THE KILLERS – LIVE IN SINGAPORE [NEWS]

(SingaporeGP press release)

6 March 2013, Singapore – Race and event promoter Singapore GP Pte Ltd announces its first Padang Stage headliner for this season’s edition of the 2013 FORMULA 1 SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX with the Las Vegas alternative rock band THE KILLERS performing post-qualifying on Saturday, 21 September 2013.

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PERSONA – NUS ELECTRONIC MUSIC LAB [NEWS]

Message from the NUS Electronic Music Lab: —

Sat & Sun 09 & 10 Mar | 8pm University Cultural Centre Dance Studio | $15

An hour-and-a-half long audio-visual showcase featuring original electronic music by EML members.

Our contemporary environment has been evolving at a tremendous rate and while many struggle to find meaning and purpose in the ever changing environment, some attempt to solve this quandary through the creation of a persona. They view this persona as a safeguard, a comfort zone, and a form of self-empowerment.

Faces, masks, identities – how many do we have, and how real is each one?

Persona is an enhanced audio-visual performance tracing the path of an android and her quest for the perfect persona. She escapes the laboratory where she was programmed to be the perfect alter-ego, and instead travels through the diverse landscape of electronic music – a rendered universe of constructed identities and originally composed music.

Developed by humans as part of a research project in the name of scientific recognition and reputation, it is symbolic of the struggles of the creator and the created over control.

Is the creation of a persona the answer or the problem? Is it the end or the beginning?

Facebook Page

Tickets available from SISTIC.

ANAKI ROCKS THE CITY! [NEWS]

Message from the kind folks at Anaki —

Holla holla holla! Anaki Records is upping the DB and taking ANAKI ROCKS THE CITY right to the core of our beloved streets. With our unstoppable Lion City boys rocking a massive playlist of originals across pretty much any genre you can think of, it’s 2 days of refreshing new tunes – created from scratch and rehearsed to sonic nirvana. So if you like the underground & under-hyped with a major lashing of talent overdrive, then this 2-day outdoor music fest will get you pumping your fists and going hell yeah!

24 bands. 2 nights. 1 massive collective. And the best part? No tickets. It’s all love man. Venue – Dhoby Ghaut Outdoor Amphitheatre

MARCH 16 — BANDS
4.15pm • A Common Void Deck • Myre
5.00pm • Zarina Zarr • Au Revoir SG
5.45pm • Red Script • Before The Tempest
6.45pm • Templeshift • Velvet
7.45pm • Second Season Project • Godzilla
8.45pm • SparkleDrivenFairytale • Dracula

MARCH 17 — BANDS
4.15pm • Lot-lot & Friends • Chasing Orion
5.00pm • Obviously We! • Ravage
5.45pm • The Laidcomers • The Lady Tempest
6.45pm • Giveth • Hoodlum
7.45pm • Black Diamond Folds • Stopgap
8.45pm • Black! For Remembrance • Truth Of A Beast

Check out the sneak peek below —

Official Site | Facebook page

NORAH JONES – LIVE IN SINGAPORE [REVIEW]

Photo by Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images
Photo by Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images

WAS IT ALL A DREAM WITH NORAH JONES? 

Treading on partially wet grounds for my first concert-going experience at the west side of Singapore, The Star Performing Arts Centre served as a blooming fresh outlet for events of sorts. Despite the grandeur of the new environs, it was let down somewhat by the spectacle of snaking (really year of the snake, isn’t it?) queue lines at the ticketing counter .

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DRU CHEN – INTENTIONS TOUR: SINGAPORE/MALAYSIA [NEWS]

Dru Chen - SG Msia Press Pic

(Press release)

Modern Soul singer-songwriter Dru Chen will be on tour in Singapore and Malaysia from March 8 to March 17 to launch Intentions EP. Successful lead single “You Bring Out The Best In Me” (http://youtu.be/LGi6Q5WsvtM) has been played on Australian radio stations Southern 88.3FM, Triple R 102.7FM, Joy 94.9FM and is looking to hit Singapore radio/blog soon. Dru Chen will be performing 8 shows, radio spots and filming 2 videos during this trip, including collaborations with Charlie Lim, Kerong Chok, For This Cycle, Charles J Tan and an appearance at Mosaic Music Festival.

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ELLIE GOULDING – LIVE IN SINGAPORE [REVIEWS]

Courtesy of Dominic Phua & Now/Live
Courtesy of Dominic Phua & Now/Live

Judging by the response at the Esplanade Concert Hall on Tuesday night, Ellie Goulding’s first performance in Singapore was an undisputed success.

The full house consisted of a good mix of young tweens and older hipsters, who eagerly lapped up her every word and note. Even Goulding herself repeatedly remarked at her awe and surprise with the number of people at her first show here.

