Think about it… words to follow…
Already 12 bands have submitted their videos at the contest site, for the opportunity to open for Paramore on 7th March at the Indoor Stadium. Already, S-ROCK bands like A Vacant Affair, Monochrome and Tacit Aria have thrown their names into the hat. Check them out and vote for your favourites.
1. Why play music?
To escape into a world where everything makes sense
2. Who are your influences?
So so many. . . the sound of the street outside as much as anything else. . but for childhood influence I will say The Beatles
3. What is success?
4. Why should people buy your music?
So I can get filthy rich and buy a beach hut on the moon
5. Who do you love?
6. What do you hope to achieve with your music?
To make music that people can completely lose themselves in
7. Who comes to your gigs?
Humans and the odd puppy
8. What is your favorite album?
There could be a couple of hundred. For some reason ‘What’s Going On’ by Marvin Gaye has popped into my head even though I haven’t heard it in ages.
9. What is your favorite song?
Again, impossible to answer. I was listening to The Beatles ‘When I Get Home’ the other day. That’s pretty pretty good.
10. How did you get here?
I just climbed into bed
Fyfe Dangerfield’s debut solo album, Fly Yellow Moon, is out now.
STELLARSCOPE This Is Who We Are (Patetico)
Employing a noise-pop/shoegaze approach to rock songs, Stellarscope’s alt-rock sound is definitely an acquired taste only. The Philly trio’s adoption of the 90s Brit-rock style is total in nature, down to the faux Brit accents. The overall production values are low, making This Is Who We Are come across as a glorified demo. Thus, whilst the intent of the band is to be applauded, the execution leaves a lot to be desired. Back to the drawing board, boys.
The 30 bands shortlisted for Baybeats 2010 have been announced (see above). Some familiar names and some others also shortlisted last year. And even some bands with members who have played in bands who have played at Baybeats previously.
Anyways, it should be interesting come 21st February when the auditions take place in earnest.
… and there’s more …
Ian McCulloch kept his shades on throughout Echo & the Bunnymen’s first (and last) gig in Singapore, whilst Will Sergeant and assorted session musicians translated the Bunnymen’s memorable back catalogue into tight psychedelic grooves and incandescent guitar patterns.
The largely expat thirty-something (and above) crowd greeted the opening couple of songs (Going Up, Show of Strength, Rescue) with enthusiasm, albeit seated. However, at Mac’s behest, the crowd stood with Stormy Weather (off 2005’s Siberia) onwards and there was a much better atmosphere inside the Esplanade Theatre.
Which was appropriate timing as the hits were rolled out – Seven Seas, Bedbugs and Ballyhoo, Bring On the Dancing Horses, Back of Love, Killing Moon and the Cutter – played at a frenetic pace and the prancing crowd lapped it up. Two encores later (which included a medley of Nothing Lasts Forever, Lou Reed’s Walk on the Wild Side, the Beatles’ Don’t Let Me Down and Wilson Pickett’s In the Midnight Hour, that flummoxed the crowd), the gig was over.
In hindsight, you could quibble that this current incarnation of the Bunnymen did come across a little like a tribute but that is a little unfair. But of course, there’s precedent with The Who only recently playing the Superbowl, with Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey, the only surviving members.
The songs were presented with power and verve, Mac’s voice was a little thin in places but the music stands up to the test of time. I would argue that the songs here had stronger constitution than that provided by the Florence + the Machine and the xx, the night before. The ultimate test being whether in 25 years, would anyone remember the latter bands…?
So to Mac and Will, thanks for the memories and the music!
BREAKING NEWS FROM MIDAS PRODUCTIONS
Contest for a Singapore Band to Open For Paramore
Winner chosen through online voting with final approval by headlining band
Midas Promotions are inviting local bands from Singapore and surrounding territories to upload a demo video, and stand a chance of opening for the American band, paramore, who are performing at the Indoor Stadium on Sunday, 7th March.
“We’ve received a great deal of interests from bands to open for paramore, and opening it to the local music scene will make it more exciting. This is a golden opportunity for the bands to show what home grown music is all about and for the fans to support them,” said Steven Woodward, Operations Manager of Midas Promotions.
