Background Radiohead are an English rock band from Abingdon, Oxfordshire, formed in 1985. The band consists of Thom Yorke (lead vocals, guitar, piano, keyboards), Jonny Greenwood (lead guitar, keyboards, other instruments), Colin Greenwood (bass), Phil Selway (drums, percussion, backing vocals) and Ed O’Brien (guitar, backing vocals). A Moon Shaped Pool is the band’s ninth studio album.
New local promoters LivePOD got off to a great start as it brought to our indie scene, an instrumental rock event (at Hood Bar) that not only championed an acclaimed regional act – COMA – but also showcased our very own talented bands viz In Each Hand a Cutlass and NeoDominatrix.
Some weeks back, Celina Kimble launched her new EP at the Arts House and whilst it was a fairly short set – it was full of Celina’s typically emotionally powerful songs backed by a competent band. All told, it was a solid performance by Celina and band. The word is that Celina will be selling her EP at Starbucks outlets and will be doing a couple of performances there as well. Stay tuned for more details.
If not already apparent, here at PoP, we focus on pop with power. Invariably, that involves bands and artists that take a long hard look into the wide world of music available out there in the space-time continuum in a valiant effort to come up with something new, something unique, something that rocks the listener’s heart and soul. With that in mind, here are some of our YouTube discoveries (not the kind you’re thinking of) and we hope to give them more profile and attention in the weeks and months to come…
If you’re reading this and were born in the 90s (I know, unlikely), then hopefully you’d know who Nirvana was and not be caught wearing the above tee merely cos it’s ‘hip and cool’. Thing is, of course, the early 90s saw the last commercially viable rock music before the music scene went pear-shaped in the noughties. In any case, the 90s witnessed the weird going pro as alternative rock became fashionable…. these are my favourite musical memories from that special time…
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.
“I wanted the album to sound like it came from a different place in time,” says Jim James. “Perhaps sounding as if it were the past of the future, if that makes any sense—like a hazy dream that a fully-realized android or humanoid capable of thought might have when it reminisces about the good old days of just being a simple robot.” Based on the first single – “Know Til Now” – it appears that the My Morning Jacket frontman has gone some way to achieving this effect. Check it out below.
Produced by Flood & Moulder (PJ Harvey, Nine Inch Nails, Smashing Pumpkins) at Assault & Battery studios in London, Holy Fire is the Oxford five-piece’s most direct and fully-realized album yet. First single, “Inhaler” premiered on 6th November and you can watch the video below. Certainly, based on the new single, Foals seems intent on a heavier sonic direction. Review to come.
You could say that I’ve been following the career of Inch Chua for quite awhile, since 2007, in fact. And it has always been heartening to see the tremendous strides this young, talented, driven lady has made in those five years. Her latest achievement? Hitting the target of her crowd-funding album project with time to spare. I can safely say that I have not been too surprised by any of this – I have always believed that Inch could achieve virtually anything she put her mind to and her hard work and creative enterprise has borne fruit.
JAN is the new solo project from Kim Talon, known for being the latter half of art-rock band Eagle and Talon. Produced by John Goodmanson (Blonde Redhead, The Gossip, Sleater-Kinney) at Seattle’s London Bridge Studios, JAN will release her self-titled debut album on November 13th.
This video of “Work For the City” operates as an introduction to JAN and the new album and musically bears some of the hallmarks of 90s alternative rock – loose, deliberately sloppy and knowingly clever. The video highlights Talon’s obvious sex appeal whilst presenting the disturbing conceptual issues. A good mix.
Caracal, one of Singapore’s foremost post-hardcore bands, announces Japanese tour dates beginning mid September 2012. The band will play multiple shows in Tokyo and conclude the tour with a performance at Kansai Music Conference in Osaka.
“This is our first tour in Japan and we’re looking forward to be taking our music to new markets in the short span of five years. Japan will be our second international showing this year after Spring Scream Festival in Taiwan and we’re excited to meet new fans around the country,” said Martin Kong, drummer of Caracal.
With the resurgence of 90s alternative/powerpop/rock, bands like Girls, Yuck, WU LYF, Radical Dads and the like channel the influences of Pixies, Teenage Fanclub, Dinosaur Jr and Weezer into a beautiful noise. In these circumstances, it seems appropriate that in the Singapore indie rock scene Noel Yeo, Melvin Ho and Robin Chua, members from two nineties bands (viz Suchness and Livonia) have, together with Brian Leery (from Leeson) released a smashing debut album that succinctly captures the zeitgeist of these sweet and fuzzy times.
