There were many parallels between the last two league victories for Spurs. Having dominated possession for the lion’s share of the game, Spurs lose a fairly sloppy goal and then, Aaron Lennon’s scores an impressive late winner. But the bottom line remains that four games into the season, Spurs still have a perfect record!

That said, whilst Spurs did control the first half once again (like in the 1st half at West Ham) they failed to hurt Birmingham in the final third. To their credit, Birmingham worked hard to limit Spurs and did manage to carve up some dangerous opportunities. Early in the 2nd half, Harry Redknapp was forced to bring on Hutton and Crouch for the injured King and Modric respectively.

Crouch provided the Spurs attack with a different option and was unlucky with headers that hit the crossbar and was cleared off the line. Finally, Crouch got the reward (his first Spurs goal) his endeavour deserved, getting on the end of a well-flighted Huddlestone free kick.

Unfortunately, Spurs’ bad defensive habits cost them a goal not long afterwards as Cuducini and Hutton were caught in a mix-up and Bowyer had an easy tap in. Pavlyuchenko was brought on for Defoe and the game looked set up for a draw. I was thinking throughout the game that it would take a defensive error from the visitors (like at Upton Park) for Spurs to win this one.

Thankfully, Spurs old boy Stephen Carr obliged, slipping at the half time and surrendering possession in the 94th minute. Pavlyuchenko’s pass found Lennon who beat two defenders before beating goalie Joe Hart at the near post to secure a dramatic victory for Spurs.

As encouraging as this win was, the bad news arrived with the groin injury for King (with Woodgate and Dawson also out, that is particularly worrying and a broken fibula for Modric (who has been flying so far). With Man Utd and Chelsea on the horizon, how Spurs weather this latest storm will determine how well this season might turn out…




We ran off the stage anticipating an encore – Leave the Biker – but the host killed it for us by anouncing the end of the set instead of attempting to coax one more song from us. So things did not quite go to plan and my dream gig was over.


Four intense days of jamming, bonding through food & shared musical interests culminated in a thrilling (albeit terrifying) 45-minute set at the Esplanade Outdoor Theatre.

From Wednesday to Friday, the band (Desmond Sim, Eugene Wee, Alexius Cai and I) jammed with Chris to work out the songs that we would perform on Saturday night. By the time we sound checked on Saturday afternoon, we had a set list all planned out and we were in good shape for the performance.

Chris asked me if I would back him up for Troubled Times for his solo acoustic set for early Saturday night at the Concourse. The song had been dropped from the full band set list and I felt honoured by his request. But before that, the five of us were featured artists at the library@esplanade for the “observation deck” segment. It was great to see familiar faces in the crowd – Tim, Chang Kang, Weiwen, Daniel – as we manoeuvred our way through the usual questions.

From then on time seemed to freeze and fly past at the same time – if that makes any sense. Chris played his solo acoustic set, I backed him on Troubled Times (which was almost dream-like, surreal even), we set up at the Outdoor Theatre, cracked opened the set and ran through the songs, trying hard to remember my vocal, guitar and keyboard parts. The highlight for me personally was seeing all the familiar faces in the crowd, the missus, my eldest son Wesley, Narisa, Cindy, Roland, Weiwen, Thomas, Poh Soo. The audience reaction to I Love Singapore was bigger than I expected – Chris described it as the “biggest hit of the night” – a fantastic high!

Then it was done. I felt relieved that it went down well and yet was slightly disappointed that it was over. I want to thank to everyone who made this once-in-a-lifetime experience possible. The folks at Esplanade – Chloe, Keith and Junmin, the awesome band – Des, Gene and Al and of course Chris. I have been blessed to have collaborated with talented people like Skye, the Great Spy Experiment, Jon Chan, Jack and Rai but working with Chris has been phenomenal.

Truly unforgettable … but there’s more…

Set list – Please don’t rock me tonight/No Better Place/Sink to the Bottom/Red Dragon Tatoo/Wasting Time/Hackensack/All Kinds of Time/Mexican Wine/I Love Singapore/Sick Day/Radiation Vibe/Stacy’s Mom/Survival Car.



Answers by Melvin Macatiag.

Who are Typecast and how was it formed?

Typecast is Steve Badiola (guitars, vocals), Pakoy Fletchero (guitars), Chi Resurreccion (bass) and Melvin Macatiag (drums). Steve and I met in high school, when we were in separate bands. Typecast was formed when the two bands merged.

Who are the influences for Typecast?

Each of the band members have our own variety of music which we listen to. We have a tendency to fuse them and try to come up with a final direction for songs.

What’s the dynamics of the band?

Steve starts by writing the lyrics, and then the rest of us add to it. We always get into a lot of arguments whenever we try to arrange a certain song, but we’ve learnt to come to compromises with each other, and that helps strengthen the band. We experiment along the way and some of it gets used in our songs.

