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Apr 282015
 

TricotPoster

Kyoto based alternative rock band tricot announces their Hip Step “A N D” Jump Asia Trip 2015, returning to Singapore for a one-night-only show at The Substation on Sunday 31 May.

All-girl math-rock outfit consisting of three diminutive Japanese ladies sounds like an unusual proposition but tricot is indeed the real deal. A concept that sounds like its worth the price of admission already.

Get your tickets: http://tricotsingapore.peatix.com/

… still there’s more … 

JAIME WONG: SINGAPORE’S SOUL SISTER | TODAYonline

 MUSIC  Comments Off on JAIME WONG: SINGAPORE’S SOUL SISTER | TODAYonline
Apr 242015
 

So here’s my TODAY interview with Jaime Wong. Now, I hope you figured out that that headline came from my editor! But to be fair, I chickened out from coming up with one, so….

Check out the article and don’t forget that Jaime launches her EP on May 15, 7.30pm at Lepark, People’s Park Complex rooftop. Tickets from http://jaimewongep.peatix.com. You can buy the EP on iTunes (https://itunes.apple.com/album/jaime-wong-ep/id979791050)

Source: Jaime Wong: Singapore’s soul sister | TODAYonline

PoPTV: HONEYMOON BY CHEATING SONS

 MUSIC  Comments Off on PoPTV: HONEYMOON BY CHEATING SONS
Apr 242015
 

The new Cheating Sons single “Honeymoon” has an official music video. Directed by Frankie Pan, it’s otherworldliness contrasts intriguingly with the retro vibe of the song itself. Check it out!

Get the track from Bandcamp!

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Apr 192015
 

HouseOfRiot Poster-sm

On 6 June, House of Riot – home to Singapore’s well-loved independent acts, Charlie Lim, iNCH, and The Great Spy Experiment – presents an ambitious live show in homage to made-in-Singapore music, at The Esplanade’s grande dame The Concert Hall.

#sgindie music at the Esplanade Concert Hall? Somewhat unprecedented but surely the potentially record-breaking triple bill stands perfectly placed to do the deed.

Tickets for the Riot show are now on sale at SISTIC, and priced at S$50 for normal admission; S$40 for students and NSFs.

Apr 182015
 

JaimeWongLaunch

Alright, in the course of writing a feature for TODAY about Jaime Wong, I had enough ‘leftover’ materials for a separate interview here at Power of Pop! Yay! So look out for that piece on Jaime at TODAY next week. In the meantime…

Do you have a support system within the local music scene that helps you musically and emotionally? 

Definitely. I mean, everyone who is involved in the scene be it as a listener or a musician can see for themselves how much stronger the community has become in the last couple of years. I have yet to meet anyone in the community who is malicious; everyone I know and have interacted with is always ready to help out and support the scene. For instance, it warms my heart to see fellow musicians share my music video and ask their friends and followers to download my single when they have absolutely no obligation to. It’s not only encouraging, it’s uplifting. And it provides me with emotional support in so many aspects, not only as a musician.

Continue reading »

 Posted by at 10:02 am
Apr 162015
 

Ragnarok

Am not much of a theatre-goer but my main interest in covering Ragnarok has always been the fact that Esther Lowless would be acting and singing her original compositions within the body of the play itself. A unique opportunity to catch Esther in an entirely different creative environment.

According to its press release, “Ragnarok serves to confront its audience with difficult questions about issues of identity, power and illness that have evolved within the global gay community” but what makes the play ambitious is the concept of using Norse mythology and the apocalyptic myth of Ragnarok as an allegorical device. Of course, to appreciate this, one would need to understand Norse mythology to begin with and it’s much more than that hunky God of Thunder in the Marvel movies (and yes, the next Thor movie is sub-titled Ragnarok as well)!

So I reiterate that the purpose of this review is not really to evaluate the merits of the play per se, although I did find it intriguing if somewhat overwrought with the performances uneven. Instead, I focus on Esther Lowless. She plays Hel (in Norse, mythology, a being who presides over a realm of the same name, where she receives a portion of the dead), the bartender and musical performer at gay bar, Asgard. Her role is mainly as a passive observer and commentator (through the music performances) although Hel does have her moments as agent provocateur.

The key challenge for Esther is that Hel is on stage throughout the entire duration of the play! Thus, there is no break for Esther whatsoever! In that respect, she performs admirably combining her acting with musical performances superbly with wonderful new songs that imbue the play with much gravitas and emotional resonance. Some of my favourite moments – when the cast joins with Esther for bizarre singalongs – the play takes on the tone of a cracked musical – unsettling but transcendent at the same time!

