After the astonishing comeback that was the eponymous 4th album, the beloved S-ROCK band Plainsunset returns with a collection of new PS tracks coupled with special collaborative projects which gives the album its name. By and large the collaborations work, except for maybe the opening Tears For You in which rapper Sheikh Haikal totally ruins. That said, the faux paux is somewhat redeemed by the amazing collaborations with Amanda Ling (Rainfall) and Dubwise (Monsters in the Sea).
The former is a surprising successful exercise in electronica with a soft balladic touch which works on every level. The latter is a dynamic number which proves that electronic music has as much balls as punk or metal. Again, a significant departure for PS with treated vocals, throbbing bass and hip-hop beat and like Rainfall, a eerie light atmosphere which hits the mark.
In-between, we have the usual muscular pop-punk outings viz. Blank Faces, the Valiant and Lights Down that PS is best known, which will keep the fans well pleased. The last two tracks feature the Lard Brothers deconstructing The River Song rather ingeniously and Matthew Lim (A Vacant Affair), Joshua Tan (Fire Fight) and Jean Low (Giants Must Fall) gloriously contributing to the anthemic seven-minute Uncertain.
Barring my comments on that unfortunate opener, Collabor-8 is an unqualified success and establishes yet another benchmark for Plainsunset. So make your way down to the Esplanade Recital Studio at 9.30pm on Friday, 18th December for the launch party. Tickets – $25 @ SISTIC
One of the better albums I had the pleasure of reviewing in 2009 belongs to Barbara Trentalange. You can check out my review here. Well, I’m glad to be the bearer of good tidings as Barbara has made available a free download of a 5-track EP called B-Sides. Believe me, nothing remotely B-grade about these songs.
A month after Taken by Cars and Chicosci shook up the *SCAPE Youth Centre Lab, *SCAPE is back with Confessions UpSized, featuring The Giant Sound of the South, Urbandub and Angulo from the Philippines, together with some of our most talented local bands.
The Giant Sound of the South will be back on Saturday after playing an overwhelming set last June 6 at Rock The Sub at the Substation. For the past few months, Urbandub have been in the studios recording their fifth studio effort, The Apparition, to be released under MCA Music Philippines.
Apart from this, the band has been playing numerous shows like the Sonic Boom 3rd Anniversary and a number of large-concerts scattered across the whole country. With the recent typhoons in the Philippines, they’ve also taken time out to play intimate shows like Sonic Shutdown to raise funds and gather supplies for the victims of typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng that have devastated the metro and neighbouring provinces. All of these, while also playing at a host of other corporate events and bar gigs around Metro Manila.
On Saturday, they’ll be playing some choice cuts from their massive fifth salvo, The Apparition, and a host of other songs from old albums, 2001’s Birth; 2004 NU Rock Awards’ Album of the Year, Influence; Gold-Record hitting, Embrace and the 2007 crossover hit, Under Southern Lights.
With a large and still growing following in the Philippines, Angulo have managed to make a name for themselves through the sheer amount of hard work and dedication they’ve put it to band. With regular performance with some of the biggest and most prominent production houses in the Philippines, they have played for some of the biggest shows in the Philippines, including Fete de la Musique, Myx Mo!, Pulp Summer Slam, MTV Summit and they were handpicked to open for New Jersey-based post-hardcore pioneers Thursday during their Asian Tour.
Following a successful debut release, Blur The White Lines in 2008, they’re back in the studios to record a new album, which promises to be more experimental while enabling them to broadening their niche market without alienating existing fans. Their second album would push the band further in their ability to showcase what Angulo are capable of achieving musically.
On the local front, we have some of the freshest talents playing alongside Urbandub and Angulo. Marchtwelve are back, having played numerous acoustic shows, Baybeats in 2007 and more recently, for Rev Up On Orchards in conjunction with STB for F1. They’re currently working on a full-length album, with recording happening in the middle of the year. Their debut album would be released sometime in March or April 2010.
West Grand Boulevard are no strangers to the scene, having played numerous show in Singapore and the Philippines. The quintet have played numerous shows in the Esplanade, including a Late Night @ Esplanade show at the Recital Theatre Singapore and Baybeats 2009, School Invasion Tours and the School Invasion Finale Tour and 98.7’s Life’s A Beach. They’ve also played in the Philippines for Sonic Boom 2nd Anniversary in 2008 and a Philippine tour earlier this year before ending the tour playing for Sonic Boom Sinulog Blast Off! 2009. After taking time out to record their full-length album, their album would be out by end of the year.
