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Legacy Artists Dominate Our Brew’s List of Best OPM Vinyl Releases for 2023

  •   3 min reads
Legacy Artists Dominate Our Brew’s List of Best OPM Vinyl Releases for 2023
Flickr | Rappler

The artists have grown from youthful provocateurs to elder statesmen. But they can still rock hard

By Joey Salgado

This year’s list of the best Original Pilipino Music (OPM) on vinyl is dominated by albums first released in the 1990s and the early 2000s. These are albums that took OPM, Pinoy Rock in particular, to new and exciting directions, capturing the restless temper of the times and inspiring a generation to rock out loud.  

The major labels have issued several iconic OPM albums on vinyl this year, but the ones on our list, released by independent record companies,  stand out for their excellent design, packaging, and mastering. On remastered vinyl, these albums sound fresh, dynamic, and compelling. The artists may have grown from youthful provocateurs to elder statesmen. But one thing remains constant. They can still rock hard.

Black on Black, Blood on White, Basti Artadi

Offshore Music

“Panay Abo,” the opening track of “Black on Black, Blood on White,” is all fury and indignation, both an indictment of political power play and a bold declaration of purpose. Basti Artadi’s third solo album, released on independent label Backspacer Records, is a relentlessly searing sonic assault of metal. And in a music landscape dominated by pop cuteness, the album is a serving of cold beer for the parched soul. The dark and trippy cover art by poet/musical disruptor Lourd de Veyra is a bonus too good to pass up. (Backspacer Records)

Circus, Eraserheads

Offshore Music

On “Circus,” the Eraserheads’ second album, the merry pranksters from Diliman push deep into unchartered territory - studio wizardry, sonics, textures, and observant commentaries. This album contains some of the best Heads songs: “Hey Jay,” Sembreak,” “Minsan,” “Alapaap,” and “With A Smile.” Remastered by legendary sound engineer Bernie Grundman and pressed in Japan, this 45rpm double-LP is an audiophiles’ wet dream and a must-have for Heads fans. (Offshore Music)

Grip Stand Throw, Sandwich

Offshore Music

Sandwich began as a side project, an outlet for Eraserheads drummer Raimund Marasigan’s restless musical explorations. Today, Sandwich is among the more enduring rock collectives from the 90s, holding their own against a gaggle of younger rock acts. To mark the 25th anniversary of their debut album "Grip Stand Throw," a handsomely packaged vinyl edition has been released, featuring the original line up of Marasigan, Diego Castillo, Mike Dizon, Myrene Academia, and Marc Abaya. (Backspacer Records/The Grey Market)

Influence, Urbandub

Offshore Music

This Cebuano rock group conquered the Pinoy Rock scene in the early 2000s, dismissing any doubt that the South can rock hard and heavy, if not harder and heavier, than many Manila-based acts. Just listen to their hits “Soul Searching” and “A New Tattoo” on the vinyl release of their groundbreaking album “Influence.”  The album was released 20 years ago, but it still induces bouts of headbanging frenzy. (Backspacer Records)

Acoustica, Wolfgang

Offshore Music

Wolfgang - and its brother-in-rock Razorback - were oddities in the 90s. Long-haired, fair-skinned guys with mestizo-sounding surnames who can actually play. And did they play. With songs like “Halik Ni Hudas,” “Arise,” and "Darkness Fell,” Wolfgang defiantly waved the metal flag in the era of grunge, alternative, and pop-rock. “Acoustica” finds the loudest banging band in Pinoy Rock unplugging their electric guitars. A risky move that could have gone sideways, but they pulled it off. Recorded live 23 years ago, the album gets a masterful mix from  Shinji Tanaka. (Backspacer Records)

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