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Mar 272015
 

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KAMCO Music started life as KAMCO Records in 1998 – a label through which I could self-release Popland’s Groovy album. 17 years later, KAMCO Music (physical releases are so passé) embarks on a new adventure with digital distributor Believe Digital with the re-issue of my three solo releases thus far.

#alpacablues (2014)

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Previously released only on Bandcamp, this EP is now available at iTunes, Amazon (etc) and the relevant streaming platforms for the first time. Contains the radio-friendly “I Want What I Can’t Have” and you can buy it for a reasonably low price.

iTunes

Emo FASCISM (2013)

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My first album since 2001, was released on the 20th anniversary of my first LP, Democracy (with Watchmen). Notably distinctive for containing mostly jazz-pop numbers (!) and also having a single rejected for radio play by Mediacorp Radio viz. “Beyond the Ashes”. Now you really need to pick this up!

iTunes

@midnight (2008)

@Midnight

Originally released under the Watchmen moniker (and also only on Bandcamp), I have decided to reclaim @midnight EP as a solo release. Significant for featuring a youthful incarnation of The Groovy People viz. Esther Low (keyboards), James Lye (guitars), Low Han Quan (drums) and Brian Leery (bass). Mid-priced as well! Enjoy…

iTunes

Re-issues of Watchmen, The Crowd and Popland to come in the next two weeks.

… still there’s more … 

Mar 182015
 
Photo credit: Teck Io

Photo credit: Teck Io

Whatever the genre, nothing gets more attention in a song than a powerful, distinctive female voice. Dedicated music fans should be familiar with Eugenia Yip from her vocal antics with jazz-rockers The Steve McQueens. However, Ginny (as she likes to be called), also fronts electro-outfit Riot !n Magenta, ably backed by Hayashida Ken (synths), Khairyl Hashim (guitar), Sulaiman Supian (bass) and Ritz Ang (drums).

R!M have been somewhat under the radar despite having played Baybeats 2012, launched a debut EP – R3B007 – at Esplanade Recital Studio in 2013 and even opening for CHVRCHES last year. But no doubt that will all change with the release of the new EP, Voices.

The four tracks available on Voices reveals a mature sonic agenda that continues to channel a strong trip-hop-soul vibe that highlights Ginny’s idiosyncratic vocal stylings and melancholy lyrics that emphasise the damage that relationships inflict on humans.

“Love is not supposed to be a chore” (“CTRL”) and “I can’t unhear the things but you said it” (“Told You So”) – words that put the songs in perspective, heartfelt emotions hard to ignore. Supported by pristine electronic beats and ambience, it is so easy to be swept away by the music on this EP. Not to be missed.

Connect with Riot !n Magenta

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/riotinmagenta
Twitter http://www.twitter.com/riotinmagenta
Soundcloud https://soundcloud.com/riot-n-magenta

Mar 162015
 
IEHAC

Daniel Sassoon, Nelson Tan, Sujin Thomas, Jordan Cheng, Amanda Ling

One of the perks of being a rock journalist is getting advances of new releases and it’s even more satisfying when you get a chance to listen to cutting edge rock music that is made by good friends as well. As regular visitors to Power of Pop will be all too aware, I have been a rabid fan of In Each Hand a Cutlass since the early days and whilst guitarist extraordinaire Daniel Sassoon (Livonia, Electrico) has always been the band lynchpin, the musicians Sassoon has surrounded himself with over several lineup changes have always been some of the best in the business.

IEHAC’s debut A Universe Made of Strings was a powerhouse in its own right but seems almost like a kindergarten school outing when compared to the new album, The Kraken. As dynamic as those individual tracks were, they cannot hold a candle to the cohesive ambition displayed on this astounding work. Helmed by the legendary L.A. producer Brad Wood, there is a consistency running throughout the LP that compels the listener to sit entranced for the entire duration, breathless at the wonder and awe that the music evokes, somewhat effortlessly.

As its centrepiece is the mammoth title track, broken down into four parts, for easier consumption. “The Kraken” is almost a treatise on rock music itself, finding ways to incorporate diverse strands of the best rock styles that have inspired millions over decades. Once again, this is progressive rock in the best sense of that term – not merely a genre identifier but a statement of artistic intent. Equal parts post-rock, prog-metal and psych-rock, this epic number brings the unwary listener across dimensions, a witness to interplanetary warfare and the birth and death of galaxies! One never questions the lack of lyrics for even a micro-second as the music speaks volumes.

