HOUSE OF RIOT: INCH, THE GREAT SPY EXPERIMENT & CHARLIE LIM – SINGAPORE ROCK COMES OF AGE!

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Jun 072015
 

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Well you turn when I talk/Run when I walk/Rise when I fall/Burn when I shiver/Smile when I frown/Go when I come around/You twist when I shout/In when I’m out/There when I’m here/Why do I bother?/Laugh when I’m down/Whine when I make a sound

I didn’t realise how much I would be affected by The Great Spy Experiment’s swan song performance until I sang along to “The Great Decay” and I lost it – the tears rolled freely and all the precious memories flooded into my mind.

One of many emotional high points of House of Riot’s ambitious concert to put Singapore indie music where it belongs – in the mainstream. How else to describe a concert at a packed out Esplanade Concert Hall where I failed to recognise the majority of the audience? This was no longer an underground movement, this was a Singapore audience doing something never done before, paying hard-earned money for SINGAPORE acts playing at arguably one of the best (and most prestigious) concert venues on the island!

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iNCH opened the night, resplendent in a cape playing familiar tunes (“Chefalo Knot”, “The Artful Dodger” & a spine-tingling “Dear Paramour”) and a couple of new tunes (“Lyre Lyre, Hearts on Fyre” was particularly affecting). It was clear that the enormity of the night’s achievement was also weighing on iNCH as paid an emotional tribute to those who had been supporting her music since 2009. It was a victorious comeback for the petite singer-songwriter, with a new EP due in September.

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Hard to believe that the GSE are no more but all things must pass and surely, there could be no better way for this Singapore indie rock institution to say goodbye! It has been eight years since I first thrilled to their music and tonight the songs seemed stronger and grander – from “Late Nite Request” to “Class ‘A’ Love Affair” – it was an emotional farewell. It was a proper Singapore rock send-off in a venue more suited for classical music, which in itself was so symbolic. An unforgettable performance from a beloved S-ROCK band. Thank you and love always – Saiful, Fandy, Mag, Khai and Song!

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And finally, Charlie Lim  – surely, the brightest hope for Singapore rock. Backed by the Mothership, Charlie played tracks off his hit new double EP Time/Space with aplomb and finesse. Personally, I favour the folk-rock majesties of “Light Break In” (kudos to the string section of Lisa Haryono, Josh Wei and Kim Eun Hyung), “Choices” and “Bitter” where Charlie’s heartfelt lyrics are expressed in rustic tones but my new favourite “I Only Tell the Truth” (this time with Charlie on keyboards) also provided a memorable ‘lump-in-throat’ moment. Triumphant!

The audience stayed behind as Riot chief honcho Mike See took time to appreciate everyone who played a part in the magnificent venture. It was heart-warming to see a primarily mainstream audience giving a standing ovation to a group of Singapore indie artists (and I include managers and crew into that description) and receiving the deserved recognition that has for so long been denied. Mike rightfully described the success of the event as historical – those of us who remember the scene of a decade ago would have never imagined the scenario which unfolded before our very eyes. But tonight on June 6th 2015, Singapore rock came of age.

… still there’s more … 

 

CHARLIE LIM’S TIME/SPACE IS A GLIMPSE INTO THE FUTURE OF SINGAPORE ROCK. AND IT’S LOOKING GOOD. DAMN GOOD.

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May 312015
 

CharlieLim

There is no sense of the where and when listening to Singapore singer-songwriter Charlie Lim‘s double EP Time/Space. It simply is.

The music of Time/Space is the honest expression of a young man coming to terms with life issues and a burgeoning musical talent. Taken as a whole – 8 tracks and two bookends – Time/Space is a polaroid shot of where Charlie is, and from an artistic perspective, it is looking very very good.

From the outset, with the ragtime-infused “Blah Blah Blues”, it’s clear that Charlie is not interested in cliches and limitations on his music but will go wherever his muse takes him.

“I tend to make my mountains out of molehills” he sings plaintively before he vamps on the chorus – “Itʼs not that hard to sing about being hurt/
Itʼs kind of lucrative to write a love song/Because everybody else just canʼt get enough” – an ironic comment perhaps about his own persona?

