ERIC BRACE

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ERIC BRACE Tranquility Base single (Red Beet)

For any young boy growing up in the late sixties, the space race was an exciting one.

Space race?

Yes, back then, the USSR and the USA were competing to see who would be the first to put a man on the moon. It seems so quaint now, but I still remember being positively enthralled even as an 8 year old boy in Singapore to watch Neil Armstrong take that first step on the lunar surface.

Lo and behold, that event is now 40 years past and Eric Brace, lead singer of country-rock outfit Last Train Home, has just released a single and video to celebrate and commemorate the first lunar landing. The single is available at iTunes and the video is below. Check it out.

SURROGATES

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Another sci-fi thriller based on a graphic novel? Bring it on, I’d say!

Here’s the (official) word – In the film, FBI agents (Bruce Willis and Radha Mitchell) investigate the mysterious murder of a college student linked to the man who helped create a high-tech surrogate phenomenon that allows people to purchase unflawed robotic versions of themselves—fit, good looking remotely controlled machines that ultimately assume their life roles—enabling people to experience life vicariously from the comfort and safety of their own homes. The murder spawns a quest for answers: in a world of masks, who’s real and who can you trust?

This Jonathan Mostow-helmed Willis vehicle will hit the cinemas on 25th September and you can check out the trailer below.

I like the Dickian premise and the echoes of Matrix and Terminator franchises won’t hurt either. Expect reviews of the original graphic novel and the Flesh and Bones prequel soon.

FOR THIS CYCLE EP LAUNCH

PRESALETICKETS

People always gasp, “Oh, he’s so young!” upon discovering that Weiwen (aka For This Cycle) is 16 years old. Fact is that when I first met Weiwen, it was in 2007 at Deafcon 5, when he was 14! He has certainly come a long way and his on-stage personality and the breezy import of his songs make him a S-ROCK fan-favorite.

Well, the good news for all For This Cycle fans is that the debut EP will be launched this Saturday night and I get to team up with the talented Jon Chan (again!) as special guests. So its a double bonus I guess you might say. Information is in the flyer above, though I believe that it all begins at 7.30pm. See you all there!

Check out For This Cycle’s Myspace page.

…still there’s more…

ELVIS COSTELLO LIVE IN SINGAPORE

Elvis Costello

I was reading a news item on Channel News Asia online about Joan Chen doing something or rather at this year’s Singapore Sun Festival when almost as an afterthought, the article mentioned that singer-songwriter Elvis Costello will also be performing.

WHAT!?!

I could not believe it and I scoured the internet for news on this and sure enough, the man who is one of my chief musical inspirations, will be giving a solo performance on 5th October at the Esplanade Concert Hall! What fantastic news! And so, the moment the tickets were available, I got mine – third row centre with early bird discount to boot!

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So… with the new Costello album – Secret, Profane & Sugarcane – out now (kick-ass country-folk-blues), the months leading up to 5th October will be a time when I will be reflecting on the man’s recorded highlights. I am so excited!

More info here.

…still there’s more…

THE FIRE FIGHT

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Two years in the making, the Fire Fight’s maiden full-length album – Henri – is well worth the wait, believe me. My review copy dropped just this morning (Thanks, Esmond/WMUM!) and already I am feeling very good about Henri.

An ambitious concept album about a bear named Henri as he encounters the city of Elemenopee, Henri contains NEW recordings of songs previously featured on the Green Single viz. Fires At Night, Candela, Hours & When Spring Comes Home as well as popular live favorites like Traing Son (yes!) and Beware! Monster.

Not only that but the story of Henri is also told through art pieces specially created by the insanely talented Jon Chan (yes, the Plainsunset dude), see picture above, which truly adds to the overall enjoyment of this musical work.

The band will launch this exciting new album at the Esplanade Recital Studio on 31st July 2009. Tickets are now available at SISTIC. Don’t miss it!

More updates to come on Fire Fight at Power of Pop with review and interviews to come.

…still there’s more…

THE GROOVY PEOPLE

So far, Kevin Mathews/the Groovy People have barely done two gigs a year. Really. So how does one figure two gigs in FIVE days? Cool, huh?

First up, on Sunday, 21st June, we will playing a charity gig at St James Powerhouse, e-flyer below.

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Then, on Thursday, 25th June night, we’ll be playing in front of Timbre @ The Arts House disguised as Watchmen. Poster below.

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Hope to see ya there.

