Category: SoundCheck

His Scarred Hands: Alive & Well

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A new blood is rising, waiting to make huge waves in the music scene.

His Scarred Hands, a Manila-based independent Christian band, is still young in the industry. The band was formed in October 2012, driven by a common desire to spread good music based on the message of Jesus’ nail-scarred hands.

The band identifies itself as a non-crossover Christian band, passionate to inspire other bands with the same vision to venture out into the mainstream musicscape and show that good music belongs to God.

HSHbandphoto2His Scarred Hands has just released online its first mini-album, titled “Alive & Well.” The album, which features seven original tracks, proves that the band has a strong fighting chance to make it big in the industry. In this debut album, His Scarred Hands treats everyone with a great variety of music as each track is totally unique from the others; each song carrying its own character, groove and feel. The band also showcases its remarkable songwriting, with words that cut through the heart using poetry and effective story-telling.

The album kicked off with its carrier single, “Alive & Well,” giving it an interesting head start. You can’t help but nod your head to the beat at the start of the track as the band delivers a full-blast opening salvo. The song’s dynamic is excellently executed, and for a moment I thought I was listening to a song by Oasis.

Speak” is a personal favorite of mine because of its catchy groove and the vocalist’s remarkable singing prowess, giving character and spice to the song. It’s perfect to listen to while on a long drive on a Sunday morning.

Jesus Is” gives me the same kind of feeling that I feel whenever I listen to a Jars of Clay song. Aside from the fact that the band’s vocalist sounds like Dan Haseltine in this track, the acoustic-driven song strums some emotional strings in me. The band did well in communicating their message, that Jesus is the most reliable friend anyone can have.

Another one of my favorites is the track “That Love.” Something in this song makes feel a bit nostalgic. Perhaps it’s the song’s melody, or probably the perfect songwriting that hit a soft spot in my heart.

His Scarred Hands has all the ingredients of a successful band: cool music, amazing songwriting and a nice kind of swagger.

With the right connections and excellent opportunities to etch their name in the market, I am convinced that His Scarred Hands is a ticking time-bomb waiting to explode and make a huge dent in the country’s mainstream music industry.

If you’re someone who loves alternative music, is looking for some easy-listening playlist or someone who’s probably tired of listening to your usual Gospel songs, you’ll absolutely love His Scarred Hands. Buy their album and earn the bragging right as among the first listeners who made a rad discovery. “Alive & Well” is now available on iTunes. Click through this YouTube link for a preview of the entire album!

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Eraserheads: Ang sound track ng dekada ‘90

Tugtog sa PC: “Bahay namin maliit lamang. Pero, pero, pero, pero malinis ‘to pati sa kusina … Mahal ko si Toyang pagka’t siya’s simple lamang…

Sabi nila, malalaman mo daw ang tindi ng impluwensiya ng isang banda o artist sa’yo kung sa tuwing maririnig mo ang isang kanta nila, naaalala mo pa din ng klarong-klaro sa isip mo kung saan at kailanman mo unang narinig ang kantang ito…

1993. Seven years old ako nang sumikat ang “Toyang.” Naglalaro kami ng tumbang preso ng mga kalaro ko nang magpatugtog ang pinsan ko. Du’n ko unang narinig ang Toyang. Para sa mga batang katulad ko noon na ang simpleng buhay ay umiikot lang sa mga simpleng libangan tulad ng panonood ng Dragon Ball Z at Voltes V, pag-iipon ng tansan, panghuhuli ng gagambang bahay at paglalaro ng patintero at tumbang-preso sa hapon, ang pakikinig ng radyo ay hindi kasama sa listahan; maliban na lang kung Batibot ang pakikinggan.

Gayunpaman, tumatak sa isip ko ang kantang Toyang, at naaalala ko pa rin kung paano namin kinakanta ng pasigaw, kasabay ng malakas na cassette tape, ang mga linyang, “Pen-pen-pen de sarapen, de kutsilyo de almasen! Haw-haw-haw de karabaw, de karabaw de batuten!”

Isa ako sa nakaabot sa good old days ng OPM at radyo sa Pilinas noong dekada ’90. At kasabay ng aking pagkabata ang pagsikat ng musika ng Eraserheads. Nasubaybayan ko ang simula ng pagsikat ng banda at ang tuluyan nilang paghihiwalay noong 2002. Kinse anyos ako no’n.

Kaya sa tuwing maririnig ko ang mga kanta ng Eraserheads, hindi ko mapigilang magbalik-tanaw sa pagkabata ko: Kung papano kami nagtatalunan habang kumakanta ng “Tindahan Ni Aling Nena;” kung paano kami nagtatawanan habang kinakanta ang “Magasin,” dahil tinutukso namin ang pinsan naming hindi nabiyayaan ng kagandahan noong bata pa kami pagdating sa linyang, “Pagkat kulang ang dala kong pera. Pambili… Pambili sa mukha mong maganda.” Naaalala ko kung paano ako kinakantahan ng mga kaklase ko ng “Torpedo” dahil natotorpe ako sa harap ng crush ko nu’ng Grade 2.

