BAMBI KINO Self-titled (Tampete)

Y’know sometimes music should be made for fun. We often forget that. This special project band call themselves Bambi Kino (named after the fledging Beatles’ original lodgings in Hamburg). Ah, got things a bit backwards. Consisting of various indie stalwarts viz. Ira Elliot – drums (Nada Surf), Erik Paparazzi – bass (Cat Power), Mark Rozzo – guitar and vocals (Maplewood) and Doug Gillard – guitar (Guided By Voices) – Bambi Kino played 4 sets at the Indra club in Hamburg (yes, he exact same club The Beatles played their first show in the Reeperbahn) in 2010 consisting of tracks the Beatles themselves performed at Hamburg 50 years before.

Well, the band decided to record their afternoon rehearsals and now the result of these sessions will be released in the USA. Yes folks, it’s a tribute of sorts and Beatles fans will probably be intrigued but really, it’s a fun record and an album that should be listened in one sitting and enjoyed in the spirit it was made.

With uncanny authenticity, Bambi Kino has evoked the rollicking mood of those heady days and old-time rock ‘n’ roll faves like Some Other Guy, A Shot of Rhythm and Blues, Shakin’ All Over, Wild Cat mixed with standards like Besame Mucho, Soldier of Love and To Know Her Is To Love Her. Simply a blast!

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Back when The Flaming Lips were in town, amongst the tracks featured in the pre-show mix was MGMT’s Time to Pretend and it seemed appropriate considering how in many ways, MGMT were the Lip’s freakbeat heir apparents. So… of course, the same people who brought the Lips here (Untitled) have secured the services of MGMT (with special guests, The Whitest Boy Alive) on 24th March at 8pm.

So be prepared for another stir-fried psych-pop night. Get your tickets from SISTIC.


MY COUSIN, THE EMPEROR The Subway EPs (Self-released)

“Instead of recording a full album, we decided to record 2 EPs, but to give them entirely different personalities, volume 1 is more folky, country, singer- songwriter music.  Volume 2 is more rock, upbeat, and energetic.  This band does both of them very well, so I wanted to showcase it’s different personalities across the two EPs.” Jason Reischel

Serious doubts about the concept behind the presentation of one album as two EPs and the mannered self-categorizations BUT no denying that Brooklyn’s My Cousin, The Emperor parlays the perfect mix of country-folk-blues and rock ‘n’ roll music that Gram Parsons envisaged for his Cosmic American Music. I have always maintained that when done right, country-folk-blues can be some of the most soulful music on the planet and thankfully, Reischel and company provide ample evidence of this assertion.

On the 1st volume, Prospect Park West, there are luscious vocal harmonies, lush acoustic guitars and lusty evocations of rustic beauty in songs like Lies End and Burly, Old Coach. A dash of rockabilly informs Southern Nights whilst mournful strings will touch the heart on Annie (The Leevee Song). Volume II, Broadway-Lafayette, ups the tempo ever so slightly – Down N Out is white-knuckled barroom blues, Nothing Left For Us To Find is unapologetically rollicking and Early Morning Show channels The Band and Neil Young with slow burning intensity.

An excellent addition to the country-folk-blues-rock canon. File next to your Wilco, Uncle Tupelo and Jayhawks LPs.

Official Site

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It was a week of talks for me. On Sunday (6th March) it was the Bitesize: Music Journalism 101 talk at the Esplanade Rehearsal Studio (full review to follow later). Then on Wednesday (9th) and Friday (11th), I visited two schools as part of the Singapore Writers Festival: Words Go Round program. On my part, my task was to share with students my take on songwriting with special emphasis on lyric-writing. Simple enough, eh?

Continue reading “WORDS GO AROUND!”


RED WANTING BLUE These Magnificent Miles CD/DVD (Fanatic)

I will shamelessly confess to the fact that there was a moment in the DVD documentary that I had to stop and basically broke down in tears. The culprit? The Red Wanting Blue track Finger In The Air, along with the band members talking about what that song was all about.

They say, “give up and go back where you belong/Dreaming’s for the dead, kid, the road is too long”/Middle finger in the air, I’m still here/Egging them on…

For every dreamer who’s ever had to fight for what they believe in, this song resonates powerfully and it fit perfectly with the story that unfolded on this simple yet touching documentary.

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Full text of the email interview with Sanny Veloo (of EMPRA) that formed the basis for the TODAY piece. Thousand apologies for the typo error, the name of the debut single is Like A Runaway and NOT Like A Runway (which has it’s own implications!) Anyhoo, extra lashes for yours truly tonight methinks (or maybe less?)…

What do you remember being the best and worst times of being in the Boredphucks in the early 90s?

