BOWIE: A BIOGRAPHY by Marc Spitz
An assertion that David Bowie (nee Jones) has been the biggest influence on new bands and new music of the last four decades, would not draw much objections from rock scholars. But is that enough to fill a voluminous biography of the great man? The simple answer is “yes”, but writer Marc Spitz goes a little more deeper, inserting the impact that Bowie has had on his personal life as well.
Continue reading “PoP20 | PoP LEGENDS : BOWIE – A BIOGRAPHY BY MARC SPITZ [REVIEW]”
PLASTICSOUL Peacock Swagger (Self-released)
A little bit of pop trivia before we begin. “Plastic Soul” is of course, a term originally coined by an unknown black musician to describe Mick Jagger. Paul McCartney cited it as an influence on the album title of Rubber Soul. Whilst David Bowie described his excursions in soul and funk with the Young Americans album also as “plastic soul”.
Continue reading “PoP20 | POWER POP ROCK N ROLL : PLASTICSOUL – PEACOCK SWAGGER [REVIEW]”
ANTON BARBEAU Plastic Guitar (Pink Hedgehog)
I remember when I first started Power of Pop in 1998, one of the first CDs I reviewed was Anton Barbeau’s – one of the first artists to send his album to some music writer out of Singapore! More than a decade later, I’m glad to report that after many other albums, Barbeau continues to record his quirky music.
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A WIZARD A TRUE STAR: TODD RUNDGREN IN THE STUDIO by Paul Myers (Jawbone Press)
“Todd’s aphorism was, ‘If you know what you want, I’ll get it for you. If you don’t know what you want, I’ll do it for you.’” Lenny Kaye (Patti Smith Group)
Todd Rundgren is without doubt, one of the giants of rock music: not only as a solo singer-songwriter-performer but also as the mastermind behind progressive rock ensemble Utopia. And if that was not enough, Rundgren is one of the most prolific and successful producers as well.
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DAVID MEAD Almost and Always (Cheap Lullaby)
It’s a bitch being a musical genius. The last couple of years have not been kind to singer-songwriter David Mead. After spending 2007 living in Brooklyn, Mead separated from his wife and returned to his native Nashville in early 2008, initially landing in a room in his father’s basement for a few months. Mead confesses “The change was a little paralyzing. I had left pretty much everything but my books and a few lamps in Brooklyn, and there I was, back in Nashville, well into my 30’s, doing manual labor and wondering what was supposed to happen next.”
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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)
Continue reading “BLURB-O-RAMA”
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!
Continue reading “CHARLATANS – LIVE IN SINGAPORE”
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.
Continue reading “ROX – LIVE AT TAB”