The winner will be voted in online by the general public. Contest ends 27 February at 12 midnight.
Registration and video submission are through http://www.onevent.biz/paramore
Love ’em or hate ’em, you just cannot ignore Astroninja. Well, sad to report that Astroninja is no more and will be performing one last show – for now, at any rate. The band will probably explain it better than me.
ASTRONINJA – made known for their hits ‘The Bukkake Udon Song’ and ‘Thunder’ – will be performing their FINAL SHOW in Singapore…. ever!!!.. on Friday, 12th FEB, 7pm onwards @ BLACKHOLE 212! The event promises to be filled with splattering bukkake-ish fun and plenty of highlights worthy of a car wreck montage!
Levan Wee, the charismatic and oftentimes controversial albino frontman of two of Singapore’s best selling and most commercially successful bands – RONIN & ASTRONINJA – will be heading for Melbourne, Australia to pursue his further studies. To date, he has penned 3 Number One hits on the radio (Songs that he cringes to every time he hears them! “They sound like jack shit!”), sold more than 25,000 studio albums, and played 250 live shows. This final show will be his 251th, and his last in Singapore. Levan Wee played a pivotal part in the revival of the local music scene in the early 2000s, and leaves the local scene here with bucketloads of fun-filled memories.
Sharing the stage with him will be fellow musicians and sexy friends Dong & Shaun from Singapore’s glam rock outfit BAD OBSESSION, along with special guests Mr. ‘Wang Wang Wangggggggg’ and ‘Mr. Sexy Black Mystery Man’! BOBBY THE SHEEP will be making a guest appearance.
ASTRONINJA will also be performing with a slew of other very talented and super fabulous bands such as the outrageously wicked THAMBI K SEAOW, the venomous VERMILLION, the heartwarming FOR THIS CYCLE, the bringers-of-vice FALL OF MIRRA, and the sonic euphoria of RUINS AND REMAINS.
So bring your friends! Bring your family! Bring your sex partners and secret affairs! Dress sexy and expect enormous amounts of fun!!!!
HERE ARE ALL THE DETAILS YOU’LL NEED TO KNOW!
Date: 12th FEB, FRIDAY, 6pm to 10pm
Pre-sale Tickets: $6
(That’s cheaper than a 80-year-old prostitute at Geylang!)
—- THERE IS NO AGE RESTRICTION FOR THIS SHOW! —-
Contact: Vin @ 84286559
(Drop him an SMS to let him know you want to reserve tickets before Friday!)
Message Levan Wee or Dong TZ on Facebook (Search for him in that little search box!) and let them know how many tickets you want. It’s an intimate venue so tickets are limited!!!
HOW THE HELL DO I GET THERE ANYWAY?!
Venue: Blackhole 212
Closest MRT stations:
Jalan Besar Food Centre
New World Centre
Jalan Besar Macdonalds
GET READY FOR A ROCKIN’, PUNKIN’, MOSHIN’ GOOD TIME!!!!
LOUD, PROUD, AND FULL OF MUSICAL KOOKS AND COCKS!
SEE YOU AT THE FINAL SHOW!
DROP US A LINE IF YOU HAVE ANY QUERIES. NO NEED SHY SHY! LOVE YOU LONG TIME.
To our army of ninja-listic fans in North America, Europe, and Australia, we’ll be filming the gig, so even if you’re halfway across the world from us, you’ll still get to feel like you’re -almost- there in the flesh! 🙂 We love you!
S-ROCK band Lunarin is currently putting the finishing touches on their sophomore effort. As yet untitled, you can find out a little more about the recording process at the band’s official site. Lunarin consists of Linda Ong, Ho Kah Whye and Loo Eng Teck – three white-collared young professionals who juggle their “adult” responsibilities with dreams of recording the rock music they hear in their collective heads.
The trio released The Chrysalis in 2006 – a moody, atmospheric, dark rock debut album with a prog-rock edge, fine instrumentation and Linda’s delicate larynx, which definitely appealed to goths, metalheads and neo-proggies.
Based on what I’ve heard so far, the band continues to tread the fine line between harsh/fragile, light/dark and intricate/basic, with some aplomb.
