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Jul 042015
 

TheWho

The Who turned 50 years old last year and their pioneering pop-rock music remains relevant no matter the year.

Formed in 1964 by Pete Townshend (guitars, vocals), Roger Daltrey (vocals), John Entwistle (bass, vocals) and Keith Moon (drums), The Who started life as a mod band but quickly outgrew that tag and have been a seminal influence on hard rock, progressive rock, heavy metal, glam, punk and alt-rock genres during their most vital years, mainly 1964 – 1978. Drummer Moon died in 1978 and The Who never recovered from that loss. Entwistle passed away in 2002 and though Townshend and Daltrey still tour and even recorded one LP together (Endless Wire), the band is understandably a pale shadow of its former self.

This playlist covers those crucial 14 years when The Who were perhaps, one of the greatest rock bands in the world. With the high resolution streaming available at Deezer Elite, most of the tracks sound amazing, resonating with the primal energy upon which the band built its legendary reputation.

Official Site

… still there’s more … 

Jul 032015
 

NeilYoungPoP

On new album The Monsanto Years, Neil Young seems re-invigorated with new backing band Promise of The Real, to deliver one of his feistiest works in recent memory. Rather like Living With War (2006), the politics might be a little too obvious but there’s no faulting the songs that Young and gang have come up with – full of vim and vigour.

Full of country-folk inflected rock ‘n’ roll, songs like “A New Day For Love”, “People Want to Hear the Love”, “Workin’ Man” and the title track come across like vintage Young, except with very modern references (highly anti-corporation rhetoric against Monsanto, Starbucks etc) – which I suspect will endear the evergreen Young to a new generation of music lovers. But of course, for Young, the album reflects the continuation of the hippie dream, which has been part of Young’s raison d’être since the 1960s.

Essential.

Jul 022015
 

Theodora

“Old soul” is probably an apt description of singer-songwriter Theodora’s muse.

This 18 year old has a perceptive creativity beyond her tender years with an artistic sensibility that reflects a subtle maturity. This is already painfully obvious when listening to her debut single “Lines”, written about the loss about a loved one – “I sit in silence in the memory of you”.

Now here’s a thoughtful video – lovingly crafted by director Leonard Soosay – that represents visually the emotions that “Lines” evokes, with style and finesse.

Theodora’s debut EP is planned for the end of the year – keep a close watch on that, dear readers.

In the meantime, check out the gorgeous video for “Lines”.

Purchase “Lines” from iTunes.

Jul 012015
 

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This morning the world woke up and if you had iTunes, you would have been asked whether you wanted to sign up for Apple Music.

Yes it’s here, the latest streaming service. There were a few minor hiccups signing up before the video starting playing about how Apple Music is changing the face of the music industry but once one got down to brass tacks, it was exactly the same service as Deezer, Rdio, Spotify etc etc etc.

Except that in three months time, you can only access Apple Music if you subscribed for $10 a month. So if you signed up for the free trial and want to go back to your free accounts at the other services, remember to deactivate the auto-renewal function.

Colour me unimpressed.

Jun 262015
 

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The China Blue Experiment describes itself as a “blues/pop fusion band with wide reaching influences, eclectic styles and troublesome personalities”, which demonstrates that if nothing else, the duo of Darren Forster and Gordon Cant has attitude in spades. Should be fun to check ’em out! Words by Darren Forster.

Why is it important for you to play in Singapore?
It represents a great opportunity to take our product to an international audience. We would like to the opportunity to (hopefully) impress the wonderful people of Singapore and beyond and would hope that we could establish ourselves in a way that means we can return regular and share our ever evolving musical experience.

Continue reading »

Jun 252015
 

DISCOVEREDPOP

Here are six new releases – spread across the three streaming services (based in Singapore) – that get the Power of Pop Recommendation!

