Advert

Oct 172014
 
Photo credit: Koh Nguang How

Photo credit: Koh Nguang How

Yeah I borrowed the “I REMEMBER SG” motif – it’s valid and appropriate in the context. I have been thinking for quite a while that it is time to document the beginnings of the Singapore indie music scene (SGINDIE) and probably the easiest way to do so would be to get quotes from folks who are able to ‘remember’ (SGINDIE) and present them in this new PoP feature.

First off, I asked Patrick Chng (The Oddfellows, TypeWriter) about when the SGINDIE scene all began.

“For me it started with the No Surrender gig at Anywhere pub in ’87, organized by BigO. The vibe was just electrifying. It was packed. It was the first gig that BigO organized. It was featured in BigO too I’m sure. There was a bootleg cassette released too by Joe (Ng) for BigO. Two songs for each band.”

BigO (Before I Get Old) was an indie rock magazine (Singapore’s first) that championed Singapore indie music in the late 80s/90s. The magazine stopped publishing in the early 2000s. It still exists as an online zine.

“The line-up at No Surrender was Joe Love & The Hoodlum Circus, Earth Medicine Band, Don Victor, The Nonames, Opposition Party, Corporate Toil, Zircon Lounge (pictured above). Back then the crowd was tough… you get booed or jeered at if they don’t like you. Corporate Toil were heckled and jeered throughout their set cos their experimental electro music didn’t appeal to the audience who were more into guitar-rock. I guested on guitar on Corporate Toil’s last song… a cover of Joy Division’s “Exercise One”. Before I came on, I was thinking to myself, “OH SHIT.” Played with my back to the audience. HAHA!”

There you go, our ground zero is 1987. I am hoping for this to be a catalyst, a starting point of discussion about SGINDIE. Please get in touch (info AT powerofpop DOT com) if you have anything to contribute concerning that special epoch in our history.

… still there’s more …

Oct 162014
 

Flaming Lips SG

The Flaming Lips are coming back to Singapore! Four years ago, the Lips thrilled us with a wildly psychedelic show but omitted to play a single track from my favourite Lips album – The Soft Bulletin. Well, hopefully, the band can remedy this in December at The Coliseum! Tickets go on sale this Monday (20th Oct) 10am at http://tickets.eventclique.com/thegathering.

… still there’s more …

Oct 152014
 

 

SINGLED OUT

From 17th October 2014 to 6th January 2015, tcc – The Connoisseur Concerto is proud to present Singled Out – an art exhibition conceptualised by creative agency fFurious, and developed in collaboration with events organisation art-management.com, and Thunder Rock School. This exhibition will see 50 local designers and artists transforming vinyl records into pieces of artwork that will be on display at tcc ‘The Gallery’ at 51 Circular Road. The artworks will be up for auction where all proceeds will be managed by Thunder Rock School, who will be setting up a music education outreach program specifically catered to financially disadvantaged children.

Of special mention would be the artists-musicians (or is that musicians-artists?) e.g. Alan Bok (TypeWriter), Amanda Keisha Ang (No Pantz), Andy Yang (Cheating Sons), Ginette Chittick (Astreal) & Yee Chang Kang (TypeWriter). To keep the musical theme going, here’s a mix that KidG put together especially for the occasion.

Singled Out (Mixed By KiDG) by Kidg on Mixcloud

… still there’s more …

Oct 152014
 

RhettWalkerBand

Y’know I am always griping about how pop-punk all sounds the same but of course, that accusation can be leveled against any music that stays within its constrained ‘genre’ limits. Case in point – Rhett Walker Band. The band unashamedly describes itself as a Southern Rock/Christian Rock group and its new album – Here’s To The Ones – actually opens with a sermon snippet before launching into the rousing blues anthem “Clone”.

The rest of this album stays true to type, more or less, which halfway through is a bit too much unless you are a diehard fan of Southern Rock (or a bible thumper). There are good instances of country-folk-pop on view – the title track is a breezy delight and “Love Like Jesus” was probably written with worship bands in mind – but overall, Here’s To The Ones will only appeal to the converted, which is a pity.

