Tag Archives: Streaming

LISTENING BOOTH – THE NEW ROCK N ROLL FT. SLOTHRUST, CHRIS STAPLES, MARK ALLEN-PICCOLO, THE VELLAS AND INC. NO WORLD!

Listening Booth 2016

Rock ‘n’ roll might not have the same commercial or cultural impact it used to have but we promise to keep the flag flying.

Here are streams of new music you should be listening to that expresses the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll. Enjoy!

Continue reading LISTENING BOOTH – THE NEW ROCK N ROLL FT. SLOTHRUST, CHRIS STAPLES, MARK ALLEN-PICCOLO, THE VELLAS AND INC. NO WORLD!

LISTENING BOOTH – THE NEW ROCK N ROLL FT. RAKUNK, FIELD MOUSE, PWR BTTM, CITIZEN ZERO & BELLOWS!

Listening Booth 2016

Rock ‘n’ roll might not have the same commercial or cultural impact it used to have but we promise to keep the flag flying.

Here are streams of new music you should be listening to that expresses the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll. Enjoy!

Continue reading LISTENING BOOTH – THE NEW ROCK N ROLL FT. RAKUNK, FIELD MOUSE, PWR BTTM, CITIZEN ZERO & BELLOWS!

LISTENING BOOTH – THE NEW ROCK N ROLL

Listening Booth 2016

Rock ‘n’ roll might not have the same commercial or cultural impact it used to have but we promise to keep the flag flying.

Here are streams of new music you should be listening to that expresses the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll. Enjoy!

Continue reading LISTENING BOOTH – THE NEW ROCK N ROLL

LISTENING BOOTH – THE NEW ROCK ’N’ ROLL

Listening Booth 2016

Rock ‘n’ roll might not have the same commercial or cultural impact it used to have but we promise to keep the flag flying.

Here are streams of new music you should be listening to that expresses the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll. Enjoy!

Continue reading LISTENING BOOTH – THE NEW ROCK ’N’ ROLL

LISTENING BOOTH – THE NEW ROCK ’N’ ROLL

LISTENINGBOOTH

Rock ‘n’ roll might not have the same commercial or cultural impact it used to have but we promise to keep the flag flying.

Here are streams of new music you should be listening to that expresses the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll. Enjoy!

Continue reading LISTENING BOOTH – THE NEW ROCK ’N’ ROLL

LISTENING ROOM – THE NEW ROCK ’N’ ROLL

LISTENINGBOOTH

Rock ‘n’ roll might not have the same commercial or cultural impact it used to have but we promise to keep the flag flying.

Here are streams of new music you should be listening to that expresses the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll. Enjoy!

Continue reading LISTENING ROOM – THE NEW ROCK ’N’ ROLL

ROCK HISTORY: THE BEATLES – REVOLUTION IN THE HEAD (PLAYLIST)

Beatles Pop Art 001

“With every song that I write, I compare it to the Beatles. The thing is, they only got there before me. If I’d been born at the same time as John Lennon, I’d have been up there.”

This mind-boggling quote comes from Noel Gallagher. The self-delusion is obvious but the fact that Gallagher has made a career out of plagiarism is proof of how wrong this statement is. If not for the inspiration of The Beatles (and many others), nobody would have even heard of Noel Gallagher (sounds like heaven!).

Continue reading ROCK HISTORY: THE BEATLES – REVOLUTION IN THE HEAD (PLAYLIST)

SINGAPORE WRITERS FESTIVAL 2015: ISLAND OF DREAMS – IN EACH HAND A CUTLASS + I AM DAVID SPARKLE

Island of Dreams

Alright, here’s the concept – let’s have ‘crossover’ events with music for the Singapore Writers Festival 2015. All perfectly logical – after all songs have lyrics.

Now, let’s stretch that further and have the opening event a concert featuring two of Singapore’s leading INSTRUMENTAL rock bands!

Yes indeed, that’s the way to do something completely different and with In Each Hand a Cutlass (left, above) and I Am David Sparkle on board, one can be sure that the music will be up to the task.

Luckily for Power of Pop, we get to quiz the bands and they get to write some words to – hopefully – offer some clarity about Island of Dreams.

How did the organisers set out the task assigned to you regarding Island of Dreams?

