Two local music startups put their heads together to give us a night of pop music, made in Singapore.
On her rousing and poignant new pop rock ballad “Enjoy the Ride,” folky singer-songwriter Emma Charleston reminds listeners to cherish life’s journey as much as its ever-changing destinations.
One of the best Singapore pop releases this year comes from singer-songwriter Fym Summer.
We get to know our favourite artists a little better with 10 questions.
“Old soul” is probably an apt description of singer-songwriter Theodora’s muse.
This 18 year old has a perceptive creativity beyond her tender years with an artistic sensibility that reflects a subtle maturity. This is already painfully obvious when listening to her debut single “Lines”, written about the loss about a loved one – “I sit in silence in the memory of you”.
Now here’s a thoughtful video – lovingly crafted by director Leonard Soosay – that represents visually the emotions that “Lines” evokes, with style and finesse.
Theodora’s debut EP is planned for the end of the year – keep a close watch on that, dear readers.
In the meantime, check out the gorgeous video for “Lines”.
Purchase “Lines” from iTunes.
After a 4-year hiatus, The Decembrists have announced that its new album, What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World, will be released on January 20, 2015. From the sounds of the preview track – “Make You Better”, it’s the sort of pleasing alt-folk-pop that the band is returning to, which is fine by me! Check it out!!
Charles J Tan is back with the first single from his upcoming album, Maybe Somewhere North. According to Tan, “the single is an upbeat tune that celebrates friendship, love and community”. The song features Aarika Lee (of SIXX) on guest vocals. It’s a toe tapper for sure, and perfect for those cool sunny mornings that hopefully we’ll get more of in surprising Singapore.
The official music video will be released on 14 February 2013 to coincide with Valentine’s Day. Charles will kick off a series of album launches starting with the first full band concert of the year at the Esplanade Outdoor Theatre at Mosaic Music Festival on 11 March 2013. Fans can expect to hear the new album performed live for the first time ever in Singapore. In the meantime, check out the lyric video below and if you like what you hear (and why wouldn’t you?), pick it up at iTunes.
ATLANTIC/PACIFIC Meet Your New Love (No Sleep)
NY-based duo Atlantic/Pacific, aka Garrett Klahn (Texas is the Reason) and John Herguth (House & Parish, The Love Scene) has been likened to the old world charms of Fleet Foxes and post-punk cool of The Smiths. Meaning of course, warm melodies/harmonies and sophisticated arrangements. Songs like the jazzy Patterns, the epic Shore to Shore and the U2-channeling faux-anthemic Let Me Into Your Light provide a counterpoint to the largely rustic country-folk-pop repertoire.
ANDY SHAUF Waiting For The Sun To Leave (P is for Panda)
Waiting For The Sun To Leave is a soon to be released EP (September 28th) from Andy Shauf, a singer-songwriter from Canada, and is the follow-up to Darker Days. The EP is a charming collection of songs he has been playing live for the past four years, since the release of Darker Days. The album is stripped, back-to-basics album about life and love, as with most albums.
YAEL MEYER Heartbeat EP (Self-released)
I’ve said this before and it bears repeating. I don’t care what you look like or whether you’ve got perfect pitch, if you write songs that are sweet to the ear and touch the hear, you’ve got my vote!
Now, singer-songwriter Yael Meyer is candy both to eye and ear – which is fine in themselves – but what counts to me is her talented songwriting which keeps things sincere and simple. Melodies that ring out, complemented by instrumentation that completes the pleasing package.
I guess you could say that Meyer’s style is mainly soft folk-pop, with equal emphasis on both. This 5-track EP is near perfection – in that I cannot find much wrong with it. Crystal clear vocals & harmonies, pristine acoustic guitars and tight percussions envelope these enjoyable songs. So really, there’s little point in highlighting any particular track cos you’re going to want to listen from start to finish and back to start again. Then repeat.
Female singer-songwriters are dime-a-dozen in 2010 but I appreciate the “old-school” approach that Meyer takes to songcraft. It’s really song first and everything else is built up from that foundation. Yes, folks, I surprised at how much I really liked the Heartbeat EP, but believe me, this one’s a keeper.
YOUNG MOTHERS Come On, The Cross Single (Fort Lowell)
James Tritten (guitarist for Tracy Shedd) has set up a label called Fort Lowell Records. It is a 7inch Only label, releasing limited runs of 500 Colored Vinyl for artists out of Tucson, AZ.
First up is Young Mothers, who already have an album – Arts and Crafts – under their belt, with this pleasing single consisting of Come On, The Cross and Good Swords. This single is an interesting hybrid of classic pop songwriting and indie rock allure. Come On, The Cross and Good Swords possess enough Beatlesque vibes to interest powerpoppers and dark folk energy to appeal to fans of Fleet Foxes, Band of Horses and Bon Iver.