Why do you play music?

As a band, we play music for ourselves and given the opportunity, we would want to share our music with others. We don’t believe in compromising who we are for the masses, and if people like our music, great! If they don’t, it doesn’t matter to us.

“Play every show like it’s your last” – Dave Grohl

Personally, I’m inspired by this quote because it causes us to want to continue doing what we love for as long as we can.

We are thankful that we have the government’s support in the Philippines, which really helps. Annually, there are about 50 shows, the biggest one drawing 80 thousand people. To be a part of such shows have been a great experience for all of us. As musicians, we can focus on our music without having to worry about getting day jobs to support our music.

I hear you’re in the studios recording a new album. What’s involved in the recording process for the new album?

We started out jamming and trying out different things. Steve’s the songwriter for the band, and he would write the lyrics and then we would add to it. So far, we’ve recorded the guitar parts, and now we’re left with the vocals.

The new album would have 12 songs (or more, not yet sure how many), and it would be out in a few months.

What’s the lyrical process for making the new album?

Steve is the songwriter for band, and most of the songs that appear on our albums are personal songs that come from his experiences in life. I think that when it comes to writing songs, Steve has matured and has made a huge progress compared to how he did it before.

Right now, I think that Steve’s more aware about what’s going on around him, and it’s reflected in his lyrics. He’s beginning to understand what’s happening around him and has been able to interpret that into the songs he writes. Most of the songs he writes are less about relationships and more about the anger he feels and releases on what he thinks is wrong about certain situations.

How much has changed since the previous album?

We started out as a 3-piece band and recorded 2 releases as a 3-piece band. Our current guitarist joined us in the previous album, which was released in 2007.

We’re going in a different direction for the new album. There will be more notes, riffs, more things going on and we’re also taking more time to make it (4-5 months as compared to a month for the previous albums).

How do you find playing in Singapore as compared to the Philippines?

We had a big challenge playing here because we weren’t used to having so many rules when performing! It was also a little unusual to have the crowd seated during the set, because most venues we play in the Philippines are standing ones.

In the Philippines, gigs are more laid-back and there are lesser rules to follow. A Singaporean band who played in the Philippines were surprised that we could smoke and drink on stage! There are lesser rules to follow, but it could also mean that a lot of things that happen during gigs are out of our control.

Thank you, I hope you play again here soon!

(Rebecca Lincoln)

Pix by Shiro Ang





What can you say? The last time Spurs won the first three games of the season, they won the freakin’ Double! Not that I think that Spurs are going to emulate the legendary double-winning team of 1960-61, but it feels good thinking about it. Much was expected of Spurs at Upton Park and for the first 30 minutes of this match, Spurs totally dominated the proceedings and deserved to be in front. Sadly, after a hatful of missed chances, West Ham began to take the upper hand.

The teams commenced the 2nd half on equal terms but Spurs seemed very jaded and tired and it was almost no surprise when the Hammers took the lead through a spectacular effort from Carlton Cole. Spurs tried to drag themselves back into the game but were basically running out of ideas (and steam) until Cole decided to make a bad back pass which Defoe finished with aplomb. This stroke of good luck gave Spurs a tremendous lift without making too much headway. At the end, it took another West Ham error (this time, from Spector) to let in Aaron Lennon, who rifled a low left-foot shot past Robert Green.

Amazingly, Spurs had a pulled off another away victory and once again, sat on top of the league! Yes, the result was a little fortuitous but I guess that’s West Ham’s problem not ours! Still early days, of course, but the signs are encouraging…




OUR LADY PEACE Burn Burn (Coalition Entertainment)

Quickly, the truth: when was the last time Canadian alt-rock outfit, Our Lady Peace, made you pick up a CD? Unless you’re an avid follower (and discounting the two compilation albums in the meantime), the answer is likely to be four years ago in 2005, when they released their last studio album, Healthy In Paranoid Times. It’s pretty much an open secret that the recording process of that album wasn’t all too smooth. Under pressure from their label, Sony Music,  for radio-friendly singles, the band came close to breaking up several times during that process. No surprise, then, that OLP left the label soon afterwards.

Which makes Burn Burn, their latest release, the band’s first record ever since leaving Sony Music as well as their first self-produced record. So has the change of scenery done the band any good? That depends on who you ask. Early on in the recording process lead singer and producer Raine Maida hinted at a back to basics sort of record, which of course got their fans all excited for the sort of vivid rawness OLP hasn’t displayed since 2002’s Gravity. It’s a tad more complicated than that though.

The record opens on the ridiculously named, but rather good All You Did Was Save My Life. Having stopped trying to be Bono like he did on the last record, Maida’s earnestness comes through here to gel perfectly with the punchy guitar riffs and anthemic bounce of the rhythm section. It’s a rather promising lead-in that will remind you of Snow Patrol’s edgier work. After that, however, it all goes disappointingly downhill. Dreamland is a mid-tempo effort that sounds closer to Gravity than it does to Naveed, and features some enjoyable guitar textures in the chorus, but is held back by lazy melodies that never manage to break out of the obvious and into the memorable.

