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The QLE Awards 11-21-08 Manila Bulletin Luis Katigbak

The QLE Awards 11-21-08 Manila Bulletin Luis Katigbak

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1/3 of the QLE Filipino Music triumvirate - Luis Katigbak gives IDENTITY THEFT of Drip their first ever Album of the Year award from QLE! Thanks Luis!
1/3 of the QLE Filipino Music triumvirate - Luis Katigbak gives IDENTITY THEFT of Drip their first ever Album of the Year award from QLE! Thanks Luis!

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Published by: The on Nov 24, 2008
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Saturday, November 22, 2008
Listen up: Quark Henares, Luis Katigbak, and Erwin Romulo pick the Best Music of 2008
This was an unbelievably good year for music: don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. That’s why brash boyish filmmaker/writer/ rakista Quark Henares, all-around artistic force of nature Erwin Romulo and yours truly decided to shout mashnotes to our favorite bands from the rooftops via our own little “awards show.” We’re calling it the QLE Awardsbecause, well, those are our initials. (Also, as my Tita Pep pointed out, if you say “QLE” out loud it almost sorta soundslike “Quality”—he he he.)
My column last week, "Rage Against the Rock Awards," generated a lot of feedback, almost all of it positive—thanks for allthe emails and texts, everyone—and now, instead of just complaining about how established shows like the NU107 awardsdon’t recognize all the worthy acts while nominating bands that constitute crimes against humanity, Quark, Erwin and I arepresenting the artists and songs we feel strongly deserve your attention if not adoration. (To be fair, as Quark pointed out, acouple of these acts—Up Dharma Down and Ang Bandang Shirley for example—fell just outside the judging period for thisyear’s NU107 Rock Awards, and may well be nominated next year.)Luckily, we all happen to write for newspapers, so if all goes well, this roster of winners should be in all three majorbroadsheets this weekend, which must be a first of sorts. And so, ladeez and gennelmen, welcome to the first ever QLEAwards:1. Albums of the yearCiudad. Bring Your FriendsThis is the Wonder Years soundtrack of our generation. Overlooked and under-appreciated, it nonetheless confirms that eeriephenomenon that befalls all great artists. Remember, even during the Summer of Love, Engelbert Humperdinck beat [TheBeatles] at the charts. But nonetheless, Ciudad will never need any more affirmation from me or any pundit. Listen to thisalbum. Music like this will never grow old. [Erwin]Drip. Identity TheftYou will never feel cooler than when you’re listening to Drip. I don’t mean that smug kind of poser-cool that comes withpatronizing the band of the moment—I’m talking about that glorious experience when their music creates a world betweenyour ears, dark and dramatic, a nocturnal urban narrative with you as the central character beset by sudden dangers andunexpected pleasures. With scratches and samples, keyboards and beats, and that relentless, yearning, sensual voice,Identity Theft delivers seeming contradictions—fierce vulnerability, emotional electronica—and changes your life for thebetter. [Luis]Taken by Cars. Endings of a New KindFrom the opening salvo "Uh-oh" to the solemn "Shapeshifter," Endings of a New Kind could end up being a classic among theyounger set. Credit must also be given where credit is due: producer Mong Alcaraz really pushed the band to the limits in thisrecord, and when compared to the band’s earlier demos this sounds like it was made by a completely different artist. Taken byCars has never sounded so good, even compared to their live performances today. [Quark]2. Songs of the yearsCiudad."My Emptiness"This is one of the most emotionally affecting ones I’ve ever heard this year. It deals in melancholy (and genuine melancholyat that―none of this "Take me to the other side" crap) but is never despairing. It’s evidence of a settling maturity in theband’s music and lyrics, but also proves they haven’t lost their sense of humor. It’s got a disco beat but isn’t dance punk:rather, like the Itchyworms’ "Love Team," it belongs to the canon of possibly perfect pop songs made in this century. [Erwin]Up Dharma Down. "Unspoken Definites"It’s almost impossible to choose a favorite song off Bipolar—they are nearly all utterly excellent—but still, "UnspokenDefinites" stands out, in its almost-painful honesty, in the openness of its music, in the way it takes its influences andshapes them into something new. [Luis]Taken by Cars. "Weeknight Memoir (In High Definition)"It starts in an ambient, quiet hum that suddenly erupts in Sarah Marco demanding at the top of her voice―"HEARTSTOPPING-LIAR, ARE YOU READY FOR THE NEXT JOKE?" Umm, ok, not that great in the lyrics department. However, for me"Weeknight Memoir (In High Definition)" is anthemic―the kind of song that makes you scream at the top of your lungs in themidst of traffic or start jumping up and down alone in your room. [Quark]3. Videos of the year