Starting off the night with songs mainly from her recently released sophomore album, Halcyon, such as “Figure 8” and “My Blood”, Ellie Goulding blew us away from the very start with her beautiful voice. It was amazing to hear the entire audience sing along to the chorus of “Guns and Horses”. However, it took some time for the sound engineer to get the mixing right, as it was difficult to hear her voice over her backing track in the beginning.

Also, it appeared that she took a while to adjust to the stage, only moving around to interact with the inviting audience after taking awhile to get used to the venue.

Goulding was not fazed for too long though, and one of the most memorable segments of the concert was when she slowed things down with tracks like “I Know You Care” (she admitted it was about her father) and “Joy”. The audience was also in for a special treat as she sang a wonderful cover of Elton John’s “Your Song”.

Picking things back up with harder hitting songs “Only You” and “Salt Skin”, Goulding gamely danced in her sheer dress through these songs, eliciting more cheers from her fans. During other parts of the show, she also treated the audience to performances of “Hanging On” and “I Need Your Love”, which she wrote with Tinie Tempah and Calvin Harris respectively.

Most of all, it was impressive to see how she took her music to a whole new level with her live show. Her music sounded so much bigger, expansive, richer and complex live than on her studio albums. Moreover, her live energy was explosive, even reminiscent of Hayley Williams (of Paramore fame).

All in all, Eliie Goulding had great charm and clearly enjoyed performing, and her infectious energy in turn made it especially fun and enjoyable for all present. With “Lights” as her final euphoric song, she left everyone without a doubt that she could just very well be the reigning queen of the current crop of synth rock songstresses.

(Melissa Ng)

Thanks to Dan Gordon (Now/Live) for making this review possible.

 

 

SARAH CHENG-DE WINNE: BRAND NEW ALBUM SHOWCASE [NEWS]

Sarah_Showcase_Class95_CS5-(public)

Here’s your chance to catch Sarah Cheng-De Winne live as she delivers her soulful pop music with her deep, sultry vocals.

The showcase is open to the public, as long as you bring a physical copy of Sarah’s album that you have previously purchased, or you can purchase a copy at the venue (one per person). Check out the album sampler below.

Official Facebook Page

INSTANT SPECIES – THIS ROME… [REVIEW]

cover

Nothing quite compares to a British pop band trading in the fine legacy of Britpop and being able to make the connections between The Kinks and Blur and beyond. Instant Species has been around since 1997 and according to its official site, “we’ve made music we love, played gigs to entertain people and released records with an enormous sense of pride. It’s more than a hobby but it’s far from a career and it’s always fun. We don’t have a “plan” or “bid to be” anything other than 4 blokes playing some music we hope is half decent.”

More than “half-decent” I’d say — This Rome… is the quartet’s new album (#8) and it is chock full of catchy tunes, spiky rhythms and an edgy pop smart attitude. It’s clear from songs like the languid “Rise of the Idiot”, the bouncy “Simple Repetition”, the chirpy title track and the garage-y “I Need A Little Help” that the band writes and records the kind of music it loves without any thought about trends. Essential for fans of classic British pop music.

 

POP YEH YEH! [NEWS]

SF079.1

Here’s a urgent newsflash from the good people over at Ujikaji Records.

We’re taking 1-week-only pre-orders at a special price for this collection of 26 Nusantara gems released on the US label Sublime Frequencies. Comes in “tri-fold digipak with gorgeous artwork, two 40 page booklets with insanely extensive liner notes including band/artist bios, an overview of the era, translated lyrics, and plenty of rare photos taken from vintage magazines, album covers, and the artists’ own personal collections.”

Email ujikajirecords@gmail.com by 28 Feb 2013 if you want this CD as we are highly unlikely going to bring in many extra copies.

Click here to read more about the album from the Sublime Frequencies website.

So… what are ya waiting for?

HOT NUN [REVIEW]

No frills melodic rock n’ roll is the only item on the Hot Nun agenda and why the hell not? With a bio that declares that rock is not dead, Jeff Shelton (guitars, vocals, bass) and Braden McGraw (drums) keep things simple and straightforward on this eponymous debut. With eight songs that celebrate “The Spirit of ’76”, the album is aimed directly at classic rock n roll lovers and fans of Cheap Trick, KISS, T. Rex and Glam-era Bowie. Rollicking numbers like “Who Do You Love” and “Fight Fight Fight” will get adrenaline pumping easy enough. No denying the sheer power of this uncanny album, with the faithful rendition of Bowie’s “Queen Bitch” the perfect touchstone of what Hot Nun is all about.

