DAMION SUOMI AND THE MINOR PROPHETS Go and Sell All of Your Things (Hopeless)

There are few things that excite me quite as much as when cliches collide to produce something gorgeously original. Imagine my cynicism when I first found out that Damion Suomi’s latest effort would draw from both folk-rock/bluegrass music as well as the Bible–both sources that have been bled dry in recent years. Yet the end product produced by Suomi (pronounced like a legal show cliche) and his aptly-named band, The Minor Prophets, is one of the best records I’ve heard this year!

Continue reading “DAMION SUOMI”


(Press release)
Heavy rock innovators Mastodon have revealed the title of their new album plus six new song titles that will appear on their next full-length studio album to be released on Reprise Records later this year. The new LP, THE HUNTER, will include the tracks: “Curl Of The Burl,” “Dry Bone Valley,” “Blasteroids,” “The Octopus Has No Friends,” “All The Heavy Lifting,” and “Stargasm.”Complete details to be announced soon.

The follow-up to 2009’s critically embraced CRACK THE SKYE was recorded in the band’s hometown of Atlanta as well as in Los Angeles with producer Mike Elizondo. As with all of their albums, Mastodon, which is bassist/vocalist Troy Sanders, guitarist/vocalist Brent Hinds, guitarist Bill Keliher, and drummer/vocalist Brann Dailor, decided to take a completely different tack and musical approach to the music on this album. The band feels confident that fans will be excited and fulfilled by what they will hear.

June 28th, fans can log on to www.adultswim.com/singles to download a rare and previously unreleased song from the CRACK THE SKYE sessions, titled “Deathbound,” as part of the ten week 2011 Adult Swim Singles Program. The same destination will also offer an amazing exclusive video for the song. This is the only place to see and hear this Mastodon rarity.

In addition, Mastodon has a brand new T-shirt design available in their official store atwww.mastodonrocks.com now.  The “In The Teeth” shirt can be seen by clicking the hyperlink.


To be honest, I have never ever attended this student-driven exclusively S-ROCK festival organized by Republic Polytechnic. But since I currently teach at RP, it seems to require my attendance. To be brutally candid, I am not wholly thrilled by the line-up of bands on offer at the festival to be held on 1st and 2nd July. Fact is, the only band I might consider traveling all the way to Woodlands for, is Typewriter. At least Chang Kang and Pat have tunes you can bring home.

Continue reading “IGNITE MUSIC FESTIVAL”


FOR AGAINST Black Soap EP (Words On Music)

To the uninitiated, For Against may come across like a post-punk revivalist band but in actual fact the band’s recording career began in 1985 but definitely ahead of the curve. For Against have been parlaying their Joy Division-channeling pop-rock music over the course of twenty-six years and ten albums. And here’s even greater proof of For Against’s street cred as this 3-track EP presents previously unreleased recordings from 1984(!) with the band’s original line-up viz. Harry Dingman III (guitar), Greg Hill (drums) and Jeffrey Runnings (vocal/bass).

Recorded on 4-track cassette, the songs Black Soap, Dark Good Friday and Amen Yves (White Circles) are stark, reverb-drenched explorations of the post-punk guitar aesthetic. These songs stand up to close scrutiny despite the austere nature of the recordings, reminiscent of the melancholy energy of Warsaw/early Joy Division. For post punk scholars, this EP is a veritable treasure trove of wondrous gems.

Official Site



Regular PoP visitors will know my stand on S-ROCK. We have great bands here which need to throw off the shackles of perceived inferiority borne out of years of social engineering. And amongst the bands who will lead us to the promised land will be In Each Hand A Cutlass.

The Esplanade Recital Studio has hosted some of my all-time favorite concerts – for instance, Fire Fight, Villagers, Great Spy Experiment, Patrick Watson, Jack and Rai, Lloyd Cole, Typewriter, Owen Pallett. IEHAC added its name to this hallowed list with a blistering set that reinforced my belief that S-ROCK bands can make a difference in the cultural landscape in Singapore and beyond.

