As you can probably guess, I listen to quite a bit of modern pop-rock music. Have been doing so for almost thirty years now. I find that in the advancing years, as the number of album releases increases, the quality of albums is dropping at an alarming rate. I suppose that’s to be expected. So, when I hear an album that is actually head and shoulders above the deluge, then I take note!
I remember when I first started Power of Pop in 1998, one of the first CDs I reviewed was Anton Barbeau’s – one of the first artists to send his album to some music writer out of Singapore! More than a decade later, I’m glad to report that after many other albums, Barbeau continues to record his quirky music.
A WIZARD A TRUE STAR: TODD RUNDGREN IN THE STUDIO by Paul Myers (Jawbone Press)
“Todd’s aphorism was, ‘If you know what you want, I’ll get it for you. If you don’t know what you want, I’ll do it for you.’” Lenny Kaye (Patti Smith Group)
Todd Rundgren is without doubt, one of the giants of rock music: not only as a solo singer-songwriter-performer but also as the mastermind behind progressive rock ensemble Utopia. And if that was not enough, Rundgren is one of the most prolific and successful producers as well.
It’s a bitch being a musical genius. The last couple of years have not been kind to singer-songwriter David Mead. After spending 2007 living in Brooklyn, Mead separated from his wife and returned to his native Nashville in early 2008, initially landing in a room in his father’s basement for a few months. Mead confesses “The change was a little paralyzing. I had left pretty much everything but my books and a few lamps in Brooklyn, and there I was, back in Nashville, well into my 30’s, doing manual labor and wondering what was supposed to happen next.”
As some of you probably know, every day I sift through a mountain of emails (slightly exaggerated but you get the point) from artists, bands, labels and publicists seeking to be featured on the ol’ humble Power of Pop. What does get my attention are references – not the kind you put in a job resume – but more like: what does the music sound like? Then of course, when I click on the streaming link, it bloody well better sound like the bands/artist you referenced. Heh.
So… The Duke of Norfolk. Cool name. And cooler references – the Decemberists, Avett Brothers and Sufjan Stevens. And… I clicked on the streaming link and I was impressed. Country-folk music that is authentic, heart-warming and fun – all excellent characteristics. So check him out, will ya? Hope to get a review up here or at TODAY pretty soon. In the meantime…
Garden of Youth is a fun-filled, super dynamic event, richly infused with good clean fun, to excite and engage the youth of our nation and bring their vigor and energy into the wonderful Gardens surroundings for a truly uplifting experience. An event bubbling over with the infectious vitality of youth. Especially for youths and absolutely anyone young at heart! 2013 marks the inaugural launch of Garden of Youth a youth-‐centric annual event set in the Gardens, designed for just about anyone ready for a bit of irrepressible fun & youth pop culture. This year, spanning three days from 15th to 17th March, get set for music gigs, bazaar, and a slew of other activities to get totally involved in. Come on down and play!
The Fantastic Picnic Gig: This event is a must for all music lovers out there. Curated by Tiramisu’s lead singer and performance artist extraordinaire, Rizman Putra, this wonderful event platforms English, Mandarin, indie Bands, up and coming young musical talents as well as offer Acoustic Sessions. Visitors can take in the music while lounging on picnic mats to complete the experience. It will be a great way to take in the music of local talents and celebrate the joy of music and life at the Gardens.
Dan Chan, frontman of Xingfoo&Roy brings us his unique perspective of being a performer and audience member at Identite 8.4
I met Amir through a fellow local musician named Chris(also known as Bravepaper). After exchanging emails, Amir asked if our band would like to play at Homeclub’s Identite 8.4 and we gladly accepted!
We played Homeclub’s Big Night Out Launch party along with The Livid Suns and Deon Toh on the 25th (last Friday) and it was great. A fairy large crowd showed up and The Livid Suns kicked the party off with some of their original tracks. Ending with a cover of “Gold Lion” by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Their fierce musical style reminded me of comparable local acts such as Fire Away! Samson and Caracal.
Xingfoo&Roy played next and we can’t express the amount of gratitude we have towards Homeclub and the crowd. The crowd was warm and cheerful which vanished our anxiety almost immediately. The sound was also the best we’d ever had, so props to Homeclub for that! The show was amazing mainly due to the crowd as they danced and sang along to our songs. Pleasing the crowd drove us to play so much better than we ever have.
Ending the event with a mix of alternative-pop tracks was singer songwriter Deon Toh. Deon sang as his backing band complemented his songs. His creamy and soothing voice toned the mood down quite a fair bit and left the audiences bobbing their heads to a set of his original songs which included the catchy, “Little Lives” and they ended with a cover of a Band Of Horses song. Deon Toh is a very talented individual with an immense amount of soul and we hope to hear more from him in the near future.
