90s alt-rock is on the agenda for Amy O with new LP, Elastic, out now!
Ryan Wong (Cool Ghouls) finds time to release his own solo side project, a six-track EP, called More Milk.
Amberhill recalls Singapore indie rock a decade ago.
More solid retro pop-rock in 2017 for your listening pleasure! A classic team up of erstwhile Fleetwood Mac members and a trio of seminal bands from the 80s/90s will keep you enjoying great new music!
L.A. based singer-songwriter Kacey Johansing releases her third album, The Hiding, today.
Canadian duo You’ll Never Get to Heaven have released their third full-length album, Images, and fans of 90s dreamy ambient pop music will find much to enjoy.
Rock ‘n’ roll might not have the same commercial or cultural impact it used to have but we promise to keep fighting the good fight.
Here are streams of new music that express the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll. Discover! Enjoy!
Steve Mason – formerly of 90s outfit The Beta Band – returns with his third solo album.
Rock ‘n’ roll might not have the same commercial or cultural impact it used to have but we promise to keep the flag flying.
Here are videos of new music you should be listening to that expresses the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll. Enjoy!
If there’s one inescapable fly in the S-ROCK ointment, it’s the lack of meaningful lyricism, the fear of exploring concepts beyond the purely emotional (the ‘affairs of the heart’ cliche). Thankfully, that is not the case with Koji’s new free track – “Mrs Mia Wallace” – which functions as a tribute to the Pulp Fiction characters famously played by Uma Thurman in the Quentin Tarantino classic.
There’s something wonderfully shambolic about the quartet’s hard rockin’ agenda – channeling Wolfmother via Led Zep – although the quality of the vocals might need sprucing up. But one cannot quibble too much with the infectious riffs that dominate “Mrs Mia Wallace” and that is one memorable take-away. Download the track for free now!
Check out the lyric video also!
Connect with Koji!
When one listens to Oceans, it becomes abundantly crystal clear that for singer-songwriter Deon Toh, it’s all about the music. In this digital age, Toh has gone against the grain to approach the album as a viable artistic expression, like in the days of yore. There are eleven one-word titled tracks on this, his follow-up to the well-received Antiphobic, bookended by “Circles” and “Cycles”, which speak to the impact of seasons in our lives.
There is beauty, grace and strength in compositions like “Summer”, “Fall”, “Winter” and “Spring” where Toh is able to conjure the experience of the seasons, whether it is something physical or symbolic. The over-riding emotion might be melancholy but it is not defeatist but reflective. Whether it is in the piano harmonic structures, fragile guitar arpeggios, arranged percussion, ambient soundscapes or Toh’s falsetto, there is a deliberate intent to evoke a sense of longing and yearning in the presence of natural splendour.
It is a significant achievement that Oceans is an album one can (and MUST) listen to from beginning to end and then to start all over again. A gorgeous song cycle that once again sets the bar higher for Singapore artists to emulate.
In the meantime, check out the music video for “Summer” below.
Look out for the Power of Pop interview with Deon Toh coming soon…
Love X Stereo‘s “We Love, We Leave” gets a music video that visualises its conceptual thrust perfectly. The video itself is ambitious, arty and yes, sexy – leaving a throbbing mess that usually comes as a result of conjugal action. The song, already a powerfully appealing single in its own right lifts off when set to these tempting visuals. Kudos to all involved. Don’t feel guilty if you enjoy it too much…
… still there’s more …
Last June, we did an interview with Annie Ko, frontperson of Korean indie electro-rock trio Love X Stereo. Well, the group is now a duo consisting of Annie and Toby Hwang and is ready for the new year with a new EP, consisting of new material and re-recorded favourites. Part 1 of the We Love, We Leave album is already out now and indie pop fans will enjoy the new viz. the dynamic synth-pop energy of the sultry title track and the throbbing dance-able “My Anywhere” and the ‘old’ viz. the exciting versions of “Soul City (Seoul City)” and “Chain Reaction”. We caught up with Annie again to get some insights of where the duo is right here, right now.
Five of the songs on the new EP are re-worked versions of previously released tracks, why?
We were selected for government support provided by KOCCA in order to make a new record. Before we go any further, we wanted to take a step back to rearrange/rerecord our previous tracks, because we always wanted to. Originally, we wanted to make a LP with mixtures of old & new, but we had a strict time restraint, and that’s why we ended up splitting into two EPs. First one represents “We Love”, and the next one represents “We Leave”.