From the pirate-themed props to the space opera-stylised uniforms, it was clear that even before a note had been played, IEHAC wanted to make an impression for The Amaranthine Voyage, the launch of A Universe Made of Strings, its debut album. Which only meant that when the band finally appeared on stage, fireworks could be expected. And we were not disappointed.

I have seen IEHAC in action a few times already – at Home Club, Esplanade Outdoor Theatre and Zouk – but it still thrills me every time I see Daniel launch into his guitar moves, whilst Amanda, Roland, Jordan & newcomer Nelson, provide exemplary support. The sound and fury of IEHAC’s songs (from debut album, A Universe Made of Strings) are marked by sophistication and intelligence as myriad influences and inspirations coalesce and collide to form wholly different beast!

I could easily pick out dozens of diverse references – John Barry, Pink Floyd, Mastodon, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Orbital, King Crimson, Russian Circles, Explosions in the Sky and more – that left me enthralled by the sheer length and breadth of IEHAC’s sonic ambitions. Not only that but the swagger and confidence that exuded from the band was palpable and hopefully will show the way forward… and so, congrats to Daniel, Amanda, Roland, Jordan and Nelson for this epoch in S-ROCK. Look out world, prepare to be boarded…

I would say much more but check out my companion piece on The Amaranthine Voyage in TODAY coming out soon.

Picture by Aloysius Lim.

Official Site



Simon Pettigrew is best known as the frontman of British indie pop band Ghosts, which released a top 20 album The World Is Outside in 2007. Since then, news about Ghosts has been scarce. Pettigrew performed at the Music Matters Live showcase last month and he was kind enough to share with Power of Pop what was going on with Ghosts and his future plans.

What is the current status of Ghosts now? Is Ghosts still active?

Ghosts is kinda on hold at the moment – a rancorous legal battle between us and our record company dragged on for nearly two years and at the end of it we’d lost all our momentum – we spent some time writing for other singers, and even auditioned for some singers ourselves but nothing really worked out, so I decided to take some time out in asia, where I’ve been writing some new material.

What happened to the second album that was reportedly recorded somewhere in Sweden? Will it be released? Or will a second album consists of new material?

We never completed that second record, although some of the songs are done. Never Too Late and Say You’re Mine, which are both on the myspace, were conceived during those sessions. There is more material that I wanna go back to – I had the thought that given that the first album wasn’t really properly promoted out in asia I could take the best songs from the first album, the best of the new songs, and make one really stunning record to release out here!

The demo that you sent to Power of Pop is quite different in sound and feel from the Ghosts material. Is the song intended for Ghosts or perhaps a solo recording?

I don’t really see it as massively different in feel – it doesn’t have any synths in it, yeah, but to me it’s part of the same thread. We were always a band where the songs didn’t sound the same, so we’d have to be careful with tracklistings to make everything work together. I recorded that myself (hence why it sounds so sketchy), which might be why it currently sticks out like a sore thumb! I should have a mixed version shortly.

You were in Singapore for Music Matters 2o11 – what are your impressions of Singapore? Will be keen to return perhaps for a proper concert performance with Ghosts or as a solo performer?

I’ve spent quite a lot of time in singapore recently, as my brother lives here. I like it a lot, the music scene is fairly vibrant, although sometimes I wish the audience would let themselves go a little bit more! I played 5 gigs down at TAB earlier in the year which was good, and Music Matters was excellent also, I got a great reaction and met some interesting people. I’d love to play more – apparently I might be getting a gig at Timbre, we’ll wait and see.

Picture by Zurina Bryant

Special thanks to Sammy Shirra-Moore.


In Each Hand A Cutlass – Chocolate and the Lovelorn Girl

Here it is, boys and girls, the introductory tasty morsel for the upcoming debut album – A Universe Made of Strings – of In Each Hand A Cutlass. Delicious indeed, with equal parts jangly guitar, funky rhythms and indie rock sensibility. Catch IEHAC live at The Amaranthine Voyage on Friday, 24th June at the Esplanade Recital Studio. Tickets on sale now at SISTIC.