If the album only contained “The Kraken”, it would already be worth the price of admission but add to that the power and majesty of tracks like “Ouroboros” and “Heracleion” and the picture is perfect. Essential but you already knew that.

IEHAC launches The Kraken on 24th April 2015 at the Esplanade Recital Studio. Tickets available from SISTIC.

In the meantime, listen to the first single “Satori 101″

Connect with IEHAC online

Web http://www.ineachhandacutlass.com/
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/IEHAC
Twitter http://www.twitter.com/IEHAC
Bandcamp http://ineachhandacutlass.bandcamp.com/

Mar 152015
 

Here’s a review from February, 2003.

ForceVomit

FORCE VOMIT Give It Up For The Trustfund Rockers

Force Vomit viz. Nizam, Dino, Neng & Wan Vomit, requires some explanation for music fans unfamiliar with the peculiarities of Singaporean indie rock. Force Vomit position themselves somewhere between the punk pop of the Ramones (hence the ‘family’ names) and the colloquial Malay brand of Western rock called ‘Mat Rock,’ Force Vomit bring an alternative sensibility to what is very much mainstream Malay rock vernacular. Except that the ‘Mat Rock’ Force Vomit deals in, is more of a 60s variety, incorporating elements of Dick Dale surf rock, the Shadows’ slick instrumental rock and Buffalo Springfield folk rock into their approach.
Make no mistake, this is distinctive stuff and something many outside of South East Asia would be totally unfamiliar with its angles and perspectives. The melodies may be a tad clichéd and at times too common for comfort but Force Vomit attacks its chosen targets with verve, aplomb & yes, tongue firmly in cheek. How else could one describe such passionate guitar dynamics as found in “Liberator,” “Siti,” “Johnny Levitate,” “Aisakos Don’t Die” & “The Kids Don’t WTF”?
Guaranteed to screw up every conception one might have of what modern Western rock may achieve, let these mischievous sonic anarchists thrill, amuse and entertain you.

Mar 152015
 

CharlieLimBeep

Last night, spent time with Charlie Lim & the Mothership (and twenty plus lucky fans) as the band recorded a live in-studio performance at The Analog Factory. Organised by BEEP Studios, the idea was to provide a unique listening experience, where the music would be crystal clear courtesy of inline earphones courtesy of Aurisonics. Look out for the video to be uploaded soon!

Mar 152015
 

It’s certainly heartening to see Singapore Rock (or S-ROCK) finally begin to get its dues in its hometown in 2015. It seems that suddenly everybody in Singapore loves S-ROCK! Well, that’s an exaggeration of course but we have come a long way from 2005, to say the least. But whilst it’s great to see all and sundry jumping on the bandwagon now (including an app by that very name!), I just want to put on record that Power of Pop has been supporting S-ROCK for over 15 years and we will never ever stop! So, here’s your S-ROCK flashback for today. Enjoy!

ff2

THE FIRE FIGHT
Big Music for the Golden Age

“Our vision and mission is such that we want to change people with our music, in a sense to bring people together and to learn how to love. Music is something that engages every individual’s emotions, very directly in fact. In this way, we can have very personal contact with the listener, even without them being in our presence. That’s what we hope our songs can do” – Josh Tan

As a mission statement, I’d wager that there are precious few corporate entities, never mind fledging Singaporean rock bands, that can boast such vision, such singleness of purpose. But that’s exactly what the Fire Fight is all about. Believe it!

Continue reading »

Feb 242015
 

SongwritersNight3

Another great opportunity for artists to get their originals heard is the SGMUSO Songwriters Night. Now a monthly event, the re-launch kicks off on Saturday, 28th February at The Barbershop by Timbre. Featured artist will be Tim De Cotta X The Warriors with the open mic segment to showcase Fym Summer, JAWN, Hell Low and Ciao Turtle.

See you there!

Feb 062015
 

Esther Lowless_smDebra_sm

It’s the first Originals Sing @ Artistry on 11th Feb. A special one for me, personally, as the songwriters featured are distinct artists within the Singapore indie music scene.

Esther Lowless – I first met when she was fronting Indus Gendi – and whose musical career I have been following closely since then. Esther is also an award-winning actress and sometimes it does seem that there is no limit to what she can achieve with her talents. She released a well-received EP in 2013 – Strange Place to Meet – which was presented also as a short film, which you can watch below. A true artist.