The record’s most obvious problem starts manifesting about three tracks in. For a record that was produced by the lead singer, it’s baffling then that the vocal track is almost lost in the mix of the raw, vintage-OLP sounding Monkey Brains. Maida only truly comes to the forefront during the acoustic break, which really should have been the entire track anyway. Perhaps a proper producer might have catalysed the song towards that direction? Never mind that. The End Is Where We Begin is markedly U2ish with its swelling organ intro and delayed guitar riffs, but suffers from a conspicuous lack of hooks. The record picks up on the drums-driven Refuge, which, oddly enough, reminds me of Electrico’s Love In New Wave. Unfortunately instead of building up to a big finish, the record dissipates into MOR blandness, with Signs of Life in particular sounding like a stripped down cleaner version of—beware, here’s the foul N-Word coming– Nickelback.

It’s a real pity that Burn Burn never really lives up to its promise, because this could have been OLP’s chance for a big comeback. After all, there’s never been a better time for their sprawling brand of arena rock than now. Unfortunately, the record’s production suffers from the lack of a proper producer.  Even more importantly, without an outsider to bounce ideas off and drive the band forward, Burn Burn just sounds like a lazily indulgent effort.  It tries to combine both the aggressive bang of vintage OLP with the radio-friendliness of Gravity, but instead, falls flat into a puddle of alt-rock clichés instead. Underwhelming.

(Samuel C Wee)

Official site




BOB DYLAN Together Through Life (Sony/Columbia)

“You are as whorish as ever,” growls Bob Dylan in a backhanded compliment, before going to reference Jim Morrison: “Baby, you can start a fire.” Who else but Dylan can shape a line so sardonically earnest?

Dylan has made a strong case for being one of the most important and influential poetic voices of the 20th century, but rarely has his singing voice been given the same attention. A pity, because on Together Through Life, his 33rd studio album, Dylan sings with a compelling verve one hasn’t heard from him in over a decade, maybe two.

Granted, the years have taken their toll, and the octaves have gone off on his voice, but let’s face it. Bob Dylan has never been, and never will be a pretty singer. Even in his youth, Dylan strove to sound older than he really was, giving him a unique tone that would define his early work. Nearly four decades later, the circle is now complete; with the endless gravity only age can give present in every syllable of Dylan’s well worn voice.

The album kicks off with the devastated Tex Mex wheeze of Beyond Here Lies Nothin’, which sets the tone for the rest of the record with its accordion leads and the way Dylan transforms rather ordinary love song lyrics into an extraordinary lament. Life Is Hard, the spiritual sire of this record, is a slow but moving confession of remorse and defeat. Similarly, Forgetful Heart is a banjo-driven country tale of sorrow and weighed down memories. This is Dylan penning poetry of regret. The lyrics might have been co-written with poet and Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter, but the nuanced emotions that stoke the slow-burning flames of every song are more Zimerman than Hunter.

That’s not to say that Together Through Life is a confessional record in the vein of Blood On The Tracks. In its unabashed embrace of the Chicago blues and rusted desert songs of old, Life has more in common with 1969’s Nashville Skyline or 1989’s Oh Mercy. Nowhere is the 50s blues influence more prominent than on tracks  like the lusty Jolene, with its driving Chicago John Lee Hooker shuffle that keeps the record trotting along.

Dylan returns to ballad mode with the decent This Dream Of You, but it is on the anthemic I Feel A Change Comin’ On that he really nails it. Over an upbeat blues pattern and superb guitar work by Mike Campbell of the Heartbreakers, Dylan smoothly ties together personal and political imagery to paint a picture of modern-day America, torn between hope and despair. It’s a civil anthem one hasn’t heard from him since his days of aping Woody Guthrie, but now the epic detachedness has been replaced with a tender first person narrative that expresses everything from hope at Obama’s administration to the massive resentment and envy caused by the Recession. The record closes on the social observation of Its All Good, with Dylan spitting out a list of calamities drenched heavily in something straddling in between hopeful optimism and cynical sarcasm.

Of course, there are throwaway fillers here and there like My Wife’s Home Town and Shake Shake Mama, but part of Dylan’s rascal charm is his genuine ability to surprise. After the sprawling Modern Times, a record like this was probably far from everyone’s expectations. Dylan knows that. But he also knows that he is a man with the “blood of the land” in his voice, and that it’s a voice that will continue to capture audiences for years to come, lost octaves be damned.

(Samuel C Wee)



Grudge match!

