2015 – THE YEAR SINGAPORE ENGLISH POP RECLAIMED MAINSTREAM STATUS?

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Jul 242015
 

image001SamWillowsTakeHeartTrick

There were three emails from major labels that I received in this past week that indicates that Singapore English pop may just be turning a significant corner. Three releases from Singapore bands that have already made an impact on a pop fan base in Singapore. That is something that has not happened since… the 1960s and the 1990s?

Granted, there is not much rock ‘n’ roll evident from the new batch of popstars-in-waiting but perhaps that is a reflection of the audience’s taste more than anything else. In any case, what we have are three singles viz. “Sixty Five” by Gentle Bones, “Take Heart” from The Sam Willows and Trick’s “Some Girls” with their obligatory accompanying videos. So let’s take a look, shall we?

First off, Gentle Bones’ “Sixty Five” is a musical tie-in to the upcoming 1965 movie and is rather downbeat and dramatic amidst its lush orchestration. The video matches the somewhat sombre mood showcasing obtuse dancing and moody lighting, capturing the tone well. Look out for a cameo from producer Leonard Soosay (with cat).

Next, The Sam Willows’ “Take Heart” emphasises all the manifest strengths of this lively quartet with the video deftly highlighting energetic dancers as the song’s hybrid hipster folk/EDM hedges all bets well enough. With its bright rainbow colours, it’s seems to provide an interesting counterpoint to the Gentle Bones’ video. Coincidence or design? Mm??

Finally, “Some Girls” finds Trick hoping to emulate their American hip-hop cousins with some T&A and risque lyrics. Somewhat daring by staid Singapore standards, at least one cannot accuse Trick of not trying to provide a visual representation of the song itself. Considering how popular hip-hop is worldwide, it’s a commendable effort.

Watch the video

Taken in the context of mainstream pop, these singles can stand up to anything out there and hopefully with a certain amount of marketing muscle from the major labels involved, these pop star hopefuls will become household names in Singapore and beyond!

… still there’s more … 

PoPTV: THE CROWD – PASIR RIS SUNRISE LYRIC VIDEO

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Apr 052015
 

PasirRisSunriseThumb

KAMCO Music will re-issue The Crowd’s Pop album this coming Friday, 10th April. So I was thinking – what could I do to raise awareness about this event? Well, as you all know, a lyric video of one of the songs might do the trick. And so, I put together my first ever lyric video on iMovie and it only took this old fart of an amateur to get it done! The song I chose was “Pasir Ris Sunrise” which seems to have resonated with some folks despite being 18 years old. Hope you enjoy!

… still there’s more … 

DISCOVERED @ SPOTIFY – PoP LEGENDS

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Feb 072015
 

PoPplaylists

Alright. This is a lil embarrassing but late last year Spotify made Power of Pop a ‘Tastemaker’ with a new account and despite my best efforts (?), so far we’ve had only 10 (!) followers. Shameful!!

So I am still pushing this the best way I know how – by working hard at putting together more playlists that I imagine would interest the kind folks who visit us every day. Recently, I have focusing on PoP Legends – artists whom we believe deserve that accolade so here’s what we have so far. Enjoy, spread the word and FOLLOW!

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PoPTV – THIS IS ROCK!

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Feb 062015
 

ElvisP

Rock music is a genre of popular music that originated as “rock and roll” in the United States in the 1950s, and developed into a range of different styles in the 1960s and later, particularly in the United Kingdom and the United States. (W. E. Studwell and D. F. Lonergan, The Classic Rock and Roll Reader: Rock Music from its Beginnings to the mid-1970s)

So yeah, rock came from 40s/50s rock ‘n’ roll, which in turn is a form of pop music. So even The Carpenters or ABBA is rock, by that definition. So I am always comfortable to use the terms “pop” and “rock” fairly interchangeably, and get rather annoyed by the insane categorizations that is now so common.

In that light, let’s take a look at some of the different kinds of pop music, I am confident to label as ROCK!