YOUNG BUFFALO – HOUSE

The album opens with a deceptive synth-pop motif before morphing into a Vampire Weekend cliche before the gorgeous melodic power pop channeling chorus kicks in! Inventive chord progressions, bouncy energy and stack o’ tunes marked this as a winner! https://www.facebook.com/youngbuffalo

GENTLEMEN ROGUES – A HISTORY SO REPEATING

More traditional power pop from Gentlemen Rogues – referencing Big Star and acolytes like Teenage Fanclub and Pernice Brothers. Good tunes. https://www.facebook.com/gentlemenrogues 

ANCIENT RIVER – KEEPER OF THE DAWN

Ethereal, sinister, psychedelic chamber pop that recalls The Doors and Syd’s Pink Floyd. Definitely unique in the scheme of things. https://www.facebook.com/ancientriverband

MIKAL CRONIN – MCIII

Widescreen rock is the speciality of Mikal Cronin with his latest album continuing his rich vein of form in the last couple of years. http://mikalcronin.com/

COLLEEN GREEN – I WANT TO GROW UP

Straight-up girl-group indie pop that recalls Best Coast and Cults. https://www.facebook.com/colleengreen420

TAYLOR LOCKE – TIME STANDS STILL

Ex-Rooney guitarist has released one of the best 70s West Coast rock albums this year. Strongly evocative of a magical era. Essential. https://www.facebook.com/TaylorLockeMusic

… still there’s more … 

Jun 252015
 

Koji

If there’s one inescapable fly in the S-ROCK ointment, it’s the lack of meaningful lyricism, the fear of exploring concepts beyond the purely emotional (the ‘affairs of the heart’ cliche). Thankfully, that is not the case with Koji’s new free track – “Mrs Mia Wallace” – which functions as a tribute to the Pulp Fiction characters famously played by Uma Thurman in the Quentin Tarantino classic.

There’s something wonderfully shambolic about the quartet’s hard rockin’ agenda – channeling Wolfmother via Led Zep – although the quality of the vocals might need sprucing up. But one cannot quibble too much with the infectious riffs that dominate “Mrs Mia Wallace” and that is one memorable take-away. Download the track for free now!

Check out the lyric video also!

Connect with Koji!

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/KojibandSG

Jun 242015
 

JAKECOWBOYS

These pop-rockers have just the right vibe for Power of Pop! Jake and the Cowboys are the 2nd band to be featured in PoP’s SWAM coverage. Words by Jarred Wall.

Why is it important for you to play in Singapore?

Beerfest Asia 2015 will mark our first international gig, so we are extremely excited to share our music to a market that we feel are going to really enjoy our sound. Jake and the Cowboys are fresh and exciting and provide a live performance which rivals that of the best.

It also proves timely for us as we have just finished completing a successful crowd funding campaign to record our next single ‘She Said’. The response we received from our fans was fantastic and the project itself has really provided us with a new platform to engage our fans and make them feel a part of the band. It also provided us with a chance to give something back to the fans for all their support. For example, fairly soon we will be heading to one of our fans houses to do some gardening and wash their car and then after that, we will be providing an exclusive performance to a group of fans, on top of cooking them a meal! We wanted to give the fans something different and put a personal touch to it. Of course these rewards were some of the more unusual ones, fans also had the opportunity to receive signed CD’s and digital downloads of the new track. It’s now closed but feel free to check out the project at http://www.pozible.com/project/195487

After spending a few days in the studio with Joel Quartermain of well known Australian Act Eskimo Joe, we were extremely happy and proud of the final product. We see the networking opportunities that we will be exposed to in Singapore as a great opportunity to source airplay in the region and ultimately future performances down the track. We will be armed in hand with ‘She Said’ Single’s!


What do you hope to take away from the experience?

We hope to learn a few things about the Singaporean market and what the people like. Eventually our aim would be to have our music receive airplay in the region as we feel our music will be quite well suited to the people and well received.

The networking opportunities are also a great chance for us to make some crucial contacts in the region which we hope will lead to future exposure for Jake and the Cowboys. We want to make the most of the opportunity and what the city has to offer, particularly in the way of music.

Continue reading »

Jun 232015
 

ForeignArchitects

Foreign Architects are a Perth based duo featuring singer/songwriter Matt Burke and percussionist Andrew Barnett. The duo will play Beerfest Asia 2015 (together with Singaporean and other Aussie bands) on Sunday 28th June. This is part of the musical exchange between Singapore & Western Australian music scenes which has been ongoing for the last couple of years. Thanks to Timbre Music (Beerfest organisers), we got in touch with Matt Burke/Foreign Architects for a short interview.

