Humour mixed with the candour is how Paper Round Kid tells it…
1. Why play music?

If just listening to music is not enough to deal with all the emotions of the mind, then you gotta play.

2. Who are your influences?

Neil Young and Dylan would be high on my list as they tell stories, and sharing stories is a way of bringing people together, it’s nice to feel you’re not the only one losing…or winning.

3. What is success?

Success can be many different things, but lying next to someone you wanna be with is pretty good.

4. Why should people buy your music? 

If it makes them feel less alone and they like to bop around with a drink celebrating the fact that it’s the shit things that happen in your life that can sometimes be the most soul developing, then buy it. Well that’s one reason.
5. Who do you love?

Disregarding the obvious, I love Bukowski, he kinda just got on with it and he respected his own talent.

6. What do you hope to achieve with your music?

Peace of mind, a good time and maybe a little bit of justice here and there for good measure

7. Who comes to your gigs?

I try and get there!

8. What is your favorite album?

I wear them out, but the good ones bounce back. Joni Mitchell – Blue, always sounds fresh. 

9. What is your favorite song?

Sinnerman – Nina Simone

10. How did you get here?

Well ten follows nine 🙂 
Love helps, so I hope via a night of mutually enjoyable sex.

Paper Round Kid’s Submarine album is out now.



Immediately recognizable on Fishtank’s Make Nice album are killer, infectious songs from their live set such as Conversations, I Want Out, Race and Yahoo Superstar. While there is no substitute for catching these guys live, they do manage to capture a good amount of their energy on this record.

The album begins with a moderately energetic song Walk Away, which manages to transition smoothly from a milder, chill-out vibe to a stronger, more frantic and energetic one. It then continues to rise and peak with the subsequent songs as well..

The Fishtank formula seems to be as follows- a powerful and highly addictive bass/drum groove that sticks in your head, fluid and energetic transitions which involve the whole band, and simple but effective and memorable lyrics and melodies. There are some flavours of reggae, ska, surf-rock, and even a bit of a Red Hot Chilli Peppers vibe (especially on track 2, Young and Out).

Zaid’s vocals shine in the slower passages, such as in One Shot, with expressive vibrato and projection. Anjas’ bass plays a prominent role throughout the album, taking charge and driving the songs effectively and tastefully.

The album ends with the same amount of fervor, tirelessness and energy that the band is renowned for, both on and off-stage. If age has taken anything away from them, it certainly doesn’t show in their music.

As always, no album is perfect and there were a couple of things that I didn’t really enjoy. Some of the songs feel like they drag on a little longer than they should, and the album is slightly monotonous. Perhaps it would have been more interesting if they had allowed themselves to deviate more from their formula. While all the songs have intense energy, perhaps it might have added more depth to the album if things mellowed down at some point.

All in all, Make Nice boasts excellent musicianship from Asmail, Nizam, Anjas and Zaid. Every song is strongly held together with the finesse that only comes from years of experience. Fishtank know what they do best, and are not afraid to prove it. Quirky and with never-ending energy, Make Nice is just the thing you need as a pick-me-up on a dreary day.

Check out Fishtank at its Myspace page.



THE POLICE – Don’t Stand So Close to Me (off the 1980 album, Zenyetta Mondatta)

Does it ever get better than this? My favorite Police song, hands down. The story is simple enough and its interesting to note that Sting was a teacher before making it big. Why they even tried re-making it is beyond me…


This time, it’s the turn of Andy Yorke…

1. Why play music?

For the feeling it gives you when it all comes together live, or when you’ve made a breakthrough writing a song.

2. Who are your influences?

Probably David Bowie and David Sylvian over 20 years ago, when I was first starting to sing. As for songwriting, I’d say the formative influences were Talk Talk, Hugo Largo and REM.

3. What is success?

For me, success would ideally take the form of everyone knowing my songs, but no-one being able to recognise me on the street.

4. Why should people buy your music?

Because illegal downloading is a filthy low-down thing to do?

5. Who do you love?

The woman I just got married to.

6. What do you hope to achieve with your music?

See question 3.

7. Who comes to your gigs?

Typically a diverse mixture of nationalities, thanks to the wonders of MySpace and globalisation.