Official Site

Oct 142014
 

ScreenShot2014-10-08at34722PM_zps128761ba

I guess you could say this is a ‘big deal’ – especially if you are a Bob Dylan fan and of the individual members of the supergroup that is The New Basement Tapes viz.  Elvis Costello, Rhiannon Giddens (Carolina Chocolate Drops), Taylor Goldsmith (Dawes), Jim James (My Morning Jacket) and Marcus Mumford (Mumford & Sons).

The New Basement Tapes and producer T Bone Burnett convened in March 2014 at Capitol Studios in Hollywood to write and create music together for 26-year old Bob Dylan’s long-lost lyrics.  The complete album, Lost On the River: The New Basement Tapes, will be released by Electromagnetic Recordings/Harvest Records on November 10.

So far, three tracks have been released with Costello, James and Mumford taking turns at vocals/melody writer. This time around it’s Giddens and the song is “Spanish Mary”. Check out the video below.

Additionally, the original documentary Lost Songs: The Basement Tapes Continued will premiere on SHOWTIME on Friday, November 21st at 9 P.M. ET/PT. See what I mean? A. Big. Deal.

Oct 142014
 

ThomYorkeTMB

Just downloaded the new Thom Yorke album – Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes – via BitTorrent. And it was totally legit. Yorke has, in the recent past, condemned streaming sites for exploiting artists and thus it was interesting to find out that Yorke is using a BitTorrent site to sell his album. The digital album is US$6 and the bundle comes with 8 tracks and one video (of single “A Brain in a Bottle”). The single and video are available for free – as a teaser presumably for the album. Check it out at https://bundles.bittorrent.com/

Continue reading »

Oct 142014
 

BrassBed_PromoImage3bf6c4

Brass Bed is releasing a brand new 7″ with MA’AM Records on November 18th, 2014. The new single, “Be Anything” b/w “Mind The Gap” captures the band live on two inch tape deep in the midst of their tour cycle. Fuzzy guitars, gorgeous tunes and easy vibe recalls Dinosaur Jr., Teenage Fanclub and the 90s Pop Underground. Listen now!

Order now!

Oct 142014
 

Bowie-sue

Last year David Bowie shocked the world with the release of a new single (“Where Are We Now?”)/album (The Next Day) after years of silence and relative inactivity. Well, it didn’t take long for Bowie to return with another new single/album did it? The single is “Sue (Or In a Season of Crime) which was given its world premiere on BBC Radio Six by DJ Guy Garvey, a couple of days ago. Of course, the song is all over the internet now – check it out below.

Continue reading »

Oct 132014
 

Screen shot 2014-10-13 at PM 07.46.58

Animal Day @ 313 is back! Come support the 10 animal welfare groups that will be supported through performances by 7 bands!

Dates: 18th & 19th October 2014
Venue: Discovery Walk (313@somerset, L1)
Time: 12pm-7pm

In support of:
ACRES: Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Singapore)
Action for Singapore Dogs (ASD)
Agency for Animal Welfare Ltd.
Animal Lovers League
Causes for Animals – Singapore
Humane Society
House Rabbit Society Singapore (HRSS)
Noah’s Ark Natural Animal Sanctuary – nanas
Save Our StreetDogs SOSD

With:
Pet Lovers Centre Singapore and Clubpets Magazine

Supported by:
Still Sunrise | Stopgap | Pleasantry | Sam Rui | Purple Tiger | Theodora | Afterglow

(Organized by Thunder Rock School)

Oct 132014
 

PoP is on a quest to discover the best contemporary bands out there trading in classic pop-rock, power-pop and garage-rock and we aim to please ourselves as often as humanly possible. The Singles viz. Vincent Frederick (guitar/lead vocals) and Nicky Veltman (drums/back-up vocals) are the real deal! This LA based duo have just released Look How Fast A Heart Can Break and it is a winner. It’s fair to say that they don’t sound like any one band directly but there’s certainly a healthy dollop of Big Star, The Replacements, T. Rex and more, in their musical agenda. Best part is that it gets hearts pounding and adrenaline rushing for all the best reasons. Check ‘em out!

