THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD: EMO FASCISM – TAKING STOCK

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So the new album has been out for more than a week now and to be brutally honest, I feel utterly disappointed by the lack of response. But wait…. what did I truly expect? The CDs (and T-shirts) to be sold out and that all my friends would pack out my shows? Ah yes, the problem of unrealistic expectations – the agony of hope not fulfilled.

After all, wasn’t the recording of the album for my own benefit? Yes and no. Indeed, the album has had a carthatic and therapeutic effect on the emotional rollercoaster that is now my daily existence. Yet, one cannot help but yearn for the acceptance of your peers, which is represented (rightly or wrongly) by attendance at shows, CDs and T-shirts sales. With all my low self-esteem issues bundled into and identified with the ‘success’ of the album, you can imagine it has not been an easy week for me.

Add to that complicated relationship difficulties and it’s not too far-fetched to suggest that I feel royally fucked-up at the moment. But wait…. that would ignore the positives and I really need to focus on and give recognition to these factors in order to survive and ultimately thrive. So here goes…

It was wonderful playing with Pat, Ray, Nelson and Ben (aka The Groovy People) and on stage I felt invincible. It has been amazing to collaborate with Lydia once again, she is so talented that my heart wants to burst – she is my protege in every sense of the word. The fact that she disappears before the end of the month makes this even more bittersweet (typical innit?)

To everyone who has attended the shows and purchased the CDs and T-shirts, THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart — I do cherish each and everyone of you — you give me hope that maybe I’m not a FAILED MUSICIAN after all….

… still there’s more …

 

 

NOW WHAT?

Where do we go from here? 

The problem with being a jack-of-all-trades is that once I lock into one specific thingy, it’s pretty difficult to keep up with all the other pies I have my fingers in.

Lately, I have been focusing very much on my recording artist hat and this webzine has been somewhat neglected. The visits have dropped dramatically and I am discovering that I don’t really give a fuck. In the past, it used to be that I had to maintain Power of Pop to give attention to obscure – foreign or domestic – bands/artists that I personally dug. But now, it seems that there are a multitude of blogs (I hate that word with a passion!) that serve that function and it seems that Power of Pop has become redundant.

And so, once again, I am at a crossroads, as far as this webzine is concern. After all, Power of Pop has been around since 1998 and it seems a shame to just pack it in but I am still trying to figure where this fits in, in the general scheme of things.

Thus, for the interim period (whatever that means and however long that may take), Power of Pop will no longer be the run-of-the-mill pop culture reviews site that it has been but instead, I want to take a step back and begin writing from a more idiosyncratic perspective. No more standard reviews but something different….

At this point of time, I am mulling over the idea of a weekly column of sorts where I comment on the various pop culture items that catch my fancy… maybe… stay tuned.

… still there’s more …

 

 

MARK BONAFIDE – ISSUES (W/ KIM OLSEN & ZAHIDAH)

Here’s a sweet, catchy and soulful fuck-off song from the ever-smooth Mark Bonafide. It’s pretty short too, clocking in at 2:53! That’s my only issue with “Issues” (ouch!) – I wish I could get MORE of its goodness! Nice interplay with Kim Olsen and Zahidah provides a riveting contrast. Taken from the forthcoming e.p. “LOVE/REBEL” it seems – can hardly wait! Check it out!

BABY ALPACA – EP [REVIEW]

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Chris Kittrell aka Baby Alpaca is yet another Brooklyn artist aiming to make a significant impact on the American and world indie rock worlds. Whatever commercial successes might be ahead of him, this eponymous EP at least demonstrates that Kittrell has a pop-savvy musical head on his shoulders. ‘Classic Rock N Soul’ is how Kittrell chooses to describe his music and yet again, it is refreshing to find a songwriter pulling together the myriad strands of rock and pop references at the disposal of a smart pop artist in 2013.

These four songs will keep rock scholars reaching for their stock lists of influences and inspirations as they attempt to pigeon-hole Baby Alpaca’s agenda into neat little packages. But that is ultimately a futile and frivolous exercise. For me, it’s the manner in which Kittrell manages to take 70s R&B rhythms, 80s power chords, folk harmonies and post-punk melodies to forge reasonably distinctive songs. But even without such anorak-like analysis, it’s a simple pleasure to just enjoy the infectious “On the Roam”, the svelte “Run With You”, the smoky reverb-drenched “Sea of Dreams” and the soul-inflected “Wild Child” for what they are – quality pop songs!