Following a China tour in June and self-releasing their Phoenix EP in July, Caracal are back with a fresher perspective and a larger sound. Following their China tour, their Phoenix EP was self-released in July 2009, consisting of songs from the band since their beginning in 2006. The long awaited EP is available at Straits Records Shop, *Scape and directly through the band. Back home, they’ve played for GNITE! Music Festival 2009 at Republic Poly, Electric Ballroom at Homeclub and the Nudge Charity Carnival at Sentosa Cove.
Silhouette’s immunity to categorization has allowed their music to evolve and not be based on a specific genre. With roots in modern rock and alternative music and with Incubus as a significant influence, Silhouette is a band that has garnered a lot of attention within the scene in recent months. Their music reaches out to people through personal emotions and feelings that a lot of bands fail to capture in their music. Their EP, Discover, was launched in January and the band is currently back in the studios working on their debut album with Leonard Soosay of Snakeweed Studios, whose passion and ability to see the bigger picture with his ears has benefited many local bands within our scene.
Come prepared to experience an unforgettable evening with Urbandub, Angulo, Marchtwelve, West Grand Boulevard, Caracal and Silhouette. Take it from me; you won’t be disappointed with the stellar line-up for Confessions Upsized. See you on Saturday!
Bucketfull of Brains is the only other place to find my music writing. Intrigued? Well, BoB is a great indie fanzine focusing mainly on powerpop and alt-country bands and artists. Like most other indie zines, its had a hard time financially in the last couple of years so here’s an earnest plea from editor Nick West.
“This is the cover of Bucketfull #73. It features Lucky Soul, The Drones, John Wesley Harding. Adventures In Sound, Rob Symmons, Roky Erickson, Peter Holsapple, Big Star, along with all the usual stuff. It will be published very soon.
But it’s been something of a struggle to get out. Not from content which we’re overflowing with, but finance. For reasons too convoluted and drawn out to rehearse here, though we will put a resume up on the blog shortly, we have been broke and hand-to-mouth (if that) for the last two years or more. How we’ve been able to survive is through our loyal subscribers, many of whom have stuck with us over more than a decade. But most of their current investment is dead, either spent on previous issues or the basic infrastructure of BoB .
So we’ve thought about what we can do to get a bit more cash. In fact to gather enough reserves to ensure we can pay for the next three magazines without even needing to solicit advertising. After doing a bit of basic maths we’ve realised that this is possible to achieve with 400 new subscribers. We suspended subscriptions about 18 months ago due to the uncertainty of continuance but we’re now reopening them in a revised fashion.
So from now Three Issue Subscriptions are now open. For the UK it’s £8.50, for Europe £11.50, and USA and ROW £14.50. You can start with #73, or with #72 (the Jesse Hector cover). Please pay by PayPal (it is easy to sign up for, as a number of our friends can now attest) to the usual email (email@example.com).
The reality is that if you’ve ever thought of subscribing to Bucketfull Of Brains now is the time to do it; certainly in England it’s going to cost around the same as three beers. We do sadly have to pass on carriage costs to our overseas readers, but in most places it is the only way you’ll be able to get it for a while.
Lastly we would ask you to circulate this on to all and any remotely relevant mailing lists or contacts you have or have access to. It’s our 30th anniversary year and we would like to see 31, and while we wouldn’t be quite ready to call ourselves an institution our continued existence does keep the editors out of one.
Say Anything was significant for being Cameron Crowe’s debut film as director and John Cusack’s breakout movie as well. In 2002, Entertainment Weekly ranked Say Anything… as the greatest modern movie romance.
Well, Say Anything 20th Anniversary Edition arrives on Blu-ray Disc (for the first time!) and DVD on November 3. Starring John Cusack, Ione Skye and John Mahoney, and with an eclectic soundtrack featuring the classic In Your Eyes by Peter Gabriel as well as Cult of Personality by Living Colour, Taste the Pain by Red Hot Chili Peppers, Stripped by Depeche Mode and more, it is a must-have for movie and music lovers alike! You can sample the soundtrack here.
This weekend, we’ll be in for a musical smorgasbord coming from *SCAPE as an eclectic variety of bands from the Philippines and Singapore come together for *SCAPE PRESENTS A SIDE SHOW.
Having graced our sunny shores in August as part of the Baybeats lineup, Taken by Cars will be back with fellow Pinoys, Chicosci, this Saturday at *SCAPE’s Lab for a show presented by *SCAPE and Wake Me Up Music.At Baybeats, Taken by Cars wowed the Singaporean audience with their fun and upbeat music from their first album, Endings Of A New Kind. Citing their musical influences to Electro, Indie and New Wave, you can’t go wrong with music this good, especially when The Fire Fight’s front man, Josh, danced to most of their songs.
Having recently released their 5th album, Fly Black Hearts, Chicosci are back in Singapore for the 3rd time and better than ever! Their popularity in the region and the Philippines has been growing since they started out, winning for them Favorite Artist of Philippines from MTV Asia last year.
