Well well well, what do you know – here’s some old-time rock ’n’ roll from Rick Springfield himself in 2016. The years simply melt away and it feels like 1981 again! It is certainly refreshing to listen to something that might have been made 35 years ago in this day and age.
“Nothing new under the sun” could be the concluding mantra for every single new album review in 2016. BUT that should not be the guiding principle. It’s not a question of “new” anymore but simply a case of how the artist assembles the work from disparate influential elements to create a “new” original piece of art.
Scottish indie pop has a rich history going way back to Orange Juice, Aztec Camera, Altered Images, The Bluebells and Lloyd Cole & The Commotions back in the heady days of the 80s. Say hello to Glasgow’s Tuff Love, who carry on this tradition with sunny, tuneful guitar pop that recalls a special time.
The joy of music discovery is never limited to merely new artists but even artists that have been around for quite a long while. Fact is, this is the first time I’ve even heard of Cloud Cult and the band has been in existence for over two decades! The Seeker is the band’s 10th album in that time and it is probably the ultimate hipster concept album, despite itself.
Right Hand Left Hand is a two-piece band: Andrew Plain (drums/guitars) and Rhodri Viney (guitars/ vocals/ drums) from Cardiff, Wales. “2 members playing 2 guitars, 2 drum kits, centred around a loop station”, as their official bio informs us.
Old school rock lovers will find much to savour on this new album from classic pop-rock revivalists Dr. Dog. And here’s the hook – the band has gone back to their unreleased debut cassette of the same name (from 2001) – to revisit the material and come up with new songs based on that vibe.
Is Sunflower Bean an indie pop cliche?
To be honest, Field Music has somewhat been under the radar for Power of Pop. Why exactly is a mystery, when you consider that the core duo of the brothers David and Peter Brewis have been making timeless/classic PoP friendly music since 2005!
Listening to Cian Nugent (backed by his band, The Cosmos) for the first time and thinking – why the fuck haven’t I heard of his music before?
Is rock ’n’ roll in 2016 a dinosaur? Yes a fucking T-Rex! And it’s coming to rip your guts out!
But seriously, boys and girls, Seattle trio Night Beats viz. Danny Lee Blackwell (guitar / vocals), Jakob Bowden (bass) & James Traeger (drums), do not quite care whether their music is relevant or not.
“Well, I’m a lion in the haze and the lamb in the lightning/Oh these spears and chains of flames around my neck are tightening/So line up your armies, burn down my home please/Take the part that’s in my lungs, and the song I’m singing.”
King Charles (aka Charles Costa) is a good old fashioned singer-songwriter – cramming flowery words into his straightforward indie rock songs. After all, in 2009, he became the first ever Brit to win the International Songwriting Competition in Nashville for his song “Love Lust” and he’s basically kicked off from there.
Here’s a recommendation for old school pop-rock lovers – the new Turin Brakes’ album is a definite winner. Filled to the brim with well worked melodies and hooks, coupled with appropriate instrumentation and arrangements, with a strong acoustic guitar vibe – this is a welcome addition to the best of the new year’s release so far.
Manchester trio MONEY received either acclaim or disdain for its debut album The Shadow of Heaven (2013) with folks either hailing them as the ‘next big thing’ or writing them off as ‘overrated’. In either case, it would be instructional to see where MONEY went with its sophomore effort.
The “difficult sophomore album” is a well-worn trope in popular music. It’s the rite of passage that proves that an artist’s early success was no accident. It’s proverbially difficult because it has to sound like the first album, yet different; it has to written in a shorter amount of time, yet be more expansive.
Most bands only have to go through this ordeal once. Britpop stalwarts Suede, however, have had to do it a second time.
An interim release between Wilson’s previous album Hand. Cannot. Erase. and the next studio album. Which makes 4½ sound like some throwaway, some stopgap. Trust me, it is definitely not.
I am trying my best to figure what the fuck are Fat White Family supposed to be? This South London outfit – which if legend will have us believe, formed in a squat – defies easy categorisation. At the moment, that might be their biggest advantage.
In general terms, the post-punk revival has overstayed its welcome – seriously, stop ripping off Ian Curtis and Joy Division already. But that judgement call does not fall on Savages. It’s fair to say that despite the band’s superficial association with this movement, the all-female quartet really are a class above and unlike their peers, actually have something to say.
The Besnard Lakes are a Canadian indie rock band from Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Formed in 2003 by the husband and wife team of Jace Lasek and Olga Goreas, the band also includes Kevin Laing (drums), Richard White (guitar), Sheenah Ko (keyboards) and Robbie MacArthur (guitar).
To be honest, have never quite been able to connect with the music of Mystery Jets, for one reason or another. However, one has to admire the manner in which this English band has stuck to their guns and followed the pop-rock muse, wherever it might have led them.
The legendary David Bowie thrilled all his fans with his fabulous comeback album The Next Day back in 2013 and diehards have been hoping and praying that the LP was not a one-off. Thankfully, Bowie is back with a new album for 2016 – Blackstar!
Inevitably, there is a mixed sense of resigned defiance amongst the obscure fraternity of rock n roll/powerpop community that is holding fast to the influences of 60s/70s classic pop-rock.
It’s December but still there is more great music to savour in this amazing year for Singapore-made music.
.gif (viz. Nurudin Sadali/Chew Wei Shan aka weish) have proven themselves to be adept at blending electronic beats/textures with soul-rap-pop elements into a heady melange topped off by weish’s idiosyncratic vocal stylings.
The Beatles 1 album compiles all the #1 hits that the Fab Four issued during their career & always provides a concise history of the band’s popularity. The original compilation was released 15 years ago and this reissue pairs the 27 tracks with videos (it is the Youtube age, after all).
As popular as modern indie pop-rock was in the early noughties (I am tired of the ‘post-rock revival’ moniker), it does not seem to have caught on in a big way amongst Singapore indie rock bands. What I am referring to, are the bands that have been influenced by The Strokes, Vampire Weekend & Arctic Monkeys, and in that respect, apart from Cashew Chemists, the only local indie band that has successfully taken a crack at this style is Stopgap.
The state of pop circa 2015. The record-breaking new album from British songstress encapsulates all you need to know about pop music in the here and now. It’s about songwriting collaborations – Adele co-wrote the songs with eleven other songwriters/producers – including Max Martin, Greg Kurstin and Tobias Jesso Jr.