I guess the word I’m looking for is edgy. Which is why a Hollywood remake of this Swedish thriller will most likely fail to come anywhere close to matching up. Adapted from late Swedish author Stieg Larsson’s Men Who Hate Women (and also the first installment of Larsson’s Millennium trilogy), The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is a dark (and at times disturbing) tale of intrigue, deceit and abuse of power.



JIMMY GNECCO The Heart (Bright Antenna/ILG)

With the release of his solo album The Heart, Jimmy Gnecco joins the multitudes of sad, fine-voiced, male singer-songwriters gracing the shelves. The frontman of the American alt-rock band Ours turns in a heartfelt performance, his falsetto soaring through the fragile melodies in a vein similar to a darker, more disaffected Sufjan Stevens.

Continue reading “JIMMY GNECCO”


JODY PORTER Close to the Sun (Engine Room)

Fountains of Wayne guitarist Jody Porter steps out of the comfort zone with this excellent debut solo album. Retaining all the hooks of his parent band, Porter’s debut is I guess a little more rockier but never once sacrificing an iota of melodic appeal.

Continue reading “JODY PORTER”

HAPP’NINGS: 30th to 31st July

What’s up over this weekend in Singapore – Friday, 30th July to Saturday, 31st July 2010.


Inch Chua: Wallflower – An Album Launch Concert

Esplanade Recital Studio, 9.30pm.

Understand that tickets are almost all gone but you may want to check with SISTIC.


Originals Only Open Mic, Singapore Art Museum (Glass Hall), 7pm

More info.

Trippy Factory Launch

Books Actually, 7.30pm

More info.

Home Club and the RSC present Identite

Home Club, 9pm

More info.

Pushin’ On | Keep Mixin’

Blu Jaz Cafe, 9pm

More info.

Hard Knocks

Hard Rock Cafe, 10.30pm

More info.


The Roses @ SJI Carnival

SJI, 1pm

More info.

Home’s 5th Birthday with DJ Marky and Stamina MC

Home Club, 9pm

More info.



Let’s get the IMDB plot synopsis out of the way.

An average man is kidnapped and imprisoned in a shabby cell for 15 years without explanation. He then is released, equipped with money, a cellphone and expensive clothes. As he strives to explain his imprisonment and get his revenge, he soon finds out that not only his kidnapper has still plans for him, but that those plans will serve as the even worse finale to 15 years of imprisonment.

Continue reading “OLDBOY”


Corinne’s (Just) Like A Star

Half the night, I was waiting for a vulnerable performer, performance; just don’t ask me why.

The night/concert began with different comfortable and calming shades of coloured spotlights. Despite being slightly surprised by the turnout flooding towards the exit after the concert, which was held at the Esplanade Theatre, I was genuinely disturbed by the sight of empty seats to the right of where I was sitting at, throughout the one-hour duration.



I am really excited about TAB, the new music bar set to open anytime soon at the junction of Orchard, Tanglin and Orange Grove Roads. And according to TAB’s site –

“…the big idea behind TAB has always been to provide a unique music experience in Singapore. Not just once, but six days a week. Lots of places play host to bands, some with bigger stages than others, but when we looked to find a place where local artists perform their own songs on a regular basis, we came up short. Furthermore, opportunities for Singaporean bands to play alongside up and coming foreign artists and even some of the biggest international names in music are few and far between. Don’t even mention mixing genres in one venue. We believe TAB will change all of that.”



Here’s a very special edition of PoPTV. Listening to what passes for modern rock in 2010 can sometimes be exasperating. Especially if you’ve been listening to rock and pop music for as long as I have. So here’s a list of ten kick ass songs (not in order of merit) that have stood the test of time that I can always go to if I need to smile…

Continue reading “PoPTV”


When the Techy Romantics start playing, the beats begin breathing, guitars come a-stirring, vocals creep in, and then the songs, they just come alive. There’s just this powerful surge of energy that nobody can resist. That cosmic force is exactly what greeted Ryan Villena, Dondi Virrey, and Camyl Besinga that Sunday afternoon in mid-2008, when the three, for the heck of it, decided to jam. In less than a month, the Techy Romantics had written enough songs to fill the usual gig sets. The trio from the Philippines spills the beans on making music.

Continue reading “BAYBEATS 2010: TECHY ROMANTICS”


Who are The Trees & The Wild and how was it formed?

Iga: The band was formed in 2006. Andra and I were childhood friends, having attended the same school together. Andra knew Remedy from school but after graduation, we went to different schools. It was only years later that we met again and decided to form a band because we had the same vision and approach to playing music. We started out playing original songs and it’s been that way ever since.



CELINA has held aspirations of becoming a successful singer-songwriter since weekly singing competitions at her grandmother’s when she was five years old. Armed with her 90s-style brand of music and her ability to translate the inspiration she receives from listening to an artiste into original songs, Celina hopes the experience of this showcase will bring her closer to her dreams.

