2015: TOP TEN SINGAPORE RELEASES

S-ROCK

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!

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ALBUM REVIEW: STOPGAP – TOTEMS

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by Lenne Chai

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.

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AWAKEN THE DRAGON WITH THE OBSERVATORY, OBEDIENT WIVES CLUB & MORE!

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Awaken the Dragon is a community art project surrounding the last two remaining Dragon Kilns in Singapore. The project aims to invite 3000 members of the public to participate in making a collective sculpture made from clay and fired in the Dragon Kiln.

The concert is part of the Awaken the Dragon Festival that’s happening from 17-23 November. There will also be demos and workshops by local ceramic artists, arts & crafts stalls, food and drink vendors.

The Observatory, Obedient Wives Club, Stopgap, Lost Weekend and The White Trip Movement will be performing on 22 November from 6:30pm. Admission is free.

For more details on the Festival, visit:

https://www.facebook.com/events/717111341705189/
http://awakenthedragonkiln.wordpress.com/about/
https://www.facebook.com/Awakenthedragonkiln

ANIMAL DAY @ 313 (2014)

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Animal Day @ 313 is back! Come support the 10 animal welfare groups that will be supported through performances by 7 bands!

Dates: 18th & 19th October 2014
Venue: Discovery Walk (313@somerset, L1)
Time: 12pm-7pm

In support of:
ACRES: Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Singapore)
Action for Singapore Dogs (ASD)
Agency for Animal Welfare Ltd.
Animal Lovers League
Causes for Animals – Singapore
Humane Society
House Rabbit Society Singapore (HRSS)
Noah’s Ark Natural Animal Sanctuary – nanas
Save Our StreetDogs SOSD

With:
Pet Lovers Centre Singapore and Clubpets Magazine

Supported by:
Still Sunrise | Stopgap | Pleasantry | Sam Rui | Purple Tiger | Theodora | Afterglow

(Organized by Thunder Rock School)

#sgindie

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 …

#sgindie

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…

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#sgindie

After the heady month of local gigs that was June, the #sgindie goodness continues to flow. So heads up on a couple of shows coming your way in the coming weeks. 

Red Kite & Beer Market have earmarked four Sundays in July as Original Sundays with an intriguing lineup of #sgindie bands for your viewing and listening pleasure.

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BAYBEATS 2014: DAY ONE

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 …

 

BAYBEATS 2014: PoP RECOMMENDATIONS

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!

 

 

 

 

RAZER PRESENTS THE ART OF SOUND [NEWS]

In conjunction with the launch of the Adaro Audio Series, this event features Charlie Lim and supported by Gentle Bones, Gareth Fernandez, Stopgap and .gif. The festivities begin at 7pm at Lowercase on 30th April. See you there!

RSVP

S-ROCK: ALIVE & KICKIN’ [LIVE REVIEWS]

Obedient Wives Club, by Cass Goh
Obedient Wives Club, by Cass Goh

It is a good time to be involved in the S-ROCK scene. Interest in the scene is definitely growing as the media gives it attention it properly deserves. More releases, more gigs, more open mikes, more bands, more venues…more, more, more!  In the last two weeks, I managed to witness two launches – first, by Another Sunday Afternoon and last Friday, by Obedient Wives Club. These bands are very different in terms of musical approach and execution but share the same passion, talent and ability to touch and thrill true-blue music lovers. Also worth considering – the fledging outfits that opened viz Victoria Street and Rocketswan, interestingly enough, both female-fronted! Exciting times, indeed.

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BAYBEATS AUDITIONS 2013: ROUND TWO [REVIEW]

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Just got back from the Round Two of the Baybeats Auditions 2013 and we wanted to put out a quick response whilst our thoughts and feelings are fresh in my mind. This is the seventh year of the Baybeats Auditions where young local bands are given an opportunity to showcase their talents during one the largest alternative rock music festivals in the region. This year’s slate of hopefuls have thrown up a diverse array of bands/artists signaling a sea change in the very definition of alternative rock music.

First off, we want to congratulate all 16 bands for giving it their best shot. It is instructional to note that playing at the Baybeats Festival is not the be-all-and-end-all for aspiring bands/artists although it can be a useful launching platform for a new band. It is heartening to see the different bands provide a snapshot of what can be available in the S-ROCK scene in the years to come. we want to highlight bands that – in our humble opinion – represent exciting prospects for S-ROCK.

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