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Aug 212014
 

As we head into the 50th anniversary of Singapore’s independence, it does seem that our beloved local indie music scene is slowly gaining increasing general appreciation and acceptance. Last night’s Originals Sing @ Artistry featured two young bands that caught my ear at last year’s Baybeats auditions. It was exciting to witness how far they have come since then. Mannequins possesses a retro vibe that sets them apart from most alternative rock bands here but more importantly, their songs have a melodic vim that resonates with this classic pop lover.

Stopgap has definitely gone from strength to strength since missing out on the Baybeats auditions last year and have been playing gigs everywhere. The band performed at the first STAGEFRIGHT way back in February 2013 and last night at Originals Sing blew everyone away with an impressive set. The boys have a great proactive attitude and I can see them going far if the planets align nicely for them. Fingers crossed!

Pleasantry – “recycling musicians from active as well as inactive bands” – finally releases a full-length album, Synapses, which to these ears is one of the most complete summations of what indie pop offers us in 2014. Since getting a review copy yesterday, it has been on repeat (yeah, the entire album) and I am so impressed at how well it hangs together. But at its core is an understanding of how to emotionally connect with an audience with melody and instrumentation. It is simply gorgeous. The band launches Synapses (with guests galore) at the Esplanade Recital Studio tomorrow night (Friday, 22nd August). Tickets available from SISTIC. In the meantime, check out the lovely new single, “False Realities”.

… still there’s more …

Aug 192014
 

Ralegh Long is a London-based singer-songwriter that Power of Pop recommends highly as he evokes timeless musical references with his original compositions. Catch him at Artistry tonight from 8pm with support from the hugely talented Pixel Apartment. Entry by donation. More details below.

Artist info

Ralegh Long is a Singer-Songwriter from London. After two critically acclaimed E.Ps, his debut album is expected in Spring 2015. This pastoral debut features a cast of collaborators including Tom Dougall of Toy, string-arranger Louis-Philippe, and Jack Hayter (ex-Hefner).

Pixel Apartment is an experimental one man band consisting of electronic musician Jordan Chia. A multi-instrumentalist and visual designer, he links both worlds seamlessly into a unique experience. Get immersed in ultra-sub frequencies and beats from outer space.

 

Aug 132014
 

Amateur Takes Control is pretty active for a nominally dormant band with a compilation record coming out next week and an one-off reunion show this coming Friday, 15th August at the Esplanade Outdoor Theatre. So if dynamic post-rock instrumentals are your thing, go check them out before ATC go on hiatus…

 

Aug 062014
 

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Pleasantry is back with a new album – Synapses – and the band will launch the LP on 22nd August at The Esplanade Recital Studio for the Late Nite @ Esplanade series. Tickets are priced at $25 and are available from the Esplanade Box office and SISTIC.

Watch the official trailer.

Aug 042014
 

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I attended The Gathering with Travis last Friday (1st August) and got to interview Fran Healy and Andy Dunlop backstage. You can read the article over at TODAY online. It was amazing to meet Fran and Andy – really down to earth, charming blokes who care deeply about the music and the fans. A rarity! They made me feel so much at home that I plucked up the nerve to pass them my solo album, Emo FASCISM!

I must take this opportunity to mention Take Two who opened for Travis with much aplomb. Oozing confidence, Take Two put up a dynamic performance with their trademark infectious tunes taking centre stage. One to keep a close eye watch on. In addition, I must thank Sophia Ho, Timothy Ho (Forefront Asia) and Nikki Mahmood-Chee (Hostess Asia) for their wonderful hospitality.

Now, if you want to listen to an audio recording of my interview with Travis, like our Facebook page www.facebook.com/powerofpop and then send an email to info AT powerofpop DOT com for the secret DL link.

… still there’s more …

Aug 042014
 

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Epic Malaysian post-rock band COMA is coming to Singapore to share the stage with sonic pirates In Each Hand A Cutlass, and fusion geniuses of NeoDominatrix at Hood Bar And Cafe on Saturday 6 September 2014. COMA will debut on our shores celebrating its 10th year of music making. Prepare for the onslaught of sensory pleasures induced by an aural blanket tethering on the dark and heavy.

Presenting the show is LivePod, a new indie music promoter, and created as an extension of 4 year old art collective SPORE Art Salon. There are several shows in the pipeline that will introduce international bands to Singapore audiences in the coming months, and it is with hope that this endeavour will create new relationships, connecting local bands with international music scenes.