Manila Bulletin Onlinehttp://www.mb.com.ph/issues/2008/11/22/20081122141661_print.html1 of 311/24/2008 1:31 AM
Pedicab. "Ang Pusa Mo"What else encapsulates best the weirdness and exhilaration of this year’s music but a video wherein members of this bandget tortured and beaten by a myriad of femme fatales? [Erwin]Up Dharma Down. "We Give In Sometimes"It’s hard to match the trippy visuals your mind makes up when you listen to this intricate, dreamlike track, but this video doesa great job. [Luis]Pedicab. "Ang Pusa Mo"18 words: Shawn Yao, Tricia Gosingtian, Kim Marvilla, Alodia Gosengfiao, Ashley Gosengfiao, Roni Callanta, Kat Velayo, RoniCallanta, Dylan, sadomasochism. [Quark]…and RA Rivera. And, yes, Shawn Yao will save us all: "Fiction na nga, speculative pa." [Erwin]*4. Live acts of the yearItchywormsExcellent musicianship, wicked sense of humor and just brilliant songs. I’m pretty sure that this band’s performances andmusic were what kept me from any suicide attempts this year. [Erwin]YoshaWhen a band gets me on my feet, screaming like a cheerleader, for a type of music I don’t even usually like, then I knowthey’ve got something special going on. Drawing from soul and jazz, Yosha brings the groove, the virtuosity, and the sheer joy of music-making, straight to their lucky, lucky audiences. [Luis]SandwichThough their latest album isn’t their best, Sandwich still givestheir proverbial 110 percent every time they perform. Also, as of late they’ve toned down the improvising and have insteadfocused on delivering solid performances, occasionally revisiting old favorites such as "Freestyle Analog" and "Cheese FactorSet to 9." It’s ironic how The Eraserheads Reunion seemed to remind Raimund Marasigan how much he loves this band,because his recent performances have a fire and vigor in them that seemed to be absent for a while. [Quark]5. Best new artistsIntolerant AND Loss Of Control just because they’re metal and they don’t give a f**k. [Erwin]Ang Bandang ShirleyThey’re not rock gods or avant-garde experimentalists, they’re the people that you meet, when you’re walking down thestreet, each day. Except that they have an enormous talent for impeccable pop tunes and quirky-heartfelt lyrics. Andenormous appetites as well. [Luis]Taken by CarsA lot of people accuse Taken by Cars of ripping Bloc Party off. I say they’re better than Bloc Party. Endings of A New Kind isthe kind of debut that feels like it was made after years of meshing and collaborating as artists, and individually theinstrumentalists have that perfect balance of standing out yet sounding completely organic. [Quark]6. Comeback of the yearsMarkus HighwayWhoever would’ve thought that Marcus Adoro had it in him to make such inventive, winsome pop music? The sojourn from themusic scene has certainly made his songwriting talents come to fruition. The first bona fide Pinoy surf album. [Erwin]7. Best album coversUp Dharma Down. BipolarNot as genuinely complex and dazzling as the band’s music contained within, but it sure does a neat job of inviting us into it.[Erwin and Quark]Ang Bandang Shirley. ThemesongsC’mon. That Pepper Roxas cover is all sorts of adorable. [Luis]8. Artists of the yearUp Dharma DownSurely if any artists this year dominated it would be none other than the Eraserheads. But apart from them, it would surely beUp Dharma Down, who’ve just released their newest album Bipolar. Just for the fact that they seemed to be the only artist tostill make an impact and not be swallowed up by the Eheads reunion. Also, the fact that the band is still constantly pursuingmyriad ways of conveying and expressing the conflicting forces of human desire but without resort to cliché―is admirable.Impressive. [Erwin and Luis]
Manila Bulletin Onlinehttp://www.mb.com.ph/issues/2008/11/22/20081122141661_print.html2 of 311/24/2008 1:31 AM

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