Keep an eye (and ear) out for Baby Alpaca!

Purchase the EP from iTunes. Like Baby Alpaca.

EMO FASCISM: PRE-ORDER AT BANDCAMP [NEWS]

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Things are brewing over at Emo FASCISM central. The CD is being pressed even as I write, a pre-release streaming arrangement is being worked out with Spotify and the digital album has been uploaded to iTunes.

However, if you want to download a track NOW, you can pre-order the digital album from Bandcamp, which will be released officially on 1st August. The song is “Texas” — probably the first song that properly kickstarted the writing of Emo FASCISM.

For those of you based in Singapore, you can wait for the first week of August when limited copies of the CD (with two bonus tracks) and a T-Shirt will be available for sale! Until the album release, you can listen to the 4-track sampler (“Silver”, “Dare”, “Edge” and “Beyond the Ashes”) at Soundcloud.

… still there’s more …

GEEK OUT! PACIFIC RIM [REVIEW]

Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim is the latest in a recent line of original scifi blockbusters that more or less began with the phenomenal success of Christopher Nolan’s Inception. And if like me, you thoroughly loved the creatures in Hellboy 2, then you would have a heightened sense of anticipation for del Toro’s take on the classic ‘giant robot vs monsters’ genre.

Set in the near future (2020s), the setup is typically apocalyptic: Earth is under attack by Kaiju: colossal monsters which have emerged from a portal on the ocean floor. To combat the monsters, humanity unites to create the Jaegers: gigantic humanoid mecha, each controlled by two pilots whose minds are joined by a neural bridge. The war has reach a critical juncture and unless the people behind the Jaegars are able to execute one last gambit, it’s the end of the world!

Alright, so the plot’s nothing to shout about. Del Toro envisioned Pacific Rim as an earnest, colourful adventure story, with an “incredibly airy and light feel”, in contrast to the “super-brooding, super-dark, cynical summer movie”. And it shows. The characters are cyphers, the story resolution is cliched and there is no grand themes – what you see is what you get – in other words.

But that’s precisely the point – “what you see” is staggering! The action sequences make the film – like it or not – powerful scenes of all-out battle between Jaegars and Kaiju, that’s the main reason why Pacific Rim succeeds where other movies involving fighting robots failed big time (are you taking notes, Michael Bay?) 3D IMAX is the absolutely essential viewing option for Pacific Rim – it should be the default option – as the massive action will literally fill up your eyes with gorgeous eye candy.

For me personally, I felt like a little boy again thrilling to those old Ultraman/Godzilla/Rodan and Sinbad movies – no surprise here as Pacific Rim is obviously del Toro’s loving tribute to Ray Harryhausen, Ishiro Honda and Eiji Tsuburaya – but this time the realism factor was pumped up to the max! It is difficult to describe without spoiling your fun – suffice to say that I was going – Wow! Wow! WOW! throughout each awesome battle scene.

For the true-blue geeks out there, you’re going to want to watch it again just for the action sequences!

Pacific Rim is showing in cinemas now.

 

 

 

ZALLEN – S/T [REVIEW]

Zallen (aka Mike Jones) has been laboring as an alternative pop artist for 15 years now and I have been awfully privileged to have been one of the few ‘in the know’. Zallen is a pop alchemist – able to take key 60s/70s pop influences and transform them into something personal and unique.

This is obvious from the get-go. The opening track of Zallen’s latest album – “Which Way Up” – manages to splice together the DNAs of 60s psychedelia (Barrett’s Pink Floyd, The Move and Traffic) with 70’s powerpop (Raspberries, Cheap Trick), not to mention a healthy dose of Bowie.

Ah yes, Bowie. This time around, it seems that Zallen has filtered much of the songwriting, arrangements and instrumentation through the lens of the legendary iconoclast. Tracks like “Grime”, “Stolen” and of course, “Bowie The Android Boy” are the clearest examples of this approach, without ever sounding outright derivative.

Indeed, Zallen utilizes Bowie’s penchant for eclecticism to spur him into expansive territory as the clean and uncluttered pop sounds of “Happy Puppy” and “Shy Boy” provide a wonderful contrast to the darker, buzzier compositions that pervade the album.