Early bird tickets and EP-promo bundles are available now – http://3theshow.peatix.com/

Aug 012014
 

We have been hearing a lot about Gentle Bones (aka Joel Tan) in the last nine months or so. I am digging the way Joel’s music has captured the imagination of our young people. It’s so exciting to witness! Joel himself is such a humble, self-effacing young man but dead serious about his music. I feel like I am living the dream vicariously though him! Truly amazing.

Well, more good news as the pre-orders for Joel’s upcoming debut EP has placed the release at #1 on the iTunes charts (release date – 19th August)! If you haven’t already, pre-order now! Get your tickets for the EP launch here. In the meantime, watch the music video for the new single – “Save Me”. It’s a good time to be a #sgindie fan!

Jul 302014
 

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Hoobastank returns to Singapore for a one-night only live concert at the Coliseum Hard Rock Sentosa on the 30th November 2014.

Details:
Event Title: Hoobastank Live In Singapore 2014
Date: 30th November 2014
Venue: The Coliseum Hard Rock Hotel, Resorts World Sentosa
Time: 8.00pm (Doors open at 7.00pm)
Tickets: On sales from 24th July 9am at Sistic website and at all Sistic counters. Also available at Peatix: http://hoobastank.peatix.com 
Ticket Price:
VIP $188 (include free flow of beer and Meet & Greet)
Standard: $98
At Door: $118
Early Bird $78
All ticket prices on Sistic exclusive ticket charges. Peatix all inclusive.

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Jul 302014
 

 

MOE Poster

Micromanage Overwork Exaggerate (MOE) is a theatre production about Singaporean education that is set to run from Thursday 31st July to Saturday 2nd August. According to its press release, the play “seeks to explore the unspoken sides of education, from the mouths of those with no recourse to honest dialogue. Using material from interviews with a wide range of teachers – primary to secondary, in-service to retired, elite independent schools to neighbourhood institutions – this semi-docudrama aims to give voice to the true experiences, struggles and successes of some of our nation’s most invisible heroes – our teachers”.

Sound intriguing? Then get your tickets ($20) from Eventbrite.

Details:
Written by Marcia Vanderstraaten
Directed by Christopher Fok
Performed by Lian Sutton, Jasmine Xie Huilin, Christopher Fok and Marcia Vanderstraaten

More information.

Jul 282014
 

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#sgindie fans will be thrilled to learn that Gentle Bones and The Summer State will be opening for YouTube sensations Alex Goot and Against the Current on 21st August at The Ground Theatre at SCAPE.

Tickets info: -

Online: Peatix (http://alexgootandagainstthecurrent.peatix.com)
Retail: Inokii, Far East Plaza #03-30 (only Standard tickets available)

m_AG ATC Poster FINALss

 

Jul 282014
 

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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.

Continue reading »

Jul 282014
 

Now that was a music weekend to remember! I had been under the weather for a while and it was good to finally catch #sgindie gigs again! But before the gigs, I attended an intriguing (albeit ultimately bewildering) meeting with the local arts community and had a quick chat with Vivian Wang and Leslie Low of The Observatory. I did learn that the proximity of timing between the new Oscilla and Leslie’s own new solo LP was borne out not of design but of circumstances. Not that I am complaining… the more, the merrier…

Continue reading »

Jul 232014
 

If you’ve been reading Power of Pop, you’d be aware that I fucking HATE the post-punk revival cos it’s overstayed its welcome already – I mean, it’s 2014 already so can we get to the 90s alt-rock revival?!?!?!? So logically, I should get annoyed with the very idea of Take Two – clean cut boys who got that post-punk revival formula down to a science!

But you know what? From the first time ever I heard the band (Paddy, Johnathan, Peng Sing, David, and Jeryl) from outside the hall at SGMUSO’s House Party event – all I could think was – “Fuck, that’s catchy” – seriously folks, it’s pretty difficult to not simply love the music of Take Two and I have heard them live enough times to make a concerted effort to do so but have failed miserably…

So now, I understand that Take Two are opening for Travis come 1st August at the Star Theatre and I could not be any happier. The lads deserve this totally. The band is so entertaining live – assured and comfortable on stage with songs that will get your adrenaline pumping. Believe me when I say, that this is one opening act you should not miss – whether you’re a fan of 90s mope-rock or not!

https://www.facebook.com/taketwo.sg

Jul 212014
 
Pic by Stevie Da Canay

Pic by Stevie Da Canay

Regular visitors to PoP will know how much I dig Deap Vally. Made up of Lindsey Troy and Julie Edwards – guitar, drumkit and two wild voices – it is no exaggeration to suggest that Deap Vally’s sound is a “breed of visceral, heart-churning rock ‘n’ roll”. So imagine my excitement at discovering that the ladies will be playing in Singapore on Friday, 22nd August courtesy of Doc Martens’ #STANDFORSOMETHING event at Beep Studios.

