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Mar 012015
 

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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 … 

Feb 272015
 

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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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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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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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Feb 042015
 

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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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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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Jan 292015
 

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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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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

Jan 142015
 

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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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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….

 

Jan 072015
 

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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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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 … 

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 …

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

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 …

Oct 242014
 

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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 …

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!

Oct 172014
 

BarrBros

There’s quite a fair bit of country music out there that’s popular but sadly, it’s mostly Top 40 mainstream pop fare that never challenges the mind and instead panders to the lowest common denominator. For something more cutting edge in the country music sphere, we need to continue to look at Alt-Country. Thankfully, that aspect of country music is still thriving (creatively, if not commercially) and one prime example can be found in Sleeping Operator, the sophomore effort from the Montreal-based Barr Brothers (viz. Brad Barr, Andrew Barr, Sarah Page, Andres Vial).

It’s always a wondrous experience when an artistically-minded band blends country with rock ‘n’ roll to produce soulful music that leaves the listener satisfied. To these ears, songs like “Wolves”, “Even the Darkness Has Arms” and “Half Crazy” recalls the likes of Steve Earle, The Jayhawks and even early WILCO – a wonderful evocation of Gram Parsons’ Cosmic American Music. The melodies glide effortlessly and the exotic instrumentation complements the same perfectly to send sympathetic listeners into country-folk-pop-rock bliss!

Official Site

Thanks to Nick Whitcomb for the recommendation!

Oct 142014
 

BrassBed_PromoImage3bf6c4

Brass Bed is releasing a brand new 7″ with MA’AM Records on November 18th, 2014. The new single, “Be Anything” b/w “Mind The Gap” captures the band live on two inch tape deep in the midst of their tour cycle. Fuzzy guitars, gorgeous tunes and easy vibe recalls Dinosaur Jr., Teenage Fanclub and the 90s Pop Underground. Listen now!

Order now!

Oct 142014
 

Bowie-sue

Last year David Bowie shocked the world with the release of a new single (“Where Are We Now?”)/album (The Next Day) after years of silence and relative inactivity. Well, it didn’t take long for Bowie to return with another new single/album did it? The single is “Sue (Or In a Season of Crime) which was given its world premiere on BBC Radio Six by DJ Guy Garvey, a couple of days ago. Of course, the song is all over the internet now – check it out below.

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Oct 132014
 

PoP is on a quest to discover the best contemporary bands out there trading in classic pop-rock, power-pop and garage-rock and we aim to please ourselves as often as humanly possible. The Singles viz. Vincent Frederick (guitar/lead vocals) and Nicky Veltman (drums/back-up vocals) are the real deal! This LA based duo have just released Look How Fast A Heart Can Break and it is a winner. It’s fair to say that they don’t sound like any one band directly but there’s certainly a healthy dollop of Big Star, The Replacements, T. Rex and more, in their musical agenda. Best part is that it gets hearts pounding and adrenaline rushing for all the best reasons. Check ‘em out!

Official Site