PoPINIONS

YOU NEVER GIVE ME YOUR MONEY

TODAY reports that “Recording Industry Performance Singapore (Rips) and Music Publishers (Singapore) (MPS) held an educational talk for wedding photographers and videographers on Monday night. Their message: Pay for the copyrighted work or use royalty-free music. Otherwise, face criminal or civil action.”

The article went on to state that “Rips – which represents about 90 per cent of record labels here – introduced a new licensing scheme under which wedding videographers and photographers have to pay $2,000 for the unlimited use of copyrighted work for a year.” MPS is following suit. In addition, a license is also required from the Composers and Authors Society of Singapore (Compass).

So, obviously, wedding videographers and photographers are unhappy as these measures will raise costs (which will be passed on to their customers) and thereby, upset many wedding couples as well. I know what you’re thinking – if you bought the original CD, why do you still need to pay in order to play the CD in a public event, like a wedding?

Well, simply put, copyright owners enjoy a number of different rights including performance rights and recording rights. The purchase of a record does not authorize its public performance. Read the small print on your CD sleeve – “All the rights of the manufacturer and of the owner of the work produced reserved. Unauthorised copying, hiring, public performance and broadcasting prohibited.” There you go!

But here’s a solution – most S-ROCK music is royalty-free unless the songwriters are Compass members – and even if they are, at least you will paying the person who created the song, rather than some faceless associations who are collecting money for corporate entities on the other side of the world.

So why not play songs like No Finer Time To Be Alive, So Happy, Class ‘A’ Love Affair and so on to not only support the local music scene but avoid having to fork out your hard-earned money to those dinosaur record labels.

That tip was on the house – you pay for the next one. Heh.

SCOTT PILGRIM VS THE WORLD

Yet another upcoming comic book-related movie is Scott Pilgrim vs the World. This Edgar Wright-helmed movie is based on Bryan Lee O’Malley’s rather obscure Scott Pilgrim comic series.

Here’s the statement from the official movie website –

“Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera), bass guitarist for the garage band Sex Bob-omb, has just met the girl of his dreams. However, he must defeat Ramona Flowers’ (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) seven evil exes, who are coming to kill him.

Scott Pilgrim has never had a problem getting a girlfriend. It’s getting rid of them that proves difficult. From the girl who kicked his heart’s *** — and now is back in town — to the teenage distraction he’s trying to shake when Ramona roller blades into his world, love hasn’t been easy. He soon discovers, however, his new crush has the most unusual baggage of all: a nefarious league of exes control her love life and will do whatever it takes to eliminate him as a suitor.

As Scott gets closer to Ramona, he must face an increasingly vicious rogues’ gallery from her past, from infamous skateboarders to vegan rock stars and fearsomely identical twins. And if he hopes to win his true love, he must vanquish them all before it really is game over.”

Check out the teaser trailer below.

Scott Pilgrim vs the World opens on 13 August 2010.

PoP10 – FRIDAY MILE

Answers by Jace Krause, singer/guitarist/songwriter for Friday Mile

1. Why play music?

To be poor and to put the rest of your life on indefinite hold. Kidding! There are some elements of that, but really, music is the only thing I give a damn about, and could do every day. I’m learning more each year that music can be whatever I want, and that idea that keeps me working and trying new things.

2. Who are your influences?

I grew up in somewhat of a cultural vacuum in northeastern Montana. We had only a few radio stations. Most were country, and one station played top 40 adult contemporary. My parents blocked MTV until we were in high school, but I was still able to find a few 90s alt-rock bands to like through friends like the Smashing Pumpkins and Foo Fighters. Then we got the Internet and I discovered indie rock and the stuff they were calling “emo” in the late 90s, like Sunny Day Real Estate and Jimmy Eat World. I was 18 and I felt like I was finally finding music that grabbed me. I had no idea that stuff existed, and it sounded so different to me. So our music is somehow influenced by all that. You’ve also got some classics: Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, CSNY, Steely Dan, along with bands like Wilco. But I am also influenced by anybody doing something different with music, like Animal Collective and Grizzly Bear.