Official Site

Oct 102014
 

Regular PoP visitors will be keenly aware of my aversion towards ‘pop-punk’ in modern rock parlance. But of course, there is still a place for punk-rock in 2014 for any band who is clever enough to not be limited by ‘genre’ but instead is able to use punk as an attitude to approach music making. Case in point – Toronto outfit PUP, who consists of Stefan on vox / guitar, Zack on drums, Steve on guitar and Nestor on bass and simply classify their music as ‘loud’!

Continue reading »

Oct 092014
 

According to its press release, The Spider Sessions came about as a response to a lack of paying gigs for musical artistes in Singapore. Which is in itself, an excellent cause, of course and the folks behind this initiative should be commended.

Apart from organizing more paid gigs for indie bands, “the Spider Sessions aims to build a strong community, holding networking sessions prior to events in order to allow featured artistes to build rapport with each other as well as to facilitate pooling of fan bases. Similar avenues will be provided for the audience to interact with the artistes both during and outside of the events”.

Which is also to be applauded as the sense of community within the local music scene can definitely be built upon. The inaugural event will feature boxchild, Koji, Knightingale and Orange Cove. Ranging from melodic hard rock to grunge to pop punk, these bands represent the lesser-known albeit up and coming modern pop-rock scene in Singapore.

Venue: Pink Noize
Date: Saturday, November 15th 2014
Time: 7 PM to 10 PM
Ticket Pricing: $10
(inclusive of a complimentary non-alcoholic drink)

Oct 092014
 

The best part of being in Singapore? The availability of awesome #sgindie music at my doorstep! MAAD Sounds has going for it two main things – a wonderful selection of S-ROCK and the presence of the effervescent Andy Yang – artist, musician & all-round fun guy! This Friday, MAAD Sounds returns with four exciting indie rock bands – The Psalms, MONSTER CAT, Spacedays and Ellipis! Don’t miss this!! Check out the music below and will see you tomorrow!

… still there’s more …

Oct 072014
 

DRACULA UNTOLD
Directed by Gary Shore.
Starring Luke Evans, Sarah Gordon, Dominic Cooper & Samantha Banks.

There was a time Dracula was portrayed as a monster. Nothing suave or romantic about him, for sure. But of course, in these modern times, the vampire has become a sex symbol and Dracula is the King of Vampires! Eschewing any reliance on Bram Stoker’s classic storyline, the producers of Untold have opted instead to create an origin story for Dracula set in the 15th century. A good idea that has seldom been examined in the movies but sadly, the execution is an absolute letdown.

Continue reading »

Oct 072014
 

Is there a mini classic pop-rock happening in 2014? Well, you could argue that it has never really gone away when guys like Bob Mould, Guided by Voices, Tom Petty, J Mascis, Johnny Marr, Sloan and the like have continued to make vital music. Never mind the fact that Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack has all but brought classic 70s pop-rock back to the mainstream. AND with ex-MCR frontman Gerard Way releasing a debut solo album that has the ‘emo-punk-pop’ kids in an uproar, then you know for sure that something is going on. In any case, here’s a couple of 70s-era song videos that will demonstrate, I hope, why this is the kind of music that I will always be rocking to!

… still there’s more …

Oct 072014
 

John Lennon was my very first musical hero back when I first started listening to pop music and remains to this day, in my humble opinion, the ultimate embodiment of rock n’ roll. As a songwriter, Lennon has always been my primary inspiration, equally at home writing rockers and ballads whilst expressing topics ranging from love to politics to the whimsical but always personal and honest.

Thus, it was good news this morning, when I discovered that Lennon’s back catalogue is now available at Spotify. Finally! Yes, of course, I possess virtually every single track that Lennon ever made, either with The Beatles or as a solo artist but it’s so convenient to have all these wonderful songs at a finger click now. So, here’s my John Lennon Spotify playlist. Enjoy….