It’s no secret that Spurs and West Ham fans abhor each other. In recent times, the famous “lasagna” final match of 2005-2006, when Spurs lost to the Hammers to lose out on the 4th spot that looked odds on for so much of that season has polarised both sides. It didn’t help when the Hammers fans cheered every goal Arsenal was scoring (At the time, I couldn’t understand why they hated us more than the Arse. Still don’t). Of course, the West Ham fans will never forget how we beat them 4-3 in injury time after leading 2-0 and 3-2. I still laugh when I think of that match. Magic!

With two victory under their belt, Harry Redknapp would want his team to maintain the winning habit especially at his former stomping ground, where he has had a good record. Last season Spurs beat the Hammers 2-0, one of their rare away wins. Derby matches are notoriously difficult to predict but I don’t see Spurs lose this with Spurs edging it or at least securing a draw to keep an unbeaten record going.

On the selection front, Cuducini will slot in easily in the injured Gomes’ place and hopefully, Ledley King will return to steady a defence that looked a little fragile at times against Hull in midweek. I can’t see Harry changing a winning team otherwise. The attacking prowess of Defoe, Keane, Lennon and Modric allied with the muscle of Palacios looks formidable (jury’s still out on the Hudd though). Looking forward to an intriguing game but knowing Spurs, anything is possible but I’m hoping that at last the team grows a backbone and displays a killer instinct that has been missing from Spurs teams for too long.




THE BLOT by Tom Neely

Mention “comic books” and inevitably the man (or woman) in the street will refer you to the super-hero genre. Y’know, Superman, Spider-Man, Batman, X-Men etc etc etc. But of course, comic books has for decades been the medium for countless other “genres” and stories. You might have even heard of some of the creators who have worked outside of the all-pervasive super-hero genre – Robert Crumb, Art Spiegelman, Harvey Pekar, Dan Clowes etc etc etc

Which seques nicely into Tom Neely and the Blot (I know, sounds like a punk band, right?)


Anyways, Neely is a LA resident who cartoons and paints, and The Blot is his first graphic novel. This mostly wordless and largely black & white comic book is an open invitation to interpretation. The narrative seems straight-forward as we follow a nameless everyman encounter a inner darkness (the titular “blot”), fall in and out of love, experience agony and ecstasy, comfort and violence… Yes, LIFE…

Despite not being about anything concrete per se, I felt drawn to Neely’s “hero” to his ups and downs and to his seeming helplessness in the face of cruel and fickle circumstances. There seems so much pain and darkness in these cartoony figures that I found it disturbing and carthatic at the same time. It’s not often that our fiction gives us enough space to insert our own emotions and thoughts into the expression but that’s exactly what The Blot does. And for this reason, I would highly recommend The Blot – its simplicity belies the depth of soul that is plumbed. It will give you endless hours of contemplation…

Note: The Blot is an adult story and is not for children.

Official site



Where did South African director Neill Blomkamp and his movie, District 9 come from? Seemingly from out of the blue. I must admit that though I was excited about D-9 from the moment I first saw the teaser trailer, the movie literally outperformed my expectations completely.

Plot is simple enough – 20 years ago, an alien ship descended into South African air space – above the city of Johannesburg – and almost 1 million malnourished and leaderless aliens were found aboard. Since then, the aliens have been housed in a government camp called District 9 and as the film begins, are about to be relocated to a new facility by Multinational United (MNU), a private defence contractor hired to “take care” of the aliens. Then things begin to happen especially to MNU field operative Wikus van der Merwe (Sharlto Copley) …

Basic, right? Except that from then on, the movie becomes a roller-coaster ride as Wikus’ life is turned inside out as his fate gets literally “intertwined” with the aliens. Blomkamp does a brilliant job in letting the audience experience his predicament through his eyes. It’s not hard to feel his pain, loss, helplessness and sense of alienation. And yes, there were more than a few occasions when I found myself tearing away in empathy.

D-9 is truly a magnificient cinematic achievement. Filmed like a documentary, with highly realistic special effects, gritty atmosphere, touching performance from non-actor Copley and multi-layered story filled with poignant relevance, D-9 is truly a fresh take on the sci-fi movie genre that hopefully will open the doors for more challenging sci-fi films in the future.

District 9 is showing in the cinemas now.


Picture 18

HEAVEN AND HELL: MY LIFE IN THE EAGLES (1974-2001) by Don Felder with Wendy Holden (Wiley)

“Bands, those funny little plans that never work quite right” from Holes by Mercury Rev.

Behind the facade, the carefully prepared press releases and the guarded interviews is the truth. Or at least one man’s version of the truth. The Eagles’ Greatest Hits (1971-1975) is the best-selling album of all time. Growing up in the 70s, the Eagles were definitely one of the most popular bands around. In school concerts, you’d always hear some fledging band covering the Eagles, be it Best of My Love, Lyin’ Eyes or (of course) Hotel California.

