DANIEL CLOWES

In May of this year, Drawn & Quarterly will publish the brand new original graphic novel, Wilson, from Daniel Clowes. Unlike his previous novels (i.e. Ghost World and David Boring) has not been previously published in serialized form. Here’e the official release from the D&Q website.

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Meet Wilson, an opinionated middle-aged loner who loves his dog and quite possibly no one else. In an ongoing quest to find human connection, he badgers friend and stranger alike into a series of one-sided conversations, punctuating his own lofty discursions with a brutally honest, self-negating sense of humor. After his father dies, Wilson, now irrevocably alone, sets out to find his ex-wife with the hope of rekindling their long-dead relationship, and discovers he has a teenage daughter, born after the marriage ended and given up for adoption. Wilson eventually forces all three to reconnect as a family – a doomed mission that will surely, inevitably backfire.

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Drawn & Quarterly Official Site

Previews entry

BIRMINGHAM 1 SPURS 1

The problem being a Spurs fan is that you can never relax until you hear the final whistle. I mean, unless we’re at least 4 goals ahead. Too many times, we have lost two and even three goal leads and end up with nothing. If you’re a Spurs fan, I need not elaborate.

I’m guessing that Spurs fans would have taken a point off Birmingham before the game, considering the good form that Brum has been in of late. One defeat in 13 (at Stamford Bridge, no less) does suggest that Brum manager Alex McLeish is doing something right. However, for three-quarters of yesterday’s match, Spurs was in control, but had nothing to show for it.

The Spurs goal was hardly threatened as the likes of David Bentley and Gareth Bale did their best to create opportunities and apart from a gild-edged chance which Luka Modric, could not get pass the resolute Brum defence. Finally, in the 69th minute, the hard work paid off as Jermain Defoe finished a fine move with assists from Bale and Crouch.

But – and this is the galling part – instead of seizing the initiative to secure the win – Spurs inexplicably took their collective foot off the pedal and defended deeply, handing the impetus over to Brum. This made no sense whatsoever, almost as if the Spurs team had thought that the game was over after scoring. Suddenly, a Brum side that looked utterly toothless became dangerous with each and every attack.

Harry Redknapp brought on Robbie Keane and Jermaine Jenas for Defoe and Bentley respectively. Both contributed little. In fact, the removal of Bentley probably weakened Spurs right flank and in injury time, Jenas and Corluka allowed Ridgewell time and space to score the inevitable equalizer from an unmarked postion from close range – WITHIN THE SIX YARD BOX!!!! You can’t blame Spurs fans for the frustration, Ridgewell’s goal should have never happened but somehow the Spurs team switched off once again.

As I have often observed, this Spurs team lacks a winning mentality and resolve to see a game through. Too many players go missing at the end of games and all the previous hard work is wasted. On our away trips to our closest challengers, we have flattered to deceive – dominating possession but not getting the right result. It’s simply not good enough. With Liverpool, Villa and Everton all winning and Man City having games in hand, 4th place is probably out of our hands and dependant on the other pretenders screwing up as badly as we often do.

So obviously, there are problems which need to be fixed if we are serious about Champions League qualification but is getting Eider Gudjohnson and Younes Kaboul the answer? No. Simply put, with the players (and mentality) we currently have, we may not even qualify for the Europa League.

BOLD LIVE IN SINGAPORE

RECONSTRUX BOOKINGS

presents

BOLD THE ASIAN INVASION TOUR

LIVE IN SINGAPORE!

with special guests

BRINGIN’ IT DOWN

http://www.myspace.com/boldhardcore

5th FEBRUARY2010

4.30pm

THE BLACKBOX THEATRE, FORT CANNING PARK

SGD$28 AT THE DOOR

“Back I looked on years spent and all the things I’ve seen.

‘Cause I’m so much older, you must know what I mean.

I’ve learned from those days, both good and bad.

Thinking back on all those times I had.”

In the summer of 1989, Bold played their final show ever, marking the end of a five-year career that established the New York City Straight Edge powerhouse as one of the most definitive hardcore bands of all time. From their 1986 debut, “Join The Fight” EP (released under the name Crippled Youth) on New Beginning Records, to 1988’s acclaimed “Speak Out” LP, and their post-humus “s/t” EP ’89 (both on Revelation Records) featuring the addition of Tom Capone on guitar, Bold left behind a well-documented and highly-acclaimed vinyl history, as well as a stand-out live reputation that marked the band’s progression from a young and unruly, straight-forward thrash band, to a technical and introspective hardcore band, with telling signs of the post-hardcore movement to come.

