Advert

Kevin

Jul 282014
 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATSS - sm

#sgindie fans will be thrilled to learn that Gentle Bones and The Summer State will be opening for YouTube sensations Alex Goot and Against the Current on 21st August at The Ground Theatre at SCAPE.

Tickets info: -

Online: Peatix (http://alexgootandagainstthecurrent.peatix.com)
Retail: Inokii, Far East Plaza #03-30 (only Standard tickets available)

m_AG ATC Poster FINALss

 

Jul 282014
 

GY5C0079

The Sound of Music (Marina Bay Sands)
Review by Gavin Low

I remember learning songs like ‘Do Re Mi’ and ‘Edelweiss’ during music lessons in primary school, and one day, our music teacher told us to catch the film version of The Sound of Music on TV. That was how I was introduced to Maria, played by Dame Julie Andrews, and the Von Trapp family. I remembered it being quite a magical moment when the Von Trapp children burst into songs like ‘The Lonely Goatherd’ and ‘My Favourite Things’.

It was then with trepidation and anticipation that I watched the stage version of The Sound of Music, currently showing at the MBS Mastercard Theatre. I know that the stage version is quite different from the beloved film that we have all grown so fond of. Gladly, I have a great time, and even break into childish excitement when Maria and the Von Trapp children break into my childhood songs.

Continue reading »

Jul 282014
 

Now that was a music weekend to remember! I had been under the weather for a while and it was good to finally catch #sgindie gigs again! But before the gigs, I attended an intriguing (albeit ultimately bewildering) meeting with the local arts community and had a quick chat with Vivian Wang and Leslie Low of The Observatory. I did learn that the proximity of timing between the new Oscilla and Leslie’s own new solo LP was borne out not of design but of circumstances. Not that I am complaining… the more, the merrier…

Continue reading »

Jul 252014
 

Alright. Here’s the deal – every week I randomly pick FIVE new releases listed at Spotify and tell you what I think (YAY or NAY?!), very spontaneously! No holds barred – fasten your seatbelts! Let me know what you think of the music in the comments…

THE RAVEONETTESPe’ahi

Describing Danish rockers The Raveonettes simply as post-punk revivalists does not do their music any justice. Sure, their style is predicated on the 80s post-punk, especially an obvious admiration for Jesus and Mary Chain, but in fact their sonic agenda covers a much wider range that encapsulates influences as diverse as The Everly Brothers and The Velvet Underground. This new one – album #7 – is a sheer joy to behold, filled with the duo’s trademarked noise-rock ambience enveloping well constructed melodic songs. YAY!

Continue reading »

Jul 242014
 

Two for the price of one, you might say. This coming National Day, Nelson Tan and Amanda Tee will be holding a joint launch for their new respective EPs at Hood Bar. CDs will be on sale at the door; $20 for both EPs or $15 each.

Listen to Nelson’s latest single “Time” (ft. Amanda Tee)

Listen to Amanda’s new single “I Can Feel You”

RSVP

Jul 232014
 

army-navy-the-wilderness-inside

Here’s another album that fits Power of Pop’s criterion of POP with POWER! LA trio Army Navy’s third LP is chock full of unforgettable tunes allied with a 90s alt-rock sensibility that is always refreshing in this post-punk-revival obsessed times. In that respect, Army Navy (Justin Kennedy – Lead vocals, Guitar/Louie Schultz – Lead guitar, Vocals/Douglas Randall – Drums, Vocals) succeed wildly.

The agenda is straightforward enough, as tracks like the jangly “The Mistakes”, the driving shoegazy “Crushed Like the Car”, the Fannnies-imbued “Waiting to Win” and the unabashedly retro “World’s End” attest. Uncomplicated arrangements enhance the memorably melancholy pop melodies that make The Wilderness Inside essential listening for fans of gorgeous 90s alt-rock and especially good old fashioned power pop!

Jul 232014
 

If you’ve been reading Power of Pop, you’d be aware that I fucking HATE the post-punk revival cos it’s overstayed its welcome already – I mean, it’s 2014 already so can we get to the 90s alt-rock revival?!?!?!? So logically, I should get annoyed with the very idea of Take Two – clean cut boys who got that post-punk revival formula down to a science!

