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May 172015
 

AlexOh

Tzang Merwyn Tong’s Faeryville is a dystopian teen movie, a stylish coming of age film about youth making sense of their idealistic dreams in our increasingly surreal world – a fictional manifestation of very real issues prevalent in the Post 9-11 world. The movie features an original score composed by Alex Oh.

Oh is one of Singapore’s most prolific and versatile film composers. His philosophy to scoring is telling the story of the film through music. In his career, he has scored many award-winning features, ranging from comedy, family-oriented, action films like Taxi!Taxi!, My Dog Dou Dou, Imperfect, It’s A Great Great World to darker films like Bait 3D, Rule Number One and The Maid . He was nominated for Best Original Music Score from Asian Television Awards in 2004 for the TV Series, The Frontline.

Oh’s music score complements the movie perfectly with its edgy synthesiser ambience and choral nuances providing a contrast between innocence and danger. Also included is the dynamic driving “Baptism of Fire” which feature Jessel Yam and Alan Chan on guitars, Meryvn Lim on bass and John Ho on drums.

Read below what Oh thought and felt about working on Faeryville.

As the film’s composer, you’re probably one of the first few people to have seen Faeryville, edited and cut. What are your thoughts when you watched the first cut of the film?

Faeryville turned out beautifully. It has lots of depth. I like the characters, the Nobodies, Laer, Chloe, Belle, Fraternity members. There are debates on whether society is becoming or has already become dystopian. I like how Tzang uses the film to address certain issues we are facing in our society. In that aspect, I think he is successful in bringing these to light, as many will find after watching the film that they can relate to it someway or another.

Do you have a philosophy bout your music scoring?

I try to find where the heart of the movie is. I will watch the film with the Director and talk about it. I want to understand the film from his/her perspective and hear what he has to say. Why he/she wants to make the film? What is it about? What is it the story that he’s telling? Once I have an understanding about the film, I will let the film speak to me. I do not want to come with any pre-conceived ideas.

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WHY YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO THE BEE GEES LOST CLASSIC LIVING EYES

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Apr 122015
 

living_eyes

What goes up must come down.

In 1979, riding on the popularity of the Saturday Night’s Fever film soundtrack, the Bee GeesSpirits (Having Flown) sold almost 20 million copies. I still remember heading down to the Kwang Sia record store at North Bridge Road where the LP was literally flying off the shelves. Crazy.

However, barely 2 years later, the band’s follow-up Living Eyes would only sell 750,000 copies worldwide! What happened?

Well, disco had become unfashionable and the Bee Gees were (unfairly) associated with the genre. Not only that but rock music had begun to make a return to the charts in a big way with bands like The Police, REO Speedwagon, Genesis, Rush et al, and suddenly the Bee Gees sounded very dated and somewhat lame.

That said, the Bee Gees themselves took pains on Living Eyes to move away from the disco sound that had made millions of them and the trio explored once again the pop balladry style with which they first made their name. But the music critics and fans alike did not want any of it resulting in an abject failure, that the Bee Gees barely recovered from.

BUT listening to Living Eyes now, 34 years later, it is clear that it did not deserve the criticism and hatred it did. The songwriting is sharp, the singing is beautiful and it’s fair to say that the album should be re-assessed by any serious pop music lover.

Songs like the title track, “Paradise”, “Don’t Fall in Love With Me”, “Wildflower” and “Soldiers” are as good as anything on 70s classics “Mr. Natural” and “Main Course”. True blue pop fans will find these tracks irresistible and will want to listen to them over and over to savour the wondrous melodies and harmonies.

Listen without prejudice and prepare to be amazed.

… still there’s more … 

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.

Continue reading »

Mar 012015
 

SpotifyLogo

Regular visitors to Power of Pop will be aware of my obsession with British pop-rock, from The Beatles to the Who to the Kinks to the Stones and on and on and on…  Since the end of the 90s (and the demise of Britpop), I have always been hoping for a revival of British pop-rock (and I do not mean the post-punk revival like The xx! Ugh!!)

