A name like The Outfit does carry with it a certain association with 80s American new wave, doesn’t it? The hype pronounces The Outfit as a band that ’offers an earnest take on garage rock revival, building on the ground laid out by such acts as The Strokes, and early Kings of Leon’. Somewhere in-between I suppose. As far as this track – “Strange Bones” – is concerned (off of the most current album, Broken West Wishbone Test), there is a fair bit of late 70s pub-rock, Two-Tone plundering, ska-punk and a healthy dose of The Clash thrown into the overall mix. All good, in my book! The video? It’s suitably vintage and retro-delicious laced with bizarro puppeteering to boot.
It’s no secret that I have been incredibly wary of the current wave of the Post-Punk Revival, believing that it is mostly warmed up leftovers from a special musical epoch now 25 years old. But of course, there is an exception to every rule.
This Portland-based band started life as a spiky noisenik outfit and released a debut album in that vein in 2003 viz. Chrome Rats vs Basement Rutz. However, in 2005, Chromatics would undergo radical changes to its lineup with Ruth Radelet (vocals), Johnny Jewel (producer/multi-instrumentalist), and Nat Walker (drums/synthesizer) joining, with guitarist Adam Miller the remaining founder. The result was a sophomore release – Night Drive – that having taken electronica fully on board, with strong hints of the Post-Punk Revival. The track “Tick of the Clock” gained recognition after it was featured on the Drive soundtrack.
Which set the stage for the latest album – Kill for Love – released earlier in 2012, and in my humble estimation, one of the best albums of the Post-Punk Revival era, let alone 2012. Right from the opening cover version of Neil Young’s Hey Hey My My (Into the Black) – the haunting “Into the Black” (video below), it is obvious that Chromatics is not interested in sounding like the rest of the sheep copycat hipster bands out there in the modern rock wasteland.
“Kill for Love” may superficially recall the 80s with its New Order/Depeche Mode references but there is a distinct attitude especially in Radelet’s languid vocal delivery. Miller’s guitar work helps songs like “These Strings Will Never Look the Same” and “Dust to Dust” escape the usual hipster cliches by channeling a hybrid of older sounds coupled with the now-traditional dance pop styles. Not only that but the band’s penchant for emphasizing soundtrack designs in songs like “Broken Mirrors” and “The Eleventh Hour” keeps the aural experience intriguing always.
More thoughtful (and less trippier) than its predecessor but Kill for Love demonstrates that it is possible for uncompromising intelligent and artistic bands to make challenging original music during these fallow years.
You can also listen to Kill for Love in its entirety at Soundcloud!
Dunedin-based band Knives at Noon sure makes an impression with their EP Glitter Guts, power-packed with slick and dark tunes to get your feet moving. Fans of The Bravery, Bloc Party and The Killers are sure to love this well-produced EP and the indie/electronic rock band. The first track on the EP, Violins 2.0, is a massive indie dance track, reminiscent of fashionable parties downtown, yet slows down and increases in intensity toward the end with amplified vocals, a la Brandon Flowers. A personal favourite on the EP is the second track, “Human Heart From Modern Art”. Besides the epic song name, the track also has elements that make up a great indie rock anthem, having a catchy tune that stays in your head, crunchy guitar riffs and solos that create space and also giving a sense of euphoria (experienced across indie clubs across the world). Ending as abruptly as it began, it leaves you wanting more. Fortunately, the next track, “Licking Plastic”, doesn’t disappoint with its use of sudden stops, use of synths and ringing goodness of the guitars and keyboards. “ThunderVeins”, the last track, sounds much like the previous track, but with lesser intensity.
Music Matters, the region’s premiere music conference returns in May 2014 and that also means it’s another round of Music Matters Live! Thus far, Music Matters Live has previously hosted acts like Simple Plan (Canada), Jezabels (Australia), Boyce Avenue (USA), Katie Noonan (Australia), Gurrumul (Australia), Prata Vetra (Latvia), Kate Miller-Heidke (Austral […]
Supertramp will always be remembered as a crucial influence on my music making in my late teens. Formed around the nucleus of two brilliantly gifted singer-songwriters Roger Hodgson and Rick Davies, this English quintet managed to come up with a successful blend of prog-rock and pop music sensibilities that resulted in two classic LPs in […]
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 trailer is here and guess what? The movie looks like Spider-Man 3 – y’know three villains overkill. Mm. Hopefully, it will make more sense than Spider-Man 3 did. Note: that last sequence really looks like a video game. Ugh. What did you think of the trailer?
The CAVE – four teenagers who surprise with an old skool rock n’ roll agenda. Currently material for a debut release, check out “Personal” and you will agree that this is one young band that you need to keep eyes and ears on. Official Site | Facebook
Virtually impossible to watch this without the inevitable lump in throat and teary-eyed response. The measure of love, admiration and respect that the late great Freddie Mercury and Queen engendered amongst their peers is plainly obvious judging from the stellar lineup of this tribute concert. This 3-DVD collection contains the whole shebang – the opening [. […]
Aussie singer-songwriter Lenka‘s recent concert at the Esplanade Theatre was actually her fourth one in Singapore! Judging by the sizable crowd, there was no danger of over-familiarity yet! Lenka’s pixie like demeanor, her vibrant stage presence and her strong melodic songs account for her popularity and she had no problem with holding the attention of […]
It is an exciting time to be a music lover in Singapore as leading pan-Asian independent music company Hostess Entertainment Unlimited launches its unique live series Hostess Club Weekender in Singapore! As part of Hostess’s continuing regional expansion, HCW will land in Fort Canning Park on Saturday February 22nd next year. The inaugural show in […]
A PoP feature where we examine the influence on ART on rock and pop music, in particular album covers. Today we look at Pop-art, a movement that began in UK and the USA in the 50s. The dominant figure in this ‘genre’ is probably one of the most influential artists in contemporary art – Andy […]
BUBBLEGUM LEMONADE Some Like It Pop This is the kind of pop music that inspired Power of Pop to begin with viz. retro-pop-rock that looks back to the 60s with echoes of The Byrds, The Velvet Underground, The Beach Boys and The Beatles unashamedly reflected in songs like “This is the New Normal”, “It […]
Nowadays with streaming sites like Spotify, it’s a cinch to check out the new albums that music tastemakers (like yours truly) are raving about and then you can decide whether you wanna buy the CD or the vinyl versions, download the digital album or just listen. The choice is yours. Here are a couple of […]