Debra Khng approached me some time back to teach her about songwriting and last year she released her debut EP – Wolves in the Night. Debra has certainly come a long way with her unique pop-rock sensibility (Mariah Carey singing Tracy Chapman songs!) and it’s a particularly proud moment for me to present her at Originals Sing. One of the songs we worked on together remains one of my favourite of her songs. Check out the music video for “All of Me” below.

Support your local music scene, my friends – hope to see you pack out Artistry on Wednesday, 11th Feb from 8pm.

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.

 

 

Jan 272015
 

Screen shot 2015-01-27 at AM 09.46.46

Tim De Cotta (Bass/ Vocals), Audrey Tengkey (Piano, Keys and Synth) and Teo Jia Rong (Drums) make up TAJ, bringing forth an exciting new venture, and great contribution to Singapore’s contemporary jazz scene.

Now the above (from the Darker Than Wax press release) sums it up pretty well. 70s jazz fusion lovers (with emphasis on ‘fusion’) will dig TAJ’s debut EP – The Astral Journey – for its grooves, virtuosity and attitude. Followers of old school soul-R&B-funk will thrill to the authentic spirit behind songs like “Taj Yo’self” and “Old Town MOFO”, not to mention the dreamy title track that demonstrates so much emotional resonance, it’s hard not to fall in love with Audrey Tengkey’s fingers… and the sultry vocoder-ized vox on “Daydream”. Too much sexy. Something for everybody here! Get in!! Now!!!

But of course, we wanted to know more about the folk behind the awesome music and so I present to you… TAJ, in their own words…

How did the band get together?

We got together by chance actually. It was 2012 when Tim and Audrey went with the Singapore contingent to MIDEM in Cannes, and through rehearsals for this showcase Audrey and Tim got to know and like their musical styles in their respective bands. So when they came back Audrey invited Tim to an open jam session at LaSalle with other young musicians and students. It was a shed session to just have fun and also to try new things. Drummers, keyboardists, bassists and turntablists even. So JR was one of the drummers there and as the jam went on, it was clear that the chemistry between the 3 of us whenever we were on our instruments together was really strong! We didn’t just jam the songs per se but we moved and evolved them in a matter of minutes. So eventually, we started meeting more and more often, till it became just exclusive to the 3 of us, jamming covers and then eventually writing our own music. It happened very naturally and faster than usual, also because we became great friends. TAJ was born and on 1 Oct 2013, we released our single “The Astral Journey”.

Continue reading »

Jan 252015
 
CliffYeo_FutureIslands_005

Future Islands by Cliff Yeo

What was my day like at Laneway SG 2015? Really good fun actually, meeting loads of cool music people (you know who you are!), boozin’ and enjoying pretty useful festival food as well. The people watching was fruitful – looking at the sweet young things in their hipster outfits made me feel like an anthropologist (okay, not really).

I was so comfortable and chilled out that I wasn’t even bothered by the fact that most of the music was average at best. Also, rock bands were showcased in the afternoon (where the audience was smaller) but it all felt like an afterthought.

Continue reading »

Jan 222015
 

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Who says you can’t make any money doing music in Singapore, eh?

But seriously folks, this is indicative of the Singapore public’s interest in music in 2014 and a great way to start the musical calendar. I will covering the festival as usual and am looking forward most to good music and good company.

My personal picks are: –

Hanging Up the Moon (Cloud Stage, 6.35pm)

.gif (Cloud Stage, 5.20pm)

Continue reading »

Jan 202015
 

CambridgePromo

Aussie punk rockers Cambridge to open for New Found Glory in Singapore. Listen to “Head Over Heels” and “Hit and Run” below.

Event Details
Event Title: New Found Glory Live in Singapore 2015
Date: Thursday 12th February 2015
Venue: SCAPE The Ground Theatre
Time: 8.00PM
Event Hashtag: #NFGSG

Ticketing Details
Ticketing: http://newfoundglory.peatix.com
VIP: $118 (Meet & Greet / Photo Opp with NFG)
Standard: $78
Early Bird: $68 (until 31 December 2359hrs, or until sold-out)
At Door (12 Feb): $98
*All ticket prices includes ticket fee. All prices in SG$

Jan 192015
 

Mail Attachment-1

“I’m really disappointed to not be able to play these shows. The touring has been so enjoyable for me and the band and the audiences have been great everywhere. If it was about just me just being unwell I would have found a way to continue as I did when I broke my hand last year, but to not be there for one of my family is not right. Thank you to everyone for the kind messages. See you soon. Johnny. X”

Nuff said!