The CD comes with bonus enhanced portion with video, photos, lyrics and Zallen’s excellent artwork as well.

Official Site

DEAD BOOTS – VERONICA [REVIEW]

By now you should be aware of Power of Pop‘s quest to find the courageous bands out there who buck the current post-punk revival trend and mine the coolness of 60s/70s classic rock n’ roll. Talk about risk-taking! So add Dead Boots to the list. With influences identified as Cheap Trick, White Stripes, The Rolling Stones, Beatles, The Who and the Velvet Underground, it’s not too difficult to appreciate the blood, sweat and tears that the band – Tony Perry (Guitar),  Adrian Perry (Vocals, Bass), Ben Tileston (Drums, Vocals) and Lou Jannetty (Guitar, Vocals) – have poured into its debut LP, Veronica.

Songs like the psychedelic “Violent Vows”, the rollicking “Wrecking Ball” and raucous “On the Rocks” truly hit the spot for true-blue rock n’ roll lovers. There are numerous delights here to be savored by fans of 60s pop- rock – “I See You Coming” has a lovely Californian vibe whilst “One of Me” has a dirty bluesy approach that Black Keys fans will dig.

Check out the power-poppin’ “Saturdays” below.

Official Site

DIRT RADICALS – LIVE IN SINGAPORE [INTERVIEW]

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The Dirt Radicals will perform at China One, Clarke Quay on Tuesday, July 2nd 2013. Ahead of its performance, Sam Cooper, the band’s guitarist/vocalist answered queries posed by Power of Pop via email.

What has the band been up to since the release of  … I’ve Got A Rad Feelin’ About This!?

We have pretty much just been touring and trying to promote the band as much as possible! We went to Taiwan, Indonesia and Japan a couple of times and have just been pluggin’ away in the UK.

In your bio, you describe Dirt Radicals as a “progressive punk rock band” – what does that mean?

I think the words ‘pop-punk’ or ‘punk rock’ have a pretty bad wrap in this day and age. Our new album isn’t either of those genres, and those genres tend to be pigeon-holed as easy, 3 chords and boring. We think our style is a bit more progressive than your stereotypical pop-punk/punk rock with more intricacies, and probably a better understanding of composition than most people expect from punk rock.

The Dirt Radicals is now based in the UK – what was the reason for the move?

We never really had a ‘base’ as Matt always lived in the UK, and Mas always lived in Japan. I think we just needed to put a name to where we were based so we could focus on a territory and not confuse people.

Tell us about the recording of the new album, Enter Destroyer.

– where was it recorded?

Enter Destroyer was recorded in different studios across the world, throughout 2012. Drums and Bass were recorded in Singapore while we were in town for a show in 2011. Guitars were recorded in Japan, and the rest (Vocals etc.) were done in the UK.

– who was it produced by?

We had so many different fingers in the pie over the 2 years that we were working on it, so there never was one producer on the record at one time. Ben Rosen from The Gunnery (Marilyn Manson/Unwritten Law/8mm) played a big part in a few of the songs like ‘The Greatest Depression Since The Great Depression’.

– how are the songs different from your debut album?

Enter Destroyer is just a lot better crafted i’d say! We took the time because we didn’t want to rush this one. We kinda felt like our first record was rushed! The songs are more aggressive, yet still approachable to people who don’t like ‘heavy music’ – if that makes sense? I’d say Mas did a great job on guitar parts, and I’m really proud of the melodies.

How do you feel about playing Singapore again? Any special memories about Singapore that you wanna share?

I don’t remember much from the last time we were in Singapore because I think we might have partied a little too hard. I’m a bit anxious about this Singapore show actually! It could be the only show in Asia we do for a very long time – so I want it to be a good one!

Enter Destroyer is out now! Buy at iTunes.

Tickets are $20 at the door.

Produced by SNOWBIRD PRODUCTIONS.
Official Venue : China One
Marketing Partner : The Linch Agency
Official Drink: Jack Daniel’s

PAUL MCCARTNEY AND WINGS: ROCKSHOW DVD

It’s almost impossible for me to be completely objective about Paul McCartney & Wings and this particular DVD. After all, Wings Over America – the live triple album that was released from this tour was one of my very first album purchases as a wide-eyed 15 year-old fledging rock fan.