Extensive touring across the U.S with counterparts such as Youth Of Today, Gorilla Biscuits, Judge and Supertouch, established their fan base throughout the country and set Bold apart from the pack. Drummer Drew Thomas went onto provide the beat in Into Another, axe-wielder Tom Capone set the tone in Quicksand, and singer Matt Warnke has fronted One Sided War and Running Like Thieves.

Well over a decade later, BOLD is still the pinnacle band that epitomizes the spirit of an era in hardcore – and it is time for a rebirth.

“Listen, listen, learn to listen. Think of what you now are missing. …It’s time for you to wise up.” – BOLD

FEATURING –

STOMPIN’ GROUND

http://www.myspace.com/stormgrind

OVERTHROWN

http://www.myspace.com/overthrownlchc

BLOODY REJECTS

http://www.myspace.com/bloodyrejects

MOUTHFUL OF AIR

http://www.myspace.com/mouthfulofair

OBSCURE

http://www.myspace.com/obscurelchc

COMRADE

PREVIEW: BIRMINGHAM V SPURS

Since the mid-week victory over Fulham, Spurs have signed Eidur Gudjohnson on loan till the end of the season and also look like signing Younes Kaboul and Asmir Begovic from Portsmouth. The loan deal involving Gudjohnson seems to have sealed the departure of Roman Pavlyuchenko, although the fact that Spurs will attempt to recoup as much of the fee paid to Spartak Moscow for his signature may deter potential suitors.

Ironically, one of those potential suitors is Birmingham City, this Saturday’s opponents! Yes, it’s all a little complicated isn’t it?

Apparently, the acquisition of Gudjohnson is intended to cover the continuing absence of the injured Aaron Lennon, not to hasten the exit of Pavlyuchenko as Gudjohnson would be able to operate in a diamond-shaped midfield. More than anything, this move probably spells the end of Robbie Keane as Keane has been employed in this role whenever a five man midfield was utilized by Harry Redknapp.

The rumoured signings of Kaboul and Begovic make sense as cover for central defence and goalkeeping positions respectively, with the injuries to Woodgate, King and Cudicini but I still cannot fathom the Gudjohnson deal as surely Luke Modric would be able to function in the “hole” (and David Bentley has demonstrated against Fulham that he just may be able to compensate for Lennon’s absence) and at 31, is Gudjohnson still good enough for the Premiership?

In any case, the trip to St. Andrew’s will provide a stern test of Gudjohnson’s qualities should Redknapp choose to employ him. In mid-week, leaders Chelsea emphatically put an end to Birmingham’s unbeaten streak. So best or worst time to face Birmingham?

All of which makes this fixture an intriguing encounter.

COYS!!!

ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN

ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN The Fountain (Ocean Rain)

Some critics (including yours truly) believe that 1984’s Ocean Rain was the Bunnymen’s absolute peak in music-making. Well, some folks are saying that the Bunnymen’s latest album – The Fountain – is the Bunnymen’s finest recording since Ocean Rain. Hurm. I’m not so sure about that though. Whereas Ocean Rain was the high point of Bunnymen’s pioneering epic sound, The Fountain is a much more poppier affair.

Detractors have derided the recent Bunnymen albums as a pastiche of their own deifining post-punk epoch, going as far as to say that on these albums, the Bunnyment sound like a parody of themselves! Well, I guess that’s the risk you take when trying to equal such ground-breaking albums as Heaven Up Here, Porcupine and of course, Ocean Rain. But really, to be fair, can’t we just take these albums at face value without having to hold them up to Bunnymen’s 80s ghost?

I mean, if The Fountain had been released by a new British band, the music press – whilst noting the debt to the Bunnymen – would be falling over themselves proclaiming such band as the “next big thing”. So why the double standard?

Personally, I think The Fountain is as strong as its predecessor Siberia (2005) and in my humble opinion, most resembles the eponymous 1987 album, which is probably the Bunnymen’s hookiest effort to date. Tracks like the opening single Think I Need It Too, Do You Know Who I Am?, Life of A Thousand Crimsha and the title track will appeal greatly to the fans of the modern post-punk revival and their proponents e.g. The Verve, The Shins, Big Pink, Coldplay, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and so on.