Well it’s now 20 years since the heyday of Britpop and surveying the British pop-rock scene in 2015, there appears to be a couple of promising acts that hopefully will make the grade to generate enough buzz for this particular brand of pop-rock to dominate once again. In fact, I have found 20 bands that fit the bill completely – check out my playlist below and do let me know if you have other recommendations?

… still there’s more … 

DISCOVERED @ SPOTIFY: NEW RELEASES – 10TH TO 24TH FEBRUARY 2015

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Feb 272015
 

SpotifyLogo

What else was worth checking out in February? Here goes…

BLACKBERRY SMOKE – HOLDING ALL THE ROSES

An obvious choice. A real band playing real music. In this case, Southern Rock, country-folk and old time rock n roll make it simple. Recommended.

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THE CAMPBELL APARTMENT – KEEPING IT SHORT & SWEET WITH THE SUNDOGS EP

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Feb 252015
 

CampbellApt

The Campbell Apartment, named after a bar hidden inside New York’s Grand Central Station, is the brainchild of Russian born singer-songwriter and oil painter Ari Vais. Ari’s new Sundogs EP is the proverbial breath of fresh air in a modern rock scene obsessed with superficialities. No such issues with Vais and his straightforward musical agenda. The songs take top priority – memorable melodies and relatable lyrics – clothed in classic pop-rock arrangements and instrumentation. Tracks like “Something in the Way” and “Heroic Audio Display” hearken back to a kinder & gentler times (the 90s), the last hurrah of the Pop Underground, where thought and effort are put into communicating a genuine emotional resonance through words and tunes. By the time one gets to the music hall jauntiness of final number “What Do You Think Of That”, it’s easy to feel a sense of regret that there isn’t more. But that’s the harsh reality of releasing marginalised forms of music in 2014. So if you love songs that balances intelligence with musicality, support The Campbell Apartment and the Sundogs EP! Find out below how and why Ari Vais does what he does!

How did you start writing songs?

I must have learned how to play guitar well enough as a 10 year old to learn a bunch of Beatles songs by the time I was in high school, and then Floyd, Zeppelin, finally some REM and Lou Reed songs, and then around 16, a slew of my own songs where the burst of writing didn’t cease until recent years. I still write but not as prolifically. I guess when I started as a teen, the tunes were based on traditional chords, as well as chords that I had no idea what they were, where my fingers were just doing some formation that happened to sound cool and go with the song, because I still didn’t know my way around a guitar that well, and trying for clever words or earnest poetic ones, hopefully with a tiny dash of humor, and a strong melody. The last bit was the most important, and very much still is.

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DISCOVERED @ SPOTIFY – PoP LEGENDS

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Feb 072015
 

PoPplaylists

Alright. This is a lil embarrassing but late last year Spotify made Power of Pop a ‘Tastemaker’ with a new account and despite my best efforts (?), so far we’ve had only 10 (!) followers. Shameful!!

So I am still pushing this the best way I know how – by working hard at putting together more playlists that I imagine would interest the kind folks who visit us every day. Recently, I have focusing on PoP Legends – artists whom we believe deserve that accolade so here’s what we have so far. Enjoy, spread the word and FOLLOW!

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DISCOVERED @ SPOTIFY – NEW RELEASES 4TH FEB 2015

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Feb 042015
 

SpotifyLogo

It’s a new month – the best month of the year! So what’s new out there?

BUTCH WALKER – AFRAID OF GHOSTS

When pop-rockers venture into the country-folk space, most of time if their heart is in the right place, it can be pretty magical. Butch Walker proves this at least, with his new solo album. Gorgeous country-folk which recalls Neil Young and name checks Chrissie Hynde. Recommended.

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PSYCH-ROCKERS TREASURE FLEET PARTIES LIKE IT’S 1969 WITH THE SOUNDTRACK ALBUM FOR SUN MACHINE FILM!