Certainly a S-ROCK release to look out for. Stay tuned.
It’s rather interesting (and a little sad, I guess) that two generations of British pop-rock musicians are performing back-to-back this early February as it succinctly illustrates how much Singapore has changed since the mid-80s. Last night, the latest new wave of British pop-rock viz. Florence + the Machine and the xx performed in the Esplanade Theatre in front of an adoring crowd of locals and expats. Most of the locals being teenagers and young adults, screaming at every nuance and move, the unconditional love was rather overwhelming. This was obvious from the reactions of the performers themselves, whom I’m sure was not quite sure what to expect from Singapore.
Whilst I personally found both groups to be very good at what they do – both bands adopt 80s post-punk styles in their own way – it was hard for this 80s survivor to shake off the obvious references points raised. The xx is, of course, heavily influenced by the likes of Joy Division, the early Cure, Young Marble Giants and Echo & the Bunnymen (more of that later). Florence Welch’s image and singing style immediately brings to mind the likes of 80s new wave divas e.g. Kate Bush, Toyah Wilcox, Siouxsie Sioux (the Banshees) and Debbie Harry (Blondie).
Mind you, none of this detracts from the enjoyment of the music, which is exciting and dynamic throughout. Although the xx does tend to do the Oasis i.e. just stand there and play. Florence – on the other hand – puts heart and soul into her performance, her soulful music revolving around your amazing voice and the risks she takes with it. Awesome! That said, there is an intriguing method in the xx’s sound, with electro beats and minimal guitar-bass interplay, I was impressed by the simplicity of the music and also how they incorporated some of my own favourite influences into catchy yet intelligent material.
Which brings me to the Echo & the Bunnymen gig – which I understand, is not receiving the unconditional love that Florence/the xx got. Perhaps, if this was 1985 instead of 2010, would anything have been different? Of course, there would never have been any Bunnymen gig in Singapore in 1985, believe me. So what has changed? Certainly, the internet and “relaxing” of official intolerance over rock music, not to mention, a shift in entertainment values in our young Singaporeans are critical factors. But of course, few people at a young age are that interested in rock history – so the ambivalence is understandable. Better late than never, I guess.
That said, the Echo & the Bunnymen gig is probably a once-in-a-lifetime performance and so, should not be missed at any cost! Especially if you’re a fan of the xx and/or Florence + the Machine (and I’m certain they would agree), you MUST go watch the Bunnymen tonight.
Kudos to Chugg Entertainment for putting up these great shows.
Pix courtesy of Weetz.
My introduction to Echo & the Bunnymen – and to many bands of the post-punk era – was via a rock movie called Urgh! A Music War. Remember, boys and girls, back in 1981 (a time before the internet), as the government frowned on rock music, no bands came to Singapore to perform, and music fans (like yours truly) had to depend on import record stores, music magazines (like NME, Sounds, Record Mirror), videotapes smuggled from overseas (of TOTP, The Tube etc) and the occasional rock movie to get our fix of the latest music.
So I recall that it was around Christmas time when I brought my wife (then-girfriend, of course!) to the Rex Theatre to watch this strangely-titled movie about the new music that was coming out of the UK and the USA. Basically, it was a life-changing experience as bands like the Police, XTC, OMD, Gary Numan, Jools Holland (who is coming to Singapore soon!) and Magazine lit up the screen and my mind was blown. Irretrievably!
There was also a clip of the Bunnymen peforming the Puppet (see above) and like the others, my head was turned. And so I picked up the latest Bunnymen album – Heaven Up Here – and the brief love affair began. Heaven Up Here is a dark psych-rock masterpiece and featured such classic tracks as Show of Strength, Over the Wall, All My Colours and A Promise. The album was hailed by NME as album of the year.
The Bunnymen’s star was rising in the UK and this was confirmed by the following release – Porcupine – which contained two hit singles viz. The Cutter and Back of Love. In 1984, Bunnymen released – in my opinion – their best album, Ocean Rain, which contained The Killing Moon (immortalized in Donnie Darko). After that, the Bunnymen lost their way somewhat with the poppier The Game, which saw the band make inroads into the US market. Singer Ian McCulloch left for a solo career, drummer Pete De Freitas was tragically killed in a road accident. Bizarrely, remaining band members (guitarist Will Sergeant and bassist Les Pattinson) regrouped the Bunnymen with a new singer and a new album in 1990 (of which, the less said the better). The album flopped and the Bunnymen were no more by 1993.