Echo & the Bunnymen perform in Singapore at the Esplanade Theatre on Monday, 8th February 2010 at 8pm. Tickets available from SISTIC.

Official Site

Myspace

THE AMERICAN PROFESSIONALS

THE AMERICAN PROFESSIONALS The Specialist (Ethic)

San Francisco-based The American Professionals dole out comfortably familiar powerpop in this four-track EP. You know the deal – loud, crunchy guitars and catchy melodies. So if you’re a diehard powerpop fan, you do get the heavy guitarwork (classic 70s styled) and the Beatlesque tunes, which suggests that the likes of Cheap Trick and the Raspberries might be strong influences.

It’s straightforward really. Personally, I like the subtle contrasts in the title track which does suggest that the band has more in its locker than loud and heavy. Always a good sign. That said, the adrenaline-pumping, bittersweet confections of Jump This Train, Down Low and Yet Another One More Time will keep the powerpop fans smiling.

In addition, check out bonus track Love is Only Sleeping, which is a gorgeous evocation of mid-60s psychedelic-garage rock.

Myspace

KRIS ALLEN LIVE IN SINGAPORE

AMERICAN IDOL WINNER, KRIS ALLEN TO HIT THE STAGE IN SINGAPORE

Limited tickets at Zirca Mega Club on Wednesday, 10th February

Singapore, 27 January 2010:

Kris Allen, the reigning American Idol will perform in Singapore, at Zirca Mega Club on 10th February 2010. Allen is the first winner of the popular, reality singing competition to stage a solo concert here. The tour is in support of his self- titled, debut album released in November 2009.

The 24 year old Arkansas native won the eighth season of American Idol last year, beating flamboyant contender, Adam Lambert. Not bad for someone who tagged along to the audition at his brother’s request.

“I didn’t have anything else to do so I was down with that,” says Kris. “We arrived and there were 12,000 people standing there and we were the last ones to sign up. It was intimidating.”

“Live Like We’re Dying” is his current single. Allen also received his first nomination for Breakout Music Artist at the 2010 People’s Choice Award.

Singapore is the last date of the only two South East Asian legs in his tour. Allen will also perform in the Philippines on the 5th and 6th of February.

Concert Information:

Date:                Wednesday, 10th February 2010

Time:                8.00pm

Venue:             Zirca Mega Club

The Cannery, Clarke Quay

Minimum age entry is 16 years old

Tickets:             S$99 – Price excludes booking fee

Available from www.Tickets.com

Hotline:             +65 6296 2929

For more information on Kris Allen:

http://www.krisallenofficial.com/sg/home

http://www.facebook.com/KrisAllen

Tweets by KrisAllen

About Midas Promotions

Founded in 1978, Midas Promotions promotes major international artists in 13 countries within Asia Pacific, and a further six in the Middle East. Midas has offices in Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand and Philippines. In 2007, Midas produced SINGfest, an outdoor music festival in Singapore and the largest contemporary music event in Southeast Asia. For more information and updates please visit:

www.midaspromotions.com,

http://www.facebook.com/midas.singapore

www.twitter.com/midaspromotions

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For more information, please contact Shazliana Heron at 9844 2775 or email [email protected]

BLUE RODEO

BLUE RODEO The Things We Left Behind (Telesoul)

This album, Canadian band Blue Rodeo’s 12th, is a testimony to the creative staying power of this extraordionary country-rock outfit. A double CD set consisting of 16 tracks, The Things We Left Behind is a lesson in how to deliver a first-rate country-rock album in this day and age.

In fact, in the absence of the now-defunct Jayhawks, Blue Rodeo is probably the alt-country standard bearer with its astute (and consistent) development of country-folk tunes matched with pop-rock dynamics.

On songs like the excellent Waiting For the World, Sheba, Arizona, In My Bones, the fragile soulfulness of the best country-folk shines through as acoustic guitars, pedal steels and violins pluck at your heartstrings. Whereas from the pop-rock perspective, wonderful songs like Never Look Back, the title track, Don’t Let the Darkness In Your Head and Wasted deliver all the right chops and hooks.