Continue reading “BAYBEATS 2010: CELINA”


KARNIVOOL Sound Awake (Sony)

It’s so refreshing to listen to a rock band that refuses to stick to one style or one “genre” to connect with its listeners. Which is the case with Karnivool, a progressive rock band hailing from Perth, Australia. Revolving around the nucleus of Andrew ‘Drew’ Goddard on lead guitar and Ian Kenny on lead vocals, Karnivool combines memorable tunes, intricate instrumental sections and challenging songwriting to deliver music to cut across the great divides of rock that have arisen in the last twenty years or so.

Recently released in the USA, Sound Awake is the band’s sophomore effort and to these ears, it’s a delightfully accessible rock album that will appeal to all kinds of music lovers, casual or obsessive. There’s enough flexibility and slack between songs like the anthemic New Day and the frenetic Set Fire to the Hive to convince rock and metal fans that Karnivool is the real deal.

Add to that the soulful pop sheen of All I Know and dynamic old-school prog/world music hybrid of the closing Change and you have an eclectic brew that begs close examination. If like me, you love bands and music that get you to dig deeper and to mull the twists and turns, the songwriters/musicians have poured into their craft, then I’ll say it – Karnivool’s Sound Awake is absolutely essential.

And… since they’re based a mere four hours away, can someone please bring them to Singapore?


Buy at Amazon

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[amazon-product alink=”0000FF” bordercolor=”000000″ height=”240″]B000FILOIO[/amazon-product]


Written & Directed by Christopher Nolan

Starring – Leonardo DiCaprio, Ken Watanabe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy and Michael Caine.

Amongst a sea of typical, formulaic, summer action flicks, Christopher Nolan has managed to deliver an intelligent movie that forces you to use at least a little bit of your brain to follow its story.

Continue reading “INCEPTION”


… to the following brand new contributors to the Power of Pop!


CJ has been a fan of music since young. Growing up, he was exposed to English contemporary music and began with Chinese pop, before making the necessary and non-regrettable switch. These days, he music blog-surfs more than any other physical activity in the world, certifying his true level of music geekiness. You will probably find him prowling the lanes of HMV for over an hour, pondering over records and releases; it’s a miracle he hasn’t made friends with the staff there just as yet.


A fiction writer and general lover of geek culture, JY Yang has edited artbooks and comics in addition to writing and editing screenplays for animation. In her spare time she writes speculative fiction for web literature, attempts to draw, dabbles in video/photography, and messes around with her guitar.

…still there’s more…


AMY REGAN Gonna Get Better EP (Self-released)

I’d like to begin this review by saying that I tend to shy away from anything touted as having “pop sensibilities”– said sensibilities are really not my cup of tea, and more often indicative of my inability to sit through an entire song.

Happily, Gonna Get Better, the debut EP from Amy Regan, posed no such problem for me.  The four-track album spans a surprising range of emotion, opening with the toe-tapping, hope-filled eponymous track before dropping into the sweetly melancholic Keep You Warm. This regretful paean to mismatched love was the standout track for me on the EP, driven by Regan’s wistful vocals and folk-infused piano. The third track on the list, Crazy, re-ups the tempo to deliver a energetic ode to joie de vivre, while the final track Just Once More is gently acoustic, bringing the album to a crisp, simple close.

Regan ties the EP together with a voice that posesses both the promise of youth & the soulfulness of older artistes like Aimee Mann & Joni Mitchell. The songs are light fare, clocking in at under three minutes each. The wedding of memorable hooks with folksy sentiment prevents the easy, radio-friendly melodies from slipping into the realm of the trite. I found its charm irresistible, suitable listening for lazy summery weekends.

Gonna Get Better will be released on the 27th of July.

(JY Yang)



WILD NOTHING Gemini (Captured Tracks)

It strange how there are so many young Americans (Atlas Sound and The Drums to name but two) striving to recreate that great 80s British guitar/synthpop sound. Wild Nothing is one Jack Tatum from Virginia who, in Gemini, has created an album that sounds like it was made in Sheffield or Manchester in 1985. There are so many lines of references on the 12 tracks here it should please just about everyone who has an interest in finely crafted hook-laden, Brit-inflected pop.

So, is this merely a pastiche of the music that he loves? Surely the influences are undeniable and very often you’ll hear vocals, keyboards, drum machine lines, guitar patterns that will make you try to pin-point where exactly you’ve heard it before. This might sound strange, but a close approximation would be Gary Numan-meets-China Crisis-meets-Joy Division-meets-The Smiths updated for the 21st century. But pastiche it is not as Tatum infuses each track with his own idiosyncratic style of vocals over tracks that have familiar components parts, but not as they are presented as a whole.

Opener Live In Dreams starts with flanged/chorus guitars woozing and wobbling, fading into Tatum’s vocals and led by a keyboard line that aspires to sound like a Chinese flute, the track is an indication of the album to come. There are melodies and hooks galore here, such as on Chinatown – which is appropriately one of the more-China Crisis influenced moments with its repeating keyboard motif echoing away (think Wishful Thinking). Tatum somehow manages to stamp his own clear style on the tracks to each time just as they teeter dangerously into sounding merely like copies of 80s originals.

