Take on the Weakened Sky
Based in Manila, Philippines, the Pin-Up Girls were brought together by fate in nearly the same strange way they were suddenly elevated from underground all-stars to being the first Philippine-based rock group to be signed by a U.S. label via A&R representative Michael Sutton. Sutton, a writer for the All-Music Guide, discovered them by accident on a random radio aircheck mailed from the Philippines. The Pin-Up Girls were formed in 1996 after vocalist Mondo Castro was hanging out in a bar with guitarist Pamela Aquino and bassist Jeng Tan, former members of the all-female punk powerhouse Keltscross. The pub was playing one '80s New Wave classic after another, inspiring the trio to form a new group, one that would capture the spirit - if not the sound - of their New Wave icons like Echo & the Bunnymen, the Ocean Blue, and the Lotus Eaters. Guitarist Ryan Nachura and drummer Noel Garcia eventually joined the band but they were without a permanent name until they saw Tan wearing a Bettie Page T-shirt. Page was one of the most famous pin-up girls from the '50s; calling themselves the Pin-Up Girls, the young group began covering New Wave tunes in small clubs. Then the band started writing their own songs - poetic, hook-driven tales of domestic violence, unrequited love, romantic devotion, otherworldly adventures - set to three-part male and female vocal harmonies and ringing and shimmering guitars. Garcia was eventually replaced by Mitch Singson, and the Pin-Up Girls released their U.S. debut, \'Taste Test,\' in 2002. In 2005, Sutton took the Pin-Up Girls with him on his own label, Sutton Records, and released \'All Seats Are Taken\' in the Philippines with Sony-BMG. Two years later, Sutton Records became Sutton Music Group, and the Pin-Up Girls are writing songs for a new album on the label. \'Take On the Weakened Sky\' is a rare compilation of B-sides, original mixes, and demos heavily played on WXB 102 and the \'Flashback Alternatives\' online radio stations; KDHX-FM in St. Louis, Missouri; and NU-107 in Manila, Philippines. \'If American values [i.e. freedom] are going to prevail, we need to be proactive in our cultural consumption. Exploring the music of The Pin-Up Girls is a fine start because there's nothing really foreign here at all; soothing, melancholy at times yet that fragileness is everywhere, much like the socio-political conditions in the Philippines these days, one assumes" - Stephen Rabow, ex-DJ KZAM, KYYX "It's like something from a movie: hardworking and likeable indie band struggle for years, get signed by hotshot record honcho, and then, after dealing with the peaks and pitfalls, ride off into their happy ending. In this case, the band are local favorites The Pin-Up Girls, and the record honcho is Michael Sutton" - MTV INK.