… still there’s more …

Oct 042014
 

THE INFINITE SADNESS OF BEING

Every now and then, I get depressed. It just happens. Often there could be a simple, trivial trigger that sets it off. Today, it was about only getting two classes for RP next semester. I know it’s not a big deal but I can’t shake the feeling that it’s a criticism of my work at RP and it’s difficult to convince myself otherwise. And that starts a avalanche of self-loathing and I begin to list out the different ways I suck as a musician, as a songwriter, as a writer and as a human being. I look for clues to justify this negativity and usually social media is fertile ground for this very bad exercise. Haha yeah. Every time somebody does well, I feel like a loser and failure in comparison, especially in music circles. Which is silly, of course, but the emotions are there nonetheless. I am sad about ending my North American adventure and returning home partly due to the fact that I have to face so much disappointment. Again, this is illogical but in my mind, 2014 has been an abject failure. None of my plans for writing and music have actually moved forwards and in fact, I really feel that I have gone backwards. How much of this is my depressive mood and how much is honest reflection is a bit hard to tell. Writing it all out like this does help and I am hoping that things will get better in the final quarter of the year.

… still there’s more …

Oct 042014
 

LET IT ALL HANG OUT!

It does seem that in order to succeed in pop music in 2014, one really needs to ramp up one’s sex appeal. Especially if you are a woman, of course. I’m no prude (far from it!) but it is a lil disappointing to think that a female artiste has to present herself in such a crass manner to win over the contemporary pop music fan. Don’t believe me? Well, take a look…

1692_1406616907

ariana-iggy-problem-1

jlo

Mariah-Carey-May-2014-BN-Music-BellaNaija.com-01

shakira-standard-400x400

… still there’s more …

Oct 032014
 

spotify-logo

Couple of recommended new releases you should be listening to at Spotify.

AMPLIFIER – Mystoria

This Manchester hard rock band has been around since the late 90s and their 5th studio full-length is a wonderful distillation of 70s classic rock that include knowing references to Black Sabbath, Genesis, Rush & Pink Floyd. Tastefully done to emphasize both melodic and metallic aspects, this is one of the kind of rock music that should be getting more attention in 2014! Singer-guitarist Sel Balamir is the main attraction here as his vocals and superb guitar work takes center stage in every single track. Check out “Magic Carpet”, “Cat’s Cradle” & “Crystal Anthem” for maximum rock ‘n’ roll!

CHRISTOPHER OWENS – A New Testament

This is good old fashioned country gospel music that one is unlikely to hear on the hip and cool playlists in 2014 – until now, of course. Kudos to Owens for breaking away from the crowd with this gorgeously authentic tribute to classic country-folk/R&B gospel. A New Testament (typically religious reference from Owens) is evidence that there is plenty of goodness to mined from classic pop-rock, especially in the right hands. One of the albums of the year, no contest!

DARK WAVES - s/t

I really don’t give a shit about what ‘genre’ a band/artist is considered to be a part of, I only need to know one thing – is the songwriting any good? Well, Dark Waves (aka Nick Long) certainly possesses the songwriting chops to keep my attention on its debut eponymous EP. ‘Memorable melodies & appropriate arrangements’ is always my mantra when it comes to assessing music and virtually every song here fits the bill. I am truly digging “The Heartbeat The Soul” and “Echo” immensely. Keeping a close eye on Dark Waves…

… still there’s more …

Oct 032014
 

News about the lineup for Laneway Festival 2015 came out yesterday. There was the usual hand-wringing and whining about why so-and-so wasn’t coming etc but overall, I believe that the response has been fairly positive. For me personally, having endured the dark days of the 70s, 80s & 90s when rock music events were far and between, I never take these things for granted. Sure, none of these bands compare to Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath or Deep Purple in their prime but in the context of rock & pop music circa 2015, this lineup looks intriguing. Apart from St. Vincent, Lykke Li and our very own .gif and Hanging Up the Moon, I am not too familiar with most of the names but that’s the joy of discovery, I guess. So expect more information about the above bands/artists in the weeks leading up to the festival, from our typical critically objective perspective!

