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Oct 092014
 

The best part of being in Singapore? The availability of awesome #sgindie music at my doorstep! MAAD Sounds has going for it two main things – a wonderful selection of S-ROCK and the presence of the effervescent Andy Yang – artist, musician & all-round fun guy! This Friday, MAAD Sounds returns with four exciting indie rock bands – The Psalms, MONSTER CAT, Spacedays and Ellipis! Don’t miss this!! Check out the music below and will see you tomorrow!

… still there’s more …

Oct 012014
 

Glass Animals - 2

As you can see from my blurry pictures, the Biltmore Cabaret was absolutely packed and rocking for Glass Animals last night. Playing songs mainly from their lovely debut LP - Zaba – the quartet hypnotized the young-ish audience with its dynamic mix of indie pop and EDM vibes. Everything seemed to happen in a slo-mo trance as frontman Dave Bayley bedazzled the crowd with tasteful melodies & sharp guitars whilst the insistent groove keep the momentum going into 7th heaven. Songs like”Black Mambo”, “Gooey” & “Walla Walla” had the kids in dance extacy!

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Sep 292014
 

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Singapore born and raised hip hop duo Trick blew the crowd away at Hood Bar and Café with a fast tempo heady rushed of lyrics. Supported by AMPed and hosted by Gerald Koh, the place was teeming with girls who were trying to catch a glimpse of their idols. Often resembling Jay Park and T.I., the duo threw the crowd off their feet with covers such as “Ringa Linga” by Taeyang.

Trick showed us how covers should be done, as lyrics were being changed to fit their personal styles into the songs. It is not something which every band is doing hence making them unique.

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Keeping the crowd “Up All Night”, with hits such as “BPM” and “The Life”. My personal favourite was “BPM” as the high energy level brought out the essence of the song together with the hypnotic groove which left the audience sashaying their hips away.

To commemorate their success, champagne bottles were popped and a cake was being presented upon to the duo by die hard fans. Some lucky fans were fortunate enough to have themselves sprayed with champagne by Richard.

Ending their set with their latest single “Sunshine” an acoustic strip down approached was being adopted. The audience were certainly in for a treat as they smiled widely when the performance drew to a close. Excited fans started to flock to the meet and greet both to have their photos taken with Trick.

Trick certainly gave it their all as they interacted with their fans, whose live set was a dynamic blast of  pop music that remained engaging throughout.

Photographs by Cherlynn Lian – www.onefiftythree.com

Thanks to SONY Music for making this review possible. 

(Nikita Wong)

Sep 282014
 

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My first indie gig in Vancouver was at the Future Sound Club and by the time I got there, Smash Boom Pow – 2nd band on the bill – were already on stage. This young band certainly has some intriguing ideas – at some point even blending blues rock riffs with post-punk structures – but certainly the songwriting has much room for improvement. Nothing too memorable about most of their music although there was clear potential evident.

The headliners for the night – The Oceanographers – were definitely popular with the crowd. Although somewhat generic post-punk revivalist, there was also sufficient melodic development in their songs to suggest that the quartet had the promise of more sophisticated work ahead. Frontman Clayton Dupuis certainly had the cheekbones for the part and played the part of focal point credibly as the band led the frenzied crowd through danceable post-punk numbers that at least provides them with a strong foundation for further improvement. One to watch out for!

… still there’s more …

Sep 252014
 

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THIS IS HARDCORE

My first proper gig overseas went without any hitch whatsoever. Got a nautical wheel stamp on my inner right wrist to indicate that I was on the guest list! (Well, it was the Neptune Theater). The Neptune was a small venue with ornate trimmings and classical ambience. Stained glass images of gods and goddesses of the sea. Arrived early and was actually carded (!) as the floor was meant for ‘+21′ only!

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Opening band Cymbals Eat Guitars started at 8pm in the dot and played a lively 30-odd minute set punctuated by energy, passion and musical endeavor. Playing mostly songs from the new LP, LOSE, the crowd was suitably impressed and for me the final two songs viz “Jackson” & “Laramie” were outstanding with singer/guitarist Joseph D’Agostino and drummer Andrew Dole, the focal points. Definitely a band with tremendous potential as their style mixes up decades of rock & pop influences intelligently. I would love to see them do a full set in Singapore!