Why is it important for you to play in Singapore?

This is an important opportunity for us to gain international exposure and start to build a fan-base outside our home city. Singapore is a country we have always wanted to travel to and getting to bring our music to Singapore is a dream come true for us.

Continue reading »

Jun 222015
 

DEON

It’s always a pleasure working with singer-songwriter Deon Toh cos the man is genuine, down to earth and serious about his art. His new album is one of the best I have heard in 2015 and thus, it was illuminating to pick his brains for the stories behind the songs. It’s really in-depth so buckle up!

What was the primary inspiration behind making Oceans a concept album?

As a songwriter, I’ve always viewed the creation of an album as the process of creating a standalone piece of work; a piece of art. I’m one of those musicians who still believe in coming up with a good 10 songs LP, and making sure that those songs make a collective statement. 

As such, I did not craft singles and slap them together, but rather, I crafted an entire album. With that intention in mind, I dedicated myself to the challenge of coming up with something magical.

No disrespect or offense to musicians who launch singles, or demos, or EPs that are just a collection of unrelated songs (there’s nothing wrong with that); on my part, this was a personal challenge to push my songwriting limits and come up with a concept album.

The theme of circles and cycles seems alien to Singapore where the seasons remain constant – so is the music a product of travelling beyond Singapore?

I traveled with the intention of personal growth. I wanted to discover more about myself and see the world, and to understand the value of coming home better. Back home, life was changing at a rapid pace, with my graduation from university, evolving relationships, and aging parents. I had constant emotional and rationality debates, epiphanies. And at the end of everything, I walked away with a deeper understanding of myself.

What was the motivation behind incorporating post-rock and ambient electronica into your pop-rock sonic agenda?

During this period, my band and I had the privilege to witness one of the best musical performances during an Iceland Airwaves showcase at Canadian Music Week. We stumbled upon singer-songwriter, Asgeir, and fell in love with his brand of music. He incorporates loads of ambient electronica, which influenced us eventually. 

The post-rock aspect came out of listening to loads of music from local band Caracal. We are huge fans of the band, and also spent a short period traveling with them, it was fun.

As for my pop-rock roots, I still listen to loads of Rachael Yamagata, Brooke Fraser, and Coldplay, which always keeps me grounded to my roots. 

Continue reading »

Jun 212015
 

‘We don’t ask you for free iPhones. Please don’t ask us for free music.’

How Apple Music recovers from this PR disaster will be worth watching? Or maybe Apple is so big, they don’t give a damn? We shall see.

Source: Taylor Swift ‘shocked and disappointed’ by Apple Music contract – Music Business Worldwide

Jun 202015
 

TypeWriter Believe

TypeWriter will be debuting new material from upcoming EP at Baybeats 2015 and will also be featuring new drummer Robin Chua (Livonia, Shelves). The band will be playing at the MIXTAPE stage on 26th June at 11pm. In the meantime, you can download/listen to their 2010 album, Indian Head Massage.

iTunes

Connect with TypeWriter https://www.facebook.com/typewriterband

… still there’s more … 

Jun 202015
 

EDITORS

I am sick of the post-punk revival – it is one of the worst aspects of millennial pop culture – and it’s already been 15 years. C’mon!

This is compounded by the fact that I absolutely loved the original 80s post-punk scene. Thus, to hear the works of Joy Division, Bauhaus and Echo & the Bunnymen being constantly dragged through the mud by inferior bands like Editors is painful. Listen to the new doom-laden single “Marching Orders” to fully understand my disdain for this kind of derivative drivel. This must end!

When oh when will the 90s rock revival (and therefore retro-60s) begin?

Jun 182015
 

DEON - Cover

When one listens to Oceans, it becomes abundantly crystal clear that for singer-songwriter Deon Toh, it’s all about the music. In this digital age, Toh has gone against the grain to approach the album as a viable artistic expression, like in the days of yore. There are eleven one-word titled tracks on this, his follow-up to the well-received Antiphobic, bookended by “Circles” and “Cycles”, which speak to the impact of seasons in our lives.

