The CAVE – four teenagers who surprise with an old skool rock n’ roll agenda. Currently material for a debut release, check out “Personal” and you will agree that this is one young band that you need to keep eyes and ears on.
Virtually impossible to watch this without the inevitable lump in throat and teary-eyed response. The measure of love, admiration and respect that the late great Freddie Mercury and Queen engendered amongst their peers is plainly obvious judging from the stellar lineup of this tribute concert.
This 3-DVD collection contains the whole shebang – the opening acts (Extreme does an awesome Queen medley), the main event itself (simply mind-boggling from start to finish) and a bonus DVD of extras (10th anniversary documentary, rehearsal performances and photo galleries).
Simply essential for the diehard Queen fan.
Aussie singer-songwriter Lenka‘s recent concert at the Esplanade Theatre was actually her fourth one in Singapore! Judging by the sizable crowd, there was no danger of over-familiarity yet! Lenka’s pixie like demeanor, her vibrant stage presence and her strong melodic songs account for her popularity and she had no problem with holding the attention of a rapt audience in her hour-plus set.
It is an exciting time to be a music lover in Singapore as leading pan-Asian independent music company Hostess Entertainment Unlimited launches its unique live series Hostess Club Weekender in Singapore!
As part of Hostess’s continuing regional expansion, HCW will land in Fort Canning Park on Saturday February 22nd next year. The inaugural show in Singapore will feature critics’ darlings The National, Mogwai as well as up-and-comers King Krule, Asgeir and Buke & Gase to make the most compelling, irresistible and fresh lineup.
More details to come!
A PoP feature where we examine the influence on ART on rock and pop music, in particular album covers.
Today we look at Pop-art, a movement that began in UK and the USA in the 50s. The dominant figure in this ‘genre’ is probably one of the most influential artists in contemporary art – Andy Warhol.
Released in 1967, The Velvet Underground & Nico may not have sold many units but it’s enduring significance cannot be over-emphasized. What was also unique about the album design was that early copies of the album invited the owner to “Peel slowly and see”, peeling back the banana skin revealed a flesh-colored banana underneath. Recently, there was a legal battle between the Andy Warhol Foundation of Visual Arts and the band over copyrights over the cover design.
BUBBLEGUM LEMONADE Some Like It Pop
This is the kind of pop music that inspired Power of Pop to begin with viz. retro-pop-rock that looks back to the 60s with echoes of The Byrds, The Velvet Underground, The Beach Boys and The Beatles unashamedly reflected in songs like “This is the New Normal”, “It Must Be Summer” and “Famous Blue Anorak”. Lover-ly.
Nowadays with streaming sites like Spotify, it’s a cinch to check out the new albums that music tastemakers (like yours truly) are raving about and then you can decide whether you wanna buy the CD or the vinyl versions, download the digital album or just listen. The choice is yours. Here are a couple of recent albums I gave the thumbs up over for, over at TODAY online.
Throwing Muses – Purgatory/Paradise: read review
WAX FANG – “Hearts Are For Beating”
After three digital singles in 2013, Wax Fang will be releasing its third album – The Astronaut – in January 2014. Check out the official video to the latest single.
Sounds like: David Bowie, Television, Pixies.
Check out the other singles at Spotify.
The Cribs Interview - Camp Symmetry 2013
2nd November 2013
Power of Pop, along with representatives from other media, sat down with Ryan and Ross of The Cribs at Camp Symmetry two weekends ago, at a roundtable interview. It was conducted after their energetic, frenetic and rocking set at Camp Symmetry, and though the guys were tired and sweaty, they obliged us in answering our questions and were very fun to talk to!
In the 70s, during the hey day of progressive rock, record labels were looking out for bands that might be the next money-spinner like Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull or Genesis. Thus, numerous second tier prog-rock bands were given the opportunity to become viable recording artists. Not all of these LPs were easily available in Singapore and even if they were, I would be spending my hard-earned allowance on those aforementioned top-tier bands… But thanks to Spotify, I can now listen to these now lesser known outfits. Enjoy…
A supergroup in every sense of that word, U.K. originally consisted of John Wetton (vocals/bass), Bill Bruford (drums), Eddie Jobson (keyboards/violin) and Allan Holdsworth (guitar). That lineup recorded a eponymous debut LP which was released in 1978 but the band subsequently imploded. Still, this record remains a wonderful landmark for progressive circa the late 70s.
