For any young boy growing up in the late sixties, the space race was an exciting one.
Yes, back then, the USSR and the USA were competing to see who would be the first to put a man on the moon. It seems so quaint now, but I still remember being positively enthralled even as an 8 year old boy in Singapore to watch Neil Armstrong take that first step on the lunar surface.
Lo and behold, that event is now 40 years past and Eric Brace, lead singer of country-rock outfit Last Train Home, has just released a single and video to celebrate and commemorate the first lunar landing. The single is available at iTunes and the video is below. Check it out.
Here’s a video that Singaporean singer-songwriter (and youtube superstar) Ling Kai has just posted online. Its a new song called Perfect Today and features an off-camera kazoo. Yeah, really. Ling Kai will be opening for Aimee Mann at the Esplanade Concert Hall on 29th August at 7.30pm. In the meantime, enjoy…
Another sci-fi thriller based on a graphic novel? Bring it on, I’d say!
Here’s the (official) word – In the film, FBI agents (Bruce Willis and Radha Mitchell) investigate the mysterious murder of a college student linked to the man who helped create a high-tech surrogate phenomenon that allows people to purchase unflawed robotic versions of themselves—fit, good looking remotely controlled machines that ultimately assume their life roles—enabling people to experience life vicariously from the comfort and safety of their own homes. The murder spawns a quest for answers: in a world of masks, who’s real and who can you trust?
This Jonathan Mostow-helmed Willis vehicle will hit the cinemas on 25th September and you can check out the trailer below.
I like the Dickian premise and the echoes of Matrix and Terminator franchises won’t hurt either. Expect reviews of the original graphic novel and the Flesh and Bones prequel soon.
BIG FRESH B.F.F. (Big Fresh Forever) (Garden Gate)
I hate bands like Big Fresh!
Well, I’m annoyed by the level of pop magnificence they somehow manage to concoct in these home recordings. I detest the way the band creates these decidedly lo-fi albeit inventive pop gems with such seeming ease and much aplomb. I abhor the cute litte psychedelic touches, the electronic bleeps which make the songs all precious and spacey.
Let me put it in another way. I find it positively inspiring that so much has been achieved with (allegedly) so little. This is the bloody mythic core of pop tunesmithery – throwing the collective consciousness of pop cool (e.g. the Move, Syd-era Pink Floyd, Smile-era Beach Boys, ELO, XTC, Flaming Lips, Guided By Voices, Fountains of Wayne, Blur, even MGMT et al) into the melting pot and mixing it up!
Nothing is sacred as Big Fresh explores corny old school synths (Entertainment), psychedelic-folk (Joy Bombs #1), luscious surf harmonies (W.L.U.V.), Rhodes-channeled whimsy (Satan, No) and falsetto-tinged dirges (Heat Death of the Universe), in the supreme hope that we will cotton on to the buried treasures locked into every groove, melody line and instrumental choice. And we will…
Check out Big Fresh’s Myspace page and the video of Lost and Found (not on B.F.F.).
Bizarrely, I had Rolling Stone to thank for my introduction to the weird world of Pixies. After a hiatus of three to four years, I returned to rock music in earnest in 1989. Sometime in early 1990 in one of those “best of” issues, I came across Doolittle and Pixies. And the opening track was – Debaser – and immediately I was hooked by the sheer energy, the incongruous sweetness of Kim Deal’s vocal and of course, Black Francis’ visceral delivery. That last 30 seconds always gets me jumpin’! Believe me, there would have no Nirvana without Pixies…
SUNDAY AFTERNOON (off Rachael Yamagata’s Elephants/Teeth Sinking Into Heart album)
Never really cared for Rachael Yamagata before – even though she’s even performed in Singapore (but thanks to our very own Rachael), I’ve been listening to this lovely torch-blues song virtually non-stop. It’s deep and visceral and, carried over with that gorgeous emotive voice, rather irresistible. Here’s a live version I found – dunno why but I actually got a Pink Floyd vibe from this. Album review to follow…
NIGHTS ON BROADWAY (off the Bee Gees’ 1977 album, Main Course)
The Bee Gees were one of the first pop bands I ever became a fan of – loved their late 60s/early 70s hits like New York Mining Disaster 1941, Melody Fair, How Can You Mend A Broken Heart etc. They seem to disappear in the mid-70s but in 1977 they reinvented themselves as an R&B outfit. Main Course would contain both sides of the Bee Gees sound – classic chamber pop as well as the nascent disco-infused pop. Nights on Broadway is a brilliant hybrid of both as the opening muscular R&B morphs into a gorgeous ballad and then drives to an ecstatic denouement. Fantastic!
