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Jul 052015
 

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I don’t really give a shit too much right now about the personal dynamics of Kid Wave – what their collective history or politics is and what not. Right now, all I care is that this is new music that fires my imagination and energises in a manner that so much new music is unable to do and that’s all I fucking care about.

Yeah, so the fact that NME wants so much to shag Kid Wave is alarming but going beyond that hype bullshit, there is the music that recalls the wonder of the 90s, where melodic rock of the 60s – 80s was gloriously regurgitated to grant us a shimmering amalgam of 60s psych-blues, 70s rock and 80s indie pop.

So Wonderlust – what a great album title – is yet another brick in the wall of keeping out all the mediocre pap that flood our airwaves on a daily basis as songs like “Honey”, “Baby Tiger”, “Walk On Fire”, “I’m Trying To Break Your Heart” and the title track raise the hopes of this melodic rock geek that pop salvation is upon us.

Fuck real music – this is genuine, authentic, bona fide rockin’ pop & roll!!!

https://www.facebook.com/kidwavemusic

… still there’s more …

Jul 052015
 

Bruce-Cockburn-stamp2

Ironically, on the day the USA celebrates its independence day, I want to pay tribute to one of Canada’s finest singer-songwriters, the enigmatic Bruce Cockburn!

I first heard Cockburn when, in the early 80s, a friend – who was then studying in Winnipeg (in Canada, la!) – sent me a mixtape of Cockburn and I was seriously blown away by the man’s genius. Also, Cockburn is a Christian but had a very different perspective from your standard gospel singer (check out “Dweller by a Dark Stream” and “Gospel of Bondage”) – a perspective I have grown to appreciate more and more in recent times.

In addition, Cockburn has remained politically aware throughout his career and has never compromised his artistic integrity (listen to “Nicaragua” and “Call It Democracy”) – for these qualities I admire him greatly and count him a definite musical influence.

… still there’s more .. 

Jul 042015
 

TheWho

The Who turned 50 years old last year and their pioneering pop-rock music remains relevant no matter the year.

Formed in 1964 by Pete Townshend (guitars, vocals), Roger Daltrey (vocals), John Entwistle (bass, vocals) and Keith Moon (drums), The Who started life as a mod band but quickly outgrew that tag and have been a seminal influence on hard rock, progressive rock, heavy metal, glam, punk and alt-rock genres during their most vital years, mainly 1964 – 1978. Drummer Moon died in 1978 and The Who never recovered from that loss. Entwistle passed away in 2002 and though Townshend and Daltrey still tour and even recorded one LP together (Endless Wire), the band is understandably a pale shadow of its former self.

This playlist covers those crucial 14 years when The Who were perhaps, one of the greatest rock bands in the world. With the high resolution streaming available at Deezer Elite, most of the tracks sound amazing, resonating with the primal energy upon which the band built its legendary reputation.

Official Site

… still there’s more … 

Jul 032015
 

NeilYoungPoP

On new album The Monsanto Years, Neil Young seems re-invigorated with new backing band Promise of The Real, to deliver one of his feistiest works in recent memory. Rather like Living With War (2006), the politics might be a little too obvious but there’s no faulting the songs that Young and gang have come up with – full of vim and vigour.

Full of country-folk inflected rock ‘n’ roll, songs like “A New Day For Love”, “People Want to Hear the Love”, “Workin’ Man” and the title track come across like vintage Young, except with very modern references (highly anti-corporation rhetoric against Monsanto, Starbucks etc) – which I suspect will endear the evergreen Young to a new generation of music lovers. But of course, for Young, the album reflects the continuation of the hippie dream, which has been part of Young’s raison d’être since the 1960s.

Essential.

Jul 022015
 

Theodora

“Old soul” is probably an apt description of singer-songwriter Theodora’s muse.

This 18 year old has a perceptive creativity beyond her tender years with an artistic sensibility that reflects a subtle maturity. This is already painfully obvious when listening to her debut single “Lines”, written about the loss about a loved one – “I sit in silence in the memory of you”.

Now here’s a thoughtful video – lovingly crafted by director Leonard Soosay – that represents visually the emotions that “Lines” evokes, with style and finesse.

Theodora’s debut EP is planned for the end of the year – keep a close watch on that, dear readers.

In the meantime, check out the gorgeous video for “Lines”.

Purchase “Lines” from iTunes.

Jul 012015
 

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This morning the world woke up and if you had iTunes, you would have been asked whether you wanted to sign up for Apple Music.