…still there’s more…

THE BEATLES ROCK BAND

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I’m not much a fan of video games though I used to be – once upon a time. So I’m pretty clueless when it comes to Guitar Hero or Rock Band or whatever. I guess as a musician, I find it all a little silly.

So now here comes the Beatles Rock Band, which according to the press release lets you live out the Beatles experience – “from the early touring days in 1963 Liverpool to the immortal, final performance on the Apple Corps rooftop, fans can follow in the band’s footsteps as they traverse the globe during the height of Beatlemania.”

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All well and good but the gameplay (what a strange word to use with music!) still revolves around pressing coloured buttons on a controller shaped like a musical instrument. So personally, I don’t see the point. Released on 9.9.09 simultaneously with those much-anticipated remasters, it all just seems like a cynical ploy of Apple Corps and the surviving Beatles to put their collective hands into our pockets, during these economic depressed times.

Call me a luddite if you must but this whole video game-rock music hybrid just sounds dumb. Guess I’ll just have to wait for the Who Rock Band, where you get to smash your instruments and attack unwelcome stage intruders and the like. Now, that’s a game I could subscribe to. And what about the post-show groupie fun? Eh??

ROCK THE SUB 2009

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Presented by The Substation & Timbre Music

Saturday 6 June, from 6:30pm

The Substation Theatre & Timbre @ The Substation

Admission: $21 (includes one free drink) available from The Substation, www.bytes.sg and at the door or call 6332 6919

Line-up

* Amateur Takes Control

* For This Cycle

* Postbox

* Silhouette

* Allura

* The Fire Fight

* Caracal

* A Vacant Affair

* Urbandub (from the Philippines)

* Nothing to Declare

* The Great Spy Experiment

* Force Vomit

A WIZARD, A TRUE STAR LIVE

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“…still there’s more…”

I’m certain regular PoP visitors will be aware of my favorite tagline. A few of you might be enlightened enough to know that the line comes from International Feel, the opening song off my most beloved of Todd Rundgren’s albums, the masterpiece that is A Wizard, A True Star.

I’ve always believed that AWATS accomplished what Brian Wilson & Van Dyke Parks tried to achieve with Smile – a seamless stream-of-consciousness cross-genre concept album that looked backwards and laid the foundations for tomorrow. For a modern-day version, try the Flaming Lips’ The Soft Bulletin.

So imagine my shock when I discovered that Todd will be performing the entire AWATS album live in the USA and UK, in the coming months! The mind boggles. This is an awesome “once-in-a-lifetime” experience and I’ve got to figure out if there’s any chance at all of yours truly actually pulling it off.

In the meantime, check out the interview Todd gave with regards to the upcoming AWATS shows.

and yes…still there’s more…

LONG LIVE THE CD (?)

Sean Boyd, partner at Fanatic Promotion, debunks the myth of a ailing music industry on Fox Business News. According to Boyd, CD sales have increased overall with too much focus on the major labels and ignoring the relative success of indie companies. Comments?

THE BEATLES

(c) 2009, Apple Corp Ltd

Apple Corps Ltd. and EMI Music have announced the release of the original Beatles catalogue, which has been digitally re-mastered for the first time, for worldwide CD release on Wednesday, September 9, 2009 (9-9-09), the same date as the release of the widely anticipated “The Beatles: Rock Band” video game.  Each of the CDs is packaged with replicated original UK album art, including expanded booklets containing original and newly written liner notes and rare photos. For a limited period, each CD will also be embedded with a brief documentary film about the album. On the same date, two new Beatles boxed CD collections will also be released.

Beatles fans (and that’s every living person on the planet who has an interest in rock music) are divided on these remasters. On the one hand, we’re happy about having the opportunity to listen to those wonderful songs in pristine digital sound (the Love album demonstrated this). On the other hand, it seems like an exercise to squeeze money from fans in less than economically viable times.

On balance, whilst I think that it’s about time that the Beatles catalogue received the deluxe re-issue treatment many lesser acts have already received many times over, I am a little concerned about the fact that fans will be asked to pay full price for 30-minute albums, from whom the record label (viz EMI) has made megabucks from fans already. Sure, you can talk about the packaging, the expanded booklets and the embedded documentaries but if this exercise was about the fans, then the discs should be priced at not more than half the usual CD prices.

Unfortunately, with EMI in dire financial straits, it will see this as a perfect opportunity to replenish its coffers with even more Beatles money. Personally, I can see myself simply purchasing the entire catalogue without too much hesitation (just look at the CD package for Abbey Road above) but I’m hoping for some common sense from Apple and EMI. Am I being too naive? What do you think, Beatles fans?