3. What is success?

The answer changes every year. The thing with success is that you always have an idea of what it is until you get there. Four years ago when we started, it was just trying to fill up a club in Seattle, or get a gig that on a Friday night. Now that we are doing those things, we are sometimes scratching our heads on what our next step should be. I felt like we were put through the ringer last year, trying so hard to make Good Luck Studio this really huge thing, and it strained relationships in the band. I think we’re in a good place now, and all of us are eager to make some new songs and try to take them to newer places.

4. Why should people buy your music?

We spent a lot of money making this album sound amazing, that’s why. But the reality is that music-buying is on the decline. Everything is becoming free. So we want as many people to hear our music, and if they have the means, I hope they throw down some money for it, but if someone came up to me at a show and loved what they heard but didn’t have the cash to buy, I would find a way to get the music in their hands. I would at least get their email address for our mailing list so we can sell them something else down the line, like a shirt or some other non-music item.

5. Who do you love?

Anyone who’s not afraid to take a risk doing something they love. Anyone who puts themselves out there with creative endeavors.

6. What do you hope to achieve with your music?

A long lasting career. I’d also like to score films.

7. Who comes to your gigs?

We play a lot of 21+ shows at bars and clubs, so we see a lot of young professional types in their 20s and 30s. When we do play all-ages shows, we also get a good response from the teen crowd. We just played a show at Seattle University and it was one of the best all-ages shows we’ve been a part of since we started.

8. What is your favorite album?

There’s no way I could begin to answer that question. But maybe Wilco’s “Summerteeth.”

9. What is your favorite song?

I think it might be “Train In Vain.” The Clash.

10. How did you get here?

A lot of work, some sacrifice, and a little luck.

Friday Mile’s album Good Luck Studio is out now.

AMY MACDONALD

AMY MACDONALD A Curious Thing (Universal)

Selling 3 million copies of your debut CD (the aptly titled This Is This Life) when you’re a mere 20 year old is some achievement. This is what Scottish songstress Macdonald managed as she took her native UK by storm in 2007. Musically, Macdonald recalls the epic pop-rock of the 90s Brit-pop era (viz. Travis, Manic Street Preachers, Stereophonics) but imbued with modern rock’s obsession with electronica.

Thus, on Macdonald’s sophomore effort, catchy, straightforward pop-rock songs like Don’t Tell Me That It’s All Over, Love Love, Give It All Up and Troubled Soul is brilliantly embellished by strings and synths by producer Pete Wilkinson. A bright poppy album that deserves the mainstream adulation it will no doubt attract.

Check out the video of Don’t Tell Me That It’s All Over, the first single below.

Official Site

Myspace

BAYBEATS AUDITIONS 2010

… and then there were 8. After two rounds of auditions, the Baybeats judges (i.e. Amanda Ling, Daniel Sassoon, Jon Chan, Keith Tan and yours truly) finally settled on the eight “new” bands most deserving to grace the Baybeats Festival 2010. Personally, I think the line-up is well balanced between the popular S-ROCK genres like punk, emo, metal and indie.

To all the bands that did not make the cut, don’t lose heart, keep working on your music – get some guidance, direction and critical feedback – and get back on the horse!

I’m looking forward to be working closely with two of the 8 bands viz. Basement in My Loft and the Zozi in the lead up to the biggest alternative rock festival in South-East Asia! Bring it!

PoPINIONS

NO RISNESS LIKE SHOW RISNESS

I think most Singaporeans were shocked when it was announced that Ris Low – bipolar condom ambassador/former Miss Singapore – would take on a new role: deejay at 98.7FM! Obviously, the news was greeted with much incredulity and disdain and generated numerous online discussions. Of course, much attention was paid to the fact that Ris was not qualified for the job possessing a speaking voice and command of English that can only be described as poor.

It certainly begs the question – why did 98.7FM hire Ris? Well, in view of the attention that the move has garnered so far and no doubt the increased listenership, the answer is obvious. Certainly, from a cynical business viewpoint, the ploy seems to have worked marvelously, with everything seemingly going to plan. But how long will this charade last? Well, as long as Ris Low’s antics continue to keep her in the spotlight, her star will keep ris-ing…

Most importantly, can the Ris Low reality show be far behind?