So it’s full-blown nostalgia as I watched this recording of the concert in Seattle in 1976 where 67,000 fans witnessed McCartney & Wings deliver 28 songs including not only the band’s greatest hits but also tunes from McCartney’s Beatles songbook!

Some of my favourite versions of McCartney’s material are featured here – “Maybe I’m Amazed”, “The Long and Winding Road”, “My Love”, “Let Me Roll It”, “Live and Let Die”, “Letting Go” and so on. Supported ably by arguably the best Wings lineup – Denny Laine, the late Jim McCulloch and Joe English – not to mention a crack horn section, Rockshow is a historic document that is wonderfully presented for audiences (old and new) almost forty years later.

Highly recommended – but you knew that!

TRIPWIRES – SPACEHOPPER [REVIEW]

This is epic Brit-rock at its finest. And when I say ‘Brit-rock’, I am basically referring to the psychedelic noise-rock outfits that have illuminated the British music scene in the 80s and 90s. Which roughly means references to post-punk, shoegaze and Britpop – sounds good to me!

Reading outfit, Tripwires, consist of longtime friends frontman Rhys Edwards, guitarist Joe Stone, bassist Ben White and drummer Sam Pilsbury, certainly have a collective finger on the pulse on what has made Brit-rock the coolest kid on the indie rock block.

Meaning – a diverse range of styles that augment stellar songwriting that emphasizes melodies and arrangements over a gimmicky veneer. It’s so obvious that this quartet are genuine rock fans to begin with – enthusing as they do over Neil Young and Yo La Tengo to the Flaming Lips and Sonic Youth (yes, not a Brit amongst them) but closer inspection reveal other pointed influences.

“Feedback Loop” seems to channel a unique combo of Suede and the Verve, “Shimmer” (listen below) betrays a psych-gaze vibe that recalls latter-day Ride and the House of Love (via the Bunnymen, perhaps) whilst the opening title track’s space-rock leanings will leave Swervedriver and early Radiohead fans with a huge grin on their faces.

Brit-rock lovers need not hesitate, Tripwires’ Spacehopper is an album made in heaven, for you!

Official Site

TRI-STATE – EP [REVIEW]

‘Old school indie rock band’ – has a certain ring, don’t it? The phrase has an air of authenticity that distinguishes its proponents from the hipster poseurs that dominate the modern rock world at the moment.

Tri-State hail from Essex County, NJ and consist of Mason Rather (bass/vocals), Jeff Zelevansky (guitar/vocals), Brady McNamara (drums), Julian Brash (guitar/vocals). In its email request to us, the band claimed an affinity for “Built to Spill, Guided by Voices, Pavement, and so on”. All fine references!

In actual fact, it’s probably more accurate to describe Tri-State as classic rock n’ roll band in the grand tradition of The Rolling Stones, The Band and Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers where the stylings of country, folk, rock and pop meld together to produce a heady, melodic groovy brew.

This six-track debut EP may be low on production values but that doesn’t detract from the integrity of sound and vision, an open-minded rock lover will definitely discover. An attitude that prioritizes substance over form pervades the EP with songs that are lovingly crafted to be the best they can be. It’s always refreshing to listen to a band that ignores artifice and pretense in favor of honest music-making.

Whether it be the working class invocations of  “Hawk in the Fog”, the gleeful jangly abandon of “All Different”, the balladic whimsy of “Search Party”, the Westerberg-channeling “Muddling Thru”, the dynamic earthiness of “Back Before” or the quirky folk of “Country Squire”, Tri-State hit the right notes, by and large.

In the final analysis, good songwriting and a dogged determination win the day for rock n’ roll excellence! Recommended.

More info at Facebook.

MUM, WAVVES & SHELVES – LIVE AT ZOUK [REVIEW]

Picture by Dawn CHUA
Mum by Dawn CHUA

It ain’t rock n’ roll. 

Well, for most part (two-thirds) this oddly curated gig featured the loud, brash, melody-driven indie rock that I personally get my rocks off to completely. And whereas the likes of Shelves and Wavves had whipped up the crowd into a frenzy of sorts, Icelandic experimental outfit Mum duly engineered a totally different mood and tone. Minimalist, arty-farty, esoteric and pretentious, it left some members of the audience scratching their heads (figuratively, of course) though for the diehards, it was manna from heaven.

