So let’s take a look at what’s hot in the Singapore indie music scene right here and now.
On the heels of Gentle Bones’ exciting and appealing brand of pop, we have Kai who has produced an EP of clearly radio-friendly tunes that should have no problems winning more than a few #sgindie fans. Kai himself is an accomplished beatboxer and also a member of the acapella group Vocaluptuous so one is guaranteed of superior vocal quality, which is indeed the case. I personally find “Goodbye” and “Better” (though its chorus is reminiscent of “Falling Slowly”) interesting and both should offer pop fans a couple of earworms and hooks. Definitely a promising start!
The beauty of Spotify‘s immense catalogue of tracks is the ability to create playlists of my favourite songs over the decades and thus, here are my playlists for the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s for your listening pleasure…
When I saw Dublin sextet Buffalo Sunn play at Beer Market for Music Matters Live ’14, I was entranced by their wondrous approximation of country-folk-rock and post-punk styles into a pleasing whole. Having four brothers in the lineup – the musical Paxton men (Daniel the songwriter, guitarist and lead vocalist, Neil on keys, guitar and backing vocals, Conor on keys and guitar and Ruairi on bass) – sure helps in producing those heavenly harmonies. Together with Donagh O’Brien on drums and Patrick McHugh on vocals and guitar, the Paxton brothers as Buffalo Sunn made for a formidable band, as many in the audience at Music Matters Live found out.
On a personal note, I had the chance to talk to the band’s management team (Elvera and James Butler) and discovered that the band are mates with members of Pugwash, whom I had met last year in London! In that light, I felt it appropriate to make available the recording of my conversations with the band last week in the Green Room at Music Matters Live.
First off, we talked about Sweet Jane and similarities with The Beach Boys…
Next, the band discussed why it was important for them to play in Asia…
Is it a good time to be a musician? The band weigh in with their thoughts on how technological developments have impacted their music…
We wrapped up with a discussion on the Buffalo Sunn music videos on YouTube and the master plan for world domination…
Well, that’s it!
Look out for Buffalo Sunn’s debut album coming soon. In the meantime, check out the music video of the latest single, “By Your Side” below.
You know the saying, a band takes a lifetime to write and record its first album and then six months to record the follow-up. Sometimes, this results in a poor second album and whether a band can overcome this setback or not is never a certainty. We look to the 80s for 4 examples of how bands coped with the second album syndrome.
THE KNACK – But The Little Girls Understand…
The band’s debut album, Get the Knack, was 1979’s best-selling albums, holding the number one spot on Billboard magazine’s album chart for five consecutive weeks and selling two million copies in the United States. It’s biggest hit – “My Sharona” was the song of ’79. The band rush-released But The Little Girls Understand… (in early 1980) which came across like an inferior version of the debut LP. Although, the album still went gold, the album left fans and critics unimpressed and the third LP – Round Trip – was a flop. But in hindsight, the album is really not as bad as it sounded back in 1980…
Definitely one of the main highlights of Music Matters Live ’14 would be JPNSGRLS – pronounced “Japanese Girls” – a band that manages to combine the dynamic pleasures of 80s post-punk and 90s alt-rock. The band kindly answered our queries before making their way to our shores from Canada! Don’t miss them!!
Why did you apply to play at Music Matters Live ’14?
We have been really fortunate to have the support of CIMA which is Canada’s not-for-profit trade association that represents our independent music industry. Part of their mandate is to create export opportunities for “export ready” Canadian indie acts, like ourselves, and so, last year, we were brought to Spain to play at BIME 2013. The opportunity to travel to another country, engage with a new audience and culture, and network with the business people of a different market was really an amazing opportunity and experience for us. The idea that we will get to do the same in Asia is a dream come true. We were ecstatic when we found out we were accepted to play at Music Matters Live.
Bandcamp.com is a good place to listen to indie music that is fairly under the radar. No other ‘genre’ can possibly be more marginalized than S-ROCK (or Singapore Rock or Singapore indie or whatever the fuck you wanna call it – don’t get your panties in a twist!) i.e. music made in Singapore. BUT there are numerous indie bands and artists that worth are investigating and these are the ones you can find at Bandcamp.com. Enjoy…
Faithful readers will be aware that Power of Pop has been around for some time, so let’s take a journey back in time via Spotify to discovered the hidden gems of the last decade or so, shall we? Climb on board!
Best known for his work with seminal New Zealand band the Mutton Birds, singer-songwriter McGlashan finally delivered his debut solo album in 2006. A record of shimmering guitars, deep instrumentation and thoughtful lyricism, Warm Hand is a potent statement of artistic intent.
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 Pistols‘ Anarchy 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.
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!
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!
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.
Quirky, edgy & poppy – what a great combo for a band! The music of offbeat Montreal-based trio EachOther 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!
Singer-songwriter Sam Page does a great job at evoking the alt-rock of the 80s with nods to The Replacements, Dinosaur Jr, Long Ryders and The Dream Syndicate evident in his country-folk-powerpop amalgam. This new single keeps the fires burnin’ for all of us who remember that era fondly.
#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…
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…
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.
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 CROSBY – Croz
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.
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…
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 CONTACT – Dimensionaut
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.