Craziest part of all? It’s FREE. All you need to do is simply visit Dr. Martens stores to pick up a complimentary pair of tickets* to see Deap Vally. (*While stocks last, limited to 2 tickets per person; no purchase necessary; 18 and above only.) Don’t miss this!

DEAP VALLEY Gig Singapore Social poster

Jul 202014
 

Oscilla-AllFormats web

Art-rockers The Observatory return with a new line-up and a new album. Founding members Leslie Low, Vivian Wang and Dharma are joined by SA’s Cheryl Ong on drums and Yuen Chee Wai on electronics/synths for this latest chapter of the band’s amazing journey.

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Oscilla will be released in various formats - a limited colour vinyl release alongside regular black vinyl LPs, CDs and for the very first time, a limited run of cassettes with free download – on 15th August, which will be supported by two performances on 15th and 16th at The Substation.

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GENTLE BONES: EP LAUNCH

 MUSIC  Comments Off
Jul 202014
 

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“I aim to satisfy myself musically and if it happens to relate to the masses I cannot be more than ecstatic. because nothing is more fulfilling than to have people adore the songs that you first came to fall in love with.”

Gentle Bones has come a long way since releasing his debut single “Until I Die” in mid-December last year. Steadily building up a loyal fan base through a subsequent follow-up single “Elusive”, well-received music videos, maturing live performances and genuine grass-root buzz, the affable young singer-songwriter has made his mark on the Singapore music scene.

And there’s more to come, as Gentle Bones launches his debut EP at TAB Singapore on 30th August supported by Samantha Rui and Gareth Fernandez. Tickets now available at http://gentlebones.peatix.com/

The EP will be on sale via iTunes on the 19th of August 2014 and limited autographed physical copies will be available online at http://gentlebones.bigcartel.com.

RSVP

Jul 022014
 

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There is always something one can take away from ‘classic’ pop songwriting. Whatever the era or the ‘genre’ classification, somethings do not change viz. memorable melodies, familiar chord progressions, soulful vocals and of course, an indefinably cool vibe.

To have seen Lost Weekend grow from that tentative pop group I had witnessed at last year’s Baybeats auditions to the confident music makers evident on this brand new double-A side single has been eminently satisfying.

“On a Sunday” will appeal to all lovers of indie pop – whether or not they are old enough to know the meaning of “C86″ or simply as a ‘genre’ that gets attached to hipster music festivals – with Rachel’s sultry vocals and Jonny’s Fannies-inspired guitar solo the prominent hooks.

“About Forever” is yet another track that recalls the glorious pop music of the 80s, substantively of the kind that the likes of Elvis Costello & Squeeze would regularly churn out i.e. with enough soul-R&B elements to keep things interesting. There is a groove driven by Mark’s bass work and Zj’s drums that totally underpins the song perfectly.

Two prime examples of matured songwriting that bodes well for fans of well-crafted song-oriented indie pop. Bloody essential! Get the single now from Bandcamp!

BAYBEATS 2014: DAY THREE

 MUSIC  Comments Off
Jun 292014
 

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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 … 

BAYBEATS 2014: DAY ONE

 MUSIC  Comments Off
Jun 282014
 

For me, this year’s Baybeats is all about people. Watching aspiring musicians grow into great bands and artists and getting the response and acclaim that they so richly deserve. Wishing the very best for them on stage as they take another step towards fulfilling their musical dreams.

Last night, I was so happy to see Stopgap open the Powerhouse performances with an assured set. I recall first seeing them at last year’s auditions and rooting for their progress but alas one wrong song choice and they were booted out (yes I was pissed off!). But kudos to the band for learning from that experience, getting onto the Noise Mentorship Programme, making it on the second attempt (YES!) and generally having the best possible attitude in doing their best in our music scene. So yes, their moment in the spotlight was fully deserved! And I believe there’s more in store for these boys!!