Personally, Charlie always hits home with his ballads – wonderful melanges of folk, soul & indie pop that never fail to send chills down spine. “Choices” is the first one – where Charlie’s sweet larynx combines with guitar patterns and trademark cutting lyrics – “I can take complication/If I can comprehend/But I can’t deal with ignorance/Even if you think it’s bliss” – to produce an overwhelming emotional resonance.

This leads us to Charlie’s magnum opus “Bitter” – the rollercoaster ride of ‘feels’ as Charlie shares some of the most poignant lyrics – “Was I trying to cash in the fantasy without the reality check?”, “Embrace the silence when thereʼs nothing left/You got no room for demons when youʼre self-possessed” and of course, ” Was I spoilt for love/Have you had enough/Wait out the danger/You donʼt have to ask/This maudlin moment/Will soon come to pass”. Sheer bloody genius.

Incredibly, Charlie offers two potential “Bitter”-killers, so to speak, here with “Light Breaks In” and “I Only Tell the Truth”.

The former is a early 70s folk-inflected stunner where Charlie slays with guitar and voice. And when the string sections moves in, I challenge you not to feel that lump in the throat moment before the tears well up. Fuckin’ gorgeous with sentiments to match – “Pour out all your sorrow/Were you waiting for a sign/Only breathing just a little/And calling it a life”. Beautiful.

The latter is the closing track and yet again is another melancholy masterpiece as you listen to the airplane pilot giving instructions for landing. Wonderfully arranged and primed for the kill once Charlie gets to the heart-breaking chorus – “But I won’t catch you if you let go/I’ll pick apart the things you let fold/If that’s what you want I guess we’ll move on/I’m sorry” – and for anyone who has lived through the death of a relationship, these words take on massive proportions. For me personally, I have broken down more than a few times when feeling the intensity of the emotions that Charlie is conveying here. All too real. And when the “Outro” hits, its hard to describe as the sad lonely piano plays out to the sound of children.

But then, it’s over, and I press play again and let the magic of Charlie Lim wash over me once more.

Time/Space will be released on June 6th at the House of Riot concert at the Esplanade Concert Hall. Tickets available from SISTIC

HOUSE OF RIOT WITH CHARLIE LIM, INCH & THE GREAT SPY EXPERIMENT!

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Apr 192015
 

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On 6 June, House of Riot – home to Singapore’s well-loved independent acts, Charlie Lim, iNCH, and The Great Spy Experiment – presents an ambitious live show in homage to made-in-Singapore music, at The Esplanade’s grande dame The Concert Hall.

#sgindie music at the Esplanade Concert Hall? Somewhat unprecedented but surely the potentially record-breaking triple bill stands perfectly placed to do the deed.

Tickets for the Riot show are now on sale at SISTIC, and priced at S$50 for normal admission; S$40 for students and NSFs.

CHARLIE LIM @ THE ANALOG FACTORY

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Mar 152015
 

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Last night, spent time with Charlie Lim & the Mothership (and twenty plus lucky fans) as the band recorded a live in-studio performance at The Analog Factory. Organised by BEEP Studios, the idea was to provide a unique listening experience, where the music would be crystal clear courtesy of inline earphones courtesy of Aurisonics. Look out for the video to be uploaded soon!

ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY: CHARLIE LIM

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Dec 282013
 

Finally! Charlie Lim has released two new singles (viz. “Bitter” and “Conspiracy”) and both tracks can be downloaded for FREE from Bandwagon (limited to first 1000 signups) so HURRY!!!!

Suffice to say, “Bitter” is a heart-wrenchingly gorgeous jazz-pop piece with dynamism, virtuosity and dollops of soul that deserves to be a worldwide hit (whatever that means nowadays) – please don’t miss out! “Conspiracy” demonstrates a different side of Charlie as smooth R&B inflections, infectious funky beats and cool vibes make the song a hot dancefloor hit contender! Another essential track for your collection!

Find out more about Charlie Lim here.

IDENTITE 8.2: THE HOMECOMING [REVIEW]

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Jan 132013
 

The Identite series hosted by Home Club has been a critical event on the local indie scene calendar in recent times. Organized by RSC (Rock Star Collective) the untiring efforts of unsung local heroes Amir Kadir and Razi Razak has been slowly but surely leaving a mark on our scene. For me personally, Razi has been instrumental in my re-introduction to the local scene in 2007, and I am still extremely grateful for that! Nostalgia buffs can check out my blog entry for this way back then.