2 November 2013
The Meadow, Gardens By The Bay
Last Saturday, indie fans descended on The Meadow at Gardens By The Bay for the first edition of the annual Camp Symmetry, organised by Symmetry Entertainment, who has brought us gigs by Beach Fossils, Yacht, Carl Barat & The Libertines and The Drums. Starting at 12 noon, the festival line-up presented 12 hours of indie folk, indie pop, indie rock and post-rock. The festival expectedly attracted hipsters and music lovers ranging from the ages of 15 to 40. Camp Symmetry invited comparisons to Laneway Festival – having similar programming, targeting the same audience, being held at the same venue, and the festival held up very well. There was a good variety and somewhat affordable F&B choices for a festival, with more activities like bouncy castles and ping-pong tables. The festival also ran like clockwork, with each set starting and ending at its scheduled time, which is remarkable for a festival!
More recommended listening @ Spotify! This week we look at obscure post-punk from the late 70s/80s that fans of contemporary revivalist bands might wanna check out…
SOUTHERN DEATH CULT (1981 – 1983)
A early 80s goth rock band that is best remembered for providing singer Ian Astbury the platform from which he would form Death Cult with guitarist Billy Duffy before finding success as The Cult. Listen to its eponymous debut LP below.
ENDER’S GAME (Directed by Gavin Hood)
I read Orson Scott Card’s scifi masterpiece when it was first published in 1985 and at the time, I was thinking that it was a superb cross of Starship Troopers and Lord of the Flies. It’s one of my favourite stories and you can imagine my emotional state as I was watching this film adaptation. Yes, I was crying like a baby. The adaptation is very faithful (I believe Card made that a condition of the option and license) and director Gavin Hood did a fairly reasonable job in getting the main plot points and themes of the book across. This achievement is aided by the strong cast with Harrison Ford, Ben Kingsley and the young Asa Butterfield giving solid performances.
THOR: THE DARK WORLD (Directed by Alan Taylor)
Funny how Thor (the mightiest Avenger) is probably the weakest and least interesting character amongst the stars of the Marvel Studio flicks. The first movie spent time introducing Thor and like most origin stories, the interest was kept at a respectfully high level most of the time with the key being the character development of Thor himself.
This is where the sequel falls flat. Once you understand that Thor is arrogant, brash and headstrong (and loves Jane Foster), there is nowhere else to go unless you spice things up and the writers of Thor: The Dark World fail to do that completely. Thor is utterly boring (despite Chris Hemsworth’s best efforts) and predictable – lacking any edge whatsoever. Thor’s flaws and weaknesses (evident in the first movie) are glossed over and somehow he becomes the least interesting character in his own movie.
I got into Lou Reed relatively late in life. 1989 to be precise – the release of the New York album, which I bought on cassette. That prompted me to investigate Reed (and the Velvet Underground, of course) in piecemeal form in the 25 years since.
As a rock scholar, it’s impossible not to recognize Reed’s importance to much of modern rock music – there’s really no point in setting out the sheer number of bands and artists that Reed had a tremendous impact on – suffice to say that Reed was influential. As a songwriter, Reed’s honesty and creative thinking was always challenging to me, with his lyric writing truly seminal.
His passing was hard to take – a sense that an era of rock music has ended. But Reed’s legacy will never be forgotten – the sound and attitude of indie pop & alt-rock bear his indelible stamp. Yes, Lou Reed may no longer be with us but his music will live on forever, something to cherish.
For the uninitiated, begin with Velvet Underground & Nico, Transformer and New York and work your way through from there.
“The music is all. People should die for it. People are dying for everything else, so why not the music?”
In collaboration with Gardens by the Bay, supported by TOTE Board, Ding Yi Music Company presents its 3rd outdoor fantasia at the Gardens by the Bay, Supertree Groves viz. Animal Carnival and Insect World.
On 9th November, come by the Gardens to enjoy the Animal Carnival, a concert featuring Ding Yi Music Company’s Chinese wind instruments such as the Suona, Sheng and Dizi as well as Chinese percussion instruments like Drums, Cymbals and Gongs. Ding Yi Music Company will be performing music pieces that re-create the sound of bird, bull, tiger, lion and mouse, incorporated with theatrical acting by its musicians.
On 10th November, Ding Yi Music Company with conductor Mr Quek Ling Kiong presents Insect World, a concert comprising works about insects! Listen to tunes that feature the bees, butterflies, grasshoppers and ants. If you haven’t heard familiar favourites such as Flight of the Bumble Bee played on the Erhu, or grasshoppers represented by the Dizi, then please do not miss this special concert!
Both concerts start at 7pm and end at 7.45pm
Last time out, we ran the rule over the opening five bands at Camp Symmetry viz. Veronica Falls, Last Dinosaurs, San Cisco, Wild Nothing and William Fitzsimmons. We continue the lowdown with the final five!