Pix (c) 2009, Apple Corps Ltd.

JON CHAN/KEVIN MATHEWS

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So far, we’ve had three jam sessions and just one performance (at the MDA Fiesta) but this little collaboration with Jon Chan that Esmond (WMUM) suggested has been working out fine for all concerned.

Today, at 10pm at the Scape Lab, we add three more songs to the 15 minute set we did at MDA Fiesta, which are basically another song by Jon (Security), a new song from me (The Secret) and a 70s cover that we’ve had loads of fun prancing around to.

I’m particularly enjoying this change of environment after about two years either playing solo acoustic or full band with the Groovy People. With Jon around, I can take a breather – a back seat if you will – and just be the rhythm guitarist/backing vocalist on his songs. Refreshing!

So hope to see as many of you guys as can make it tonight…please come up and say hello!

…yes, there’s more…

WEEKENDTRIP NOISE EDITION

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This Friday, 20th and Saturday, 21st will mark the debut of a brand new WeekendTRIP program for 2009. Now conceived as quarterly 2-day music festivals, former Baybeats organizer Wake Me Up Music has been roped in to co-produce these ambitious sonic events.

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In March, the organizers in collaboration with Noise Singapore are rolling out the WeekendTRIP Noise Edition and this mini-festival has significance to me as it brings together two facets of my involvement in S-ROCK. As a musician, I will playing with Jon Chan under the WMUM banner on Friday at 10pm at the Scape Lab. As a mentor under the The Noise Apprenticeship Program, my two apprentices Nick Tan and Rachael Teo will also be performing on Saturday at 5.15pm and 6.00pm respectively at the Scape Lab as well.

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This is all exciting news for S-ROCK lovers and as you can tell from the line-up below (which also includes regional acts), there is enough variety to satisfy every whim and taste. …and there’s more…

Friday, 20th March 2009
The ‘Main Stage’ @ *scapeYouth Park
(Outdoor)
The Confessions Stage @ *scape Lab
(Indoor)
Plug & Play Stage @ OrchardCathay Cineleisure
(Outdoor)
700pm – 7.30pm
Quasimodo
745pm – 815pm
Monochrome
8pm – 830pm
For This Cycle
830pm – 900pm
Blind Meets Mute (TBC)
9pm – 930pm
The Karl Maka
9.30pm – 1000pm
Silhouette
10pm – 1030pm
Jon Chan & Kevin Mathews
1030pm – 1115pm
Sandwich (Phillipines)
Saturday, 21st March 2009
The ‘Main Stage’ @ *scapeYouth Park
(Outdoor)
The Confessions Stage @ *scape Lab
(Indoor)
Plug & Play Stage @ OrchardCathay Cineleisure
(Outdoor)
3pm – 4pm
Noise Workshop
‘Daniel Ong – How to present yourself on stage
430pm – 5pm
In Finite Flight (Acoustic Duo)
515pm – 545pm
Nick Tan (Acoustic)
6pm – 630pm
Rachael Teo (Acoustic)
630pm – 700pm
The Lion Story
6pm – 630pm
Azmyl Yunor (KL)
730pm – 800pm
Duxton Plains
7pm – 730pm
EN – X
830pm – 900pm
King Kong Jane
8pm – 830pm
Indus Gendi
930pm – 1015pm
Caracal
9pm – 930pm
The Marilyns
1045pm – 1130pm
Bittersweet (KL)
*All Lineups subject to change without prior notice
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RACHAEL YAMAGATA – LIVE IN SINGAPORE

After bringing us indie talents like Death Cab for Cutie, Stars and Ani DiFranco in the last six months, local gig organizer Greenhorn Productions now presents Rachael Yamagata, live at the Esplanade Concert Hall on 15 April 2009. 

Stay tuned for more details.

TO TEXAS AND BACK

Here’s your chance to support the S-ROCK scene in a very tangible way. I Am David Sparkle has had the honour of being the 3rd S-ROCK band (after Great Spy Experiment & Electrico) to be invited to the prestigious indie rock festival, SXSW. Unfortunately, part of the deal is self-financing the traveling and accomodation expenses, which according to the band is the region of $30,000.

Thus, the band and the KittyWu label has organized To Texas and Back, a fund-raising benefit for the band’s SXSW adventure, on 31 January 2009 commencing at about 2pm at the Home Club. Entry is $18, which is reasonable considering the array of S-ROCK bands and (more importantly) the knowledge that you’ve contributed to the development of our beloved S-ROCK!!!

