Here’s a promising track from Celestia, one of the bands on SPear. “Boy in the Well” is an intriguing (probably unintentional) combination of post-punk BIG music (U2, Simple Minds), alt-country and rock n’ roll, with an ironically passive female vocal (and she does go quite flat on the crucial last note!). Wish the SPear website had more information about the song and the band. In any case you can check out Celestia and three other bands tomorrow at the SPear Launch at the Coliseum. In the meantime, enjoy “Boy in the Well”.
An exclusive triple-bill of indie acts, featuring Singapore’s own Shelves, American surf-rockers Wavves and Icelandic
experimental band Múm, will be held on 15 June, 8pm at Zouk. Ahead of next Saturday’s gig, we got Shelves’ Noel Yeo to share his thoughts with us.
Can you talk about the recent personnel changes in Shelves?
A big one! We say bye to Mel, who, you know, has been with me since Suchness, and hello to Daryl, whom we first met as our sound guy at Hood Bar. He essentially came up to us and said, hi, I’ve got your LP, which was great because that meant he knew our sound so we didn’t really have to brief him. But it is a dirtier, grittier sound he’s introducing to Shelves, which we all love.
Can we expect new material at the Zouk show?
Actually yes! We are often somewhat embarrassed to be playing songs not on our album. I mean, it was the impetus to get our debut recorded and released. We were playing too many songs not meant to be on the album. So now we have an EP in the works. Sort of. We know which songs, but new ones keep being added in. Might be an LP by next week.
Múm or Wavves – which do you prefer more and why?
I should start by saying that I love both. Caught mum when they were last here in Singapore. But Wavves is definitely closer to our hearts now, if not sound. Quite a dream to be opening for them, really. Ok, didn’t actually dream that, but if you told me a few months ago Shelves would be opening for Wavves, I’d be, yes, perfect, but how unlikely is that.
How do you feel about sharing a stage with these bands?
It’s an impossible line-up. Mum with Wavves? I didn’t think they had the same fans. Add to that Shelves? Read that for other parts of the tour the line-up was Mum, Wavves and British Sea Power. I feel like apologising. I would have loved to catch them.
What is in the future for Shelves?
We don’t really make plans. We even have a song about that, which going to be in our next EP/LP. Is that a plan?
Tickets are available now on zoukclub.com AND Event Cliquehttp://bit.ly/16NwTVS at $80.
Doors open 7:30pm.
Stay tuned for interviews with Múm and Wavves.
…still there’s more…
There can be no doubt about The Eagles‘ place in rock history. Biggest selling album of the 20th century, inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame, a comeback album that sold in excess of 5 million in these troubled times for the music industry and a best-selling live show that continues to run and run.
Not to mention, a sideshow of controversy that has dogged the band despite the absolute highs. The high profile suit by former member Don Felder against The Eagles and the publication of Felder’s ‘tell-all’ book, Heaven and Hell: My Life in the Eagles (1974 – 2001) has tarnished somewhat the reputations of Don Henley and Glenn Frey (the co-leaders of the band) but that has not stopped the musical juggernaut from continuing to pull in the big bucks.
This documentary – as you might imagined – tells the story from Henley and Frey’s perspective. Both men are rather dismissive about Felder in the interviews and Frey evens gets in some descriptive expletives for good measure. The fact that the duo come across smug and self-righteous leaves a very bad taste in the mouth.
The first DVD recounts the band’s rise to fame and implosion in 1980 with rare footage and incisive comments from the key players. The second DVD recounts the band’s even more impressive comeback beginning the Hell Freezes Over tour in 1990.
Of the two DVDs, the first one is the most exciting as one gets to witness the making of iconic songs (“Take It Easy”, “One of These Nights”) and albums (Hotel California) and how Henley and Frey went from backing Linda Ronstadt to having the best-selling album of the 20th Century – Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975). The second DVD, well, is simply too sanctimonious at times with the unwelcome sight of Henley and Frey justifying their arrogance – rather unwatchable at times. Overall, the excellent first DVD is worth the price of admission though.
I have not known Nelson Tan for too long but in that short space of time, I have found him to be one of the most dedicated musicians out there in the unforgiving world of S-ROCK. His love and passion for music has led Nelson to cover a whole range of musical styles and formats. After all, I first came across him when he replaced Kenny Png on bass with In Each Hand a Cutlass and neo-progressive instrumental rock is a far cry from the finely-tuned Mando-rock you will find on Nelson’s newly-released solo album, Kyrie Eleison (Greek for “Lord, have mercy”).
