Gentle Bones (a.k.a. Joel Tan) returns with his second EP, Geniuses and Thieves.
Not the sequel to Man of Steel (2013) but according to director Zack Snyder (300, Watchmen), the outright launch of the DC Cinematic Universe (DCU) with the first appearance of Batman (Ben Affleck), Superman (Henry Cavill) and Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) together in the same movie. Key question is whether the movie itself can justify the slew of DCU films coming up in the pipeline, and in particular, Justice League (2017).
Though regrettably it would be the last chance that Singapore would get to experience Funeral for a Friend, their farewell gig at the Scape Ground Theatre was a fitting closure to their 15 year long journey in our history.
Alright, let me get it out there right off the bat. I have never liked Deadpool. Mainly because… Rob Liefeld. Same reason I never liked Cable. Gimmicky characters without substance. Breaking the fourth wall by itself isn’t enough to mask the fact that Deadpool is a poor rip-off of Slade Wilson a.k.a. Deathstroke.
Is Sunflower Bean an indie pop cliche?
Despite its title, Youth is really about aging. Or perhaps a surreal examination of the meaning of youth. For this reason, Youth has been compared to Birdman, apart from the fact that the innovative cinematography in both movies clearly marks them out as distinctive.
So much to say, too much to unload. Considering the sheer level of hype poured down on this movie, it’s fair to accept that it was never ever going to live up to the hype. I probably need to watch again to absorb all the nuances but basically, what I feel is that The Force Awakens is either a Star Wars reboot or a fan-made tribute or eye candy searching desperately for a story or perhaps all of the above.
Why does this exist? Well, a couple of reasons.
— Sequels are profitable.
— Trilogies are in vogue
— A cash in on Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (where the version of Batman is inspired by The Dark Knight Returns)
Oh, you wanted artistic reasons.
Scifi TV geeks have been waiting for a long time for a series that matches the epic sweep of Babylon 5 or Battlestar Galactica. Thus, when it was announced that Syfy was adapting James SA Corey’s Expanse series, there was palpable excitement amongst geeks that perhaps the wait was over. Based on the pilot, there is enough evidence that The Expanse may have a shot at emulating the greatness of the aforementioned series.
If you haven’t seen The Walking Dead Season 6 Episode 3 yet, then I suggest you stop reading because SPOILERS ensue!
There is no sense of the where and when listening to Singapore singer-songwriter Charlie Lim‘s double EP Time/Space. It simply is.
The music of Time/Space is the honest expression of a young man coming to terms with life issues and a burgeoning musical talent. Taken as a whole – 8 tracks and two bookends – Time/Space is a polaroid shot of where Charlie is, and from an artistic perspective, it is looking very very good.
From the outset, with the ragtime-infused “Blah Blah Blues”, it’s clear that Charlie is not interested in cliches and limitations on his music but will go wherever his muse takes him.
“I tend to make my mountains out of molehills” he sings plaintively before he vamps on the chorus – “Itʼs not that hard to sing about being hurt/
Itʼs kind of lucrative to write a love song/Because everybody else just canʼt get enough” – an ironic comment perhaps about his own persona?
Personally, Charlie always hits home with his ballads – wonderful melanges of folk, soul & indie pop that never fail to send chills down spine. “Choices” is the first one – where Charlie’s sweet larynx combines with guitar patterns and trademark cutting lyrics – “I can take complication/If I can comprehend/But I can’t deal with ignorance/Even if you think it’s bliss” – to produce an overwhelming emotional resonance.
This leads us to Charlie’s magnum opus “Bitter” – the rollercoaster ride of ‘feels’ as Charlie shares some of the most poignant lyrics – “Was I trying to cash in the fantasy without the reality check?”, “Embrace the silence when thereʼs nothing left/You got no room for demons when youʼre self-possessed” and of course, ” Was I spoilt for love/Have you had enough/Wait out the danger/You donʼt have to ask/This maudlin moment/Will soon come to pass”. Sheer bloody genius.
