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PoP RECOMMENDS: MAX JURY

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Mar 312015
 

Max Jury

What makes new music worthy of anyone’s attention? Is it merely the fact that it’s contemporary and in a style and fashion that is popular and trendy? The pop music scene prizes glitzy superficiality over substance of any form to such an extent that the very art and craft of songwriting is in danger of withering away and going the way of the dinosaur.

Which is why every now and then, the discovery of a new singer-songwriter that adheres contrarily to the classic formats of 60s and 70s pop-rock is like a breath of fresh air, in a heavily polluted environment. Thus, ladies and gentlemen, in the background set out before, we give you Max Jury.

Jury released 2 EPs in 2014 – Something in the Air and All I Want: The Sonic Factory Sessions – and these seven incandescent songs represent some of the most promising rock ‘n’ roll (in the classic sense of that term) material of the last decade or so.

Songs like “Christian Eyes”, “All I Want”, “Black Metal” and “Something in the Air” uncannily channel the likes of John Lennon, Gram Parsons, Alex Chilton, Todd Rundgren et al through the razor-sharp perspective of a 21 year old American singer-songwriter.

We managed to get in touch with Max and he kindly responded to our queries.

How does a 21 year old get into someone like Gram Parsons who died 20 years before you were born?

I’m fascinated by the story and myth of Gram Parsons. I originally got into his solo work through Ryan Adams. And then I started listening to The Flying Burrito Brothers and his work with The Byrds.

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RALEGH LONG’S GORGEOUS DEBUT IS HOVERING DANGEROUSLY CLOSE TO GREATNESS

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Mar 172015
 

RaleghLongHoverance

I met English singer-songwriter Ralegh Long last year when he visited Singapore and found him to be an unassuming, down to earth chap. You can listen to my interview with Long here. What I particularly liked about Long was the deep commitment to his craft and that he found inspiration from cult singer-songwriters like Robyn Hitchcock and Epic Soundtracks. This dedication can be seen in his songwriting, which can be best described as ‘traditional’ and ‘old-fashioned’ in that it relies on sophistication, orchestration and courageous musical choices to get the job done. Certainly not a bad combination! On his debut album, Hoverance, Long delivers a robust collection of deceptively simple songs that beg for closer inspection. Utilising tools of emotional resonance like pedal steel, a string quartet and woodwinds, Long imbues a baroque-like feel to the songs that engender a melancholy ambience that is impossible to ignore. I caught up with Long via email to get him to talk about how he put this gorgeous album of heartfelt songs together.

What were your inspirations for the mood and atmosphere generated for the album?

The mood and atmosphere came from sounds I’d had in my head for a while. I’ve always heard woodwinds in particular as a kind of synthesiser. I guess the pedal steel element came more accidentally. I asked Jack Hayter (Ex-Hefner) to play on a song called “Elizabeth” off my previous E.P The Gift and then we worked more and more closely together until he now plays in my band.

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ORIGINALS SING – ESTHER LOWLESS + DEBRA KHNG

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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.

STAGEFRIGHT XVI – CLOUDS & SHADOWS

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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!

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 ...

 

Dec 032014
 

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Fuck nostalgia! For me, it’s always about the here and now – the singer and the song. Sure, you could describe singer-songwriter Glenn Tilbrook in those terms but that barely does any justice to the talent and wit that this man possesses. As the frontman of 80s ‘new wave’ band Squeeze, Tilbrook certainly had his time in the sun but the passing of thirty years have not diminished the artist’s ability to connect with an audience in a manner that escapes many younger musicians.

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PoPTV: NICHOLAS CHIM PROVES THAT IT’S NOT ABOUT WHERE YOU COME FROM BUT HOW WELL YOUR MUSIC CONNECTS

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Nov 302014
 

NickCHIM

Forget about how small Singapore is or how you need to sing in the native tongue in order to play overseas, singer-songwriter Nicholas Chim has broken all these rules to find acceptance in Germany!  Well, don’t just take my word for it, check out his Tour Diaries below.

Official Site

DEETALK: THE ORIGINAL SERIES

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Nov 222014
 

DeeTalkPoster

Singer-songwriter Daphne Khoo will be performing at KEEPERS on Saturday, 29th November. Tickets are priced at $25 (with the Wonderland EP) & $20 and can be purchased from deetalk.peatix.com. All proceeds will go to the Singapore Cancer Society.

Also featuring guests Dee Kosh, Gareth Fernandez, Gayle Nerva and Nathan Hartono.