8. What is your favorite album?

“Takk…” by Sigur Rós

9. What is your favorite song?

“Góðan daginn” by Sigur Rós is the song that I currently can’t stop listening to.

10. How did you get here?

Not by the most direct route, that’s for sure. There have been quite a few wrong turns along the way.

Andy Yorke’s album Simple is out now.



PAPER ROUND KID Submarine (Chocolate Lab)

The name Paper Round Kid is a surprising moniker for someone of Darren Filkins age, he has been around for a while to put it mildy! In his musical past he was the lead guitar player in a certain Damon Albarn’s band Seymour who later went on to become Blur. However he left that life to travel the world and also became a photographer to the stars including Lenny Kravitz and John Lydon to name a few.

Filkins continued to write songs though and a couple of years ago he found himself at an open mic night, feeling the bug again, he decided to step back into music. Enlisting the help of producer/musician Reid Savage as well as keyboard player Greg Mason, Filkins set about creating Submarine, an album of folk, pop/rock songs based on the woes of love and life. 

To say that Filkins is influenced by Bob Dylan is a bit of an understatement, from the first notes he sings on U R the 1, Submarine’s opening song, you can hear a definite nod of imitation towards the legendary man. This however does not take away from the album or from Paper Round Kid’s music. Yes, some people will find his voice irritating and nasally at times, but there is no doubt that this album has an ear for melody and reaches for that something just a little bit different to make it worthwhile. 

There is a folk vein running through the entire album, all songs are semi-acoustic, but there is also a definite bounce in there as well that brings to mind a more seventies pop-rock influence and more than a touch of bubblegum pop. The shining light of the Submarine for me is Living A Lie, dealing with a tale of a stale relationship but done so with a happy jingle of a song that could almost be a feel good hit of the summer. It really is a rare talent that Filkins has to be able to deal with sorrow and pain by putting a sunny side up spin on it in his music. 

Although Submarine in the main, is a poppy light hearted look at folk rock, it does have mood swings reflecting the subject matter of relationships that is on show in the lyrical content. The almost ghostly Sweet Tune and It’s Over show a shift in the latter stages of the album to a more slow and somber mood. This all disappears on Don’t You Want A Girl, another tongue in cheek slab of bouncy pop that was chosen as the pre-release single for the album and is certainly a good indicator of what was to follow.   

Whilst Submarine is not ground breaking, it offers something familiar with just enough change of pace to make it feel different. I cannot see it changing the face of music and selling millions but then if it did I feel it would be a shame and take away precisely what Paper Round Kid seems to be about, Filkins said himself that he chose the name because he felt the American market would not understand it and you have to wonder if he really wants to be the next David Gray or James Blunt? 

Submarine is now available digitally on iTunes, Amazon and more.

Download: U R the 1

(Adam Gregory)


For his entire life Adam Gregory has lived and worked in England until he moved to Singapore this year for personal reasons. He hails from the Birmingham area, the place where Black Sabbath, half of Led Zeppelin and more recently The Editors cut their teeth. He has always had a passion for music and has been writing, be it about music or actual songs, from a young age. He plays guitar and sometimes sings, although the singing is usually done in the comfort and privacy of his own shower.

Show Adam some love, okay?


THE PRETENDERS Back on the Chain Gang (off the album, Learning to Crawl)

Although Learning to Crawl was released in 1984, the single Back on the Chain Gang saw light of day two years earlier as a response to the deaths of both James Honeyman-Scott and Pete Farndon, the Pretenders’ guitarist and bassist respectively. 

Yet, out of tragedy, Chrissie Hynde managed to achieve her highest US charting song with Back on the Chain Gang. The hooks are aplenty – the lead guitar that opens the track (and re-appears before the middle eight), the “hoo-hah” chants of the chain gang and Hynde’s gorgeous heartfelt vocal.

Personally, it is one of my favorite songs of all time. I can never tire of listening to its melancholy charm.


We begin our countdown to the Stars concert in Singapore in Jan ’09 with a look at what we might be hearing. Along the way, we will highlight Stars’ discography and hopefully, an interview with the band…

To kick off, here are two clips featuring Stars’ best loved tune – Ageless Beauty – from their breakthrough third album, Set Yourself on Fire.

