AninoKo Ugat LP

I’m just going to say that ANINOKO is the most important band in the Bay Area. Their shows are events: families, kids, activists, punks…their community is represented and their community is present at their shows, and that community is open, welcoming, and supportive. Their hardcore is full intensity, and they somehow managed to cram that energy into these tiny vinyl grooves so effectively that I get chills when I hear Jesse’s bass start “Buhay At Lupa” just like I do when they play live. A band made up of Filipino immigrants, singing in Tagalog and confronting issues that directly impact their community and the Filipino diaspora. They just do it a little faster than most activists. ANINOKO doesn’t just fill up space with their hardcore, they open up space for themselves and everyone around them to grow. These people are real, this music is real, and this music is fucking important.

AninoKo / Namatay Sa Ingay split 7″

This split by two American bands comprised of Filipino immigrants—with lyrics in Tagalog—is blazing fast and fist-pumpingly riffy. Though it’s definitely a hardcore record, both bands flirt with D-beat quite a bit. The NAMATAY SA INGAY side reminds me of some stuff WARCRY has put out over the years, while the ANINOKO side sort of has more of a CRUDOS vibe, or even AUS-ROTTEN. ANINOKO’s lyrics are translated into English, and delve into colonization, inequality, and the exploitation of immigrant workers. Though NAMATAY SA INGAY’s side is not translated, the insert says the band is “influenced by ’80s Pinoy punk bands and stories from the third world.” Overall, I think this is a very important release to cop. The tone of US punk in 2019 has centered around lifting the voices of immigrants and minorities, and for decades, bands comprised of immigrants and minorities have been left off of shows, and labels have failed to give them a chance to reach a larger audience. Bands like ANINOKO and NAMATAY SA INGAY are as punk as it gets and, as I saw at an ANINOKO show in San Francisco, bring a lot of joy to punks who feel as though they are being represented in the music they love.