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Sep 182014
 
Pic by Ger O'Donnell

Pic by Ger O’Donnell

If like me you are besotted with classic pop and love the music of The Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Byrds, ELO and XTC, then my question to you is – why aren’t you listening to Pugwash? And if this is the first time you have heard of this awesome Irish band, then your timing is impeccable.

A Rose in a Garden of Weeds: A Preamble Through the History of Pugwash (to be released on 23rd September) collects songs from the band’s 1999 origins through the present day and when placed together in one place like this, is probably the closest a classic pop fan will get to heaven in 2014.

Pugwash A Rose In A Garden Digi

It is impossible not to fall in love with perfect pop songs like “Be My Friend Awhile,” “Apples,” “Answers on a Postcard,” “Fall Down”, “It’s Nice to be Nice” and so on and on and on. These 17 tracks constitute some of the finest pop music made since the new millennium and deserves as much attention as possible, if there’s any justice left in this cruel world.

I was lucky enough to catch the band live last year in London and believe me, it’s a wonder to behold. That Rickenbacker sound, those harmonies and infectious tunes will have you singing along in no time, unfamiliarity be damned! So check out the US tour dates below to make sure you don’t miss out on the fun, PoPies!

Check out the video for “It’s Nice to be Nice” below…

Sep 182014
 

No exaggeration to describe Bastille as one of the biggest new acts coming out of the UK and fans will be thrilled to learn that – courtesy of Now/Live – they will be in town on Friday 9 January 2015 at The Coliseum, Hard rock Hotel Singapore, Resorts World Sentosa. Tickets will be available from SISTIC from 22nd September.

… still there’s more …

Sep 182014
 

Sugar Skull

If you watched Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, you would have noted the use of the graphic novel Black Hole as a plot point, which is of course such a cool geek thing! Creator/artist Charles Burns will actually be in Seattle this Friday to sign copies of his latest book - Sugar Skull – which is the perfect opportunity for this lapsed comic book (and Black Hole) fan to get re-acquainted with the man’s work and to erm meet the man himself. Stay tuned for the obligatory photographs!

… still there’s more …

Sep 172014
 

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Day Two was spent recovering from my jet lag so I was only able to get out on Day Three. Basically spent the day with my good friend Chris, visiting EMP Museum. It’s really a pop culture buff’s dream to a certain extent. EMP expanded their scifi-fantasy section into separate scifi, horror and fantasy. In truth the latter two were boring whilst the scifi section was better, there wasn’t too much to get excited about.

The music exhibitions were what EMP was all about – with the focus on Hendrix in London and Nirvana. While both were also relatively small, the detail to attention put into the exhibitions was a wonder to behold and worth the price of admission. Viewing Kurt Cobain’s demo cassettes was interesting as well as the live-size props for the In Utero tour.

It was heart-warming to visit a museum that was dedicated to rock music with its due recognition of our beloved rock music as art in its own right. What a statement to make! I was particularly intrigued by a graphic that highlighted the various indie bands that came out of Seattle and Washington state in general. It put the idea of ‘support local’ into perspective. I am certain that the folks watching Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Death Cab for Cutie etc had no idea that their local bands would one day become superstars – but that’s how every band starts, as a local band.

More pics here.

… still there’s more …

Sep 152014
 

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Just a short update as I am pretty much frazzled from that 20 hour traveling to Seattle via Taipei. Having left Singapore at about 1pm on Sunday it’s weird to arrive at Seattle at 7plus that same night after all that travelling. At check-in, there were problems coz I forgot to register with ESTA but managed to solve it by doing so all on my iPhone in 10 minutes. The wonders of modern technology. Am going to try to convince my body that I’m am on PST now, ignore Singapore time and go to sleep.

But first up on Wednesday…

… still there’s more …

Sep 112014
 

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Come 19th September, DUNCE Collective presents Raus, a groovy electronic act from esteemed Canberra music label hellosQuare, are launching their new record, titled LP, in Singapore. This would mark the 4th gig of their month-long LP launch tour, between KL and Hong Kong.

The launch will be held at Blu Jaz Cafe from 7.30pm and will also feature neoDominatrix, Fauxe, Michaela Therese, blankverse (the solo project of IsaF, from sub:shaman), weish annd DJs, RAH (of Darker Than Wax), and Jaydah (of Phyla).

LP is now available.

RSVP

Sep 112014
 

The inaugural Y2K14 International Live Loop Asia Festival Singapore will welcome 20 local and international live looping acts to the stage at Artistry from 25-27 September 2014.