The name of the band is Shelves and the eponymous debut LP that has resulted from this collaboration rivals anything its Western contemporaries have mustered so far. Seriously folks, songs like “Against The Wall” and “(She Wakes Up To) The Beat” would have gotten the hipster crowd at the recent Laneway Festival agog with blind worship, if not for the notoriously illogical anti-Singapore sentiment that pervades music lovers here.
Bottom line, kind people, is that it can only be about good music i.e. memorable melodies, crunchy guitars and an easy vibe that appeals to the teenage pop-rocker in all of us. Tracks like “Holiday”, “Killer Concern”, “It’s Always Summer”, “Sussed Out” and “Superstar” are so filled to the brim with superior tunes that it’s almost criminal that a songwriting talent like Noel Yeo still remains an obscure commodity.
Hopefully, Shelves will redress any injustices in this respect and earn Shelves the love and acclaim the melody-driven quartet truly deserves. You can either purchase the vinyl LP at one of the band’s shows or digital download at the Bandcamp link below.
“Come On, Be A No One” (off new album, In the Belly of the Brazen Bull)
The band of brothers known as the Cribs returns with their 5th album in May. Taking the 90s alternative rock aesthetic (I really hesitate to use the term ‘grunge revival’) to its logical conclusion, the album is co-produced by Steve Albini and Dave Fridmann and promises to be a cracker. This track is a example of the goodness that resides in the new album – boasting a garage vibe and a screaming chorus that sends the adrenaline rushing. Yeah, it’s fun.
So if my recommendation for this live DVD is ‘strictly for fans only’ – would you take that positively or negatively? I mean, when you consider that UK trio Placebo has sold ten million records worldwide, then that’s a whole bunch of people who would be interested, right?
But seriously, as a non-fan myself, I found Placebo‘s androgynous image and 90s alternative rock approach enjoyable and interesting enough – especially as a sometimes Smashing Pumpkins listener – but beyond that I do not place much significance on the band in the history of rock music.
So definitely fans will want this excellent live recording of a 2010 gig in Brixton Academy with the highlights being lively renditions of “Nancy Boy”, “Ashtray Heart”, “Infra Red” and “Taste in Men”. Hardly essential but fans of 90s alternative rock will certainly want to check out We Come In Pieces.
“Fight the Good Fight” / “Heavyweight” (off upcoming new album, Curve)
In the sixties and seventies, pop music was considered subversive as rock stars allied themselves to the revolutionary spirit that railed against the Vietnam War and other injustices of that era. Of course, forty years on that concept seems rather antiquated and pop stars are now simply neutered pawns doing the bidding of corporate masters. So it is rather surprising (and uplifting) to come across this song and video from Canadian band Our Lady Peace written in tribute to the Occupy Wall Street movement that has swept the globe.
Thirty-somethings will remember OLP as one of Canada’s leading contributors to the grunge scene of the mid-90s but the quartet has survived the rise and fall of that short-lived ‘genre’ to emerge as an alternative rock outfit of some note. The band enters 2012 in good musical health with the release of its eighth album, Curve in April. “Heavyweight” is the band’s initial offering and the song is a good combination of the U2 sonic aesthetic married with Rage Against the Machine‘s rhythmic sensibilities. Still, the track is unmistakably modern with a strong melodic chorus anchoring its appeal. Check out both videos below and look out for the review of Curve to follow…
The complete unabridged interview with Marcel Thee of Sajama Cut. Basis for my TODAY article.
How did Sajama Cut form?
I essentially formed the band when I was 14 or 15, which is 15 years ago. Like most bands, we were made up of neighborhood and high-school friends. We were called another name back then and released a long-out-of-print cassette in 1999. The first official Sajama Cut release was “Apologia” in 2002, and it was an amalgamation between my love Norwegian Black Metal and horrible pop bands from yesteryear such as The Hollies and early Beach Boys; you know, just these second rate Beatles-esque bands. We grew to be a little bit more focused and went through a lot lineup changes, which is never my idea of a good time, but the guys that are here now seem to permanent ones ready to roll with whatever it takes to survive playing the kind of music that we do.