Wavves by Dawn Chua
Wavves by Dawn CHUA

Now, believe me, I have sufficient knowledge to be able to understand where Mum was coming from, artistically and creatively but that merely reaches out to my head and not my groin. No such problem with Wavves who plunged headlong into punky no-wave feedback-drenched bubblegum ditties with a vengeance that compelled many a audience member to mosh and headbang. Short, sharp and sweet songs that needed no artful explanation to comprehend.

Shelves by Dawn CHUA
Shelves by Dawn CHUA

Shelves, as always, ever dependable to provide the sugar and the beat, Noel Yeo animated as usual, fronting the band with geeky abandon and it is indeed encouraging to see new lead guitarist Daryl Peh getting into the groove, whilst the reliable rhythm section of Robin Chua and Brian Leery lock down the ever important pulse.

A curiously eclectic lineup that challenged the usual conventions well enough to just about… work. Kudos goes to the organizers (Chugg/19SIXTYFIVE) accordingly. MORE!

 

 

DEAD STARS – HIGH GAIN EP [REVIEW]

The early 90s were an exciting time for alternative rock. It was an epoch where edgy melodies met crunchy guitars with pummeling rhythms! Hell yes, it’s time for a 90s alt-rock revival and Williamsburg, Brooklyn’s Dead Stars have no qualms declaring their intent to evokes the likes of Teenage Fanclub, Pavement, Sonic Youth and Dinosaur, Jr. in their delightfully tuneful rock agenda.

This five-track EP is a pleasing introduction to the wonders of Dead Star’s way with a melody and ups the ante with punk, country and folk vibes headily incorporated for a intoxicating brew. The one-two knockout punch of the rollicking “Waste Away” and sensitive “Let It Go” bring out all the best feelings rock n’ roll imparts – adrenaline pumping, wild abandon and the unconfined thrill of rock songs that hit the spot!

Consisting of Jeff Moore (guitar/vocals), John Watterberg (bass) and Jaye Moore (drums), Dead Stars is a power trio of the best kind  – where that indeterminable touch of cool and homespun connection meld perfectly – the ultimate godsend for rock fans out there tired of all this fucking hipster bullshit!

LONG AND WINDING ROAD: EMO FASCISM – ARE WE THERE YET?

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We are about seven weeks away from the launch of Emo FASCISM Launch Week!

As far as the music is concerned, Pat and I are working on the final mixes of the 12 songs that will make up the CD. A 4-track sampler is now available at Soundcloud with opening track “Silver” the final teaser in the set. Check it out below.

Eric has done his part – the cover design – and the art concept will be carried through on the CD sleeve, merch and posters (with the assistance of the lovely 23賴). See below.

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Four dates have been confirmed during the Emo FASCISM Launch Week. Details to come soon.

Emo FASCISM will also be available on Bandcamp and iTunes in August for those unable to attend any of the gigs.

Very excited about this new milestone in my musical career and none of this would have been possible without the amazing Patrick Chng, who has been an inspiration and endless source of encouragement to me to record a new album after all these years!

So, look out for more news to come in the weeks ahead.

… still there’s more …

POPTV: ESTHER LOWLESS – STRANGE PLACE TO MEET [VIDEO]

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Heads up, folks! This coming Friday 21st June, Esther Lowless will launch her amazing debut EP – Strange Place to Meet – at the Esplanade Recital Studio. How good is the EP? Well, I gave it 5 stars over at TODAY and it is no exaggeration to state that it is one of the best debut recordings I have heard in a while.

Not only that but Lowless has – together with talented collaborators – produced music videos to accompany each one of the six tracks on the EP. You can view these videos at her YouTube channel. My favourite is the gorgeous “Everything”, a duet with Mark John Hariman, which you can watch below.

So don’t miss this! Get your tickets now!!

Tickets are priced at $25 (Standard), and $20 (Students). Email estherlowlessmusic@gmail.com to purchase your tickets.

GEEK OUT! MAN OF STEEL [REVIEW]

Reboot. Re-imagination. Re-telling.

