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Apr 182012


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Apr 122012


Now, the introduction to “There Is No Love” swept me literally off my feet, my heart melted and chills ran down the length of my spine. No mean feat. I’m talking about the second track on Charlie Lim‘s amazing debut eponymous EP that was released sometime last year. Better late than never eh?

Based in Melbourne, Australia, Charlie Lim has been gaining admirers at a healthy pace with his sophisticated soul-pop-rock. To these ears, there is such a wide range of compelling musical influences at play in Charlie Lim‘s repertoire that it can get dizzying at times. It’s hard not to appreciate the love and thought put into these intricate songs.

Off the top of my hat, I hear Sting, Paul Weller, Maxwell, Jeff Buckley without too much difficulty. Give me a couple more plays of this EP and I am sure I can come up with more. There’s no denying the sheer talent on display here not to mention the hard work behind the arrangements, individual performances and production.

The opening sample of a needle hitting vinyl is instructional and telegraphs exactly what Charlie Lim‘s intentions are. The phrase ‘old-school’ is used too often with derogatory connotations. In Charlie Lim‘s case, I prefer the term ‘timeless’ – as he plunders the rich treasure trove of the great soul-inflected pop-rock of the 70s and 80s (pre-compact disc era) with much aplomb.

In only 4 songs, Charlie Lim adequately demonstrates that he is a force to be reckoned and the funky jazzed up beats of “Pedestal”, the gorgeous heart-stirring “There is No Love, the smooth, silky sounds of “What Can I Do” and the warm, folky vibe of “Rust” are clear signs of a mature songwriter at work.

All I say is I want MORE…

Official Site | Bandcamp

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.”

Apr 102012

Here’s the 2nd part of the the recent interview I did with The Observatory at its studio in the Goodman Arts Centre. You can read the first part here. More to come…

Ten years of The Observatory, what has been your best memory so far?

Vivian Wang – It’s a tough question cos it involves cycling through our memories and our memories aren’t want they used to be! Actually I was going through some old photos the other day and there was one – the first time we went to Malaysia, we had to stay in Dharma’s granny’s house in Petaling Jaya and it’s funny cos when we got there we were all sweaty and it was two am in the morning. One guy took a shower and then there was no water!

Leslie Low – Who was the person?

Vivian – Willy! He finished up all the water.

Dharma – The house had not been lived in for more than three months…so can you imagine the amount of dust? That was our first trip out of Singapore.

Vivian – Yeah, we took a van and watched this stupid VCD-

Victor Low – Starring Cecelia Chung

Vivian – Before she exposed herself! Anyways, there was a water shortage in PJ, so we were cleaning up like crazy and we cleaned till about 4 something in the morning and then we didn’t have water to shower!

Dharma – It was a trickle…

Vivian – And they had to go out and buy mattresses -

Leslie – But that was the next day.

Vivian – Yes the next day. But it was quite funny. I just saw pictures of how grimy we looked.

Victor – I almost got decapitated. The van’s seat could be lifted up so I went in to get the guitar cases and the whole seat come down on my head and I heard the thing latch!

Vivian – Les was behind you.

Victor – So we opened up the seat and I looked at Leslie’s face and his face looked like he just watched a horror movie! Somehow, I was lucky that my head didn’t snap or anything…

Vivian – And then we played at Paul’s place and it was so bad cos the cymbals were all chewed up and the mixer had a (thick) layer of dust. Funnily it was the worst set-up gig and we ended up playing our best. Well, not our best but you make the best out of it. So I remember that and also getting drunk at the karaoke lounge upstairs cos we waited till very late. It’s not a spectacular memory but it’s a fun memory cos we took a road trip – I think we were very innocent then and packed pretty much everything including a glockenspiel. And Leslie brought his classical guitar.

Victor – Actually the other fond memory I had was at the Substation – my first gig with everyone – the two-day launch for Time of Rebirth.

Vivian – It was all downhill from then.

Victor – That was the first time we did an official launch of an album – that was a good memory.

Leslie – For me it’s just snapshots of us traveling, stuff like that.

Vivian – Actually, a recent memory that was fun was Bali where we learned how to play gamelan instruments.I don’t know if it was fun but in Korea, Dharma broke his foot and then we had to do a show and we carried him with cast on the stage.

Dharma – That must have been the funniest appearance. They carried me on a chair, you know!

Victor – He played a gig with a broken foot-

Vivian – Resting on a teddy bear!

Victor – I was his official nurse.

Dharma – And translator.

Vivian – Yeah, it was crazy… that’s what happens when you get up to too much fun, you see…

…to be continued…

The Obs play the Substation Theatre on 20th/21st April to launch Catacombs! Tickets available from The Substation Box Office.

You can the Obs at the band’s studio at Goodman Arts Centre on Friday 13th April from 6pm to 8pm. Dharma, Leslie, Victor and Vivian will be on hand to sell Catacombs, its other albums and other merchandise.