Facebook | Buy Now

PoPTV: DRU CHEN – “YOU BRING OUT THE BEST IN ME” [OFFICIAL VIDEO]

This is so infectious it should be illegal! Seriously!! I first saw Dru Chen at an open mike years ago and was deeply impressed with his swagger and innate soulfulness BUT this new single from the Melbourne based modern soul singer-songwriter exceeds all expectations. I mean, “You Bring Out the Best in Me” should be blaring out of every single radio station in Singapore. Be warned though, once that groove hooks in, you’re in trouble. Awesome.

Official Page

Buy now!

 

DEON – ROAD TO CANADA [NEWS]

DEON

(Press release)

Local folk-pop artist DEON has been invited to play at the prestigious Canadian Music Week 2013 this 21st March. Part of the crop of talents taking their music into foreign ground, DEON will be representing Singapore alongside local bands Inch Chua, The Sam Willows and Eli T.

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S-ROCK: ALIVE & KICKIN’ [LIVE REVIEWS]

Obedient Wives Club, by Cass Goh
Obedient Wives Club, by Cass Goh

It is a good time to be involved in the S-ROCK scene. Interest in the scene is definitely growing as the media gives it attention it properly deserves. More releases, more gigs, more open mikes, more bands, more venues…more, more, more!  In the last two weeks, I managed to witness two launches – first, by Another Sunday Afternoon and last Friday, by Obedient Wives Club. These bands are very different in terms of musical approach and execution but share the same passion, talent and ability to touch and thrill true-blue music lovers. Also worth considering – the fledging outfits that opened viz Victoria Street and Rocketswan, interestingly enough, both female-fronted! Exciting times, indeed.

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THE GREAT SPY EXPERIMENT – LITMUS [REVIEW]

TGSE_litmus_cover_130107

Six years in the making, the sophomore effort of The Great Spy Experiment arrives with the band a completely different entity to what it was when I first met Saiful, Fandy, Song, Khai and Mag in the rehearsals for Singapore Day in 2007. Interim period has seen marriages, children and daily challenges with the ubiquitous work-life balance. Factor in the creative musical need of recording artists and things no doubt become complicated.

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PoPTV: “DARE (FT. DANIEL SASSOON)” [VIDEO]

Courtesy of Cass Goh
Courtesy of Cass Goh

Nothing beats shameless self-promotion, eh?

In any case, I wanted to share with you the ‘video’ I put together to help push “Dare” along. It’s actually a simple photo montage chronicling my experiences in the local music scene in the last six years, the bands, the gigs and the people who made a difference. Yes, it’s a little self-indulgent but there you ago…

 

 

THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD: EMO FASCISM – “DARE (FT. DANIEL SASSOON)”

Courtesy of Cass Goh
Courtesy of Cass Goh

Here we are – all set to go!

“Dare” is the first track to be made public from the Emo Fascism recording sessions which took place mainly in September last year at Patrick Chng’s excellent home studio. The album will consist of ten tracks (with two bonus tracks on the CD) and for the most part I wrote, sang, performed and produced the lot with Patrick engineering, mixing and mastering the recording. Only one other musician played on Emo Fascism (“Dare” to be specific) and I am proud to say that it was none other than Daniel Sassoon.

Daniel has of course, in the past, been closely involved with legendary S-ROCK bands like Livonia and Electrico. Of late, Daniel has been leading the instrumental rock outfit – In Each Hand A Cutlass – and is renowned for his talent and skill on the guitar. Sometime back, I had finally recorded a proper demo of “Dare” (which has been kicking around for decades – I shit you not) and sent it to Daniel for feedback. What I got was an offer to contribute guitar ideas to the track and I jumped – didn’t need to asked twice! So earlier this year, Daniel laid down his amazing guitar lines (and a mind-blowing solo) for “Dare” in a fecund three-hour session at Thom’s Loft.

And now you can hear the results! I am particularly proud of the final product and I am so excited to be able to share the first fruits of our labours with you all. If you liked what you heard, I hope you will share the links on your respective social media platforms and spread the word around! That would be so cool and greatly appreciated! Remember – Emo Fascism is due for release in August 2013.

…still there’s more…

Cass Goh’s Official Site

 

PoPTV: THE SUMMER STATE “I DO, I DON’T” (FEAT. ZAHIDAH) [OFFICIAL VIDEO]

I was interviewed by my former Budding Writer mentee Karen Gwee (now New Paper reporter) last night about the whole Ken Lim saga and she brought up an intriguing point about how the local indie scene may also have the commercial potential needed to save the local music industry from the verge of extinction, as Ken eloquently (and quite correctly) reckoned.

Case in point – this new single from The Summer State – which video has already garnered over 4,000 views in about a day! Rather removed from the emo-pop-punk style that I remembered the band playing in various auditions/gigs I have witnessed before. In fact, the song is a very radio-friendly pop ballad and targeted for mainstream audiences, with shiny production values to boot. Not my cup of tea, mind you, but I can understand the appeal the track will have for teenagers and tweens and this can only be a good thing for the local music scene. Check it out.