But you know what? From the first time ever I heard the band (Paddy, Johnathan, Peng Sing, David, and Jeryl) from outside the hall at SGMUSO’s House Party event – all I could think was – “Fuck, that’s catchy” – seriously folks, it’s pretty difficult to not simply love the music of Take Two and I have heard them live enough times to make a concerted effort to do so but have failed miserably…

So now, I understand that Take Two are opening for Travis come 1st August at the Star Theatre and I could not be any happier. The lads deserve this totally. The band is so entertaining live – assured and comfortable on stage with songs that will get your adrenaline pumping. Believe me when I say, that this is one opening act you should not miss – whether you’re a fan of 90s mope-rock or not!

https://www.facebook.com/taketwo.sg

Jul 212014
 
Pic by Stevie Da Canay

Pic by Stevie Da Canay

Regular visitors to PoP will know how much I dig Deap Vally. Made up of Lindsey Troy and Julie Edwards – guitar, drumkit and two wild voices – it is no exaggeration to suggest that Deap Vally’s sound is a “breed of visceral, heart-churning rock ‘n’ roll”. So imagine my excitement at discovering that the ladies will be playing in Singapore on Friday, 22nd August courtesy of Doc Martens’ #STANDFORSOMETHING event at Beep Studios.

Craziest part of all? It’s FREE. All you need to do is simply visit Dr. Martens stores to pick up a complimentary pair of tickets* to see Deap Vally. (*While stocks last, limited to 2 tickets per person; no purchase necessary; 18 and above only.) Don’t miss this!

DEAP VALLEY Gig Singapore Social poster

Jul 202014
 

Oscilla-AllFormats web

Art-rockers The Observatory return with a new line-up and a new album. Founding members Leslie Low, Vivian Wang and Dharma are joined by SA’s Cheryl Ong on drums and Yuen Chee Wai on electronics/synths for this latest chapter of the band’s amazing journey.

Obs-sm

Oscilla will be released in various formats - a limited colour vinyl release alongside regular black vinyl LPs, CDs and for the very first time, a limited run of cassettes with free download – on 15th August, which will be supported by two performances on 15th and 16th at The Substation.

Screen shot 2014-07-20 at PM 07.28.49

 

 

 

Jul 202014
 

Online photo

“I aim to satisfy myself musically and if it happens to relate to the masses I cannot be more than ecstatic. because nothing is more fulfilling than to have people adore the songs that you first came to fall in love with.”

Gentle Bones has come a long way since releasing his debut single “Until I Die” in mid-December last year. Steadily building up a loyal fan base through a subsequent follow-up single “Elusive”, well-received music videos, maturing live performances and genuine grass-root buzz, the affable young singer-songwriter has made his mark on the Singapore music scene.

And there’s more to come, as Gentle Bones launches his debut EP at TAB Singapore on 30th August supported by Samantha Rui and Gareth Fernandez. Tickets now available at http://gentlebones.peatix.com/

The EP will be on sale via iTunes on the 19th of August 2014 and limited autographed physical copies will be available online at http://gentlebones.bigcartel.com.

RSVP

Jul 112014
 

DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES
Directed by Matt Reeves. Starring Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Gary Oldham & Keri Russell.

The original Planet of the Apes film might well have been the first scifi movie I had ever seen back when I was abut seven. I quickly became a fan and watched every single sequel and even the TV series obsessively. PotA was a cautionary tale about man’s self-destruction and the rise of the intelligent apes to replace man as the dominant species on Earth. The franchise lost steam around 1975 but was revived in a risible remake helmed by Tim Burton.

Back in 2011, the franchise was rebooted with director Rupert Wyatt taking a different narrative starting point, in effect re-writing the origin story of the entire premise. Personally, I thought that Rise of the Planet of the Apes was competent but nothing spectacular, although the motion capture work (especially by Serkis – as ape leader Caesar) was ground-breaking, to say the least.

Continue reading »

Jul 092014
 

JPNSGRLS-Circulation-cover

In just the first four tracks of Circulation - the Vancouver quartet’s full-length debut (released by Light Organ Records on 15th July)  - JPNSGRLS (pronounced as “Japanese Girls”) clearly demarcate what makes them so special in this age of pristine pop hacks and artless copyists. There’s the visceral melodicism of 90s grunge (“Smalls”), the slinky dynamism of 70s power pop (“Tiger”), the epic urgency of the millennial post-punk revival (“Brandon”) and the post-modern appropriation of Afrocentric music (“Circulation”), that demonstrate the band’s ability to slip and slide across the various musical references that have driven contemporary indie rock into mainstream acceptance.