STAGEFRIGHT XV | 12TH NOV | KHAIRUL RIDZWAN

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Oct 292014
 

Khairul

What I liked about Khairul Ridzwan was that he had the balls to approach me at Artistry and asked whether he could play! So let’s find out more about him, shall we and make sure you come down to check out his original music.

Khairul Ridzwan is an aspiring artist born in Singapore. He started playing the acoustic guitar since the age of 14 and eventually progressed to singing a few years later, Khairul has written and performed several original and cover songs. Occasionally, you can find him busking during weekend nights along the streets of Singapore or playing in local cafes. Currently studying Diploma in Music and Audio Technology in Singapore Polytechnic, Khairul aspires to be an original singer and songwriter, evoking feelings from his stories to touch his listeners.

… still there’s more …

STAGEFRIGHT XV | WED 12TH NOV | ARTISTRY | YAP WEI CHIANG

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Oct 282014
 

weichiang1

Next up in STAGEFRIGHT XV @ Artistry — Yap Wei Chiang!

Wei Chiang is currently an aspiring singer-songwriter and college student. Whenever he’s not busy studying, trying to get to lectures on time, playing Ultimate Frisbee or Dota 2, he spends his time ruminating on life, love and what it means to live growing up in Singapore. Writing since 15, most of these personal experiences find their way into his songs; songs which he hopes are honest and relate!

Artistry Cafe is located at 17 Jalan Pinang. RSVP at Facebook.

… still there’s more …

STAGEFRIGHT X

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Jan 082014
 

Goes without saying that local original music needs more exposure and so I am pleased that STAGEFRIGHT @ Artistry is now into its 10th edition. Tonight, the lineup is –

8.00pm to 8.15pm Che Cereza
8.20pm to 8.35pm Hiroki Sunayama
8.40pm to 8.55pm Richard Philip
9.00pm to 9.15pm The Winged Butter Cats

Come on down and enjoy some mid-week refreshment. I will be playing a couple of new tunes from the upcoming #alpacablues ep at the end. See you there!

More info.

PoPINIONS

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Dec 122013
 

IF YOU HAVE NOTHING GOOD TO SAY…

A good friend recently suggested that I should emulate the renowned music critic Bob Lefsetz and cut loose on music and bands that I did not like – the proverbial ‘take no prisoners’ kind of commentary. Not that I haven’t done this in the 20 odd years that I have been writing about music and pop culture. And this includes telling the ‘truth’ about the music of local bands and artists as well. However, I find that it does not serve any purpose and often the targets of the criticism are not able to benefit from those remarks – so why bother?

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STAGEFRIGHT @ ARTISTRY [NEWS]

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Jan 242013
 

sf-flyer

 

Have been very excited by the many open mics/songwriter showcases popping up all over our little red dot in the past few months and I am glad to be involved in Stagefright @ Artistry together with Artistry Cafe and buddy Pat Chng. For February and March, yours truly will be curating this showcase. I’ll will be looking more at songwriting and the best way to present the song (usually acoustic) but ultimately am open to anything… drop me a line <kamcomusic@gmail.com> with all the necessary links…

 

POWER OF POP INTERVIEW: SIMON TOWNSHEND

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Jan 032013
 

Simon Townshend released one of the more intriguing albums of 2012, the under-rated Looking Out, Looking In. We were fortunate and privileged to be able to pose a couple of questions to Townshend via email and we set out his responses below.

As a musician/recording artist, has being the younger brother of Pete Townshend been an advantage or disadvantage and why so?

I think it works both ways. I suppose I have a lot to live up to, especially when some people expect so much of me. Having said that my name has opened a few doors that would have perhaps remained shut. I am really proud of my brother and have always loved his music / lyrics – The Who are one of my all time favourite bands. However, I have many other musical influences and my sound is unique. I think once people realise that the sibling association takes a back seat they will judge me on my own merits. At the end of the day it’s down to me and my music to win music lovers over.

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RACHAEL YAMAGATA – LIVE IN SINGAPORE [NEWS]

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Dec 152012
 

American songstress Rachael Yamagata returns to Singapore for a fifth time, in support of her new EP Heavyweight. Concert promoters Greenhorn Productions recently announced that Yamagata will be performing on 2nd March 2013 at the Esplanade Concert Hall and that tickets at $48, $68, 88 and $98 (excluding Sistic charges) will be available from www.sistic.com soon. Stay tuned for details soon at the official Facebook event page. In the meantime, check out the title track of her new EP below.