Captured live sometime in 2005.

What appears to be the official video.

… still there’s more …


Claire Odium is a talented singer-songwriter from Leeds, UK who, together with Dave Redfearn, forms the duo ODi. Claire has been self-releasing singles and EPs so far but I’m sure she will certainly get more attention and acclaim as more people get to hear her gorgeous voice and heartfelt songs. Claire was kind enough to share her POP10 with us…

1. Why play music? 

Life would be to dull and dreary without it.

2. Who are your influences? 

A wide range from Kings of Leon to Otis Reading to PJ Harvey.

3. What is success? 

To be able to afford to play music all day and not feel guilty about it.

4. Why should people buy your music? 

It’s cheaper than therapy

5. Who do you love? 

Most people, but musically speaking it would have to be Radiohead.

6. What do you hope to achieve with your music? 

To be able to give respite to people when they need it.

7. Who comes to your gigs?

Family, friends, strangers, all sorts!

8. What is your favorite album?

‘The Bends’ Radiohead

9. What is your favorite song?

‘Street Spirit’ – Radiohead

10. How did you get here?

Hardwork, determination and stubbornness

Check out ODi’s Myspace page for more…


HEARTS OF PALM UK For Life (Hypnote)

The first thing that strikes you upon listening to Hearts Of Palm UK’s debut album, For Life, is how magically infectious the melodies are. The second thing that one notices is the effort that has been put into coloring the songs with lovely cascades of synthesizer loops and keyboard patterns, as well as the brooding basslines that serve to ground the album. It’s a lovely marriage of the best of electronica and typical indie quirkiness, with a lingering bitter-sweetness that come from songwriter Erica Elektra’s nakedly honest lyrics. 

The album opens with a beguiling shimmer of synth loops on the quirkily titled People and Logistics, set beneath Elektra’s dainty vocals. Second track I Flow breaks away from the delectable candy of People and Logistics, but holds its own with an infectious chorus and drum-machine hooks, as well as a certain folksy rawness in the lyric.  

There are gems to be found throughout the rest of the album too, such as Kavorka, a tasty salad of juicy synthesizers and yummy harmonies, sprinkled with an endearing Seinfeld reference, and Goodbye, a bittersweet reflection on the end of a relationship with a melancholic undercurrent. Erica Elektra delivers a versatile performance throughout the record, alternating from ingénue-like girlishness that is reminiscent of Camera Obscura to the lower-register somberness hinting at traces of Stereolab. 

For all the superlatives I’ve showered on them so far, though, the album has its duds as well, with the forgettable Trust, Open Letter and Jonathan FMF. The band’s cover of Roxy Music’s More Than This is averagely competent and likeable, but treads too much clichéd ground to truly make an original statement.  If I wanted to be picky, I could possibly pick up on the album’s lack of lyrical depth as well, but to do that would be rather like accusing The Beatles of shallow songwriting on Please Please Me. 

Overall, it’s a wonderfully melodic debut that sparkles and shines with a likeable charm and twinkling with invention. In the grander scale of things I suppose it has its flaws, and I would like to see more of that political edge hinted at on their MySpace page, but I’m not complaining. This is a marvelous album for all you music-lovers out there with a sweet tooth. 

(Samuel C Wee)


Samuel C Wee lives in sunny Singapore. He studies Media Management and has a passion for everything that carries a tune. In his spare time, he enjoys football, music, films, poetry and, to quote Neil Gaiman, “making things up and writing them down”. He is happily attached currently, sings for a rock band, wants to play guitar very badly and does play guitar very badly. 

Make Samuel feel welcome, okay?


ODi A Superman EP (Self released)

ODi’s Claire Odium has a attention grabbing voice. Listen to Odium singing on headphones and I guarantee that you will be enthralled. I sure was/am. 

Her songs are simple and folky, embellished with pointed fret play and warm strings arrangements and that voice. This EP features three new songs and a couple of live recordings of previous cuts.

