Chances are if you are a fan of music made in Singapore, you would probably gravitate towards either one of two opposites poles – mainstream pop (that includes jazz-soul, indie-folk, pop-punk, hip-hop & indie-pop) or heavy rock (which includes various hardcore punk & metal sub-genres) – therefore, the unlikeliest middle ground remains the pop-rock/rock ’n’ roll arena.
But who are the artists toiling in this ‘neutral zone’ of melodic tunes and rock groove? Let’s find out!
Awaken the Dragon is a community art project surrounding the last two remaining Dragon Kilns in Singapore. The project aims to invite 3000 members of the public to participate in making a collective sculpture made from clay and fired in the Dragon Kiln.
The concert is part of the Awaken the Dragon Festival that’s happening from 17-23 November. There will also be demos and workshops by local ceramic artists, arts & crafts stalls, food and drink vendors.
The Observatory, Obedient Wives Club, Stopgap, Lost Weekend and The White Trip Movement will be performing on 22 November from 6:30pm. Admission is free.
Being involved in the music scene in Singapore is all about what one makes of the situation. Compared to a mere five years ago, there are many opportunities to fill your time with life-enriching activities. You just know where to look…
On Thursday (21st August) I met up and interview Julie Edwards (above, left) and Lindsey Troy of LA-based blues-rockers Deap Vally and found them to be intelligent, beautiful women who knew exactly what they wanted out of life. Mightily impressed with them in that short space of time we chatted.
Pardon my French cuz I am stoked as FUCK to be able to present – in conjunction with Artistry, a very special edition of Originals Sing where we jointly bring to you two of my favourite alternative pop bands in Singapore viz. Obedient Wives Club and Lost Weekend. Cool vibes and cool tunes – what more could a music fan ask for? It happens this Wednesday (18th June) from 8pm. Cover charge – $10 (proceeds of which to go entirely to the bands). Don’t miss this!
Thursday’s (April 18th) S-ROCK gig at Night & Day Bar was significant for two things. One, it was the debut performance of Bored Spies (Cherie Ko, Sooyoung Park, Orestes Morfin & Adel Rashid) and two, it was the final performance (before a short hiatus) of everyone’s favourite spector-gaze band, Obedient Wives Club.
Of course, most importantly, it was another impressive show of how much indie rock has grown in the Singapore music scene in the last couple of years. A packed crowd jammed the arty venue and soaked in the ambience and atmosphere engineered by these two bands.
Bored Spies’ repertoire consists mainly of midtempo slow-burning numbers which accentuate Ko’s pleasant vocals and Morfin’s controlled rhythms. Considering that this was the band’s first gig, it was a very calm and assured performance, as if the band had been together for years and it was refreshing to encounter and appreciate the beauty of subtlety in songs like “Summer 720”.
Obedient Wives Club is practically an indie rock staple now in Singapore and the songs off their two EPs have become classic S-ROCK in a short space of time. I have always felt that – of all the new bands out there – OWC best channels the spirit of 90s S-ROCK. The songs are sweet but never lacking for an edge, with vocalist Yinqi coming into her own more and more with each succeeding gig. “Murder Kill Baby” is a special track, retaining a Singaporean quality in the way Yinqi sings in her lower register at the end of each phrase – spine tingling! The band will be preparing a new EP in the break and so there is much to look forward to!
It was also good for the S-ROCK scene that this event was hosted by a ‘new’ venue – Night & Day – and hopefully we will have more venues opening up to S-ROCK as we are currently very very short on venues like that. So all in, a very significant night for S-ROCK!
It is a good time to be involved in the S-ROCK scene. Interest in the scene is definitely growing as the media gives it attention it properly deserves. More releases, more gigs, more open mikes, more bands, more venues…more, more, more! In the last two weeks, I managed to witness two launches – first, by Another Sunday Afternoon and last Friday, by Obedient Wives Club. These bands are very different in terms of musical approach and execution but share the same passion, talent and ability to touch and thrill true-blue music lovers. Also worth considering – the fledging outfits that opened viz Victoria Street and Rocketswan, interestingly enough, both female-fronted! Exciting times, indeed.
According to Hype Records’ owner (and former Singapore Idol judge) Ken Lim, the local music industry is on the “verge of extinction” and that he is the man who will save the industry. We wish him all the best! As far as the S-ROCK scene is concerned, more evidence of its good health can be seen in the following upcoming events: –
Another Sunday Afternoon: The Bookmark EP launch
The latest EP – which has been available for a couple of weeks now – will be officially launched this Friday, February 8th at Home Club. Victoria Street will be providing support. Entry is $12 with one standard drink (including entry to Kicks! later). The Bookmark has been well-received thus far with TODAY stating that “it’s satisfying to witness the continued artistic development of our local bands that despite all odds, manage to produce music that can only be described as ‘world-class’. Add The Bookmark to this burgeoning list”. The fun begins at 8pm.
Yes, this review is a little late. Yes, I had loads of fun with friends and new acquaintances, not to mention the delivery of good good music. What else do you need to know?