IMOGEN HEAP – LIVE IN SINGAPORE

All the words in the world would not do justice to the amazing visual, sonic and emotional experience that was last night’s performance by British artist Imogen Heap and band at the Esplanade Concert Hall. Simply put, you just had to be there to savour it…

As a songwriter, musician and producer, my mind was overloaded with the overwhelming detail and nuances that were put into this astonishing gig. With music driven by the inspirations of Kate Bush, Peter Gabriel and Laurie Anderson (please google/youtube them), Heap was inventive, technically brilliant and yet playfully down-to-earth at the same time. She charmed the audience easily with her eccentric and quirky banter but blew everyone away with every note she played and sang.

Delivering creative and dynamic versions of her recorded material (eg. Bad Body Double, Wait It Out and Aha!), Heap was continually thrilling and enthralling the audience with the manner in which the songs were performed – employing exotic instrumentation and synthetic embellishment. Throughout, Heap’s tongue was never far from her cheek and her channeling of Todd Rundrgen on the Ax-Synth was priceless.

If you missed out this time around, despair not, as Heap has promised a return to our shores before the end of 2010.

Kudos to the folks at Greenhorn Productions (Dinesh and Sylvia) for yet another magnificient show!

Pix by Jonathan Kwa.

CLASH OF THE TITANS

WHEN TITANS CLASH!!!

How can you resist eh? Truth be told, when I first heard about that a remake of this 1981 Greek myth-fantasy flick was in the works, I cringed slightly. I mean, sure, the movie is memorable for awesome special effects from the master himself – Ray Harryhausen, but the acting performances were campy and the plot borderline silly. Factor in also that cute mechanical owl and the eyes certainly start rolling. Do we need to do it all again in 2010?

But upon learning that Louis Leterrier (who directed the excellent Incredible Hulk) was helming the film, I felt a little more optimistic about the possibilities of  a gritty fantasy movie in the spirit of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. After all, how can you not like a movie with Medusa, Pegasus, giant scorpions and of course, the KRAKEN!

Clash of the Titans opens on 1st April.

Synopsis below.

In Clash of the Titans, the ultimate struggle for power pits men against kings and kings against gods. But the war between the gods themselves could destroy the world. Born of a god but raised as a man, Perseus (Sam Worthington) is helpless to save his family from Hades (Ralph Fiennes), vengeful god of the underworld. With nothing left to lose, Perseus volunteers to lead a dangerous mission to defeat Hades before he can seize power from Zeus (Liam Neeson) and unleash hell on earth. Leading a daring band of warriors, Perseus sets off on a perilous journey deep into forbidden worlds. Battling unholy demons and fearsome beasts, he will only survive if he can accept his power as a god, defy his fate and create his own destiny.

Check out the trailer below.

KICK ASS

Adapted from the hyper-violent comic book of the same name, created by writer Mark Millar and artist John Romita Jr, director Matthew Vaughn’s (Layer Cake) vigilante superhero film tells the tale of an average New York teenager who decides to don a costume and fight crime. For real. His superhero activities inspires many others to follow his lead with dangerous consequences for all concerned.

The movie stars Aaron Johnson as the titular character, Nicolas Cage, Chloe Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Mark Strong.

Kick Ass opens on 16th March. Check out the trailer below.

… DRIBBLING …

BOXING CLEVER

The battle for fourth place in the Premiership took a turn for the literal at the end of the crucial Man City-Everton midweek clash, when managers Roberto Mancini and David Moyes tussled for the ball on the touchline during injury time.

The incident occurred when Moyes was holding on to the match ball, whilst in the process of making a substitution and somehow Mancini saw RED! Mancini attempted to recover the ball from Moyes which resulted in the two men getting involved in a rather unbecoming pushing and jostling encounter.

What does it all mean? Has Mancini lost the plot after witnessing City’s Champion League qualification hopes severely dented by an unlikely home defeat? Was he reacting to the Everton fans’ taunts – “2-0 and we paid fuck-all!”? Was he reacting personally to Moyes’ accusations against City for wrongdoing in the Joleon Lescott transfer?

Who knows?

Certainly the pressure of securing that elusive fourth place to please his employers (and avoid the sack) must be getting to Mancini. And with reports also that Craig Bellamy made certain comments supporting Moyes in the fracas points to definite unrest at Eastlands.

