MIxtape Monday: Them Fine Blokes

Manic Mondays got you foaming at the mouth? Here are some fine blokes to cheer you up (because strangely, everything sounds better in a British/Scottish accent). Listen to tracks by The Kooks, Arctic Monkeys, Mumford & Sons, Bloc Party and many more. If this doesn't get you in a better mood...fish and chips on the house!


Coming Up on The Take Off: The ButcherCons + Music Video Launch

The ButcherCons: Jose (guitar), Neil (vox/guitar), Bobby (drums) and Paolo (bass)
Photo courtesy of Dana Picazo

If they weren't named The ButcherCons, this indie garage rock quartet might as well have been called The Handymen. Why? These guys have definitely taken the Do-It-Yourself concept to a whole new level. If they're not recording songs in makeshift home studios, they're probably handwriting the tracklisting of their debut album "Coalesce" or designing band shirts with permanent markers.

The band was formed in 2009 when vocalist Neil and bassist Paolo Bernaldo (also of Moonstar88) met at a surfing party of sorts. The two hit it off right away after a conversation on conspiracy theories. Not too long afterwards, guitarist Jose Tolentino and drummer Bobby Padilla (familiar to most Pinoy rock fans as one-third of Hilera) tagged along, and the gang of four found themselves recording songs mostly penned by Neil in DIY studio set-ups (aka Jose's house and everywhere else).

After two years of jamming and couchsurfing, these crafty boys are proud to present you the kick-ass finished product. The ButcherCons recently released their independently produced first record back in March of this year. "Coalesce" features 11 tracks showcasing a variety of musical stylings ranging from pop-punk to garage rock and even hints of prog rock and electronica. 

We would be lying if we say that the album satisfies all musical palettes. The truth is, it doesn't. And we're quite certain that The ButcherCons wouldn't want to have it any other way. The album was made in a this-is-our-music-take-it-or-leave-it fashion, with a massive "fuck you" (or indifference, if you insist) to popular sensibilities. It was made for people with no musical prejudices, those who deem that a certain song necessitates a scream - that all elements, whether grand or mundane, coalesce to form a record that will certainly blow your brains off.

Here are the Two Difficult Girls' top picks from their debut effort:

We Always Want Something - This one's an easy pick, and we didn't have to temporarily put our friendship on hold to decide that this is our favorite. The track opens with an ear-friendly melody which cheekily transitions into a more identifiably punk sound with its jagged guitarwork. The raddest part would have to be when Neil (first name only, cause he's cool like that) screams with a faux British accent, "Yeah if you want it like this, I'll give you what you want" - seemingly inciting listeners to sedition, so distinct that you cannot help but sing along, or shout along (whichever way you roll). 

Medicine - Here's one unassuming gem of the album. Medicine does not start off with a bang. It does not, forgive our term, grab you by the balls. It's fairly unswerving and does not possess the stand out elements of We Always Want Something, but after a few listens, you'll find the song surprisingly infectious. As if in an entranced state, we caught ourselves automatically chanting along the second time we played it. Similar to its title, it's like a drug that you can't just easily shake off your system.

Someday - With barely audible mumblings of a child (on loop) heavily laden with buzzing, dreamy synths, this song is probably the most experimental, albeit the most challenging to listen to. But when Jose revealed that the guest vocalist is none other than his 3-year old sister, who are we not to gush over the cuteness of it all? 

Don't just take our word for it, though. Go check them out live! If you don't have anything better to do on May 28th, here's your chance to get a taste of The ButcherCons in the raw. Put your tightest jeans on and up your cool factor by witnessing the brand spanking new music video for Medicine (yet another DIY project) as they unveil it at Cafe Saguijo, Makati, 9PM.

Courtesy of Sonic Boom Philippines

No egos, no pretentions, no pressure - just a real gung-ho attitude to making fun and frenzied music you'd want to rock out to.


Mixtape Monday: Bikini Bottom Playlist

This is the sound of sunlight, surfing and a whole lot of spontaneity. The sunny season maybe on to its last hurrah, but it's never too late to create our summer playlist. 

Here are tracks from The Beatles, Little Joy, Au Revoir Simone and Jenny and Johnny for this week's 
Mixtape Monday. Play this during a road trip with your windows rolled down and your car stereo in full volume. Enjoy! :)


Said the Wise: Quote #4

Johnoy Danao Autographed CD Give-away!

Hi Chums! We're giving away a signed copy of Johnoy Danao's album Dapithapon!  Here's how you can win it: 

1. Like us on Facebook ---> www.Facebook.com/TwoDifficultGirls
2. Post this as your status message: "I want to have an autographed copy of Johnoy Danao's Dapithapon CD from @TwoDifficultGirlsBlog" (Don't forget to tag us in your post! And set the privacy setting of that post to viewable by everyone so that it pops up on our wall.)

