah, sa MTV 120 Minutes ko madalas mapakinggan/mapanood ang "Divine Thing" at "Pleasure"; although, nuong '80s ay sikat na rin sa New wave scene ang "Soft as Your Face" and "Head Gone Astray" nila, both of which I'd be featuring in a coming volume of this series.

    Dami nga magandang Scottish bands...Teenage Fanclub, Orange Juice, Aztec Camera, Catatonia...nakapila na lahat ng mga yan.

    Aba, meron akong songs ng mga bands na 'yan, pero if you can send me through the Net MP3 copies of the entire albums, it would be my pleasure.

    Don't worry, lagi akong alerto kapag lumalabas, marami talagang naglipanang Orcs kung saan-saan.

  • At Tuesday, November 22, 2005 2:55:00 PM, Blogger eLf ideas said…

    Riz uli,
    Yup, unang dinig ko sa Fine China e hinanap ko agad mga songs nila. Very classic New Wave ang dating.

    Salamat for spreading my eLf ideas. Sharing my ideas has always been a source of pleasure and inspiration...makes me go on and on like that battery commercial.

    Ingat ka rin d'yan sa bayan natin, maraming tikbalang at kapre. But don't lose heart, kahit maraming maligno sa Pilipinas, I believe that marami rin namang benigno.

  • At Thursday, June 22, 2006 6:56:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    mahilig ka pala sa eggstone, nice!


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