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Apr 052012

Music & Tea with Corrinne May

Corrinne May releases her 5th album Crooked Lines in Singapore, after a break of 5 years since her last album Beautiful Seed was released. She had a showcase at the Hard Rock Café Singapore in Cuscaden Road last week, the same place where about 10 years ago she had promoted her debut album Fly Away. Corrinne was accompanied by her band, including her producer/musician husband Kavin Hoo, treating her fans and the media to a night of song. She sang 5 songs from her latest album, including “Beautiful Life”, a song she wrote in conjunction with the theme of the Esplanade’s 10th anniversary, a ‘celebration of life’, and what she says is her 3-year-old daughter Claire’s favourite song, “Just What I Was Looking For”.

After her performance, Corrinne received a plaque from Warner Music Singapore in celebration of the more than 35,000 albums sold in Singapore to date. Her album will be made available for online sale and sale in other countries later on.

She stayed on to perform a further 2 songs, “Crooked Lines” and “Sight of Love”, before starting her signing session. This was a real treat for her fans, as they had the opportunity to get close to their favourite singer. And it is clear that Corrinne is well-loved by all, as the line snaked all around the dance floor and the signing session went on for about 2 hours. People from all walks of life were there. It is clear that Corrinne’s music reaches out to a wide audience, with universal themes and stories that people can relate to and make their own. Her showcase felt like one big family reunion.

The album title Crooked Lines came to her as she watched her daughter drawing with crayons one afternoon, and she seemed to be drawing what looked like random, crooked lines all over the drawing paper. And that prompted Corrinne to think, “Perhaps that’s how it is in life. Life is never a journey that goes in a straight line. Just like sailing, we reach our destination with ‘zig-zaggedness’, with crooked lines. For truly, it’s the detours of our lives, the crooked, whimsical, circular paths we take that mould and fashion us. Oftentimes, it’s only in looking back at the path we’ve taken that we can truly appreciate why certain things had to happen in our lives, to bring us to our present circumstance.”

The album is a combination of songs inspired by motherhood and by Corrinne’s personal beliefs and her relationship with God. There are songs where she asks philosophical questions; songs of celebration, positivity and love; songs that reach out and have the potential to uplift anyone who listens. had a chance to sit down and chat with the Singaporean singer-songwriter at a lovely little café in Chinatown. Our songstress was warm and friendly, as she shared some interesting tidbits with us, and shows us that she is still very much a Singapore girl.

Continue reading »

Apr 052012

The Specials by Jonathan Wong

Timbre Rock & Roots 2012 – Day 1: Bleu Rascals, Keb’ Mo’, Buddy Guy and The Specials

Let me start off this year’s review of Timbre Rock & Roots festival with an honest note – artiste line-up wise, it may appear not as spectacular as compared with the previous two years’ running.

Sure, there were the heavyweight classics, like first night’s round-up The Specials, and possibly the band on the tips of everyone’s tongues – Earth, Wind & Fire; not forgetting the revisit of Buddy Guy (he came to perform during the first show in 2010), amongst a showcase of others. But riding on the mindset of mainstream commercial appeal, it may not arouse the same enthusiasm like previous years’ star performers, like Bob Dylan, Imogen Heap, John Legend, Jools Holland, The Fray and the like.

Regardless, while promenading to the festival venue, (coincidentally) Marina Promenade, I couldn’t help but notice as my legs moved along to the beating of my heart (exaggerated) – how this part of Singapore felt so familiar and altogether foreign at the same time. It is still Singapore alright, but I have not been to this part of town before, and it just doesn’t feel like what I have known Singapore to be. Or, maybe it is just me – just a personal thought, FYI.

Situated on a section of the Formula 1 racecourse, and surrounded by and overlooking some of today’s skyscrapers, like the Marina Bay Sands and Gardens by the Bay, the location couldn’t be more perfect for a large scale event like this, with scenic cityscape and the open night skyline. It was just that the turnout didn’t fill up half as aplenty, even as the night skies fell.

The first night opened up with Philippine act Bleu Rascals, consisting of mostly teenagers and cover songs. Yet, impressively, they managed to choke up enough maturity in their sounds to deliver the swingin’ blues of the roots genre, while laying emotion after emotion with their tuning. Non-originals heard include a song by John Mayer and Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine”.

Keb’ Mo’ appeared next to stir some sh*t amongst the audience, treating our eardrums with jams of groove-infused blues. Backed by a strong cast of musicians playing different instruments as support, his music smoothened up the city’s night noises, and provided a genuine punch of sincerity into our surroundings.

Too much roots? How about some intensive, classic, rocked-out blues then? Buddy Guy is your guy, literally. By this time, far into the night, he appeared to be the most energetic, not missing a single chance to move about on the raised stage (with his ever-ready guitar swung by his side) when he got to be away from the microphone. He even took to the grounds, allowing fans to have an almost up close and personal chance encounter with him (if not for the obligatory attention of the security and body-guards).