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Feb 012015
 
Photo Credit: Katie Hovland

Photo Credit: Katie Hovland

Gotta hand it to Chicago’s Treasure Fleet, not only did they release two albums within six months of each other in 2012 (the excellent Future Ways and Cocamotion), the band also expanded their horizons by producing a film – Sun Machine – which premiered last year at London’s prestigious Raindance Film Festival.

The soundtrack, available for pre-order now and out February 10th on Recess Records, is a timeless sounding psychedelic rock opus that might very well have been produced in 1969 for all we know! The music of Treasure Fleet is an absolute joy for classic pop-rock (The Who, Pink Floyd) lovers and will definitely appeal to fans of like-minded indie rockers Temples, Pond and Tame Impala.

Thankfully, Isaac Thotz (singer-songwriter) was cool enough to share with us everything (and we do mean EVERYTHING) we needed to know about Treasure Fleet and Sun Machine. Set your controls for the heart of the sun…

What is the motivation behind playing music that some might (erroneously) consider ‘dated’?

What’s funny is I don’t even think of it like that. I remember being a kid in the 80’s and the popular music that was coming out then, I didn’t like the tones and the production, and so I thought contemporary music sounded very dated, just like 70’s haircuts and brown plaid couches looked very dated to me then. And looking back now that music still does sound dated. But that’s always the case in art and pop art that people are going to trend toward certain conventions as a fad. Today there are conventions in popular music and underground music that sound very dated to me. In mainstream pop music, certain inflated acoustic drum and guitar tones are in. Anthemic choruses are in. In underground rock excessive unnatural reverb on vocals is in. In hip hop spastic hi hat sampling is in. Those sorts of production choices all sound very “dated” to me right here in the moment. In terms of our music sounding of a different era, I just have my natural biases and preferences. I like 90’s hip hop drum beats and tones better than today’s. I like the Beatle’s song structures. I like the four piece rock band arrangement. I like the mellotron. I don’t mind trashy rock drums, but I dislike poor singing. I love harmonies. Those are just my own personal biases. But then to get to the motivation of how we want to produce our music-I think we just want it to sound “timeless”. I think there are bands that try to sound much more of a particular era than we do-most often it’s the current era. We don’t approach it like that. Rather, we like to try and make something where people will hopefully go “when was this made”…”where were these guys from”. There’s definitely a starting point from which we’ve taken ideas, basically it’s been from the start of rock and roll. But that’s just a starting point, and we’ve always tried to pull ideas from all eras since. If some of those ideas seem old, it’s because they are. But others are very contemporary, and as I said, the goal is to make the whole thing seem timeless at some point out in the future.

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DISCOVERED @ SPOTIFY – NEW RELEASES 20TH TO 27TH JANUARY 2015

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Jan 292015
 

SpotifyLogo

Oops! Missed a week!! So let’s discover a fortnight’s worth on Spotify.

THE DECEMBERISTS – WHAT A TERRIBLE WORLD, WHAT A BEAUTIFUL WORLD

Welcome back! The Decemberists represent old school pop-rock values where folk and country music are twinned with alternative rock mindsets. For this new album, Colin Meloy and company also recall their early indie-pop days with bright tunes like “Calvary Captain” and “Philomena” standing out from the stellar quirky country-folk pop fare. Essential!

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THESE BRITTLE BONES RELEASES HIRAETH PT. 1: THE BEDROOM EP EXCLUSIVELY ON SPOTIFY

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Jan 202015
 

Screen shot 2015-01-20 at AM 08.39.14

On January 20th, These Brittle Bones (aka Chris Jones) will be releasing the first part of his double EP, which will be called Hiraeth Part 1: The Bedroom EP, part 2 will be released in February and is called The Studio EP. Part 1 will be exclusively available to stream on Spotify, with each track being released a week apart until the whole EP is available. The EPs will also be accompanied by personal commentary by Chris and various visual aspects which add to the experience.

Check it out on Spotify, where you can now listen to “Remain”, a sparsely atmospheric track that is quite a departure from Jones’ previous works.