Over at the Concourse, DEON did what he did best – deliver sparkling pop-rock with a refreshing honesty – Deon Toh is as real as it gets! Getting to know Deon at the Noise-Timbre Singer-Songwriters thingy a few years ago was a genuine blessing and am so pleased at how far he has come since then. Still the same down-to-earth guy, you must really check out his full-length album Antiphobic!

Jaime Wong! What a voice! What great songs! Like Deon, I first met Jaime at the same Noise-Timbre thingy and in her unassuming, deprecating manner she has grown by leaps and bounds. An awesome talent and I really cannot wait to listen to her debut EP when it comes out in the next few months.

Kudos to The Esplanade for giving Singapore bands and artists this amazing showcase! Long may Baybeats run!

… still there’s more …

 

Jun 272014
 

Which bands/artists will Power of Pop be focusing on during the next three nights of Baybeats 2014?

Friday 27th

STOPGAP | Powerhouse 7.30pm SPHAERAS | Arena 8.00pm DEON | Chillout Stage 9.15pm

JAIME WONG | Chillout Stage 10.15pm GIANTS MUST FALL | Arena 10.15pm

Saturday 28th

ENEC.E | Chillout Stage 5.00pm LOST WEEKEND | Arena 6.00pm BANI HIDIR | Chillout Stage 7.00pm

SSIGHBORGGG | Arena 8.15pm LIGHTCRAFT | Arena 9.15pm INCH | Arena 10.30pm

Sunday 29th

PITCH FEATHER | Chillout Stage 5.45pm .GIF | Chillout Stage 6.45pm

PIXEL APARTMENT | Chillout Stage 7.45pm MONSTER CAT | Arena 9pm

Have a great Baybeats weekend!

 

 

 

 

#SGINDIE

 MUSIC  Comments Off
Jun 262014
 

CelinaKimble01

Some weeks back, Celina Kimble launched her new EP at the Arts House and whilst it was a fairly short set – it was full of Celina’s typically emotionally powerful songs backed by a competent band. All told, it was a solid performance by Celina and band. The word is that Celina will be selling her EP at Starbucks outlets and will be doing a couple of performances there as well. Stay tuned for more details.

Continue reading »

Jun 242014
 

“A sphere is an ultimate expression of unity, completeness, and integrity” – so begins Sphaeras’ self-description! So it’s certain that its responses to our FIVE questions about Baybeats 2014 should be a hoot!

Why should fans check out your performance at Baybeats?

We are the only instrumental band to have made it through the auditions; we offer an entirely different brand of music that (we hope) will reshape your opinion on instrumental music. Our live performance on the big stage is guaranteed to be full of energy, emotions and spontaneity. Words often inadequately encapsulate how we sound live, so check us out at Baybeats, (best of all) for free!

Why are you excited about playing at Baybeats?

As an event that we have attended religiously, we have seen many great bands/artists grace the stage over the years. It is exhilarating to have been privileged with this opportunity to introduce our music to an audience of a size we typically wouldn’t reach. Additionally, we get to watch and play alongside fantastic bands that include fellow budding acts Stopgap and False Plaintiff.

Why do you think you were selected to play for Baybeats?

From what we have gathered, the judges were especially impressed with our display of music technicality and also our ability to deliver complexity in a natural, seamless form. The judges were also impressed with our standard of performance during the outdoor audition – remarking that we had ‘set a high bar’ – considering that it was actually our first time playing in front of a live ‘audience’. Interestingly, Zakhran Khan, in all his glory, was ceremoniously compared to Bani Hidir (B Quartet, 53A, Youthwreck) repeatedly for his unmistakable prowess.

If you had to choose just three bands to watch at Baybeats, which bands would they be and why?

1. Giants Must Fall: It has been ages since we’ve seen them play and we really dig their Leprosy and Anchor EP. Can’t wait to hear them live.
2. Earthmover: Our friends from Anechois and Bandwagon gave some great reviews of them from their trip to the Philippines. We weren’t disappointed with their material online and are sure they will be awesome at this year’s Baybeats.
3. Two Million Thanks: They have their own twist of the math rock genre and a kickass music video. It would be interesting to witness them live.

When and where are you playing at Baybeats?

We’ll be playing on Friday, the 27th of June, 8 – 830pm at the Arena (Esplanade Outdoor Theater).