There is beauty, grace and strength in compositions like “Summer”, “Fall”, “Winter” and “Spring” where Toh is able to conjure the experience of the seasons, whether it is something physical or symbolic. The over-riding emotion might be melancholy but it is not defeatist but reflective. Whether it is in the piano harmonic structures, fragile guitar arpeggios, arranged percussion, ambient soundscapes or Toh’s falsetto, there is a deliberate intent to evoke a sense of longing and yearning in the presence of natural splendour.

It is a significant achievement that Oceans is an album one can (and MUST) listen to from beginning to end and then to start all over again. A gorgeous song cycle that once again sets the bar higher for Singapore artists to emulate.

DEON launches Oceans on July 10th at the Substation. Tickets are now available from http://peatix.com/event/96846. Pre-order the album from iTunes and download the single “Summer”.

In the meantime, check out the music video for “Summer” below.

www.deontheband.com
www.facebook.com/deontheband
www.instagram.com/deontheband @deontheband
www.twitter.com/deontoh

Look out for the Power of Pop interview with Deon Toh coming soon…

Jun 152015
 

DEON - Cover

DEON releases his 2nd album Oceans on 10th July.

iTunes pre-order will begin on 17th June, and physical copies of the album as well as the digital release of the album will happen on the 10th of July. A music video of first single “Summer” will also be released on 17th June on DEON’s Youtube channel.

Oceans was recorded by Leonard Soosay, and produced by DEON, Mindy Kon, and Leonard Soosay at Snakeweed Studios. The album was mastered by Scott Hull (Garbage, John Mayer, Snarky Puppy).

The album will be launched on the 10th July at the Substation.

As with DEON’s debut Antiphobic, Oceans is filled to the brim with melodic power but it’s clear that DEON has upped the ante with regards to production and arrangement as well as a conceptual thread that runs through the album. Review to come.

Connect with DEON.

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/deontheband
Twitter https://twitter.com/deontoh
Web http://www.deontheband.com/

Jun 132015
 

Paul Dano

If you know nothing about Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys, I suggest that you swot up before watching Love & Mercy. Cuz it will get bewildering. Or maybe that’s the point of it all!

This biopic of Wilson elects to focus on two very specific periods in the singer-songwriter’s life. First, from about 1964 – 1967, where Wilson had suffered an anxiety attack and ‘retired’ from live performances to concentrate on recording and producing resulting in the masterpiece Pet Sounds LP and the failed attempt to delivered the radical Smile album (whereupon Wilson basically withdrew from the world). Second, in the 80s regarding his guardianship under dubiously abusive therapist Eugene Landy and his budding romance with Melinda Ledbetter (whom he would later marry).

Continue reading »

Jun 102015
 

LL-LiveSG

Lydia Low kicks off her Singapore tour tonight at Originals Sing @ Artistry. Joie Tan will be opening the festivities at 8.30pm. Cover charge is $10, proceeds to be shared between the artists. Lydia will also be selling CDs so please bring money!

In the meantime, you can listen to her album Wrecked till Further Notice at Spotify.

The album is also available at iTunes.

Lydia will also be playing a couple of tunes at the Beast open mic tomorrow.

Connect with Lydia
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Check out the lyric video for “Wrecked”

… still there’s more …

Jun 092015
 

“If we didn’t think there was a hole, we wouldn’t do it,” Iovine says in first post-conference interview. “Apple doesn’t need to practice”

Rolling Stone gets the folks behind Apple Music to defend yet another streaming music service in an already saturated market space. Wait and see cuz at the moment unconvinced.

Source: Jimmy Iovine, Eddy Cue Talk Filling the ‘Hole’ With Apple Music

Jun 072015
 

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Well you turn when I talk/Run when I walk/Rise when I fall/Burn when I shiver/Smile when I frown/Go when I come around/You twist when I shout/In when I’m out/There when I’m here/Why do I bother?/Laugh when I’m down/Whine when I make a sound

I didn’t realise how much I would be affected by The Great Spy Experiment’s swan song performance until I sang along to “The Great Decay” and I lost it – the tears rolled freely and all the precious memories flooded into my mind.