Yes it’s here, the latest streaming service. There were a few minor hiccups signing up before the video starting playing about how Apple Music is changing the face of the music industry but once one got down to brass tacks, it was exactly the same service as Deezer, Rdio, Spotify etc etc etc.

Except that in three months time, you can only access Apple Music if you subscribed for $10 a month. So if you signed up for the free trial and want to go back to your free accounts at the other services, remember to deactivate the auto-renewal function.

Colour me unimpressed.

Jun 292015
 

Terminator-Genisys-T-800

I really only liked the original.

The Terminator (1984) was a game-changer in scifi genre movies, stringing together themes that have inspired countless other movies. Every succeeding sequel has failed to match the brilliance of the original, even if the first sequel (Judgment Day) is still rated very highly. But since director James Cameron left the franchise, the quality of the work has been shoddy and Genisys might be the worst. Primarily because it is such an obviously cynical attempt to appeal to the franchise faithful.

In that light, perhaps it’s no surprise that Genisys fails artistically and creatively, to justify its existence whatsoever. At least one might argue that the third (Rise of the Machines) and the fourth (Salvation) instalments were genuine attempts to continue the narrative. Genisys, however, is a complete mess – functioning as some kind of misguided collage where time travel is utilised as a device to mangle the original storyline beyond recognition.

It is not cleverly done at all – it’s just a convenient excuse to get killing machines into battle and throw issues of continuity out of the window AND above all, exploit a very recognisable brand name! The producers have indicated their confidence in the new retcon with subsequent sequels to be released in 2017 and 2018 respectively.

Jun 272015
 

antman0007

Ant-Man opens on 16th July and might be a good indicator of where Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is headed. This new international trailer (from Japan) highlights a little bit of our protagonist Scott Lang’s back story and also some history regarding Hank Pym and the Ant-Man suit.

By all accounts, it appears that Ant-Man is set up to take over from Iron Man in certain ways even as Robert Downey Jr winds down his MCU involvement. This movie is looking funny, exciting and a key MCU jumping point. Expecting the post-credits scenes to be epic!

Jun 262015
 

Screen Shot 2015-06-26 at 8.12.50 am

The China Blue Experiment describes itself as a “blues/pop fusion band with wide reaching influences, eclectic styles and troublesome personalities”, which demonstrates that if nothing else, the duo of Darren Forster and Gordon Cant has attitude in spades. Should be fun to check ’em out! Words by Darren Forster.

Why is it important for you to play in Singapore?
It represents a great opportunity to take our product to an international audience. We would like to the opportunity to (hopefully) impress the wonderful people of Singapore and beyond and would hope that we could establish ourselves in a way that means we can return regular and share our ever evolving musical experience.

Continue reading »

Jun 252015
 

DISCOVEREDPOP

Here are six new releases – spread across the three streaming services (based in Singapore) – that get the Power of Pop Recommendation!

YOUNG BUFFALO – HOUSE

The album opens with a deceptive synth-pop motif before morphing into a Vampire Weekend cliche before the gorgeous melodic power pop channeling chorus kicks in! Inventive chord progressions, bouncy energy and stack o’ tunes marked this as a winner! https://www.facebook.com/youngbuffalo

GENTLEMEN ROGUES – A HISTORY SO REPEATING

More traditional power pop from Gentlemen Rogues – referencing Big Star and acolytes like Teenage Fanclub and Pernice Brothers. Good tunes. https://www.facebook.com/gentlemenrogues 

ANCIENT RIVER – KEEPER OF THE DAWN

Ethereal, sinister, psychedelic chamber pop that recalls The Doors and Syd’s Pink Floyd. Definitely unique in the scheme of things. https://www.facebook.com/ancientriverband

MIKAL CRONIN – MCIII

Widescreen rock is the speciality of Mikal Cronin with his latest album continuing his rich vein of form in the last couple of years. http://mikalcronin.com/

COLLEEN GREEN – I WANT TO GROW UP

Straight-up girl-group indie pop that recalls Best Coast and Cults. https://www.facebook.com/colleengreen420

TAYLOR LOCKE – TIME STANDS STILL

Ex-Rooney guitarist has released one of the best 70s West Coast rock albums this year. Strongly evocative of a magical era. Essential. https://www.facebook.com/TaylorLockeMusic

… still there’s more … 

Jun 252015
 

Koji

If there’s one inescapable fly in the S-ROCK ointment, it’s the lack of meaningful lyricism, the fear of exploring concepts beyond the purely emotional (the ‘affairs of the heart’ cliche). Thankfully, that is not the case with Koji’s new free track – “Mrs Mia Wallace” – which functions as a tribute to the Pulp Fiction characters famously played by Uma Thurman in the Quentin Tarantino classic.