There are 3 more performances of Ragnarok. Saturday 18th is sold out but tickets for tonight and Friday night are still available at time of press. Don’t miss this #sgindie music lovers!

Get your tickets from http://www.skinnedkneeproductions.com/productions-ragnarok.html

Apr 132015
 

Ant-Man01

With the heightened anticipation for Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ant-Man almost seems like an after-thought. After all, it does seem poorer in comparison and by all accounts appears to be a retread of the first Iron Man movie. But the first trailer does look very promising I must say, even if those accusations still hold true.

Also, Evangeline Lilly in her new short, pointy bob haircut looks appropriately like the Wasp, although I am pretty sure Hope Van Dyne never takes on that mantle in the movie. Effects look good and that entire sequence of Scott Lang running with the ants is awesome!

Antman02

Not quite sure what to make of the high level of zany humour evident in the trailer (see above) but Marvel Studio’s track record demands that a level of trust be given to Ant-Man. The trailer does fill one with a bit more confidence that Ant-Man will not turn out to be Marvel Studio’s first dud.

Ant-Man opens in Singapore on 16th July.

… still there’s more … 

Apr 122015
 

living_eyes

What goes up must come down.

In 1979, riding on the popularity of the Saturday Night’s Fever film soundtrack, the Bee GeesSpirits (Having Flown) sold almost 20 million copies. I still remember heading down to the Kwang Sia record store at North Bridge Road where the LP was literally flying off the shelves. Crazy.

However, barely 2 years later, the band’s follow-up Living Eyes would only sell 750,000 copies worldwide! What happened?

Well, disco had become unfashionable and the Bee Gees were (unfairly) associated with the genre. Not only that but rock music had begun to make a return to the charts in a big way with bands like The Police, REO Speedwagon, Genesis, Rush et al, and suddenly the Bee Gees sounded very dated and somewhat lame.

That said, the Bee Gees themselves took pains on Living Eyes to move away from the disco sound that had made millions of them and the trio explored once again the pop balladry style with which they first made their name. But the music critics and fans alike did not want any of it resulting in an abject failure, that the Bee Gees barely recovered from.

BUT listening to Living Eyes now, 34 years later, it is clear that it did not deserve the criticism and hatred it did. The songwriting is sharp, the singing is beautiful and it’s fair to say that the album should be re-assessed by any serious pop music lover.

Songs like the title track, “Paradise”, “Don’t Fall in Love With Me”, “Wildflower” and “Soldiers” are as good as anything on 70s classics “Mr. Natural” and “Main Course”. True blue pop fans will find these tracks irresistible and will want to listen to them over and over to savour the wondrous melodies and harmonies.

Listen without prejudice and prepare to be amazed.

… still there’s more … 

Apr 112015
 

JaimeWong

I first fell in love with the music of Jaime Wong back in 2012 when I mentored her for an afternoon as the winner of the Noise-Timbre Singer-Songwriter Programme. The song that did the most damage was the atmospheric “Skin” and spending time with this down-to-earth easy-going talent was a pleasure. Thus, it was no surprise to me when Jaime won the Noise Singapore Award a year later because once this unassuming young lady is on stage, she tends to draws everyone watching into her melancholy world of broken hearts and lost love.

So I was thrilled to receive her new EP this morning in the mail and instantly fell in love all over again with her music. I guarantee that this four tracks will be on endless repeat once you get hold of the EP (and I wager you would want to). Apart from the shimmering “Skin”, it’s impossible not to be mesmerised by the luscious “Shame on You,” the slightly bouncy “To Lost Love” and the yearning country-folky “2:32 am”.

Yet another winner in an already grand year for Singapore music. Essential.

JWEP cover

 

Jaime’s debut EP will be available for pre-orders this coming Monday, 13/04/15 on iTunes. Pre-order and get an immediate download of “Skin (Wekkit Remix)”, exclusive for digital release.

 

… still there’s more … 

Apr 102015
 

CheatingSons

Regular visitors to Power of Pop would be aware that I managed Cheating Sons effectively from July 2011. Fact is I am no longer managing the band so I can say with a clear conscience that their upcoming sophomore effort is worth the years it took to put it together.