As far as I was concerned, Don Henley and Glenn Frey were the Eagles, they were the lead singers and principal songwriters and basically fronted the band. The others were perceived as mere sidesmen and supporting players. But more often than not, there is more than meets the eye when it comes to tricky things like credit.

Guitarist Don Felder joined the Eagles in 1974, his first album being One of These Nights and was responsible for the music of Hotel California (the Eagles’ biggest hit, bar none). In 2001, Felder was sacked by the Eagles (i.e. Henley/Frey) and this book is an attempt to set the record straight as far as Felder is concerned. Felder sued Henley & Frey and the suit was ultimately settled out of court.

Considering the great pains Henley and Frey have taken to conceal the behind-the-scenes conflicts of the Eagles, this book must have been a nightmare. Felder – whilst always acknowledging the musical talents of the pair – is unflinching when it comes to describing their personality flaws and the duo come off as control freaks, selfish and unsympathetic. Felder, to his credit, never attempts to hide his own shortcomings in the whole affair and is frank about his own problems as a husband and father.

Heaven and Hell is an easy enough read, its simple prose is sometimes burdened with melodrama but Felder and contributor Holden keeps the narrative basic, the focus being on what Felder was going through – in good times and bad. It’s instructional to note that indeed, Felder’s experience was indeed like heaven (when he was playing the music) and hell (when he had to deal with the band politics).

Bottom line for me was that it shows as usual that bands are made of human beings and when power, money and drugs come into the picture, there are bound to be interpersonal difficulties. Even so-called enlightened bands like U2, REM and Blur (whom share their songwriting and recording royalties equally) don’t always have a smooth ride and the inevitable conflicts would arise.

I found Heaven and Hell, immensely enjoyable – a candid and fairly intimate look into Felder’s life in the Eagles (as the cover promises). I would recommend it to all 70s rock fans and anyone who enjoys a solid rock bio.



KEVIN HEARN AND THINBUCKLE Havana Winter (Celery Music)

Hearn, better known as a member of Canadian band Barenaked Ladies, sings and writes the songs, co-produces the album, plays piano, guitar and keyboards. *Whew* You’d think that it sounds like a lot of work.

But the truth is the music on Havana Winter is anything but workmanlike or mundane. There is unmistakable verve about the songwriting where inspirations are taken from every possible genre, mixing and matching and delivered with impeccable musicianship.

In many ways, Kevin Hearn and Thinbuckle remind me of Steely Dan and yes, that’s a high compliment. Of course, Hearn & Co are closer to the pop pole of the spectrum rather than jazz and that’s a deadly combination.

For example, On the Runway, with its bright clipped guitars, Beach Boys’ backing vocals and prog-guitar solo. Or Reeling with its atmospheric Blue Nile-channeling melancholia. Or the gorgeous piano ballad Luna with its wistful tone.

Take your pick – the songs resonate with emotion and intelligence. Like I said, a deadly combination.

But the band knows how to up the pace as well (ever so slightly) – with the upbeat Huntsville, CA with its Lennonesque inflections and the early 60s vibe of In the Shade recalling the late Del Shannon.

A very satisfying aural experience. For those who like their pop smart and dense!

Official Site




I feel entire comfortable with stating that NO Spurs fan expected this amazing result. Being typically cautious when it comes to my favorite team, I predicted two draws from two games. Instead, we have two wins! Not only that but we are sitting on top of the Premier League on goal difference. Talk about unexpected!

Didn’t watch the game (pity!) but judging from the reports, Spurs were coasting from the moment hat-trick hero Jermain Defoe struck his first goal. Considering the problems Spurs had scoring last season and the conventional wisdom that declares that Defoe and Robbie Keane can’t play together, the five goals away from home (with the front pair contributing four) is simply astonishing!

Only black mark on the game was Gomes’ injury early on but with the able Cudicini to deputise, I’m sure Gomes’ absence will not be a major factor. So, expectations have now skyrocketed for Spurs’ season and it will be interesting to see how the team manages such expectations with the trip to Upton Park for the grudge match against the Hammers on Sunday.

As usual with Spurs, it’s an unpredictable ride!




OCEANS Nothing Collapses (Copper Lung)

Can I be candid? Post-rock instrumental music by and large sounds like a complete wash, especially in the wrong hands. You know, as a melody-junkie I get terribly bored of music that consists mostly of endless passages of white noise. To be fair, this genre does have its fair share of worthwhile artists notably, Tortoise, Mogwai, Album Leaf, Explosions in the Sky.

Where does this leave Oceans, hailing from Urbana and Chicago? Well, this debut full length I must admit is easy on the ear and relies more on pleasing melodically than your usual Velvets-inbued droning noise which tends to bite after a while. With clever titles like Boy Detective, Sound of Static and City At Peace, to help you to distinguish between songs which may end up a little samey on initial listens, it may take a rabid fan or a person who is intrested to know more about this post rock instrumental genre to venture that first taste.

