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Apr 182012


The Hartnoll brothers’ comeback album Wonky has just been released (read my TODAY review here). The video of the title track is as dark and visceral as the music itself, not to mention good fun as well. Check it out!


Apr 112012


(Press release)

MONSTER CAT is pleased to announce the release of “Liyana Fizi x MONSTER CAT – Jatuh”. It is a ‘live’ collaboration with Malaysian singer/songwriter Liyana Fizi. Together, they perform on the hit single “Jatuh”, from her debut album “Between the Lines”.

Liyana Fizi is well-known as ‘Malaysia’s indie sweetheart’ and most recently performed at this year’s Mosaic Music Festival at the Esplanade. “Jatuh” is a bittersweet recollection of that magical but frustrating moment when two people realise they are in love, but are unable to act on it.

The video’s director, who goes by the name ‘Tha Artist’, commented on the video’s art direction: “I chose a very quaint and classic barber shop for the shoot. I wanted to bring out the gentle nuances; to emphasise the romantic but fragile nature of how the song sways back and forth under the lightly played guitar parts. The black and white treatment also highlights this, and gives the performance space a touch of timelessness.”


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Apr 072012

“No Reflection” (off upcoming album, Born Villain)

Marilyn Manson is back with a new single and a new album. Born Villain will drop on 1st May and in the meantime you can check out the first single – “No Reflection” via this somewhat non-descript by-the-numbers music video. The song itself is grooving glam (Bowie/T Rex) via Metallica – if that makes sense. But with enough hooks to make you wan to press ‘repeat’. *Growl*

Official Site




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Apr 062012

“Silenced by the Night” (off upcoming new album, Strangeland)

I did not like the last Keane album. Glad to see that the band themselves admitting that they somewhat dropped the ball in that instance. Based on the first two albums, it’s clear that the band is capable of much much better. Will Keane re-capture former glories with the new album, Strangeland? First single sounds promising even if the synth string sound is quite jarring and out-of-place. The less said about the corny video the better. We hope to interview the band soon. Stay tuned.


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Apr 022012

(Press release)

KittyWu and MONSTER CAT are happy to announce the release of the official music video for MONSTER CAT’s single “Underwater”. The band has previously only released performance videos, and this marks their first music video production.

“The visual aspect of our music has always been really important to us,” said MONSTER CAT front man Hentai Cat. “From the packaging of our CD to the visual projections during a performance, we’re always interested to explore how our music translates visually.”

This video is yet another step in that direction. Working with a talented and young film crew, “Underwater” —— a haunting song about an intoxicating and destructive love —— was transformed into an equally riveting visual narrative.

Kristen Ong, the director, explained the concept behind the video: “We tried to lock down a simple storyline that mirrored what the song was about, but at the same time, we felt the mood of the song was an equally important element to represent. There are many scenes that act as montage pieces that stitch the whole video together and a lot of attention was also paid to getting the colours and treatment just right.”

Official Site


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Mar 252012

Songbird is a Singaporean singer whose music fuses heartfelt lyrics, bouncy rhythms and saccharine pop melodies into radio-friendly tunes. Her first single, “Maybe”, is a sun-soaked ditty that shows off Songbird’s gift for balancing complex emotions with lighthearted flair. Songbird will make her debut at The Singapore Arts Festival from 24 to 27 May 2012. Book your seats at


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Mar 192012


Indie supergroup seems like a contradiction in terms, doesn’t it? Well, Wild Flag is perhaps best known for consisting of ex-members of the bands Sleater-Kinney, Helium and The Minders. In all probability, most of you reading this will have no clue about the bands just mentioned, so it’s largely irrelevant. But what we do have is a band in the here and now that combines the now forgotten Riot Grrl aesthetic with the new danceable indie pop sound. This video of “Romance” (taken off 2011′s self-titled debut album) is both thoughtful and entertaining. Band musicians with a day-job will identify with the hi-jinks that the girls get up to here!


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Mar 182012

Listen Up (If the World is Going to Hell)

I make no apologies for being a lover of ‘old-school’ pop music cuz ultimately it’s about substance and not mere form. Pleased to report that bands like Red Jacket Mine, which focus on 80s-styled soul, country, blues, rock, and pop (think: Joe Jackson, Elvis Costello, Style Council, Hall & Oates) are still out there, if you know where to look!