Upfront let me just say that congratulations are in order to Other Sounds for hosting a fabulous party. I mean, the food was simply yummy and even though I had dinner before I came, I still managed to polish a couple of burgers and pizza slices. So kudos! And… the free flow alcohol, courtesy of Asahi was much welcomed as well. Is the indie music scene coming of age. Step by step, in the right direction.
What is S-ROCK in this new indie rock era? Bands that have risen to prominence since 2010 tend to be post-1988 babies and the sum of their influences seems to be the Post-Punk Revival that was crystalized with the arrival of The Strokes, The Killers, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The White Stripes and others. Based on the 80s post-punk “movement” of the early to mid-80s, this style and sound is now the pre-eminent indie-alternative rock music of our times. In addition, this sound/style has been closely associated with the “hipster” demographic that is beginning to mark and distinguish this generation somewhat, fairly or not. In any case, here’s a bunch of new S-ROCK bands that come into this equation and it should be interesting to see where these bands will be, come 2015.
FRED PERRY’S 60TH BIRTHDAY ANNIVERSARY AT TANJONG PAGAR RAILWAY STATION
Where else can one get on a special guest list to watch 5 bands perform on the same stage, with high fashion on the wayside, at a place of significant historical value, and with easily accessible beer to down into stomachs and possibly ruined livers?
Fred Perry seemed to have the answer for that on the Sunday of 2nd December (check in with your own prescribed doctors for the liver problem, please). As always, Fred Perry is injecting its fashion roots into the music scene like it often is well known to have done, to be doing, and will certainly be doing into the future as well, without a doubt.
Verve 2012 is an arts festival held at The Arts House on 15 December, 2012 from 10am – 10pm. An emerging arts festival, Verve is for and by the young and young at heart, presenting a new way of experiencing the whole spectrum of local artistic work by allowing its audience to pick and choose their own arts itinerary for a day.
Tis a good time to be a S-ROCK fan! Especially this weekend as two significant events take place which spotlight the local talents we have in our very own indie music scene.
First up, on Friday 18th November, the fifth installment of Fred Perry Subculture Night goes down at Zouk from 8pm (doors open at 7.30pm) with We The Thousands, Lost Hat and punk vets Plainsunset. On Saturday, 19th November, the likes of In Each Hand A Cutlass (above), Ingride, Run Neon Tiger, Obedient Wives Club, Cheating Sons and Plainsunset (once again!) bring S-ROCK to Tiong Bahru Park for LEPA(R)K!
So there you go – take your pick or take it all – the choice is yours. Fly the flag, come on down, see you in the pit…
No, this is not another whinge about how poorly Singaporean bands/musicians are supported in their homeland. At least, it’s not intended to be. As the manager of Cheating Sons, I have witnessed first hand how a Singapore band is received outside of its own country and it is often disappointing to come home from that high to play to less than enthusiastic audiences.
In my 20s, there was barely a local music scene (other than cover bands) and bands/musicians were treated with some contempt as useless good-for-nothing slacker hooligans who should cut their hair and get a proper job. Much has changed of course and even the powers-that-be are beginning to recognize that rock bands who play original English music (S-ROCK) have a part to play in the development of a vibrant arts, cultural and entertainment scene in Singapore.
The dilemma is a classic chicken-and-egg situation. Local music fans are very brand-consious when it comes to music and obviously Singapore rock bands have no brand value at the moment. But in order to concoct an image and build up a repertoire that will achieve a substantial fan base, these bands must first be given a chance to shine, that is to say, Singaporean audiences would have to – in George Michael’s parlance – ‘listen without prejudice’.
And as wonderful as it is for us to have top notch foreign bands playing in Singapore, wouldn’t it be amazing for local music fans to be living in a vibrant music scene similar to that in Iceland or New York or London? Imagine if you had been able to watch U2 or Radiohead grow from a local band (in Dublin or Oxford, respectively) to an international act – wouldn’t that be something to be proud of or to brag about?
Seriously folks, music fandom is the most important component of a thriving music scene, more than bands/musicians, promoters or government organizations. Thus, if you are reading this and you are a music fan living in Singapore, I would entreat you to give S-ROCK a chance! You can do so by coming down to LEPA(R)K! at Tiong Bahru Park on Saturday, 19th November from 5pm to 10pm when bands like Plainsunset, Cheating Sons, In Each Hand A Cutlass, Obedient Wives Club, Ingride and Run Neon Tiger will be performing. Existing S-ROCK fans, I would encourage you to take on the mantle of S-ROCK evangelists and try to get as many people as humanly possible down to LEPA(R)K to celebrate and enjoy some great rock music. Let’s make sure that this will not be the only time that a CC supports a S-ROCK event. It’s all in your hands…
Singapore band Obedient Wives Club was recently featured on KXLU (88.9 FM), an FM radio station broadcasting out of Loyola Marymount University in southwest Los Angeles, California. The radio station has been credited with discovering Beck and giving early LA bands like Guns ‘N’ Roses and Jane’s Addiction their first breaks.
According to band member, Keith Tan, a KXLU DJ found out about OWC online and emailed the band requesting an mp3 for broadcast. You can listen to the broadcast below.