Website http://thesebrittlebones.com/
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/thesebrittlebones
Twitter https://twitter.com/brittlebonesuk
Instagram http://instagram.com/thesebrittlebones/
Youtube https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwths3j4dQIjEhqfirWACsA
Soundcloud https://soundcloud.com/thesebrittlebonesmusic

DISCOVERED @ SPOTIFY – NEW RELEASES 14TH JANUARY 2015

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Jan 142015
 

SpotifyLogo

What’s new this second week of the year? Let’s check in with Spotify, shall we?

MARK RONSON – UPTOWN SPECIAL

Fairly old school soul in tone from the British famed producer. Actually though the album’s introductory track was a rip off of Stevie Wonder, when it’s the man himself. Doh! Probably the hipster-est release this week.

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THE KING LIVES ON: SPOTIFY CELEBRATES ELVIS’ 50TH BIRTHDAY

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Jan 092015
 

elvis

In celebration of The King, Spotify has created The Elvis Influence, a web app that connects any artist to Elvis based on artistic influence, as well as an Elvisulization audiographic that maps his influence to famous artists of today. By entering any name into the web app, you can see and hear how they have been influenced by Elvis, directly or through other artists.

Listen to the ELVIS 80 Playlist on Spotify now….

 

DISCOVERED @ SPOTIFY – NEW RELEASES 6 JAN 2015

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Jan 072015
 

SpotifyLogo

It’s the first new releases of the year so let’s take a (very) quick look at what’s out there on 6th January, shall we?

STOP WORRYING AND LOVE THE BOMB – NOUN

Not pop-punk thankfully but instead faithful rendition of old school US punk i.e. Ramones, Stooges, New York Dolls etc. Not very original but one can appreciate the intention.

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LISTENING BOOTH

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Jan 052015
 

LISTENINGBOOTH

It’s a new year so let’s listen to what’s out there in the modern rock wasteland, shall we?

Heavy Electricity will be available January 27th, 2015 via Sargent House.

Web: http://sargenthouse.com/No_Spill_Blood
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/nospillblood
Twitter: http://twitter.com/no_spill_blood

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POWER OF POP LEGENDS PLAYLISTS ON SPOTIFY FT. BOB DYLAN

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Dec 222014
 

Bob-Dylan-3

Seems appropriate to start this series with Bob Dylan, doesn’t it? Considering that The Beatles are currently not on any streaming service, Dylan deserves top billing. After all, can one imagine talking about singer-songwriters without mentioning Dylan’s massive influence?

The man is the very definition of the modern folk troubadour but more than that, Dylan’s legacy extends to rock as well, of course. For me personally, I remember hearing Dylan on the radio when I was a kid – especially his well known early folk songs but I really got into his work (ironically enough) – with his controversial Christian conversion album Slow Train Comin’ (1979), which explains why I kick off the playlist with “Precious Angel” (which also features incandescent guitar work from Dire Straits’ Mark Knopfler). Including “Make You Feel My Love” was necessary to provide Dylan’s continuing relevance as Adele’s cover version proved conclusively. The rest of the playlist focuses mainly on his seminal 60s/70s works. Enjoy!

… still there’s more …

Nov 122014
 

GlennTilbrookLive

Squeeze was without doubt one of the seminal bands of the 80s post-punk era, combining elements of pub-rock and Beatlesque pop-rock to produce a highly melodic and intelligent brand of pop music. Glenn Tilbrook – whose distinctive tenor graced almost all the best Squeeze songs – will be playing a “one-night-only” show at Hero’s (69 Circular Road #01-01, Boat Quay). Tickets available from www.dashtickets.sg now!

Tilbrook has a new album out called Happy Ending and its chock full of the well-constructed, sophisticated pop that Squeeze was legendary for. Check it out!

… still there’s more … 

POWER OF POP INTERVIEW: PUP

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Nov 122014
 

PUPtheBand

Here at Power of Pop, we emphasize substance over form, artistry/creativity over genre/styles and champion the right attitudes over cynical media manipulation. PUP fits the bill perfectly. Its eponymous album is a shameless celebration of edgy pop-rock music with energy and melodies to die for! Power of Pop caught up with the band via email and vocalist/guitarist Stefan was kind enough to answer our queries.