Yes, folks, this one is a definite keeper!

Official site

Myspace

SPURS 2 FULHAM 0

Finally, a league win in January! But then, you can usually rely on Fulham yielding all the points at the Lane. So, for once, this match went according to the form book. Spurs welcomed Tom Huddlestone to the central midfield after injury and included David Bentley in light of Aaron Lennon’s continued absence and Niko Kranjcar’s illness.

Apart from the opening 20 minutes, Spurs never really got into top gear. Both goals may be attributed to individual errors on the part of Bjorn Helge Riise. The first, prodded home by Peter Crouch after good work by Modric dispossessing the doddling Riise. The second, the unfortunate Riise changing the flight of Bentley’s free kick beyond Mark Schwarzer.

In truth, Fulham was poor, and never seriously threathened the Spurs goal. All told, a rather routine victory for Spurs, which keeps us in 4th place, for now anyways, until Man City and Aston Villa play their respective games in hand.

One notable statistic though, Gareth Bale, after 23 attempts, finally started in a Spurs team in a league match which ended in a victory! Been a long time coming but I’m glad that Bale can now put that horredous record behind him.

A sterner test awaits on Saturday with the away game against in-form surprise package, Birmingham City.

THE LUXURY

THE LUXURY In the Wake Of What Won’t Change (Self-released)

Better late than never.

If I had listened to this excellent album in 2009, I would have certainly listed it in my top albums of that year. No doubt!

Suffice to say that this Boston-based band has produced a pop-rock classic which encapsulates everything that the Power of Pop believes passionately about music. Eclectic at its core, defiantly melodic (and harmonic) and referencing all the coolest bits of powerpop, Britpop, psychedelia, prog and post-punk (in a manner I had previously considered impossible), In the Wake Of What Won’t Change is one of those rare albums where swallowing it whole is essential to its full appreciation.

The album opens with electronic noise which seques into epic washes of sound and then kicks off with Getaway Car, a thrilling driving song that recalls Be Bop Deluxe. From then on, the keen listener needs to be strapped in for the ride as The Luxury delivers the amazing chorus of Take It Back (think: the Alan Parsons Project), the epic ‘Til Your Last Day (recalling best prog-pop exercises of Asia and Trevor Rabin-era Yes), the dynamic Next in Line, the jaunty Straitjacket and so on.

Better late than never indeed.

Official site

Myspace

ANNUALS

ANNUALS Sweet Sister (Banter)

Merely describing Raleigh, North Carolina sextet Annuals as an indie-pop outfit isn’t really much help. To these ears, Annuals is a creative unit which is passionate about creating eclectic, genuine pop-rock music. Therefore, on this new EP, Annuals demonstrate that they are equally at home with lusty country-folk (Flesh and Blood), whimsical rootsy jaunts (Holler and Howl), Latin-flavoured pop candy (Loxstep), world music-informed percussive nuggets (Sweet Sister) and atmospheric, moody pieces (Turncloaking).

Regular PoP visitors will be aware that the genre that I’ve coined for artists like Annuals is “widescreen rock”, which includes the likes of Mercury Rev, the Flaming Lips and the now-defunct Grandaddy. Meaning that these bands paint on a epic canvas and is all-inclusive in the genre-bending exercise they call songwriting. Well, Annuals is a widerscreen rock band, if I ever heard one. Displaying an impressive range of styles, Annuals is a band that surprises with every musical turn. My favourite kind!

Official Site

Myspace

PREVIEW: SPURS V FULHAM

It has been a disappointing 2010 so far for Spurs. Apart from the 4-0 drubbing of Peterborough in the 3rd Round of the FA Cup, Spurs have struggled to home draws against Hull City and Leeds United, and of course, an Anfield defeat to Liverpool. So you can understand my trepidation at the thought of Fulham at the Lane tonight.

Fulham are 12 points behind Spurs, having lost their way somewhat since the goal-less draw between the clubs on Boxing Day. Still, Fulham has proven itself to be a very organised & efficient team this season and is precisely the type of side that might defend stoutly for 90 minutes and grab a winner deep into injury time.

On the bright side, Fulham has a poor record at the Lane and has not been good on their travels this season. So once again, the impetus is on Spurs to take the game to the away side. After the poor performances of the last few games, what side will Harry Redknapp to take Spurs out of this slump?