Good news is that the first single – “Honeymoon” – has just been released today and you can pick it up at Bandcamp. “Honeymoon” is 60s pop goodness channeled through the sensibilities of Roy Orbison and Teresa Teng and it’s textural complexity will give fans and newbies a good idea of what to expect when the new album drops.

… still there’s more … 

Apr 102015
 

The Crowd Pop

Well, boys and girls, that’s all she wrote! With the re-release of The Crowd’s Pop (1997), and the Popland albums, Groovy and Action!, the KAMCO Music – Kevin Mathews reissue program has been completed.

Here are the links. Thanks for your support.

Pop

Amazon | Deezer | iTunes

Groovy

Amazon | Deezer | iTunes

Action!

Amazon | Deezer | iTunes

Here’s a Spotify playlist of all 73 tracks of the re-issue programme!

… still there’s more … 

Apr 092015
 

Max Jury - The Untitled Magazine - Photography by Indira Cesarine

My favourite new artist of 2015! No contest.

Max releases a video of “Home”, off his upcoming highly anticipated debut album.

To these ears, the inspirations of John Lennon, ELO, Gram Parsons, Wilco and Ryan Adams come together nicely with Max’s melancholy sweet larynx to produce yet another instant classic.

Check out the video directed by Christophe Rihet.

Max is headed out on a USA and Canada tour in April 2015
Tickets: http://po.st/MaxTour

http://po.st/MaxJuryFacebook
http://po.st/MaxJuryTwitter
http://po.st/MaxJuryInstagram

… still there’s more … 

Apr 072015
 

No_Pier_Pressure

I love Brian Wilson.

But mainly for his stellar work with the Beach Boys in the sixties. His solo albums have been largely disappointing apart from his eponymous debut and the re-imagining of Smile. The problem is with co-producer Joe Thomas, who also worked on the boards on the ironically titled Imagination and the passable Beach Boys 50th anniversary release, That’s Why God Made the Radio. The sound is just too slick and over-produced and almost sounds like a ham-fisted Beach Boys pastiche. And yes, that awful title is the first bad sign that this album is going to suck and it all goes downhill from there.

Despite all this, the collaborations with former band mates manage to shine above the dross e.g. “Whatever Happened” and “The Right Time” (both with Al Jardine and David Marks) and “Tell Me Why” (also with Jardine). The other collaborations (with She and Him, Kacey Musgraves and Sebu) fall flat and are mostly forgettable like the rest of the album. If only the Wilson camp would give someone like Darian Sahanaja or Sean O’Hagan a chance to help Brian in crafting the sounds but alas, that is probably never going to happen, when Joe Thomas seems to be the favoured one.

Sigh.

Apr 072015
 

WeLoveWeLeaveThumbs

Love X Stereo‘s “We Love, We Leave” gets a music video that visualises its conceptual thrust perfectly. The video itself is ambitious, arty and yes, sexy – leaving a throbbing mess that usually comes as a result of conjugal action. The song, already a powerfully appealing single in its own right lifts off when set to these tempting visuals. Kudos to all involved. Don’t feel guilty if you enjoy it too much…

Follow Love X Stereo
http://facebook.com/lovexstereo
http://twitter.com/lovexstereo
http://soundcloud.com/lovexstereo
http://instagram.com/lovexstereo
http://lovexstereo.com

… still there’s more … 

Apr 072015
 

SOHAPPYGIG

 

I know when this exhibition was first announced, there was some criticism about the ’50 years’ bit, considering that: –

1. The Quests‘ “Shanty”, the first ever local pop hit, was released in 1964 (!) and

2. when you subtract most of the 70s and the early 80s (when rock music was suppressed by the authorities) fifty years become a stretch

BUT you will appreciate that in order for the exhibition to get the appropriate funding some concessions needed to be made towards the whole SG5o business. Whatever it was called, the fact remains that the funding has allowed the organisers to put together a fitting tribute to Singapore rock, such as it is. Well, this is Singapore so the ends will justify the means.

In any case, the exhibition opens tomorrow (8th April) at the Substation Theatre with three S-ROCK bands viz. The Oddfellows, THE PINHOLES and Riot !n Magenta performing from 8pm.

Support local!

Apr 062015
 

DEON

I first came across Deon Toh as the drummer for Singapore indie rock band Flybar. But when the band split, Deon decided to get up from behind the drums and become a singer-songwriter. I had the privilege of spending time with Deon when he was a finalist in the NAC Noise-Timbre singer-songwriter programme, and I was the designated songwriting mentor. He passed me Letters, an EP of sorts which he rather humbly described as a ‘demo’, although it sounded very good to these ears.

