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!
Our mission at Power of Pop as far as the Singapore Music Scene is concerned is to promote pop-rock + rock ’n’ roll music in whatever way possible. So it is with our great pleasure to highlight two singer-songwriters who have embarked on a rock ’n’ roll journey despite the lack of support for that style of music within the scene itself.
Pioneering musician. Award-winning filmmaker. All-round loveable guy. The local music, movie and creative scenes were devastated when, on 14 June, influential DIY figure, Abdul Nizam Hamid, unexpectedly passed away from liver, lung and pancreatic cancer. Nizam, as his friends called him, was only 50. Bonded in grief, his friends have come together to organise a special tribute concert and fund- raising commemoration to this singular, inspiring and dearly missed man.
Background Founding members of pop-rock band, Doves and Ravens, Kenneth Qua and Edwin Wong, became instant friends in 2010 over a shared love for music. Now, joined by bassist Moses Wong, the band plays pop-rock, radio-friendly music influenced by 80’s/90’s music. Wonder is the band’s debut album.
Thankfully, the flood of made-in-Singapore releases continues unabated even though we have uncomfortably transitioned to 2016. Here is a sampling of what is to come in the coming year for Singapore music fans. Reviews to come.
The amount of new music releases in 2015 is staggering. And it’s basically impossible to be able to listen to everything out there. But when it comes to Singapore Rock, well then it is possible to almost do just that.
Thus, a justification for this list – our recommendations for those of you who have recently come aboard the S-ROCK train. Welcome to the rest of your life!
Saving the best for last? I must confess that this spanking new EP from Cashew Chemists might very well be tied for best release of 2015 with Cheating Sons’ eponymous sophomore effort. Mainly because of its doggedpersistence in the pursuit of old school pop-rock excellence.
As popular as modern indie pop-rock was in the early noughties (I am tired of the ‘post-rock revival’ moniker), it does not seem to have caught on in a big way amongst Singapore indie rock bands. What I am referring to, are the bands that have been influenced by The Strokes, Vampire Weekend & Arctic Monkeys, and in that respect, apart from Cashew Chemists, the only local indie band that has successfully taken a crack at this style is Stopgap.
I am listening to the Letters to Ubin EP and smiling to myself because I am thinking of how a critic/observer of the local scene slammed iNCH’s music for being ‘soft’ and ‘not edgy’. Fact is that could not be further from the truth. Perhaps that critic was fooled by iNCH’s public persona! Certainly, there are numerous elements of Letters to Ubin that most casual listeners would consider too arty and indulgent — definitely ‘edgy’!
Back in 2011, in a public Facebook note, singer-songwriter iNCH (a.k.a Inch Chua) criticised Singaporean attitudes toward local music. iNCH even moved out of Singapore (to the US) in order to pursue her musical career. Four years later, back in Singapore, as a packed audience demonstrates their hearty approval, iNCH is moved to tears by a post-gig video filled with expressions of congratulations, love, admiration and celebration for the launch of iNCH’s new EP, Letters to Ubin.