Suffice to for me to state that the album is well-crafted and produced and filled to the brim with fine melodies, thoughtful arrangements and instrumentation to satisfy pop lovers, whether or not you follow Mando-rock specifically. For me personally, I am honoured that Nelson decided to cover “My One & Only” in Mandarin and according to the man himself, the translation is faithful to the original lyrics. I will take his word for that.
Nelson launches Kyrie Eleison tonight at Hood Bar from 8pm.
Check out Kyrie Eleison‘s Bandcamp page.
Like Nelson Tan on Facebook.
Underworld’s Karl Hyde has been in the music business since 1980 and Edgeland is Hyde’s first solo album!
Having fronted Underworld through different genres within the electronic music sphere – before making the big time in the 1990s with techno dance music – it’s refreshing to consider Hyde’s musical approach to his debut solo work.
On Edgeland, Hyde takes his new role as singer-songwriter seriously with a clutch of well-crafted pop-rock songs which exploit his electronic music background to the hilt. The result – memorable melodies, thoughtful lyrics and fresh song arrangements/instrumentations and a worthy addition to the essential listening pile for 2013.
Outstanding tracks include “Angel Cafe” with its ‘found sound’ percussion and heavenly atmospherics; “Your Perfume Was The Best Thing” with its chorus synth hooks and textured harmonies and “Cut Clouds” with its ambient stylings and fragile demeanour. Brilliant.
Look I believe in supporting as many different ‘genres’ as possible, especially within the S-ROCK scene but sometimes one does impose a certain bias upon musical direction and approaches. Take guitarist Matthew Lee for example. His 9-track album is instrumental rock that covers a gamut of diverse styles – hard rock, metal, pop-punk, classical and even sentimental – so there’s no questioning his eclecticism. But some of the tracks – “=D”, “I Remember Happiness” and “Strawberry Vanilla” should really have vocals and not a guitar playing what are essentially vocal lines.
No quibbling with Lee’s technical prowess whatsoever but there’s no getting over the nagging feeling that some of these tracks would be better served with vocals. Check out Strawberry Vanilla and see if you agree…
Getting the indie underground into the mainstream! (and not the other way round)
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No pressure, no guilt but your support is always appreciated.
Is it 1991 again? I sure hope so! This split 7″ shared between two London-based punk outfits viz. Skinny Girl Diet and The Ethical Debating Society, is a refreshing kick in the nuts for music lovers tired of the travesty known as ‘pop-punk’.
SGD‘s two tracks – “DMT” and “Homesick” strike a blow against pristine, hi-fi, politically correct teenybopper crap that poses as ‘punk’ in 2013. Literally three chord wonders that bleed with attitude and a reckless disregard for the conventions of what a female pop band should sound like (especially like the way “Homesick” actually speeds up during the song!). Sure, it’s a style and look that recalls the Riot Grrl movement of the 90s (and all its antecedents) but definitely, something we desperately need in these anti-sceptic musical times!
Similarly, TEDS owe a debt to the Riot Grrl movement with its strident anti-pop agenda. The two songs here – “Child’s Play” and “Creosote Idea” are slightly more structured punk fare with an agitprop slant. Lots of shouting backed by slashing guitars and over before you even know it – but ultimately catchy as all hell.
For all the angsty people out there — this means YOU!
Now, here’s something different for the S-ROCK scene. SPear stands for “Singapore Polytechnic Emerging Artist & Repertoire” and is an initiative utilizing a new teaching pedagogy developed by Singapore Polytechnic (SP) under its Diploma in Music and Audio Technology course.
Essentially, SPear operates as a record label and production house whereby student bands are given the opportunity to record and release EPs under the SPear banner. According to a SP rep, the songs and recordings are ‘co-owned’ by SPear and the various bands and each band will record and release a 3-track EP under this initiative.
SPear will be holding its launch at The Coliseum, Hard Rock Hotel, Sentosa on Friday, June 7th, where the first four student bands under this scheme viz. V’Bel, Victoria Street, Formalisms and Celestia will perform. The SP rep has informed us that major labels like Warner Music & Universal Music and renowned independent labels like EQ music and Snakeweed Records will be in attendance at this event.
