SOUNDTRACK OF MY LIFE

19805cts

NINETEEN EIGHTY

A transitional year for me. I welcomed the new decade as a National Serviceman having enlisted on Boxing Day, 1979. But more importantly, my musical tastes were changing as well, significantly. Sometime in 1978, I had been exposed to punk when a JC friend played to my friends & I, the Sex PistolsAnarchy in the UK LP (banned in Singapore but smuggled in for good measure) and to be honest I was unimpressed. For a pop-rock lover weaned on The Beatles, Deep Purple, Queen, Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin, the Sex Pistols seemed dumb and barbaric!

That said, by 1980 I had begun to cotton on to the post-punk movement and had already started listening to the pioneering new bands of that era, which seemed far removed from the old-school rockers of my relative youth. Fueled by the noises made by rock mags like NME, Sounds & Melody Maker, I had started to abandon the old bands (as irrelevant) and had ’embraced’ the future of rock. 

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BLURB-O-RAMA

BOB 

PERFECT PUSSYSay Yes To Love

A beautiful noise is what punk quartet Perfect Pussy makes on its debut full-length. Deliberately lo-fi with singer Meredith Graves spitting out the barely discernible lyrics over the cacophony, there is something disarmingly honest about this edgy sound. Sure, it’s hard to tell what Graves is singing most of the time, yet it all come across as compelling. Recommended!

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HOT BUZZ: ELECTRICO – DEMOS

Electrico is back in the saddle and recently posted sneak peeks of new material over at their official Soundcloud page. Three songs – “With You”, “Live in the Night” and “Easy Go” – are reminiscent of the band’s early days, chock full of melodic hooks and powerpop vibes. The band has promised a new release later this year. Personally, I can’t wait. Check them out!

BLURB-O-RAMA

BOB

Screen shot 2014-03-18 at PM 02.29.55

WE ARE SCIENTISTSTV en Français

Probably one shining example of how fun modern indie pop can be in the right hands. This Brooklyn duo has been going for a decade now and from the evidence here, it seems like they have got the balance right! Infectious melodies, danceable rhythms & pop smarts throughout. Surely this has got to be one of the better albums of 2014. Recommended.

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PoP RECOMMENDS: EACH OTHER

Quirky, edgy & poppy – what a great combo for a band! The music of offbeat Montreal-based trio Each Other doesn’t make for easy pigeon-holing although I personally discerned Pavement, XTC, Pixies, Talking Heads et al in their reference points. Which is awesome of course! Debut album coming out in March. In the meantime, check out the music released so far!

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THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD

#alpacablues will be released on 15th February at Bandcamp for US$1 and will be available at that price for a month. Thereafter, the EP will be available at all good digital platforms for the full price (i.e. US$4.00) In the meantime, this is the world premiere of “I Want What I Can’t Have”. Enjoy…

Cover artwork by Andy Yang http://andyyangillustrates.wordpress.com/

PoP RECOMMENDS: THE DUKE OF NORFOLK

As some of you probably know, every day I sift through a mountain of emails (slightly exaggerated but you get the point) from artists, bands, labels and publicists seeking to be featured on the ol’ humble Power of Pop. What does get my attention are references – not the kind you put in a job resume – but more like: what does the music sound like? Then of course, when I click on the streaming link, it bloody well better sound like the bands/artist you referenced. Heh.

So… The Duke of Norfolk. Cool name. And cooler references – the Decemberists, Avett Brothers and Sufjan Stevens. And… I clicked on the streaming link and I was impressed. Country-folk music that is authentic, heart-warming and fun – all excellent characteristics. So check him out, will ya? Hope to get a review up here or at TODAY pretty soon. In the meantime…

http://thedukeofnorfolk.com/
http://thedukeofnorfolk.bandcamp.com/
https://soundcloud.com/thedukeofnorfolk
https://www.facebook.com/thedukeofnorfolk
https://twitter.com/thdukeofnorfolk
http://www.youtube.com/dukeofnorfolkthe

PoP RECOMMENDS: BIBIO

BIBIO 

Psychedelic flourishes. Alt-folk quirkiness. Excellent mix between technology and organic sounds. Welcome to the modus oprandi of Bibio!

Watch the trippy video for “Dye the Water Green” below.

Michael Robinson (Director) – To me the video for “Dye The Water Green” held a certain identifiable quality linked with a sense of possibility and exploration – when there is a new place to go, another bend around the corner to uncover, or a different vista coming into view.

Off Bibio’s 2013 album, Silver Wilkinson. Listen below via Spotify.

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BLURB-O-RAMA

BOB

Time to make Blurb-O-Rama about the best of the month’s album releases methinks. So, here we are at the end of January 2014 already and here are some of the new albums you should check out. 

DAVID CROSBYCroz

First album of new material in two decades – David Crosby, the legendary troubadour collaborates with his son, James Raymond, Mark Knopfler and Wynton Marsalis, to deliver a quality release filled with sophisticated compositions that finds Crosby in good form. Bedded nicely in a jazzy folk style reminiscent of the glory days of CSN, Croz is an essential listening pleasure for true blue fans of classic rock.