Red Jacket Mine has already released two studio albums (including 2009′s Ken Stringfellow-produced Lovers Lookout) and currently consists of  bandleader Lincoln Barr, longtime drummer Andrew Salzman and bassist Matthew Cunningham. “Listen Up (If the World is Going to Hell)” is a brilliant slice of soul-infused pub rock that bears repeated listening.

So check out this surrealistic music video for Red Jacket Mine‘s new 7″ single and please send them your love, okay?

Official Site | Facebook

Limited edition of 500 hand-numbered singles on colored vinyl, out now on Fin Records. Purchase on iTunes.


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Mar 092012

“Rosebud” (off Prisoner album)

Australian anthemic rock quartet The Jezabels deliver their latest video for “Rosebud,” directed by Ben Reed. You can watch the dark, VHS-reminiscent clip over at VEVO. “Rosebud” is the latest single from the band’s debut full-length Prisoner, which will be available physically in the US via Mom + Pop Records on April 3.

Official Site


Mar 022012

When I started Power of Pop back in 1998, my favourite ‘genre’ was ‘power pop’. Wiki defines ‘power pop’ as

“…a popular musical genre that draws its inspiration from 1960s British and American pop and rock music. It typically incorporates a combination of musical devices such as strong melodies, crisp vocal harmonies, economical arrangements, and prominent guitar riffs. Instrumental solos are usually kept to a minimum, and blues elements are largely downplayed. Recordings tend to display production values that lean toward compression and a forceful drum beat. Instruments usually include one or more electric guitars, an electric bass guitar, a drum kit, and sometimes electric keyboards or synthesizers. While its cultural impact has waxed and waned over the decades, power pop is among rock’s most enduring subgenres.”

When discussing ‘power pop’, inevitably the song used as a reference point is Big Star‘s “September Gurls”.

It’s easy to discern all the elements of ‘power pop’ that Wiki listed out in this song. Melody, harmony and gleaming guitars all in strong evidence. Of course, Big Star itself had many other kinds of musical styles but ‘power pop’ will always be the ‘genre’ the band will be most closely associated with.

The 90s Pop Underground was definitely influenced by Jellyfish (pictured above). The band formed around the nucleus of Andy Sturmer (Vocals, drums) and Roger Manning Jr (keyboard, vocals) and released two legendary albums (in ‘power pop’ circles, in any case) viz. Bellybutton and Spilt Milk. Sadly, Jellyfish‘s ‘power pop’ was out of synch with what was popular at the time i.e. ‘grunge’ and the band soon broke up after the failure of Spilt Milk. But its legacy was felt strongly for the rest of the decade. Here’s a video of the band playing “Joining a Fan Club” live. Amazing harmonies and dynamics.

In the wake of Jellyfish, many other ‘power pop’ bands also signed with major labels and released excellent albums which failed to register with the ‘grunge’ loving public. This list would include The Grays, Wanderlust, Jason Falkner and Greenberry Woods. A couple of ‘power pop’ indie labels like Not Lame and Big Deal soon surfaced to feed the appetites of the Pop Underground fans but by the early Noughties (despite initial mainstream successes of Fastball and Semisonic, the scene had faded away somewhat.

In the UK and Europe, there were also pockets of ‘power pop’ bands that also drew from 70s punk and 80s post-punk to remain relevant to critics but were essentially holding true to the traditions. Teenage Fanclub and a host of bands from the Scottish indie scene (like BMX Bandits and Captain America/Eugenius) flew the flag strongly for melodic guitar pop that bordered on ‘power pop’. But one UK band that really captured the imagination of the Pop Underground was Silver Sun.