Official Site

KELLY CLARKSON – GREATEST HITS: CHAPTER ONE [REVIEW]

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Nov 282012
 

Singer-songwriter Maricelle Wong shares with us her thoughts on fellow singer-songwriters…

Kelly Clarkson who? We all know who she is, this power-packed girl has been singing her way up charts ever since she was the winner of the inaugural American Idol season, easily one of the most successful singers after that show ended. Since that victory, she’s had lots of her songs become chart topping hits, but her success took awhile to pop up infront of her. She had been offered scholarships but decided to make it on her own after high school, working several different jobs to fund her recording.

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JILLIAN MARIE AMBROSE – EVER CHANGING HEART [REVIEW]

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Nov 092012
 

Singer-songwriter Maricelle Wong shares with us her thoughts on fellow singer-songwriters…

Jillian Marie Ambrose is a singer songwriter from Kansas, whose music is sombre like Christina Perri, yet has a slight pop-country vibe to the guitars, and about teenage love. With her album starting with “ever changing heart”, her album is full of love songs, reminiscent of Taylor Swift’s many teenage love songs, and some covers.

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REGINA SPEKTOR – LIVE IN SINGAPORE [NEWS]

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Nov 042012
 

Greenhorn Productions are presenting Regina Spektor – LIVE with special guest Only Son for the first time in Singapore!

Date: 22 Dec 2012 Time: 8 p.m. Venue: Esplanade Theatre

Tickets at www.sistic.com at $68,$88,$108,$128 and $148 (excluding sistic charges) available from 3 Nov 2012.

Regina Spektor will be performing with her full band and will be supported by ONLY SON (Jack Dishel).

Visit www.reginaspektor.com

 

KELLI SCARR – DANGLING TEETH [REVIEW]

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Nov 012012
 

Singer-songwriter Maricelle Wong shares with us her thoughts on fellow singer-songwriters…

This Californian girl has collaborated and toured with Moby many times before, and written the soundtrack for a HBO documentary ‘In a Dream’ which is about a particular artist who chronicles his life in mosaics. With her album Dangling Teeth, her inspiration from the radio on long drives between her separated parents’ houses definitely shows. Her album is both fit for a roadtrip on a hot summer’s afternoon, or for chilling by the campfire at night.

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JASON CHEN – LIVE IN SINGAPORE [NEWS]

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Oct 272012
 

(Sprout Entertainment Press Release)

After serenading a record 3500 crowd at the Sentosa Coliseum, YouTube Superstar Jason Chen returns to Singapore for his 2013 Asia Tour! Sprout Entertainment has confirmed that he will be back for a one night only stop in Singapore on 12 January 2013 at the SCAPE Warehouse.

Catch this living legend in action as he performs a mix of originals and covers of our favorite artists such as Maroon 5, One Direction, J J Lin and Wang Lee Hom.

Since his debut 3 years ago, Jason has wowed fans with his wide vocal range and expressive renditions of pop favorites; he has garnered over 500 thousand subscribers and more than 130 million views on YouTube. His all time record hit cover songs include “Just a Dream” by Nelly, “Tong Hua” by Guang Liang and “Payphone” by Maroon 5. His originals are no slouches, with Best Friend receiving more than 6 million views and Just For A Moment coming in at 5 million views.

Come 12 January, Jason will be rocking out with his fans, accompanied by his 3-piece band. As a special thank you, he has thrown in 50 VIP concert + meet and greet tickets, priced at $83. Grab yours before they’re gone!

For more information updates: like https://www.facebook.com/sproutentertainment?fref=ts and follow @sproutentertain

Date: 12 Jan 2013
Time: 7pm
Venue: SCAPE Warehouse
Concert Tickets: $58
Concert Tickets + Meet n Greet: $83

Get your tickets from SISTIC now!

FASCIST ARCHITECTURE: RECORD MAKING

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Oct 052012
 

CAN’T GET THERE FROM HERE

It’s the first week of October 2012 and the new album – Emo Fascism – is done. Well almost. The fact is that the songs were all built up from foundations established in the last couple of years, from basic Garageband files. These GB files were imported into Patrick Chng’s Logic software (at the Neptune) and we tweaked the sounds, added new instrumental backing and recorded new vocals (in many cases, numerous harmony and backing vocals) in order to arrive at the ten main tracks to be found on Emo Fascism.

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Sep 232012
 

GETTING CLOSER

You could say that I’ve been following the career of Inch Chua for quite awhile, since 2007, in fact. And it has always been heartening to see the tremendous strides this young, talented, driven lady has made in those five years. Her latest achievement? Hitting the target of her crowd-funding album project with time to spare. I can safely say that I have not been too surprised by any of this – I have always believed that Inch could achieve virtually anything she put her mind to and her hard work and creative enterprise has borne fruit.

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