In geek movie franchises (scifi, fantasy or superhero), going back to the beginning to re-introduce a iconic character is virtually unavoidable nowadays. In Batman Begins (2005), Christopher Nolan (director/co-screenwriter) and David S Goyer (co-screenwriter) succeeded in re-vitalizing the Dark Knight after the critical failure of Batman & Robin (1997). This success was due to Nolan’s approach to portray Batman as realistically as possible (within the context of a superhero movie) and Nolan and Goyer would bring the franchise to greater heights with Dark Knight (2008) and Dark Knight Rises (2012).

It was therefore natural for Warner Bros and DC Comics to look to Nolan and Goyer to do the same for Superman. By all accounts, Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns (2006) was a massive flop and Warner Bros was keen to turn it all around for Superman with Man of Steel. Adding director Zack Snyder (300 and Watchmen) to the mix, Nolan and Goyer applied the Dark Knight approach to Superman.

And it works.

With nods to numerous scifi movies of the recent past (MatrixIndependence Day) and a healthy referencing of the first two Christopher Reeve Superman movies, Man of Steel is,without doubt, one of the best superhero movies ever made and provides a solid platform for Warner Bros to build up the DC Universe from its foundation.

So many high points – the brilliant cast, the thought-provoking themes, the appropriate flashback sequences, the astounding art direction, the sensational special effects and dynamic film score – but the best part of all was that Snyder, Nolan and Goyer chose not to pander to the comic book audience only but instilled a science-fictional tread that ran right through the well-written plot narrative.

Highly recommended.

Man of Steel is now showing at a cinema near you.

BORN CAGES – THE SIDELINES EP [REVIEW]

Lest we forget, in the mid-70s New York brought forth nascent punk and the ‘new wave’. Even as there appears to be a new punk uprising in London, might we also witness an exciting fresh rock n’ roll perspective from New York?

Well, when I first heard the opening lines to “Don’t Look Back” – the first track of Brooklyn band Born Cages‘ new EP The Sidelines EP, there was a palpable sense of overwhelming promise that bears closer examination. (Listen below)

Born Cages (Vlad Holiday on lead vocals and guitar, Amanda Carl on keyboards, Steve Kellner on bass, and Dave Tantao on drums) seems to have engineered a sound that manages to squeeze arena rock and post-punk sensibilities into the same headspace.

Imagine if you will, Bruce Springsteen fronting Television instead of the E Street Band and perhaps you might begin to get a better idea of the rush I experiences when confronted by Born Cages’ sonic agenda.

This thrill-making is further explored in tracks like “Caiti”, where references to Arctic Monkey’s driving guitar rhythm are evoked, and “Metaphor”, where jaded dance-pop is given a shot in the arm by sinewy alt-country rock!

But ultimately it is the edgy anthemic lustre of “Don’t Look Back” that holds the biggest hope that perhaps Born Cages will be able to transcend genre limitations and break out…

Official Site

WAVVES – LIVE AT ZOUK [INTERVIEW]

One more for the road. Stephen Wavves talks to us about the upcoming gig at Zouk with Mum and Shelves.

What is the first thing you’re gonna do when you arrive in Singapore?
Eat eat eat eat

What is the one fact that you do know about Singapore?
Singapore has a reputation of having incredibly strict policies….particularly regarding behavior. So we all have to watch ourselves and not get arrested.

What can fans expect from your performance in Singapore?
Our shows usually are pretty high energy. Lots of kids moshing and stagediving. The more the crowd gets into it the more we get into. We feed off the energy of each other.

What are you most looking forward to in Singapore?
Other than meeting the people who have common interests….its gotta be eating. I’m fat.

Do you have a message for your fans in Singapore?
Come say hi and bring us sweet Singaporean treats.

Tickets are available now on zoukclub.com at $80.
Doors open 7:30pm.

THE ROLLING STONES: CROSSFIRE HURRICANE [DVD REVIEW]

Considering the number of iconic films that The Rolling Stones have been associated with – Gimme Shelter, Sympathy for the DevilPerformance and Cocksucker Blues, it was simply not enough for director Brett Morgen to come up with a by-the-numbers 50th anniversary retrospective. Which, to his immense credit, he didn’t!

Fact is, Crossfire Hurricane manages to provide a kaleidoscopic perspective of events that made the Stones the living rock n’ roll legends that they are. One very crucial decision made was not to shoot the Stones as they currently are – so they only provide the relevant voiceover but visually, the viewer is never distracted from the story by how the Stones look like in 2013 (basically, old).