Great melodies with crunching guitar work makes for primo ‘power pop’! However, the same decline that was seen in the USA was basically mirrored in the UK as well for ‘power pop’. So here we are in 2012 and the last decade or so has not been kind to ‘power pop’ and there has not been any significant ‘power pop’ band/artist in a long while. However, if you looked closely at bands like Surfer Blood, Best Coast and Cults, the unmistakable affinity for 60s pop blended with the modern guitar sound may be a subtle re-invention of ‘power pop’ for a entirely new generation of music lovers. I leave you with Singapore’s very own ‘power pop’ masters Typewriter with its instant classic, “That Deepest Blue” and hope that like me you will dream of a ‘power pop’ future…


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Feb 242012

“Our Hearts” (off And So They Ran Faster… album)

Firehorse is a captivating project from singer/songwriter/instrumentalist Leah Siegel. The NYC artist released the well-received And So They Ran Faster… in 2011 with the assistance of Steve Elliot on guitar, Tim Luntzel on bass, and Brian Wolfe on drums. “Our Hearts” is gorgeous minimalist pop that carries a lovely melody over 80s synth-pop references. The official video is wonderfully surreal and for want of a better comparison, think of Siegel as an alternate reality Katy Perry. Only much more cooler. Certainly, expect a review of And So They Ran Faster… soon. In the meantime, enjoy.

Official Site


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Feb 232012

“Fight the Good Fight” / “Heavyweight” (off upcoming new album, Curve)

In the sixties and seventies, pop music was considered subversive as rock stars allied themselves to the revolutionary spirit that railed against the Vietnam War and other injustices of that era. Of course, forty years on that concept seems rather antiquated and pop stars are now simply neutered pawns doing the bidding of corporate masters. So it is rather surprising (and uplifting) to come across this song and video from Canadian band Our Lady Peace written in tribute to the Occupy Wall Street movement that has swept the globe.

Thirty-somethings will remember OLP as one of Canada’s leading contributors to the grunge scene of the mid-90s but the quartet has survived the rise and fall of that short-lived ‘genre’ to emerge as an alternative rock outfit of some note. The band enters 2012 in good musical health with the release of its eighth album, Curve in April. “Heavyweight” is the band’s initial offering and the song is a good combination of the U2 sonic aesthetic married with Rage Against the Machine‘s rhythmic sensibilities. Still, the track is unmistakably modern with a strong melodic chorus anchoring its appeal. Check out both videos below and look out for the review of Curve to follow…


Feb 152012

Thinking California (off Whiskey Farmer)

No ‘indie cred’ necessary here as singer-songwriter James Low spins a rustic yarn about a farmer desperate to escape his dead end life. The track is featured on Low’s new album – Whiskey Farmer – which will be released on 21st Feb. It’s straightforward country-folk with twangy melodies that serve the heartfelt sentiments. Check out the video below and also the preview of the upcoming album. Review to come…

‘Thinking California’ from James Low on Vimeo.



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Feb 112012

Our New Favorite

Crooked Fingers – Eric Bachmann’s country-folk vehicle is back with another collection of warm rustic songs. The new album is called Breaks in the Armor and was released in late 2011. The wistful tone found on “Our New Favorite” is emblematic of Crooked Fingers‘ overall tone and style – heartfelt without mawkish sentimentality. There is a certain dissonance about the way the verse moves into chorus without interrupting the flow of the song (the angelic backing vocals smoothens things up nicely) that makes “Our New Favorite” particularly appealing.

According to label Merge Records‘ emailer – the video below was “directed and edited by James Fleischel” and “beautifully illustrates the feelings of impermanence and connectedness suggested by the song by capturing and slowing down the fleeting moments of everyday life.” No argument there! Expect a review soon. In the meantime…

Official Site



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Feb 062012

Morning Sun

Video for the lead single, Morning Son, off Twister, Country Mice’s critically acclaimed 2011 album.

Lead singer Jason Ruerger explains what the video is all about - ”I live on the fourth floor of my apartment building, and you see this whole world of moving parts below you. It makes you feel removed and connected at the same time. The song has this outside looking in perspective on how it feels to lose everything you’ve gained, while not caring of the destruction it does around you. Kind of like floating above a car wreck. The cars, the people, are all part of this surreal movie that plays out around you and how most of the time you have no control in what is temporary or permanent in your life. The video is compiled of footage that was shot on our last tour. It’s us seeing a lot of these cities for the first time, capturing the moments in between shows. Our friend Gordon Holmes edited it together and wove it into a narrative within the context of the song.”