Since then, Deon has gone from strength to strength, releasing a well received debut album, Antiphonic, and impressing overseas audiences at music festivals in Canada and the UK. Deon is in the process of completing the recording of his sophomore effort and will be heading to Canadian Music Week once more in May. But before then, local music fans will get a chance to give Deon a proper send-off at Originals Sing @ Artistry this Thursday 9th April. $10 cover.

Ariane Deborah will kick off proceedings at 8.30pm.

Web http://www.deontheband.com/
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/deontheband
Noisetrade http://www.noisetrade.com/deon
Twitter: @deontoh
Instagram: DEONTHEBAND

Apr 062015
 
Photo by Fandy Razak

Photo by Fandy Razak

I remember the first time Eugenia Yip caught my eye. This is what I wrote in a live review in TODAY, a few years back.

Riot !n Magenta is a relatively new duo consisting of singer/songwriter Eugenia Yip and keyboardist/producer Hayashida Ken and proved to be a totally different proposition. Yip is a dynamic soulful vocalist and managed to coax members of the audience to come to the front of the stage to groove to Ken’s contemporary-sounding beats. What the songs lacked in terms of conventional tunes, Yip make the most of with the range of her voice and her sultry on-stage persona. Certainly, the duo holds much promise for the future.

Now a quintet, Riot !n Magenta have a new EP out – Voices (I reviewed it here) – and will be playing at the So Happy: 50 Years of Singapore Rock exhibition opening at the Substation Theatre on the 8th April alongside The Oddfellows and Pinholes.

But Ginny (as she likes to be called) is at the centre of attention – whether it be fronting R!M or her other amazing band, The Steve McQueens. So I thought it would be awesome to get Ginny to respond to some of my queries and she obliged! Enjoy…

Are the new songs about relationships? Even damaged ones? 

They’re mostly about personal realizations, or things I experience and feel for very strongly. I wrote “Voices”, inspired by the strength of three women I look up to very much. Nothing inspires me more than the giving of unconditional love, even through the toughest of times. The new songs are a little darker, a little older. “Running” was written about the process of letting go of a past made up of regrets, or even happier times that you struggle to forget, because they tend to remind you of what you’ve lost, but in an insanely more painful way. It is about finding happiness from forgiveness, both given and received.

Continue reading »

Apr 052015
 

PasirRisSunriseThumb

KAMCO Music will re-issue The Crowd’s Pop album this coming Friday, 10th April. So I was thinking – what could I do to raise awareness about this event? Well, as you all know, a lyric video of one of the songs might do the trick. And so, I put together my first ever lyric video on iMovie and it only took this old fart of an amateur to get it done! The song I chose was “Pasir Ris Sunrise” which seems to have resonated with some folks despite being 18 years old. Hope you enjoy!

… still there’s more … 

Apr 042015
 

AbbeyRoadCover

By the time I really got into rock music (at age 13), the Beatles were over. It was 1974 and though live rock music was banned in Singapore, it didn’t stop us delinquent youth from discovering the music that would keep me alive & kicking for the rest of my life. Abbey Road – the band’s final opus – was the first Beatles LP I ever owned. I believe it was a gift from my sister Melinda. To this date, Abbey Road is my 2nd favourite Beatles LP, after the White Album. The medley from Side Two is unforgettable – I remember jamming the songs constantly with my first band – it was magical. From “You Never Give Me Your Money” to “The End”, it encapsulated the wonder of the Fab Four even as they were making plans beyond the group. There will never be another pop group like The Beatles ever again. Amen.

… still there’s more … 

Apr 032015
 

An interview with one of Singapore’s finest, The Great Spy Experiment, for the STASIS 10 event. From 2007.

GSE

Do I really need to introduce this band? Suffice to say that GSE is/was the band of 2007. Take it away…

2007 was a good year for GSE – any particular high point that sticks in the mind?

Fandy: The US trips definitely and of course the release of the album after sooooooo long. The album marks a milestone in our otherwise mundane lives as rockstar wannabes. heh.

Saiful: Ditto. But there were also a couple of local gigs which won’t be forgotten for a while, like TPRawks (TPRiots!), Lime Sonic Bang, ZoukOut, Junk Launch, etc. This year we’re starting to see more and more people dancing and singing along at our gigs, and that for me is a huge highlight. We’ve also met some really wonderful people along the way, fans who’ve become friends because of our common passion for music. Yup, it’s been a good year indeed.