One of many emotional high points of House of Riot’s ambitious concert to put Singapore indie music where it belongs – in the mainstream. How else to describe a concert at a packed out Esplanade Concert Hall where I failed to recognise the majority of the audience? This was no longer an underground movement, this was a Singapore audience doing something never done before, paying hard-earned money for SINGAPORE acts playing at arguably one of the best (and most prestigious) concert venues on the island!

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iNCH opened the night, resplendent in a cape playing familiar tunes (“Chefalo Knot”, “The Artful Dodger” & a spine-tingling “Dear Paramour”) and a couple of new tunes (“Lyre Lyre, Hearts on Fyre” was particularly affecting). It was clear that the enormity of the night’s achievement was also weighing on iNCH as paid an emotional tribute to those who had been supporting her music since 2009. It was a victorious comeback for the petite singer-songwriter, with a new EP due in September.

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Hard to believe that the GSE are no more but all things must pass and surely, there could be no better way for this Singapore indie rock institution to say goodbye! It has been eight years since I first thrilled to their music and tonight the songs seemed stronger and grander – from “Late Nite Request” to “Class ‘A’ Love Affair” – it was an emotional farewell. It was a proper Singapore rock send-off in a venue more suited for classical music, which in itself was so symbolic. An unforgettable performance from a beloved S-ROCK band. Thank you and love always – Saiful, Fandy, Mag, Khai and Song!

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And finally, Charlie Lim  – surely, the brightest hope for Singapore rock. Backed by the Mothership, Charlie played tracks off his hit new double EP Time/Space with aplomb and finesse. Personally, I favour the folk-rock majesties of “Light Break In” (kudos to the string section of Lisa Haryono, Josh Wei and Kim Eun Hyung), “Choices” and “Bitter” where Charlie’s heartfelt lyrics are expressed in rustic tones but my new favourite “I Only Tell the Truth” (this time with Charlie on keyboards) also provided a memorable ‘lump-in-throat’ moment. Triumphant!

The audience stayed behind as Riot chief honcho Mike See took time to appreciate everyone who played a part in the magnificent venture. It was heart-warming to see a primarily mainstream audience giving a standing ovation to a group of Singapore indie artists (and I include managers and crew into that description) and receiving the deserved recognition that has for so long been denied. Mike rightfully described the success of the event as historical – those of us who remember the scene of a decade ago would have never imagined the scenario which unfolded before our very eyes. But tonight on June 6th 2015, Singapore rock came of age.

… still there’s more … 

 

KILL TEDDY EVOKES 90S ALT-ROCK WITH CAROLINE SINGLE

 MUSIC  Comments Off on KILL TEDDY EVOKES 90S ALT-ROCK WITH CAROLINE SINGLE
Jun 042015
 

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I am not being facetious when I say that much of modern pop is not even music anymore but rather a combination of beats and sounds calculated to appeal to the lowest common denominator. But thankfully, there are bands out there who ignore what generally passes for pop nowadays and latch on to a style that might not be hip or cool to the kids today but remains true to their own artistic sensibility.

One such band is Kill Teddy who described themselves as a alternative/grunge band and hope to revive the Seattle grunge sound of the 90s. Well, the new single “Caroline” is certainly in the right direction with its anthemic chorus, crunchy guitars and off-the-wall CSNY bridge (with Beach Boys reference?). Check it out!

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PoPTV – SINGAPORE ROCK RECOMMENDATIONS

 MUSIC  Comments Off on PoPTV – SINGAPORE ROCK RECOMMENDATIONS
Jun 012015
 

S-ROCK

Regular visitors to Power of Pop will be aware that my definition of “pop” is pretty wide. But of course, in the context of modern pop (read: vacuous) , that definition becomes somewhat irrelevant for my purposes. Also, if I say “rock ‘n’ roll”, most people will think of the 50s (read: dated) and so, sometimes I need to be uber-specific and say “country-folk-pop-rock” to describe the type of pop music that I love. Hope that clarifies. From that perspective, I wanted to share very specifically, the bands and artists in Singapore whom I feel fit that particular bill and hope that you’d discover some new music to love as well.