There will be a guest appearance by The Sam Willows.
Stay tuned for more information.
Registration for free tickets at www.spear.com.sg.
Lots of contemplation about what my online presence should be. I have a few blogs floating around although Power of Pop remains the main outlet for my music views. I had previously attempted to make this webzine more popular by including news items and features on modern pop artists and bands (that I really didn’t care about) and this will now stop altogether. From now on, Power of Pop will only feature bands and artists that I personally think deserve to be. Plain and simple. It’s all down to me – the credit and the blame — this has been my mouthpiece for 15 fucking years and will always be (and to hell with stats). My priorities will still remain with promoting S-ROCK at every given opportunity and that will never change…For those of you loyal readers who have been along for this ride all this while, I thank you from the bottom of my heart and always remember…
…STILL THERE’S MORE…
The little girl with the BIG voice.
Weish has a well-received opening slot for Tegan & Sara under her belt already and her star is certainly in the ascendency. Find out what all the fuss is about this Wednesday (May 29) at Timbre @ The Substation from 8pm.
Like Weish’s Facebook page.
Part of their promotional tour for their latest album Heartthrob, Canadian sisters Tegan and Sara performed at the Esplanade Concert Hall on the 13th of May.
Apparently handpicked by Tegan and Sara themselves, homegrown singer-songwriter Weish delivered a memorable opening act that featured her signature searing vocals and electric looping shenanigans. Continually layering, looping, and effecting her voice into rich tapestries of songs, this reviewer thinks Weish is an act to watch, and a breath of creative fresh air in a local scene crowded with too many plaintive guitar-based songs from singer-songwriters.
It’s been almost a week since I got back from England where I spent nearly 14 days with TypeWriter on the band’s English Breakfast Tour to London, Plymouth, Cornwall and Liverpool, so I thought I’d better put down my thoughts about the experience before they faded away…
This will not be a blow-by-blow account cum tour diary but more a reflection on how the experience touched me and changed my life. Yes, I know that sounds corny and maybe exaggerated but in the week since I have been back I have been inspired to make actual changes in my life.
Going away on tour with a rock band was something I had done in 2011 (for the first time!) with Cheating Sons but that was China. This was England and the very thought of being in my ancestral home with a band was mind blowing. Seriously, on many fronts, I had serious doubts whether we could pull it off, even as I was the one who had started the ball rolling.
We did! And that knowledge gives me renewed confidence and expanded ambitions to go further with this whole music thing. There are new territories for S-ROCK to explore and conquer at home, in the region and beyond and I want to be in the middle of the action and not an observer on the sidelines.
We met really cool music people and the band was appreciated by an entirely new audience. There were mistakes made but lessons learnt. Everywhere the band played, folks were impressed and were keen to find out more about the Singapore music scene – to many of them it seemed incomprehensible that English rock songs were made in Singapore at all!
At the International Pop Overthrow Festival in Liverpool, it seemed inconceivable that a band had flown thousands of kilometres to play at the famous Cavern Club (I believe the distance between Singapore and Liverpool is about 15,000 km!) and I want to take this opportunity to thank organizer David Bash for giving the band the chance to do so.
As cliched as it may sound, this is only the beginning and as June approaches, there are numerous exciting musical activities coming up for myself and the bands I look after. I am truly excited at the possibilities of the next couple of years within the Singapore music scene and beyond. STILL THERE’S MORE indeed.
Let me get this off my chest right from the get-go. The best way to enjoy J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek Into Darkness is to watch it in IMAX 3D, switch your brain off and simply enjoy the ride. The visual spectacle should be able to remove all your concerns about plot holes, character motivations and illogical actions.
Will be in England with TypeWriter for the next two weeks. Back on 20th May. In the meantime, come and visit Power of Pop as often as you can – there’s still loads of content here for you to explore.
This is special. I’ve first came across Esther Lowless back in 2007 as the frontperson of the now-defunct Indus Gendi and was duly impressed by her vocals, songwriting and keyboard playing. With respect to the last matter, enough to have her on board as part of The Groovy People and she contributed amazing vocal and keyboard parts to the Watchmen@Midnight EP. Since then, she’s gone on to be a side-woman of sorts in Monster Cat and DEON but finally, Esther Lowless steps out of the shadows and releases her debut EP, Strange Place to Meet, on 21st June.