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CHARLIE LIM’S HOMECOMING GIG [REVIEW]

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Dec 312012
 

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First, an apology – I dearly wanted this review to be a bigger feature and to be spotlighted in one of the more mainstream outlets I write for BUT alas, it was not to be. I didn’t realize that Charlie Lim was going to do a complete second set – which I missed – and so this serves as a somewhat truncated account of what went down the night Charlie Lim came home.

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CHARLIE LIM CONCLUDES ASIA TOUR WITH HOMECOMING GIG [NEWS]

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Dec 262012
 

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(Riot! Records Press Release)

After five months on the road peddling his inimitable concoction of folk rock and neo-soul across Asia, singer-songwriter Charlie Lim returns to Singapore for a homecoming show at BluJaz Café on Friday, 28th December.

The tour, which has taken him to Tokyo, South Korea, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Philippines, and Indonesia, saw him perform at world-renowned stages at Clockenflap, Jarasum International Jazz, and Urbanscapes festivals and alongside some of the regionʼs top independent music artists such as Malaysiaʼs Liyana Fizi and Side A from The Philippines.

BluJaz holds particular significance for Charlie, who started his fledgling career performing shows at the venue from the young age of 18. In homage to his journey since then; and to the inspiring cultural exchanges experienced on-tour, the upcoming show at BluJaz Café promises two sets featuring jams with special guests and musicians who played with Charlie at different segments of the tour, with the support from fellow independent artist Weish.

Show details:

Date & time: Friday, 28th December 2012, from 9pm to 12.30am
Venue: BluJaz Café, 11 Bali Lane
Entry: Free
For more: facebook.com/charlielim/events

S-ROCK 2013: DIG THE NEW BREED!

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Dec 162012
 

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.

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PoPINIONS: THE FUTURE’S SO BRIGHT, I’VE GOTTA WEAR SHADES [OP-ED]

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Oct 282012
 

A few random thoughts came to mind whilst I was at The Sam Willows EP launch at TAB last night, supported by Charlie Lim and ShiGGa Shay. One, was that I witnessing the future of our Singapore indie scene as these young talented artists – with all the potential they possess – are in the best position to bring the indie scene forward within and without our shores. Two, how different the indie scene looked in 2012, compared to 1992.

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URBANSCAPES 2012 [NEWS]

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Oct 032012
 

2012 marks the 10th anniversary of this “user-generated” creative arts festival in the Klang Valley (24 and 25 November 2012 @ Padang Astaka). For this year, the Festival is featuring major international and regional stars including Sigur Ros, Malaysian star Yuna, Indonesian band The Trees and The Wild and Singapore’s Charlie Lim. Expect a whole slew of top notch Malaysian indie acts performing as well.

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Sep 092012
 

The Music Society of Singapore (or sgmuso) had its second Music Dialogue on Sat, 8th Sep and by all accounts it was an interesting afternoon for all who attended. Now, although I am an EXCO member of sgmuso, I am writing this article NOT as an EXCO member or on behalf of sgmuso but as an fairly objective observer (but take whatever I say with a pinch of salt, if you must).

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CHARLIE LIM: LIVE AT THE ESPLANADE RECITAL STUDIO

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Aug 222012
 

Melbourne-based Singapore singer-songwriter Charlie Lim stops by his hometown for a Late Nite showcase at the Esplanade Recital Studio on 31 August, 2012. Together with his band that features some of Singapore’s finest young talent, Charlie will debut new unreleased material alongside hits from his brilliant debut EP.

Following Singapore, Charlie will be performing shows in Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Manila; and at the Jarasum International Jazz Festival in Korea, from September through to December.

To buy tickets to Charlie’s Late Nite showcase, go to the Esplanade Box Office, or

http://www.esplanade.com/whats_on/programme_info/latenite_in_transit/index.jsp

Official Site

CHARLIE LIM

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Apr 122012
 

OLD SOUL

Now, the introduction to “There Is No Love” swept me literally off my feet, my heart melted and chills ran down the length of my spine. No mean feat. I’m talking about the second track on Charlie Lim‘s amazing debut eponymous EP that was released sometime last year. Better late than never eh?

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