Chocolate and the Lovelorn Girl by In Each Hand A Cutlass

Official Site


DAVID BYRNE Ride, Rise, ROAR (Eagle Vision)

When it comes to concert films, ex-Talking Head David Byrne has of course been involved with the seminal Stop Making Sense (directed by Jonathan Demme) – and definitely knows about making the best out of the medium.

This concert film is unique in Byrne’s ambitious concept of mixing up his music with modern dance – resulting in a sinewy, kinetic display of sight and sound. Drawing from the classic Talking Heads repertoire (Once in a Lifetime, I Zimbra, Road to Nowhere, Burning Down the House, Houses in Motion, Life During Wartime and Heaven) and material from recent collaborations between Byrne and Brian Eno, there’s no denying the power and appeal of these songs, especially when combined with exciting dance movements.

A wonder and pleasure to behold.

Official Site


It’s been a long time since a second tier DC Comics character has been given a feature film adaptation and so much has been riding on this Green Lantern movie for Warners. With the recent successes of the Marvel film adaptations, Warners need a DC comic book movie hit. And despite the critical mauling that this movie has been universally receiving, I will stick out my neck to predict that Green Lantern will be a box office hit.

Continue reading “GEEK OUT! GREEN LANTERN”



My__ Is Pink is the debut album from Colourmusic, a quintet from Oklahoma, who released two EPs previously. They’ve been hyped as “Wayne Coyne’s favourite new album”, which of course raises expectations of this album. It is introduced as a concept album, but ironically, seems to have a lack of it. The album is largely instrumental and seems to have absolutely no organisation and seems to be a jumbled mess of electric guitars, raspy vocals, gospel singers, heavy percussion, distortion, and to refer to their video for Tog, a whole lot of blood and cum (!).

On this record, the band sounds like they tried to cram all their influences and everything they ever experimented with on this record. Tracks like Beard and The Little Death (In Five Parts) are a relentless hailstorm, full of distorted sounds and heavy percussion, while the rest of the album alternates between dreamy soundscapes, remotely resembling post-rock, and rough, raw and lo-fi. Seeing them live would probably instil fear in some of the audience, but tracks like You For Leaving and Yes! are great for soundtracks, having different phases and a mix of vocals, cymbal-heavy drumming and distortion. From this album, the band comes across as indecisive, but also sick (in a good way) and full of musical ideas.

(Melissa Ng)

Official Site


Tidelands – Holy Grail

Once in a while (not that often nowadays), there is the perfect balance of creativity in a music video between sound and vision. Tideland’s Holy Grail music video is probably one of the best I have seen in recent memory. “Each frame is an actual watercolor illustration,” says Gabriel Leis of Tidelands about the video, “I was inspired after seeing the visuals for the Jonsi (of Sigur Ros) live show and wanted to search out an artist doing illustrated animation.”

Leis and Mie Araki, his partner in Tidelands, ultimately found illustrator Ami Kutata whose excitement about the song led her to spend four months of full-time work completing the project. The completed video was created based on more than 1000 pages of Kutata’s hand-illustrated work.  “Looking at the early storyboards she did for us (see example above), it kinda puts in perspective the scope of the task,” says Leis. She spent over four months creating the video. We gave her complete creative freedom.”

The Japanese director isn’t fluent in English, so Araki translated the lyrics to the song for her.  This created slightly different meanings which combined with Kutata’s own storyline made for something entirely new altogether. “She was really attached to the line in the song, ‘Over-dignified is just another way to compensate for what you’ve lost’, which became her main inspiration for the story and the images of a traveler, the queen and the dwarf town,” says Araki.