Sujin Thomas (IEHAC): We were approached at first as a potential band to write the theme song for the Singapore Writers Festival and later commissioned to do the job.  I think the organisers decided on an instrumental band because we offered that element of songwriting without words. What was cool was that they left the creative process entirely to us to work out. 

Daniel Sassoon (IEHAC): We definitely appreciate the creative freedom given to us, although the track is ultimately a commissioned piece. We shared our ideas and vision of what the song was meant to capture – namely, the spark of inspiration that ignites the whole creative process, and the birthing of new worlds as a result. They saw where we were coming from and liked the demo, and gave some feedback; we tweaked it a little when recording it, and off we went to Snakeweed Studios.

I Am David Sparkle: Expressions of life’s liberties.

What was the main challenge in coming up with a set that would be suitable for the theme assigned to you?

Sujin: For the theme song itself, we had to think outside of our familiar realm, that is, to steer away from the technicalities and mood shifts of our own tracks. We kept in mind that we had to create an instrumental song that could not only be catchy and engaging but also be palatable for mainstream listeners. Our set for the gig is made up of a range of songs off our second LP, The Kraken, with a few tracks from our debut album, and of course, the theme song. Again, we kept in mind that the audience at the gig may not all be familiar with our stuff so we’ve curated a set list that will offer them an easy introduction to the band, with a few fan favourites thrown in the mix for good measure. Basically, we plan to blow their minds to bits.

IADS: Aggressive discipline and barbaric control.

What is your interpretation of Island of Dreams – what does it mean to you?

Amanda Ling (IEHAC): Dream factory, through the mind, to the hands and out to the world.

Daniel: I imagine this island as a safe space in the middle of the ocean, which carries certain danger and the unknown that lurks in its depths.

IADS: No disguise can deface evil, that stains the primitive sickle blood red.

As an instrumental band, how do you convey your ideas effectively, without the use of words?

Amanda: Music is a universal language that can be understood through its emotive nature of the mood, tempo, instrumentation set by the musicians. The dynamics of each element interplay with each other and the wordless nature provides the listener with a vast possibility of interpretation through their imagination. 

Nelson Tan (IEHAC): Most of the time I go with the flow. If I feel that it sounds right, I would go for it. I also try not to focus too much on the technical aspect of my bass playing but more like let the song develop into the way I feel is right. Many a times I’ve tried to introduce more advanced ways of playing only to find that grooving with the drummer prevails over tapping demisemiquaver notes over a 3 octave B harmonic minor scale in major 3rds using both hands at 300BPM. Sometimes less is more for most of the time. 

Daniel: I didn’t even understand that, but that’s why Nelson’s got that music degree!

IADS: Oppression ruled by bloodshed.

Besides the music itself, are there any other aspects of your performance that will go towards an interpretation of the theme?

Daniel: We should be having some background visuals and mood lighting that would enhance the atmosphere; but we’ll leave that to the professionals to come up with all that good stuff. We’ll just focus on playing as best we can.

IADS: Seizing all civil liberties.

Island of Dreams will be held at the Victoria Theatre on 30th October.

Tickets available from http://www.sistic.com.sg/events/swf2015c 

Listen to In Each Hand a Cutlass’ “The Paper, The Pen and the World Began” – the theme song of the Singapore Writers Festival.

EP REVIEW: THE QUARTERMASTERS FIND THE SWEET SPOT BETWEEN FOLK AND SOUL & PRODUCES A DEBUT EP FOR MUSIC FANS TO SAVOUR

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The Quartermasters want the music to speak for itself – no hype, no labels, just the music. On that count, this debut EP should be enjoyed on its own merits. By and large, it will be.

From a reviewer’s perspective, stripped of the need to pigeonhole this music, it is obvious that the Quartermasters’ goal was to make emotionally resonant music and again, on that count, they have succeeded.

For the bulk of the EP (viz. “The Harlot Train”, “Catch on Fire” and “Invincible”) reflects the influence of country-folk music that runs across the past five decades. Whether or not this music has been somehow appropriated by modern indie-pop fans (due to the popularity of Noah & the Whale, Fleet Foxes and Mumford & Son), there’s little doubt that the ‘age’ of the reference points have not impacted on opinions of millennials who have adopted this kind of music as somehow relevant and suitable modern pop.

Which goes to prove that folks still judge a book by its cover. Form over substance.

But these extraneous concerns are moot when one comes to the gorgeously soulful “Worry”, which manages to insert jazz-inflected harmonic progressions within its generic country-folk construct. No mean feat and at over six minutes there’s a whole lotta country-soul to enjoy!