At the tail-end of Britpop, with the likes of Oasis singing their praises, the original Bunnymen reunited (sans the sadly departed De Freitas) and released the well-received Evergreen, with the cover echoing (sorry!) their debut album, Crocodiles. Since then, the band has continued recording (four more albums) and whilst Pattinson has also left the band, McCulloch and Sergeant still carry the Bunnymen banner with dignity and verve.
Of course, the Bunnymen circa 2010 is totally different proposition from the band I first saw in 1981 but for music lovers and serious musicians, this is a gig that should not be missed.Especially to the younger set who are into the post-punk revival bands like Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the xx, the Big Pink, Interpol, the Killers, the Editors and so on.
Once again, the gig is tonight at the Esplanade Theatre at 8pm. Get your tickets at SISTIC before its too late!
See you there.
Yet another home game where Spurs did EVERYTHING but score. Based on this match, neither Villa or Spurs will qualify for Champs League. Villa, for not possessing the ambition to go for the win and Spurs, for not possessing the killer instinct to win. And with Man City’s defeat at Hull, it does appear at this stage that Liverpool has gained the upper hand in that particular race, possessing the ability to grind out the right result without playing well.
Positives? Spurs once again dominate possession over their opponents. Negatives? Not being able to score. For the rest of February, Spurs will play Wolves (away), Wigan (away) and Everton (home), all “winnable” games to continue their assault on the top 4. And… lest we forget, there is also the small matter of the 5th round of the FA Cup, away to Bolton.
Yes, another disappointment for Spurs fans but still much to look forward to for the rest of the season.
Congrats to Clara and Tien Tsin who have won a ticket each to the Florence + the Machine/the xx concert, which I understand is now SOLD OUT!
See you there!
+65 Indie Underground, the essential 3-CD retrospective of the S-ROCK scene from 1980s to present day (with greater emphasis on the 90s revival) is now available online at getupmerch.com.
Now, why is this CD set “essential”? Well, whether you’re Singaporean or not, the CD set contains 50 tracks covering a wide range of genres and styles, and I’m certain that there’s something for everyone here.
I have been listening to rock & pop music of every ilk for the past 30 years and a serious music reviewer for the last 20, so I believe that I’m qualified to make the following assertions. The music on +65 Indie Underground is as good as anything that passes for “indie/alt-rock” coming out of the USA, UK or Europe.
Definitely, of our current bands, the likes of A Vacant Affair, Great Spy Experiment, I Am David Sparkle, the Observatory, Lunarin, B-Quartet and Electrico would be able to hold their own. For our classic 90s revival outfits, the music of Force Vomit, Livonia, Plainsunset, Sugarflies, Stoned Revivals, Etc, Concave Scream, Stompin’ Ground, Humpback Oak, the Oddfellows, Padres and Zircon Lounge have stood the test of time. Well, I dare anyone to make a case against these assertions. Go ahead, I’ll be waiting…
But if you’re a S-ROCK musician (singer, songwriter, band member, whatever) then, it would be criminal for you not to possess a copy of +65 Indie Underground. This is not mere hyperbole. I have been speaking to several young musicians and they have absolutely no clue about the aforementioned 90s bands. Which is why this retrospective is so essential not only for those of us who lived through those heady times and are feeling nostaglic for the good ol’ days but music lovers everywhere needs to know (and acknowledge) the power of S-ROCK!
Okay, enough preaching. Go and get hold of +65 Indie Underground NOW!!!
Courtesy of the kind folk at Chugg Entertainment (Thanks, Carmel!), you have the chance to watch post-punk legends Echo & the Bunnymen play live at the Esplanade Theatre on Monday, 8th Feb at 8pm.
Interested? If so, please send an email to info (at) powerofpop (dot) com and tell me the name of the latest Bunnymen album.