Your guess is as good as mine. I am hoping for a Spurs win, naturally, but I am not too optimistic.

COYS!!!

THE POWER OF POP INTERVIEW – INCH CHUA

We welcome the delightful Inch Chua back to the Power of Pop and pose some questions to the young singer-songwriter about the SXSW festival and the upcoming 9837 Miles to Texas Benefit Show.

How does it feel to be invited to SXSW?

Pretty surprised and super duper excited! All this while I’ve been more focused on my release in July that when I did receive the invitation, I was really taken aback and now I have to pretty much reschedule alot of things.

When did you decide to make an application to SXSW and why?

It was kind of strange cause the thought of applying to SXSW didn’t come to me at all until I was encouraged by Leonard Soosay to apply. And naturally, I thought “what the heck” and applied out of spontaneity. Who would have thought I could have been one of the many invited acts out of 10,000 of entries.

Why do you think you were invited?

I’m not really sure myself, maybe its cause I’m Asian or Singaporean? Hahaha well, I wish they could have given a breakdown on why they came to their decision to invite me, it would have been really nice to see what people overseas think of my music. I can only hope they invited me cause they thought my music was unique.

Have you made plans for other US gigs besides the SXSW events?

Yes! The truth is I don’t want to “waste” my time on the US gigging market cause the truth is, no one knows who I am there. so trying to do gigs there (unless its festivals) will be quite futile. Hence, we’re trying to hit into some College Radio stations and Independent Podcasts to get the music out and hopefully from there, introduce an existence of my music. We’ll be hitting Los Angeles first before we head up to Austin. 🙂

How is the financing of the SXSW adventure coming along?

Other than applying for grants, it is not going as smoothlt as I hoped it would be, hence the fundraiser’s really important!!

Do you have a new album in the works?

Yes, the new full-length album Wallflower, will be coming out in July. However, my schedule’s a little pushed back due to SXSW. 🙂

Understand that like the EP, it’ll be available as a free download. Can you please elaborate on the rationale of making your music free to the world?

Its a pretty long story, but this should sum it up. http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=138002362769 🙂

How did the idea for the “9837 Miles to Texas” Benefit Show come about?

I guess the general lack of funds left me quite worried about heading up to Texas.  After all, Mark (sessionist guitarist) and I are students and its pretty hard for us to have any income to head on up to Texas. Hence other than applying for grants, and playing more shows, another alternative was to canvas for donations. The benefit is called 9837 miles to Texas, because Singapore is literally 9837 miles away from Austin. During my trip there, I’ll be blogging about the entire journey and will be putting it all up on a blog called  9837 miles from Singapore.

Besides merch, do you intend to press the EP and new album and sell them at the show?

I was intending to do that after the SXSW trip, cause as of now, there isn’t much of a budget to do it 🙂

What do you hope to achieve with your SXSW appearance?

It would be my first time in USA and to a major music festival, so I guess I am really looking forward to the entire experience and the conference talks in the morning. I just want to soak EVERYTHING in.

What does the future hold for Inch Chua?

Sometimes I wish I knew and I ask myself on a daily basis. well, I’ll be jumping into music full time after I graduate, so that’s going to be even more exciting. Lets just hope more doors will open and I’ll get somewhere soon.

Well, the Power of Pop wishes Inch all the best for the SXSW festival. In the meantime, you can do your part for Inch’s cause by attending the 9837 Miles To Texas Benefit Show on Friday, 5th February 2010 at 15 Minutes Cafe (from 8 pm onwards) and donating liberally! Also appearing on the same bill – Amateur Takes Control, Talktothewalls, A Vacant Affair, B-Quartet, Caracal, and Plainsunset.

SPURS 2 LEEDS 2

In the end, Spurs got what they deserved. Football is a simple game – score more goals than the opposition. It is NOT about the amount of possession, shots on goal, corners etc. After all, at the 25 minute mark, Spurs had 10 shots to Leeds’ none. In fact, after 6 minutes, Jermain Defoe had contrived to miss yet another crucial penalty kick. We’ll talk about penalties a little later again.

For that first quarter of the match, Spurs were irresistible moving forward but failed at the most basic thing – score a goal. And when they did score, they proved to be brittle as glass at defending. Sure, as a 37 year Spurs fan, this kind of performance is nothing new but don’t professional footballers know when its time to hold possession to get the right result and when its time to bomb forward in search for an extra goal?

