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Nov 202014
 

Gamechangers

 

The Singapore music scene is growing! There is little doubt about that. Songwriter-producers Tat Tong and Roland Lim are two individuals that I have been following for some time now. These gents are talented, committed and fun to be around with – they started with the same tools as everybody else but by sheer determination (with relentless belief) have managed to carve out successful music careers. The collective experience they have amassed so far merits closer examination and in December the pair offer this opportunity to fellow musos in Singapore with the Gamechangers: How To Produce and Release #1 Hits workshop. Don’t miss this!

More details here.

Nov 202014
 
Squeeze

Photo credit: Quixotic Records

I love the early Squeeze records but my favourite is probably Sweets from a Stranger (1982). Although lumped together with all the other 80s ‘new wave’ bands, Squeeze were/are basically 60s pop revivalists with erudite lyrics/sophisticated melodies being the main emphasis. Check out a video of the band playing “Points of View” below.

Formed around the songwriting nucleus of Chris Difford (lyrics) & Glenn Tilbrook (tunes), the duo were hailed as the Lennon-McCartney of their era and deservedly as well. Following Squeeze’s second breakup in 1999, Tilbrook embarked on an acclaimed solo career. Tilbrook will be performing in Singapore at Hero’s on 29th November and I caught up with him via a short phone interview.

Continue reading »

Nov 192014
 

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KittyWu Records has announced that Caracal has launched the pre-order for their forthcoming studio album Welcome The Ironists at iTunes. Listeners can pre-order the digital album on iTunes and receive an early download of the exciting new single “Welcome The Ironists”.

The new album was recorded and produced together with the band’s longstanding collaborator and dear friend – Singapore’s leading music producer and sound engineer, Leonard Soosay of Snakeweed Studios (The Great Spy Experiment, I Am David Sparkle). The album was mastered in Canada with João Carvalho of João Carvalho Mastering (Sloan, Buck 65, The Weakerthans, Death From Above 1979).

The full album is slated for release on 18 December 2014 and will be available in both physical and digital formats. Caracal will launch the album at The Substation on that night. Look out for the music video on 5th December at the band’s YouTube Channel.

Nov 152014
 
WildBeasts-JaredRezel

Photo credit: Jared Rezel/Symmetry Entertainment

The Singapore music scene is crying out for more small to mid-sized venues that can host brilliant artists that do not command the mainstream attention of an Ed Sheeran or a Pheonix. Beep Studios – located in Bukit Merah – operates mainly as a recording studio but has of late, been the location of great shows from Deafheaven, Deap Vally, MONO and last night (8th Nov), Wild Beasts.

The UK band is touring Asia and squeezed Singapore between Bangkok and KL and sounded no worse for the wear and tear. A good-sized crowd did not have to squeeze into Beep Studios but were entertained and thrilled by an excellent performance in fairly intimate settings. That is the beauty of a gig like this – it feels like the band is playing in a large living room!

The music of Wild Beasts (viz. Hayden Thorpe, Ben Little, Chris Talbot & Tom Fleming) provides a fine balance between indie rock and electro-pop with Thorpe, Little and Fleming adept at exchanging instruments so that different musical textures, timbres and approaches might be attained. Drummer Talbot was expert in coming up with intricate patterns that drove the ethereal tunes rhythmically.

The voices of Thorpe and Little (falsetto and baritone respectively) captured the attention of the rapt crowd brilliantly. Songs like “Mecca”, “Daughters” & “A Dog’s Life” highlighted these attributes succinctly and even though the pulse never quite quickened with the band’s chilled out groovy vibes, there was no denying the passion.

Thorpe made a little joke about not leaving the stage for the obligatory call-back (basically, the venue could not accommodate that aspect!) and so remained on stage to deliver the songs that would have been their encore. Which was fine and removed the usual awkwardness about the encore’s artificiality. A lusty “Wanderlust” turned out to be the high point of the gig for me, as the performance concluded. Overall, the perfect venue for a mesmerizing sonic experience.

Thanks to Symmetry Entertainment for making this review possible. 

Nov 142014
 

MML_Poster_Call

This year’s Music Matters Live was the best yet! On a personal level, I had an absolute ball and met up with many great bands viz. JPNSGRLS, Love X Stereo, Buffalo Sunn and many others. Significantly, MML’14 provided an important platform local bands as well – with Gentle Bones, Take Two and others taking full advantage.