Worth checking out!



Picture 12

Regular PoP visitors will be aware that I’ve been involved with the National Arts Council’s Noise program for the last 2 years. First, as a judge and then making the transition to mentor in last year’s The Apprenticeship Programme (TAP). Of course, through TAP, I came to mentor Racheal Teo and Nick Tan and the rest as they say, is history!

Anyways, I’m glad to announce that NAC is taking submissions for Noise Singapore 2010 and everything about this sounds exciting.


Winners of Noise S’pore 2010’s 3 main categories – Art & design, Music and Photography – will each receive the Noise S’pore Prize of S$5,000 cash.

Yes, boys and girls, I’ll say it again. CASH!!!

The press release goes on to say –

DJ Aldrin is just one of the 12 big names who are mentors in this year’s TAP. Others include local music luminary Kevin Mathews (*ahem*), Tan Ngiap Heng for photography and Eeshaun Soh for Art & Design. TAP is one-of-its-kind in Singapore and gives young artists an opportunity to be personally mentored by some of Spore’s best in the creative industry. Success stories are written every year of apprentices who go on to become accomplished artists. Singer/songwriter Rachael Teo – Kevin Mathews’ apprentice in Noise 08/09–has developed a following and is sought after on the pub circuit for originals like the breezy (and very infectious) Love and Water. She has an interesting story. She went to NAC to apply for a busking license, stumbled upon Noise instead and, in May, released an EP entitled Awaken The Dreamer – all in 9 months. TAP continues to be a critical and popular aspect of Noise. Last year, out of a record 128 applicants, 20 apprentices were selected.

Believe when I say that TAP is worth getting attached to. Previous apprentices include King Kong Jane and Allura and they’ve done well, haven’t they? I would recommend TAP to every singer-songwriter or band out there. Besides DJ Aldrin and yours truly, other music mentors include Don Richmond, Jason Tan, Jon Chan and Patrick Chng. We’ll be waiting…

Noise Musicians could be selected to record one of their songs in a professional studio, have it played on 98.7FM, and perform at the Esplanade Outdoor Theatre or Concourse. And also be involved with events at next year’s Youth Olympics. International exposure! Are you excited yet?

Check out www.noisesingapore.com for more info.



Anyone out there remember the Asian financial crisis of late 1997? It was my first real experience of an economic recession and by early 1998 it had hit really hard, resulting in a pay cut and general gloom all around. The Pernice Brothers’ debut Overcome By Happiness was released on Sub Pop that same year and it just seemed to express everything I felt during that melancholy year.

“You don’t feel so overcome by happiness/You’re broke/Do you think you might scrape your life together just in/Time to find you’ve got no piece of mind (Overcome By Happiness)

“Its a long way to fall/When you find out how it never was/Its a long way to fall/When you find out it never happened at all” (Crestfallen)

And it didn’t hurt when the music enveloping these fine lyrics resonated with the echoes of Teenage Fanclub, Big Star, the Bee Gees and the Beach Boys.

Lead singer and principal songwriter Joe Pernice has consistently produced great pop albums since then and expect a review of his latest effort soon.

…still there’s more…



After the opening day win over title contenders Liverpool, you’d expect Spurs to beat relegation candidates Hull easily. Not so fast. As seasoned Spurs fans will tell you, expect the worse from Spurs when you should expect the best.

Hull will not be easy meat as they proved against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Saturday as the Blues needed a fortuitous last gasp winner from Drogba to seal the three points.

That and the fact that Ledley King will be not be playing (not to mention Spurs’ poor away form) suggests to me that if Spurs get a point from this fixture, it will be a good one.

Again, Hull will provide a good test of how far Redknapp has brought the team since joining in late October. Back to back victories will certainly boost our ambitions but I would be happy with a draw with a loss bringing us back to square one and a tricky trip to Upton Park this Saturday.




So finally, Spurs win their opening fixture, which is sweet enough. And when the defeated opponent just happens to be Liverpool (making it three consecutive victories at White Hart Lane), its sheer icing on the proverbial cake.

After a scrappy half hour, Spurs began to dominate Liverpool as an attacking force, with Modric pulling strings and Liverpool’s central defence being less than optimum (after hilariously colliding with each other for no reason at all). Then a trio of spurned chances by Keane made it look as if Spurs were going to miss the boat, from out of the blue, left back Assou-Ekotto flashed a rocket past Reiner as the Lane erupted with joy. A great way to celebrate Spurs’ first goal of the season.

Half-time came and went and the fear was that Spurs would fold in the 2nd half (as they have too many times in the past) and when Gomes lost his head and gave away a silly penalty – which Gerrard duly put away – it was a case of ‘here we go again’. All credit to this Spurs team for forcing their way back into the reckoning and yet again, a defender – this time debutant Stephen Bassong – scored from a set piece, brilliantly floated in by Modric.

