Jan 272015

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Finally, the first teaser trailer for the new Fantastic Four movie arrives and frankly, it’s looks fine to me. After all the trepidation of the supposedly ‘un-superheroic’ approach of the reboot, the movie comes across like a Warren Ellis comic book, specifically Ultimate Fantastic Four!

Of course, the movie could still suck but at this point of time, I am looking forward to see what Josh Trank has come up with. Check it out!


Jan 272015

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Tim De Cotta (Bass/ Vocals), Audrey Tengkey (Piano, Keys and Synth) and Teo Jia Rong (Drums) make up TAJ, bringing forth an exciting new venture, and great contribution to Singapore’s contemporary jazz scene.

Now the above (from the Darker Than Wax press release) sums it up pretty well. 70s jazz fusion lovers (with emphasis on ‘fusion’) will dig TAJ’s debut EP – The Astral Journey – for its grooves, virtuosity and attitude. Followers of old school soul-R&B-funk will thrill to the authentic spirit behind songs like “Taj Yo’self” and “Old Town MOFO”, not to mention the dreamy title track that demonstrates so much emotional resonance, it’s hard not to fall in love with Audrey Tengkey’s fingers… and the sultry vocoder-ized vox on “Daydream”. Too much sexy. Something for everybody here! Get in!! Now!!!

But of course, we wanted to know more about the folk behind the awesome music and so I present to you… TAJ, in their own words…

How did the band get together?

We got together by chance actually. It was 2012 when Tim and Audrey went with the Singapore contingent to MIDEM in Cannes, and through rehearsals for this showcase Audrey and Tim got to know and like their musical styles in their respective bands. So when they came back Audrey invited Tim to an open jam session at LaSalle with other young musicians and students. It was a shed session to just have fun and also to try new things. Drummers, keyboardists, bassists and turntablists even. So JR was one of the drummers there and as the jam went on, it was clear that the chemistry between the 3 of us whenever we were on our instruments together was really strong! We didn’t just jam the songs per se but we moved and evolved them in a matter of minutes. So eventually, we started meeting more and more often, till it became just exclusive to the 3 of us, jamming covers and then eventually writing our own music. It happened very naturally and faster than usual, also because we became great friends. TAJ was born and on 1 Oct 2013, we released our single “The Astral Journey”.

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Jan 262015


As part of her 2015 Brutal Romantic World Tour, Brooke Fraser will be making her Asian debut in Singapore on 20 March at the Kallang Theatre.

Ticket sales will commence on 27 January 2015, and are priced from $58 to $148. Limited VIP Meet and Greet Passes are available at $40.

Fans can subscribe to Sprout Entertainment’s online newsletter at for instant ticketing discounts.

Jan 262015


Directed by Morten Tyldum.
Written by Graham Moore.
Starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Matthew Goode and Keira Knightley. 

Before discussing the merits of the film, it was ironic to discover that the movie was rated NC-16 for “homosexual references” in Singapore. Thus, despite receiving a royal pardon for his criminal conviction for gross indecency, Turing is judged again in this risible manner. Ah well.

Apart from that, there is nothing notably negative about The Imitation Game. The actors are all on their game – Cumberbatch delivers a stunning performance. The narrative jumps around from time to time in a satisfying non-linear fashion. And the grand injustice meted out to Turing before his death is given its due as a horrifying third act.

The message behind The Imitation Game is clear enough – prejudice is inhuman and those that stand out as different should be treasured not vilified. Of course, much of the human drama is glamorized for effect – Turing’s role in breaking the Enigma code and the relationship with Joan Clarke (Knightley) – but necessary to design an effective plot.

An enjoyable ‘message’ film that really should be seen by everyone from 12 upwards.

Jan 252015


Syfy series Helix is back and while it retains much of the key features of season one (i.e. deadly pathogen, CDC involvement, death, gore, immortality and conspiracies), season two differs significantly in having two separate storylines (one in the present, and one in the future). Yes, the LOST flashforward is back!