And… Music Matters 2015 promises to be even bigger and better! So bands out there, this is your chance to get on board. Apply now!

… still there’s more …

Nov 132014
 

RethinkAIDS

Always an exciting prospect to catch some of the brightest indie rock talents in Singapore but when the event also serves to raise awareness of an important cause then, the reasons to attend increase! With a fairly varied lineup as well, Rethink: AIDS promises to be an exciting #sgindie day out. We got in touch with organizer Jared Rezel to find out more.

PoP: How does a music event raise awareness for a cause?

Jared: Music fans tend to connect to their favourite artists via their music. The bond between the audience and performer is hence strengthened through their attendance at live music events. As the bands perform at this event, they will be constantly promoting our cause through their songs and shoutouts, strongly conveying our message to the audience and ultimately succeeding in raising awareness for our cause.

PoP: In what ways are you asking people to “Rethink AIDS”?

Jared: We never actually wondered what we would do if we found out our friend has AIDS and decided to think more about this issue. Most of us realised that we’d probably avoid these friends for fear of contracting this disease. However when we look at the facts, there is no risk at all unless we were planning to engage in some sexual activity with these friends. Hence we want people to rethink the facts they know or think they know in hope that they would ultimately rethink these subconscious stereotypes they place on the people suffering from AIDS. Most AIDS campaigns are all about the ‘safe sex’ aspect especially what we learnt back in sex ed classes in school, hence we felt that our event could influence youths to relate more to the social side of AIDS.

PoP: How should the public attitude towards AIDS change? What should it be instead?

Jared: Most people know the dangers of AIDS or rather HIV and they know that they want to avoid it as far as possible. However, it’s that avoidance and some misunderstanding that has led to stereotyping people with HIV/AIDS as well. We want people to know the facts & the dangers but at the same time, not treat the people with it any differently. Basically, we want people to remove the links between AIDS and friendship, since sex isn’t a requirement of friendship.

PoP: What do you hope attendees will take away from Rethink: AIDS?

Jared: Besides enjoying music and introducing more people to local music, we hope that they at least gain new perspectives towards AIDS. Ideally, we hope that they would change their attitudes towards people with AIDS and treat them as normal people.

PoP: Can you explain the process behind the selection of the bands?

Jared: We wanted to find bands who were rather current and had a pull with different groups of people hence reaching out to a variety of people. We were not so worried about the genre, for example, AVA. When people see a post hardcore band, they usually think like these guys are rebels. But seeing them standing for something good fights for our cause even more.

More info here.

Nov 122014
 

GlennTilbrookLive

Squeeze was without doubt one of the seminal bands of the 80s post-punk era, combining elements of pub-rock and Beatlesque pop-rock to produce a highly melodic and intelligent brand of pop music. Glenn Tilbrook – whose distinctive tenor graced almost all the best Squeeze songs – will be playing a “one-night-only” show at Hero’s (69 Circular Road #01-01, Boat Quay). Tickets available from www.dashtickets.sg now!

Tilbrook has a new album out called Happy Ending and its chock full of the well-constructed, sophisticated pop that Squeeze was legendary for. Check it out!

… still there’s more … 

Nov 122014
 

PUPtheBand

Here at Power of Pop, we emphasize substance over form, artistry/creativity over genre/styles and champion the right attitudes over cynical media manipulation. PUP fits the bill perfectly. Its eponymous album is a shameless celebration of edgy pop-rock music with energy and melodies to die for! Power of Pop caught up with the band via email and vocalist/guitarist Stefan was kind enough to answer our queries.

POP: How did PUP get together?

Stefan: The other 3 guys have known each other forever. Zack and Nestor grew up on the same street. They were playing around town in a few shitty bands and I was in a shitty band as well. Eventually we got bored of those projects and decided to band together to form a slightly less shitty but still shitty band called PUP.

PoP: What is the best thing about being PUP?

Stefan: We’ve had the chance to travel the world the past year. It’s been incredible. Getting to play music with your best friends every night in different weird places is the best thing in the world. And sometimes you get to play with your favourite bands and that’s cool too.

PoP: Why should anyone listen to PUP?

Stefan: You probably shouldn’t. But if you do it’ll be because you’re bored.

PoP: How do decide which song gets on the album?