The title track contains atmospheric guitar work from Dave Redfearn (the other half of ODi) and certainly out-emotes any song from that hit Coldplay album. What I Deserve is closer to the popular wave of British singer-songwriter material that the likes of Damien Rice has fostered. But Tears and Wine is my favorite. Just Odium and guitar, unadorned. The chorus is a little predictable but Odium pulls it off with tenderness and heartfelt expression. 

ODi’s music is available from Myspace and iTunes.


THE PRESENT World I See (Loaf)

You know how sometimes when artistes get into really extreme territories with their art of expression and end up getting lost in their own world so much that they forget the very audience that they sought to communicate with?

That is perhaps one of the dangers that musicians such as Rusty Santos has to risk every single time he picks up an instrument or sits on the producer’s throne (For the uninitiated, Rusty Santos is a producer of works such as Panda Bear’s Person Pitch, and Animal Collective’s Sung Tongs, which has brought him high acclaim).

His latest project, The Present, with long time friend and fellow musician Jesse Lee, and the enigmatic Mina, has seen the release of its debut album, the improvisational World I See, which is described as a piece that “tramples on musical boundaries and preconceptions, whilst leaving an album that is still capable of relating musically and emotionally to a wide audience”.

Now, if you think Santo’s prior works were far out, one would be forgiven to suspect he is holding back his punches. World I See is unexpected and unpredictable: six tracks of sonic possibilities stretched out a million light years, peppered with a lots of delays and dribbles and drums that sound almost shamanic in vibe. Perhaps the closest relation is his experimental works on “Eternity Spans”, and even then I would say I am forcing the comparison.

The first track, Heavens on Ice, speaks heavily about what is to come. A 13-and-a-half minute sonic journey laced with lush atmospherics that transcends between urban, to electro-tribal ish, to sci fi, and to a more familiar indie-tinged experimental (which is what Santos is known for), it is perhaps my personal favourite track in the album. Other noteworthy tracks include Love Melody, a lucid, bizarrely poignant piano lead track, and “Symbols on High”, another atmospheric ambience to indie tinged piece, quite similar to Heavens on Ice albeit less complex in its build up. In fact, I am honestly fighting myself from saying that ALL of them are as noteworthy.

That being said, fair warning to say that this record is NOT an easy listen. One has to approach it by taking in the improvisational context of its production. That approach will help to appreciate the album better, almost like putting on 3D glasses. It is through those “lens” that the music becomes surprisingly ear candy even!

I will not go so far to say that the album is ground breaking. Groundbreakers usually find immediate success despite its unconventionality. World I See fails to achieve that palatable serving status. But if you are the type who enjoys the exotics, then “World I See” can perhaps be very fulfilling consumption.

Bon appetit! 

Still not convinced? Check out The Present at their Myspace.

(Armen Rizal Rahman)


Armen Rizal Rahman is a songwriter, music producer, performer and founder of The House of Anonymous, a musical collaborative/collective of musicians, performers and artists who are inspired, influenced and driven by the art of music. 

Armen graduated from Ngee Ann Polytechnic with a Diploma in Mass Communication. His various pursuits in the arts make him a versatile expressionist: acting, writing and illustration and design were just some of the many interests that Armen had. But it was during his time in pursuing his diploma that he started dabbling in sound and music. Armed with little technical and musical background but with a desire to exercise this new medium and canvas of aural art, he started recording and producing his first two compilations of his musical pieces: Orbital Nocturne (1999) and Prologue to Genre (2001), the latter being the flag bearer of  his then-musical front, Ubermensch.

However, Ubermensch first introduction to a mass audience happened through Armen’s musical contributions in INRI Studio’s [e’ Tzaintes]; Armen wrote, produced and performed for the tracks “Catastrophe” and “Streaks”, which was done exclusively for the production. In INRI Studio’s second production, A Wicked Tale, Armen was again at the helm of the music seat, this time as a musical producer and arranger for the entire film. He also wrote and performed Apple Skin (2004), another exclusive for production track that appear at the end credit of the film.

In 2005, Ubermensch went through a philosophical makeover, and became The House of Anonymous or THOA for short. Through THOA, Armen kick started a series of musical projects and performance outfits; the most notable of them are a female collaborative project called SIRENS, and a blog that showcases socially inspired tracks and forms of expression called Mics with a Purpose. The House of Anonymous also entered and topped several competitions; as a solo performer in hip hop scene, Armen was one of the top acts in the 2006 rap competition called Platform 6, while his band was a recognized finalist in Yamaha’s Asian Beats competition.