Central to JPNSGRLS modus operandi is a willingness to break down its song components into clearly definable roles that is distinctive enough to stand on its own but the sum of which is greater than its individual parts. In theoretical terms, whilst the song accompaniments perform their harmonic functions, there are also enough polyphonic elements in the guitars (Oliver Mann), bass (Chris McClelland) and drums (Graham Serl) to create entirely unique arrangements that elevate these songs way above your what even the most competent rhythm sections are able to achieve in indie rock.

Singer Charlie Kerr’s vocal delivery of the meaningful lyrics is the glue that keeps this intricate latticework moving together like a well-designed well-oiled music machine. Kerr certainly has a way to make his singing almost conversational in tone, emotionally resonant and yet operating as highly intelligent banter as well. Like in the way he expresses a sense of low self-esteem in the title track – “Like I’m counting Mississippi’s till it’s convenient/You say I’m nothing baby, we’re in agreement” or in the manner he pays tribute to the late Brandon Teena in “Brandon” (a trans man who was tragically raped and murdered) “Cause Brandon really understands/What it means to be a man” or in the internal psychological warfare that thrives within relationships expressed in the animalistic iconology of “Tiger” – “I’m a spider/I wanna crawl up your legs girl”.

But of course, Circulation is more than its first four tracks as the band brings the lyrical and musical concepts further in the frenetic “Mushrooms”, the mesmerizing “Tennis Shoes”, the rollicking “Laughing Gas” and the angularly funky “David and Goliath”. Simply put, Circulation is one of those albums, rock lovers can listen to all the way through – a rarity in itself in 2014. Bloody essential!

Official Site

Jul 082014
 

Leslie Low released an instrumental album earlier this year which flew somewhat below the radar for most #sgindie fans. But now Low is back with an album of ‘proper’ songs that absolutely nobody should ignore. Based on the tracks previewed at Bandcamp, the album – No Such Thing as Ghosts – is typical Low fare. Meaning that it is sophisticated indie folk songwriting of the highest order expressed purely via voice and acoustic guitar. The Observatory frontman releases the album in several formats in September. Find out more.

Look out for reviews and interviews related to this release soon…

Jul 072014
 

Regular visitors will be aware of my extremely low tolerance for trolls. My attitude is simple – if you have nothing good to say – SHUT THE FUCK UP! Is that so difficult to achieve? Seriously, sometimes the attention one gets from trolls seems totally incomprehensible – what did I ever do to you? – always seems to be the recurring protest that springs fully formed in head.  I mean, the world is in bad enough shape without having these illogical trolls contribute absolute nothing to make things a little better.

Bottom line is clear – I must always be in a position to control what the comments I receive on social media. Which means blocking trolls essentially and avoiding being part of groups that tolerate trolls. Recently, I left a comic book group that seemed innocent enough when it started but of late has reminded me why I stay clear from these groups as a general rule.

Much safer to make my own opinion public via my own website where I can easily control the outcome of unwelcome trolls. Now you know why it’s always good to be king.

Back to normal programming….

Jul 062014
 

The simple joy of honest rock ‘n’ roll  is what EdTang & the Chops achieve on this, their eponymous EP. Anyone who loves the committed, down to earth music making of Bruce Springsteen, The Replacements, The Pogues, The Gaslight Anthem and the Hold Steady will definitely like what they hear from EdTang & The Chops. Authentic country-folk-roots songs that are delivered with rock ‘n’ roll gusto by The Chops.

These five tracks – “When Death Should Find Us”, “Willy Loman”, “Brother in the Way Back”, “A Lapsed Catholic” and “Leaving of Liverpool” – all speak of heartfelt issues that the everyman has to face each and every day. Unsophisticated these songs might be, but when the tunes ring out and touch the souls of all rock ‘n’ roll lovers, then one barely notices. All one can do is smile in agreement, punch the air and groove to the lusty rhythms and the relevant sentiments.

Official Site

Jul 062014
 

[Poster] Spartak in Singapore

Canberra / Sydney outfit Spartak has launched their brand new record Five Points, out now on the esteemed Sydney label Feral Media. DUNCE. and The Lithe Paralogue, are hosting their album launch in Singapore, this coming Saturday, 12th July, at 7pm.