Stefan: We wrote a bunch of songs, and just chose our favourite ones. We weren’t trying to choose ones that sounded the same or worked together or anything… We just wanted the 10 songs on our first record to be the best 10 songs we’ve written.

PoP: Would you wanna play in Singapore?

Stefan: Of course! that’s another adventure for us.

Hopefully we’ll get to see PUP in action in Singapore sooner rather than later! In the meantime, listen to PUP (the album) now.

Official Site

… still there’s more …

Nov 092014
 

MyracleBrah

“Myracle Brah is an American indie pop/power pop band primarily centered on singer-songwriter Andy Bopp.”

What it fails to say that at one point in the 90s, Brah’s debut LP – Life on Planet Eartsnop – was on heavy rotation, not only in my CD player but in my very consciousness. This LP served to be my doorway to the 90s Pop Underground, which was a magical epoch of 60s retrolicious goodness. Since that epochal album, there have been highs and lows for Andy Bopp’s music BUT I am so glad to report a spanking new EP that rekindles this pop lover’s belief in the POWER of POP!

For the time being, the EP is free via download at Bandcamp. If like me, you dig bands that channel The Beatles, Big Star & Badfinger without sacrificing an iota of self-expression then The Peach EP is a godsend! What are you waiting for?

... still there’s more … 

Nov 092014
 

FRVL

Finally, a peek into the world of Singapore director Tzang Merwyn Tong’s dystopian teen movie FAERYVILLE is provided with this official trailer. Years in the making, FAERYVILLE will make its Red Carpet World Premiere in Los Angeles, CA, in January, 2015. More details to be announced by Eleven Arts, Inc.

Connect with FAERYVILLE Online:
Like FAERYVILLE on FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/faeryville
Follow FAERYVILLE on TWITTER: http://www.twitter.com/faeryville
Follow FAERYVILLE on INSTAGRAM: http://www.instagram.com/faeryville

Nov 072014
 

WildBeasts

I must confess that out of the all the bands that were slated to play at the last (sadly cancelled) Hostess Club Weekender, the one I was most looking forward to was Wild Beasts. But of course, the good news is that the English band will still be in Singapore tomorrow at Beep Studios.

Wild Beasts released one the best albums of 2014 – the sophisticated collection of groovy tunes known as Present Tense – and surely is one of the most important bands to come out of the UK in the last decade. So, don’t miss the chance to watch them in the intimate settings of Beep Studios.

Ticketing: tickets.eventclique.com/symmetry
Standard: 65 SGD
At The Door: 80 SGD

Look out for our review.

Nov 072014
 

interstellar

Directed by Christopher Nolan. 
Written by Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan.
Starring Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Michael Caine and Bill Irwin.

Familial love. Is there anything more important than that? How about the survival of the human race? What would you do to save the world? In his latest original scifi film, Christopher Nolan takes the notion of the protagonist fighting to see his children again (last seen in Inception) to almost ridiculous levels.

Structurally, the story is rather simple. Cooper (McConaughey) is given the opportunity (in rather fortuitous manner) to save the human race from extinction but to do that, he has to risk never seeing his children ever again. Thus, throughout his mission, his main priority is returning to the Earth and his children.

Continue reading »

Nov 062014
 

2014-11-05 23.16.02

Last but certainly not least, Verhaal!

Verhaal are a Rock Band formed in Singapore in 2014. Before joining the band, the members had already played on several bands , performing on numerous events/occasions. The band consist of Jeslynn (Vocals), Dominic (Bass), Dedry (Guitar), and Marcus (Drums). The band enjoys writing radio-friendly tunes, incorporating diverse style of Rock and Pop music to their works.

… still there’s more …

Nov 042014
 

KeithHeng

We continue our look at the budding singer-songwriters featured in STAGEFRIGHT XV on 12th November with Keith Heng!

Keith’s first memory of music’s effect on him was when he was 10 years old sitting in his grand-aunt’s car and hearing The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band for the first time. Enchanted by riffs and flowing song melodies, an addiction began where he sought after different genre’s of music and encountered different artists like Eric Clapton, SRV, Slash, The Beach Boys, John Mayer, and many others. Soon however, singing other’s songs wasn’t enough for him and the tunes he always hummed to himself and pictured in his mind could not be contained. Looking to find his own voice in music, Keith picked up the guitar in 2009, and hasn’t put it down since. Now Keith embarks on his own journey, and has started his solo project, KST Musical Sound, where he looks to tell stories of his own through music, just like that first time he heard the magic of Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

... still there’s more …

Nov 042014
 

After a 4-year hiatus, The Decembrists have announced that its new album, What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World, will be released on January 20, 2015. From the sounds of the preview track – “Make You Better”, it’s the sort of pleasing alt-folk-pop that the band is returning to, which is fine by me! Check it out!!