Sino nga ba ang makakalimot sa “Ang Huling El Bimbo” na naging national anthem na dahil sa sobrang kasikatan? Pagkarinig pa lang ng unang linyang, “Kamukha mo si Paraluman noong tayo ay bata pa,” siguradong sasabay na ang lahat sa pagkanta. Natatakot pa kami no’n habang pinapanood yung music video nito, lalo na sa parteng nabuhay ulit yung babaeng namatay at bumangon mula sa hukay. Nalaman ko kamakailan lang na ang direktor pala ng music video na ito ay ang direktor ng Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros.

Sumikat ang Eraserheads hindi lang dahil sa magandang musika at mahusay na tunog nila, kundi dahil na rin sa kakaibang song writing ng grupo. Mabilis na sumikat ang mga kanta nila dahil madaling naka-relate ang mga tao sa mga kanta nila, mula sa mga awiting tungkol sa panliligaw tulad ng “Ligaya,” “Torpedo” at “Harana,” hanggang sa mga kantang pang-basted gaya ng “Pare Ko.” Patok din ang mga kanta nila tungkol sa pagkakaibigan, gaya ng “Minsan,” ang Christmas song na “Fruitcake,” ang kontrobersyal na “Alapaap,” at ang kantang “Wag Mo Nang Itanong,” na nakahipo sa masa at naging imortal na sa puso’t isip ng mga Pinoy. Hanggang sa kasalukuyan, maririnig pa din sa radyo, TV o pelikula ang mga musikang pinasikat nila.

Muling nabuhay ang Eraserheadsmania nang magkaroon ng reunion concert ang banda sa The Fort Open Field sa Taguig noong Aug. 30, 2008, na nasundan pa ng The Final Set sa Mall of Asia concert grounds noong March 7, 2009. Wala pa ring kupas ang grupo at nagpakita pa sila ng higit na husay sa muling pagsalang nila sa entablado upang patunayang sila pa rin ang orig na tunog ng musikalyeng Pinoy.

Hindi maikakaila ang tindi ng impluwensya at kasikatan ng banda matapos dagsain ng libu-libong taga-hanga ang dalawang concerts na ito — patunay na hindi pa rin nabubura at maaring hindi na mabubura pa sa alaala ng mga Pinoy ang kanilang himig at musika. Ang makita silang muling magkakasama sa entablado matapos ang anim na taon at tinutugtog ang mga kantang nakatatak na sa puso at isip ng mga Pilipino ay isa sa mga pinaka-astig na pwedeng mangyari sa kasaysayan ng Pilipinas.

Sa isang pambihirang pagkakataon, muling sasampa sa entablado sila Ely, Raimund, Marcus at Buddy para pagbigyan ang hiling ng kanilang mga taga-suporta sa Amerika. Kamakailan lang ay inannounce ng grupo ang kanilang North American tour ngayong Oktubre.

Sino nga ba ang makakalimot sa Eraserheads? Halos lahat tayong mga nabuhay sa dekada ’90 ay may tinatagong alaala na karugtong ng bawat Eraserheads song; mga alaalang paulit-ulit na nagbabalik sa tuwing naririnig natin ang mga awiting ito. Hanggang sa kasalukuyan, marahil ay wala pa ring makakapantay sa tagumpay na nakamit ng banda at sa impluwensiyang naidulot nila sa musikang Pinoy.

Kung ako ang tatanungin – taliwas sa kagustuhan ng iba na muling buoin ang banda – mas gugustuhin ko nang manatili silang astig na alamat ng OPM na patuloy na hinahangaan, inaalala at binabalik-balikan.

Pero sa ngayon, tatapusin ko muna ‘to at itutuloy ang sound trip ko hanggang sa makatulog.

Tugtog sa earphones: Hika ang inabot ko nang piliting sumabay sa’yo hanggang kanto…

Battle Studies

John Mayer crashes back to set fire on the mainstream musicscape with a whole new arsenal of pop/rock music in his most recent studio-recording album, “Battle Studies.” With this album released in the market, the battle is on for another hit-making era. 

Battle Studies is a collection of heartbreak songs that will surely hit a soft spot in you. The grand slam Grammy Award winner will treat all John Mayer fanatics in a roller coaster ride of emotions as he proves to be a music maestro who goes beyond genre boundaries yet again in this album.

Battle Studies opened with “Heartbreak Warfare,” a song that describes a typical lovers’ quarrel that usually ends in a serious split up. “Heartbreak Warfare” sets the theme and the mood of the entire album. Its cutthroat lyrics and hard-hitting lines are sure to hit you in the heart like a hot bullet passing through your forehead. The song is somewhat typical of John Mayer’s songs in terms of its melody and rhythm.