RA RA RIOT 4.35pm – 5.20pm
American indie rock band with three albums and numerous EPs released since 2007. The band plays an energetic brand of melodic pop-rock with classical underpinnings. Comparisons have been drawn between the quartet and Vampire Weekend, Broken Social Scene and The Polyphonic Spree.
BEST COAST 5.40pm – 6.55pm
An American rock duo (Bethany Cosentino and Robb Bruno) that blends Indie Rock and Power Pop influences brilliantly. Two well-received LPs so far and the new EP Fade Away is a instant winner in my book! Definitely a crowd favourite – the party well and truly begins here. Not to be missed!
The year is ending and it does seem that the best way to celebrate a fine 12 months of live music in Singapore is to enjoy an indie music festival. Camp Symmetry delivers ten bands and is an ambitious event put together by local outfit Symmetry Entertainment Pte Ltd. Think of Camp Symmetry as being positioned somewhere between Laneway and Rock & Roots and a positive sign for the Singapore music scene overall.
The last time was December 2012. So it has been a long time coming. Yes, folks, it’s Fred Perry Sub-Sonic Live for 2013 and it promises to be a memorable occasion for all rock and pop music lovers. In keeping with previous editions, the venue is a surprising choice, unconventional but unforgettable. This time it’s Offside located at 2 Whitley Road, which is usually a place people go to play futsal (!) – yeah really…a space of over 30,000 sq ft under a flyover ( so we’re told).
Capsule reviews of recently released EPs, LPs & DVDs
ANNA CALVI One Breath (Domino)
There is a melodramatic quality about Calvi’s operatic indie rock that suggests an affinity for Jeff Buckley and PJ Harvey. Epic in musical scope and emotional in lyrical depth, this sophomore effort finds Calvi stretching out her musical range to embrace obtuse angular moments that reveal a strong experimental leaning in songs like “Piece By Piece”. But overall, it is the kind of pleasing arch art-rock (“Suddenly” and “Eliza”) that the kids will go gaga for.
Italo Zanzi: Roma want to be world’s best football club
According to a BBC Football report, chief executive Italo Zanzi claims that Serie A side Roma (acquired by an American group, led by James Pallotta) have ambitions to be the “world’s best football club”. In the report, it states that “Roma appointed Lille boss Rudi Garcia as head coach in the summer and have won every competitive game since then”. In that context, it is perhaps worrying that Roma had no issue with selling Erik Lamela to Spurs, albeit for a big fee. Perhaps the Italian club did not rate Lamela as much as we did and were happy to get good money for him. After all, the loss of Lamela has not hurt Roma at all and thus far, the Argentinean winger has not exactly set White Hart Lane alight. Mm.
Live music punters rejoice!
GigOut! is a mobile app that provides its users with the latest concert information in-app ticketing purchasing and even the ability to check out who’s also going to the show! GigOut! currently aggregates music concerts/events in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, The Philippines and Hong Kong.
GigOut! is now available for free download via the Apple App Store with Android and other platforms to follow soon.
Halfway through this concert film before singing The Smiths’ classic, “Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want”, Morrissey announces to his rapt audience that he loves them and definitely the sentiment comes across as genuine and heart-warming. Which summarizes the appeal of the English singer, 25 years since he first launched his solo career after the demise of his legendary former band.
This memorable gig – filmed at Hollywood High School in Los Angeles (where Morrissey currently resides) – finds the 56 year old in fine fettle performing solo faves like “Alma Matters”, “November Spawned A Monster” and “Everyday is Like Sunday” and of course, Smiths classics like “Still Ill”, “That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore”, “Meat is Murder”, “Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want” and “The Boy With The Thorn In His Side”.
Morrissey showcases four new tracks on the bonus feature, live recordings of “The Kid’s A Looker”, “Scandinavia”, “Action Is My Middle Name” and “People Are the Same Everywhere” produced by Tony Visconti. By the sounds of things, the next Morrissey album is going to be one to look out for…
The Japanese outfit is the leading pan-Asian independent music company and has recently launched operations in Singapore, whilst simultaneously beginning a partnership locally with Sony Music in Singapore and Malaysia. Hostess Label Manager Asia Nikki Mahmood-Chee had this to say about the announcement - ”I’m thrilled to be part of the Hostess team after being a fan for such a long time, and can’t wait to get stuck in the process of introducing as well as connecting music fans to our artists and their music!”
BURBERRY CELEBRATES BRIT RHYTHM – WHITE LIES (Friday, 18 Oct 2013)
Two years ago, British trio White Lies had to cancel its gig at the Esplanade Concert Hall, Singapore due to concerns over the devastating tsunami in Japan, which was, of course, greatly disappointing to their many Singaporean fans. So many were surprised when Burberry announced that White Lies would play in Singapore for a private event at a converted warehouse in Lorong Ampas!