ROCK HISTORY: JAPAN – QUIET LIFE (1979)

Japan1979

English band Japan never hid their influences, with The New York Dolls, Roxy Music, David Bowie and The Velvet Underground, readily apparent from their image and music. Consisting of David Sylvian (lead vocals, guitar), Richard Barbieri (synths, keyboards), Mick Karn (bass, sax, flute, backing vocals), Steve Jansen (drums, percussion, backing vocals) and Rob Dean (guitar), the band would in turn inspire many of the 80s New Romantics (Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet etc) though the band themselves swore off that label.

Quiet Life, their 3rd LP, is significant as it signalled a shift in style as Japan eschewed the glam-rock of their first two LPs in favour of a more experimental synth-based approach, which bordered on art rock. This allowed the creativity of Karn and Barbieri to shine through in their instrumental work and Sylvian began to step of the shadow of his #1 vocal inspiration, Bryan Ferry. Guitars were no longer used to provide chordal accompaniment and where utilised would be more atmospheric in nature. This change in direction probably led to guitarist Dean leaving, subsequent to the album’s release.

Songs like the dance-rocking title track, the mutant groovy “In Vogue” and the Roxy-channeling “Halloween” provided the album highlights, whilst the sublime cover of the Velvets’ “All Tomorrow’s Parties” would make for a particularly memorable single.

As a quartet, Japan would go on to release the successful Gentlemen Take Polaroids and Tin Drum albums before splitting up in 1982 to explore even more progressive rock territories individually.

… still there’s more… 

SINGLE REVIEW: LOWLY – FIRE

LOWLY

Good melodies with interesting arrangements – hooks that stick in your head and convince you to listen again. This is what a lead track should sound like.

Danish band Lowly releases their debut EP Sink Way Into Me on October 30th (via Bella Union) and based on the mesmerising “Fire”, one would reasonably want to hear more.

It’s all about that memorable chorus with its singalong backing vocals and the insistent choppy piano driving its presence into your synapses. Does the trick for me!

PoPINONS: THE MUSIC INDUSTRY HAS BEEN CHANGED IRREVERSIBLY BY TECHNOLOGY SO WAKE UP IT’S NEVER GOING BACK TO WHAT IT WAS BEFORE.

music-streaming

I have been listening to rock music since I was an early teen. Back then, my access to rock music was via vinyl, cassette and 8-track mainly. This access was limited by one thing – money. In order to get access to the music, you had to pay for it! And that meant that you had to budget for the music you wanted to buy. Of course, there were ways of circumventing this limitation and expanding the amount of music you could listen to.

Pirated records was the main avenue – whether it was by purchasing pirated records (which were cheaper) or getting a friend to reproduce the record of your choice on cassette. If you were desperate enough, you could even try to record songs off the radio onto cassettes. Money was the problem and ways and means were devised to ensure that you would get maximum bang for your buck, so to speak.

This paradigm shifted with the development of digital music & the mp3. No longer did you need to purchase vinyl or cassette (8-track had gone the way of the dinosaur already) but mp3s allowed a music fan to listen to music on the computer or dedicated mp3 players. In 1999, with the arrival of Napster — a pioneering peer-to-peer file sharing Internet service that emphasised sharing audio mp3 files — the door was opened that led to a seismic shift in how music could be listened to, which signalled the end of the music industry that had enjoyed commercial success for decades (especially with the introduction of Compact Disc technology).

Imagine pirated music on a scale never before imaginable – the music industry basically crashed with sales dropping year to year at an alarming rate. This decline was partially arrested when Apple entered into the music industry with iTunes – initially resisted by the record labels and still rather reluctantly embraced.
In the decade following the launch of Napster, both MusicNet and Pandora were established in an attempt to monetise the new ways in which technology allowed fans to consume music. However, the main hinderance was that music piracy had ruined audiences to such an extent that fans were no longer willing to pay for digital music.

This is where Spotify and the concept of freemium took hold – allowing its members to have unlimited access to its music streaming catalogue for free but with advertising. Premium membership, of course, dispensed with the advertising for a monthly fee. This has caught on with fans with other services sprouting soon after (Rdio and Deezer). However, labels and artists remained less than enthused as the revenues were relatively modest compared to the heyday of the compact disc. Other streaming services like Tidal and Apple Music soon appeared as well – with a firm commitment to paid services although the jury is well and truly out on whether fans are willing to pay for music streaming.