Curiously, there are a few parallels with LOST – besides the flashforwards, the CDC team is trapped on an island, there is a cult group headed by an enigmatic leader and secrets kept within secrets. Two episodes, there is much to recommend the show with — after one absorbs the disorientating changes from the season one finale.

Jan 252015

Future Islands by Cliff Yeo

What was my day like at Laneway SG 2015? Really good fun actually, meeting loads of cool music people (you know who you are!), boozin’ and enjoying pretty useful festival food as well. The people watching was fruitful – looking at the sweet young things in their hipster outfits made me feel like an anthropologist (okay, not really).

I was so comfortable and chilled out that I wasn’t even bothered by the fact that most of the music was average at best. Also, rock bands were showcased in the afternoon (where the audience was smaller) but it all felt like an afterthought.

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Jan 232015


After the apparent death of Oliver Queen at the end of the mid-season finale, how do the Arrow team carry on without their intrepid leader? Not very well by all accounts, as they get their asses whupped by Vinnie (“I’m the Juggernaut, bitch!”) Jones’ silly Brick character. Which is just as well that Olly returns from the dead at the end of this episode. Spoiler? What spoiler? You expected CW to kill off its lead character? Seriously??

But at least, the Arrow’s absence pushes Laurel Lance to put on Black Canary togs and kick arse – so it’s win – win for everyone, eh? All good fun and at least they didn’t milk Olly’s death for too much cheap emotional shots. Although… it’s always cool to see Felicity all vulnerable and so on. Normal service to be resumed? We shall wait and see…


Jan 222015


The Flash is back and he’s bringing a couple of rogues along with him! Captain Cold and Heat Wave team up to confront the Scarlet Speedster!

Sorry for all the excitement but how cool was it to bring back the stars of Prison Break (remember when?) Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell (above) to play the cold and hot villains respectively?!?

Once again, The Flash proves that you can have good fun with superhero TV, without being silly, while still being true to the tone of the source material.

As the ending suggested, we will definitely see more of Captain Cold & Heat Wave (their personalities fit as well!) in the coming episodes – awesome casting and great writing! Bring on the Trickster….

Jan 222015


Directed by Clint Eastwood.
Written by Jason Hall. 
Starring Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller.

So will the real American Sniper please stand up? The film, a biographical account of Navy SEALs sharpshooter Chris Kyle –  deadliest marksman in U.S. military history – has split US audiences down the middle. From liberals decrying it as jingoistic propaganda to conservatives hailing it as a tribute to a deserving war hero.

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Jan 222015


Who says you can’t make any money doing music in Singapore, eh?

But seriously folks, this is indicative of the Singapore public’s interest in music in 2014 and a great way to start the musical calendar. I will covering the festival as usual and am looking forward most to good music and good company.

My personal picks are: –

Hanging Up the Moon (Cloud Stage, 6.35pm)

.gif (Cloud Stage, 5.20pm)

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Jan 212015


The original line up of Miami Power Pop legends, The Wind, are back with their first release in 30 years….Re-Wind!

Singer-songwriters, Lane Steinberg & Steven Katz (aka Steve Barry) have worked together as both the creative force behind The Wind (1981-1988), and as a duo under the name Tan Sleeve (1998-present).

Now that drummer Steve Burdick is back, Re-Wind represents the trio’s first recordings for over 25 years and for power pop fans, it’s good news. Very good, in fact. The moment “Fight Like a Girl” kicks in with its guitar arpeggios and floor toms, it’s obvious that the band has lost none of its chops and sets the tone for the rest of this album. The warm balladry of “Let Me Show You How It’s Done”, the jaunty jollity of “Weak Spot” and the folk-rock of “Yes and No”demonstrate The Wind’s mastery over the melodic rock form, complemented superbly by the high production values. Re-Wind is a great-sounding album and comes with our highest recommendations.

We managed to pick Steve Katz’s brains to talk about the return of The Wind.

What was the impetus to re-form The Wind?

When Lane Steinberg and I look back on all our musical endeavors over the years, both together and separately, the early years of The Wind was the high point, due to the chemistry we had with drummer Steve Burdick. Steve had played drums on several songs on all the Tan Sleeve CDs. So it was almost The Wind, but not quite. Making a whole album as The Wind seemed like a logical step that we should have taken awhile ago.