All tickets purchased for February 9th show in Singapore are transferable to the new date on July 30th.

A full refund will be made through Sistic for those who cannot attend rescheduled on July 30th.

“Easy Money” indeed…

… still there’s more … 

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.

Continue reading »

Jan 142015
 

stagefright-1-1

Mention the word ‘cadence’ during a music theory class and chances are that panicked students will be racking their brains to recall what that term means (true story!). As highlighted in their bio, #sgindie rock band Cadence explains that it is “a section in a musical piece which creates a sense of resolution, or the measure of a cyclist’s pace”.

Cadence

The bio goes on – “The band’s music runs either fast and loud, or slow and yearning. If it sounds desperate, that’s because it probably is. The sound of five, taking a shot in the dark, hoping to create something to believe in”.

The band consists of Seth Chiam (Vocals, Guitar); Angus Sham (Guitar); Nathan Huang (Guitar); Japheth Ng (Bass) and Dominic Goh (Drums). At StageFright, we have been quite blessed to experience many bands that have delivered stellar performances despite the space constraints at Artistry, using the limitations to their advantage (instead of sulking about them). Stopgap, Catalogue V, Doves & Ravens, Atlas, Enec.e and Sapporo Safaris are just a couple of great examples. So don’t miss Cadence as they open StageFright XVI @ Artistry on 21st January!

Artistry is located at 17 Jalan Pinang.

… still there’s more … 

Jan 092015
 

stagefright-1-1

Some may say that Singapore does not have a music industry but that it only has a music scene. But even that may not be wholly accurate. Step into any bar or pub with live music and chances are that you will hear a cover band playing Top 40 hits. That’s not a music scene, that’s an entertainment circuit. Singapore needs at least 50% (or more) of its live venues hosting original music but that would take a paradigm shift. Platforms like StageFright @ Artistry is a tiny step in the right direction.

So come on down on 21st January, when you can watch aspiring singer-songwriter Ashlyn Julia in action.

Ashlynjulia

“Drummer turned songwriter. A poet since her teens, she’s wondered a lot about life, love and humanity. One day, Ashlyn Julia discovered a newfound joy when she started to turn her poetry into tunes. From translating expression into beats, she now story-tells in rhyme and voice. Taking inspiration from the little and big things around her, her songs are tales of ups and downs in life. Some say she is too emotional, take a listen, and judge for yourself” is how Ashlyn Julia describes herself.

So if you want a Singapore music scene that can emulate the 70s New York punk scene or the 90s Seattle grunge scene, support your local artists!

Artistry is located at 17 Jalan Pinang.

 

Jan 082015
 

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I have been fortunate enough to participate in two assessment panels for NAC’s EP grant thus far and it’s clear that there are more and more talented artists out there in Singapore! And the fact that in the two years that I have been curating STAGEFRIGHT, I have never once repeated a performer means that the critical mass of singer-songwriters/bands is definitely expanding.

FDym_Summer

Fym Summer is a very promising singer-songwriter and I am happy to have her perform at STAGEFRIGHT XIV. Her bio is short but succinct.

“A bathroom singer-songwriter since 2004, Fym Summer, known for her raw, mezzo vocals and honest, narrative lyrics, is set to drop off her debut acoustic-based mini EP titled “Heart” (stylised as “Hevrt”) in January 2015.”

So get an advance preview of her upcoming EP on 21st January at Artistry (17, Jalan Pinang). Support made-in-Singapore original music!

… still there’s more …. 

Jan 062015
 

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The legendary Crosby, Stills & Nash – one of the biggest bands of the early 70s gets to finally play in Singapore, forty years later. Not much else to add to that, really. Except for the concert details.

CSN perform live in Singapore on Thursday March 19, 2015 at The Star Theatre.

Standard tickets priced at S$98, S$128, S$158, $188 and S$228 goes on sale 9:00 am Friday 9 January, 2015 at SISTIC.com.sg and 10:00 am via all other SISTIC channels. (Excluding Sistic booking fee)

For VIP packages, please call LAMC Productions at +65 6324-0764.