With 30 minutes left, Liverpool tried their best to claw back into the game but despite a couple of penalty appeals, Spurs defence stood firm, even as Benayon’s appearance failed to liven up the sleepwalking Gerrard and Torres. Crouch would soon make his league debut for Spurs which signalled a flurry of long high balls, most of which did not reach their intended target – a worrying development. Spurs held on and a historic win was earned.

Yes, it’s only the first game of the season but having put one of the so-called Top Four clubs to the sword with such conviction bodes well for this solid Spurs squad. Of course, there is much room for improvement but the positives outweigh the negatives. The defensive solidity and the magnificent form of Modric and Palacios provide a promising platform for an exciting season.



Picture 11


My first memory of British comedienne Tracey Ullman was as a pop star. In the early 80s, Ullman had a string of British Top 10 hits but by the late 80s, Ullman had established herself as a TV comedienne with the Tracy Ullman Show on Fox, which is now famous for introducing The Simpsons (and Paula Abdul) to the world. The success of the Simpsons would later prompt Ullman into a lawsuit with Fox.

In the 90s, Ullman hooked up with HBO for two specials viz. Tracey Ullman: A Class Act and Tracey Ullman Takes On New York. HBO were interested in a Tracey Takes On… series which resulted in a four season run. Basically, the series highlighted Tracey’s unique “take on” various topics e.g. sex, death and the like, told through various characters, mostly all played by Ullman. This involved loads of impression work for Ullman not to mention make-up and even prosthetic penises!

This DVD covers seasons 3 & 4 of the series and highlights such topics as loss, agents, dating, age and so on. Some of the memorable characters include Ruby – a veteran Hollywood make up artist, Chic – New York cabbie, Her Royal Highness – an amalgam of Queen Elizabeth & Princess Margaret, Mrs Noh – an Asian American donut shop owner and Sheneesha – African American airport security guard.

To be honest, the appeal of the series lies more in marvelling at Ullman’s ability to create and play such diverse characters rather than the actual humour of the stories being told. In that respect, its not for everyone and note that since its on HBO, there is material unsuitable for children.



Here we go!

At the beginning of the BPL season, anything is possible. All clubs start on equal terms and anyone can win the title and anyone can be relegated. In theory only, of course.

For Spurs, after the poor starts to the last three seasons, the first eight games are crucial to what Spurs can achieve this time around. A few pundits are predicting minimum Europa League qualification for Spurs and some – with their heads in the clouds (or up their arses, take your pick) – are talking up breaking into the Top Four.

So, a home game against runners-up Liverpool, may not be an ideal opener but will be a good test to determine where Spurs stand in the grand scheme of things. With new signings Peter Crouch, Sebastian Bassong and Kyle Naughton likely to make their debuts, there will be some bedding in to do. Liverpool, of course, have lost Alonso – magnificent last season – and with Gerrard doubtful, it does appear that Spurs may have the upper hand at White Hart Lane.

That said, Liverpool proved notoriously hard to beat – only twice did they lose last season – so a draw looks more likely. However, if Redknapp decides to accommodate Crouch, Defoe and Keane, then the weakened midfield (with only Palacios protecting the defence, already debilitated by the injuries to Woodgate and Dawson) will be exposed by Liverpool – even without Alonso and Gerrard.

Personally, I believe that this season will be crucial for Redknapp to prove that he’s more than just a wheeler-dealer and is able to step up to the plate as a tactician as well. Redknapp was fond to remind everyone that when he arrived, Spurs had 2 points from 8 games, so it will be instructional to see Spurs’ points tally after 8 games this time around.

In terms of the big picture, my feel is that only Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea will be genuine title contenders with Chelsea my favorites for the Premiership. The other top four place will be fought out amongst Arsenal, Everton, Aston Villa, Manchester City and … maybe even Spurs. Would not bet on that last one though. Watch out for Sunderland, with Steve Bruce bringing in Darren Bent, Frazier Campbell and Lee Cattermole, the Black Cats could be the Dark Horse in the final reckoning.

Relegation candidates? Look no further than the new boys viz. Wolves, Birmingham and Burnley and also add in Hull City, Blackburn, Bolton, Portsmouth and possibly Fulham to the list.

All conjecture of course, I guess we’ll all find out in due course, eh? For Spurs fans out there, I hope to write as much about Spurs as I can at the Power of Pop this season.




NICHOLAS CHIM I Have Damned Every Moment Over (29 Cornflakes)

Nicholas Chim (singer/songwriter), whose successful career spans 10 years, has come very far. Having played his music regionally in the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia, he was also a electric guitarist/songwriter of local band, Vertical Rush. He is currently a full-time music teacher, as well as a practicing musician.