With eight games left, the race for the title as well as fourth place is really hotting up, which this late in the season is making 2009-2010 one of the most exciting Premiership seasons in a very long time. Long may it continue.

WYE OAK

WYE OAK My Neighbour/My Creator (Merge)

Composed of Andy Stack (drums, keyboards, backup vocals) and Jenn Wasner (vocals, guitars), Wye Oak deals in an all-inclusive brand of indie-folk that ties together diverse strands of sounds, styles and genres to produce an exciting and vibrant repertoire, which is uniquely their own.

On this five-track EP, alchemical musical ideas explode from the off, with the Fleet Foxes-channeling My Neighbour as acoustic guitars collide with electronic sounds, the frenetic and pulsating Emmylou (reminiscent of Stars), the fragile balladic My Creator, the grimy pop of I Hope You Die and producer Mickey Freeland’s remix (which includes a rap, oddly enough) of That I Do (from previous LP, The Knot), all strong evidence of Wye Oak’s talent and creative powers.

Wye Oak is adept at throwing the listener curve balls when it comes to instrumental & arrangement choices, surprising even the most jaded music lover at every turn. With strong melodies and heartfelt lyrics, this EP clearly stands out as one of the premier indie releases of the year. Highly recommended.

Official Site

Myspace

FIRE OF CONSCIENCE

Fire of Conscience is a new Hong Kong action flick directed by Dante Lam, whose works have been favourably compared to Michael Mann. The film stars Leon Lai and Richie Jen.

The film revolves around the investigation of a prostitute homicide which brings headstrong, heavy-handed detective Manfred in an unlikely collaboration with sly, man-of-the-world Inspector Kee from the Narcotics Bureau.

When the DNA samples of one of Manfred’s fellow officers are found at the crime scene, implicating him as the prime suspect, Manfred must look beyond the obvious to get to the truth. Meanwhile, Kee’s uncanny eagerness to lend a helping hand every step of the way outside his own turf is beginning to smack of evil.

In the line of fire between high levels of corruption and possible malice, Manfred must solve all the twists and turns of the mystery, trying to figure out who his enemy is and how to save his innocent partner from unfathomable disgrace. Unwittingly, he is about to open a Pandora’s Box that will threaten to upend the entire Hong Kong Police Force.

Fire of Conscience opens at Shaw Theatres on 1st April 2010. More information here. Check out the trailer below.

SWEET APPLE

SWEET APPLE Love & Desperation (Tee Pee)

Distilling all that is strange and wonderful about rock music into sublime three chord nuggets that sound fresh yet familiar is the achievement of indie rock uber-group Sweet Apple.

Consisting of Dinosaur Jr’s J Mascis (drums, guitars & vocals), Cobra Vedre’s John Petrovic (vocals & guitar) and Tim Parnin (guitars & vocals) and Witch’s Dave Sweetapple (bass & vocals), Sweet Apple cover as wide a range of rock approaches as possible with nods to slacker rock (I’ve Got A Feeling), Southern rock (It’s Over Now), psychedelic blues (Hold Me, I’m Dying), stoner rock (Blindfold), fragile melancholy rock (Dead Moon), blues rock (Crawling Over Bodies) and cock rock (Never Came).

By now, I think you get the picture – Love & Desperation is every true rockers’ wet dream. Let it be yours.

Official Site

Myspace

SOUND + VISION

Lady Gaga Telephone Parody (ft Beyonce): Key of Awesome #17

This parody of Lady Gaga’s new music video – Telephone – is simply hilarious and “tells” you all you need to know about the controversial vid. The song itself is rather witty as well. Love it!!!

PoPINIONS

WHAT’S THE FUSS?

When’s the last time a music video created this much anticipation, buzz and ultimately criticism? Someone please remind me, cos the answer evades me.

Interestingly enough, the controversy raging over Lady Gaga’s latest music video – Telephone (ft. Beyonce) – is less about the racy images (usual hot topics) but about the numerous product placements found in the video. Well, the song is called Telephone, so you don’t need a degree in marketing to figure out what the primary product to place would be. Add to that sodas, fast food cameras etc and really the possibilities are endless.