BLUES

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PoPINIONS – PLAGIARISM OR COINCIDENCE?

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Feb 062015
 

Sam_Smith_Stay_with_Me

There are only 12 notes in the chromatic scale. So, how original can a pop song truly be? Recently, Sam Smith got into legal trouble for his hit song “Stay With Me” (co-written by Smith, James Napier and William Phillips) for its similarities with Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” (co-written by Petty and Jeff Lynne).

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KATY PERRY LIVE IN SINGAPORE

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Feb 052015
 

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Katy Perry has announced today that she will bring THE PRISMATIC WORLD TOUR to Singapore on 11 May 2015 at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. This tour is presented by AEG Live. She will be touring in support of her album PRISM.

Tickets for the show go on sale from 10 Feb 2015 through Sports Hub Tix, and are priced at $328, $248, $228, $188 and $128. Tickets will be available through www.sportshubtix.sg, booking hotline +65 3158 7888 and Sports Hub Tix Box Office and Singapore Post outlets.

 

 

BROOKE FRASER LIVE IN SINGAPORE

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Jan 262015
 

BrookeFraser

As part of her 2015 Brutal Romantic World Tour, Brooke Fraser will be making her Asian debut in Singapore on 20 March at the Kallang Theatre.

Ticket sales will commence on 27 January 2015, and are priced from $58 to $148. Limited VIP Meet and Greet Passes are available at $40.

Fans can subscribe to Sprout Entertainment’s online newsletter at www.Facebook.com/SproutEntertainment for instant ticketing discounts.

STAGEFRIGHT XVI – JOIE TAN

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Jan 152015
 

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Last but not least by any means, Joie Tan will close StageFright XVI @ Artistry on 21st January 2015.

I spoke to Joie late last year mainly about her experience building a fan base on YouTube.

How did you get started on YouTube? How old were you?
I started on YouTube after watching Alyssa Bernal’s covers. She was a big inspiration for me and I felt like I could really relate to her and grew to become a huge fan. Thereafter, I felt inspired to start my own channel and finally did it in 2008. I was 13.

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THOM YORKE RELEASES NEW ALBUM AS A BITTORRENT

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Oct 142014
 

ThomYorkeTMB

Just downloaded the new Thom Yorke album – Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes – via BitTorrent. And it was totally legit. Yorke has, in the recent past, condemned streaming sites for exploiting artists and thus it was interesting to find out that Yorke is using a BitTorrent site to sell his album. The digital album is US$6 and the bundle comes with 8 tracks and one video (of single “A Brain in a Bottle”). The single and video are available for free – as a teaser presumably for the album. Check it out at https://bundles.bittorrent.com/

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PoPINIONS

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Oct 042014
 

LET IT ALL HANG OUT!

It does seem that in order to succeed in pop music in 2014, one really needs to ramp up one’s sex appeal. Especially if you are a woman, of course. I’m no prude (far from it!) but it is a lil disappointing to think that a female artiste has to present herself in such a crass manner to win over the contemporary pop music fan. Don’t believe me? Well, take a look…

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jlo

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… still there’s more …

PoP RECOMMENDS: PUGWASH

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Sep 182014
 
Pic by Ger O'Donnell

Pic by Ger O’Donnell

If like me you are besotted with classic pop and love the music of The Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Byrds, ELO and XTC, then my question to you is – why aren’t you listening to Pugwash? And if this is the first time you have heard of this awesome Irish band, then your timing is impeccable.

A Rose in a Garden of Weeds: A Preamble Through the History of Pugwash (to be released on 23rd September) collects songs from the band’s 1999 origins through the present day and when placed together in one place like this, is probably the closest a classic pop fan will get to heaven in 2014.

Pugwash A Rose In A Garden Digi

It is impossible not to fall in love with perfect pop songs like “Be My Friend Awhile,” “Apples,” “Answers on a Postcard,” “Fall Down”, “It’s Nice to be Nice” and so on and on and on. These 17 tracks constitute some of the finest pop music made since the new millennium and deserves as much attention as possible, if there’s any justice left in this cruel world.