But there’s more. Esther herself is also a freelance actress and in that spirit, decided that her project could serve as an “anthological mosaic of short films that displayed the brilliance of Singapore’s filmmakers” with the music films in Strange Place To Meet made possible by Henry Hiah, Leonard Soosay, Gerald Stahlmann, Sivaraj Pragasm, Wu Jun Han, and Esther herself.
To be released via http://www.youtube.com/user/estherlowlessmusic from 19th of May onwards, the 6 short films – visual representations of Esther’s songs – will lead up to the album launch of Strange Place To Meet, to be held at the Esplanade Recital Studio this 21st June 2013, 9pm. Tickets can be purchased by emailing email@example.com one’s name, contact details, and number of tickets one wishes to purchase.
Apart from the launch, Esther will also be playing with a full band at Hood Bar and Cafe on the 18th of May 2013, 7.15pm, and three acoustic sets on Baybeats Day 3 (30th June 2013): one acoustic set at the Esplanade library at 3.30pm and two acoustic sets at the Chillout Stage at 7pm and 8.30pm.
Reviews to come. Suffice to say that Esther Lowless has truly evolved into a genuine art-rocker and the music on her EP will rather amazingly evoke the likes of Sakamoto, Massive Attack, Russian Circles and more. A truly scintillating EP!
…still there’s more…
The 90s alt-rock revival continues apace with singer-songwriter Sam Page weighing in with a knowing album of edgy melodic rock n’ roll numbers that bring to mind the likes of Dinosaur Jr, Gumball, Sebadoh and Buffalo Tom. There’s little doubt that J Mascis weighs in heavily as a positive influence on Page’s work as evidenced on tracks like “Hold On” and “Now I Know”. Page is less slacker-rock-intensive with more casual swagger that suggests several nods to Neil Young & Crazy Horse.
There’s an easy going charm in songs like “Tumbleweed in the Grand Scheme” and “Crush (Lovin’ You)” whilst other tracks like “I Don’t Want To Think About Her Anymore” and “Pheromones” have a cockeyed tongue-in-cheek attitude that recalls Canadian smart rockers The Pursuit of Happiness and even Elvis Costello, on some level.
All told, Breach is a solid rock n’ roll album of the old school variety, where the songs serve each other and the greater good as a whole. The lyrics are clever and pointed, the music is rollicking good fun and the attitude is always spot-on sardonic. Much to admire on Breach and always encouraging to see artists unafraid to follow their own muse, wherever it may take them, without too much notice of current trends.
Iron Man 2 was only half a movie, in my humble opinion. The first half was quick-paced and exhilarating but then the wheels came off and the movie came to a tired conclusion. The sequel did well at the box office but one sensed that director Jon Favreau had lost interested in the franchise that he had kickstarted. So when it came to talk about the third Iron Man movie, Favreau passed and Shane Black came onboard.
A promising sign of a developing indie music scene is the ability to embrace different styles of music where the key factor is not ‘genre’ but an appreciation of ‘good’ music. Melodic pop-rock quartet Tricks & Cider is a wonderful example of this.
I first met singer-songwriter-guitarist Victoria Ho (above, far left) a few years back (as part of the Noise-Timbre Singer-Songwriter Showcase) and was impressed by her lovely husky voice and songwriting (and easy going manner). I remember her sharing with me some tracks she had recorded (live in a jamming studio) with a band and though the songs were promising, the performance itself was at best, shambolic.
Fast forward to last year and I’d invited Victoria to Sing A New Song, a songwriters’ showcase held at Esplanade Library (which included then-newcomers The Sam Willows and Tall Mountains). She performed as part of hew new band, Tricks & Cider (which included a former piano school colleague, the talented Dawn Ho on bass) and by all accounts, most were impressed by their set.
And so here we are in 2013 and the Tricks & Cider debut EP is playing on my laptop speakers – five songs that showcase the individual talents of the band (multi-instrumentalist Karen Lee and drummer David Liu round up the team) – and indicate that there is certainly a place for well-crafted melodic pop-rock in our S-ROCK scene as well!