Official page

PoPTV: HAYDEN “RAINY SATURDAY” [OFFICIAL VIDEO]

Good to see 90s indie artists still soldering on upwards and onwards. Case in point – Toronto’s Hayden has a new album – Us Alone – out now on Arts & Crafts. The hair may be visibly greying but the artistic vision has not diminished and the fire is still burning. This sad but hopeful song comes with a video that includes phone interruptions (like real life!) and the difficult concerns of the matured artist. Wistful but memorable.

 

FUZZY VOX – TECHNICOLOR [REVIEW]

The French rock n’ roll band known as Fuzzy Vox behaves as if no new music was made after 1969! This myopic vision provides incredible focus as this five-track EP amply demonstrates. The music here is simple yet powerful, straight-forward and visceral. If push came to shove, probably the most accurate reference point would be the first Stooges album. Sure, one could also point to the influences of the mod greats (The Who) and blues-rock legends (The Rolling Stones) but there’s a basic garage-punk energy that suggests Iggy and his band of freaks held greater sway. In the modern context, The Hives come to mind immediately and every other garage-punk revivalist you would care to mention. The scintillating cover of Jerry Lee Lewis’ “Great Balls of Fire” provides a clarity of purpose, translated well on the meaty title track, the beaty “Same Old Story”, the big “I’ll Be Gone” and the bouncy “Hurricane”. Pure & easy.

Listen to “I’d Be Gone” and the rest of the EP at Soundcloud.

Like Fuzzy Vox at Facebook | Buy the EP at Deezer

 

 

PoPTV: THE OUTFIT “STRANGE BONES” [OFFICIAL VIDEO]

A name like The Outfit does carry with it a certain association with 80s American new wave, doesn’t it? The hype pronounces The Outfit as a band that ‘offers an earnest take on garage rock revival, building on the ground laid out by such acts as The Strokes, and early Kings of Leon’. Somewhere in-between I suppose. As far as this track – “Strange Bones” – is concerned (off of the most current album, Broken West Wishbone Test), there is a fair bit of late 70s pub-rock, Two-Tone plundering, ska-punk and a healthy dose of The Clash thrown into the overall mix. All good, in my book! The video? It’s suitably vintage and retro-delicious laced with bizarro puppeteering to boot.

Official Site

 

PoPTV: SUUNS “2020” [OFFICIAL VIDEO]

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Experimental-noise-jangle-pop-drone is probably the closest description I could conjure for this new song from Suuns. Not only that but the video of “2020” will probably give you a headache as well. Contrarian art-punk anyone? At least, this is one aspect of the 80s that has been given less attention so you could say that I am having fun with this. Fans of the Velvets, JAMC and Flaming Lips might get a rise out of this. The rest of you stay the fuck away!

Official Site

MY BLOODY VALENTINE – m b v [REVIEW]

MBV (Front)

After a wait of 22 years, without much fanfare, comes the third My Bloody Valentine album. The first three songs – “She Found Now”, “Only Tomorrow” and “Who Sees You” – sound like the band have always been around (which is probably true, legacy-wise) with the noise-drenched indie pop fans have come to know and love. Then we get “If This & Yes” which sounds uncannily like a Beach Boys outtake from the mid-60s (or a High Llamas track – same difference), eschewing guitars for keyboards. From then on, the agenda is to subvert expectations somewhat with sonic explorations of a similar vein (“If I Am” and “A New You”) and foot firmly off the distortion pedals. The final trio of songs (“In Another Way”, “Nothing Is” and “Wonder 2”) get decidedly experimental in terms of guitar textures and rhythmic expression. All of which makes for an intriguing comeback and fairly worth the prolonged wait!

Official Site

S-ROCK: EXTINCTION WATCH – AKAN DATANG [NEWS]

S-ROCK-1

According to Hype Records’ owner (and former Singapore Idol judge) Ken Lim, the local music industry is on the “verge of extinction” and that he is the man who will save the industry. We wish him all the best! As far as the S-ROCK scene is concerned, more evidence of its good health can be seen in the following upcoming events: –

Another Sunday Afternoon: The Bookmark EP launch

The latest EP – which has been available for a couple of weeks now – will be officially launched this Friday, February 8th at Home Club. Victoria Street will be providing support. Entry is $12 with one standard drink (including entry to Kicks! later). The Bookmark has been well-received thus far with TODAY stating that “it’s satisfying to witness the continued artistic development of our local bands that despite all odds, manage to produce music that can only be described as ‘world-class’. Add The Bookmark to this burgeoning list”. The fun begins at 8pm.

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