New local promoters LivePOD got off to a great start as it brought to our indie scene, an instrumental rock event (at Hood Bar) that not only championed an acclaimed regional act – COMA – but also showcased our very own talented bands viz In Each Hand a Cutlass and NeoDominatrix.
WHATEVER HAPPENED TO….?
Bittersweet Machines – “Screaming Underwater”
The new video for “Screaming Underwater” from the EP A Night Full of Sharp Edges was produced by Finn Sims (www.finnsims.com) and it is an intense and intriguing one. Check it out!
Matt Mocharnuk, the brains behind recording artist Bittersweet Machines is a songwriter with the ability to manipulate the emotions of anyone fortunate enough to listen to his musical creations. I count myself amongst this number – as I have followed Mocharnuk’s creative journey in the last couple of years and with each release, cannot help but be awed by the consistent quality of the songs found on Bittersweet Machines EPs and albums.
New EP – A Night Full of Sharp Edges – is no exception to this rule. Stylistically, Morcharnuk has moved away somewhat from the post-punk revivalist tendencies found on previous releases. The songwriting seems more organic without reliance on any particular ‘genre’. This creative decision has liberated the music to form it’s own conclusions based on the confluence of tunes and lyrics.
What remains the same is the emotional weight of the melodies, the astute use of dynamism, the appropriation of infectious hooks and riffs and ultimately the natural appeal of songs that do not need too much analysis or deep probing in order to divine their joys.
It is an absolute pleasure to move from track to track – songs like “The Longest Minute,” “Is It Enough” and “Screaming Underwater” – embellished simply by acoustic guitar and tasteful keyboards reach out to touch heart and soul, rightfully belonging to the sweet indie Brit rock epoch that birthed bands like Travis, Coldplay and Keane.
Yet another bloody essential release from Bittersweet Machines.
I guess the standout detail for me about Brisbane’s The Trouble With Templeton is the fact that the band is signed to UK indie label Bella Union, who also have the likes of Fleet Foxes, Midlake, Flaming Lips, Beach House on its roster. Good company to keep!
Immediate impression upon listening to The Trouble With Templeton was that the band was your typical ‘hipster’ indie-folk outfit but thankfully that’s not really the case. Sure, there are obvious folk elements – acoustic guitars jangle and high register harmonies for example – but dig deeper and it’s clear that the band’s influences stretch to the 90s with Radiohead, Travis and early Coldplay prominent.
Thomas Calder, the nucleus of the band, has a distinctive voice that conveys edge and fragility, sadness with anger – a highly emotive instrument. The songs themselves are built on motivic patterns that anchor fairly static melodies, relying on ‘feels’ and atmosphere and less on classical melodicism.
Which is fine if one is able to deliver emotionally resonant material such as “Whimpering Child”, “Heavy Lifting” and “Secret Pastures” whilst at the same time producing soaring ditties as “Six Months in a Cast” and “You Are New”. Wrapped up nicely in organic production, Rookie is essential listening for modern alternative pop fans looking beyond artifice.
Truth be told, I have been listening to Silverbird‘s fine new EP, Surface Life, quite a bit of late. There is something about these five songs that have got be somewhat entranced. Superficially, it all seems very contemporary (i.e. hipster) – with its folky acoustic guitars, the singalong nature of choruses and so on. But of course, it’s more than that. In fact, it has more to do with Silverbird’s penchant at channeling their inspirations – 90s bands like Wilco and Sparklehorse – where alt-country moves into even edgier art-rock territory.
Two songs stand out for me. “Honey You’re” where electric keyboard riffs collide with shimmering guitars and a atmospheric choral hook that seems to stretch for miles. And “Silverbird”, where a throbbing bass stomp anchors a jangle pop vibe so that singer Tim Barr can suspend a fragile vocal above. The closing “When We Went to the Country” sums up Silverbird’s game plan – dreamy, ambient roots rock that drones like the Velvets when it truly needs to.
This is exactly where indie rock should be heading – into the fucking ditch! The future of rock ‘n’ roll and that jazz. Seriously.