The next song, “All We Ever Do is Say Goodbye” is soulful and enthralling; it’s sure to teleport you in an emo trance. I can guarantee that all fed up lovers could easily relate to this song. So if you’re one, this song is a must-listen for you.

To offset the album’s melancholic onset, John Mayer brings in “Half of My Heart.” A personal favorite of mine, I must say that this song is a perfect choice when you’re on a long drive on the countryside. The song is a two-thumbs-up for me, with its feel-good melody and light musicality, matched with John Mayer’s witty wordplay. Hit-maker Taylor Swift sings with John Mayer in this song, so it kind of makes me remember the song “Bliss” (not from this album), which he sang with Alice Peacock.

The album takes a sudden shift from alternative to country/acoustic in the next track, “Who Says?” The song features a lounge-ified, easy-listening feel throughout the song. It’s a perfect soundtrip on a sultry Sunday afternoon when all you want to do is just to sit on the front porch and play the guitar.

“Perfectly Lonely” would qualify as the new anthem of spurned lovers. John Mayer’s catchy melody in this song is absolutely in-step with his signature book of rhyme in his previous albums like Any Given Thursday and Heavier Things that made him an all-time favorite.

Another personal favorite of mine is the song, “Assassin,” which creates a Pink Panther-ish-slash-Lupin III feel for me. John Mayer flaunts his flair in story-telling in this track. Its lyrics are very vivid and cinematic; you could even imagine what’s happening in the song as he sings. With soulful vocals and enthralling musical arrangement, John Mayer finds his way right straight to the heart of his listeners in this song.

The following track, “Crossroads,” is more like a breather from the drips of mush and sophomoric sentiments that the previous songs carry. This cover song may be relatively short at 2:31, but this is where the guitar maestro showcased his guitar-slapping strums, amazing fretworks display and artistic blips which he is famous for.

“War of My Life” begins with corny lines, for me, but he was able to redeem its value towards the end of the song as John Mayer urges his listeners to fight on in their heart battles. Wise words + easy music = five star.

“Edge of Desire” is the song to listen to when you’re in the mood for slacking up in your room and just enjoy the genius bluesman’s guitar-slinging music. With his in-your-face blues and powerful lyrics, locking yourself in your room while listening to this song will certainly make you long to be with somebody.

The next track, “Do You Know Me,” is comparable with Crossroads in terms of length. Running at 2:33, this song has fewer lyrics. This song could have been developed into a full-length song; it has a story which he could have told more about through a longer song. Plus its light musicality, sentimental feel and easy-listening groove could have been a perfect tear-jerker when built up and ended with a powerful ending.

The last song in the album, “Friends, Lovers or Nothing,” is another favorite. It passes as a sentimental lullaby for me because of its rhythm and melody. The song is about lovers who ended up being friends. Just like “Assassin” and “Half of My Heart,” this song is a potential hit waiting to explode and make huge impact on the radio frequency.

One good thing about John Mayer’s songs is that they get better every time you try listening to them; they never run old and you will never tire listening to them. You may not appreciate his music at once; you may not like his voice the first time you hear it; but his genius songwriting magic will definitely make you a convert.

Battle Studies is a masterpiece John Mayer fanatics should never miss as it is sure to bring you to the edge of your desire. With this album, John Mayer is on an all-out war to make platinum hits once again. Who knows, maybe another Grammy awaits him. If you’re not a John Mayer fan yet, this album might be the turning point that you need.

Continuum

ContinuumThe long wait is over! Featuring its carrier politically aware single “Waiting on the World to Change,” John Mayer is back to the mainstream musicscape as he releases his third studio recording album “Continuum.”

After two years of hibernation since “Heavier Things,” the grand slam Grammy Award winner is back from the back porch as he flaunts his way to the lime light once again with songs written and performed in his own genius in-your-face blues, jittery beats, witty wordplay and guitar-slapping strums. Continuum is a collection of the guitar and vocal maestro’s pop/rock songs and fretworks display all packaged in one soulful, enthralling album.

Having performed with some of the music scene’s iconics like Eric Clapton, among others, John Mayer redefines himself as a music master who exceeds beyond genre boundaries. In this album, John Mayer showcases his musical influences in his songwriting and music-making blitz. Continuum features lounge-ified grooves such as “I Don’t Trust Myself (With Loving You),” “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room,” and the Sam Cooke-influenced “I’m Gonna Find Another You.” Also, keep in-step with John Mayer’s signature in his new songs “The Heart of Life” and “Stop This Train.”

Guess you’ve already heard “Waiting on the World to Change creating huge impact on your radio frequency. Buy this album and prepare to be caught up in an emo trance with the bluesman’s guitar-slinging and the soulful vocal’s music masterpiece. Find yourself a comfy spot while enjoying the guitar genius’ artistic blips and cutthroat lyrics all included in one great album that all John Mayer fanatics should never miss. Or if you’re not, Continuum might be a turning point for you. Grab it and listen up!

Don’t wait on the world to change! Look up for this album in the music store near you and grab a copy of John Mayer’s Continuum!