Of the song, Leis explains, “Holy Grail is ‘an attempt to capture the feeling of responsibility I have towards friends and acquaintances who did not live to tell the tale. Just carrying a torch for lost friends, knowing it just as easily could have been me.” Holy Grail is the first single and video from the debut Tidelands album, If… Tidelands is the duo of San Francisco’s Gabriel Montana Leis (Guitar, Flugelhorn, Vocals) and Mie Araki (Drums, Keyboards, Vocals) along with the Magik*Magik Orchestra, conductor Minna Choi and Deerhoof engineer Ian Pellicci.

With warm sonic approaches, combining clean electric guitars with baroque elements, Holy Grail is orchestrated to pull heart strings with its epic sweep cast within rustic intentions. An excellent sampler for the album to come.

If… will be released on July 26th.


Foster the People – Pumped Up Kicks (Chrome Canyon REMIX)

Chrome Canyon (aka Morgan Z, Apes & Androids former keyboardist) has remixed LA electro-pop group Foster the People’s track Pumped Up Kicks, available for download at RCRD LBL. Very chilled and light, the hipster set will dig it, most certainly.

Foster the People – Pumped Up Kicks (Chrome Canyon REMIX) by Chrome Canyon


Make no mistake, Daniel Sassoon (far right, above) is one of my favorite people, bar none. This guitar man cut his teeth with S-ROCK 90s legends Livonia and was part of Electrico, one of Singapore’s most popular bands. Sassoon is now in the third phase of his musical journey, fronting the instrumental rock outfit, In Each Hand A Cutlass. Ahead of the band’s debut album release and launch (24th June, Esplanade Recital Studio), I had a chance to pick the man’s brains for your distinct reading pleasure.

What is your beef with the term ‘post-rock’?

I don’t have any issues with it, but like almost all genre labels, it just does not mean very much does it? Also, I don’t think we sound very much like what the generic conception of post-rock is…you know, delayed pretty sounding arpeggiated guitar notes that repeat and build up ad infinitum. We’re too impatient and musically schizophrenic for that!



Cheating Sons @ Beer Market (28 May 2011)

Cheating Sons brought their brand of blues and rock ‘n’ roll to Beer Market last Saturday night, as part of the Music Matters Live festival. The pub was filled up but judging from the applause and cheers the band got, only a third of the audience was there to see them. The Jezabels from Australia (interviewed earlier on Power of Pop), who played before the Sons, also had a much larger audience, with many standing just to see the band.

Nevertheless, the quality of the Sons’ set was no less than their best, as they played with energy and seemed to enjoy themselves, though their frontman Renyi appeared a little tired. Their performance was commendable considering it was their second set of the night and the late hour (midnight). Their set was only thirty minutes long, but it was enough to impress most of the audience, including those who were not there for the band. Andy was relentless on the drums and his precision showed why Cheating Sons are one of the best bands around, while the joy of performing was apparent amongst all of them.

The band played songs from their debut album, Masters, Wives, Daughter, such as Mr Green and Ah Long On The Run. Their set got a small group dancing, and part of the crowd that were not there to see the band also began to pay increasing attention to the band throughout their set. But as some might say, “haters gon hate”, and a vocal member of the audience shouted “more A minor”, mocking the band. But they quickly shut the hater up with Isles, and he was overheard saying afterward that “the song was really good”. With this short set, the Sons proved once again why they are the pride and joy of local music.

(Melissa Ng)

Photo by Iskander Abori


(Press release)

Singapore, 17 June 2011:     English singer and songwriter James Blunt will play at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on 11th August.  After two albums, two world tours and 18 million records sold, the award winning artist is back on tour to support his third album Some Kind of Trouble. He last performed in Singapore in 2008.

Blunt, 37, is a former British cavalry captain who served under NATO in Kosovo in 1999, commanding a tank battalion. His music made him famous in 2005, when his debut album Back to Bedlam produced the hit singles ‘Goodbye My Lover’ and ‘You’re Beautiful’. Blunt’s follow-up, All the Lost Souls in 2007 continued his success with songs like ‘1973’ and ‘Same Mistake’.