On the whole, Identite 8.4 was a success and we’d love to thank Homeclub for being such a great contribution to the thriving local music scene.
Every now and then, I get an email with a link that makes me sit up and take notice! Well, here’s one good example – Photo Ops aka Terry Price, who plays every instrument on the upcoming LP, How To Say Goodbye, scheduled for a February 26th release. “It Makes Me Cry,” shows Price’s knack for an infectious hook coupled with poignant lyrics. Lovely epic heartfelt pop music!
From the Los Angeles Art Rock duo Eagle & Talon, JAN is Kim Talon’s newest solo musical venture. In 2011 Alice and Kim Talon did separate musical projects. Alice collaborated with musician Kono Michi to form the band Alice and Michi which later released its first album Strange Bloom in late 2012, while Kim assembled herself a live band featuring Chloe Saavedra (Smoosh) and Melinda Parks (Har Mar Superstar) which resulted in the birth of JAN.
Time to refresh our collective memories concerning ‘classic’ synthpop which originated with German pioneers Kraftwerk in the 70s before flowering in the UK post-punk scene in the 80s. Probably the pre-eminent style of the post-punk revival now currently the rage amongst new alternative rock bands. Enjoy…
Contrary to what most of you might think, I am not against covers – well, I am dead against carbon copy covers – but when a band is able to put its own spin on familiar favorites so that you’re forced to re-assess the song from a different perspective, well that takes talent and skill, folks. So am deeply tickled by this amazing version of Paul Simon’s “You Can Call Me Al” by country-folk-rock outfit Chamberlin as the band channels Neil Young/Crazy Horse to achieve its aim. Well done!
Nothing quite like a sad song to put one in the right mood for… feeling depressed? “Become Someone Else’s” is the new Jens Lekman tune that recalls the likes of Elvis Costello and Morrissey nicely. Taken off the new album I Know What Love Isn’t, out now on Secretly Canadian. The video – directed by Marcus Söderlund – captures the song’s wistfulness perfectly. Check it out.
Think of the invasion of the avant garde into rock n’ roll and it’s difficult not to think of atonal, droning white noise that the likes of the Velvet Underground experimented with in the mid-60s. But surely avant garde is a concept and not a sound so when indie rock bands like The Bastards of Fate appropriate this term to put a tag on their idiosyncratic music then it bears closer investigation.
Throughout 2009 and 2010 The People’s Party (TPP) series of shows became synonymous with bringing fresh, cutting edge music talent to Hong Kong. Now, TPP is expanding and will be focused on its new core home of Singapore. The four-city TPP tour builds to a climax in the Lion City with a special mini-festival to be held at Scape on the 14th and 15th of January 2012.
From Europe and Australasia: Metronomy, Bombay Bicycle Club, The Naked and Famous, The Jezabels, and Unknown Mortal Orchestra have all confirmed. Most crucially however, TPP’s commitment to put Asian talent front and centre with regional groups including: Plain Sunset, In Each Hand A Cutlass, The Analog Girl, DP and many more taking prime spots over the weekend. This is all of our Asian music community and we’re going to do every thing we can to support it.
2011 UK Mercury Prize nominees Metronomy headline the series with their brand of feel good sunset pop funk already firm favourites amongst the Asian indie elite. Three albums in and a famed live show leave us giddy with delight at having them over for their SE Asian debuts. Also hailing from the UK is Bombay Bicycle Club throwing in a chill wave of rhythmic hooks and having solidified their presence in the music scene with a succession of knock-out festival performances this summer are an ideal addition to the TPP bill. New Zealand’s chart topping #1 artists The Naked & Famous join in riding the crest of a wave of popularity that has seen them grow in profile across the globe. We defy you to listen to ‘Young Blood’ and not be instantly hooked. Sydney four-piece, The Jezabels make for another exciting addition to the line up and are our tips for future greatness. A cocktail of power and elegance, the band have been on a non-stop world tour stunning audiences everywhere they go. Their star is on the rise, and we couldn’t be more proud to be able to present their first full tour of the region. Unknown Mortal Orchestra round up the billing of international acts with their raw, beatnik psychedelic sounds curling ears and turning heads while intoxicating listeners with their uniquely lush and verdant tunes.
So join us for the Singapore debut of The People’s Party, a celebration of good music and good people. Great times!