The best time for me was watching some TCS variety show and Gurmit Singh was interviewing Zoe Tay and he asked her, “Eh Zoe, you know right now got this local band write song about you?” and Zoe Tay laughed and replied, “I know lah my Engrish not very good lah!”. That was pretty cool cos I knew then Boredphucks had left its stamp on Singapore culture forever. But it would preferred if writing a song about Zoe Tay got me a date with her instead!

The worst time was when the Boredphucks got banned and it came out in the papers. It was pretty cool at first cos our CD ended up outselling the Backstreet Boys because we got banned. But Honestly dude, I was more afraid of what my father would say then what the police was gonna do to me the next day.

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MUSIC MATTERS: A Bear Fruit Music Workshop

Calling all aspiring musicians who live and breathe music! Learn what it takes to make it in the music industry!

The National Library Board (NLB) presents ‘MUSIC MATTERS’

– a 4-part Bear Fruit workshop. The workshop aims to bring together young aspiring musicians with a burning desire to share your music with the world! In this series of workshops, Producer /Composer Roland Lim will share tips, tricks, the knitty gritty and the mindset required to achieve success. Learn to develop the right mindset and work ethic to achieve success, relevant and crucial musical skills to make an impact, entrepreneurship skills to make music your career as well as the marketing and law knowledge required to succeed in the industry.

Participants get to perform their songs at a concert after the completion of the workshop, and 1 artist/band will be handpicked to record a fully-produced song with Roland Lim worth $1500!

More info


REDONDO BEAT Meet Redondo Beat (Dionysus)

Bring out those dancing shoes, cause if everything and everyone is going forward in time, let all of us music lovers out there, go back in time to a period with no worries, and dancing is all that matters.

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Sara Bareilles – Uncharted

Album: Kaleidoscope Heart

While most of us wait for the arrival of Miss B to this part of the world for her tour, I guess, her new music video for Uncharted will just have to do, in the meantime.

But alas, the pretty little thing is nowhere to be seen in the music video! That is, until the final scene of her enjoying at the beach just before the video finishes.

However, in her place, with big shoes to fill, are the appearances of many other big names: Ben Folds appearing as a professor, funnily explaining the terminology of the title of the song in the beginning of the video; Cary Brothers; Josh Groban singing with and then eating a banana; indie twins Tegan & Sara; N*E*R*D’s Pharrell Williams; Greg Laswell, with a middle finger; Ingrid Michaelson; OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder; Maroon 5’s Adam Levine; Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles, in pajamas; Keenan Cahill; Laura Jansen and Vanessa Carlton.

Sure makes this an unsuspecting, star-studded video, that no one may have seen coming. Now, continuing on with the countdown to May 11th…

Official Site


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The Living Sisters – How Are You Doing?

Album: Love To Live

Director: Michel Gondry

Michel Gondry was recently in town to promote his latest film – The Green Hornet – with stars Seth Rogen and Jay Chou. He is also known for directing well-loved music videos, such as The Hardest Button To Button by the recently defunct The White Stripes, Come Into My World by Kylie Minogue, and Dance Tonight by Paul McCartney featuring the talented Natalie Portman, just to name a few of his works.

Yes, his directorial resume is, pretty much, an impressive one.

Though you may not have heard of the group The Living Sisters, the name Inara George may ring a bell in some of you. Yes, she’s one-half of the duo, The Bird & The Bee. Becky Stark (Lavender Diamond) and Eleni Mandell make up the other two members of The Living Sisters, and this song is taken from their debut album, Love To Live.

In this video, the concept behind Emotions by Destiny’s Child comes creeping back into one’s mind, though there’s definitely less competition/centre of attention involved amongst the fine ladies of The Living Sisters (despite the placement of Inara in the centre frame). Both Becky and Eleni have better storylines and fun to play around with during the shooting, that I can be assured of.


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The song – Gum – was actually originally tacked on to the end of This Savage Garden demo in 1992, with only one verse. When the Democracy album was recorded a year later, I decided to add the second verse and the Hey Jude-like coda. Remember, this was 1993 and so I was not too comfortable about the song receiving too much attention and so I made it a hidden track (very much in vogue then). So imagine my surprise when 98.7FM DJ Suresh Menon played the track on national radio! Not only that but Chris Ho highlighted the song in his Pop Life column in the Straits Times! So much for keeping a low profile.

Well, thankfully, there were no knocks on the door in the middle of the night and the song (and I) have survived till today.

Folks who appreciate the song often mistake it for a comic song about chewing gum. Well, okay, that’s partially true but in essence, the ‘chewing gum’ of the song symbolizes anything that has been taken away from us ordinary beings by the powers-that-be. It could be freedom, liberty or any other human right. Still relevant in 2011 as it was in 1992.