In this manner, Crossfire Hurricane is able to be interesting to new and old fans alike. It never comes across as a nostalgic exercise but a critical study of key events of the Stones’ career that intersected with the milestones of rock n’ roll. Thus, this documentary film is essential for longtime fans as well as rock scholars.

BEVLYN KHOO – THE PEOPLE I’VE KNOWN [REVIEW]

After a couple of albums where she mainly recorded covers, singer-songwriter Bevlyn Khoo is in her element once again, with an indie album of her own original material. This bi-lingual work (seven Mandarin, four English) demonstrates Bevlyn’s astute understanding of the soft rock dynamics of the Seventies (which forms the core of Mando-pop). Crucially, Bevlyn is much more than a pretty face and pleasing voice – she is a serious songwriter in her own right!

That said, whilst the opening track “The Haha Song” is a little throwaway and inconsequential – it is with songs like the soulful ballad “I Just Want You To Know” that Bevlyn is able to easily tug on heart strings with the right chord changes, vocal inflections and thoughtful arrangements. Without a doubt, this number is one of the finer ballads I have heard in 2013.

The title track has a strong John Barry vibe (what with the Midnight Cowboy harmonica) and is yet another touching piano ballad, “Sweet Love” will send all the bossa nova lovers out there into ecstasy and “Let Me Think About It” borrows knowingly from Barry White, with all the late 70s disco feel that that implies (new Daft Punk fans might want to investigate).

Surprised yet? There’s more to Bevlyn Khoo than meets the eye. Seventies pop fans cannot ignore this rather intriguing indie release.

Official Site

 

 

MUM – LIVE AT ZOUK [INTERVIEW]

Icelandic wonders Mum will thrill local audiences when they return to our shores on 15th June at Zouk, alongside Wavves and our very own Shelves. Ahead of the gig, we had a short and sharp exchange with Mum’s Örvar Þóreyjarson Smárason.

What is the first thing you’re gonna do when you arrive in Singapore?

I am going to have something to eat. I had amazing indian food there last time, so I am looking forward to that.

What is the one fact that you do know about Singapore?

I heard somewhere that you can’t chew gum on the street. It’s probably not true, but I like it because I really can’t stand chewing gum.

What can fans expect from your performance in Singapore?

They can expect to be surprised. Expecting the unexpected is a good way to spend the evening.

What are you most looking forward to in Singapore?

Playing the show is of course on the top of my list, but I really look forward to walking around and looking at all the huge buildings.

Do you have a message for your fans in Singapore?

Have fun, stay loose and play nice.

Tickets are available now on zoukclub.com at $80.
Doors open 7:30pm.

BAYBEATS 2013 [NEWS]

I’ll be honest with you (stop laughing!) – I haven’t been pushing this years’ Baybeats Festival as hard as I have in previous years because I think it’s reached a critical mass where it doesn’t need my 2cts worth anymore. Also, with the number of local music blogs that have appeared in the last year or so, I don’t feel that Power of Pop needs to carry that burden any longer. Which is an excellent sign for the S-ROCK scene, of course.

Suffice to say that if you’re a music lover and happen to be in country during those three days – 28, 29 & 30 June – then you cannot miss Baybeats 2013. And…which bands would Power of Pop recommend? Here goes.

Friday, 28th – Mannequins (7pm, Outdoor Theatre) | Dropbeat Heartbeat (7.30pm, Powerhouse) | Tall Mountains (7pm, 8.30pm, 10pm Concourse) | Force Vomit (9.30pm, Powerhouse).

Saturday, 29th – sub:shaman (6 pm, Outdoor Theatre) | Pastelpower (3.30pm, Observation Deck 6.15pm, 9.15pm Concourse) | These Brittle Bones (5.30pm Observation Deck 7.45pm, 10pm Concourse) | Wormrot (9.30pm, Powerhouse)

Sunday, 30th – 7nightsatsea (6 pm, Outdoor Theatre) | The Pinholes (6.15pm, 7.45pm Concourse) | Esther Lowless (3.30pm, Observation Deck 7pm, 8.30pm Concourse) | A Vacant Affair (8.30pm, Powerhourse) | Electrico (9pm, Outdoor Theatre)

More info at the Baybeats 2013 website.

… still there’s more …