Upbeat Underground – A Fred Perry Subculture Night
Thu, 2 Dec 2010 @ Velvet Underground
On 2 December, 400 people including culture shapers and street-style advocates – Tracy Phillips from Present Purpose, Wayne Lee from Juice, Jasmine Tuan from Blackmarket and Alvin Tan from Phunk Studio, braved the rain to make their way down to Velvet Underground to celebrate urban street cultures and the brightest of our homegrown talents Inch Chua & The Metric System, Breakbeat Theory and Caracal.
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(Sham 69. From left to right, Al Campbell, Tim V, Ian Whitewood, Dave Parsons)
Apart from the Buzzcocks, Singapore has not had the privilege of playing hosts to any of the original wave of English punk bands that emerged in the late 1970s. Well, that oversight will be partially corrected when Sham 69 roll into town to play a one-night-only gig at Home Club (virtually the ‘go-to’ place for all things indie in Singapore). However, as with many bands still rocking on from the 60s and 70s, personnel changes are inevitable and only Dave Parsons remains from the original lineup. Completing Sham 69 circa 2010 are Tim V (vocals), Ian Whitewood (drums) and Al Campbell (Bass Guitar). In an email interview, lead singer Tim V, got upfront and very personal with the Power of Pop.
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THE CULTURAL DESERT
“In March 1978, months into his job as minister for culture, the late Mr Ong Teng Cheong found himself facing MPs who despaired that Singapore was a ‘cultural desert’.” Straits Times article, 2006.
32 years later, is this still true? Well, let’s narrow our focus to Singapore-English popular music (“pop music”) – is there a pop music culture in Singapore? Well, taking culture as shared beliefs on society, politics and human nature – the prominent shared social belief about pop music in Singapore is – rather crudely – that foreign pop music is good, local pop music is crap. This belief also extends to the value attributed to foreign pop songs over local pop songs.
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I am old enough to remember when MTV was not beamed into Singapore households. A dream channel a pop culture-deprived Singaporean individual could only fantasize about. All we had were grainy second or third generation videos of our favorite US or UK bands smuggled in video cassettes from overseas. Then, we would copy these videos and distribute them around to like-minded friends. What a difference almost thirty years makes! Now MTV focuses on reality TV shows, which is not surprising when you consider the amount of music videos floating around the internet nowadays. It’s not the same believe me. Music videos used to be so precious and valuable. Here’s why…
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In his introduction to his seminal book, The People’s Music (see below), rock writer (the late) Ian MacDonald opined, “the essentials of modern popular music were laid down during a period of less than ten years and that, but for some technical innovations leading to various musical diversions (such as reggae, rap/hip hop and sequenced dance music), nothing intrinsically new has appeared since then, all musical mini-revolutions in the last twenty years being prefaced in the products of the sixties, the foundation decade for all that’s followed.” (Emphasis added)
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There’s just too much music, that sometimes good stuff falls through the cracks of all the pop culture madness that we try to cover here at the Power of Pop. That’s where Blurb-O-Rama comes in to give you a gist of what’s out there in the modern rock wasteland that you, dear reader, may want to investigate further. If not us then who?
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POPLAND – THE FINAL GIG: TIMBRE @ THE SUBSTATION
For those who missed the final Popland gig last Sunday, PoPTV brings you the entire gig in several videos. Enjoy…
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SYLVIA RATONEL S/t (Universal)
In a recent interview, Singapore Idol runner-up Ratonel remarked, “I think the Singapore market is slowly growing, and more accepting for local artistes. But you cannot deny that it is a small market.” Arguable, since Singapore’s population is now hitting 5 million and is technically no longer a “small market”. No, it’s not the numbers that is the issue but the anti-local music Singaporean mindset.
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Full text of the interview with I Am David Sparkle that formed the basis of the TODAY article.
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TWISTED SISTER Live At Wacken: The Reunion (Eagle Vision)
This American hair metal band combined the shock rock of Alice Cooper, the influence of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (Motorhead, Judas Priest) and the glam image of the New York Dolls to produce an idiosyncratic but highly popular brand of metal. After huge commercial success and criticism from parental/religious groups in the early 80s, the band split up in 1987.
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Well, it took two decades for English band The Charlatans to kick out the jams in our home town but I think most will agree that it was well worth the wait. Consisting mostly of punters in their 30s and 40s, it was strictly a crowd of 90s-era “kids” who filled up the *SCAPE Warehouse (between 450-500 people, I reckon) and thus, the 90s hits went down best e.g. The Only One I Know, One To Another, Weirdo, North Country Boy and Tellin’ Stories.
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SAJAMA CUT Manimal (The Bronze Medal Rec/Aksara Rec/Shining Rec)
I love pop music. Y’know, “pop music” as written and recorded in the 60s/70s, when producing something artistic and distinctive with tunes, lyrics, instrumentation and arrangements was the order of the day. Power of Pop was established to highlight bands and artists – past or present – who lived/live the reality of 60s (and 70s) infused music making.