What plans does GSE have for 2008?

Fandy: A music video, a concert, several marriages hopefully and a second album.

Saiful: Several marriages?? In one year?? Haha.. Not likely. But the rest, for sure. And if possible, a regional tour for fans in neighbouring countries.

What can fans hope to see from GSE at Stasis 10?

Fandy: The usual champagne fuelled orgy lor.

What expectations do you have for the local scene in 2008?

Fandy: I expect more bands to surface from the abyss, each one better than the one before. I also think there will be more opportunities for bands to showcase with a lot more support from the media and people in general.

Saiful: I’d like to see our local bands break into television. Also, there are a couple of albums due our next year that I’m really looking forward to – I just hope that the general public would show their love for local bands and go out and buy these albums.

Which band are you looking forward to see in Stasis 10 and why?

Fandy: B-quartet. Why? Do i need to say why??

Saiful: Same, but I will say why. Because they’re brilliant.

Now, we understand that GSE will be playing again very soon – in June in fact …

… still there’s more … 

Apr 032015
 

Democracy-sleeve-back

It’s a bit surreal to be writing about these KAMCO Music re-issues. Simply because both releases came out more than 20 years ago! It’s seems unreal to think that two decades later, I am able to make them available to the world in a manner that was impossible in 1993/1994. Does the world really need these re-issues, probably not but it’s not about that. Rather it’s more about the historical significance of these releases in the context of my life and that of the Singapore music scene.

For me personally, as a musician who grew up in 70s Singapore when rock ‘n’ roll was suppressed by the authorities, it was difficult to conceive of a local music scene that would accept my original music but thankfully that happened in the early 90s (in my early thirties) with Democracy and Love. That scene now appears to be light years away from where we stand now – and thank GOD for that too! Listening to the music now brings upon me waves of nostalgia and if any of this resonates with you then you can head on down to the various links below and I appreciate your support for all these years.

I want to take this opportunity to thank the kind souls who helped to make Democracy and Love whatever they might mean to folks now – Tony Makarome, Patrick Chng, Ben Harrison, BOSS Studios, Odyssey Records and of course, Eric Khoo.

iTunes

Democracy | Love

Amazon

Spotify

Democracy | Love

… still there’s more … 

Mar 312015
 

Max Jury

What makes new music worthy of anyone’s attention? Is it merely the fact that it’s contemporary and in a style and fashion that is popular and trendy? The pop music scene prizes glitzy superficiality over substance of any form to such an extent that the very art and craft of songwriting is in danger of withering away and going the way of the dinosaur.

Which is why every now and then, the discovery of a new singer-songwriter that adheres contrarily to the classic formats of 60s and 70s pop-rock is like a breath of fresh air, in a heavily polluted environment. Thus, ladies and gentlemen, in the background set out before, we give you Max Jury.

Jury released 2 EPs in 2014 – Something in the Air and All I Want: The Sonic Factory Sessions – and these seven incandescent songs represent some of the most promising rock ‘n’ roll (in the classic sense of that term) material of the last decade or so.

Songs like “Christian Eyes”, “All I Want”, “Black Metal” and “Something in the Air” uncannily channel the likes of John Lennon, Gram Parsons, Alex Chilton, Todd Rundgren et al through the razor-sharp perspective of a 21 year old American singer-songwriter.

We managed to get in touch with Max and he kindly responded to our queries.

How does a 21 year old get into someone like Gram Parsons who died 20 years before you were born?

I’m fascinated by the story and myth of Gram Parsons. I originally got into his solo work through Ryan Adams. And then I started listening to The Flying Burrito Brothers and his work with The Byrds.

Continue reading »

Mar 312015
 

SpotifyLogo

NOEL GALLAGHER’S HIGH FLYING BIRDS – CHASING YESTERDAY

For some reason, this latest album from the ex-Oasis man sounds uncannily like Pink Floyd! Unfortunately, it’s the post-Roger Waters version – probably the poorest incarnation of the legendary band – with several guitar passages echoing the work of Floyd’s David Gilmour. It’s still more listenable when compared to most new modern rock though and that’s an inditement.

OF MONTREAL – AUREATE GLOOM

Speaking of Pink Floyd, psych-pop veterans Of Montreal returns with a smashing new album demonstrating that the influence of Floyd founder Syd Barrett continues to resonate strongly with the band. Fans of chronic psychedelia need to have some Aureate Gloom in their lives!

Continue reading »