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Jan 202015


Aussie punk rockers Cambridge to open for New Found Glory in Singapore. Listen to “Head Over Heels” and “Hit and Run” below.

Event Details
Event Title: New Found Glory Live in Singapore 2015
Date: Thursday 12th February 2015
Venue: SCAPE The Ground Theatre
Time: 8.00PM
Event Hashtag: #NFGSG

Ticketing Details
VIP: $118 (Meet & Greet / Photo Opp with NFG)
Standard: $78
Early Bird: $68 (until 31 December 2359hrs, or until sold-out)
At Door (12 Feb): $98
*All ticket prices includes ticket fee. All prices in SG$

Jan 202015

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On January 20th, These Brittle Bones (aka Chris Jones) will be releasing the first part of his double EP, which will be called Hiraeth Part 1: The Bedroom EP, part 2 will be released in February and is called The Studio EP. Part 1 will be exclusively available to stream on Spotify, with each track being released a week apart until the whole EP is available. The EPs will also be accompanied by personal commentary by Chris and various visual aspects which add to the experience.

Check it out on Spotify, where you can now listen to “Remain”, a sparsely atmospheric track that is quite a departure from Jones’ previous works.


Jan 192015

Mail Attachment-1

“I’m really disappointed to not be able to play these shows. The touring has been so enjoyable for me and the band and the audiences have been great everywhere. If it was about just me just being unwell I would have found a way to continue as I did when I broke my hand last year, but to not be there for one of my family is not right. Thank you to everyone for the kind messages. See you soon. Johnny. X”

Nuff said!

All tickets purchased for February 9th show in Singapore are transferable to the new date on July 30th.

A full refund will be made through Sistic for those who cannot attend rescheduled on July 30th.

“Easy Money” indeed…

… still there’s more … 

Jan 192015


— Press release —

Without music, Dr. Martens would have remained a workwear boot. As part of its deep-rooted relationship with music, subcultures and music icons, Dr. Martens is proud to partner with Laneway Festival for the third time this January 24th, 2015 at The Meadow, Gardens by The Bay.

Dr. Martens not only offers the perfect rain-and-muck-proof boots for stomping festival grounds, it will also provide fun/survival essentials to Laneway Festival 2015.

Here are the highlights:
Dr. Martens Laneway Festival Kit
Dr. Martens Vending Machine of Quintessentially English Snacks: Parma Violets, Marmite Crisps, Walkers Worchester Sauce Crisps, and the like.
Hello Stranger Photo Booth: It didn’t happen if there weren’t photos.
The Best Punk Portaloo This Land Has Seen: for a culturally immersive lavatory experience.

— End of Press Release —

Yes! See you all at Laneway Singapore 2015 this coming Saturday.

Jan 182015


Written & directed by Damien Chazelle
Starring Miles Teller, J.K. Simmons & Paul Reiser.

Whiplash – the story of Andrew Neiman (Teller), a young jazz drummer who attends one of the best music schools in the country under the tutelage of Terence Fletcher (J. K. Simmons), the school’s fearsome maestro of jazz – has been the surprise package for the Academy Awards, garnering Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor for Simmons.

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Jan 182015


Directed by David Semel.
Starring Alexa Davalos, Rupert Evans, Luke Kleintank.

Now, this was unexpected. A TV adaptation of Philip K Dick’s classic scifi novel of the same name, The Man in the High Castle has been produced (by Ridley Scott!) with its pilot just been released (FREE) and is definitely worth watching!

For those unfamiliar with the novel, in The Man in the High Castle, Dick imagines an alternative reality where the Axis powers won WWII and split the USA between them viz. Japanese Pacific States (West Coast) and Greater Nazi Reich (East Coast). The plot revolves around the daily life of the inhabitants of this reality in 1962.

Overall, the pilot is rather slow paced but it builds the world imagined by Dick brilliantly. One is kept guessing throughout this episode but it lays down sufficient groundwork to keep interest high. Especially with the twist at the very end, I can’t wait to watch the rest of this ambitious series.