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We (Pat, Ray, Tim and I) will be POPLAND for one more time tomorrow (21st Nov) night at the Timbre @ The Substation from 7.15pm to 8pm. It’s been an absolute blast jamming with the guys these last three weeks and I think it’s going to be a grand old show, loud and bittersweet at the same time. For us, it’s been about catching up, talking nostalgically about the gigs we’ve done before. So I am hoping that it’ll be the same for anyone who has seen POPLAND live from 1995 to 2002. Come on down and share with us your memories. If you have any of THE CROWD or POPLAND CDs (or even WATCHMEN!), bring them along and we’re gladly deface them for you!! Come down armed with cameras to record us for posterity (videos even). I will probably bring with me a couple of Groovy CDs in case anyone does not have a copy yet. See me after the show – $10 cheap! Then we’ll autograph it for you. Yes, boys and girls, it is going to be a special reunion for us all.
I just want to take this opportunity to thank Danny Loong and Edward Chia (and Seow Yee) for allowing POPLAND to hijack Timbre’s 5th Anniversary celebrations in this manner! If that was not enough, we also have great S-ROCK bands like the GREAT SPY EXPERIMENT, ZERO SEQUENCE and B-QUARTET on the bill as well!!!! What more could you ask for, music lovers?!
Do come up and say ‘hi’ – it’ll be great fun…
Why YOU should not miss the Charlatans this Tuesday 23rd November at the *SCAPE Warehouse: –
1. Cool 60s Britpop vibes
2. Singalong melodies
3. Irresistibly danceable grooves
4. Tim Burgess’ fringe
5. Hip songs like Oh Vanity!
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5 more days to the Charlatans’ performance in Singapore. Opening for the English band will be our very own West Grand Boulevard.
Tickets available at SISTIC. Not to be missed!
Press release: –
Kevin Lester’s debut album, LETS TALK ABOUT KEVIN LESTER, has been released. The album is available for FREE download at http://www.thelioncityboy.com. At the site, click “Buy Now”, and type in “0” USD to download the song or album for free. It will prompt the fan for his email address, and the free download link will be sent to his/her email.
The album features 8 original tracks, with features by P.Cess of Thaitanium, SonaOne from Kartel Records, Vanessa Fernandez, Syaheed of Bedsty and a few fellow band members of SIXX.
Press release from Quite Great Communications
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PopTV makes you keep on falling in love, over and again.
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Hard to believe that UK neo-soul singer ROX is a mere 22 year old. She sang like a veteran at her tidy showcase at TAB on 5th November. Her self-assurance is amazing and even though she was backed by only one guitarist/keyboard player, that did not stop her from grooving like she was backed by a full band. Whether handling dance numbers or ballads, ROX delivered them in the same manner – much aplomb.
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Luke Chow is a singer-songwriter from Hong Kong, whose music recalls the post-punk revival earlier in the decade – Franz Ferdinand, Maximo Park and the like. Luke will be playing an acoustic show in Singapore. Do check him out.
When: Fri Nov 19 2010 8:00 PM
Where: Home Club, , SG, SG, SG
Details: Support from Nick Chim and Siti Zahidah
Laneway Festival, one of the foremost indie rock festivals in the Asia-Pacific region will make its debut appearance in Asia in 2011. And in Singapore as well. The press con was held yesterday afternoon at the New Asia Bar where organizers Chugg Entertainment announced that bands like !!! (Chk Chk Chk), Beach House, Deerhunter, Foals, Holy Fuck, Ladyhawke, Warpaint and Yeasayer will be performing at the Fort Canning Park on 29 January 2011.
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FINAL FANTASY Heartland (For Great Justice)
Don’t be confused. Final Fantasy is the name singer-songwriter-multi-insturmentalist Owen Pallett chooses to record under. Yes, he is a big fan of the video game, naturally. Pallett’s music is not easily described or pigeon-holed but I guess if I had to, I would define his music as experimental, avant garde, neo-classical, electronic pop. Mostly, it is challenging songwriting and arrangements of the top artistic order.
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Let me make this clear – the Singapore (English) music scene will live or die by its ability to produce good original music. Not by how well bands reproduce Top 40 material. That is why I was so encouraged by the wonderful acoustic performance by Lunarin yesterday afternoon at the Library @ Esplanade.
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What words can I use to adequately describe the experience of being at a Flaming Lips concert? Wild. Creative. Mind-blowing. Innovative. Bold. Fucking awesome? Yes, all these adjectives and more. Much more. For me, the one thought in my mind was echoed by one of my fellow audience members who shouted at the band – “So happy!” And there you have it.
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