Spartak will be supported by 3 well-loved local acts, comprising of both veteran and up-and-coming artists:

Continue reading »

Jul 052014
 

Night_Full_of_Sharp_Edges

Matt Mocharnuk, the brains behind recording artist Bittersweet Machines is a songwriter with the ability to manipulate the emotions of anyone fortunate enough to listen to his musical creations. I count myself amongst this number – as I have followed Mocharnuk’s creative journey in the last couple of years and with each release, cannot help but be awed by the consistent quality of the songs found on Bittersweet Machines EPs and albums.

New EP – A Night Full of Sharp Edges – is no exception to this rule. Stylistically, Morcharnuk has moved away somewhat from the post-punk revivalist tendencies found on previous releases. The songwriting seems more organic without reliance on any particular ‘genre’. This creative decision has liberated the music to form it’s own conclusions based on the confluence of tunes and lyrics.

What remains the same is the emotional weight of the melodies, the astute use of dynamism, the appropriation of infectious hooks and riffs and ultimately the natural appeal of songs that do not need too much analysis or deep probing in order to divine their joys.

It is an absolute pleasure to move from track to track – songs like “The Longest Minute,” “Is It Enough” and “Screaming Underwater” – embellished simply by acoustic guitar and tasteful keyboards reach out to touch heart and soul, rightfully belonging to the sweet indie Brit rock epoch that birthed bands like Travis, Coldplay and Keane.

Yet another bloody essential release from Bittersweet Machines.

Find out more!

 

Jul 052014
 

If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand. (Phil 2: 4, The Message)

This passage of scripture drives and informs my life. It’s a difficult one to follow as it involves self-sacrifice, a quality frowned upon in our world. In April 2007, somewhere in New York City, I resolved that my area of influence was in music and I needed to use this influence to help musicians in Singapore. How exactly, I wasn’t quite sure of at the time but I knew that that had to be my purpose in this life.

Over the course of the last seven years, in the pursuit of this ‘calling’ I have faced tumultuous events in my personal life designed to test my resolve and to lead to new ways and means by which I could invest in and bear fruit from my gifts. It has not been easy, believe me. Often times, my eagerness to help someone else has led to misunderstandings and my fragile low self esteem has taken a lot of battering along the way.

At the end of last year, I rather fancifully imagined that I could venture into a totally new creative area but the last six months have proven how foolish my thinking had been. But through the disappointment, I have learnt to bring the focus back to music and to music people. It was appealing to my ego that new ‘friends’ had turned up to bring me into new pastures where I could prosper but that was my vanity speaking to me and I am thankful to have been put right and properly brought down back to earth.

In the last few weeks, this scope has expanded beyond our shores and has led me to make connections with various foreign bands and the joy I experienced in these encounters has made it clear to me that this was the path all along and all I needed to do was to stick with the program. I will be in Seattle and Vancouver in late September/early October and will take the opportunity to build on and strengthen these new ties as I push myself further into my beloved world of music.

None of these pursuits involve monetary gain or have been conceived to further business interests – I truly believe that that will take care of itself as long as my heart is in the right place. All I want to do is to help as many musicians as I possibly can in whatever shape or form. These are exciting times to be involved in music!

… still there’s more …

Jul 042014
 

POPTV

Whenever we can, we strive to remind you – kind visitor – what Power of Pop is all about. Sweet pop music, 60s/70s styled is definitely on the agenda. Bring it!

THE CANYON RAYS – “The Sunshine Growers”

Here’s the new single from Californian pop enthusiasts The Canyon Rays as visualized by director Justin Slade McClain. The track will appear on their upcoming West Coast Babes LP later this year.

Listen to/download from Bandcamp

MONOMYTH – “Patsy”

Canadian quartet Monomyth pride themselves as being slightly left of centre as new single “Patsy” and its seriously weirded out video proves. Their debut album, Saturnalia Regalia!, comes out on July 22nd, 2014 on Mint Records!

Listen to/download the Monomyth eponymous EP from Bandcamp.

BLACK MOTH – “Blackbirds Fall”

And ‘classic’ hard rock is always part of POP POWER equation! Britain’s young new heavy rock heroes Black Moth release the first single and video from their forthcoming new album Condemned To Hope coming this fall. Horns up!

