BACK in the 1990s, the hottest thing was alternative music, which eventually referred to anything that didn’t sound squeaky clean and boring pop. Now that local FM radio has become too generic, it seems the time has come for an alternative to radio itself.
It’s found on the Internet but it’s not just about foreign guys programming music on their websites. The good news is, a number of Filipinos have set up their own online portals to offer what conventional radio stations have junked or ignored altogether.
They are accessible via desktops, laptops and Android phones (or touch-screen mobile phones with Wi-Fi).
Below are some of the sites that the Inquirer has visited—mainly through friends on Facebook. Google them for their exact web links:
Pinoytuner.com—a brainchild of veteran radioman George “Boone” Mercado, which consists of three stations, namely: Dig Radio, Jazzistas and The Classic Music Authority (TCMA).
Dig Radio is manned by Francis Brew (yes, him, the former Dawn guitarist), along with some of the other DJs displaced by NU 107’s programming overhaul. What you love about NU, you’ll hear it here.
Jazzistas features music that made the old WK-FM and City Lite famous for many years: fusion, smooth jazz and mainstream. Handling the play list are former record label executive and Jazzbox DJ Jeffrey Enriquez, erstwhile City Lite station manager and currently UP Masscom professor Pinky Aseron, and the rest of the administrators of the Jazzistas page on Facebook.
TCMA plays classic Top 40 hits of the 1970s and ’80s.
DJ Cool Carla’s Chill-Out Sessions—podcasts featuring former XB 102 DJ Cool Carla (yup, her, a.k.a. Carla Abaya of the bands Identity Crisis and Mariya’s Mistress).
The Chill-Out Sessions showcase lounge music or sounds that put the listener in a relaxed mood without necessarily dozing off. One can also dance to it, or, as one of the program’s titles suggests, “make out” in its “room.”
Manilasoul.com—an offshoot of the Facebook page Manila Soul All-Nighter, a community of soul music fanatics.
Its music player seems newly installed and its programs are still limited, although they go on live as in real time, with former Juan Pablo Dream frontman Bing Austria as the DJ.
UR Faceradio—probably the most exciting thing to happen on Internet radio since it’s right there on Facebook. It features the entire programming of RJ UR 105.9, which will go off the air very soon.
The last time we tuned in, Faceradio was suffering from intermittent skips which are unpleasant to the ears. Its technical guys should do the necessary tweaks before it formally launches on May 28.
The bond linking all these music sites is plain, undiluted love of music. The people running it are not getting paid—at least not yet while prospective sponsors wait and see how everything morphs.
No longer happy
“Hindi na kami masaya sa isa’t isa (We’re no longer happy with each other),” guitarist Nitoy Adriano told the Inquirer by phone on Friday, explaining why he quit the band he’s been playing with for more than 30 years, The Jerks.
Described by Sunday Inquirer Magazine’s Eric Caruncho as “the country’s best bar band,” The Jerks survived the 1980s and ’90s even with the departure of bassist Boy Matriano, harmonica player Gil Dauag and guitarist Jun Lopito, the death of drummer Flor Mendoza—leaving Adriano and front man Chickoy Pura plus a long line of succeeding new members to carry on its potent mix of classic rock and politically charged original music.
Adriano recalled Pura asking why it seemed he was losing interest in the band. Adriano revealed that he felt he was treated like a session player, and not as an original member, all these years.
As for his plans, he said he might join Pepe Smith who is forming his own blues band.
“When you run into a wall and find things becoming difficult, never quit, keep working, because all business is difficult anyway,” said Joel Madden of the band Good Charlotte, when asked by the Inquirer on the hardest lesson he has learned in the music biz.
Good Charlotte was here recently for a concert at the Glorietta in Ayala Malls.
Basil Valdez proved he still has the chops in a recent back-to-back concert with Zsazsa Padilla at Resorts World’s Newport Performing Arts Theater. The 59-year-old OPM icon, who survived a throat operation and changing musical trends, didn’t have to struggle while going through a long repertoire from his classic hits (written by Ryan Cayabyab and George Canseco), to ’70s pop covers from his Circus Band days, to a bit of jazz (“The Street Where You Live”), to a cleverly arranged Barry Manilow medley, to a physically challenging musical theater number (“Corner of the Sky”), to a couple of movie themes, and finally to a solemn but difficult finale, “The Prayer.”
“Medyo hiningal ako dun a (That was a bit exhausting),” Basil told Zsazsa after finishing “Corner of the Sky.”
“Ganyan talaga ang veteran performers,” joked Zsazsa, who was herself a fine example of enduring talent—her best moments revealed while paying tribute to her influences, Barbra Streisand and Diana Ross, not to mention the Donna Summer disco suite and, of course, a few originals including her signature “Hiram” (another Canseco composition).
But there were a few instances when her vocals sounded a bit too sharp for comfort. Was it due to the audio mix, or just a natural tendency of her singing style?