Basically, the songs on this EP straddle different styles across the length and breadth of pop-rock – from 70s-channeling “Girl from Outer Space” to the new wave-evoking “Superstar” to the jazz balladic “Summer Breeze”, the tunes will stick in your head and the instrumentation/arrangements will impress the more musically-inclined listener.
It is a good time to be a S-ROCK lover in Singapore and you need to add Tricks & Cider to the burgeoning list of essential Singapore bands you have to listen to and savor…
… and you can this coming Friday, May 3rd at the Esplanade Outdoor Theatre when Tricks & Cider perform three sets viz. 7.30pm – 8.15pm /8.45pm – 9.30pm /10pm – 10.45pm.
Last Friday (19th April) Fred Perry launched a vinyl exhibition at the Fred Perry Laurel Wreath Collection Shop, held in conjunction with Record Store Day, which is curated by #vinyloftheday and record store Vinylicious and showcases over 100 exclusive vinyl editions alongside all-time favourites.
Thursday’s (April 18th) S-ROCK gig at Night & Day Bar was significant for two things. One, it was the debut performance of Bored Spies (Cherie Ko, Sooyoung Park, Orestes Morfin & Adel Rashid) and two, it was the final performance (before a short hiatus) of everyone’s favourite spector-gaze band, Obedient Wives Club.
Of course, most importantly, it was another impressive show of how much indie rock has grown in the Singapore music scene in the last couple of years. A packed crowd jammed the arty venue and soaked in the ambience and atmosphere engineered by these two bands.
Bored Spies’ repertoire consists mainly of midtempo slow-burning numbers which accentuate Ko’s pleasant vocals and Morfin’s controlled rhythms. Considering that this was the band’s first gig, it was a very calm and assured performance, as if the band had been together for years and it was refreshing to encounter and appreciate the beauty of subtlety in songs like “Summer 720”.
Obedient Wives Club is practically an indie rock staple now in Singapore and the songs off their two EPs have become classic S-ROCK in a short space of time. I have always felt that – of all the new bands out there – OWC best channels the spirit of 90s S-ROCK. The songs are sweet but never lacking for an edge, with vocalist Yinqi coming into her own more and more with each succeeding gig. “Murder Kill Baby” is a special track, retaining a Singaporean quality in the way Yinqi sings in her lower register at the end of each phrase – spine tingling! The band will be preparing a new EP in the break and so there is much to look forward to!
It was also good for the S-ROCK scene that this event was hosted by a ‘new’ venue – Night & Day – and hopefully we will have more venues opening up to S-ROCK as we are currently very very short on venues like that. So all in, a very significant night for S-ROCK!
…still there’s more…
(Pictures courtesy of Robin Chua)
Multi-platinum selling singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles has revealed the title to her highly anticipated third studio album, The Blessed Unrest, which is set for release on July 16th through Epic Records. The album’s first single, “Brave,” was co-written by Jack Antonoff from the band fun. and will be released at all digital retailers next Tuesday, April 23rd. Fans can stream the song and view the official lyric video starting today at Sarabmusic.com or check it out right below…
“Beyond the Ashes” is the second teaser off the upcoming album, EMO FASCISM – due in August.
Catch Kevin Mathews/The Groovy People play “Beyond the Ashes” next Friday, April 26th at Identite 9.3 – KAMCO MUSIC at Home Club from 8pm. Cover is $12 (one free housepour and free entry to Kicks! afterwards). Also on the bill – Enec.e, Tricks & Cider and TypeWriter.
See you all there!
“The MTV Show” Season 2 Premieres Saturday, 20th April 2013
Two weeks ago, Power of Pop was invited to the preview of the second season of The MTV Show at the Waterfront Studio at Resorts World Sentosa (RWS). MTV’s popular original series, The MTV Show, a weekly music and lifestyle show that features top-rated music videos, movies, celebrity news and popular culture, returns for its second season with a new format. The refreshed programming format enables its millennial viewers to determine what goes on the show, through active social media engagement.
Other Sounds has a second show and this time the featured band is Australian garage rockers Dune Rats. The Brisbane duo will be bringing their raucous and energetic live show to Singapore at Night & Day Bar, alongside local garage pop favourites The Pinholes.
Date: Friday, 31 May 2013
Venue: Night & Day Bar (139 Selegie Rd)
Tickets: $15 at the door (includes one drink)