Event Details Dates: Saturday January 14th, and Sunday January 15th Venue: *SCAPE
2 Orchard Link, Singapore 237978 Tickets: On sale from Dec 13th through SISTIC
***Join Untitled Entertainment’s FB Page www.facebook.com/untitledsg to access a special promo code that gets you an exclusive CD single from the award winning EP “Dark Storm” by The Jezabels along with your ticket purchase. Limited stock and availability so act fast!*** ***Follow us @TPPSG on Twitter for more updates! ***
Bobbi’s Pole Studio performers to appear in the preview of Bobbi’s first cabaret performance at TAB
Singapore, 8thAugust 2011 – Bobbi’s Pole Studio, Singapore’s premier pole studio, is bringing exciting cabaret – featuring pole dance – to Singapore for the very first time with Bobbi’s Babes in Cabaret. The studio will pilot its first cabaret performance in September, featuring two shows per evening on Fridays and Saturdays for the duration of the month.
Premiering on Friday 2nd September at TAB – the live entertainment venue – the preview of the cabaret will feature top talent from Bobbi’s Pole Studio, allowing ticket holders the opportunity to see something new and exciting – and for the very first time in Singapore.
Well, what do you think of the new logo? Thanks to Gene Whitlock, we have a spanking new logo which I believe reflects the geeky pop culture that Power of Pop is all about… I am digging it’s comic book feel, not to mention the fact that the musical note that is at the heart of the PoP logo – how true!
I am old enough to remember when MTV was not beamed into Singapore households. A dream channel a pop culture-deprived Singaporean individual could only fantasize about. All we had were grainy second or third generation videos of our favorite US or UK bands smuggled in video cassettes from overseas. Then, we would copy these videos and distribute them around to like-minded friends. What a difference almost thirty years makes! Now MTV focuses on reality TV shows, which is not surprising when you consider the amount of music videos floating around the internet nowadays. It’s not the same believe me. Music videos used to be so precious and valuable. Here’s why…
There were only two superhero movie in 2010 viz. Iron Man 2 and Kick Ass (while Scott Pilgrim vs The World is based on a comic book, it certainly is not a traditional superhero movie). The former was a box office smash while the latter was a critical success. If you think the age of the superhero movie is over, think again.
In the years ahead, there will be many more superhero movies released and GEEK OUT! will attempt to give you the skinny on what is what is not as far as these upcoming movies are concerned.
PHIL COLLINS Going Back – Live At Roseland Ballroom, NYC (Eagle Rock)
You’d think that one Motown cover – You Can’t Hurry Love – would be enough for Phil Collins. Nope. In September this year, Collins released Going Back, a tribute to the soul music of the 60s, covering 18 tracks! I mean, seriously? This DVD features the live performance of Going Back where Collins faithfully covers such legendary songs as Tears of a Clown, Papa Was A Rolling Stone, (Love is Like A) Heatwave, You Really Got A Hold On Me and so on.
Rita’s daughter Astor comes back to prove that Dexter CAN be a good father and consider the interests of others above his own (or so ghostfather Harry tells us). Debra meets Lumen (that is going to come back to haunt Dexter for sure). Jordan Chase discovers that Dexter and Lumen are responsible for the deaths of Boyd and Cole. Dexter uncovers a link to the origins of Jordan Chase. Liddy begins to take a deeper interest in the activities of Dexter and Lumen even as Quinn tells him to let Debra and him alone.
In his introduction to his seminal book, The People’s Music (see below), rock writer (the late) Ian MacDonald opined, “the essentials of modern popular music were laid down during a period of less than ten years and that, but for some technical innovations leading to various musical diversions (such as reggae, rap/hip hop and sequenced dance music), nothing intrinsically new has appeared since then, all musical mini-revolutions in the last twenty years being prefaced in the products of the sixties, the foundation decade for all that’s followed.” (Emphasis added)
There’s just too much music, that sometimes good stuff falls through the cracks of all the pop culture madness that we try to cover here at the Power of Pop. That’s where Blurb-O-Rama comes in to give you a gist of what’s out there in the modern rock wasteland that you, dear reader, may want to investigate further. If not us then who?
HEAVEN AND HELL 30 Years of Heaven and Hell – Live in Europe (Eagle Vision)
Well, that title is a little misleading, isn’t it? Technically, the metal band Heaven and Hell, consisting of Ronnie James Dio (vox), Tony Iommi (guitar), Geezer Butler (bass) and Vinny Appice (drums), were only in existence from 2006 to 2010, a mere four years. Of course, this band is actually one of the numerous incarnations of metal maestros Black Sabbath, with the “30 years” reference pointing to the number of years passed since the Black Sabbath album, Heaven and Hell (when Dio made his debut as Sabbath vocalist), was released. Iommi insisted on the name change so as not to confuse the public over the Ozzy Osbourne-led Sabbath version.