The Return of eLf ideas

ideas of an eLven being in Canada

Friday, March 10, 2006

There's a story behind every song (Part One)

I just discovered a special feature of the community Web site Multiply dot com. If you have an account with it, you may upload 20 downloadable music files per month.

If you are a big fan of Alternative Rock music, particularly of the New Wave subgenre, check out my Multiply profile and DOWNLOAD the following songs in MP3.

1.  "Black and White" by Crippled Pilgrims
I first heard this song in 1986, on DWXB 102.7, a long-defunct FM radio station based in Metro Manila, Philippines. This was played during a Top Ten list hosted by Fat Albert. Among the songs on that playlist were "The Distance between Us" (Fra Lippo Lippi), "Lonely Summer Nights" (The Stray Cats), and "Someone's Calling" (Modern English).

2. "Jetlag" by The Merrymakers
In 2003, I was in a record bar at SM Makati, scouting for some CDs on sale, when I chanced upon a CD by The Merrymakers. I didn't know about the band or their music but, because the CD was only 30 pesos, I bought it anyway. It was worth it, if only for the songs "She's a Radio" and "Jetlag," which both sounded New Wave to me.

3. "Transfixion" by Balloon
I first heard this song in 1996, through the compilation Dedicated, which also included The Cranes, Chapterhouse, and This Picture. The presence of the violin melodies was what drew me to the song. I'm particularly fascinated with New Wave songs which feature violins and cellos.

4. "Rainfall" by A Flock of Seagulls
No music enthusiast can claim that she's into New Wave if she didn't know A Flock of Seagulls, which was one of the forerunners of the genre. I very well know most of their earlier songs ("Transfer Affection," "The More You Live, The More You Love," "Telecommunication," "I Ran (So Far Away"); however, this song I stumbled upon only recently while searching for some AFOS music videos on the Net. I found out that it came from their last album, The Light at the End of the World (1996). AFOS vocalist Mike Score no longer sport that well-known "waterfall-hairstyle," but the sound for which his band was revered is still there.

5. "7 Reasons" by Revenge
Eversince I heard of the news, back in the '90s, that New Order broke up and that each member went on to form his/her own band, I began researching about these offshoot bands. I was certain that whatever music each was concocting, this must be something worth listening to, primarily because New Order was/is one of the pillars of New Wave music. Right was I, for each offshoot band delivered a kind of music which is at par with the predecessor:

New Order drummer and keyboardist, Stephen Morris and Gillian Gilbert, respectively, formed The Other Two, producing two dance-oriented albums--The Other Two & You (1994) and Superhighways (1999)--well-known for the hit single "Selfish."

Vocalist/guitarist Bernard Sumner teamed up with Johnny Marr (formerly of The Smiths) and produced three brilliant albums--Electronic (1991), Raise the Pressure (1996), and Twisted Tenderness (1999)--which spawned the singles "Getting Away with It," "Forbidden City," and "Vivid."

Lastly, bassist Peter Hook formed, initially, Revenge and then Monaco, producing one full album for the first (One True Passion, 1990) and two albums for the latter, Music for Pleasure (1990) and Monaco (2000). "7 Reasons" is the song from Revenge that best captures my fancy.

6. "I've Got a Feeling" by MonacoThis song, on the other hand, is the Monaco song that best satisfies my preference for lush recording/production.

7. "Which Way Should I Jump?" by The Milltown Brothers
The Milltown Brothers' debut, Slinky (1991), was another album which I bought even without prior knowledge about the band or the music. This was in the mid-'90s, a period in the Philippines when the Alternative-music scene was dominated by Grunge. A diehard New Wave aficionado, I was always on the lookout for bands which possessed the New Wave sound; and I was glad that buying The Milltown Brothers album was worthy.

8. "One Summer" by The Moss Poles
It was in the late '80s through the early '90s when I and my bandmates were suddenly into Punk/Scruff bands like Descendents, Violent Femmes, The Dead Milkmen, and Anti-Nowhere League. But then, it seemed that our musical taste kept on gravitating towards the melodic sound of New Wave. This particular song by The Moss Poles was one of those songs which made me realize that a band can fuse the attributes of Punk and New Wave. My friend and band guitarist Rain Paggao was the one who introduced me to this song, the cassette-tape recorded copy of which he got from a common friend.

Fast-forward...two months ago, I was in Ontario, in the basement of my friend Jessel Baltazar, selecting which CDs to copy...then, I saw his CD of The Moss Poles! Believe me, that was my first time to hear the songs after almost a decade. The cassette-tape copy I had of it had been lost long ago.

9. "Clown and Bard" by Geoff Berner
I just arrived in British Columbia, Canada, in 2003. I was flicking with the TV remote control one morning when I chanced upon a morning show which featured a live band. The vocalist was playing an accordion and the song he was playing reminded me of Billy Bragg and The Pogues. Soon after watching the show, I googled for the artist's name and there I found Geoff Berner's Web site, which also featured some of his songs. This was the song he performed on TV that morning.

10. "Let the Young Girl Do What She Wants To" by Ian McNabb
Every New Wave music enthusiast knew very well that Ian McNabb was the music and face of The Icicle Works. Soon as I learned, in the '90s, that Ian McNabb went solo, I began scouting for copies of his new songs. Unfortunately for me, Ian's sound kind of strayed a bit from the usual Icicle Works sound; but despite that, he was able to retain the melodies in some. The two solo works of Ian McNabb which best fit into my taste are "You Must Be Prepared to Dream" (from Head like a Rock, 1994) and this song, from Before All of This (2005).


  • At Saturday, March 18, 2006 4:36:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…


    The legacy continues and it evolves yet it goes back and pays homage to where it started from yet...with progression...these tracks are its finest examples really....

    skyray is love,


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