Performances will feature music created using live looping technology – equipment that records and plays back sound, to which other sounds can be added, overlaid, deleted, filtered and mixed to form an improvisational work on the spot and using no pre-recorded material.

The lineup features 13 Singaporean acts, including Bani Haykel, SA (仨), Randolf Arriola and Eileen Chai, and introduces four international acts who will perform in Singapore for the first time: Mandoman Hideki from Japan, and Stylish Nonsense, Jin Matutamtada and Kasemsmai Wongchayasilpa from Thailand. Asia-based international acts include Para Sabda from the United States, Thorsten Vieth from Germany, and Wil Kolen from the Netherlands.

More details here, here and here!

 

Sep 112014
 

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Some of the classic pop music was written in the studio, without having been road-tested in live performance. The Beatles and The Beach Boys come easily to mind, of course. Appropriately, Dave Ody (aka Mothboxer) names both bands as principal influences and it’s no surprise that his music reflects the same ethos that his more famous forebears pioneered and mastered during the 60s.

Continue reading »

Sep 102014
 

Well, I woke up this morning to the news that U2 had released its 13th album – Songs of Innocence – for FREE! That news made me depressed – if the biggest band in the world didn’t believe their new album could sell, then all of us in the music industry are well and truly fucked! But thankfully, there was a silver lining from the band itself as they made a clarification at U2.com

“You’ll have noticed the album is free to U2.com’ers from the band. It’s also free to everyone on iTunes thanks to Apple. To celebrate the ten year anniversary of our iPod commercial, they bought it as a gift to give to all their music customers. Free, but paid for. Because if no-one’s paying anything for it, we’re not sure “free” music is really that free. It usually comes at a cost to the art form and the artist… which has big implications, not for us in U2, but for future musicians and their music… all the songs that have yet to be written by the talents of the future… who need to make a living to write them”.

Also, U2 have announced a second album – Songs of Experience – to be released ‘soon’. Whatever you may think of U2, they’re seldom boring…

Thanks to Alan Cross for the heads up. 

Sep 092014
 

MARVELMAN/MIRACLEMAN:

WHAT GOES AROUND…

The Generation Gap! The stuff of endless arguments about who’s music was better etc etc etc. What about comic books? I personally believe that after the Marvel Age of the 60s with Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko and Stan Lee, the finest era of comic books is the Eighties, when writer Alan Moore was changing the industry.

Continue reading »

Sep 092014
 

Ex-Boo Radley Martin Carr is back with a new single and a new album. Absolutely digging the old school soul vibe! Watch the official video now!

Carr’s new single “The Santa Fe Skyway” is available at : http://tinyurl.com/l2nwffu
His new album The Breaks will be out on CD/LP on September 26, 2014.
All info here: http://tinyurl.com/k6ndgp3

Sep 092014
 

DSC_7935_3 COMA. NeoDominatrix. In Each Hand A Cutlass._Final

New local promoters LivePOD got off to a great start as it brought to our indie scene, an instrumental rock event (at Hood Bar) that not only championed an acclaimed regional act – COMA – but also showcased our very own talented bands viz In Each Hand a Cutlass and NeoDominatrix.

Continue reading »

Sep 092014
 

Superboy_Vol_1_89 Mon-El

MON-EL

He was introduced to comic books in 1961 in Superboy #81 as “Superboy’s Big Brother”! Visually, his costume was the reverse of Superboy and since he possessed the same powers as Superboy, he was thought to be from Krypton as well. Therefore, the name, “Mon-El” – he arrived on Earth on a Monday and El is Superboy’s family name! At the end of the story, Superboy indadvertedly poisons Mon-El with lead but ‘saves’ him by sending him into the Phantom Zone (where Krypton imprisoned their worst criminals) where he remained till freed by the Legion of Super-Heroes in the 30th century.

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Mon-El would join the LSH and become a key member, marrying Shadow Lass in the process. He was my favourite Legionnaire and he always seemed to me, a better character than Superman. But sadly, due to DC’s decision to start fucking around with their continuity (which is still going on to this day) in the mid-80s with Crisis on Infinite Earths, Mon-El’s character (and the LSH overall, to be fair) was altered irreversibly and his origins were ret-conned (damn I hate that word) and he was renamed “Valor” (fucking awful!) and then later “M’onel” (even worse!).

The character has been ret-conned so many times now – he even became a Green Lantern at one point in time (!) – and this is one of the many reasons why I have stopped reading superhero comic books. That said, I will always remember the Mon-El I once loved – and that is something Detective Comics Comics cannot take away!!