Official Site

… still there’s more …

Jul 042014
 

After the heady month of local gigs that was June, the #sgindie goodness continues to flow. So heads up on a couple of shows coming your way in the coming weeks. 

Red Kite & Beer Market have earmarked four Sundays in July as Original Sundays with an intriguing lineup of #sgindie bands for your viewing and listening pleasure.

Continue reading »

Jul 032014
 

Screen shot 2014-07-03 at PM 11.34.33

Writer Mike Baron makes an interesting point about how marginalized the Jazz Rock ‘genre’ has become since its heyday in the 70s in his introduction to this book.

“The number of classic bands who have inspired youngsters continues to grow. Beatles imitators are legion. The Beach Boys have a growing and powerful following spearheaded by Explorers Club. Grateful Dead jam-type bands cover the hills. The Quarter After worship the Byrds. But one group is conspicuously missing. Where are the new jazz rock bands?”

Baron doesn’t really answer this pertinent question so much as to suggest that perhaps Jazz Rock as a ‘genre’ lost ground once the post-punk / new wave of the 80s arrived to drive many of these original Jazz Rockers to seek greater commercial attention by moving their music to the Middle of the Road (like Chicago).

Continue reading »

Jul 032014
 

Released at the very beginning 2014, Colours of Joy, the sophomore album from Indonesian indie band lightcraft is quite the thing of beauty. Whilst its live dynamic is waves of shoegazey dreamy noise pop, the sonic agenda on this album is more lilting, more subtle and ultimately more graceful.

And this marked contrast works brilliantly from a recording perspective where there is less pressure to deliver an immediate high. It’s quite impossible not to fall in love with the luscious sounds and melancholy sentiments evident on songs like “Amazing Grace” and “Get Out on Your Way” – singer Imam’s voice is almost a ghostly whisper hovering like an angel over swaths of heavenly constructs.

Things do get slightly more expansive in the epic soundscapes of “The Other Side of the Glass”, “Starlit Eyes” and “Hello Goodbye” which are both more representative of the band’s live sound albeit without sacrificing an iota of the emotional resonance that marks lightcraft’s work.

If I had to make comparisons, I would have to say that lightcraft reminds me of a more stripped down version of one of my favourite bands – Starflyer 59. Believe me, as high as the standards Jason Martin has set, lightcraft do a more than credible job in evoking the same nuances, references and power. Highly recommended.

Connect with lightcraft!

 

Jul 032014
 

Alright. Here’s the deal – every week I randomly pick FIVE new releases listed at Spotify and tell you what I think (YAY or NAY?!), very spontaneously! No holds barred – fasten your seatbelts! Let me know what you think of the music in the comments…

MAGIC!Don’t Kill the Magic

This sounds like these guys saw all the hype surrounding Blue Swede’s “Hooked on a Feeling” (as featured on the Guardians of the Galaxy trailer) and a lightbulb appeared over their collective heads. But seriously folks, this is really commercial pop-rock, which heavy emphasis on reggae party vibes. A bit too smooth of my tastes though. NAY!

Continue reading »

Jul 022014
 

LostWeekend_140627_Bandcamp

There is always something one can take away from ‘classic’ pop songwriting. Whatever the era or the ‘genre’ classification, somethings do not change viz. memorable melodies, familiar chord progressions, soulful vocals and of course, an indefinably cool vibe.

To have seen Lost Weekend grow from that tentative pop group I had witnessed at last year’s Baybeats auditions to the confident music makers evident on this brand new double-A side single has been eminently satisfying.

“On a Sunday” will appeal to all lovers of indie pop – whether or not they are old enough to know the meaning of “C86″ or simply as a ‘genre’ that gets attached to hipster music festivals – with Rachel’s sultry vocals and Jonny’s Fannies-inspired guitar solo the prominent hooks.

“About Forever” is yet another track that recalls the glorious pop music of the 80s, substantively of the kind that the likes of Elvis Costello & Squeeze would regularly churn out i.e. with enough soul-R&B elements to keep things interesting. There is a groove driven by Mark’s bass work and Zj’s drums that totally underpins the song perfectly.

Two prime examples of matured songwriting that bodes well for fans of well-crafted song-oriented indie pop. Bloody essential! Get the single now from Bandcamp!