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Of course, all of us were waiting for the legendary Bob Mould and I daresay nobody was disappointed with his visceral delivery of melodic alt-rock that spanned the decades from Husker Du, Sugar and recent solo material. Right from the get-go with the triple punch of “Flip Your Wig”, “Hate Paper Doll” and “Changes”, you just knew you were in for a wild ride. The crowd went ape shit as young and old in the audience moved along to the high energy hardcore punk and sang along to those catchy tunes. What a killer combination – no exaggeration to describe Bob as a godfather of grunge (on equal footing with Neil Young) or a seminal influence on a slew of 90s bands that came in the wake of Husker Du (including Nirvana & Foo Fighters).

Backed by the amazing rhythm section of drummer Jon Wurster (Superchunk) and bass player Jason Narducy (Verbow), there was no stopping the intensity and dynamism emanating from stage as Bob, Jon and Jason managed to present old and new songs as a coherent whole – fast, loud & infectious. Thus, brand new instant classics like “I Don’t Know You Anymore” had no problem whatsoever blending in with legendary tracks like “Makes No Sense At All” (a blistering encore song).

But for me, the most memorable moment arrived when Bob slowed things down with “Hardly Getting Over It” (from Husker Du’s Candy Apple Grey) where Bob beat Neil Young at his own game – a feedback drenched country-folk ballad that sent chills down my spine and tears into my eyes. Truly incandescent. Bob sent everyone home happy with an obscure Husker Du cover of the Mary Tyler Moore theme – “Love is All Around”. There was little doubt in my mind that we were in the presence of a living rock n roll legend – thank you Bob Mould!

Thanks to Jesse O’Connor/Tell Your Friends PR for making this review possible!

Sep 202014
 

Other Sounds is presenting American singer-songwriter and guitarist Bill Callahan in Singapore this November. Callahan is probably best known for his work in the lo-fi genre of underground rock, with home-made tape-albums recorded on four track tape recorders. Leslie Low will provide support.

Details: –

The Substation Theatre (45 Armenian St)

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Doors open: 8pm

$35 (early bird, limited quantity), $45 (standard), $55 (at the door)

TICKETS ARE AVAILABLE NOW VIA PEATIX

http://www.billcallahan. peatix.com

 

Sep 192014
 

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My first ever indie gig in North America! It might have been a modest affair at the LoFi Performance Gallery in Seattle but there was genuinely exciting music making going on in this low key event. It was $6 at the door and the crowd in attendance was sparse on a Wednesday night but there was no mistaking the passion the three bands had for their music.

I was particularly impressed by The Crush, who actually sounded even better as a live outfit! A very tight performance marked out by Jacob’s astute guitar playing, Daniel’s timely drumming & Kira’s stage presence. And the songs were good fun – flavored with melodic color and powerpop flair – the kind of wonderful pop music nobody seems to make anymore. Jacob worked his red Rickenbacker perfectly, optimizing its use with Byrdsy arpeggios, Paul Weller crunch & Mike Campbell virtuosity – a handy package to possess! Guess you could say I have a crush on The Crush! Haha!! (Facebook)

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Sep 192014
 
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Stephen Christian by Aloysius Lim

I often use observations at gigs in Singapore to comment on how things have changed. And this final show of Anberlin’s in Singapore certainly revealed a lot about how far our indie music scene has come. I first saw Anberlin in 2007 and whilst the crowd then was exuberant, that show did not come close to the excitement displayed by the audience at TAB last Friday (12th Sep). In addition, the opening band this time round – Caracal – were rapturously received by an audience that easily accepted a local band on stage unlike say 7 years ago when local bands were tolerated at best as a necessary evil.

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Caracal by Aloysius Lim

By the large, the main takeaway from this was the obvious mutual love between band and its audience – almost every song was sung in gusto, moshing broke out every and then & at the very end, the band was presented with a fan-made video that brought everyone in the venue (especially the band) to tears. All very sentimental, you will agree, but considering that Anberlin consists of men in their thirties (by and large) and is not a bunch pre-pubescent K-pop boys, the adulation is commendable.  That Singaporean indie rock fans are able to make an emotional connection to a band beyond basic functionality proves that there is indeed hope for the future of arts and music appreciation in our formerly cultural desert of a country.