WAITIN’ FOR A SUPERMAN (off the Flaming Lips 1999 LP, The Soft Bulletin)
The Lips’ Soft Bulletin is my favorite album of the 1990s. Sheer pop perfection. Waitin’ For A Superman is the most poignant song that Waybe Coyne and company have ever written. That fragile chorus always brings tears to my eyes… is help on the way? Sure hope so…
LOVERS IN A DANGEROUS TIME (from Bruce Cockburn’s 1984 Stealing Fire album)
Criminally unknown outside his native Canada, Bruce Cockburn possesses one of the finest discographies out there in rock history. 1984’s Stealing Fire may just be his crowning achievement and this song stands out as the best of a sublime bunch. Our good friends U2 even lifted an entire line for God Part II – “got to kick at the darkness till it bleeds daylight”. These lyrics still resonate today… Sheer genius!
HAPPY AS CAN BE (off Cut Off Your Hand’s EP of the same name)
Visa reviewed this a couple of days ago and I’m really digging its retro new wavy style. Robert Smith and the Cure’s inspiration features heavily of course but I like the whole package. COYH is based in New Zealand, which basically means that they’re pretty close enough for an astute promotor to bring down to our neck of the woods for a couple of days…
I pop into a cinema (can’t remember which) with my girlfriend to watch this strange movie called Urgh! A Music War.
What’s it about? Non-stop concert footage of bands I mostly never heard of. My main intention is to catch the Police who are “headlining” the film.
What I get is an unforgettable introduction to the likes of OMD, Echo & the Bunnymen, XTC, the Go-Gos, Gang of Four, Joan Jett, Devo, X, Magazine and Gary Numan.
Basically, a hot selection of post-punk bands on both sides of the Atlantic.
Really for me, the highlight was Gary Numan’s rendition of Down in the Park, sitting in a moving (sofa?) chair as he sang, appearing very Dickian and Bowiesque, I fell in love with Numan and I would leave the cinema to pick up every Numan/Tubeway Army record I could find. (More of Numan in another post!)
I still haven’t come across a DVD of this life-changing movie but this clip of Down in the Park will do for now…legendary…
BAND OF HORSES – No One’s Gonna Love You (off Cease to Begin – 2007)
Yeah, this came out last year but this melancholic stunner is really beginning to grow on me. I’ve always been aware of its delights but it was hearing it on an episode of Chuck that secured its repeat mode status for me.
THE POLICE – Don’t Stand So Close to Me (off the 1980 album, Zenyetta Mondatta)
Does it ever get better than this? My favorite Police song, hands down. The story is simple enough and its interesting to note that Sting was a teacher before making it big. Why they even tried re-making it is beyond me…
We begin our countdown to the Stars concert in Singapore in Jan ’09 with a look at what we might be hearing. Along the way, we will highlight Stars’ discography and hopefully, an interview with the band…
To kick off, here are two clips featuring Stars’ best loved tune – Ageless Beauty – from their breakthrough third album, Set Yourself on Fire.
ALLURA – CLOSURE (off the Wake Up and Smell the Seaweed EP)
Regular visitors to this humble site (and S-ROCK before that) will be aware of my love affair with Allura. Closure remains my favorite song from the band (though Gamajazillion runs close) Here’s a vid of the band performing Closure in August last year at Deafcon 5. A little rough but there’s no denying the energy and passion. Ah, the memories…