What’s baffling for me is how someone such as Tatum is so imbued with the sounds from mid-80s Britain when most of his neighbours growing up would much more likely sound Foo Fighters or Dave Matthews or Linkin Park (perhaps another sign of far too much time spent holed up in his bedroom poring over British imports when he should have been out playing baseball, fishing or having a kegger). He nails the vocals, guitars and synths; all sounding suitably like they were produced in the depths of a foggy London bedsit. Bored Games though lights things up with bright bursts of beats and bass, garnished by sustained keyboards perfect for closing your eyes and twirling along in your pajamas home alone. A lot of the atmospheric keyboards lean towards Ulrich Schnauss while matched with New Order-esque guitar hooks. Again, if I sound like I am dropping a lot of other names in comparison with Wild Nothing, I have to apologise as its inevitable because they’re there so clearly.

Other standout moments (and there are many here) include Summer Holiday opening with its joyous jangle of guitars; the semi-eletric-pastoralisms of O Lilac; The Witching Hour with its echoes of The Church’s chugging guitars; The summery Our Composition Book that borrows from current Swedish bands from the Labrador label; and the title track that closes the album and reminds us of Wild Nothing’s inspirations of Peter Hook, Bernard Sumner and Ian Curtis. Actually, there are rarely moments here that will make you click your skip button.

This is lo-fi with high lofty aspirations and more often than not, its spot on. Gemini is easily one of the most listenable/must listen albums of the year.

(Redmund Law)


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You want to be disoriented and disturbed by the movies you watch. You want to have to watch movies a couple of times in order to figure what they are about? Well, Memento is one movie you should not miss! You know the drill, let’s have the IMDB plot synopsis first.

Leonard Shelby (Guy Pearce) has short term memory loss resulting from an injury he sustained which was associated with the murder of his wife. He remembers his life prior to the incident, such as being an insurance claims investigator. He has learned to cope with his memory loss through dealing with a man named Sammy Jankis, a person he investigated professionally who also had short term memory issues. Some of these coping mechanism are to have a system of where to place things, talk to people face-to-face if possible rather than on the telephone as to be able to gauge their true intention, take Polaroids and write copious notes, the most important of those which he tattoos on his body so that they become permanent. Leonard’s current mission is to find and kill his wife’s murderer, who he believes is a man named John G., a name which is tattooed on his body. Over the course of a day, Leonard is assisted in this mission by a few people seemingly independent of each other, including a man named Teddy (Joe Pantoliano) and a woman named Natalie (Carrie Ann Moss). However, each time he meets them, he has no idea who they are, why they are helping him and if indeed they are working toward the same goal as him.

Memento (released in 2000) was director Christopher Nolan’s sophomore feature! Which may not be that surprising if you have watched his debut indie feature, Following, which also experimented with film narrative innovatively. By telling the story backwards, the viewer is forced to experience Shelby’s condition. As their is no past narrative, the viewer has no idea what happened before the current scene, like Shelby.

In the final analysis, after all that is said about this clever device, the real theme of Memento is self-delusion (self-manipulation), or believing what you want to believe and ignoring everything else. For Shelby, perhaps he needs this delusion so that he can continue to have a reason to live. Without it, his wretched life will probably fall around his ears, like a house of cards.

If you haven’t watched Memento before, I highly recommend you do. If you have, go watch it again and again and again…

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ADAM FRANKLIN & BOLTS OF MELODY I Could Sleep For A Thousand Years (Second Motion)

A new album by Adam Franklin hardly seems likely to cause a ripple in the modern rock scene. But those in the know would be aware of Franklin’s influential work with shoegaze/noise pop pioneers Swervedriver (which released four albums in the 90s). Those not in the know, will probably continue to believe that bands like Glasvegas, Asobi Seksu, Stars and the like emerged like Athena fully formed from the head of Zeus.

Since Swervedriver’s break-up, Franklin has been involved in several projects (including Toshack Highway and Magnetic Morning) before settling down as a solo artist. I Could Sleep For A Thousand Years is Franklin’s latest offering and if you dug Swervedriver’s exciting blend of trad rock values with the noise pop aesthetic, you will find much to savor here.

The effects pedals have been kept to a minimum with greater emphasis on song structure. Of course, the guitars let rip on Yesterday Has Gone Forever, I’ll Be Yr Mechanic, I Want You Now, Sinking Ships and the seven-minute Take Me To My Leader. However, for the rest of the album, the guitar atmospherics and ambience are utilized to embellish the songs. And there are good ones here e.g. She’s Closer Than I’ve Ever Been, Mary Gunn and Pink Floyd-evoking Lord Help Me Jesus, I’ve Wasted A Soul.

Basically essential for all 90s shoegaze fans.

Official Site | Myspace

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