The winner will be chosen via electronic raffle and will be announced on Monday! :)


The Take Off: Johnoy Danao

It is not every day that you encounter a musician who personally meets up with you if you’re buying an album. But this is how Johnoy Danao rolls.

This Bridge ex-frontman turned solo artist does most of his marketing and publicity, all while composing his own songs and playing gig after gig. He started grabbing audiences’ attention with his renditions of mainstream hits like Coldplay’s ‘Fix You’, Bruno Mars’ ‘Just the way you are’ and Robbie Williams’ ‘She’s the One’, among many others. Though he still includes these crowd pleasers in his current sets, his own compositions ‘Ulan’ and ‘Ikaw at Ako’ are also getting their share of fans. Amidst the clutter of independent artists in the industry, Johnoy stands out with his Jack Johnson-meets-Dave Matthews voice. His throaty vocals, both soothing and sexy, coupled with his superb songwriting skills, has established a solid legion of supporters which pushed him further to gig circuit popularity.

His debut solo album ‘Dapithapon’ is not just a testament that his musicality spans beyond being a cover artist. It might actually be a ray of hope for OPM. Penned in Filipino (save for ‘One Day’), the songs will make you appreciate the beauty of our language even more, not to mention that a couple of them actually have nationalistic undertones. With simple melodies and heartfelt lyrics to sing along with, it is not difficult to fall in love with Dapithapon the first time you play it. No frills, no unnecessary enhancements, the record is just pure, raw talent at its finest. Whether reflective or playful, Johnoy does not beat around the bush and cuts straight through the core. A personal favorite would be the single Dapithapon where he sings with a pang of melancholy that towards the end it actually hurts.

Listening to his record is one thing, but watching him live is a totally different experience. There were moments during the set when James and I would just look at each other and say, “okay, that was our cue to cry.” His sincerity radiates even in the most secluded corners of the bar, where we were most unfortunately located. If he wanted to, he could sing a string of BS and would still sound like a man proposing to the love of his life. Not that he would actually sing such.

Inside a jampacked (it was Standing Room Only as early as 9:30 PM…on a Monday night!) The Distillery, we caught up with Johnoy to talk about his album, his favorite basketball teams and his plan of covering a Katy Perry song.


Mixtape Monday: That Supermassive Blackhole

Here are tracks from Death Cab for Cutie, Noah and the Whale, The National, Regina Spektor and many more for those moments when you just want to curl up in your bed and watch the day waste away. Perfect for mulling over chances not taken, phone calls not made or whenever you get hungover from a Wong Kar Wai film.

Play this with hot lemon tea while nursing phantom pains over a sick leave.


Notable Achievements at the Age of 20 (AKA Things Other People Have Done While You Were Busy Worrying About Your Term Paper Or Crying Over Your Ex)

Only a few more days before I say bye to being a teenager. Okay, no big deal. There’s actually just a split second difference between being 19 and being 20. And it’s not as if I’ll be out of the calendar soon. But really, the thought of reaching two decades old scares the hell out of me.  

There’s a sweet sound to being a teen. It is the peak of self-awareness, character development and stupidity. You do the things you want to do, because being a teen gives you the absolute license to do so. It’s the feeling of being invincible and being vulnerable both at the same time. It’s the phase when you gained your friends, knew your true friends, fussed over two mistakes in an exam, left your comfort zone, rebelled over a curfew, overdressed for a first date, cried over a pimple, wished you were thinner, fallen in love, thought you have fallen in love, got drunk, got stoned, and what have you.  It’s that feeling when you want to capture every single ephemeral high that you experience, knowing that it will soon end. But somehow, you just can’t get enough.

And before this becomes a Dear Diary entry, let me give you these eye-opening facts. These are what other people have achieved at the age of 20-29. While I enter this phase as an utterly clueless adult, these people have already gotten way ahead of the race.


Coming up on The Take Off: Johnoy Danao

We dare say he's one of the best solo live acts out there. Singer, songwriter Johnoy Danao spares the Two Difficult Girls a few minutes before his set, to talk about his album ('Dapithapon'), his dream gig and the cutest thing a fan has done. Stay tuned next week on The Take Off.


Mixtape Monday: One Cheeseburger Too Many

Eat. Sleep. Tumblr. Eat. Text. DVDs. Eat. Facebook. Stalk exes on Facebook. Cry over ex-boyfriend's new hot girlfriend. Eat. Get invited to a party. Try on clothes. Fail. Eat.

Play this when you can no longer squeeze your bum into your super skinny jeans. Burn those calories to these 11 high octane songs from The Killers, Fatboy Slim, Kanye West, The Ting Tings ad many more.