Jan 182015

12 Monkeys Tv Series 2015 HD Wallpaper

Created by Terry Matalas and Travis Fickett.
Starring Aaron Stanford, Amanda Schull, Kirk Acevedo and Noah Bean.

Regular PoP visitors should be aware that 12 Monkeys is probably my favorite movie of all time. See why here. So you can imagine my trepidation when I discovered that SyFy had done a TV series based on the Terry Gilliam-helmed classic.

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Jan 172015


Directed by Michael Mann.
Written by Morgan Davis Foehl & Michael Mann.
Starring Chris Hemsworth, Tang Wei, Viola Davis, Wang Leehom. 

When watching Blackhat, one gets the strong sense that this was a lost opportunity. Twenty years ago, Mann confirmed his credentials as master of the crime thriller with Heat.

Blackhat – with its international cast, cybercrime subject matter and diverse Asian locations – had the potential to define a new form for a new global generation. Unfortunately, instead it turns out merely to be a cash grab by Legendary Pictures and Mann himself.

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Jan 172015


I have a dream.

Of a Singapore music scene where the majority of venues feature Singaporean songs. Where Singaporean songs are given the same love as foreign songs. Where Singaporeans are not unduly prejudiced against a song simply because it’s written by a fellow Singaporean.

Yes I am biased. It’s true that I love Singapore music because it’s made by people I know and love. But I love good music even more. For Singapore music to be better, our bands/artists need more opportunities to play their own music. It’s common sense, really.

That’s where platforms like StageFright @ Artistry and the upcoming SGMUSO Songwriters Night come in – to give Singapore bands/artists that opportunity. Nobody is born as an adult – it takes time for a baby to become a child and to be fully matured – so it’s the same with musicians/songwriters.

Here are some of the songwriters that will grace the Artistry stage on Wed, 21st Jan – please come down and support us and help make my dream come true!

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Jan 162015


Directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu.
Written by Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr & Armando Bo.
Starring  Michael Keaton, Zach Galifianakis, Edward Norton, Andrea Riseborough, Amy Ryan, Emma Stone, Naomi Watts.

Nominated for a total of nine Oscars, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) is surrealist black comedy at its best. Mocking the artifice of celebrity and the entertainment industry, Birdman is a fascinating inside look into the absurd insanity of entertainment world as perceived by its protagonist, Riggan Thomson.

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Jan 162015


The best part about running Power of Pop for over 15 years is the opportunity to interact with artists who are as obsessed about music as I am. Case in point: singer-songwriter Jonathan Rundman whom I first got a review request from, in 1998! Since then, we have remained in contact whenever Rundman had a new release – which I was more than happy to review. So it’s particularly satisfying to write about Rundman’s latest release – LOOK UP!

Rundman is the classic pop-rock singer-songwriter as he combines elements of country-folk in a smart amalgam of 60s and 70s pop and rock influences and certainly fans of Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, Neil Young and Bruce Cockburn will warm to his music easily. After all, when melodic pleasure meets with clever lyricism, it isn’t too demanding to desire further investigation.

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Jan 152015


For a scifi-superhero movie that is slated for release later this year (August), virtually no advance information of the new Fantastic Four movie is available online except a couple of interviews, a plot summary and this fuzzy photograph (above) of the cast when shooting wrapped last year!

Yes, this reboot of the comic book that launched the Marvel Universe itself is only seven months away and the silence over at Fox is deafening. And can anyone blame Fox? After all, the initial buzz of having Chronicle’s Josh Trank helm the movie dissipated quickly when the cast was announced (Miles Teller as Reed Richards, Kate Mara as Sue Storm, Michael B Jordan as Johnny Storm and Jamie Bell as Ben Grimm).

The last two choices were particularly controversial for obvious reasons as fans opined that physically, both Jordan and Bell did not resemble the characters whatsoever. The situation worsened when actors admitted that the movie would not be faithful to the source material – Mara confirmed that director Trank advised her NOT to read the comic book before shooting began!

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