Kudos to everyone who made this performance a smashing success. Take a bow!

Thanks to Upsurge Productions for making this review possible. 

Sep 182014
 

No exaggeration to describe Bastille as one of the biggest new acts coming out of the UK and fans will be thrilled to learn that – courtesy of Now/Live – they will be in town on Friday 9 January 2015 at The Coliseum, Hard rock Hotel Singapore, Resorts World Sentosa. Tickets will be available from SISTIC from 22nd September.

… still there’s more …

RAUS LP LAUNCH

 MUSIC  Comments Off
Sep 112014
 

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Come 19th September, DUNCE Collective presents Raus, a groovy electronic act from esteemed Canberra music label hellosQuare, are launching their new record, titled LP, in Singapore. This would mark the 4th gig of their month-long LP launch tour, between KL and Hong Kong.

The launch will be held at Blu Jaz Cafe from 7.30pm and will also feature neoDominatrix, Fauxe, Michaela Therese, blankverse (the solo project of IsaF, from sub:shaman), weish annd DJs, RAH (of Darker Than Wax), and Jaydah (of Phyla).

LP is now available.

RSVP

Sep 112014
 

The inaugural Y2K14 International Live Loop Asia Festival Singapore will welcome 20 local and international live looping acts to the stage at Artistry from 25-27 September 2014.

Performances will feature music created using live looping technology – equipment that records and plays back sound, to which other sounds can be added, overlaid, deleted, filtered and mixed to form an improvisational work on the spot and using no pre-recorded material.

The lineup features 13 Singaporean acts, including Bani Haykel, SA (仨), Randolf Arriola and Eileen Chai, and introduces four international acts who will perform in Singapore for the first time: Mandoman Hideki from Japan, and Stylish Nonsense, Jin Matutamtada and Kasemsmai Wongchayasilpa from Thailand. Asia-based international acts include Para Sabda from the United States, Thorsten Vieth from Germany, and Wil Kolen from the Netherlands.

More details here, here and here!

 

Sep 092014
 

DSC_7935_3 COMA. NeoDominatrix. In Each Hand A Cutlass._Final

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.

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Sep 082014
 

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TARAGANA PYJARAMA (DEN) live in Singapore
Life Is Beautiful (99 Duxton Rd)
Thursday, 16 October 2014
Doors open: 9:30pm
$20 (available online and at the door)

TICKETS ARE AVAILABLE NOW VIA PEATIX
http://www.taragana.peatix.com

LIVE SET (not a DJ set)

Brought to you by Other Sounds. 

CYMBALS EAT GUITARS

 MUSIC  Comments Off
Sep 082014
 

Hailing from Staten Island, New York, this indie rock quartet has three LPs to its name, the latest one – LOSE – having just been recently released on Barsuk Records. The album is a melange of tge finest pop and rock influences and nuances, with a premium placed on emotionally resonance. It’s feisty rock n roll in the sense that lead guitar solos are unashamedly thrown about without bothering whether it’s uncool or not. There is an authentic rockist vigor about the manner in which the band dives into high energy numbers like “Jackson”, “Warning” and “XR” that reference Television and Uncle Tupelo simultaneously. The rest of LOSE slows down somewhat without sacrificing power but with a greater attention to melody – the folky “Child Bride” and the dynamic “Laramie”, prime examples. Highly recommended!

Am hoping to catch Cymbals Eat Guitars open for the legendary Bob Mould in Seattle on 23rd September. Join me if you’re in the area. Buy tickets.

Sep 072014
 

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Noise for noise’s sake

With Singapore indie pop music on the ascendancy, it is important not to neglect alternative music that embraces more artistic and esoteric values. Whilst the success of indie pop in Singapore will still be judged by the usual key performance indicators like number of digital downloads, ticket sales, radio play, Facebook likes and Twitter followers, this form of so-called art-rock deserves to be embraced on its own terms – art for art’s sake. In that respect, local art-rock collective The Observatory has taken the lead in not only organizing its own gigs but also curating music events that aim to expose Singapore audiences to new sounds viz, the Playfreely series of 6 shows and MOHA! in 2011 and for this year, the 3 day event Playfreely II, MoE (as part of the Transitions tour).