The lovely and supremely talented Ling Kai will be doing a mini-tour of Starbucks outlets in January. Her first performance is today, 9 Jan. Check out the schedule below and make your way to a Starbucks outlet for coffee and great music…
Sat, 9 Jan, 4pm: Liat Towers
Thu, 14 Jan, 1pm: Capital Tower
Sat, 16 Jan, 4pm: Tanglin Mall
Thu, 21 Jan, 12.30pm: Singapore Land Tower
Sat, 23 Jan, 4pm: Raffles City
Thu, 28 Jan, 12.30pm: OCBC Building
Sat, 30 Jan, 4pm: ION Orchard
Exclusively at Starbucks:
Purchase a copy of Ling Kai’s debut EP “Honestly” for the price of $11.95 (U.P. $13.95) when you buy Ling’s favourite beverage: a Grande Triple Shot Caramel Macchiato.
KAREN O AND THE KIDS Where the Wild Things Are Motion Picture Soundtrack (Universal)
I love Karen O. Not only is she the phenomenal front-woman of the fabulous trio Yeah Yeah Yeahs (who will be in Singapore soon enough!) but has – together with the Kids – delivered sumptous music to accompany Spike Jonze’s take on Maurice Sendak’s classic Where the Wild Things Are.
Quirky folk songs intersperced with moody soundtracky pieces (typical fare in some ways) dominate this album which is well and good. However, there are moments of sheer inspiration where Karen O transcends the movie and two songs simply stand alone in glorious splendour.
The first is the awkward piano ballad called Worried Shoes, which is a cross between the Flaming Lips and Brian Wilson, as Karen O delightfully saunters into your heart of hearts. The second is the shimmering Hidaway, with its Eastern inflections and charming grace, it will basically poach your affection, without much effort.
Yes, boys and girls, Worried Shoes and Hidaway, by themselves are worth the price of admission.
All hail the genius of Karen O!
INCH CHUA The Bedroom Ep (Self-released)
Regular PoP visitors would be familiar with Inch as the dynamic frontperson of S-ROCK band Allura. And any one who has seen Allura live or listened to their debut EP – Wake Up and Smell the Seaweed – would be aware of the young lady’s energy and talent. All well and good within the context of the overall band environment but what if you took the singer out of the band?
What you end up with is The Bedroom Ep – four tracks that showcase Inch as the solo singer-songwriter – and true to form, the results are astonishing! Fans familiar with her work with Allura may be surprised by the range of Inch’s vocal, songwriting and arrangements on The Bedroom Ep. With rockist agendas shoved to the side, Inch’s folktronic pop leanings get an excellent airing to reveal a multi-facted artist.
The opening Rule the World is a veritable shot in the arm as electro-beats clash with breezy acoustic guitar and an engaging melody. Not only that but throw in vibes, Hawaiian slide guitar and inventive harmonies and you have an infectious tune that our radio stations should be falling over each other to play over the our staid airwaves.
Aqueous Oblivion delves into familiar Broadway musical tradition to describe a spiritual experience, Devotion in Reality is another stab at the past, this time a torchy jazz ballad, which reveals a level of maturity that belies Inch’s relative youth and Find Fix and Save is an arch synth-orchestral piece that succeeds on many different levels.
I must confess that I’m truly surprised by the depth of the songwriting/arrangements as it contains all the elements that I look for in good music making. What more can I say? Oh and its absolutely FREE. No reason whatsoever in the world not to get The Bedroom Ep.
ALMOST CHARLIE The Plural of Yes (Words On Music)
There are a few things that a casual listener should take note of, concerning German band, Almost Charlie.
First, singer-composer Dirk Homuth possesses a nasal vocal style that is borrowed heavily from the late great John Lennon. Uncannily so, in fact.
Second, lyricist Charlie Mason is not part of the band and in fact has never even met Homuth before! These song collaborations have been carried out over the internet. What will they think of next?
Music-wise, Almost Charlie (oh, I get it now!) parlays a chamber-folk-pop sensibility that is pleasant enough without being too deeply affecting. I suppose you could make comparisons between the musical approach here and the Beatles’ own folk-pop excursions on Rubber Soul & Revolver. Or you could easily discern references pointing to another late great, Mr Elliot Smith.
Overall, the vibe one gets from The Plural of Yes is a likable evocation of Beatles circa 1965, and if you’re into that era then this album is for you. Simply put, good music for those melancholy rainy Sunday afternoons.
Check out the band’s Myspace page.
A clip of a lively rendition of Leaving is Easy follows…