I was lucky enough to catch the band live last year in London and believe me, it’s a wonder to behold. That Rickenbacker sound, those harmonies and infectious tunes will have you singing along in no time, unfamiliarity be damned! So check out the US tour dates below to make sure you don’t miss out on the fun, PoPies!

Check out the video for “It’s Nice to be Nice” below…

PoP RECOMMENDS: MOTHBOXER

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Sep 112014
 

MB-sand-and-the-rain-cover

Some of the classic pop music was written in the studio, without having been road-tested in live performance. The Beatles and The Beach Boys come easily to mind, of course. Appropriately, Dave Ody (aka Mothboxer) names both bands as principal influences and it’s no surprise that his music reflects the same ethos that his more famous forebears pioneered and mastered during the 60s.

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HOT BUZZ: MARTIN CARR – THE SANTA FE SKYWAY

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Sep 092014
 

Ex-Boo Radley Martin Carr is back with a new single and a new album. Absolutely digging the old school soul vibe! Watch the official video now!

Carr’s new single “The Santa Fe Skyway” is available at : http://tinyurl.com/l2nwffu
His new album The Breaks will be out on CD/LP on September 26, 2014.
All info here: http://tinyurl.com/k6ndgp3

PoPTV

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Jul 042014
 

POPTV

Whenever we can, we strive to remind you – kind visitor – what Power of Pop is all about. Sweet pop music, 60s/70s styled is definitely on the agenda. Bring it!

THE CANYON RAYS – “The Sunshine Growers”

Here’s the new single from Californian pop enthusiasts The Canyon Rays as visualized by director Justin Slade McClain. The track will appear on their upcoming West Coast Babes LP later this year.

Listen to/download from Bandcamp

MONOMYTH – “Patsy”

Canadian quartet Monomyth pride themselves as being slightly left of centre as new single “Patsy” and its seriously weirded out video proves. Their debut album, Saturnalia Regalia!, comes out on July 22nd, 2014 on Mint Records!

Listen to/download the Monomyth eponymous EP from Bandcamp.

BLACK MOTH – “Blackbirds Fall”

And ‘classic’ hard rock is always part of POP POWER equation! Britain’s young new heavy rock heroes Black Moth release the first single and video from their forthcoming new album Condemned To Hope coming this fall. Horns up!

Official Site

… still there’s more …

PoP RECOMMENDS: LOVE X STEREO

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May 252014
 

Photo 25-5-14 1 24 06 am

Better late than never, eh?

Oliver Mann (JPNSGRLS) was raving about Korean alt-electro rockers Love X Stereo and so upon his recommendation, I followed him to Paulaner for the band’s final gig at Music Matters Live 2014 at 1 am. What I witnessed was an epiphany! The tunes had epic pop melodies, the arrangements were tight with a post-punk revival vibe but ultimately it was charismatic vocalist/synth player Annie Ko that sealed the deal for me.

Upon further investigation, it appears that Annie and guitarist/producer Toby were both part of a ska-punk band called Skrew Attack and re-invented themselves as Love X Stereo in 2011 (and picked up bassist Sol along the way). With critically acclaimed releases Off the Grid and Flow under their belts and significant appearances at top indie rock festivals, Love X Stereo is definitely a band to explore.

Hopefully, we will be able to get PoP fans an interview with Annie soon. In the meantime, enjoy…

Official Site

 

ELLIE GOULDING – LIVE IN SINGAPORE [NEWS]

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Jan 242014
 

British songstress Ellie Goulding returns to Singapore on Friday 13 June at The Star Theatre. Read Melissa Ng’s review last time out. Tickets available from SISTIC – Friday 7th Feb.

Mark your calendars!

Listen to Goulding’s best selling 2013 album Halcyon Days at Spotify.