SET TIMINGS:

FLEA MARKET STARTS FROM 2.00PM ONWARDS (OUTSIDE HOME CLUB)

Band 1: 3.00 – 3.30pm (30mins) : A Band Named Power
Band 2: 3.45 – 4.15pm (30mins) : Indus Gendi
Band 3: 4.30 – 5.00pm (30mins) : Amberhaze
Band 4: 5.15 – 5.45pm (30mins) : AUM
Band 5: 6.00 – 6.30pm (30mins) : Plainsunset
All changeovers above are 15mins each.

6.30 – 7.30pm INTERMISSION, Music by Sweetmusic.fm (Roland)

Band 6: 7.30 – 8.00pm (30mins) : Amateur Takes Control
Band 7: 8.15 – 8.45pm (30mins) : The Great Spy Experiment
Band 8: 9.00 – 9.35pm (35mins) : Muon
Band 9: 9.50 – 10.30pm (40mins) : 41 (from Kuala Lumpur)
Band 10: 10.45 – 11.25pm (40mins) : I Am David Sparkle

DJ SETS FROM 11.30PM ONWARDS:

11.30pm – 12.30am : Unpopular Music (Charan) & (possibly Sweetmusic.fm)
12.30am – 2.00am : 4 Imaginary Boys
2.00am – 3.00am : Kid Villain (Razi)

3.00am ONWARDS: SLEEPY TIME!

LUNAR NODE

Instrumental rock is nothing new, of course. I grew up listening to the Shadows and the Ventures in the 60s and bands like Mogwai, Explosions in the Sky, Cinematic Orchestra are modern versions, that’s all. Naturally, the S-ROCK scene has its own proponents, chief of which is I Am David Sparkle.

Add spanking new S-ROCK instrumental band, Lunar Node, to the list. The band is releasing its debut EP – Exploring Unknown Territory – in February and the EP launch is slated for 7 February 2009 at the Playden, Arts House. Amateur Takes Control opens the show at 8pm.

More information about Lunar Node here.

LIVE ‘N’ LOADED

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Excuse me, while I wax political for a bit.

In the 60s, Singapore had a thriving pop music scene with top bands like the Quests actually out-selling the Beatles at times. However, in the 70s, the Government deemed rock music to be decadent and undesirable and basically threw the baby out with the bath water. Long hair was effectively outlawed and pop culture in general was discouraged to such an extent that the local music scene died. Thus, in the 80s, there was no local scene to speak of as Filipino covers bands dominated the musical landscape.

In the early 90s, a revival of S-ROCK took hold as a combination of BigO magazine, supportive radio stations (Heart 91.3) and DJs X’Ho and Suresh Menon put Singapore music at the top of the radio charts and into the public consciousness again. But sadly, this revival did not last as the 1997 Asian financial crisis put money concerns back high on everybody’s agenda. 

However, in recent times, the S-ROCK scene has once again been in the ascendancy as the Government has realized the value and role of S-ROCK in making Singapore a vibrant global city. Which is why in January 2009, Mediacorp TV will be debuting a live music programme featuring S-ROCK! 

Live n Loaded promises to be more than just another music variety show as it will be on all media platforms – TV, Radio, web and print – and will “expose” local music acts and “showcase” local, regional and international music stars in front of 4.8 million people in Singapore, live every week.

Not only that but aspiring artists/bands can create profiles and upload music and stuff so that the general public may decide who is worthy to perform on the show. 

Well, that’s the concept, anyways.

Personally, I think it’s about time and always better late than never!

Power of Pop will of course be on hand to cover this significant S-ROCK event and hopes it will indeed achieve exposure for the S-ROCK scene. 

First off, this Saturday, at Scape, you can catch Astroninja, Allura, A Vacant Affair, Plainsunset & Vertical Rush. Then the live taping of the show on 27 January 2009. 8.30pm every Tuesday with the first show to feature Great Spy Experiment, Electrico and Ling, amongst others.

Check out Live n Loaded’s web page.

…and there’s more…

WATCHMEN MOVIE

Nite Owl

Nite Owl

The Watchmen movie marketing juggernaut continues to roll despite the uncertainty over the March release date (please!!!). 

Now Total Film has a couple of exclusive pix to share. Check them out here.

STARS LIVE IN SINGAPORE

 

Amy & Evan
Amy & Evan

The Stars concert is only three days away. Go to the Greenhorn Facebook page and get the password for the discounted ticket price. Not much time left, so don’t hesitate. Hope to see you there!