CLOSEAPART Whispers In The Wire (Self-released)

Looking at S-ROCK band CloseApart’s new album, it is obvious that it has spared no expense in putting together the best package reasonably possible. The CD sleeve is well designed and lavishly produced and the album was recorded at the famed Lion Studios. There’s no doubting CloseApart’s commitment and self-belief to its cause. And whilst this is laudable in itself, sadly the music on the album just does not live up to the expectations built up from a visual inspection of the album.

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If there’s ever been a band better suited to this website’s moniker than NYC indie outfit The Orion Experience, I’ve yet to hear them—after all, this is a band that demonstrates beyond doubt the sheer boogie-grooving, feet-tapping, mighty-morphin’ POWER OF POP!

Continue reading “THE ORION EXPERIENCE”


This song is taken from Dre’s third and final album, Detox (again, another retirement in the rap world?), and it looks set to be the case, with Dre himself having flashbacks into his rap career and life in general at the beginning of the video.

Skylar sings underwater and appears as a ghostly figure throughout the choruses of the song. I really liked Eminem, singing with lyrics of gratitude for Dr. Dre’s assistance and input into his music career, and his apparent attempt to – in a way – bring Dr. Dre back to life. Hit your fist against your chest, where the heart is – this is true bromance.

Allen Hughes is the director of this video, the man responsible for films like The Book of Eli and Menace II Society. A message to him: next time, don’t ruin the car, you can pass the cash to me.


Official Site

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CHARLES J TAN The Pelham Sessions EP (Self-released)

The first thing you’d notice on this record is Tan’s vocals – you can’t miss them. Husky, deep, well-rounded and full, it makes you sit up and pay attention. His enunciation is clear and brings out each word carefully, which is a very positive thing… But unfortunately this is also what brings out the bone I have to pick with this EP: the less-than-satisfactory lyrics.

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Press release

Liverpool’s The Wombats return with their highly anticipated sophomore album, The Wombats proudly present … This Modern Glitch, will be released April 26, 2011 through Bright Antenna/ILG/Warners.

The band has also released a brand new video for their compelling new single, “Anti-D,” produced by Jacknife Lee (U2, R.E.M.); the track was chosen as BBC Radio 1’s Zane Lowe “Single of the Week.”  The woozy psychedelia of the video – shot in one continuous take – addresses frontman Matthew “Murph” Murphy’s issues with depression and addiction to anti-depressants by contrasting the solemn, black-clad Murph to a colorful array of bizarre characters as he makes his way through a surreal, Technicolor world.

Looks and sounds like the untimely return of Britpop.

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Swedish power pop band The Merrymakers was one of the leading lights of the 90s pop underground scene. Well, Merrymakers may be no more but here comes David Myhr to carry off where his former band left off with a spanking new single – Got You Where He Wanted – the first offering from upcoming album, Sunshine. Chock full of hooks and wondrous melodies, this is a classic pop gem in the making. Check it out, folks!

Got you where he wanted (.mp3) by davidmyhr


NATALIE Little Heart EP (Self-released)

I first came across this young Singaporean singer-songwriter, whilst judging the Noise Open Category submissions for 2011, and quite frankly, she was a welcome respite for sore ears!

Continue reading “NATALIE”


QUEEN Greatest Hits/Greatest Hits II (Universal)

Well, with Queen’s signing with Universal after 40 years with EMI, naturally, we are getting remasters of the Queen back catalogue. And what a back catalogue it is! I make no secret of the fact that I hold Queen (viz. Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon) in the highest esteem and without doubt Queen remains to this day one of my all-time favorite bands. Therefore, I am looking forward to listen to the remasters of the Queen back catalogue.

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Here’s a short preview of what’s in store for Strokes fans when the new album, Angles, is released on 22nd March.

1.Machu Picchu – Beauty, bouncy and very Strokey. Good Caribbean-infused rhythms and sharp tune. Very good start.

2. Under Cover of Darkness –  Catchy first single – verses contain good hooks. Has strong ethnic ska feel. Although the chorus is a little jaded to these ears. Appealing energy though.

3. Two Kinds of Happiness – Appropriately channels the Cars (who has a new album out soon as well!). Other than that, rather disappointing and nothing special. Exciting instrumental sections, it must be said.

Continue reading “THE STROKES”


I presume you must be questioning my objectivity concerning this review especially when I have been a Noise mentor for the past three years and two of my apprentices viz Vanessa Faith and Age of Sinfonia have contributed to this CD. So in the interests of fairness, I recuse myself from commenting on both Vanessa Faith and Age of Sinfonia. I believe I have said enough about them on Power of Pop for any regular visitor to know how I feel about them.

Continue reading “NOISE SINGAPORE 2011”