The Local Outsider #31: Tiger Pussy, Shanne Dandan and the return of Dicta License

The plan was to write this column way ahead of time. Well, yes, that always was my plan, but this month is a busy month – the biggest event of my calendar year, for the day job, happens next week – so I thought I’ll get some writing done. But, well, I am writing this the night before publication date. Of course I would. I have work flow issues, clearly. Well, I can always say work for the day job took precedence, but I need to discipline myself further. So, here’s this month’s Local Outsider, reliably crammed like most months, if not all months.

 

The caveat with me cramming these columns is that, even if I fully intend to, I never have the space to really listen to the bands I write about. Take Tiger Pussy, the Cebu-based punk band who’s been on my radar for months, if only because of the name. And then Nat – you know Nat, right? – tags me on a Facebook post encouraging me (and others) to check out more punk bands, especially female-fronted ones. They’re more essential now than ever before, after all. (She also vows to make me watch gigs in Cebu the next time I’m there, provided she’s available and I’m not there for a business trip, which is pretty much always the case.) Anyway, back to Tiger Pussy, and yes, I’ll say I haven’t had the time to listen to their new album Residuals because, again, work – but on an aural level, I’m liking how this feels like a throwback to a time when being a renegade was encouraged and everything sounded really good on a cassette. Vocalist Jan Sunday carries this nicely. I’ll have to make a mental note to listen more – and maybe catch then when I am in Cebu and the conditions are right?

 

Speaking of “more essential now than ever before”, Dicta License is back, after roughly a decade away, and a few years after reuniting for a handful of shows. And with “Bagong Bayani” being released on 21 September, the anniversary of the declaration of martial law – and just when the zeitgeist is thick in discussions of historical revisionism that would evolve into corned beef boycotts – there’s no need to guess what, who, this is about. And this song does not go out of its way to sugarcoat things for mass consumption. It’s refreshing: admittedly, some of the best music is not ashamed to have a point of view about contentious issues. It’s a shame that a lot has changed from the time they released their debut full-length, Paghilom, in 2005. I imagine this song will be embraced wholeheartedly by those who believe in what the song says, and will be rejected as “dilawan” bullshit by those of a different persuasion. Fuck polarization, though; this needs to be said, regardless of whoever is in charge. And, let’s be honest, Noynoy and Digong are essentially the same.

 

Perhaps that is why we’re looking for escapism in our pop music. But then, always listening to tuned-in (fka woke) artists can be tiring. That is an awkward segue to me writing about Shanne Dandan, and is not meant to be a slam at her music. Besides, why would I slam it? Her new single “Nag-iisa” is actually really good. And it’s different. I’m a bit jaded now, I think; I expect young kids would be into the cool pop we’ve written about previously. But then, Shanne’s vocals don’t suit that, and she smartly moves away from it. The former The Voice Kids contestant officially debuts with a sublime yet powerful track, one that defies categorization – you do not also call this a “birit pop” track, no. (Side note: is that IV of Spades‘ Zild Benitez arranging the song?) This is the sort of song I imagine crossing over to other markets, and doing pretty well at it. But it’s all down to whether Shanne plays her cards right. Lots of time for that, and I look forward to more. [NB]

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