ANI DIFRANCO – LIVE IN SINGAPORE

Okay, here’s some priority booking information on Ani’s Singapore show in Feb 2009 from our good friends Greenhorn Productions (and yes, it’s all in caps)

PRIORITY BOOKING FOR ANI DIFRANCO WILL COMMENCE AT 9 A.M. TOMORROW (19 Dec) AT SISTIC. VISIT WWW.SISTIC.COM.SG. THE PASSWORD FOR PRIORITY BOOKING AND THE 10% DISCOUNT IS (at the Facebook group page).

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT. PLEASE CONTINUE TO SPREAD THE WORD ABOUT ANI’S FIRST EVER PERFORMANCE IN SOUTH EAST ASIA!!

THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT.

So don’t hesitate, get your tickets while hot…(sorry, could not resist).

FALL OUT BOY – LIVE IN SINGAPORE

Emo megastars Fall Out Boy are returning to Singapore for their 2nd gig in 3 years at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. 

Ticket sales will coincide with the worldwide album launch of Folie a Deux on December 16, which will be given free to early bird buyers, for top-tier tickets.

“This is a first ever for Singapore, if not the world and is part of Midas’s efforts to help people deal with the economic downturn. It is our way of giving something back,” says Michael Hosking, Managing Director of Midas Promotions. 

Concert and Ticketing Information: 

Fall Out Boy – Live in Singapore
Date: 10th February 2009

Time: 8.00pm
Venue: Singapore Indoor Stadium 
Tickets: $ 58, $78,  $98  *Not inclusive of standard SISTIC fee. 

Tickets will go on sale Wednesday, 16th December 2008 at 9.00am for online booking and 10.00am at all authorised SISTIC outlets. 

CD Redemption Details : 

Early bird top-tier ticket buyers can redeem their free albums in exchange for their ticket stubs at HMV (only), at the Heeren.

Check out Fall Out Boy’s Myspace page where the new album is streaming in its entirety.

S-ROCK EXTRAVAGANZA

The Fire Fight

Three consecutive nights of music for me this weekend. 

Tonight, at the Bukit Timah CC, my Noise apprentices Nick Tan and Rachael Teo will be performing at the Singer-Songwriter Showcase organized by Musical Theatre Limited. Saturday night, I will be at the Singapore Polytechnic Convention Centre for the School Invasion Finale with bands like the Fire Fight, Force Vomit, A Vacant Affair, West Grand Boulevard, Allura, Caracal, Jack & Rai and Plainsunset illuminating the stage.

And… on Sunday, its Angels & Airwaves at the NUS Cultural Centre.

Good thing Monday’s a Public Holiday, eh?

If you’re at any of these gigs, come up and say hi. I’m the dude with the shocking white hair…no, the other one…

… and there’s more …

ANGELS & AIRWAVES – LIVE IN SINGAPORE

… and the answer of course is The Adventure.

Congrats to Jeremy Ong & Low Han Quan. You get a ticket each to Sunday’s concert.

In the meantime, here’s AVA on Letterman performing … The Adventure.

Thanks to all who tried out for the contest. If you weren’t successful, there’s always next time.

… and there’s more …

ANGELS & AIRWAVES – LIVE IN SINGAPORE

Tom DeLonge walked away from the mega-selling punk pop-meisters Blink-182 and straight into the mega-selling Angels & Airwaves. With two wildly successful albums – We Don’t Need To Listen and I-Empire – under their collective belts, the band has had a tremendous impact on pop culture in a relatively short span of time.

With Angels & Airwaves, DeLonge explores more mature themes and a wider spectrum of rock music than his previous band ever did. Together with drummer Atom Willard (ex-Rocket from the Crypt), guitarist David Kennedy and bassist Matt Wachter (ex-30 Seconds to Mars), Angels & Airwaves dig deep into the roots of classic rock over the decades – from The Who to the Clash, from U2 to the Get Up Kids. 

Which basically means that Singaporean rock fans will be treated to good ol’ Amercian rock ‘n’ roll – despite the “alternative” moniker – when Angels & Airwaves opens their tour of South-East Asia on Sunday, 7th December 2008, at 7.30pm at the University Cultural Centre Hall, NUS. Tickets are selling at $85, $100 and $125 and available now at SISTIC.

Interested? How about free tickets courtesy of gig organizer Midas Promotions?

Well, two free tickets will go to the first two persons who can answer this question correctly – what is the name of Angels & Airwaves’ first ever single? Send your answers to info (at) powerofpop (dot) com and the winners will be announced soon. 

We’ll be waitin’