Personally, I don’t get why folks are upset by the product placement – pop music is a business. That is an inescapable fact. And with the music industry in dire straits, top recording artists like Lady Gaga would need to maximize their earnings before their day in the sun is over.

Oh, are you pleased/offended (delete where appropriate) that I used the word “artist” in connection with Lady Gaga? C’mon, lighten up. What is an “artist” anyway? My guess is that in modern times, anyone who manufactures and sells artistic product (i.e. film, books, music, TV) or its that too cynical a definition for you? Grow up!

So I don’t understand why product placement in film and TV shows are acceptable but it’s morally wrong for someone like Lady Gaga (who is commercial as one can get) to do so. Does it really make a difference to your appreciation of the music video if the phone, soda, fast food and camera used were brand-less? Why would it?

Oh, and the video sucks.

Watch it here if you must.

SPURS 3 FULHAM 1

And the Spurs go marchin’ on!

To Wembley for a FA Cup semi-final tie with Portsmouth. Last night’s 6th round replay was the proverbial tale of two halves. For the first, Spurs were atrocious, giving their London rivals too much time and space to create attacks and allowing Fulham to blunt their own offence with sheer defensive numbers. Perhaps it was not surprising that Spurs went into the half time break a goal down. Fashioned by Damien Duff – given the freedom of White Hart Lane – and finished with ease by a bemused Spurs old-boy (one of FIVE in the Fulham line-up) Bobby Zamora.

To the immense credit of Harry Redknapp, he rang the changes at half time, replacing the ineffectual pair of Niko Kranjcar and Benoit Assou-Ekotto with David Bentley and Tom Huddlestone. This meant that Gareth Bale returned to a left-back role and Luka Modric would sit in the left side of midfield.

The impact was almost immediate. Within two minutes of the restart, Bentley swung a delicious free-kick into the Fulham six-yard box which eluded everyone and ended up sweetly in the back of the net. The game was certainly on. On the hour, Bentley delivered another enticing cross from the right, which found an unmarked Roman Pavlyuchenko (a subsititute for the injured Corluka) and the red-hot Russian striker gave Spurs the lead. The comeback was completed minutes later as Eidur Gudjohnson completed a brilliant move, collecting a Modric pass in the penalty box to slot home after rounding Mark Schwarzer.

Redknapp has been criticised for his tactical nous (or lack of) in the past but on this special night, he provedith his half time changes that he had the ability to turn matches around. And with 4th place rivals Aston Villa drawing and Man City losing, the Champions League qualification is totally in Spurs’ hands now.

COYS!!!

BIG STAR

A review I wrote in 2005. Appropriate considering recent events.

BIG STAR The Best of Big Star (Big Beat)

The story of Big Star is invariably the story of Alex Chilton.

Chilton first came into public prominence with The Box Tops, a teen sensation with hit songs like The Letter and Soul Deep.

However, as producer Dan Penn controlled the band’s creative output, Chilton felt stifled and consequently left The Box Tops at the end of the 1960s.

After a short stint in New York, Chilton returned home to Memphis where he hooked up with Ice Water, a neo-Beatles group led by guitarist Chris Bell and supplemented by bass player Andy Hummel and drummer Jody Stephens.

The quartet secured a deal with Ardent Records and mid-way through the recording of their debut record would change their name to Big Star, after the local supermarket chain.

Consisting mainly of Chilton-Bell compositions, #1 Record remains one of the finest debut albums as the band merged the influence of British invasion pop (e.g. Beatles, The Who, The Kinks) with a West Coast harmonic sensibility (Beach Boys, The Byrds). The result: songs that stood against the grain of early 1970s hard rock: songs that spoke to the heart and soul.

Whether rocking the beat with Feel and Don’t Lie To Me or touching the heart with Thirteen and The Ballad of El Goodo, Big Star, like The Nazz; The Raspberries & Badfinger, spawned an attitude and approach that had its basis in the best sixties pop but was forward looking.

Alas, unlike their peers, although #1 Record received plaudits aplenty, it was a commercial failure. Due in part to distributors Stax Records inability to market the album and the band’s reluctance to do any promotional tours. Disillusioned, Bell quit.