There’s something wonderfully shambolic about the quartet’s hard rockin’ agenda – channeling Wolfmother via Led Zep – although the quality of the vocals might need sprucing up. But one cannot quibble too much with the infectious riffs that dominate “Mrs Mia Wallace” and that is one memorable take-away. Download the track for free now!

Check out the lyric video also!

Connect with Koji!

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/KojibandSG

Jun 242015
 

JAKECOWBOYS

These pop-rockers have just the right vibe for Power of Pop! Jake and the Cowboys are the 2nd band to be featured in PoP’s SWAM coverage. Words by Jarred Wall.

Why is it important for you to play in Singapore?

Beerfest Asia 2015 will mark our first international gig, so we are extremely excited to share our music to a market that we feel are going to really enjoy our sound. Jake and the Cowboys are fresh and exciting and provide a live performance which rivals that of the best.

It also proves timely for us as we have just finished completing a successful crowd funding campaign to record our next single ‘She Said’. The response we received from our fans was fantastic and the project itself has really provided us with a new platform to engage our fans and make them feel a part of the band. It also provided us with a chance to give something back to the fans for all their support. For example, fairly soon we will be heading to one of our fans houses to do some gardening and wash their car and then after that, we will be providing an exclusive performance to a group of fans, on top of cooking them a meal! We wanted to give the fans something different and put a personal touch to it. Of course these rewards were some of the more unusual ones, fans also had the opportunity to receive signed CD’s and digital downloads of the new track. It’s now closed but feel free to check out the project at http://www.pozible.com/project/195487

After spending a few days in the studio with Joel Quartermain of well known Australian Act Eskimo Joe, we were extremely happy and proud of the final product. We see the networking opportunities that we will be exposed to in Singapore as a great opportunity to source airplay in the region and ultimately future performances down the track. We will be armed in hand with ‘She Said’ Single’s!


What do you hope to take away from the experience?

We hope to learn a few things about the Singaporean market and what the people like. Eventually our aim would be to have our music receive airplay in the region as we feel our music will be quite well suited to the people and well received.

The networking opportunities are also a great chance for us to make some crucial contacts in the region which we hope will lead to future exposure for Jake and the Cowboys. We want to make the most of the opportunity and what the city has to offer, particularly in the way of music.

Continue reading »

Jun 232015
 

ForeignArchitects

Foreign Architects are a Perth based duo featuring singer/songwriter Matt Burke and percussionist Andrew Barnett. The duo will play Beerfest Asia 2015 (together with Singaporean and other Aussie bands) on Sunday 28th June. This is part of the musical exchange between Singapore & Western Australian music scenes which has been ongoing for the last couple of years. Thanks to Timbre Music (Beerfest organisers), we got in touch with Matt Burke/Foreign Architects for a short interview.

Why is it important for you to play in Singapore?

This is an important opportunity for us to gain international exposure and start to build a fan-base outside our home city. Singapore is a country we have always wanted to travel to and getting to bring our music to Singapore is a dream come true for us.

Continue reading »

Jun 222015
 

DEON

It’s always a pleasure working with singer-songwriter Deon Toh cos the man is genuine, down to earth and serious about his art. His new album is one of the best I have heard in 2015 and thus, it was illuminating to pick his brains for the stories behind the songs. It’s really in-depth so buckle up!

What was the primary inspiration behind making Oceans a concept album?

As a songwriter, I’ve always viewed the creation of an album as the process of creating a standalone piece of work; a piece of art. I’m one of those musicians who still believe in coming up with a good 10 songs LP, and making sure that those songs make a collective statement. 

As such, I did not craft singles and slap them together, but rather, I crafted an entire album. With that intention in mind, I dedicated myself to the challenge of coming up with something magical.

No disrespect or offense to musicians who launch singles, or demos, or EPs that are just a collection of unrelated songs (there’s nothing wrong with that); on my part, this was a personal challenge to push my songwriting limits and come up with a concept album.

The theme of circles and cycles seems alien to Singapore where the seasons remain constant – so is the music a product of travelling beyond Singapore?