Incredibly, Charlie offers two potential “Bitter”-killers, so to speak, here with “Light Breaks In” and “I Only Tell the Truth”.
The former is a early 70s folk-inflected stunner where Charlie slays with guitar and voice. And when the string sections moves in, I challenge you not to feel that lump in the throat moment before the tears well up. Fuckin’ gorgeous with sentiments to match – “Pour out all your sorrow/Were you waiting for a sign/Only breathing just a little/And calling it a life”. Beautiful.
The latter is the closing track and yet again is another melancholy masterpiece as you listen to the airplane pilot giving instructions for landing. Wonderfully arranged and primed for the kill once Charlie gets to the heart-breaking chorus – “But I won’t catch you if you let go/I’ll pick apart the things you let fold/If that’s what you want I guess we’ll move on/I’m sorry” – and for anyone who has lived through the death of a relationship, these words take on massive proportions. For me personally, I have broken down more than a few times when feeling the intensity of the emotions that Charlie is conveying here. All too real. And when the “Outro” hits, its hard to describe as the sad lonely piano plays out to the sound of children.
But then, it’s over, and I press play again and let the magic of Charlie Lim wash over me once more.
Time/Space will be released on June 6th at the House of Riot concert at the Esplanade Concert Hall. Tickets available from SISTIC.
The Sound of Music (Marina Bay Sands)
Review by Gavin Low
I remember learning songs like ‘Do Re Mi’ and ‘Edelweiss’ during music lessons in primary school, and one day, our music teacher told us to catch the film version of The Sound of Music on TV. That was how I was introduced to Maria, played by Dame Julie Andrews, and the Von Trapp family. I remembered it being quite a magical moment when the Von Trapp children burst into songs like ‘The Lonely Goatherd’ and ‘My Favourite Things’.
It was then with trepidation and anticipation that I watched the stage version of The Sound of Music, currently showing at the MBS Mastercard Theatre. I know that the stage version is quite different from the beloved film that we have all grown so fond of. Gladly, I have a great time, and even break into childish excitement when Maria and the Von Trapp children break into my childhood songs.
Inevitably for me, Day Three of most year’s Baybeats tend to be a little anti-climatic. After the hustle and bustle of the first two days, fatigue sets in and it has not been uncommon for me to sometimes entirely miss Day Three. So with that in mind, I decided to focus on the performances going on at the Chillout Stage (the Concourse) and found the experience thoroughly enlightening!
Pitch Feather delivered high gloss renditions of its excellent debut album – Mountains and Tides – singer Alberta Leong has an appealing voice that embellishes the band’s luscious take on 70s folk music that very quickly endeared them to the rapt audience. Considering this was the band’s very first live performance, there were nerves and a couple of errors but nothing fatal. Would love to see Pitch Feather develop further in the local indie scene.
.gif provide a polar opposite to Pitch Feather’s rustic warm tones with an electro-pop set that once again showcased the vocal talents of Weish. It was instructional as usual to see Weish construct ambient sounds from her vocals to utilize backings for the songs. Far from being cold constructs, the songs seemed vaguely personal as colours and shapes filled the room (figuratively, of course).
Pixel Apartment (aka Jordan Chia) was a sheer delight – both soulfully and intellectually. Operating his one man band (complete with video!) with the main focus on grand piano, Jordan provided a pleasing set which showcased his skills with electronics as well as songwriting. That said, perhaps the high point was Jordan’s wonderful cover of “What Sarah Said” (Death Cab for Cutie) sympathetically played on the piano. Yet another local musician with loads of talent!
And that was Day Three for me. Well satisfied with the slate of promising local musicians enough to believe that the future of the Singapore indie music scene is indeed bright! Thanks again to all the cool people I ran into today and once again to the Esplanade for putting together another first rate Baybeats Festival!
… still there’s more …