One of the highlights of the recent Music Matters Live ’14 was the Korean indie outfit Love X Stereo. The band brings a modern alternative-electro sensibility to influences from 80s post-punk and 90s alt-rock. Live, the trio are a powerhouse with the undeniable chemistry amongst dynamic bass player Sol Han, inventive guitarist Toby Hwang and front-woman Annie Ko being simply irresistible.
In the studio, Love X Stereo have already produced three fine EPs and one truly memorable single – “Soul City (Seoul City)” – that personifies the word ‘soaring’ and is definitely one of the most exciting Asian indie bands out there. Singer-keyboardist Annie Ko is the focal point of this dynamic trio, with her good looks, powerful vocals and boundless energy and she was kind enough to take time out of her busy schedule to talk to us.
We understand that you lived in the USA for a bit – is that true? Can you tell us a little about that experience?
Yes. I lived in LA when I was really young. My dad was working on his PhD at UCLA. I remember that we had great weather, occasional earthquakes, and very little rain. But I was too young to remember all the little details. However, to look back then, I was very much influenced by 80s pop music. My personal hero was Cyndi Lauper.
Yet another reason to consider June the month of Singapore rock!
Definitely one of the main highlights of Music Matters Live ’14 would be JPNSGRLS – pronounced “Japanese Girls” – a band that manages to combine the dynamic pleasures of 80s post-punk and 90s alt-rock. The band kindly answered our queries before making their way to our shores from Canada! Don’t miss them!!
Why did you apply to play at Music Matters Live ’14?
We have been really fortunate to have the support of CIMA which is Canada’s not-for-profit trade association that represents our independent music industry. Part of their mandate is to create export opportunities for “export ready” Canadian indie acts, like ourselves, and so, last year, we were brought to Spain to play at BIME 2013. The opportunity to travel to another country, engage with a new audience and culture, and network with the business people of a different market was really an amazing opportunity and experience for us. The idea that we will get to do the same in Asia is a dream come true. We were ecstatic when we found out we were accepted to play at Music Matters Live.
Quirky, edgy & poppy – what a great combo for a band! The music of offbeat Montreal-based trio Each Other doesn’t make for easy pigeon-holing although I personally discerned Pavement, XTC, Pixies, Talking Heads et al in their reference points. Which is awesome of course! Debut album coming out in March. In the meantime, check out the music released so far!
What excites me about new music? When my expectations are surpassed and a smile is left on my face gawking at the sheer audacity that caught me by surprise! MONSTER CAT‘s new single – “Take Me to Love” fits the bill perfectly. From it’s atonal opening chord progressions to its funky (?) chorus, “Take Me to Love” comes from left field completely and might possibly be the fucking best new song I’ve heard in 2014 so far. Don’t believe me? Well, listen to the song at Deezer now!
Off the band’s upcoming new album – The Violet Hour – to be released on 3rd March and which you can pre-order now at iTunes. What are you waiting for?
… still there’s more …
The first impression I had of Aussie indie pop band Fairchild — by watching a YouTube video of “Burning Feet” (off new EP of the same name) — was that the band was a professional set-up with management & promotional support – the whole shebang! But the truth is that the Gold Coast sextet actually have day jobs (!) and ascribe to a D-I-Y aesthetic, depending very much on contacts and their own business acumen to make it this far. Frontman Adam Lyons not only has to juggle a full-time profession with Fairchild but also has a side-project Lyon Apprentice, with his brother Nathan (who is also in Fairchild). The band played in 2013’s Music Matters Live and more recently The MIDI Festival in Shenzhen and will also be showcased at the upcoming Canadian Music Week in May. All these overseas jaunts, virtually on their own dime. Quite an achievement. Over this weekend, I had the unique opportunity to watch both Fairchild and Lyon Apprentice and spoke to Adam about music, passion and how to finance it all by robbing a bank!
I was forced to play piano when I was about 15 years old but I played guitar – I didn’t study it (music) at school – I wasn’t allowed to actually, I wasn’t even allowed to do PE – Maths and Science was my thing. I told them (parents) I wanted to do medicine, which I eventually got into. Music is a gateway to something else – it’s not a profession for me per se and I think things change when you switch music from a job to a hobby but we treat music as a job in the way we approach it. I look at my friends at work – 9 to 5 – and that’s all they do but it gives me another avenue to be creative.