I traveled with the intention of personal growth. I wanted to discover more about myself and see the world, and to understand the value of coming home better. Back home, life was changing at a rapid pace, with my graduation from university, evolving relationships, and aging parents. I had constant emotional and rationality debates, epiphanies. And at the end of everything, I walked away with a deeper understanding of myself.

What was the motivation behind incorporating post-rock and ambient electronica into your pop-rock sonic agenda?

During this period, my band and I had the privilege to witness one of the best musical performances during an Iceland Airwaves showcase at Canadian Music Week. We stumbled upon singer-songwriter, Asgeir, and fell in love with his brand of music. He incorporates loads of ambient electronica, which influenced us eventually. 

The post-rock aspect came out of listening to loads of music from local band Caracal. We are huge fans of the band, and also spent a short period traveling with them, it was fun.

As for my pop-rock roots, I still listen to loads of Rachael Yamagata, Brooke Fraser, and Coldplay, which always keeps me grounded to my roots. 

Continue reading »

Jun 212015
 

‘We don’t ask you for free iPhones. Please don’t ask us for free music.’

How Apple Music recovers from this PR disaster will be worth watching? Or maybe Apple is so big, they don’t give a damn? We shall see.

Source: Taylor Swift ‘shocked and disappointed’ by Apple Music contract – Music Business Worldwide

Jun 202015
 

TypeWriter Believe

TypeWriter will be debuting new material from upcoming EP at Baybeats 2015 and will also be featuring new drummer Robin Chua (Livonia, Shelves). The band will be playing at the MIXTAPE stage on 26th June at 11pm. In the meantime, you can download/listen to their 2010 album, Indian Head Massage.

iTunes

Connect with TypeWriter https://www.facebook.com/typewriterband

… still there’s more … 

Jun 202015
 

EDITORS

I am sick of the post-punk revival – it is one of the worst aspects of millennial pop culture – and it’s already been 15 years. C’mon!

This is compounded by the fact that I absolutely loved the original 80s post-punk scene. Thus, to hear the works of Joy Division, Bauhaus and Echo & the Bunnymen being constantly dragged through the mud by inferior bands like Editors is painful. Listen to the new doom-laden single “Marching Orders” to fully understand my disdain for this kind of derivative drivel. This must end!

When oh when will the 90s rock revival (and therefore retro-60s) begin?

Jun 182015
 

DEON - Cover

When one listens to Oceans, it becomes abundantly crystal clear that for singer-songwriter Deon Toh, it’s all about the music. In this digital age, Toh has gone against the grain to approach the album as a viable artistic expression, like in the days of yore. There are eleven one-word titled tracks on this, his follow-up to the well-received Antiphobic, bookended by “Circles” and “Cycles”, which speak to the impact of seasons in our lives.

There is beauty, grace and strength in compositions like “Summer”, “Fall”, “Winter” and “Spring” where Toh is able to conjure the experience of the seasons, whether it is something physical or symbolic. The over-riding emotion might be melancholy but it is not defeatist but reflective. Whether it is in the piano harmonic structures, fragile guitar arpeggios, arranged percussion, ambient soundscapes or Toh’s falsetto, there is a deliberate intent to evoke a sense of longing and yearning in the presence of natural splendour.

It is a significant achievement that Oceans is an album one can (and MUST) listen to from beginning to end and then to start all over again. A gorgeous song cycle that once again sets the bar higher for Singapore artists to emulate.

DEON launches Oceans on July 10th at the Substation. Tickets are now available from http://peatix.com/event/96846. Pre-order the album from iTunes and download the single “Summer”.

In the meantime, check out the music video for “Summer” below.

www.deontheband.com
www.facebook.com/deontheband
www.instagram.com/deontheband @deontheband
www.twitter.com/deontoh

Look out for the Power of Pop interview with Deon Toh coming soon…

Jun 152015
 

JonSnowDeath

By now, it becomes abundantly clear that George RR Martin and the writers of Game of Thrones have no clue what to do. Instead of intriguing plot lines and character development, the TV series is a sequence of scenes with maximum shock value to incite internet buzz and cultivate some kind of false belief that Game of Thrones is one of the best TV shows ever.

It’s not.

Remember LOST? A series that began almost perfectly before getting entangled by too many convoluted plot lines that were thrown up just to keep interest at fever pitch but without any intention of resolving anything? Well, that’s happening with Game of Thrones. Too many plot lines going nowhere. Instead of character development, shock deaths, loss of limbs, blindness, rape etc are dumped on characters to generate sympathy and create the illusion of edginess.