 

 

Sep 082014
 

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TARAGANA PYJARAMA (DEN) live in Singapore
Life Is Beautiful (99 Duxton Rd)
Thursday, 16 October 2014
Doors open: 9:30pm
$20 (available online and at the door)

TICKETS ARE AVAILABLE NOW VIA PEATIX
http://www.taragana.peatix.com

LIVE SET (not a DJ set)

Brought to you by Other Sounds. 

Sep 082014
 

HBO’s The Leftovers has polarized both viewers and critics with an unflinching look at the impact of loss on a small community. The main supernatural factor of the series relates to the critical event of the Sudden Departure – similar to the Christian concept of The Rapture.

In ten episodes, the series delved into the response of the town folk of Mapleton, New York, the individuals most affected and the social phenomenon that developed to make sense of it all, specifically The Guilty Remnant, a cult group whose main purpose is to ensure that the Sudden Departure is never forgotten.

Continue reading »

Sep 082014
 

Hailing from Staten Island, New York, this indie rock quartet has three LPs to its name, the latest one – LOSE – having just been recently released on Barsuk Records. The album is a melange of tge finest pop and rock influences and nuances, with a premium placed on emotionally resonance. It’s feisty rock n roll in the sense that lead guitar solos are unashamedly thrown about without bothering whether it’s uncool or not. There is an authentic rockist vigor about the manner in which the band dives into high energy numbers like “Jackson”, “Warning” and “XR” that reference Television and Uncle Tupelo simultaneously. The rest of LOSE slows down somewhat without sacrificing power but with a greater attention to melody – the folky “Child Bride” and the dynamic “Laramie”, prime examples. Highly recommended!

Am hoping to catch Cymbals Eat Guitars open for the legendary Bob Mould in Seattle on 23rd September. Join me if you’re in the area. Buy tickets.

Sep 072014
 

TIME TRAVEL: in the beginning…

All that discussion about X-Men: Days of Future Past made me think about how much I love time travel in movies. Even though it can be a major pain in the arse somethings (in the wrong hands) but overall, some of my favourite movies have involved time travel in some shape or form.

My very first exposure to this scifi concept was in the 60s when as a child, I watched two seminal time travel films on TV. The first one was of course, The Time Machine. Released in 1960, this loose adaptation of HG Wells’ classic scifi novel by director George Pal is still one of the best time travel movies (forget about that awful remake). The movie ending played on my mind as a child and I remember not being able to sleep as I analyzed the movie over and over again. Brilliant. Here’s a video review of the DVD below.

Continue reading »

Sep 072014
 

THE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN’

When I first watched X-Men: First Class, I had a big issue with reconciling it with the original X-movie trilogy and even X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Most of First Class did not add up continuity-wise. If both the USA and Soviet Union were made aware of mutants in 1963 (and the power they possessed), then why was nothing done to hunt them down and destroy them? If Professor X and Mystique had known each other since they were children, why was there no indication of this whatsoever in the trilogy? And so forth.

Continue reading »

 Posted by at 6:44 pm
Sep 072014
 

Time to share pix that I have posted on various social media. Enjoy!

Manara01

Art by Milo Manara

Sienkiewicz-girl

Art by Bill Sienkiewicz

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Diana Rigg

JulieNewmar

Julie Newmar

Helen Mirren

… still there’s more…

 Posted by at 1:36 pm  Tagged with:
Sep 072014
 

PERFECT LOVE DRIVES OUT FEAR

Back in the 70s, the Government conducted a smear campaign against rock n roll and labeled it as ‘yellow culture’ meaning it was decadent and unsuitable for nation building blah blah fucking blah. But to be fair, many countries worldwide were unable to accept the hippie generation (including its originator, the USA) – it’s just that it was possible in Singapore to utterly destroy the thriving local music scene in order to stamp out this undesirable phenomenon. Which they duly did.

Continue reading »

Sep 072014
 

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Noise for noise’s sake

With Singapore indie pop music on the ascendancy, it is important not to neglect alternative music that embraces more artistic and esoteric values. Whilst the success of indie pop in Singapore will still be judged by the usual key performance indicators like number of digital downloads, ticket sales, radio play, Facebook likes and Twitter followers, this form of so-called art-rock deserves to be embraced on its own terms – art for art’s sake. In that respect, local art-rock collective The Observatory has taken the lead in not only organizing its own gigs but also curating music events that aim to expose Singapore audiences to new sounds viz, the Playfreely series of 6 shows and MOHA! in 2011 and for this year, the 3 day event Playfreely II, MoE (as part of the Transitions tour).

Continue reading »