Yes, you can point to the usual defining moments – Defoe’s pathetic spot kick, Jenas’ bad miss, the other Defoe penalty that wasn’t to be, the wrongful ruling out of Keane’s “goal” for offside and of course, Dawson’s poor judgement at the death. Still, what it boils down to is Spurs’ inability to convert domination and chances into goals. Pure and simple.

Harry Redknapp shook things up a little by starting Danny Rose on the left and bringing on Pavlyuchenko, who finished off an excellent team move to give Spurs a 2-1 lead. However, the sad fact is that once again too many players went AWOL, notably Jenas, Modric and Kranjcar. Defoe and Crouch are beginning to look jaded and frustrated by the lack of success in front of goal and Redknapp needs to freshen things up and fast. By the way, thank goodness we didn’t get Ruud Van Nistelrooy!

The main positive to take from this game is the return of Pavlyuchenko. I do hope that Redknapp decides to give the Russian striker an extended run in the team so that the likes of Defoe and Crouch do not take their starting places for granted. And to be honest, considering the way we play over the entire match, a draw is probably what we and Leeds deserved. The ties is not over yet, now that the impetus has moved to the Leeds camp, maybe Spurs can go to Elland Road and book their place to the next round.

COYS!!!

TWIN TIGERS

TWIN TIGERS Gray Waves (Old Flame)

I’ll make matters clear before I proceed: I’ve never really been much of a fan of indie music’s so called lo-fi chic, which to me just sounds like an excuse for bad production and awful mixing. Granted, I’m no audiophile, but the blood in me just boils when I hear a record like Athenian four-piece Twin Tigers’ full length debut album, Gray Waves. Because there’s no two ways around it: the record sounds awful.

That’s not to say the band itself is bad: their deep-fried, dirty shoegaze brand of garage rock is relentlessly catchy at times with pop hooks and melodies that will perk up your ears. But there’s only so much the human ear can take of mindless distortion and flat-sounding reverb before you switch off the record, which is exactly what I ended up doing. It’s a crying shame because songs like Red Fox Run, which features a mildly interesting guitar riff, sound like they’d be immensely catchy if the melody and lyrics weren’t so frustratingly indecipherable. Some songs, like the previously released Sexless Love, sound interesting enough to almost keep you listening on, but then you hit a dry patch like the effortless boring and tuneless Feathers, and what spark of patience the good songs had ignited is mercilessly extinguished. By the time you reach the ending songs of Crystal Highway (which features an excruciatingly painful, distorted vocal track) and Island, you’ll be wishing you had a physical copy of the album just so you could fling it across the room and imagine you were aiming it at the sound engineer. “Take that, and let’s see if you ever dare to radio-distort another vocal again!”

I can’t say this is a completely objective review—I already excused myself from all such pretensions in the first line anyway. It’s just an awful pity because from their live performances on YouTube, they seemed like such a promising proposition. Let’s just chalk one up to debut LP studio inexperience, and keep our fingers crossed that the next record won’t sound like it was recorded in a toilet.

(Samuel C Wee)
Myspace

FREEDOM LOVE FOREVER

FREEDOM LOVE FOREVER by Ken Foo. Published by Wayland Smith Projects.

Yes, the same Ken Foo I’ve been recently raving over actually has a graphic novel out on sale now. Contained in its numerous pages lie so many ambitious ideas and concepts that you begin to wonder whether Foo has over-reached himself somewhat. I guess this book features all the short stories that Foo has been writing/drawing for years and years, in anticipation of this moment in time. However, there is nothing here that suggests that Foo is out of his depth as he covers diverse ground and formats to tell his quirky and idiosyncratic tales.

We have “straightforward” comic book narratives (eg. Yell Bloody Murder), text with illustrations (eg. the sad faced passionate-eyed boy) and something in-between (eg Little Mechanic Daniel) peppered throughout Freedom Love Forever. Bubbling under the existentialist story lines is a strong offbeat sense of humour.

My personal favourites are the trilogy of Bird Bird + Pig Pig + Bear Bear, Winter Walker and Midnight Monkey Blues – all of which display the right elements of fine art, off-the-wall writing and tongue-in-cheek humour – that will appeal to all lovers of intelligent and mature story-telling.