The remaining members soldiered on to record one of the powerpop albums of all time – Radio City. Carrying on where #1 Record left off, Radio City developed the Big Star concept with songs like O My Soul, What’s Going Ahn, Daisy Glaze, Back of A Car, Mod Lang and September Gurls.

History would repeat itself with Radio City as the album was condemned to commercial obscurity despite impressing the critics again. Hummel would leave the band soon after the album’s release and although songs were recorded for that third Big Star album, the band threw in the towel and the recordings abandoned.

This album gathers arguably the best songs from those two classic LPs (though it should be noted that both complete albums are available on one single CD) and it is one unforgettable track after another.

For established Big Star junkies, there is not much to recommend Big Beat (there are no alternative versions, no new materials, no outtakes etc) but if you have never heard Big Star before, this is a perfect place to start. Essential.

B-QUARTET

With the release of their 2nd album conformity has replaced consciousness coming up, the newly 6-men B-Quartet needs your help. The numerically enlarged rock act is looking at developing an interactive video for one of their songs ‘a dull taste on my tongue’ which can be heard on their MySpace page.

Deets here.

FRIDAY MILE

FRIDAY MILE Good Luck Studio (Timber Carnival)

Take authentic soulful alt-country material and deeply infuse a classic 70s pop-rock sensibility and you might be fortunate enough to produce the excellent country-folk-pop-rock hybrid that so gleefully inhabits the music on this fabulous album.

Friday Mile is based in Seattle, and fronted by gifted singer-songwriters Jace Krause and Hannah Williams, do a wonderful job in hitting all the right notes, to develop a heartfelt, melodic sound that is appealing on every level.

Songs like the poignant Lives of Strangers, the almost shocking Autograph (“I’ve been unfaithful to you”), the charming Adorable Machine (“as soon as I thought I was in, I was out”) and the sprightly FYI recall the diligent songcraft and delicate attitude of the Jayhawks, Blue Rodeo, Pernice Brothers, Neko Case, Cowboy Junkies and Wilco.

The icing on the cake must be the pleasing vocal interplay between Krause and Williams, adding spice to the multi-flavoured buffet already on offer in Good Luck Studio. Potentially, a PoP classic.

Official Site

Myspace

PoPINIONS

THE RIGHT STUFF

So, according to the Hollywood Reporter, after much speculation, the role of Captain America in Marvel’s upcoming First Avenger feature will go to… Chris Evans. Yes, the same Chris Evans who irritated me no end as Johnny Storm/Human Torch in two very annoying Fantastic Four movies.

Now, so far, Marvel’s two super-hero film ventures have greatly impressed me, especially in the choices of leading men. Robert Downey Jr (Iron Man) and Ed Norton (Hulk) have been immense in fleshing out these ironic comic book characters. Certainly, Evans is not in the same league as Downey Jr or Norton but the Captain America producers it seemed were looking for an unknown. Yet, Evans is not an unknown, is he?

Besides FF, Evans has been seen in Sunshine, Street Kings, the Nanny Diaries and Push. He will also appear soon in two other comic-book related movies viz. the Losers and Scott Pilgrim vs the World. So perhaps Evans is a safe, middle of the road choice – somewhere between Downey Jr/Norton and an unknown. And maybe with the relatively obscure Chris Hemsworth on board as Thor, Marvel wanted an actor who could bridge the gap between Hemsworth and Downey Jr for the eventual Avengers feature.

Marvel has proven that it knows how to present its own characters on the big screen and so I’m basically putting my faith in that track record. With Iron Man 2 looking like another top notch superhero movie, I am excited about the three Marvel movies in store.

PoPINIONS

MONEY TALKS?

No one will mistake director Michael Bay for an auteur of any kind. And most of intelligent mankind will acknowledge that Bay’s two Transformers movies were extremely risible. After being hugely disappointed with John Turturro’s appearance in both, I’m even more troubled to learn that two other noted thespians have signed on for Transformers 3 viz. Frances McDormand and John Malkovich, who like Turturro have also acted in movies helmed by the vaunted Coen Brothers. Read more at Bay’s own blog.

