The Return of eLf ideas

ideas of an eLven being in Canada

Thursday, March 23, 2006

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

."The Painter in his studio" by Hendrick Gerritsz Pot (circa 1585-1657), a Dutch Baroque-Era painter
Let me continue sharing the personal back story for the remainder of the songs which I uploaded on my Multiply site. If you are a big fan of Alternative Rock music, particularly of the New Wave subgenre, Check my profile and get to DOWNLOAD the first volume (19 songs).

11. Indochine - "A l'Àssaut" 
Another song I first heard around 1986, on the long-defunct FM radio station DWXB 102.7. Still unfamiliar and uninterested with foreign languages, I thought then that the name of the band was In the Sheen and the song title, "Alison," a girl's name). It was already in 1995 when a friend of mine told me that the artist was Indochine, a French band, and that the song was "A l'Àssaut." Yet I still couldn't find a copy of it. Thanks, as usual, to the magic of the Internet (and, of course, to my patience), I finally got to download this song. Listening to "A l'Àssaut" reminds me particularly of a day in 1987 when my family and some balikbayan relatives spent an overnight at Batu-Bato Spring Resort in Pansol, Laguna. I brought with me my boombox and a few cassette tapes containing songs I recorded from WXB 102. "A l'Àssaut" was one of those songs.

12. KUKL - "Dismembered"
Late last year, while researching about Icelandic Alternative-Rock music, I discovered that Björk Guðmundsdóttir, prior to forming The Sugarcubes, was a member of a few other Alternative Rock bands which included Spit & Snot, Exodus, Tappi Tikarras, and KUKL, which was actually the direct predecessor of The Sugarcubes. In Icelandic, KUKL means "sorcery." The band may be classified under the subgenre Goth, and they got to release two albums, The Eye (1984) and Holidays in Europe (1986). After racking the dark corners of the Internet I was able to download a few KUKL songs. "Dismembered" is the one which caught my fancy.

13. Modern English - "I Don't Know Anything"
If you say you are a New Wave music enthusiast, then don't tell me that you didn't know Modern English! For, this band is the reason "I Melt with You" exists--one of the most recognizable New Wave songs. Unfortunately, many music journalists had also tagged Modern English as among those "one-hit wonder" bands. I hate this denotation. It is misleading. Obviously subjective. For, in fact, Modern English was able to come up with six studio albums: Mesh and Lace (1981), After the Snow (1982), Ricochet Days (1984), Stop Start (1986), Pillow Lips (1990), and Everything Is Mad (1996). I saw a CD of this last album back in 1999, at the Greenbelt-Makati branch of a shop known as CD Warehouse, where I usually ordered imported and rare CDs. Unfortunately, I didn't have enough money. I tried looking for the songs on the Internet but still in vain. Luckily, a new acquaintance and fellow Alternative Rock / New Wave music enthusiast, Snoog, who currently works in the Middle East, sent me a copy of this last album by Modern English. "I Don't Know Anything" is my instant favorite.

14. Squeeze - "Bang Bang"
Around 1989, my friend and former bandmate Rain told me that he heard a new song on NU 107 that he thought was from The Dead Milkmen. He was unable to catch the title and the name of the artist; all he could remember was the catchy and quirky chorus: "I can't stop my heart from beating, beating...bang, bang, bang, bang...." It took me years searching for that song. It was already around 2000 when I learned that the band was Squeeze and the song "Bang, Bang." In the advent of music downloading through the Internet, I began searching for it but in vain. It was only in 2004 when I finally got it through Limewire. Believe me, I felt so elated upon listening to the complete song for the first time. Songs can really send us to positive nostalgia. Listen to this song before or right after The Dead Milkmen's "Beach Song."

15. Half Life Half Death - "Cariñosa" 
In 1994, when we (Half Life Half Death) were choosing which songs to include in our first solo album under Viva, Rain our lead guitarist requested to include a new song he had just made. As usual, even without hearing the song, I was eager about it. I've always trusted his musicality. Among the band, Rain and I were the ones whose ideas connected most. Rain told us that we could only listen to the song come recording time. He would just teach the parts to the other members. This piece, by the way, is instrumental. But I think, this masterpiece stands out on its own. It tells a story without even singing any words.

16. Lowlife - "Ramafied" 
Sometime in late 1999, I heard this song on DMZ during its weekend New Wave session. The deejay didn't disclose the song title nor the artist's name. All I could remember was that there was the word "ambidextrous" in the lyric and that the style was reminiscent of Joy Division. I asked my New Wave friends about it, but they too couldn't figure out what the song was. Recently in Ontario, when I was copying CDs at the basement of my friend Jessel, I saw that he has an album by Lowlife, a band I knew only for the songs "Hollow Gut" and "River of Woe." When I was listening to the entire Lowlife album, From a Scream to a Whisper (1989), I was surprised to learn that the mysterious "ambidextrous" song was actually "Ramafied" by Lowlife. Listening now to the song is very elating. It's like realizing an old wish.

17. Personz - "Dear Friends" 
1990, while Half Life Half Death was preparing for a gig (entitled Mission 2) at our alma matter, Sta. Clara Parish School, in Pasay City, Metro Manila, I got to meet the other bands of the school. One of them was Raynil Vibar, a classmate of Rain who with his family lived for a time in Japan. Raynil was the one who introduced to us some New Wave-sounding Japanese bands like Personz and Buck Tick. He let us listen to this Personz song, and I fell in love with it. The lyric was mostly in Japanese; but obviously, it sings about friendship.

18. Rumblefish - What You Do to Me
This was another song I heard first on DMZ back in the late '90s. Luckily I got the band's name and the song title. I listen now to this band along with The Desert Wolves, James, and The Bodines, all of which feature electrifying yet melodic guitar parts as well as a similarity in vocal styles. This song comes off the album Everything Electrical (1992).

19. Senseless Things - "Lip Radio"
This is another band which I came to know accidentally, while buying cassette tapes by "gut feel". I bought the album along with Sloan's Smeared (1993), The Posies' Frosting on the Beater (1993), Dillon Fence's Rosemary (1992), and Vanilla Trainwreck's Sounding to Try like You (1992), back in the early '90s. This song came off the album The First of Too Many (1991). Listening to this song reminds me much of my life back in the early '90s when I was inbetween jobs and residing at a big house in Project 6, Quezon City. I remember playing these albums in repeat mode, virtually every day. I would usually stay in the house during the day and then enjoy the night out with friends.

READ the first part of this story...


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