Freedom Love Forever is certainly worth picking up and will no doubt provide you with hours of entertainment, bewilderment and laughter.

Ken Foo’s Official Site

Wayland Smith Projects Site

INCH CHUA

First, the official word –

“Being the first Singapore female singer-songwriter to be invited to the prestigious South by Southwest (SXSW) music festival, this will undoubtedly be Inch’s biggest platform to perform to date.

However, the road to Austin, Texas is fraught with difficulties as she faces the uphill task of raising the funds to undertake the trip. The amount required for the trip is huge for a struggling performer.

It is very heartwarming that her friends and peers in the Singapore independent rock scene have bandied around to help her cause. Bands performing genres as diverse as post-hardcore to indie rock will come together to perform a special acoustic show in support of Inch and her dream of performing at the SXSW Festival. Acts like A Vacant Affair, B-Quartet, Caracal, Plainsunset and more will be taking a break from their usual boisterous rock’n’roll to showcase a gentler side of their music.

Do join us for a night of reverie and fun and help out to fulfil an artist’s dream.”

On a personal note, back in 2007, I met and interviewed Inch (as the frontperson of Allura) and she struck me as an ambitious and driven young lady. So this achievement comes as little surprise to me. Certainly, she will do us all proud and fly the S-ROCK flag high in Austin, Texas. Therefore, everyone must do their national service and turn up for this fundraiser and give generously!

Official site

Pure Volume

SONNY LIEW

Y’know, when I finally realized what Sonny Liew had achieved in the world of comics (better late than never), I must confess that I had a lump in my throat. Imagine that, a Singapore based comic artist that has worked with Marvel, Image, Disney and has actually been nominated for an Eisner award!

What hole have I been hiding under all these years, eh?

Suffice to say that I intend to get to the bottom of this pretty soon by featuring a little more Sonny Liew on the Power of Pop, certainly a review of the upcoming Liquid City Vol. 2, which the man himself was kind enough to send my way. Stay tuned and all that.

Here’s the cover to whet your appetites.

Cool, huh?

… still there’s more …

Blog

PREVIEW: SPURS V LEEDS

Having already beaten champions Man Utd at Old Trafford (no less) in the previous round, giant-killers Leeds must be feeling confident of adding Spurs to their list of top flight scalps in this season’s FA Cup. Leeds probably did Spurs a favour as in the last two seasons, Spurs have been knocked out in the 4th Round by Man Utd!

As usual, being at home, Spurs are favourites but will Leeds be another slippery banana peel? After all, Spurs has already lost to Stoke and Wolves at home, and these defeats would provide the blueprint for Leeds to set out their gameplan and tactics. Speaking of tactics, will Harry Redknapp be able to rise above the naivety shown in recent games, where congested midfield and penalty boxes have effectively thwarted our offensive actions?

To be honest, I am beginning to despair of Redknapp’s tactical nous (or lack thereof). Spurs seem unable to breakdown more determined teams who do not give us the time or space to play our passing game and once the chips are down, the lack of mental strength is a worrying fact. Sadly, Spurs’ performance now hinges on whether the other team lets us play or not. This is a totally unsatisfactory state of affairs and despite all that he has achieved, perhaps Redknapp is not the manager to bring us to the next level.

With Lennon and Huddlestone likely to be absent, we are missing two key components of our good season and slotting in Modric on the right and Jenas in the middle, has not been working out so far. Redknapp may want to gamble with Giovanni Dos Santos (or even Danny Rose) on the left flank,  Kranjcar on the right and play Modric in the middle with Palacios. Whatever he does, Redknapp needs to mix it all up a little as we have become all too predictable.

And… with another crucial Premiership fixture coming up against Fulham on Tuesday night, Redknapp may have no choice to tinker somewhat. My prediction? A Spurs win but only just.

COYS!!!

FYFE DANGERFIELD

FYFE DANGERFIELD Fly Yellow Moon (Self-released)

Dangerfield is, of course, the frontman of delightfully quirky BRIT award nominated indie rock band, Guillemots. On his self-released debut album, Dangerfield does not stray too much from Guillemots sonic agenda. Perhaps less wildly eclectic than his full-time band, Dangerfield’s material here is slightly more conservative and traditional when compared to his work with Guillemots.