Originally posted on 1 Feb 2012


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Jan 252012

Red Affair (DAIS)

Italian Horn is a solo project of New York City writer Anthony Pappalardo. The 90s lo-fi aesthetic of early Guided By Voices, East River Pipe and Sebadoh is very much in evidence here on Red Affair. Buried under a dissonant sheen in the vein of The Jesus & Mary Chain, its extremely brief duration (2:23) will leave you hungry for more. Just as well that the six song Red Affair 12″ (yeah vinyl as well!) will be released shortly with – wait for it – a cover collage from Robert Pollard. Check it out below.


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Jan 202012

Two Lines

Lightships is actually Teenage Fanclub’s Gerry Love’s side project and also includes the likes of Dave McGowan (guitar, Teenage Fanclub), Brendan O’Hare (drums, formerly of Teenage Fanclub), Tom Crossley (flute, International Airport and The Pastels) and Bob Kildea (bass, Belle & Sebastian) in support. Two Lines is the lead single from Lightships’ debut album – Electric Cables – to be released on 2nd April by Geographic, an imprint of Domino Records. If like me, you’re a big fan of Love’s sweet, melodic songwriting then Electric Cables is pretty much essential listening for 2012.

Jan 182012

At the recent Singapore Music Forum I met a unassuming young man who introduced himself as Sean. Then he mentioned that he had a band/music project called I Hate This Place. Instantly I loved the name and then finally got a link. Whoa! IHTP basically comes from a similar place as Owl City except that IHTP does not suck! Am not being facetious here! As regular visitors would know, I love my synth pop nice and sweet (but not saccharine!)  and Future Girl, Retro Style fits the bill perfectly – you will be singing that chorus by the end of the track, believe me! Check it out below and make sure you come back for more electronic goodness from I Hate This Place.

Official Site


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Jan 102012

Milk-Heavy, Pollen Eyed

Talk about your cool one-take videos! Laura Gibson (aided and abetted by Aleksandr Karjaka on clarinet) proves that sometimes the simplest version of a song is often the best. The song is featured on Gibson’s upcoming new album – La Grande – to be released by Barsuk Records. Check it out!

Official Site

Photo Credit: Parker Fitzgerald


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Jan 092012


Warren is a British songwriter, musician and producer best known perhaps as a member of Britpop outfit The Hybirds and Echoboy. Since then he has worked with Spiritualized and Starsailor as a hired hand and has continue to release music under his own name as a solo artist. This music video of Rivington Street is taken off the stripped down version of his latest album, The Wayfarer. The visuals are spare and raw but match the rustic and ethereal quality of the song perfectly. Spine chilling.

Official Site


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Jan 072012


Moving On

Mixing rock n’ roll with country boogie, with a crooner’s touch, Winfred E. Eye – who hail from Oakland, California – is a band that sticks to the good old school rock philosophy of music with heart. Moving On is the lead track from the band’s fifth album – Today Was Another Day – being released in January 2012. The song is wistful and winsome and difficult for true blue country rock fans not to fall head over heels in love with.

Official Site


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Dec 252011


It’s here!


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Dec 102011

Stuck On You

Meiko (pronounced ‘mee-ko’) is an upcoming female singer-songwriter who has an album – The Bright Side – due in Spring 2012. If you’re wondering about the name, ‘Meiko’ is a nickname adopted in honour of her maternal grandfather, who is Japanese. The song itself is bubbly and light echoed by the video which fast-forwards Meiko preparing her ‘famous turkey balls’. All good fun, rest assured.

Official Site


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Dec 082011


Nothing quite like arcane americana even if it’s made north of the US border. This Canuck alt-country outfit revels in all things twangy and you can easily put their music side by side with Fleet Foxes, Jayhawks and Band of Horses. Quite brilliant.

While ah have your attention – check out Fire here.

New album from Yukon Blonde due in 2012. Stoked!

Official Site


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Dec 022011


I love alt-country/roots music/Americana (whatever) but you knew that. Here’s another country-folk chanteuse that will go all rustic on your ass. 24 year old Caitlin Rose has released her debut album – Own Side Now – and this live video of Spare Me finds Caitlin in conversational mood and performing with a crack band on the rooftop. And it’s a breezy number which will chase all your blues away. Don’t forget to check out the little story that Caitlin shares right at the end – worth the wait as well!

Caitlin Rose – “Spare Me” – Le Loft Rooftop from DUKE STREET on Vimeo.

Official Site

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