By Francis Cabal
Pastilan Dong! is a band that went under my radar until I finally got the chance to see them live a year ago. The quartet comprised of visual artists Kaloy Olavides on vocals and guitar, Pow Martinez on guitar, Costantino Zicarelli on bass, and Alvin Zafra on drums, make a joyous racket that blends together disparate influences ranging from shoegaze, noise rock, and indie rock, into something completely their own.
Their live shows are loud, intense, and cathartic. Their first record, which was released on January 2014, heralded the return of loud guitars in a time when rock music was starting to become stale. However, despite all the talk of intensity and catharsis, there’s still a sense of vulnerability to their sound. Their sonic experimentation is not just for show. With Pastilan Dong!, there’s a method to the madness. Underneath all the noise, there’s melody and smart songwriting. Their music is oftentimes challenging, but those who are willing to give it a chance will find something so undeniably beautiful.
Pastilan Dong! is also a very prolific band. Just recently, they released their sophomore record, “Every Step Is Backward”. With “Every Step Is Backward”, the band continues their experiments relying more on repetition rather than creating soundscapes. And while the fury is still there, there’s a clearer focus on melody.
It’s rare that a band comes along that is so sure of their sound. Two records in and it’s clear that Olavides and company are not grasping at straws in the dark. They have a vision, and for the most part they succeed every single time. Which is why Pastilan Dong! is one of the best bands around right now.
For the month of April, we will be featuring Pastilan Dong! as our artist of the month. Watch out for news and our reviews of their two records, as well as a special playlist curated by the band!