Whichever way the streaming wars pan out and even if ultimately, the majority of fans are convinced to pay ten bucks a month – the future of the music industry will be in the hands of the streaming companies and not the record labels. It is hard to imagine consumers wanting to return to physical copies — even if vinyl has gone through a revival of sorts.

And what does that mean for bands and artists? Well, forget about music ever providing the golden ticket anymore (not that it truly did before but that’s another story) — the sheer size of the catalogue at these streaming services means that the competition is immense. Why would anyone listen to my music when they can access some of the best music ever made in the last 50 – 60 years?!? There is no longer the budgetary concerns anymore. As a music fan myself, I can spend hours at a streaming service listening to virtually all the 70s progressive rock or say, all the 90s UK techno (or whatever else) that has been recorded.

It’s not impossible to carve a niche for oneself as a recording artist but that’s all it will ever be – a niche. Which means that expectations need to be toned down and a means to have time and money to write and record music become a premium. If this is not the attitude of young musicians, then they will be in for a rude shock.

So wake up. Technology now allows us recording artists to make music cheaply, but that also applies to everyone else and — in addition — access to recorded music has been at its highest level ever in the history of music. This present reality is what bands & artists need to assimilate and exploit in order to continue to have music making a satisfying proposition.

LISTENING BOOTH: THE HIGH LEARYS IGNITE THE PSYCHEDELIC ROCK REVIVAL WITH NEW SINGLE

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Nothing wrong with going all retrodelic like (as someone once described the music of Robyn Hitchcock and the Egyptians) if the music is as good as Perth band The High Leary’s new single “Letters to Alice”. Evoking the glorious mid-60s psych-rock majesty of bands like Pink Floyd, The Doors and Deep Purple, “Letters to Alice” will appeal to fans of modern day psych-rock revivalists like Temples and Tame Impala. “Letters to Alice” will be released on 4th September but you can preview the track now streaming at Soundcloud.

… still there’s more … 

DISCOVERED AT POWER OF POP!

DISCOVEREDPOP

Our weekly (weakly?) discovery of worthy new releases. Enjoy!

STRANGE WILDS – SUBJECTIVE CONCEPTS

A musical power-trio from Olympia, Washington on Sub Pop? Are you thinking what I’m thinking? The return of Seattle Grunge! Uh-huh. About frigging time too.

https://www.facebook.com/strangewilds

ELEVENTH DREAM DAY – WORKS FOR TOMORROW

All this talk of a guitar rock revival belies the fact that veteran bands like Eleventh Dream Day are still delivering kickass music! Here’s one, the young upstarts to take notes from.

https://www.facebook.com/eleventhdreamday

DUCKTAILS – ST. CATHERINE

Here’s one to chill out to – very lush & sophisticated indie-psych-dream pop-rock. Perfect for a Sunday afternoon, in fact.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ducktails/78029223987

… still there’s more …

DISCOVERED AT POWER OF POP

DISCOVEREDPOP

What’s new? Well, here’s three melodic pop-rock gems you can stream without fear! Dive in!!

VERUCA SALT – GHOST NOTES

Talking about a 90s rock revival, here’s the reunion album of Veruca Salt, sounding smashing in a beefy Brad Wood production. First rate songs that make the years melt away.

https://www.facebook.com/verucasaltband

BEST FRIENDS – HOT. RECKLESS. TOTALLY INSANE

More actual evidence of a 90s rock revival comes in the form of Sheffield’s Best Friends. Fuzzy guitars, knowing pop tunes and punk rhythms. It’s happening, boys and girls!

https://www.facebook.com/bestfriendspartyhard

EZTV – CALLING OUT

Power pop band hailing from Brooklyn, that has a good handle of 90s pop underground dynamics viz. infectious melodies, jangly guitar tones and sophisticated chord changes. Highly promising.

https://www.facebook.com/EzTVeeee

 

… still there’s more …

TEXTING FROM THE EDGE: GIN WIGMORE PULLED ON MY LEG!

