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Universal Records is the NUMBER ONE independent record label in the Philippines. Bringing you quality music for the past 30 years, we are home to artists like: Jose Mari Chan, Gary Valenciano, Ogie Alcasid, Regine Velasquez, Lani Misalucha, Jed Madela, Christian Bautista, Jay R, Billy Crawford, Kris Aquino, Edu Manzano, Marian Rivera, Mark Herras, Nina, Ronnie Liang, Gail Blanco, Sam Concepcion. Our band roster includes: Parokya Ni Edgar, Kamikazee, Sponge Cola, Imago, Silent Sanctuary, Kenyo, Paraluman. We are equally committed to bring you exciting international releases covering various genres like pop, jazz, new age, classical, alternative, indie pop, rock, electronica, dance, r&b, and hip-hop. Name it, we definitely have it!

April 14, 2010

Phil. Star | YOURS TRULY, JENS LEKMAN: A postcard to Manila, with love

(The Philippine Star) Updated April 9, 2010 | 12:00 AM

I meant to take notes at the Jens Lekman show. I really did.

Here’s how I cover gigs: I have a small notebook on me at all times, and as each song is performed, I jot down its title, in order, accompanied by a quick note that might be insightful or amusing but is more often than not just illegible. I sort it all out later, deciphering my own scratches and recalling the circumstances in my head as I piece together my account of the night.

All that went out the window last March 30, at SaGuijo Cafe and Bar, when Swedish indie-pop phenomenon Jens Lekman - backed by partially-Filipino percussionist Raquel and Erlend Oye, one-half of the Kings of Convenience - played for a packed, sweaty, and almost hysterically enthusiastic crowd.

This was the first night of a two-part treat for local indie-pop enthusiasts. Jens Lekman would perform at SaGuijo on a Tuesday, and then on Wednesday, March 31, he would open for the Kings of Convenience at a bigger venue, the NBC Tent.

Local brother-sister duo Outerhope - also known as Mike and Mick Benedicto - opened for him Tuesday night at SaGuijo, charming the crowd with their impeccably crafted tunes and words, weaving harmonies and song-stories. Their original material proved to stand up strong alongside the covers they did, of Simon & Garfunkel and Hot Chip (Alley Cats). Lekman and Oye walked in during Lost in Numbers, one of Mike and Mick’s best songs, and nodded their appreciation.

“No pressure,” Mike quipped.

(After the gig, Erlend Oye would take them aside, express his admiration for what he had heard, and they would play their songs for each other and then end up doing an impromptu acoustic concert in the parking lot. Yes, it was as amazing as it sounds.)

Not long after Outerhope’s set, Jens Lekman began. And that’s where things get kind of hard to recall with any sort of objective clarity.

I know he played all my favorites from his latest album, “Night Falls Over Kortedala.” Sipping on the Sweet Nectar had us shouting along with the chorus. Your Arms Around Me was almost painfully sweet. The Opposite of Hallelujah had everyone dancing deliriously. And despite his stripped-down setup, he even played A Postcard to Nina, quite possibly the best song on the album, filling it out with a spoken-word anecdote in the middle. He also played older favorites, from earlier albums and EPs, like Black Cab, Maple Leaves and the super-poppy You Are The Light.

At the end, I felt like I had lost 10 sounds through sheer sweating, and my throat was raw from screaming like a deranged cheerleader...

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