Not to be missed.

Jan 062015
 

NFG

New Found Glory have announced new tour dates in Southeast Asia for February 2015. Commencing on February 6th, the tour goes through Malaysia, Philippines, and Thailand before ending on February 12th in Singapore.

Upcoming Southeast Asian Tour Dates:

February 6th – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Bentley Music Auditorium (Indoor)
Tickets: http://www.mcmticket.com.my

February 8th – Manila, Philippines, Skydome
Tickets: http://www.smtickets.com/

February 10th – Bangkok, Thailand, Live House Studio
Tickets: https://www.facebook.com/livehousebkk

February 12th, Singapore, SCAPE Warehouse
Tickets: http://www.newfoundglory.peatix.com/

Check out the music video for the band’s new single, “Stubborn”.

Jan 052015
 

stagefright-1-1

The songwriters are the future of Singapore music. Make no mistake about that. STAGEFRIGHT is a platform for the songwriter and in its 16th edition at Artistry on Wednesday, 21st January, we continue in our support of the songwriter.

Cloud & Shadows aka Andy Philip has a elliptical concept of a bio. To wit,

“The absence of pain does not guarantee love.
But the absence of love can be painful and bitter.
Clouds & Shadows explores the realities of life, love and loss through music.
Giving voice to such personal experiences, it hopes to provide solace to the souls of others alike.”

Clouds & Shadows (Andy Philip)

Come and support your songwriters, Singapore!

Jan 042015
 

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This came out on Christmas Eve but better late than never as Cherie Ko hams it up as forlorn & neglected housewife on this official music video for “Oh, Louie”. The song is suitably retro and thus Power of Pop fans would eat this up ravenously and the video has sufficient cuteness overload as well. Sorted on all counts.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pastelpower
Twitter: http://twitter.com/cherieko
Instagram: http://instagram.com/cherieko

Jan 032015
 

Pre Order

Fuck ‘genre’ and let the music flow.

Certainly #sgindie quintet The Psalms gives that impression. Consisting of Kye, Isyraf, Mish’aal, 1G, Suhaili, there is a palpable excitement whenever one listens to this bewildering offbeat widescreen music which can be loosely defined by the absurd descriptor of “jazz metal”!

The debut full length – People Eating People – is an endless wonder of surprises and inverted expectations where groovy dissonance becomes tangible. Listening is believing, for sure. Check out the band’s album launch on 10th January at the Esplanade Outdoor Theatre where People Eating People will be in sale.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/epsalms
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/epsalms
Bandcamp: http://thepsalmssg.bandcamp.com/

… still there’s more … 

 

 

Dec 262014
 

20 Os Artistry - 1

I experimented with 20 Originals performance events earlier this year at a local outlet, which was not perfect but was a good platform to push the novel idea that original music made in Singapore needed to build a fan base in order for the local indie scene to survive.

The biggest difficulty was as usual, getting people to attend. I always laugh when folks describe me as a ‘legend’ cos if that was true I would not struggle to get people to my gigs (especially when the admission is FREE). So that’s the reality — nobody really gives a fuck about original music in Singapore, and in particular, mine.

Of course, that’s a generalization – a sweeping statement. Sure, there ARE people who dig my music, even if it’s a minuscule group. There are people who pay ‘lip service’ – flatterers who maybe believe that they can get something out of me in return. But these are the same people who NEVER attend any of my gigs. So there you go, actions speak LOUDER than words! You know who you are! Aha!

But I digress. Despite the challenges, I plod on. Ultimately, I believe in myself and my music, even if the world does not. And that’s what it’s all about really. Perhaps it’s self-delusion – so what? At least, I know that the handful of people who do turn up on Saturday for this event are truly the people who do believe in me and my music. And for that, I am eternally grateful and that little encouragement drives me to keep moving forward.

So, here’s the deal. Two sets of 10 songs each. The first set will concentrate mainly on the 90s (and mostly ‘love’ songs) and the second set will focus on newer material (mostly ‘hate’ songs) and will also see the debut of four new songs that will form the bulk of my upcoming 2015 EP. See you there if you’re interested. And oh yeah, NO FUCKING COVERS!

More info etc – https://www.facebook.com/events/740476162667896/746885612026951

... still there’s more ...