The Hard Rock Cafe is renowned worldwide as a prestigious theme restaurant that celebrates rock ‘n’ roll and it’s pleasing to note that since it’s recent relaunch with renovated premises at the HPL House at Cuscaden Road, it has initiated two regular events that showcase original music in Singapore.
Not to be missed! Singapore premiere rock ‘n’ rollers Cheating Sons livens up your Wednesday night at the Hard Rock Cafe for this week’s edition of Bandwagon Nights!
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!
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!
Regular visitors to Power of Pop will be aware that my definition of “pop” is pretty wide. But of course, in the context of modern pop (read: vacuous) , that definition becomes somewhat irrelevant for my purposes. Also, if I say “rock ‘n’ roll”, most people will think of the 50s (read: dated) and so, sometimes I need to be uber-specific and say “country-folk-pop-rock” to describe the type of pop music that I love. Hope that clarifies. From that perspective, I wanted to share very specifically, the bands and artists in Singapore whom I feel fit that particular bill and hope that you’d discover some new music to love as well.
CHEATING SONS – JEFFERSON (LIVE)
Though still unreleased, this country-folk masterpiece always resonates with me whenever the band plays it – which in my view is not often enough!
Pick up the new Cheating Sons album from Bandcamp.
HANGING UP THE MOON – THE DIVERS
Sean Lam (aka Hanging Up the Moon) somewhat resists any attempt to associate his wonderful music with that of the past (which I appreciate) but seriously folks, this gorgeous music is highly evocative of early 70s folk-rock. And what is the problem with that??? Beautiful.
Available at iTunes!
Years in the making but definitely worth the wait. 10 tracks of such instrumental sophistication and erudite witticism that it is barely imaginable that the former cultural desert of Singapore is able to produce an album that absorbs the wondrous legacy of 60s rock and pop so well.
With the songwriting template pioneered by the likes of Roy Orbison, the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan and the Band the band have also adopted the production values of Phil Spector and Brian Wilson to deliver a unique aural experience that will please rock scholars and casual music fans alike. An additional distinctive element is the band’s ability to incorporate East Asian sounds and melodies into the mix to create a East meets West amalgam that is surprising and pleasing.
Believe me it’s difficult to point out any particular highlights here as every track is an entity to itself but I will say that songs like the ghostly Beatlesque “Mercy of Cain and Abel”, the atmospheric folky “Patriach”, the country bluesy “Blood the Prize” and the Orbison-Teresa Teng channeling “Honeymoon” certainly deserve special mention.
In an amazing year for Singapore rock so far, this eponymous album is a definite standout and a statement of intent that hopefully will bring forth more exciting music from this wonderful band in the years to come.
CDs and digital albums will be available on cheatingsons.bandcamp.com and CDs also at Curated Records and Roxy Records & Trading.
The new Cheating Sons single “Honeymoon” has an official music video. Directed by Frankie Pan, it’s otherworldliness contrasts intriguingly with the retro vibe of the song itself. Check it out!
Get the track from Bandcamp!
… still there’s more …
Regular visitors to Power of Pop would be aware that I managed Cheating Sons effectively from July 2011. Fact is I am no longer managing the band so I can say with a clear conscience that their upcoming sophomore effort is worth the years it took to put it together.
Good news is that the first single – “Honeymoon” – has just been released today and you can pick it up at Bandcamp. “Honeymoon” is 60s pop goodness channeled through the sensibilities of Roy Orbison and Teresa Teng and it’s textural complexity will give fans and newbies a good idea of what to expect when the new album drops.
… still there’s more …
MUSIC… OR NOTHING
Being involved in the music scene in Singapore is all about what one makes of the situation. Compared to a mere five years ago, there are many opportunities to fill your time with life-enriching activities. You just know where to look…
On Thursday (21st August) I met up and interview Julie Edwards (above, left) and Lindsey Troy of LA-based blues-rockers Deap Vally and found them to be intelligent, beautiful women who knew exactly what they wanted out of life. Mightily impressed with them in that short space of time we chatted.