30 Things We Learned from Our Moms

 As difficult as we may be, TDG are big mama's girls. Today, we pay tribute to our number one homegirls with this list of tried and tested life hacks and pieces of advice from Mila and Evelyn. Happy Mother's Day! 

  1.  Always wear nice underwear.
  2. If possible, wear matching underwear.
  3. Enunciate your words well. Mind your long and short vowels. (Pat, putt and pot - there's a big difference.)
  4. Never start a sentence with "uhm" or "bale".
  5. Don't answer a question with another question. (Mom: Where are you going? TDG: Why?)
  6. Always be responsible for your own actions.
  7. Never leave home without an ID and a pen.
  8. If you're good at something and you're aware of it, don't go foaming at the mouth screaming about it to the whole world. Other people will take notice and tell it upfront if you're really any good.
  9. Always bring a handkerchief.
  10. Combing your hair or applying your makeup in public may have become common practice, but any girl (difficult or otherwise) who knows proper etiquette will refrain from doing these.
  11. Boys will do everything to get into your pants.
  12. Never trust people who suck up to you. Beware of people who shower you with compliments.
  13. Slice a piece of your steak, then eat that piece. Never slice the whole steak into bite size morsels, then eat everything at once.
  14. Never let your boyfriend carry your handbag. If you do, walking out on him gets more difficult. Besides, your handbag is meant to complement your outfit - not his.
  15. "Mortgage" is pronounced with a silent T, and the ph in "shepherd" is pronounced as P.
  16. Never side with any party of a feuding couple.
  17. Adobo tastes so much better a few days after it is cooked. (Of course when refrigerated properly, silly!)
  18. Leggings are not pants. Printed leggings, still not pants. Only wear leggings if your top adequately covers the fanny area.
  19. Not all people are as smart as you would like them to be.
  20. Underwear should remain invisible to the public at all times. (Plastic bra straps are not an exemption.)
  21. Your weight and your income - you can give estimates, but the exact figures are none of their business.
  22. Neutral colors are not boring. You can wear an all grey ensemble but still look dazzling if you carry the right attitude.
  23. Drink water first thing in the morning and before going to bed.
  24. Slouching is never attractive.
  25. Never go grocery shopping when hungry...or angry. You'll end up with a truckload of things you don't really need (i.e. five jars of Nutella, rolls of duct tape and Winnie the Pooh cotton candy in various flavors).
  26. If you accidentally cut yourself, wash the injured area under running water and pat the open wound on your hair to stop the bleeding. Works best for paper cuts.
  27. Say "Thank you." and "I'm sorry." whenever necessary and mean it.
  28. Always tip your hairdresser and manicurist. You will regret your next visit if you don't.
  29. It is better to go hungry than to lose your pride.
  30. Always clean your tongue when brushing your teeth.
To our moms, why'd you have to be so infinitely wise?  Thank you for putting us under *immense* pressure. 

Two Difficult Girls 

Howsabout ya, chums? Any wonderful words of wisdom from your moms? We'd love to hear em.


The Take Off: Blind Stereo Moon

Julie Samonte (vocals), Dave Cruz (drums) and Gershon Vivas (bass)

It’s Coachella weekend, the Two Difficult Girls (TDG) would’ve given an arm (and a leg…plus a kidney) to be there, but our body parts apparently don’t even amount to a one-way plane ticket to Cali and to be honest, we had more important things to do. It’s our first ever photo shoot for The Takeoff and we’re more than excited to get up at 5 in the freaking AM (we don’t even wake up this early for our day jobs)  to frolic in the sun with our good chums Julie Samonte, Dave Cruz and Gershon Vivas from Blind Stereo Moon.

6 AM – TDG arrive at UP Diliman feeling like sedated frogs. Armed with a shitload of clothes, makeup and accessories, we could only hope that the band did not decide to just watch WWE reruns instead of coming to the shoot. After all, it is kinda unheard of to bully a band into an early morning photo sesh.  So you can only imagine our relief (and euphoria) when Blind Stereo Moon finally showed up at the College of Mass Comm parking lot, still looking dazed but obvs excited (the bassist even brought his entire wardrobe, true story).

But before we drown you with the side bars, here’s the low-down. Spending a whole day with Blind Stereo Moon is like listening to their brand of music – simple, fun and easy-going.


Mixtape Monday: Mommapalooza

In celebration of the upcoming Mother’s Day, we bring you an eclectic mix of songs from amazing musicians who juggle touring, recording and mommy duties. Here are tracks from Stars, Mates of State, Saint Etienne and Gwen Stefani for this week’s edition of Mixtape Mondays.

P.S. To our moms Mila and Evelyn, thank you for not giving up on your difficult daughters! You guys rock! \m/

P.P.S. C'mon kids, give Mom a call!

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