“LO-FI”, “straight-to-amp analog”, “garage-jangled rock and roll for the underdogs and geeks” describe the music of the Sleepyheads.

Sleepyheads are among a growing number of Filipino independent bands that divert from mainstream music in seeking to re-invent genres of the past.

Their debut album, The Sleepyheads (Don’t Let Our) Tuneless Moaning (Go To Waste), features 15 English tracks of minimalist rock with a touch of new wave. Unlike other bands that maximize playtime with lengthy lyrics and long instrumentals, the Sleepyheads follow the ditty-ish quality of songs of the early 60’s, with their short rhyming lyrics. The longest track in the album is “Tuneless Moaning,” at four minutes and 11 seconds, while the shortest is “Dead Poet,” at one minute and 27 seconds.

The album’s cover, “Positive for Negative,” was designed by artist Louie Cordero, who also conceptualized and directed the surreal music video. The album consists of love songs that deal with rejection, sometimes in a humorous view. On one hand, the song’s themes seem to be confused, frustrated, and looking for the “positive” over the “negative” in their song, “Positive for negative.”

Lead vocalist, drummer, and UST Literature alumnus Jayvee del Rosario wrote all the lyrics, mostly adaptations of his poems on confusion, rejection, salvation, and the band’s idiosyncratic view of life. Erick Encinares plays the bass, while B.J. Esber mans the drums.

The Sleepyhead’s CD also features the music video, “Positive for Negative,” along with an interactive menu of pictures and information about the band’s beginnings and influences. The CD also comes with six unmixed songs, recorded in Del Rosario’s house.

'Uli na 'ko, 'day!

The music is rock all right; but it does pound and throb the eardrums. Sleepyheads’ music is soft, almost reminiscent of the old garage bands with the rinky-dink sound of the drums and guitars, giving it a funny, edgy, black-and-white intriguing feel. The “melodic moaning” of a 34-year-old “teenager” Del Rosario is an avant-garde of Herman’s Hermits, Modern Lovers, and the proto-art punk group, the Velvet Underground.

The lyrics are similar to those of Jonathan Richman, who innovated “geek rock” and “proto-punk rock” in the early 1970s and helped found the Modern Lovers in response to the heavy and rap metal music popular during that time. With lines like “I loved you in school / I was your open-mouthed fool / I never asked why / You go steady with other guys / I’m the man who wasn’t there” “The Man Who Wasn’t There”, and “tricycles for Cadillacs / third-world champions wish us luck / We’re the underdogs of sunshine / On cardboard wings we fly” “Underdog Of Sunshine”, the Sleepyheads provide listeners their sentiments as a rising rock band.

Meanwhile, their raw but beautiful songs are a tribute to the band’s favorite poet-lyricist, Lou Reed of the Velvet Underground.

Capturing the spontaneity of the moment of their music, someone from the band coughed in the background after the refrain in “Tuneless Moaning,”. In many ways, “Tuneless Moaning” is actually made up of “tuneful” coughs and sighs.


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