Official Site

Nov 012014
 

MicahOlsan

There’s much to admire on this new EP from Micah Olsan & the Many. According to his bio, “Micah has been an active performer in the Midwest music scene for the last seven years. His diverse songwriting takes folky storytelling, interlocking guitar parts, and passionate, soaring vocals and places them smoothly on top of a funky, jazz and world-infused rhythm section. Micah’s writing draws on influences from Paul Simon to Radiohead and the Talking Heads.”

Certainly, tracks like “Trouble” and “All Around” will appeal to the punters who love trawling blues-rock pubs with the songs’ authentic roots demeanor. One to consider. Check it out at Bandcamp.

Official Site

Oct 312014
 
Photo Credit: Noah Abrams

Photo Credit: Noah Abrams

Butch Walker is back with an exciting new album helmed by Ryan Adams, with help from Bob Mould and Johnny Depp (!) and promises to be a celebration of gritty folk, pop and rock. If the album is anything like the gorgeous country-folk tribute to the legendary Chrissie Hynde, then this is going to one of the most anticipated albums of next year. Listen to “Chrissie Hynde” now.

Official Site

Oct 312014
 

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Based on what I’ve heard so far from Cold Fronts, the music they write and record is pretty good pop-rock/powerpop, in my opinion. So let’s relax on the indie rock descriptors yeah? The new single “Hit Me” is a cool blast of melodic rock that cannot be ignored. Yeah yeah yeah!!!

Cold Fronts online:
www.coldfronts.us
facebook.com/coldfrontsmusic
twitter.com/coldfrontsmusic
instagram.com/coldfronts
youtube.com/coldfrontsmusic

… still there’s more …

Oct 312014
 

EIA

Eia (aka Maria Grace Koh) has just finished her studies at LASALLE College of the Arts, where she graduated with First Class Honors in a BA (Hons) in Performing Arts – Music, Vocals and her calibre is self-evident on her soulful new single “That’s the Way” off her upcoming new album. The Bruneian singer-songwriter worked with Marc ‘M. Doc’ Williams (Madonna, Kelly Rowland, Jordin Sparks, K-Ci & Jojo) and C-Ray (EMI Music Publishing, K_Ci & Jojo) of Indasoul Records on her new material and fans of modern R&B will love what Eia has to offer. You can purchase “That’s the Way” at iTunes.

Check out a live performance of “That’s the Way” below.

Oct 302014
 

Fury_2014_poster

Fury
Written and Directed by David Ayer.
Starring Brad Pitt, Shia LeBeouf, Logan Lerman, Michael Pena. 

Yes, movies are a visual medium but without a coherent story, a movie crumbles like a house of cards. Such is the case with WWII flick Fury, which chronicles the misadventures of a tank crew in the final days of the war in Germany.

Consisting of Don “Wardaddy” Collier (Brad Pitt), Boyd “Bible” Swan (Shia LaBeouf), gunner; Grady “Coon-Ass” Travis (Jon Bernthal), loader, Trini “Gordo” Garcia (Michael Peña), driver and new assistant driver/bow gunner Norman Ellison (Logan Lerman), the movie examines the trials and tribulations of this group of soldiers through unflinching albeit exciting battle sequences and also, awkward male bonding scenes.

Continue reading »

Oct 302014
 

dragonconcert_poster

Awaken the Dragon is a community art project surrounding the last two remaining Dragon Kilns in Singapore. The project aims to invite 3000 members of the public to participate in making a collective sculpture made from clay and fired in the Dragon Kiln.

The concert is part of the Awaken the Dragon Festival that’s happening from 17-23 November. There will also be demos and workshops by local ceramic artists, arts & crafts stalls, food and drink vendors.

The Observatory, Obedient Wives Club, Stopgap, Lost Weekend and The White Trip Movement will be performing on 22 November from 6:30pm. Admission is free.

For more details on the Festival, visit:

https://www.facebook.com/events/717111341705189/
http://awakenthedragonkiln.wordpress.com/about/
https://www.facebook.com/Awakenthedragonkiln