Chances are if you are a fan of music made in Singapore, you would probably gravitate towards either one of two opposites poles – mainstream pop (that includes jazz-soul, indie-folk, pop-punk, hip-hop & indie-pop) or heavy rock (which includes various hardcore punk & metal sub-genres) – therefore, the unlikeliest middle ground remains the pop-rock/rock ’n’ roll arena.
But who are the artists toiling in this ‘neutral zone’ of melodic tunes and rock groove? Let’s find out!
With the new year beckoning, Laneway Singapore 2016 is a month away and over the next few weeks, Power of Pop will give you the lowdown on the TWENTY-ONE artists who will grace the occasion on 30th January (in alphabetical order).
The amount of new music releases in 2015 is staggering. And it’s basically impossible to be able to listen to everything out there. But when it comes to Singapore Rock, well then it is possible to almost do just that.
Thus, a justification for this list – our recommendations for those of you who have recently come aboard the S-ROCK train. Welcome to the rest of your life!
Saving the best for last? I must confess that this spanking new EP from Cashew Chemists might very well be tied for best release of 2015 with Cheating Sons’ eponymous sophomore effort. Mainly because of its doggedpersistence in the pursuit of old school pop-rock excellence.
Battles – Beach House – Big Scary – Cashew Chemists – Cheats – CHVRCHES – DIIV – East India Youth – Flume – GDJYB – Grimes – Hermitude – Hudson Mohawke – Intriguant – METZ – Purity Ring – Riot !n Magenta – Shamir – The Internet – Thundercat – Tobias Jesso Jr. – Violent Soho
Apart from Singapore artists Cashew Chemists, Intriguant and Riot !n Magenta, the only other act that is of any interest to Power of Pop is pop-rock revivalist Tobias Jesso Jr. Beach House, CHVRCHES and Grimes are repeats & the rest – other than Battles and Flume – are of an unknown quality. But that’s the whole point of the Laneway Festival innit? Stay tuned as Power of Pop gives these artists its discovery quotient in the next few days, weeks and months.
I must confess that when I first heard about Bandwagon‘s intention to feature bands in the bus on the way to Urbanscapes, I was skeptical. But after the actual experience, I must admit that they pulled it off, despite my reservations. The road trip itself had quite a few unnecessary delays but probably expected. And yes, that was my only quibble!
The lovely Aarika Lee was the ‘hostess with the mostess’ on my bus (consisting mainly of media folk) and we had a blast there and back. There was quite bit of banter and fun was had with spontaneous open mics where caution was thrown to the wind to make a long coach journey a whole lot of bearable and some.
I must applaud the selection of artists – Pleasantry (above), iNCH (below), .gif and Gentle Bones – and they did themselves and our awesome indie scene proud with intimate performances that were unique (and well improvised), to say the least.
What about the Urbanscapes festival itself? It was a refreshing time in rarified atmosphere of Genting Highlands with scattered showers for good measure. It was definitely excellent weather for music enjoyment and the likes of our very own Cashew Chemists, reformed Lemonheads (Evan Dando even commented on my Flying Burrito Bros tee), Local Natives and Kimbra (pictured at top) providing primo entertainment!
Thanks to Bandwagon for making this all possible. A parting note – check out the video I shot of iNCH performing “Dear Paramour”.
Always a boon when given the opportunity to catch Singapore rockers in their element. AND when a good cause is the rationale behind the music event then it is time to pause and consider exactly what that cause is. For the organizers, it’s simple and clear.
Through our event, we hope to generate awareness among youths and reduce the stigma associated with people living with HIV/AIDS. Its time to change our perspectives and #RethinkAIDS!
Garden of Youth is a fun-filled, super dynamic event, richly infused with good clean fun, to excite and engage the youth of our nation and bring their vigor and energy into the wonderful Gardens surroundings for a truly uplifting experience. An event bubbling over with the infectious vitality of youth. Especially for youths and absolutely anyone young at heart! 2013 marks the inaugural launch of Garden of Youth a youth-‐centric annual event set in the Gardens, designed for just about anyone ready for a bit of irrepressible fun & youth pop culture. This year, spanning three days from 15th to 17th March, get set for music gigs, bazaar, and a slew of other activities to get totally involved in. Come on down and play!
The Fantastic Picnic Gig: This event is a must for all music lovers out there. Curated by Tiramisu’s lead singer and performance artist extraordinaire, Rizman Putra, this wonderful event platforms English, Mandarin, indie Bands, up and coming young musical talents as well as offer Acoustic Sessions. Visitors can take in the music while lounging on picnic mats to complete the experience. It will be a great way to take in the music of local talents and celebrate the joy of music and life at the Gardens.
It is indeed an exciting time to be a S-ROCK lover. What is S-ROCK, again you ask? Simply put S-ROCK is “Singapore Rock” or rock music that is independently made in Singapore. It is cross-genre and cross-nationality and intended by yours truly to create pride in our own music and not to marginalise anyone in any way. For precedents, think SGMUSO or S-LEAGUE. Well, that is my take anyways, NOBODY needs to adopt it other than me. So chill…
As I was saying it is indeed an amazing time to be a S-ROCK lover, not since the early 90s has there been such palpable excitement about S-ROCK. The EPs highlighted above represent the tip of the iceberg of debut S-ROCK releases from relatively new bands being made available recently. I hope to be able to review these releases on a bigger platform (TODAY, for example) so thus, over here at Power of Pop, take this as a sampler of what’s out there for those of you interested and intrigued enough to find out more about the current wave of S-ROCK.
What is S-ROCK in this new indie rock era? Bands that have risen to prominence since 2010 tend to be post-1988 babies and the sum of their influences seems to be the Post-Punk Revival that was crystalized with the arrival of The Strokes, The Killers, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The White Stripes and others. Based on the 80s post-punk “movement” of the early to mid-80s, this style and sound is now the pre-eminent indie-alternative rock music of our times. In addition, this sound/style has been closely associated with the “hipster” demographic that is beginning to mark and distinguish this generation somewhat, fairly or not. In any case, here’s a bunch of new S-ROCK bands that come into this equation and it should be interesting to see where these bands will be, come 2015.