His full-length album consists of folk music, with vocals, guitars, a trumpet and a cello. His music is hauntingly beautiful and well-crafted, sounding like a mix of Bon Iver, Nick Drake and Pedro the Lion. There are many songs on the album that showcase Nick’s songwriting and musical abilities, including Leave Me With A Fever and Blue, which show a more emotional side of him. Acoustic guitars are a staple throughout the album, with layers of trumpets, a cello and vocals added in to create different moods to the album.

Playing music solo gives listeners a chance to discover who he is as a musician and a person, outside from Vertical Rush. The thing I like about his lyrics is that it’s relatable, as if he were narrating stories to the listeners straight from his own experiences. I really liked how each song expressed different emotions about the human life and spirit.

Nick will be launching his debut album on August 29, 2009 at the Substation Gallery from Noon – 8pm. He will be playing songs from his full-length album, and there will be art installations and experimental videos to provide a spectacular audio-visual experience.

(Rebecca Lincoln)




In the end, it was an easy victory for Spurs over Greek champions Olympiacos in Spurs’ final pre-season game before the season opener against Liverpool next Sunday. And although, there were promising debuts for Peter Crouch and Sebastian Bassong and Spurs did look impressive in the 2nd half, my own expectations on Spurs’ chances this season remain pretty low. “Wait and see” is the operative phrase.

After all, this time last year, Spurs demolished Roma 5-0, with one David Bentley playing a blinder and Spurs fans will recall bitterly what happened next or as Harry is fond of reminding us all – “2 points from 8 games”. That said, an opening game against Liverpool will provide a accurate gauge of where Spurs stand in the scheme of things. Highlights below.



Michael Gross cover

MICHAEL GROSS AND THE STATUETTES Dusk & Daylight EP (Self released)

Michael Gross and The Statuettes is Michael Gross (vocals, guitar), James Kelly (guitar), Matthew Glass (drums, keys), Benjamin Johnson (bass) and Aaron Hubbard (keys).

I really liked the EP, and it is very likable and accessible, with catchy tunes and feel-good lyrics. There were songs on the EP that sounded a bit like Matt Costa and early The Ataris, which was a bonus for me because I grew up listening to them.

My favourite tracks on the EP would have to be Novocaine and Stone Face, which reveal the lyrical prowess of the band. I have to say that the EP is rather old school 70s pop-rock, so it might not appeal to indie rock set. However, it’s definitely worth a listen, especially for folks who dig melodic rock ‘n’ roll served the old fashioned way.

(Rebecca Lincoln)

Official website




ANOTHER SUNDAY AFTERNOON The Uncanny Tree of Fractured Hearts (Self-released)

Recently there has been a little spike in the number of new S-ROCK releases. Not only that but these albums have been packaged as books and have been presented as concept albums. A case of great minds thinking alike or industrial espionage? So is it all a coincidence? Matters not as it represents boom time charlie for S-ROCK fans as Concave Scream, the Observatory, the Fire Fight and now, Another Sunday Afternoon make their respective marks with works that simply cannot be ignored.

Another Sunday Afternoon viz. Caleb Lye, Elf Seah and Xu Zhiwei, is a band I first came to know of at a gig at Plaza Singapura back in early 2007 (which turned out to be Popland’s final performance, that never was) and I was particularly struck by the melodicism of their music, which as regular PoP visitors will no doubt be aware, is a quality I hold highly.

Two and a half years later, I’m happy to note that the band’s debut album does not detract from that first impression with 14 songs that focus strongly on melody. Not only that, but with a reference list that includes the likes of Silverchair, Feeder, Fountains of Wayne, Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Foo Fighters, Manic Street Preachers, Pearl Jam etc, it’s clear that the music of the 90s figures prominently as well. And with all the 80s post punk referencing around, that alone is refreshing.

Music-wise, The Uncanny Trees of Fractured Hearts is fairly easy listening, radio-friendly fare which does not quicken the pulse too much. Which makes me to believe that if most of the radio-listening populace of Singapore (and beyond) give this album a chance, they might find several of these tunes worming their way (insidiously) into their hearts. Songs like Janet Leno, The Great Excuse, When You’re Back, High and Staggersaurus will probably inspire mass sing-a-longs with the kind of over-arching mellifluousness that the pop-loving hordes would adore. Not only that but there are a few gorgeous piano ballads on show which in my book is the sign of a confident songwriter.

Of course, there are moments where the band try to show that they can rock out as well, with the Muse-channeling …Fall For You on which Caleb demonstrates his fret-wielding gifts and the indie rockin’ Playground (penned by Daniel Sassoon) but really by and large, this album is more reflective and contemplative than head banging. Which is all fine by me.

Which makes The Uncanny Tree of Fractured Hearts the perfect “come-down” soundtrack for another Sunday afternoon (pun intended) and whilst it is definitely more a slow burn grower than an immediate home run, there is much to be gleaned from its nuances, candences and hidden treasures.