SUZANNE VEGA – LIVE IN SINGAPORE [NEWS]

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Jan 112014
 

Suzanne Vega returns to Singapore in April. Only 245 tickets will be available for this special intimate performance. Vega is touring in support of her new album “Tales From the Realm of the Queen of Pentacles”, to be released on 2 Feb 2014.

Date : 1 April 2014
Time: 7.30 p.m.
Venue: Esplanade Recital Studio
Tickets: $148 on sale at www.sistic.com from 23 Jan 2014.

LANEWAY SINGAPORE 2014 [NEWS]

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Jan 092014
 

Here’s the schedule for St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival Singapore on 25th January. It’s heartening to see that Singapore acts have been given due respect and equal treatment as they should be.  Apart from The Observatory, Vandetta and Gema, I am looking forward to The Jezabels, Kurt Vile, Frightened Rabbit and Savages.

Get your tickets at http://bit.ly/GABVu4 or http://bit.ly/16ECcIQ before its too late!

DISCOVERED @ SPOTIFY

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Dec 312013
 

Electric Light Orchestra

Regular visitors to PoP will be aware that I believe that the 70s was the finest decade for pop and rock music ever. And one excellent resource which allows the avid music fan to access this classic rock music is Spotify (haha you saw that coming!). But seriously folks, I’d like to leave you with introductory playlists I’ve curated of three classic 70s rock bands, which I hope will encourage you to explore more on Spotify.

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CLIFF RICHARD: STILL REELIN’ AND A-ROCKIN’ – LIVE IN SYDNEY [DVD REVIEW]

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Dec 302013
 

There’s little doubt that Cliff Richard is the one true Peter Pan of pop music. Now in his early 70s, he still looks and sounds good enough to belt out his famous hits in his own inimitable way. The set list on this performance video is dominated by his earliest numbers, like “Livin’ Doll”, “Move It”, “Young Ones” and “In the Country” etc but as well as the obligatory 70s songs like “Devil Woman”, “We Don’t Talk Anymore” and “Wired for Sound”. Naturally, unless you are a diehard Richard fan, there is nothing much here for even the most studious of rock scholars. It’s all rather glitzy and entertaining – not necessarily a bad thing but Richard represented the musical establishment that the likes of The Beatles, the Stones, the Kinks et al would soon overturn and by now, it’s appeal is limited at best.

2013: THE YEAR IN MUSIC

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Dec 282013
 

DaftPunk

Was 2013 a good year for popular music? It all depends on your definition of a ‘good year’. I believe that since the end of the 90s, the decline in the quality of popular music being written and recorded has been alarming. Compared to the previous 40 years, it’s fair to say that much of the popular music that has come out of the new millennium has been – with some exceptions, of course – largely forgettable.

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ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY: CHARLIE LIM

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Dec 282013
 

Finally! Charlie Lim has released two new singles (viz. “Bitter” and “Conspiracy”) and both tracks can be downloaded for FREE from Bandwagon (limited to first 1000 signups) so HURRY!!!!

Suffice to say, “Bitter” is a heart-wrenchingly gorgeous jazz-pop piece with dynamism, virtuosity and dollops of soul that deserves to be a worldwide hit (whatever that means nowadays) – please don’t miss out! “Conspiracy” demonstrates a different side of Charlie as smooth R&B inflections, infectious funky beats and cool vibes make the song a hot dancefloor hit contender! Another essential track for your collection!

Find out more about Charlie Lim here.

PoPTV: SARA BAREILLES “BRAVE” [VIDEO]

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Apr 202013
 

Multi-platinum selling singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles has revealed the title to her highly anticipated third studio album, The Blessed Unrest, which is set for release on July 16th through Epic Records.  The album’s first single, “Brave,” was co-written by Jack Antonoff from the band fun. and will be released at all digital retailers next Tuesday, April 23rd.  Fans can stream the song and view the official lyric video starting today at Sarabmusic.com or check it out right below…