Armen is currently embarking on his third musical project with INRI Studio, helming the Executive Music Producer role for their upcoming full feature film; tentatively title FRVL.

For more info, visit:

INRI Studio’s website:  

The House of Anonymous Myspace.

Please welcome Armen and make him feel right at home, y’hear…


READYMADE BREAKUP Alive on the Vine (Self released)

To describe Alive on the Vine as a powerpop album is misleading. That description is pretty far off the mark. Sure, there is quite a bit of classicist revisionism going on in Readymade Breakup’s sonic agenda but it is also informed by modernist tendencies. In any case, in this day and age of everything-and-the-kitchen-sink approaches, Readymade Breakup’s focus on the latter-day Beatles’ approximation of country-soul-blues-rock perfected by the Band is admirable.

So Readymade Breakup reaches right across the late 60s, rustic, twangy and guttural evoking the shadows of Paul McCartney, Robbie Robertson, Jimi Hendrix, Alex Chilton and Van Morrison with songs of distinction and potency. Thus, fans of Bruce Springsteen, Nils Lofgren and the Hold Steady will warm to the ragged glory of One By One, the nervous tension of Honey, You Might Be Right, the ethereal vibrance of “Talking to Myself” and so on.

Repeated listens to Alive on the Vine will reveal a multitude of goodness, believe me, this is rock music rooted in history and tradition and yet, fresh enough to keep the fists pumping and the feet moving.


DENI BONET Last Girl on Earth (M.R2)

I’m actually surprised by how stridently 80s this album sounds. Not necessarily a bad thing. Bonet postulates an eclectic 80s sound, rounding up the influences of Talking Heads, R.E.M., the Pretenders (she even name checks Chrissie Hynde on I Want To Get Arrested) and the like.

Yes, unfortunately the recordings do possess that glossy, day-glo 80s production values as well but what mixes things up and makes it all that more interesting is Bonet’s fiddle. Which, when it does appear, might distract from the fact that melodies are a little too obvious for comfort. 

At best, I suppose you could say that Last Girl on Earth is middle of the road alt-rock. Hmm, a conundrum. That said, I really do like the folk-rockin’ drive of Is This A Test?, the nasty back-biting Hynde-channeling How Far Can I Push You? and the epic balladry of the title track (the full band version).


Here is Weezer’s video of Troublemaker off their critically-acclaimed new album. Courtesy of Yahoo! Music.


From the Facebook Group page.

Greenhorn Productions presents STARS Live! at the Esplanade Concert Hall on 7 January 2009! 

STARS is a critically acclaimed Juno Award-nominated Canadian indie band that has taken the indie world by storm. Amy Millan, Torquil Campbell and Evan Cranley are also members of the indie band Broken Social Scene, with whom they currently share the record label, Arts & Crafts. Campbell is also an actor and has appeared on the television shows Sex and the City and Law & Order.

In Our Bedroom After the War, the name of STARS’ fourth and latest full-length album, is mysterious, grand, and multi-faceted. 

Set Yourself on Fire, STARS’ previous studio album, provided the Montreal-spawned quintet with their international breakthrough single “Ageless Beauty”, five years after the band was first formed by Campbell and keyboardist Chris Seligman while they were living near-penniless in New York City. Now gold certified in Canada, Fire proved so enduringly popular in so many parts of the world that the band left on tour following its 2004 release and barely stopped for the next two years. Suddenly, this most sophisticated of pop groups was required to adapt to the life of something its members never expected to become: road warriors. 

Don’t miss this chance to experience STARS Live! in their first ever performance in Southeast Asia. This promises to be an amazing night at the Esplanade Concert Hall. Don’t miss it!

Ticket prices (excluding Sistic charges) are $68,$88,$108, $128 and $148. Fans of Greenhorn Productions Facebook page will receive passwords entitling them to a 10% discount. Fans of Greenhorn Productions Facebook page will also receive a password entitling them to priority booking one day prior to public sales launch. Detailed ticketing information will be available by 7 November 2008.



