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May 172015
 

AlexOh

Tzang Merwyn Tong’s Faeryville is a dystopian teen movie, a stylish coming of age film about youth making sense of their idealistic dreams in our increasingly surreal world – a fictional manifestation of very real issues prevalent in the Post 9-11 world. The movie features an original score composed by Alex Oh.

Oh is one of Singapore’s most prolific and versatile film composers. His philosophy to scoring is telling the story of the film through music. In his career, he has scored many award-winning features, ranging from comedy, family-oriented, action films like Taxi!Taxi!, My Dog Dou Dou, Imperfect, It’s A Great Great World to darker films like Bait 3D, Rule Number One and The Maid . He was nominated for Best Original Music Score from Asian Television Awards in 2004 for the TV Series, The Frontline.

Oh’s music score complements the movie perfectly with its edgy synthesiser ambience and choral nuances providing a contrast between innocence and danger. Also included is the dynamic driving “Baptism of Fire” which feature Jessel Yam and Alan Chan on guitars, Meryvn Lim on bass and John Ho on drums.

Read below what Oh thought and felt about working on Faeryville.

As the film’s composer, you’re probably one of the first few people to have seen Faeryville, edited and cut. What are your thoughts when you watched the first cut of the film?

Faeryville turned out beautifully. It has lots of depth. I like the characters, the Nobodies, Laer, Chloe, Belle, Fraternity members. There are debates on whether society is becoming or has already become dystopian. I like how Tzang uses the film to address certain issues we are facing in our society. In that aspect, I think he is successful in bringing these to light, as many will find after watching the film that they can relate to it someway or another.

Do you have a philosophy bout your music scoring?

I try to find where the heart of the movie is. I will watch the film with the Director and talk about it. I want to understand the film from his/her perspective and hear what he has to say. Why he/she wants to make the film? What is it about? What is it the story that he’s telling? Once I have an understanding about the film, I will let the film speak to me. I do not want to come with any pre-conceived ideas.

Continue reading »

May 162015
 

MML15

If discovering exciting new music is your thing (and it should be), then you must check out Music Matters Live 2015 to be held at Clarke Quay from 20th to 23rd May.

Here are Power of Pop’s recommendations.

Jaime Wong (SG)

Courtney Conway (AU)

Continue reading »

May 092015
 

kamco-YQ-sm

KAMCO Music is pleased to announce that it will release on all digital distribution platforms worldwide the following albums –

FAERYVILLE OST (by Alex Oh) on 19th May

ILLUMINE SYMPHONY – Life on 22nd May

LYDIA LOW – Wrecked till Further Notice on 2nd June

… still there’s more … 

 

May 032015
 

SongsoftheWell

Now here’s something completely different!

Victor Low (formerly of Concave Scream and The Observatory) has recorded and released an album of short instrumental tunes (mostly under 2 minutes), that he says were inspired by his own childhood and the bedtime stories shared with his young daughter, Ee Shahn.

These ten tracks are delightful and thoughtful experiments into songwriting targeted for children or the young at heart. Mostly neo-classical in tone with acoustic guitars (steel and nylon) at the fore, assorted percussion and the occasional cello (courtesy of Zhong Ren Koh), it’s easy to simply play through the duration of Songs of the Well and revel in its rustic sophistication.

My personal favourites are “Drip Drop”, “Swallow” and “Geckos of Eastwood” – which highlight Low’s focus on naive charm but the arty “Song of the Well” recalls Low’s time with art-rock ensemble The Observatory. It’s an atmospheric ambient song whose origins, Low was kind enough to elaborate on.

“When I was writing the songs in this album. I would often bring my guitar out of my studio to sit in the stairwell where I live, just to get a bit of a natural reverb. This really helped me to ease into the ideas and finish writing the songs (or the main bulk of it) rather quickly. A thought occurred to myself that these songs seem to be coming from “the well”, and it ended up being the title of the album. Ironically the track “Song of The Well” was the only song not written from the stairwell. Instead it was done in my studio, using music boxes, cymbals and effects”.

If there is one obvious complaint, it is that the songs are too short! I mean, once a enthralled listener really gets into the piece, it’s over!! Hopefully, Low will see fit to expand on the artistic success of Songs of the Well to give us fans more in the years to come. Please encourage that possibility by purchasing Songs of the Well.

… still there’s more … 

May 032015
 

CheatingSons

Cheating Sons!

Years in the making but definitely worth the wait. 10 tracks of such instrumental sophistication and erudite witticism that it is barely imaginable that the former cultural desert of Singapore is able to produce an album that absorbs the wondrous legacy of 60s rock and pop so well.

With the songwriting template pioneered by the likes of Roy Orbison, the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan and the Band the band have also adopted the production values of Phil Spector and Brian Wilson to deliver a unique aural experience that will please rock scholars and casual music fans alike. An additional distinctive element is the band’s ability to incorporate East Asian sounds and melodies into the mix to create a East meets West amalgam that is surprising and pleasing.

Believe me it’s difficult to point out any particular highlights here as every track is an entity to itself but I will say that songs like the ghostly Beatlesque “Mercy of Cain and Abel”, the atmospheric folky “Patriach”, the country bluesy “Blood the Prize” and the Orbison-Teresa Teng channeling “Honeymoon” certainly deserve special mention.

In an amazing year for Singapore rock so far, this eponymous album is a definite standout and a statement of intent that hopefully will bring forth more exciting music from this wonderful band in the years to come.

CDs and digital albums will be available on cheatingsons.bandcamp.com and CDs also at Curated Records and Roxy Records & Trading.

May 012015
 

New-Mill

During a discussion with a student about pop music – which revolved mainly around me dissing modern pop – Raj (that’s his name) challenged me to cite worthy music from the new millennium (he was born in the late 90s, after all) and so, here are ten examples (and yes, many of these artists started before the year 2000, but why should that matter?). Enjoy.

BECK – THE GOLDEN AGE (2002)

Continue reading »

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

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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

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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!

… still there’s more … 

HOUSE OF RIOT WITH CHARLIE LIM, INCH & THE GREAT SPY EXPERIMENT!

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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.

POWER OF POP INTERVIEW – JAIME WONG

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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

CHECK OUT RAGNAROK FOR ESTHER LOWLESS’ MESMERISING PERFORMANCE!

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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

GEEK OUT! ANT-MAN TRAILER

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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 … 

WHY YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO THE BEE GEES LOST CLASSIC LIVING EYES

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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 … 

JAIME WONG’S DEBUT EP IS A GORGEOUS FOLK POP SUITE DEDICATED TO LOST LOVE

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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 … 

CHEATING SONS – HONEYMOON SINGLE

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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 … 

PoPTV: MAX JURY – HOME

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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 … 

BRIAN WILSON – NO PIER PRESSURE: CORNY TITLE IS ONLY THE TIP OF THE SHITBERG

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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.

PoPTV: LOVE X STEREO – WE LOVE, WE LEAVE (OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO)

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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 … 

SO HAPPY: 50 YEARS OF SINGAPORE ROCK – OPENING

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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!