He has received numerous awards and accolades including two Brit Awards, two World Music Awards, two MTV Video Music Awards, an MTV European Music Award and five Grammy nominations.

Blunt’s previous efforts were more melancholic, having written the materials alone on acoustic guitar. With his new album, Some Kind Of Trouble released in 2010, Blunt recorded with an electric guitar and collaborated with other musicians, which reflects the upbeat and rocking new sounds.

“The second album was quite introverted. It was about perception. But these new songs are not about fame and celebrity – they’re about reality,” Blunt says. “I’ve been hanging out with my friends, writing songs about the world we live in, and where we want to go.”

Despite the serious and sensitive image he is portrayed, Blunt is known to bring an energetic concert with his quality musicianship. He will keep fans rapt until the lights go out. As much as he is passionate about making new music, for Blunt, the ultimate joy comes from performing and sharing them with an audience.

“Put the album out and get me on tour,” he says. “We’re going to have the time of our lives playing these songs.”

Show Information:

Name:              James Blunt – Some Kind Of Trouble Tour

Date:               Thursday, 11 August 2011

Time:                8.00pm

Venue:             Singapore Indoor Stadium

Tickets:            On sale from Monday, 20th June.

Available at all authorised SISTIC outlets, www.sistic.com.sg or call 6348 5555

Prices:          $145, $120, $100 & $80 (exclude booking fee)

More information on James Blunt at www.jamesblunt.com


(Press release)

Singapore, 17 June 2011:     Britpop pioneers, Suede are set to perform at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Wednesday, August 3rd.  Reunited in 2010, the English alternative rockers have since embarked on a series of concerts, and released their greatest hits compilation, The Best of Suede.

Suede are Brett Anderson, Mat Osman, Simon Gilbert, Richard Oakes and Neil Codling. The band have achieved three number 1 albums, including their debut Suede, which also won the Mercury Prize in 1993. In 2003, after five albums, Suede disbanded.

Suede reformed at the beginning of 2010 for a Teenage Cancer Trust gig at the Royal Albert Hall, and due to the sheer joy of playing together again, a brief tour in Europe soon followed.

Later in the year, they released Best of Suede, a two CD compilation of their greatest hits which feature songs such as The Beautiful Ones, Saturday Night, Wild Ones.

“It’s the complete audio history of a band and, like any band of interest, it’s flawed, strange and sometimes beautiful,” Anderson says of the album.

Suede last performed in Singapore in 2003.  Fans hooked on Suede can expect an amazing, nostalgic show with a hit laden set, reminiscent of the nineties definitive years.

Show Information:

Tour Name:      Suede – Greatest Hits Tour

Date:               Wednesday, 3rd August 2011

Venue:             Singapore Indoor Stadium

Tickets:            $135, $125, $105 , $90& $75

On sale from Monday, 20th June

Available at all authorized SISTIC outlets, at www.sistic.com.sg or call 6348 5555

More information on Suede at http://www.suede.co.uk



Now if only I am living by the beach, and maybe own a hammock which I could lay on with my sandy feet pointing towards the sun, hair down, soak up the kind sunshine and ipod on one hand with the playlist I’ll specially reserve for beach getaways… Oh, one can dream of such life. Truth be told, that was my first impression upon being asked to review You’ll Never Know by our locally bred Ze Wen Seah aka Travel Tales.

The singer/songwriter has experience up his sleeves. Having lived in different countries such as Taiwan and America, his songs are thus influenced by the different cultures he was brought up in. Sandwiched with his smooth Jason Mraz cum Jack Johnson voice, one can pleasantly categorise him as a simplistic, straight up raw local talent without having to put in much effort. You’ll Never Know is basically, “..a conversation between a highly rational individual, who smirks at the thought of ‘dreams’, and a dreamer who believes that it only makes sense to achieve what you want if you work hard for it”, as explained by Ze Wen himself. Need I say more? Not really.

With soft percussion and subtle guitar, the whole song gives off nothing more then a breath of fresh air. A break from life, a vacation from being too much of a realist. Have a listen and you’ll get what I mean.