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Sep 052014
 

4.10pm – 5.50pm Hollow Threat
5.50pm – 6.30pm Cultures
6.30pm – 7.10pm False Plaintiff
7.10pm – 7.50pm Straight Forward
7.50pm – 8.30pm 7 Nights At Sea
8.30pm – 9.10pm Tell Lie Vision
9.10pm – 9.50pm Exhibitors

Aug 312014
 

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By Nikita Wong

The usual hustle and bustle filled the streets along Orchard Road, by 6.30 pm approximately 400 fans were embracing the heat as they queued to catch the Gentle Bones (aka Joel Tan) Ep launch. As the doors opened, avid shutterbugs and fervent fans scouted for perfect vantage points to catch a glimpse of their idol. Held on the 30th of August 2014, TAB was teeming with mostly school girls who were die-hard fans of Gentle Bones. The crowd huddled together with approximately 700 over people within the room.

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Gracing the stage was none other than Samantha Rui, the audience was certainly deceived by her reserved and shy composure. Being captivated by her soulful voice that held a great semblance to Ellie Goulding everyone was left awe inspired. The forested graphics complimented the acoustic set up, often exuding a magical feel through her voice. It was an intimate performance as the crowd amassed together at the front of stage, and Samantha drew the audience towards her as she crooned to “All I Want” by Kodaline and “Blue” which was one of her originals. Despite the thick crowd, the vibe was generally relaxed.

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Known as Singapore’s version of Justin Timberlake, Gareth Fernandez had the girls bouncing off their feet as he interacted with them throughout his set. He sashayed, cooed and pouted coquettishly as he reminisced on his inspirations which dawned upon him for a few of his original songs such as “Subliminal Love”. Taking on Top 40 hits such as “Valerie” by Amy Winehouse and “Stay With Me” by Sam Smith, it was a reflex action for the crowd to groove to the sunny beats as they sang along with Gareth. His flawless runs and falsetto was spot on without any room for errors and it was phenomenal for a live performance.

Banners were being raised in the air as the crowd chanted Gentle Bones, starting off strongly the crowd echoed to “Settle Down”. Shattering the atmosphere with the remarkable guitar parts played by Wai Huin and thumping beats by Ritz Ang, Joel’s backing band complemented him. A mellow approach was taken too with his solo performance as he interacted with the crowd through his acoustic showcase occasionally inviting guest singers to join him for a song such as Joie Tan and Samantha. The duets were simply stunning as both singers harmonized for covers such as “Poison and Wine” by The Civil Wars and on “Undecided” which is an original song composed by Joel and Samantha.

Leaving the stage half way, many thought that it was an end. Encore was being echoed throughout the room as they sang in unison to “Until We Die” to beckon the band to perform once again which they did. The ending brought a tear within most fans as the band ended with “Elusive”, fans whipped out their hand phones as they waved the torches in the air and swayed away.

As the concert drew to an end, beelines were made by eager fans as they anticipated the meet and greet session with Gentle Bones and other musicians. Local bands are certainly on the rise and more people are willing to pay for local acts! Joel has journeyed a long way from where he first started out, his humble approach also draws his fans closer to him.

Aug 252014
 

Alex Goot (Photo credit: Dawn Chua)

(by Nikita Wong)

A throbbing mass of fans, pulsating with the energy that was carried with a throng of people at the front of the stage. Snaking queues were formed from 6.30pm as fervent fans of Alex Goot and Against The Current rushed to get the best spot to catch a glimpse of their idols. Held on the 21st of August 2014, from 7.30pm – 11pm at Scape The Ground Theatre, Gentle Bones and The Summer State graced the stage as the opening acts for the night.

Continue reading »

Aug 252014
 

Staer

Not only is The Observatory Singapore’s premiere art-rock band, it also provides an avenue by which experimental rock lovers can discover new music. Case in point, this Thursday (28th August) The Observatory presents Norwegian noise-rockers Staer (above) and Black Packers (below) at the Substation Theatre ($15 at the door) promising a night of noise, with an advisory for pundits to be equipped with earplugs. Tis gonna be loud!

Black Packers

Don’t believe me? Check Staer out below…

See you on Thursday night!