First things first, let’s clear the air. Vinyl is in fact, not dead.
In reality, the demand for it is probably even bigger than ever –– and it’s not just the hipsters who are clamoring for the medium to come back to life.
One could credit pop juggernauts like Taylor Swift, Adele, Harry Styles, or Ed Sheeran for the renewed interest in vinyl, but the simple truth is that the demand was always there. Though purists of the format have been silent over the years, they are now more vocal and passionate about their love for vinyl than ever before.
So amidst vinyl’s steady popularity, we’re glad that the Philippines is also keeping up with the trends, with many of its recent releases being classic and essential OPM albums. And just this 2023, we’ve been blessed with many must-have reissues from a variety of Filipino artists.
Encompassing albums from the period of the mid-’90s, early 2000s, and early 2010s, Billboard Philippines presents our picks for the seven recent OPM reissues that are must-haves for your growing record collections.
1. Circus by Eraserheads
SRP: Php 3,900
Following the successful (and sold-out) reissue of Eraserheads’ Ultraelectromagneticpop! in 2019, it was as clear as day that there was a large demand for the rest of the group’s discography on vinyl. So upon breaking the news that Circus would be reissued in a limited edition run of only 3,500 copies, OPM fans from all around the world went nuts and clamored in a frenzy at the announcement.
Mastered and cut by the legendary audio engineer Bernie Grundman from the album’s original analog tapes, this pressing was given the premium treatment by Offshore Music –– with the double discs cut at 45 RPM for optimum sound quality, all housed in a premium hardcover gatefold jacket. Pressed in Toyokasei Japan, the package also includes an insert with lyrics and liner notes by Wincy Ong and an OBI strip that’s wrapped around the spine.
Given how much effort was put into this special reissue, it came as no surprise that it sold out almost immediately in every store it was sold at, despite its hefty price tag. To this day, the record is being scalped at three to four times its original price (given the pressing’s rarity) –– ultimately becoming a holy grail for many record collectors.
2. Acoustica by Wolfgang
SRP: Php 2,800
Many classic live albums have been deemed as essential to a good vinyl collection, given that some of the best-sounding pressings are that of live recordings. Vinyl is one of the few (if not the only) formats that perfectly capture all the subtleties and warmth of a live performance, which is why upon hearing the news that Wolfgang’s 2000 live record Acoustica would be reissued by Backspacer Records, many record collectors queued online to pre-order the album as soon as they could.
Remastered for vinyl by Shinji Tanaka, Wolfgang’s acoustic show at the Music Museum has never sounded clearer, promising listeners a near-religious experience. And as much as we admire the band’s hard rock/metal sound, we can’t wait to hear how this sounds on the physical medium.
For its premier vinyl release, the record is divided into two standard black discs and includes bonus inserts along with a printed inner sleeve. Although the pre-orders have sold out, we’re hoping that it’ll restock sometime soon so that more fans can get the chance to listen to this acoustic masterpiece.
3. Tugish Takish by Pedicab
SRP: Php 1,900
Close to 20 years since its release, Pedicab’s debut dance-punk masterpiece Tugish Takish has finally been reissued in a very limited run of only 200 copies pressed for vinyl. Given how difficult it is to find either the cassette or original CD from 2005, the sudden announcement of this reissue came as a pleasant surprise to longtime fans of the group, with pre-orders selling out in only less than a week.
Though we’ve been blessed with a lot of OPM vinyl reissues from the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s, having the opportunity to listen to one of our favorite 2000s releases on the format sets an exciting precedent for other artists and releases from the era. To make things even better, this release was remastered specifically for the vinyl format by Shinji Tanaka and was pressed on a fitting colorway of opaque baby pink vinyl to match the record’s original album art.
Like some of the other reissues on this list, Tugish Takish is currently sold out at all of its official distributors. However, if you dig around the local marketplaces, you might find a copy or two that’s close to its standard retail price –– and still very much worth the record’s value.