Is it just me or is this post-punk derived cod-anthemic hogwash really over-hyped? To be honest, it’s easy to get into the singalong chorus and the soaring lead guitar until you realize that it’s all second hand Skids/Big Country licks. However, given enough listens, I’m sure Give Up, Give Out will worm its way into your synapses. Right off the band’s sophomore effort, Emergency, produced by Stephen Street, no less.

Download: Get Up, Get Out

Courtesy of RCRD LBL.


THE EXPLORERS CLUB – IF YOU GO (off the album Freedom Wind)

This simply gorgeous song from the Beach Boys-channeling Explorers Club is a highlight of their wondeful debut and one that must be played over and over to savour its luxurious grace and beauty.

Not an official vid but interesting nonetheless, yeah?



SPRINGHOUSE From Here To OK (Self released)

After 15 years, this 90s shoe gaze band returns with a new album. This time around the effects pedals have been left at home and in their place the melodic quotient has been amped up. From Here To Okay will be released in October in a limited edition (550 copies) CD and free internet download (Radiohead style – i.e. pay what you wish).

Springhouse consists of Mitch Friedland (guitars, vocals, keyboards), Larry Heinemann (bass, guitar, pedal steel) and Big Takeover editor (and a big writing influence on yours truly) Jack Rabid (drums, vocals) and From Here To Okay was recorded by the trio over a ten (!) year period and yes, it’s definitely worth the wait!

In fact, it’s probably one of the better song collections I’ve heard this year. It’s sharp, intelligent, eclectic pop-rock created by people deeply steeped in rock history. Sure, there may be certain “spot-the-influence” elements in much of the music here. But that’s what makes it so fun.

And this is most evident in the Zombies-Pink Floyd channeling opener Passion – the slide guitar break is spine-chilling. Conceptually, the song speaks to the art of music creation on how “Passion creates a song”. Does, in this instance. 

Moving Van is refreshing jangle-pop that references the Who by way of Guided by Voices and might be something criminally left off Matthew Sweet’s magnum opus, Girlfriend. (Listen)

No More Yesterdays is mature folk-rock number that might have originated from the 80s British post-punk scene e.g. Josef K, Orange Juice, Aztec Camera etc.

Never Impossible is fashioned in the Nick Drake style – Pink Moon being the obvious influence. Whilst Mercedes Marxist is a Kinks-Move-Syd Barrett 60s jaunty nugget which thoroughly succeeds.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not dismissing From Here To OK as being derivative – some of my favorite albums indulge in what Elvis Costello called “creative plagiarism” (with tongue firmly in cheek) and isn’t what the best POP music has ever done? 

From Here To OK will definitely be one of Power of Pop’s albums of the year and if that’s not a recommendation….

Stay tuned for more information on how you can get hold of From Here To OK. Check out Springhouse’s Myspace page.


Yes, Power of Pop wants you. If you’re a music writer, that is.

You would preferably be residing in Singapore and share the same musical tastes as expressed on this site. 

I can’t offer remuneration only music and perhaps press passes.

If you think you’re up to the mark, get in touch with me – info (at) powerofpop (dot) com – and we’ll talk…


ALLURA – CLOSURE (off the Wake Up and Smell the Seaweed EP)

Regular visitors to this humble site (and S-ROCK before that) will be aware of my love affair with Allura. Closure remains my favorite song from the band (though Gamajazillion runs close) Here’s a vid of the band performing Closure in August last year at Deafcon 5. A little rough but there’s no denying the energy and passion. Ah, the memories…

And isn’t Inch just an irresistible front person?


Britpop has not been much cop lately but if you believed the NME then Glasvegas is the future of Britpop. The Scottish quartet has recently signed with Columbia and you can download Geraldine from their eponymous album below.

Download: Geraldine

Yes, it contains elements of Big Country, shoe gaze and Jesus and Mary Chain simplicity. Which is to me a good start. Check it out and tell me what you think. The next big thing?

Courtesy of RCRD LBL.


Stars, the indie shoe-gaze quintet from Montreal, will be performing one night only on 7th January 2009 at the Esplanade Concert Hall. The gig is organized by Greenhorn Productions and official details will be available soon.

Stay tuned.