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DISCOVERED @ SPOTIFY

Fusion or jazz fusion or jazz rock is a ‘genre’ that came out of jazz musicians being influenced rock n’ roll music in the late 60s and early 70s. Even more impenetrable than progressive rock (which at least had song melodies and lyrical concepts), fusion concentrated very much on virtuosity and improvisation and thus is sometimes difficult to understand. So, here is an introduction of sorts to the ‘genre’ – hope it helps…

… still there’s more …

ELLIE GOULDING – LIVE IN SINGAPORE [NEWS]

British songstress Ellie Goulding returns to Singapore on Friday 13 June at The Star Theatre. Read Melissa Ng’s review last time out. Tickets available from SISTIC – Friday 7th Feb.

Mark your calendars!

Listen to Goulding’s best selling 2013 album Halcyon Days at Spotify.

DISCOVERED @ SPOTIFY

Sound of Contact

It’s 2014 but that doesn’t mean we can’t still be listening to music from 2013 we might have missed. Especially if said music has nothing whatsoever to do with hipster indie pop. That’s where Spotify comes in handy…

SOUND OF CONTACTDimensionaut

Fronted by Simon Collins (scion of Phil), Sound of Contact is first rate neo-prog that recalls post-Gabriel Genesis, for the most obvious reasons. Dimensionaut is an eminently listenable for prog rock fans who like a high quotient of pop elements in their diet.

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DISCOVERED @ SPOTIFY

The Flower Kings

Neo-prog. Progressive metal. These are the descendants of the first wave of progressive rock that flowered in the 70s. Check ’em out at Spotify.

THE FLOWER KINGSDesolation Rose

Hailing from Sweden, The Flower Kings have been making symphonic rock (echoing the sound of Yes, Genesis and King Crimson) since 1994.

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LISTENING BOOTH

LISTENINGBOOTH

Songs! They’re practically giving them away nowadays. So, get them while you can!

SAM PAGE – “Release Me”

DOT DASH – “Shopworn Excuse”

FAIRCHILD – “Dancer”

DISCOVERED @ SPOTIFY

Besnard Lakes!

As promised, here is the first part of a list of recommended listening of 2013 releases that you have access to on Spotify! Enjoy…

Besnard LakesUntil In Excess, the Imperceptible UFO

Have been loving this Montreal band for a while now, and music fans should take them seriously as an alternative to fellow countrymen Arcade Fire. Their gorgeous mix of Pink Floyd meets mid-60s Beach Boys is enthralling. “Specter” is one of my songs of the year.

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2013: THE YEAR IN MUSIC

DaftPunk

Was 2013 a good year for popular music? It all depends on your definition of a ‘good year’. I believe that since the end of the 90s, the decline in the quality of popular music being written and recorded has been alarming. Compared to the previous 40 years, it’s fair to say that much of the popular music that has come out of the new millennium has been – with some exceptions, of course – largely forgettable.

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TUBEWATCH

HOUSE OF CARDS SEASON 2 OFFICIAL TRAILER

Netflix is an on-demand video streaming web service – an online version of the video rental store, one might say. In 2011, the service announced that it was venturing into original programming as well and the first series – House of Cards – a political drama adapted from the UK series of the same name & starring Kevin Spacey, was a resounding success.

Well, here comes Season 2 and based on the official trailer, it looks like the series is upping the ante in delivering shady political shenanigans as the Machiavellian politician Frank Underwood is now a heartbeat away from the Presidency of the USA but obviously has to work hard (and smart) to keep all his dirty secrets under wraps.

Take a look – the entire series drops at Netflix on 14th February next year!

HOSTESS CLUB WEEKENDER

HCW7_poster_roughs

Tickets now on sale for next year’s much anticipated Hostess Club Weekender in February over here.

To set the tone, here is a video of the intriguing duo that is Buke and Gase

… and listen to one of the essential albums of 2013, General Dome!

…still there’s more…

DISCOVERED @ SPOTIFY

Yeah, more power pop/pop underground music you should be listening to if you dig sophisticated melodies with crunchy guitars and clever arrangements. Please take notes…

SPLITSVILLE

The last time this wonderful band released new material was 2003 – unsure whether the band still exists as the official site has not been updated since 2004! Tough being a power pop in this current environment. In any case, I need to highlight three essential LPs that need your attention. Enjoy!

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DISCOVERED @ SPOTIFY

Supertramp will always be remembered as a crucial influence on my music making in my late teens. Formed around the nucleus of two brilliantly gifted singer-songwriters Roger Hodgson and Rick Davies, this English quintet managed to come up with a successful blend of prog-rock and pop music sensibilities that resulted in two classic LPs in Crime of the Century (1974) and Breakfast in America (1979) as well as a couple of chart hit singles in “Give a Little Bit”, “It’s Raining Again” and “The Logical Song”.

You can listen to the band’s entire discography at Spotify but of course, check out my playlist for the comprehensive introduction to the delights of this iconic band. Enjoy!

…still there’s more…