Season 5 proves quite conclusively that the TV series is as clueless as the books in trying to tell a coherent story. The abuse of Sansa Stark, the immolation of Princess Shireen, the public shaming of Queen Cersei, the blinding of Arya Stark, the overthrow of Queen Daenerys Targaryen, the deaths of Mance Rayder, Stannis Baratheon and even Jon Snow (above) is simply shock overdrive in order to mask a lack of narrative ideas.

Remember the finale of Season 1? Daenerys turned the tragic death of Khal Drogo into an epiphany with the birth of her three dragons but even that promise proved hollow. Every subsequent season has delivered disappointment after disappointment as one by one, main protagonists are killed off until there’s hardly anyone left to root for in this abysmally, depressing story called Game of Thrones. 

Now, when is Season Six?

Jun 152015
 

Jurassic-World

You see that image above? That’s really what modern day blockbusters have done with plot, characterisation and narrative logic. Gobbled it all up in the name of box office green. Special effects rather than good writing create ‘tension’ and ‘drama’. This visual feast has audiences going ga-ga over the empty spectacle while ignoring plot holes & shallow one-dimensional characters. But it’s all okay, it’s only a movie so relax, why don’t you?

Well, remember that you reap what you sow. All the box office millions earned by movies like Jurassic World and less we forget, the Transformers franchise only leads to more similar movies. As it is, movie studios are terrified about releasing ‘genre’ films unless it’s a sequel, reboot or book/comic/TV adaptation and the mega-success of Jurassic World simply cements that opinion.

There’s little point in going into these issues in detail but suffice to say that: –

1. Bryce Dallas Howard’s character spends the entire film in high heels whilst running and battling dinosaurs.

2. The manner in which the ‘evil’ dinosaur is defeated by the ‘good’ dinosaurs is preposterous.

But why bother about making sense when you can make US$500 million in a weekend instead?

*Sigh*

Jun 152015
 

DEON - Cover

DEON releases his 2nd album Oceans on 10th July.

iTunes pre-order will begin on 17th June, and physical copies of the album as well as the digital release of the album will happen on the 10th of July. A music video of first single “Summer” will also be released on 17th June on DEON’s Youtube channel.

Oceans was recorded by Leonard Soosay, and produced by DEON, Mindy Kon, and Leonard Soosay at Snakeweed Studios. The album was mastered by Scott Hull (Garbage, John Mayer, Snarky Puppy).

The album will be launched on the 10th July at the Substation.

As with DEON’s debut Antiphobic, Oceans is filled to the brim with melodic power but it’s clear that DEON has upped the ante with regards to production and arrangement as well as a conceptual thread that runs through the album. Review to come.

Connect with DEON.

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/deontheband
Twitter https://twitter.com/deontoh
Web http://www.deontheband.com/

Jun 142015
 

Elric Vol. 2

Calling this second volume of adaptations of Michael Moorcock’s classic Elric series Stormbringer is a mite confusing, when in fact this graphic novel actually concludes the plotline of Elric of Melniboné. That minor complaint aside, Elric Vol. 2 definitely maintains the cutting edge intensity and emotional depth that made Vol. 1 so satisfying as a modern take of the saga of the doomed albino emperor.

In summary, Elric moves heaven, earth and hell in a desperate attempt to rescue his lover Cymoril from the evil clutches of her brother, the traitorous Yyrkoon. Along the way, Elric receives the ‘gift’ of the soul-drinking black blade, Stormbringer and discovers that getting what he wants can come at a tremendous cost, especially when one is dealing with demons. This time round, writer Julien Blondel is joined by Jean-Luc Cano and the duo do an excellent job in conveying the other-worldliness of the Melnibonean characters.

Forty years old this story might be but the relevance of Moorcock’s disturbing commentary on decadent power remains potent.

Jun 132015
 

Paul Dano

If you know nothing about Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys, I suggest that you swot up before watching Love & Mercy. Cuz it will get bewildering. Or maybe that’s the point of it all!

This biopic of Wilson elects to focus on two very specific periods in the singer-songwriter’s life. First, from about 1964 – 1967, where Wilson had suffered an anxiety attack and ‘retired’ from live performances to concentrate on recording and producing resulting in the masterpiece Pet Sounds LP and the failed attempt to delivered the radical Smile album (whereupon Wilson basically withdrew from the world). Second, in the 80s regarding his guardianship under dubiously abusive therapist Eugene Landy and his budding romance with Melinda Ledbetter (whom he would later marry).

Continue reading »