4. Arigato, Internet! by Reese Lansangan
SRP: Php 3,800
When Reese Lansangan’s debut record Arigato, Internet! was released in 2016, it introduced an entirely new sound for the next generation of OPM artists and listeners. Though it feels like it hasn’t been too long since the album’s release, it was recently reissued on vinyl for its 7th anniversary in a limited edition run, with brand new alternative artwork and two stunning discs pressed on a pink and white marble colorway.
For an album that is still cherished and celebrated to this day, listening to this for the first time on vinyl has the potential to add something new to our listening experience. Whether it’s the intimacy of Lansangan’s confessionals, her whimsical expressions, or her candid delivery that is amplified in this format, giving it a spin will always be a celebration of the record’s contributions to the local indie scene.
Hopefully, the success of this release could inspire newer Filipino artists to revisit their older catalog on the vinyl format as well. Arigato, Internet! is still available here.
5. Parade by Barbie Almalbis
SRP: Php 2,100
With her longstanding presence in the alt-rock scene, it was good to hear that Barbie Almalbis’ debut album Parade was set for a vinyl release this 2023. As it stands, Parade is a rich tapestry of emotions and musical styles that combines Almalbis’ soulful, melodic voice with her prowess as a guitarist and lyricist after years spent fronting for two other bands.
Reissued by Backspacer Records, Parade was given the pressing it deserves –– with a limited edition run pressed on opaque white vinyl, with foil-stamped numbering on the back of the jacket. Remastered for vinyl by Shinji Tanaka at Kodama Studio, the release was given the right amount of care to make the listening experience as best as possible, while retaining the heart and soul of Almalbis’ talents
For its vinyl format, the artwork and design was done by Aidon Panlaqui, and is still available in limited quantities at Backspacer Records’ official website.
6. Tama Na Ang Drama by Ang Bandang Shirley
SRP: Php 4,000*
Ang Bandang Shirley‘s Tama Na Ang Drama hits its 11-year anniversary this 2023, and to celebrate the album’s impact on the OPM scene, the band not only released a deluxe edition for digital platforms, but will reissue the record on the vinyl format with all its original tracks and bonus ones together.
Limited to only 80 pieces for its first pressing, the vinyl format of the album will (currently) exclusively be available to those attending the Tama Na Ang Drama Double Vinyl Release Party this October 21 at 1F Projects in La Fuerza Plaza, Makati City. A fee of Php 4,000 gets you a signed copy of the record as well as access to live sets by Ang Bandang Shirley and Hannah+Gabi, and one free drink.
Unfortunately, both the record and event sold out in less than three days, given that the venue had already reached its maximum capacity. However, fret not, because we’re still keeping our fingers crossed for the next wave of pressings that could (hopefully) come soon.
7. Capacities by Up Dharma Down
SRP: Php 2,500
When Up Dharma Down announced the departure of lead singer Armi Millare, the band’s physical media seemed to have sold out in a flash. This included their hit synth-pop album Capacities, which had its three original vinyl pressings disappear from the aftermarket, leaving no trace whatsoever, while the original CD’s value simultaneously shot up like crazy. To this day, prices for these elusive original pressings can go for up to USD $500, which is an insane amount to pay for –– even for the most diehard fans.
Though to our amusement, label Terno Recordings and local record store ThisIsPop! Records released a surprise drop of vinyl reissues for Capacities –– now pressed on four different (yet equally stunning) colorways, limited to only 1,500 copies in total. Each one contains an Opaque Blue, Translucent Pink, Solid Green, or Marbled Purple vinyl, which has been inserted at random, adding an easter egg-type of chase to the collectible nature of the record.
As much as there are scalpers trying to profit from this release, there is still a limited amount of copies available at ThisIsPop!’s physical store located in Legazpi Village, Makati. Run, don’t walk –– and make sure to snag a copy for yourself before it’s gone forever.