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Being on the periphery of the Singapore music industry is at once a privileged and awkward position to occupy. At worst a ‘failed musician’ and best a ‘conscientious objector’,  I am the ‘cool uncle’ infamously derided in that pointlessly ageist Other Sounds review from years back, and the ‘influencer’ music peeps want on their side until my usefulness has run its course, and then I am kicked to the curb. But still I plod on – texting from the edge

Gin Wigmore is a 29 year old singer-songwriter hailing from New Zealand and now based in Los Angeles. Thanks to Rdio Asia (hey Elvin, Kurt & Robin!) and Universal Music Singapore (Yo! Kheng, Sarah & Danny!), I was invited to a special showcase at Rdio’s cozy office at Ann Siang Hill yesterday (Saturday, 11th July). Gin is a wiry, hyperactive, tattooed, Slayer-tee wearing singing dynamo and having her (and wonderful backing band) deliver three highly jacked acoustic songs an arm’s length away was certainly memorable (the free flow Sailor Jerry’s did not hurt either).

Not only that but Gin also needed to come forward and pull on my leg (probably cuz she felt that this old fart was not appropriately moving to the beat) – which was a cheap thrill to be added to the collection. Definitely three songs was too short but a tasty teaser of what Gin and band could deliver. Later on, she mingled (No, Gin, Food Republic is NOT representative of Singapore food!) and I got a chance to speak to some of her band members – a mixture of folks from NZ and USA – and as usual, the music provided a means to connect.

The morning after, I am reading up more about Gin, listening to her music and realising that until the exact moment I stepped into Rdio, I was quite ignorant of her and her music. And I am wondering now whether there was more that could have been done with the time spent with Gin and her band, that the Singapore music scene could benefit from. Or maybe not. But at a bare minimum to be better prepared the next time – sorry but this is not a Seinfeld episode – I need my learning points and key takeaways!

Bottomline? Gin Wigmore is an old soul – producing music that crosses genres without apology and compromise and the kind of rock ‘n’ roll that Power of Pop believes in and champions. Listen to Gin’s new album Blood to Bone and appreciate everything I am saying…

… still there’s more …

DISCOVER AT POWER OF POP!

DISCOVEREDPOP

Three new releases for your discovery!

JAILL – BRAIN CREAM

Jangle pop rules with Jaill! If you dig the likes of Real Estate or Girls, you’ll fall in love with this collection of energetic melodic pop-rock tunes.

https://www.facebook.com/jaillbook

DU BLONDE – WELCOME BACK TO MILK

Beth Jeans Houghton has attitude in spades but with the right kind of music, she deserves to get away with it! Du Blonde is everything you’ve loved about punky glammy rock n roll and then some!

https://www.facebook.com/DuBlondeOfficial

SONGHOY BLUES – MUSIC IN EXILE

A Mali band of musicians that had to run away from the unrest in their homeland to deliver a wonderful amalgam of African ethnic music and rock ‘n’ roll – edgy and relevant.

https://www.facebook.com/SonghoyBlues

 

… still there’s more … 

PoP HISTORY – THE WHO PLAYLIST

TheWho

The Who turned 50 years old last year and their pioneering pop-rock music remains relevant no matter the year.

Formed in 1964 by Pete Townshend (guitars, vocals), Roger Daltrey (vocals), John Entwistle (bass, vocals) and Keith Moon (drums), The Who started life as a mod band but quickly outgrew that tag and have been a seminal influence on hard rock, progressive rock, heavy metal, glam, punk and alt-rock genres during their most vital years, mainly 1964 – 1978. Drummer Moon died in 1978 and The Who never recovered from that loss. Entwistle passed away in 2002 and though Townshend and Daltrey still tour and even recorded one LP together (Endless Wire), the band is understandably a pale shadow of its former self.

This playlist covers those crucial 14 years when The Who were perhaps, one of the greatest rock bands in the world. With the high resolution streaming available at Deezer Elite, most of the tracks sound amazing, resonating with the primal energy upon which the band built its legendary reputation.

Official Site

… still there’s more … 

APPLE MUSIC IS HERE? HO HUM

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This morning the world woke up and if you had iTunes, you would have been asked whether you wanted to sign up for Apple Music.

Yes it’s here, the latest streaming service. There were a few minor hiccups signing up before the video starting playing about how Apple Music is changing the face of the music industry but once one got down to brass tacks, it was exactly the same service as Deezer, Rdio, Spotify etc etc etc.

Except that in three months time, you can only access Apple Music if you subscribed for $10 a month. So if you signed up for the free trial and want to go back to your free accounts at the other services, remember to deactivate the auto-renewal function.

Colour me unimpressed.