CHEATING SONS – JEFFERSON (LIVE)

Though still unreleased, this country-folk masterpiece always resonates with me whenever the band plays it – which in my view is not often enough!

Pick up the new Cheating Sons album from Bandcamp.

HANGING UP THE MOON – THE DIVERS

Sean Lam (aka Hanging Up the Moon) somewhat resists any attempt to associate his wonderful music with that of the past (which I appreciate) but seriously folks, this gorgeous music is highly evocative of early 70s folk-rock. And what is the problem with that??? Beautiful.

Available at iTunes!

Continue reading »

CHARLIE LIM’S TIME/SPACE IS A GLIMPSE INTO THE FUTURE OF SINGAPORE ROCK. AND IT’S LOOKING GOOD. DAMN GOOD.

 MUSIC  Comments Off on CHARLIE LIM’S TIME/SPACE IS A GLIMPSE INTO THE FUTURE OF SINGAPORE ROCK. AND IT’S LOOKING GOOD. DAMN GOOD.
May 312015
 

CharlieLim

There is no sense of the where and when listening to Singapore singer-songwriter Charlie Lim‘s double EP Time/Space. It simply is.

The music of Time/Space is the honest expression of a young man coming to terms with life issues and a burgeoning musical talent. Taken as a whole – 8 tracks and two bookends – Time/Space is a polaroid shot of where Charlie is, and from an artistic perspective, it is looking very very good.

From the outset, with the ragtime-infused “Blah Blah Blues”, it’s clear that Charlie is not interested in cliches and limitations on his music but will go wherever his muse takes him.

“I tend to make my mountains out of molehills” he sings plaintively before he vamps on the chorus – “Itʼs not that hard to sing about being hurt/
Itʼs kind of lucrative to write a love song/Because everybody else just canʼt get enough” – an ironic comment perhaps about his own persona?

Personally, Charlie always hits home with his ballads – wonderful melanges of folk, soul & indie pop that never fail to send chills down spine. “Choices” is the first one – where Charlie’s sweet larynx combines with guitar patterns and trademark cutting lyrics – “I can take complication/If I can comprehend/But I can’t deal with ignorance/Even if you think it’s bliss” – to produce an overwhelming emotional resonance.

This leads us to Charlie’s magnum opus “Bitter” – the rollercoaster ride of ‘feels’ as Charlie shares some of the most poignant lyrics – “Was I trying to cash in the fantasy without the reality check?”, “Embrace the silence when thereʼs nothing left/You got no room for demons when youʼre self-possessed” and of course, ” Was I spoilt for love/Have you had enough/Wait out the danger/You donʼt have to ask/This maudlin moment/Will soon come to pass”. Sheer bloody genius.

Incredibly, Charlie offers two potential “Bitter”-killers, so to speak, here with “Light Breaks In” and “I Only Tell the Truth”.

The former is a early 70s folk-inflected stunner where Charlie slays with guitar and voice. And when the string sections moves in, I challenge you not to feel that lump in the throat moment before the tears well up. Fuckin’ gorgeous with sentiments to match – “Pour out all your sorrow/Were you waiting for a sign/Only breathing just a little/And calling it a life”. Beautiful.

The latter is the closing track and yet again is another melancholy masterpiece as you listen to the airplane pilot giving instructions for landing. Wonderfully arranged and primed for the kill once Charlie gets to the heart-breaking chorus – “But I won’t catch you if you let go/I’ll pick apart the things you let fold/If that’s what you want I guess we’ll move on/I’m sorry” – and for anyone who has lived through the death of a relationship, these words take on massive proportions. For me personally, I have broken down more than a few times when feeling the intensity of the emotions that Charlie is conveying here. All too real. And when the “Outro” hits, its hard to describe as the sad lonely piano plays out to the sound of children.

But then, it’s over, and I press play again and let the magic of Charlie Lim wash over me once more.

Time/Space will be released on June 6th at the House of Riot concert at the Esplanade Concert Hall. Tickets available from SISTIC