You’ll Never Know by Travel Tales

Ze Wen has a YouTube channel too wherein he covers various artists besides having his originals. Especially from Radiohead and Oasis, big big brownie points! Recommended, most definitely!

(Eli Mahirah)



Any band christening itself ‘Wonderful’ better live up to its name! Well, based on this boisterous, gleeful track, at least these Seattle-based freaksters stand a good chance of making many music lovers feel very warm and fuzzy. No mean feat to imbue a song with simultaneous genres – this is psychedelic, ethnic, folky and ethereal, all at once! The band will be releasing its new album Wake Up to Dreamland on 21st June. Worth that second look.

Official Site



For some reason, this song reminds me very much of the Canadian 80s new wave band, Men Without Hats. I suppose it has something to do with the very idea of North Americans singing with a baritone Anglophile accent. Whatever the form, this Baltimore-based band have enough synth-pop savvy to make good use of the now-popular style. In any case this new single Before the Bridge will be the A-side from the 7″ of the same title, out July 19 on Thrill Jockey. Check it out and make your way to Future Islands…

Future Islands – Before the Bridge by thrilljockey

Official Site


TUESDAY 2 AUGUST 2011 POWERHOUSE @ St James Power Station

Doors: 7pm Show Time: 8pm


Standard Admission $65 – includes 1 Drink (Sistic $3 Booking fee applies)


Tel Bookings: (65) 6348 5555




Alright I admit it – I am a little shallow when it comes to digital cameras. So, the T110 (above) with its really slick design, bright colors and touch screen (with cool sound effects) totally does it for me. It does not have a zoom function but it’s so user-friendly and takes such sharp pix without too much fuss that it’s pretty much irresistible. I used the T110 at the latest Noise-Timbre Singer-Songwriter Programme and I believe that the pictures turned out rather nicely. Retails for about S$369.

More information here.


Now, this baby looks more the part if you need to be a tad more professional in the picture taking department. Not as sexy as the T series it must be noted but maybe a little more serious. So no touch screen but this sucker manages a competent zoom function which came in handy for the 2nd day of Music Matters 2011. I could easily remain seated in the 10th row and comfortably snap good pix on the stage. Although, it must be said that at times, there was a smidgeon too much yellow in some of the shots but overall, H55 gets the job down, even if you are an amateur photog like me. Retails for around S$499.

More information here.

PoPWare is a brand new feature where we review the latest hardware which makes your enjoyment of pop culture that much more pleasurable! If you’re interested in getting a review, get in touch at info (at) powerofpop (dot) com.


(Press release)

Singapore, 13 June, 2011:    Award winning rock band Paramore are back for their second show at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on 21st August 2011. True to their promise to return, fans who cannot get enough of them will rejoice in this news. The American band rocked Singapore last year with a sold out stadium.

The band took the world by storm with 2005’s All We Know is Falling, 2007’s Riot and 2009’s Brand New Eyes, their highest charting album to date.

With the Farro brothers’ departure, Paramore are now Hayley Williams, Jeremy Davis and Taylor York. The remaining trio is determined to embrace the next stage of Paramore.

“Let’s just start this new chapter already because it can only be great. We’re not going to let ourselves not be great. We’re gonna make it good,” says William in an interview with MTV.

The Swellers, an American punk rock band from Michigan will support as an opening act in their tour here.  Formed in 2002, the quartet have released five albums and played The Vans Warped Tour.

Show Information:

Name:              Paramore – LIVE! In Singapore

Date:               Sunday, 21 August 2011

Time:                8.00pm

Venue:             Singapore Indoor Stadium

Tickets:            Presale tickets for Paramore Fan Club members starts on June 15.

Public sale on June 17.

Available at all authorised SISTIC outlets, www.sistic.com.sg or call 6348 5555

Prices:              $145, $125, $115, $95 & $75 (exclude booking fee)

More information on Paramore at www.paramore.net