NB. If you win a ticket to the Florence + the Machine gig, you will not be eligible for this offer and vice versa.
I’ll be waiting for your emails.
Okay here’s the deal. Thanks to the kind folk at Chugg Entertainment, I have tickets to give away for the Florence + the Machine gig at 8pm on Sunday, 7th February at the Esplanade Theatre.
All you need to do is to send an email to info (at) powerofpop (dot) com and tell me the name of Florence’s debut album.
Winners will announced here at the Power of Pop.
What are you waiting for?
Come relive a part of Singapore’s local music history at the official +65 Indie Underground concert at the waterfront with TypeWriter, and also introducing two new bands with musicians featured on the best-selling CD compilation of Singapore indie music from 80’s to the present: Interlude (Livonia/Liquid Stardust) and Shelves (Suchness/Livonia/Leeson).
7.30 – 8pm: Interlude
8.45 – 9.30pm: Shelves
10 – 10.45pm: TypeWriter
This sci-fi movie has a few things going for it e.g. Bruce Willis and a compelling premise.
In 2017, people live in near-total isolation, rarely leaving the safety and comfort of their homes, thanks to remotely-controlled robotic bodies that serve as “surrogates,” designed as better-looking versions of their human operators. Because people are safe all the time, and damage done to a surrogate is not felt by its owner, it is a peaceful world free from fear, pain, and crime.
Of course, things are not as rosy as it seems and the death of two human operators whilst controlling their surrogates (previously thought an impossibility) leads FBI agents Tom Greer (Willis) and Jennifer Peters (Radha Mitchell) into an investigation that will change the world.
The movie is based on the graphic novel of the same name by Robert Vendetti and Brett Wendele (Note to self: write comic book NOW!). Unfortunately, much of the novel’s more thought-provoking issues are diluted in an attempt to streamline the movie’s plot and I guess, make it more mainstream palatable.
So yes, action sequences are obviously at “high-octane” level, which seems par for the course for sc-fi movies nowadays. And the time expended on these sequences comes – naturally – at the expense of plot and character development. Instead, we get our fair share of implausible moments.
For instance, why does the weapon conveniently fail to work when Miles Strickland faces Tom Greer? Why does Greer’s hatred of surrogacy only surface when he no longer operates a surrogate? Why do all the operators look so dishevelled and unkempt? How can Dr Cantor be operating the Prophet for so many years without anyone realizing that the Prophet is really a surrogate? (NB. This is a major deviation from the novel).
All the above considered, director Jonathan (Terminator 3) Mostow does a reasonable job in creating the world of Surrogates and for most part the suspension of belief factor is high. If that is you don’t think too much of the plotline flaws too much. In the final analysis, Surrogates is entertaining sci-fi fare, targeted for mass appeal with a subtle moral lesson slipped in.
“And the Spurs go marchin’ ON! ON!! ON!!!”
I can assure you that at half-time, the Spurs fans were not singing. After dominating much of the first half and taking a deserved lead – scored by Jermain Defoe (after 5 previous gild-edged attempts) and assisted by Man of the Match, David Bentley – Spurs once again contrived to take its foot off the pedal and allowed Leeds to equalize just before the break.
But thanks to a professional second half display, Spurs finally cast aside Leeds’ challenge with Defoe completing his hat-trick, with Bentley providing another fine assist for the second. Overall, the result is nothing less than Spurs deserved for their thoroughly dominant performance.
The main positive point taken away from this game is the continued improvement of Bentley. In the prolonged absence of Aaron Lennon, Bentley has stepped uo to prove even his harshest critics. Bentley was a constant thorn in Leeds’ side with his movement and intelligent passes. It augers well for Spurs’ progress in both league and cup for the rest of the season.
And the discovery process continues…
Meet Stanley Lau, cover artist extraordinaire who is, in the words of Rachel Gluckstein (the editor of DC Comics’ The Web series) – “a rising star here at DC”. And… yes, Lau is based in Singapore!
Stay tuned for more Stanley Lau goodness at the Power of Pop.