So, are the above-mentioned actors merely looking for an big and easy pay-day or has Bay taken the criticisms of his movies on board to strengthen the acting component? Hard to say. After all, even the more artistically-inclined actors are entitled to look out for the bottom line even if the work is less than challenging. Who will forget Malkovich’s campy movie-stealing performance in Con-Air?

Whatever the motivations, I am not confident that given his track record, Michael Bay would be able to give us a Transformers movie that will be able to keep the attention of any film goer above the age of five. I hope to be proven wrong.

BUCKETFULL OF BRAINS #74

The new BoB is out!

Apart from BoB being the only magazine I write for (besides PoP), BoB continues to be a valuable source of writing on underground pop-rock music. In the latest issue, there are interviews with notorious rock journo Nick Kent, powerpop genius Jason Falkner and the late Aussie fret maestro Rowland S Howard (Birthday Party, Crime & the City Solution and These Immortal Souls) together with articles on legendary post-punk band The Subway Sect and psych-rockers The Green Pajamas to savour.

And… I weigh in with reviews of new albums from Anny Celsi, Russell Crawford, Dipsomaniacs, Evan Hillhouse, Stephen J Kalinich and Peter Lacey.

Check it out!

Official Site

Facebook

WEEKENDTRIP

WeekendTRIP is back this weekend with musical acts from regional bands City Escape and The Mission in Motion from Australia, Good Morning High Fives from the Philippines and home-grown talents Barricade, For This Cycle and Silhouette! There will also be opportunities to hang out with Willy Tan, Roland Lim, For This Cycle, The Mission in Motion and City Escape!
Be sure to check out all the bands, they’re great!
WeekendTRIP March 2010
27 Mar 2010
*SCAPE Warehouse and Lab
Rock out with local and regional music powerhouses at the new *SCAPE building, and get up close and personal with the musicians at the *SCAPE Youth Centre!
Featuring:
For This Cycle
Silhouette
Barricade
Chinese talents from The Ark
Willy Tan (Aging Youth)
Roland Lim
Good Morning Hi Fives (PHIL)
The Mission in Motion (AUST)
City Escape (AUST)
HANGOUT SESSIONS AT *SCAPE YOUTH CENTRE: LAB
3pm РWilly Tan Р‘The road of an independent music act’ and ‘A Day In The Life Of An Indie Act’
4pm РRoland Lim Р‘How to succeed as an artiste’
5pm – For This Cycle
6pm – The Mission in Motion / City Escape (AUST)
THE ARK CHINESE ROCK AT *SCAPE YOUTH CENTRE: LAB
8pm – Ah5ive
830pm – Elyzia
9pm – Azure
930pm – LGF
10pm – Redpoll
*SCAPE: WAREHOUSE
730pm – Good Morning Hi Fives (PHIL)
815pm – Barricade
900pm – City Escape (AUST)
945pm – For This Cycle
1030pm – The Mission in Motion (AUST)
1100pm – Silhouette

ALEX CHILTON

Alex-Chilton

A little overdue but the news of Alex Chilton’s passing (on 17th March) crossed whilst I was mourning for my own father last week so…

Not that much to say actually, I discovered Big Star in the early 90s when I had to review the Rykodisc reissues of Sister/Lover, Live and Chris Bell’s I Am the Cosmos for BigO. Based on what I heard, I sought out the first two Big Star albums and basically devoured them all.

Critics (myself included) usually lump Big Star in with the 70s powerpop bands like Raspberries but really they were much more. Besides the Beatles-Who-Kinks axis, both Alex Chilton and Chris Bell also had a country-folk bent about their inspirations and thus, many of Chilton’s songs were built up from acoustic guitar and voice alone. Prime examples – the gorgeous “Ballad of El Goodo”, “Thirteen” and “I’m In Love With A Girl”.

Despite the lack of commercial success, Big Star was hugely influential to many of the 80s/90s alt-rock bands like the Replacements (who of course have a song called “Alex Chilton”), early Primal Scream, Teenage Fanclub and the Posies. There was also something very sweet and vulnerable in Chilton’s music, even when he was rocking out – the perennial melancholy outsider.

Chilton may never have been a Big Star in his lifetime, but his legacy looms large over modern alt-rock for his attitude-laden melodicism. Rest in peace, Alex.