… still there’s more …

SONGWRITERS WEEK

 MUSIC  Comments Off
Oct 022014
 

Songwriters Open Circle

SGMUSO is proud to present SONGWRITERS WEEK

Our friend Adam Lyons (Lyon Apprentice/FAIRCHILD, Alumni of Music Matters Live) has informed us that he will be coming to town for a week in October for a songwriting collaboration project with a few Singaporean acts at the amazing Beep Studios! At his request, SGMUSO will be helping to facilitate a couple of side events to open up the opportunity to even more Singaporean musicians to get together, know their community, perform and also encourage cross-collaboration amongst each other locally and internationally.

—–

SONGWRITERS OPEN CIRCLE

7th October 2014, TUESDAY
7PM – 9.30PM
LITHE PARALOGUE STUDIO

We will be kicking off the week with an intimate SONGWRITERS OPEN CIRCLE, a sharing session in which we would like to invite all songwriters, producers and music-makers to join us for a chat and jam. We hope to provide a small creative space for everyone to get together to know their community, discuss and exchange ideas, stories and processes, tips on getting ideas on paper and then in the studio, to collaborate musically – all in an relaxed and improvised setting. The intimate vibe of the songwriter’s circle will allow for a unique discussion and improvised performance. Musicians can choose to bring along their own instruments to share a couple of songs at the open circle. Musicians that attend will be encouraged to sign up for our open jam at the Songwriters Night at Timbre Barbershop at the end of the week. Special guest, Adam Lyons will be present to drive this Open Circle session!

Big shout-out and love to Lithe Paralogue Studio for letting us use their lovely space!

*Limited seats only. Send your RSVPs to info@sgmuso.org by 6th Oct to reserve a seat!

Bring your own food and booze!!

Songwriters Night

… still there’s more …

Oct 012014
 

Glass Animals - 2

As you can see from my blurry pictures, the Biltmore Cabaret was absolutely packed and rocking for Glass Animals last night. Playing songs mainly from their lovely debut LP - Zaba – the quartet hypnotized the young-ish audience with its dynamic mix of indie pop and EDM vibes. Everything seemed to happen in a slo-mo trance as frontman Dave Bayley bedazzled the crowd with tasteful melodies & sharp guitars whilst the insistent groove keep the momentum going into 7th heaven. Songs like”Black Mambo”, “Gooey” & “Walla Walla” had the kids in dance extacy!

Continue reading »

Sep 292014
 

Trick-1

Singapore born and raised hip hop duo Trick blew the crowd away at Hood Bar and Café with a fast tempo heady rushed of lyrics. Supported by AMPed and hosted by Gerald Koh, the place was teeming with girls who were trying to catch a glimpse of their idols. Often resembling Jay Park and T.I., the duo threw the crowd off their feet with covers such as “Ringa Linga” by Taeyang.

Trick showed us how covers should be done, as lyrics were being changed to fit their personal styles into the songs. It is not something which every band is doing hence making them unique.

Trick-2

Keeping the crowd “Up All Night”, with hits such as “BPM” and “The Life”. My personal favourite was “BPM” as the high energy level brought out the essence of the song together with the hypnotic groove which left the audience sashaying their hips away.

To commemorate their success, champagne bottles were popped and a cake was being presented upon to the duo by die hard fans. Some lucky fans were fortunate enough to have themselves sprayed with champagne by Richard.

Ending their set with their latest single “Sunshine” an acoustic strip down approached was being adopted. The audience were certainly in for a treat as they smiled widely when the performance drew to a close. Excited fans started to flock to the meet and greet both to have their photos taken with Trick.

Trick certainly gave it their all as they interacted with their fans, whose live set was a dynamic blast of  pop music that remained engaging throughout.

Photographs by Cherlynn Lian – www.onefiftythree.com

Thanks to SONY Music for making this review possible. 

(Nikita Wong)