They’ll be sharing the stage with our local favorites, Plainsunset and The Fire Fight, representing our best in punk rock and indie respectively. With successful tours in the Philippines, Plainsunset are back with their exhilarating stage performances and their inspiring songs.
Following the SOLD OUT launch of Henri, our favourite quartet have been gigging regularly, having played for Ben Sherman, Gap and the Esplanade.
It’ll be an interesting mish mash of music featuring a few of the best bands Singapore and the Philippines have to offer from their respective genres. I look forward to the musical smorgasbord, and interviewing Chicosci before the gig.
The Beatles Box Of Vision® is the deluxe companion to the newly re-mastered Beatles CDs, and will be available as the ultimate Beatles gift in the UK and Europe this Christmas from www.BoxOfVision.com and www.HardDaysNightShop.com, plus select retailers.
Click here for the official full colour UK press announcement.
Officially licensed by The Beatles’ Apple Corps Ltd., the stunning collection, previously only available in North America, includes the following Beatles’ collectible content: The first book in the box is the LP Sized Album Artwork Book includes 200 pages of the Beatles’ LP artwork – the first time all the Beatles’ UK and US album artwork has been collected together in one LP sized book. The Album Artwork book includes front and back covers, gatefolds, inserts and the complete LP booklets from Magical Mystery Tour and many more.
The second book, ‘The Catalography’, is an extensive, all-new, full-colour guide jam-packed with photos, text and track-listings providing the first-ever side-by-side presentation of the U.K. albums and their U.S. counterparts.
The third book is entitled the ‘The Box of Vision Storage Book” – a highly collectible, unique and stylish way for Beatles fans to organize and display all 32 discs of The Beatles’ core catalog. Beatles fans will have the opportunity to insert CDs and booklets from their existing Beatles collections or the recently released digitally re-mastered versions.
Ideal for fans, collectors and Christmas gift giving, all three Beatles books are housed in an elegant black, linen-covered box with silver embossed Beatles logos and faux Beatles LP spines. The 13” x 13” box features the iconic image of The Beatles photographed by Robert Freeman.
Alright, here’s the skinny on Noise: The Apprenticeship Program.
Mentor. Recording. Performances.
Need I say more?
Okay, maybe I should. In my humble opinion, TAP offers young singer-songwriters and bands a rare opportunity to learn from mentors who have the experience and know-how to pass along a couple of useful tips. Not only that but you will have a multitude of opportunites to hone your craft – all under the guidance of the afore-mentioned mentors.
Believe me when I say that I wish we had something like TAP 30 years ago, when I was 18! So, please, if you’re an aspriring singer-songwriter or band, don’t pass up this chance. All you need to do is to submit a write-up and recordings of two original songs. Closing date is 27 September.
There’s a decidedly “old-school” 90s vibe about this gig. We GANG is fronted by Adrian Bestium (ex-Rocket Scientists), the Guilt features Dino (out of Force Vomit), CloseApart can boast Harold Seah (formerly of the Dongs) and of course, there’s Ben Harrison’s Etc…whom y’know…
Regular PoP visitors will be aware that I’ve been involved with the National Arts Council’s Noise program for the last 2 years. First, as a judge and then making the transition to mentor in last year’s The Apprenticeship Programme (TAP). Of course, through TAP, I came to mentor Racheal Teo and Nick Tan and the rest as they say, is history!
Anyways, I’m glad to announce that NAC is taking submissions for Noise Singapore 2010 and everything about this sounds exciting.
Winners of Noise S’pore 2010’s 3 main categories – Art & design, Music and Photography – will each receive the Noise S’pore Prize of S$5,000 cash.
Yes, boys and girls, I’ll say it again. CASH!!!
The press release goes on to say –
DJ Aldrin is just one of the 12 big names who are mentors in this year’s TAP. Others include local music luminary Kevin Mathews (*ahem*), Tan Ngiap Heng for photography and Eeshaun Soh for Art & Design. TAP is one-of-its-kind in Singapore and gives young artists an opportunity to be personally mentored by some of Spore’s best in the creative industry. Success stories are written every year of apprentices who go on to become accomplished artists. Singer/songwriter Rachael Teo – Kevin Mathews’ apprentice in Noise 08/09–has developed a following and is sought after on the pub circuit for originals like the breezy (and very infectious) Love and Water. She has an interesting story. She went to NAC to apply for a busking license, stumbled upon Noise instead and, in May, released an EP entitled Awaken The Dreamer – all in 9 months. TAP continues to be a critical and popular aspect of Noise. Last year, out of a record 128 applicants, 20 apprentices were selected.