RADAR BROS. The Illustrated Garden (Merge)
The Radar Bros. are probably the quintessential 90s alt-rock band. Having released 5 albums (before The Illustrated Garden), they have distilled the Pixies-Flaming Lips-Dream Syndicate vibe perfectly. Y’know, equal parts country-folk and psychedelic rock. Throw in copious amounts of the inspirations of Neil Young and Pink Floyd and voila! The Illustrated Garden!
I’m sure you’ll agree with me that the hip and cool factor of the above references is high. And the songs on The Illustrated Garden bear this out as well. There is a weathered feel about the melodies and angular shape to the arrangements which strikes a fine balance between the classic and indie rock genres.
Highlights include the world-weary The Headlights, the obtuse and edgy Rainbow, the whacked out bluesy Quarry, the Syd Barrett-channeling People.
The FA Cup represents the best chance of silverware this season for Spurs, especially with Man Utd, Arsenal and Liverpool all out. Even if the reward for succesfully negotiating this replayed tie is a tricky 5th Round encounter with Bolton at the Reebok Stadium. With the number of injuries and players loaned out, Spurs seem to be down to the bare bones, which is an unhappy situation to be in.
And so, the team effectively picks itself i.e. Gomes, Corluka, Dawson, Bassong, Bale, Bentley, Huddlestone, Palacios, Modric, Crouch and Defoe. Which, on any day, looks good enough to beat anyone. So, I’m sticking my neck out to predict a comfortable Spurs win. I believe that Leeds have ridden their luck somewhat, against Man Utd and us (in the first game) and playing in front of their own fans may turn out to be their undoing, with the pressure on them to get a result.
This is the first comic-book I ever read! I could not have been more than 4 or 5 years old at the time. Since then, the Legion of Super-Heroes has always held a special place in my heart. I guess as a little kid, a superhero club was extremely appealing – just imagine belonging to that!
The Legion is a superhero team in the 30th and 31st centuries of the DC Comics Universe. The team first appeared in Adventure Comics #247 (April 1958), and was created by Otto Binder and Al Plastino. The Legion stories contain both superhero and sci-fi elements and that probably contributes to its appeal even after all these years.
Unfortunately, in its 48 years of publication, it has been “rebooted” (i.e. to a discard much or even all previous continuity in the series and start anew with fresh ideas. Effectively, all established fictive history is declared by the writer(s) to be null and void, or at least irrelevant to the new storyline, and the series starts over as if brand-new.) This has alienated many fans over the years and has made following Legion stories a complicated process.
Ironically (or maybe not), the Legion is back where it started – as a back up feature in Adventure Comics. However, there will be a new Legion comic book (by Paul Levitz and Yildiray Cinar) this year. Read the interview with Paul Levitz here.
Stay tuned for more Legion at the Power of Pop.
ZALLEN Crash Landing (Self-released)
With hard work, passion and belief, genuine talent will always rise to the top. Not necessarily in commercial terms but those “in the know” will recognise the true pop-artistic value of musicians like Zallen aka Michael Allen Jones. While lesser artists struggle to find a distinctive voice or the technical skill to deliver material of any note, Zallen takes his Bowiesque space-rock into stratosphere with an attention to detail that belies its low-key and austere origins.
Zallen is a prolific artist, having released six albums since 2002, which encompasses most of what passes for classic pop-rock e.g. glam, powerpop – y’know melodic rock ‘n’ roll. On Crash Landing, Zallen’s inventive song-writing continues to shine, keeping things interesting all the way through its thirteen tracks. Permeating through Crash Landing is a keen sense of humour that belies the serious work ethic that Zallen has poured into its creation.
From the opening slinky I Had A Dream (resplendent with cowbell!) to the closing downbeat Blue Monday, Zallen traverses the gamut of pop-rock genres and stylings which will have students of the forms salivating. Listen to Crash Landing as an entire whole and the pleasurable experience will be complete. Good stuff.
Legendary S-ROCK band, Humpback Oak, has set up a Facebook page here and has announced that –
Oaksongs, our boxset will be released soon. Still working out how we will sell this. Only 500 printed. An extensive collection including three CD albums plus a Rarities hybrid CD with demos, unreleased material and three early cassette releases.
Stay tuned for more details on this exciting upcoming retrospective boxset release…