The tracks on Fly Yellow Moon, mostly consist of piano-centric songs, informed by epic melodies with downbeat sentiments. Thus, songs like the wistful title track, the plaintive ballad Barricades, the nostalgic High on the Tide, the folky Livewire, the pastoral Firebird and the fragile Don’t Be Shy provide the perfect soundtrack for those melancholy late nights. In this regard, Dangerfield recalls the moody genius of Nick Drake.

Fortunately though, Dangerfield is clever enough to mix the melancholia with stabs of hysterical fun e.g. the violently bubbly When You Walk in the Room (which comes across like mad Mika), the post-punk revival piece Faster Than the Setting Sun, where Dangerfield uncannily channels Ian McCulloch (Echo & the Bunnymen), the ELO-ish soulful She Needs Me and the throbbing electronica of Any Direction.

A fine debut album by all accounts, a no-brainer for Guillemots fans, and recommended for lovers of Brit-pop (e.g. Lightning Seeds, World Party et el).

Official Site

Myspace

NICK CHIM LIVE @ 15 MINS

Singer-songwriter Nick Chim has a message for you. Read on…

“I’ll be playing a couple of solo sets for the evening at 15 minutes cafe. Hope everyone can drop by cos its my birthday the day before and my manager Ray’s birthday on the day itself. So like celebrate la! birthday party style haha. My album will be on sale along with some goodies hopefully from artist/friend Kristal Melson. See you all there!”

For the informed –

15 Minutes Cafe is located at 1 McNally Street, Blk D, #01-01,  Lasalle College of the Arts.

Myspace

LIVERPOOL 2 SPURS 0

Simply put, Spurs were not good enough. It pains me to say this but despite playing a side weakened by injuries to key men like Torres, Gerrard and Benayoun, Liverpool just wanted it more than Spurs.

Sure, you could blame it on the inconsistent refereeing (what was Defoe’s ‘goal’ disallowed for?), Redknapp’s poor tactical nous (why change a central defence that has not conceded in five consecutive games?), the absence of Aaron Lennon (Spurs had no width without him) or the fates (Spurs have not won at Anfield since 1993) but the simple fact is that on the night, the Spurs players did not possess the winning mentality or the confidence to beat Liverpool. This “inferiority complex” is the difference between a top four and a top six finish (or lower).

For once, Rafa Benitez got his tactics spot on – playing Kuyt as striker (two goals the result), Riveria on the left and starting Aquilani in the hole. Playing a balanced team is crucial, look at Spurs – no natural wide midfielders causing the midfield to be very compressed – Jenas, Modric and Krancjar all had poor games – and with no proper support for Crouch and Defoe, Spurs were very blunt moving forward.

I hate to say this but I believe that Ledley King’s best days are behind him and should no longer be risked for these top games any longer. Either Redknapp develops the Dawson-Bassong partnership – which had done so well in the last few games – or Redknapp brings in a new centre back to cover for the chronically injured King and Woodgate. The two goals were caused by errors in the central defence – Dawson and Bassong – which I believe was partly due to Redknapp’s tinkering.

The season is not over yet, of course, there’s still life in our challenge for the Champions League place, if Redknapp can quickly sort out these problems. And there is still the business of Leeds at home in the FA Cup 4th Round this Saturday.

COYS!!!

WEEZER

WEEZER Raditude (DGC/Interscope)

The law of diminishing returns has been applying to Weezer’s albums since the lukewarm response to Maladroit (2002). Raditude, the band’s seventh album entered the Billboard Album Charts at 7th and it as been downhill from there (its #106 now). My own assessment is that the band has been trying too hard to replicate the freshness of popular albums like the Blue and Green albums as well as Pinkerton. Basically, the band has downplayed the pop-savvy hits of the past and has replaced this with attempts to be hip and cool by incorporating hip hop and rap elements into their music.

Maybe this accounts for the sheer number of producers involved in the making of Raditude – Dr Luke, Jacknife Lee, Polow Da Don, Butch Walker and Rivers Cuomo himself. The result? A mish-mash of uneven songs that are largely devoid of melodic ideas, heavy on production techniques and low on creative spark.

That said, I do like the verve and energy of opening single (If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To, with its infectious beat and sing-a-long chorus. Pity the rest of Raditude never quite touches these heights.

Official Site