Universal Music Singapore has announced a new date for Gentle Bones’ concert this year.
The year is almost done but .gif (viz Weish & Din, above) probably delivered one of the best ways to see out an amazing 2015 for Singapore music with its debut album, soma. Here’s what the dynamic duo thought about what the year was all about…
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!
It’s December but still there is more great music to savour in this amazing year for Singapore-made music.
.gif (viz. Nurudin Sadali/Chew Wei Shan aka weish) have proven themselves to be adept at blending electronic beats/textures with soul-rap-pop elements into a heady melange topped off by weish’s idiosyncratic vocal stylings.
It begins with a sharp intake of breath before it engages in an almost five minutes examination of arty minimalism. Not exactly a track that jumps out at it but more like a steady grower.
What was my day like at Laneway SG 2015? Really good fun actually, meeting loads of cool music people (you know who you are!), boozin’ and enjoying pretty useful festival food as well. The people watching was fruitful – looking at the sweet young things in their hipster outfits made me feel like an anthropologist (okay, not really).
I was so comfortable and chilled out that I wasn’t even bothered by the fact that most of the music was average at best. Also, rock bands were showcased in the afternoon (where the audience was smaller) but it all felt like an afterthought.
Who says you can’t make any money doing music in Singapore, eh?
But seriously folks, this is indicative of the Singapore public’s interest in music in 2014 and a great way to start the musical calendar. I will covering the festival as usual and am looking forward most to good music and good company.
My personal picks are: –
Hanging Up the Moon (Cloud Stage, 6.35pm)
.gif (Cloud Stage, 5.20pm)
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”.
News about the lineup for Laneway Festival 2015 came out yesterday. There was the usual hand-wringing and whining about why so-and-so wasn’t coming etc but overall, I believe that the response has been fairly positive. For me personally, having endured the dark days of the 70s, 80s & 90s when rock music events were far and between, I never take these things for granted. Sure, none of these bands compare to Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath or Deep Purple in their prime but in the context of rock & pop music circa 2015, this lineup looks intriguing. Apart from St. Vincent, Lykke Li and our very own .gif and Hanging Up the Moon, I am not too familiar with most of the names but that’s the joy of discovery, I guess. So expect more information about the above bands/artists in the weeks leading up to the festival, from our typical critically objective perspective!
… still there’s more …
If you missed instrumental rock duo Sighborgggg at Baybeats 2014, here’s your chance!
Canberra / Sydney outfit Spartak has launched their brand new record Five Points, out now on the esteemed Sydney label Feral Media. DUNCE. and The Lithe Paralogue, are hosting their album launch in Singapore, this coming Saturday, 12th July, at 7pm.
Spartak will be supported by 3 well-loved local acts, comprising of both veteran and up-and-coming artists:
Inevitably for me, Day Three of most year’s Baybeats tend to be a little anti-climatic. After the hustle and bustle of the first two days, fatigue sets in and it has not been uncommon for me to sometimes entirely miss Day Three. So with that in mind, I decided to focus on the performances going on at the Chillout Stage (the Concourse) and found the experience thoroughly enlightening!
Pitch Feather delivered high gloss renditions of its excellent debut album – Mountains and Tides – singer Alberta Leong has an appealing voice that embellishes the band’s luscious take on 70s folk music that very quickly endeared them to the rapt audience. Considering this was the band’s very first live performance, there were nerves and a couple of errors but nothing fatal. Would love to see Pitch Feather develop further in the local indie scene.
.gif provide a polar opposite to Pitch Feather’s rustic warm tones with an electro-pop set that once again showcased the vocal talents of Weish. It was instructional as usual to see Weish construct ambient sounds from her vocals to utilize backings for the songs. Far from being cold constructs, the songs seemed vaguely personal as colours and shapes filled the room (figuratively, of course).
Pixel Apartment (aka Jordan Chia) was a sheer delight – both soulfully and intellectually. Operating his one man band (complete with video!) with the main focus on grand piano, Jordan provided a pleasing set which showcased his skills with electronics as well as songwriting. That said, perhaps the high point was Jordan’s wonderful cover of “What Sarah Said” (Death Cab for Cutie) sympathetically played on the piano. Yet another local musician with loads of talent!
And that was Day Three for me. Well satisfied with the slate of promising local musicians enough to believe that the future of the Singapore indie music scene is indeed bright! Thanks again to all the cool people I ran into today and once again to the Esplanade for putting together another first rate Baybeats Festival!
… still there’s more …
Which bands/artists will Power of Pop be focusing on during the next three nights of Baybeats 2014?
STOPGAP | Powerhouse 7.30pm SPHAERAS | Arena 8.00pm DEON | Chillout Stage 9.15pm
JAIME WONG | Chillout Stage 10.15pm GIANTS MUST FALL | Arena 10.15pm
ENEC.E | Chillout Stage 5.00pm LOST WEEKEND | Arena 6.00pm BANI HIDIR | Chillout Stage 7.00pm
SSIGHBORGGG | Arena 8.15pm LIGHTCRAFT | Arena 9.15pm INCH | Arena 10.30pm
PITCH FEATHER | Chillout Stage 5.45pm .GIF | Chillout Stage 6.45pm
PIXEL APARTMENT | Chillout Stage 7.45pm MONSTER CAT | Arena 9pm
Have a great Baybeats weekend!
In conjunction with the launch of the Adaro Audio Series, this event features Charlie Lim and supported by Gentle Bones, Gareth Fernandez, Stopgap and .gif. The festivities begin at 7pm at Lowercase on 30th April. See you there!