POP: How did PUP get together?

Stefan: The other 3 guys have known each other forever. Zack and Nestor grew up on the same street. They were playing around town in a few shitty bands and I was in a shitty band as well. Eventually we got bored of those projects and decided to band together to form a slightly less shitty but still shitty band called PUP.

PoP: What is the best thing about being PUP?

Stefan: We’ve had the chance to travel the world the past year. It’s been incredible. Getting to play music with your best friends every night in different weird places is the best thing in the world. And sometimes you get to play with your favourite bands and that’s cool too.

PoP: Why should anyone listen to PUP?

Stefan: You probably shouldn’t. But if you do it’ll be because you’re bored.

PoP: How do decide which song gets on the album?

Stefan: We wrote a bunch of songs, and just chose our favourite ones. We weren’t trying to choose ones that sounded the same or worked together or anything… We just wanted the 10 songs on our first record to be the best 10 songs we’ve written.

PoP: Would you wanna play in Singapore?

Stefan: Of course! that’s another adventure for us.

Hopefully we’ll get to see PUP in action in Singapore sooner rather than later! In the meantime, listen to PUP (the album) now.

Official Site

… still there’s more …

THE DECEMBERISTS TO RELEASE NEW ALBUM “WHAT A TERRIBLE WORLD, WHAT A BEAUTIFUL WORLD” ON 20TH JAN, 2015

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Nov 042014
 

After a 4-year hiatus, The Decembrists have announced that its new album, What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World, will be released on January 20, 2015. From the sounds of the preview track – “Make You Better”, it’s the sort of pleasing alt-folk-pop that the band is returning to, which is fine by me! Check it out!!

Official Site

DISCOVERED @ SPOTIFY – OCTOBER 2014

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Oct 262014
 

GF01

Alright, so technically October ain’t over yet but seeing as how much we love to jump the gun – here’s a mixtape/playlist of new music PoP discovered this month. Don’t forget to submit your favourite tracks of 2014 via Spotify playlist to info AT powerofpop DOT com by the end of November, if you want to win them Spotify Premium Accounts (for six months). In the meantime, enjoy…

… still there’s more …

CREATE A PLAYLIST OF YOUR FAVOURITE 12 TRACKS OF 2014 AT SPOTIFY AND WIN A PREMIUM ACCOUNT!

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Oct 242014
 

SpotifyLogo

The kind folks at Spotify Singapore have provided POWER OF POP with our very own branded Spotify account which you can access at http://open.spotify.com/user/powerofpopsg. To celebrate this, we are giving away premium accounts – courtesy of Spotify Singapore – to the 3 best playlists of your favourite tracks from this year!

All you need to do is to submit ONE playlist of 12 of your favourite 2014 tracks to info AT powerofpop DOT com before the end of November and we will select THREE playlists we dig and the creators of them playlists will each receive a Spotify premium account for their listening pleasure. Yes, it is easy as that!

So check out a sample playlist of 12 of our favourite tracks from 2014 and get cracking!

… still there’s more …

ANTHOLOGY PRESENTS YELLOWCARD LIVE IN SINGAPORE

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Oct 212014
 

Yellowcard-poster

Yellowcard returns to Singapore on 10th December at The Coliseum, Hard Rock Hotel, Resorts World Sentosa. The band recently released new album – Lift A Sail – with Razor & Tie and this current tour will support the new release. Tickets available from Peatix. More info at Facebook.

Listen to Lift a Sail at Spotify!

FAIRCHILD DEBUT NEW SINGLE ARCADIA OFF UPCOMING NEW EP SADAKO

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Oct 182014
 

fairchild-band

Aussie indie pop outfit Fairchild has debuted “Arcadia”, a song off upcoming new EP – Sadako – to be released on November 21st through Canvas Sounds/Believe Digital. The new song is an infectious, hooky dance pop number which indie pop fans will simply lap up. Check it out below.