Believe when I say that TAP is worth getting attached to. Previous apprentices include King Kong Jane and Allura and they’ve done well, haven’t they? I would recommend TAP to every singer-songwriter or band out there. Besides DJ Aldrin and yours truly, other music mentors include Don Richmond, Jason Tan, Jon Chan and Patrick Chng. We’ll be waiting…
Noise Musicians could be selected to record one of their songs in a professional studio, have it played on 98.7FM, and perform at the Esplanade Outdoor Theatre or Concourse. And also be involved with events at next year’s Youth Olympics. International exposure! Are you excited yet?
You definitely can’t discount the influence of Japanese anime on Western film and TV, animated or otherwise (Matrix anyone?). Oh and of course, the success of Animatrix and Gotham: Dark Knight projects has proven this fact clearly. Which probably explains Marvel’s own foray into the anime arena with their latest ventures with Madhouse, one of the top anime studios around, which will produce 4 anime series to be released in 2010.
Teasers for the 1st two – Wolverine and Iron Man – have surfaced online and are embedded below.
Whoa! Is that Wolverine? Other than the fact that he has claws, how is this guy Wolverine? Hurm.
Spurs were given a lesson in simple football by two Barca reserve teams as the likes of Henry, Hleb and Messi sat out this Wembley Cup encounter. For 90 minutes, Spurs barely ventured beyond their own half as Barca reserve teams show their opponents how football should be played i.e. don’t lose the ball when you had it and fight to win the ball when you don’t.
But despite the total domination, Barca still contrived to let in 19-year old Jake Livermore to head powerfully for an undeserved equaliser. That’s football for you. Clip of Livermore’s goal below. Look at Gomes’ response to the goal. Priceless. No, he didn’t expect it either…
Marvelman was, of course, originally a comic character created by Mick Anglo in the early 50s to replace the Captain Marvel strips being reprinted in Britain, after Fawcett Comics discontinued the popular Captain Marvel series due to legal challenges from DC Comics (DC claimed that Captain Marvel ripped off Superman!!!!) Marvelman was basically a British version of Captain Marvel and the series hit it off with British kids and its publication lasted till 1963.
In the early 80s, writer Alan Moore with artists Garry Leach and Alan Davis revived Marvelman in the pages of Warrior magazine (which also included a strip called V for Vendetta) and was an unprecedented re-invention of the superhero genre, which Moore would perfect with Watchmen a few years later.
Enter: Marvel Comics, who objected, of course, to the use of “Marvel” in the character’s name. No one at Marvel bothered about the fact that when Mick Anglo created Marvelman, the company that would eventually be called Marvel, was called Timely Comics! When faced with such legal threats, Warrior magazine folded. Marvelman ended up in the USA with indie publisher Eclipse Comics but had to change its name to Miracleman. The first couple of Miraclemen issues were re-sized, re-formated and colorised reprints of the Warrior magazine stories and then Alan Moore together with artists Chuck Beckum (aka Chuck Austen), Rick Veitch and the magnificient John Totleben, created amazing, groundbreaking new stories.
One such story (Miracleman #15) concerned Miracleman’s final battle with the evil Kid Miracleman in probably the darkest, grimmest superhero tale ever. This comic book is probably my favourite of all time, its denouement still moves me even after all these years. At the end of this story arc, Miracleman and his superhero cohorts take over the world and rule as benevolent gods, in possibly the only logical conclusion for a world where a Superman exists.
Moore called it quits after that and the creative reins were handed over to Neil (Sandman) Gaiman and Mark Buckingham. Gaiman developed Moore’s premise in eight thought-provoking issues before the bankrupcty of Eclipse Comics brought the series to a premature end in 1994.
Since then, the character has been the subject of legal disputes as several parties viz. Mick Anglo, Dez Skinn (publisher of Warrior), Neil Gaiman, Alan Davis and Image Comics co-founder and Spawn creator Todd McFarlane (who bought over the rights to some Eclipse characters) claimed ownership.
Well, at the recent San Diego Comic Con, Marvel announced that they had acquired the rights to Marvelman from Mick Anglo’s representatives! Which certainly brings the character full circle in a sense and Alan Moore – who was upset about Marvel’s legal challenges in the 80s – will probably have a wry chuckle over this news.
In light of the unresolved disputes (especially with Todd McFarlane), I’m sure there’s still some work to be done before we see reprints of the existing material and (hopefully) new material from Neil Gaiman – well, finish off the Silver Age and Dark Age arcs to begin with – BUT with the financial clout that Marvel possesses, I’m sure that these outstanding issues will be resolved sooner than later. Certainly, Marvel has no doubt about who owns Marvelman as the new Joe Quesada drawn MM poster (see above) attests.
… after all that, can a Marvelman film be far behind? The mind boggles…
For any young boy growing up in the late sixties, the space race was an exciting one.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.