The Specials rounded up the first of two nights of Rock & Roots with a musical high, to the crowd of swaying rhythm and beats. Performing all-time favourites like “Monkey Man”, “Ghost Town” and “Too Much Too Young”, they made themselves, a 1970s/80s 11-members strong band proud and still as captivating as ever, without missing a beat. It was clear the crowd enjoyed the performance of the band as much as the band enjoyed themselves back.

In summary, I won’t say the roots genre has a very heavy influence in the hustle and bustle of a typical Singaporean’s life, and it is no wonder that most of the crowd attracted that night were mostly foreigners, away from home and bound here with a day job that pays (and just possibly, reminiscing of home in any and every way). Sadly, as much as everyone seemed to claim to be there for the music, their body languages might have betrayed the fact that it was more down to the drinking and the socializing – getting to a point where some drunkards were dancing their heads off, and I would like to end off this piece by naively thinking that they were merely just losing themselves in the music…


Thanks to Timbre Music for making this review possible.

Apr 042012

Back after a 4-year hiatus, Corrinne May will be the first ever local artiste to perform at The Meadow, on the 2nd night of Rhythm with Nature, a series of events collectively held as part of the official opening of Gardens by the Bay.

Corrinne May’s highly-anticipated new album Crooked Lines has just been released in March 2012. It is her first new album in five years – since 2007’s Beautiful Seed. The first single “Beautiful Life” is garnering increasing airplay on radio airwaves. For more information, visit

Tickets go on sale 20th April 2012 via

Ticket price: S$38* (standard), S$45* (at the door)

*Ticket prices exclude SISTIC charges

Apr 042012

Tour is a Four Letter Word is the headline concert at Rhythm with Nature, a series of events collectively held as part of the official opening of Gardens by the Bay.

Jason Mraz’s latest album Love is a Four Letter Word is slated for release on 17 April 2012. For more information on Jason Mraz, visit

Tickets go on sale 20th April 2012 via

Ticket price: S$98* (standard), S$112* (at the door)

*Ticket prices exclude SISTIC charges

Apr 032012

(Press release)

Launch Entertainment has just announced the addition of a second show for Jayesslee.

Shortly after the show announcement last week, more than 1600 seats for Jayesslee’s concert in Singapore on 4th May was sold out in 5 hours after the tickets went on public sale. The newly added performance is slated for 5th May, a day after the original sold-out show.

“We are overwhelmed with the immense response and have been inundated with emails from disappointed fans who had missed out on getting tickets the first time round. We are glad that we are able to stage a second night for Jayesslee’s Singapore stop, in an effort to meet the fans’ demand for tickets,” says Amos Boon, Group Managing Director of Launch Entertainment.

Jayesslee began their cyber domination when they started posting videos of themselves singing on Youtube back in 2009. The videos went viral very quickly, propelling them to Internet stardom with more than 300,000 subscribers and over 58 million video views on their Youtube channel.

Singapore is the first stop in this 8-cities tour, which will kick off at the iconic and newly revamped Kallang Theatre.

Tickets for the new date will go on sale on Thursday, 5th April at 9am via and 10am at all SISTIC outlets islandwide. Limited Meet and Greet passes are also available for purchase. For more information, interested parties can visit the organiser’s official Facebook page (



Date: 4th May 2012, Friday

5th May 2012, Saturday

Venue: Kallang Theatre

Time: 7.30PM

Tickets: 1) Standard – Cat 1: $78, Cat 2: $58 & Cat 3: $38

2) VIP Package – Cat 4: $98 & Cat 5: $78

(includes 1x M&G pass, 1x autographed poster + a photograph with Jayesslee)

**Above prices do not include SISTIC handling fees



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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

Mar 312012

It’s 24 hours later even as I type out my thoughts on last night’s Time Trails gig. Considering the behind-the-scenes issues that led up to that magical 85 minute set where Cheating Sons demonstrated once again why they are one of the most exciting musical prospects on our little island. Wearing my two hats (manager & session musician) was never difficult as I savored every single second of that long day. From unloading of gear, to sorting out dressing rooms, stage setups, line/sound checks and rehearsals it was steady progress all the way. Much of this had to do with the professionalism of the Esplanade crew and for that we are grateful. What was also particularly gratifying was the inclusion of extra talents into our Cheating Sons family viz. backing singers Rachael, Xue Yi, Narelle, horns section Joel, Ying Da, Erik, not to mention Wan on occasional bass and acoustic guitar. It was an amazing time of bonding, sharing and making beautiful music together as we all came together as one to celebrate the power of rock n’ roll.

The 13 songs whizzed past in a flash during which the crowd lapped up every moment – from Renyi almost forgetting to play “Amber Lights” to dropping his guitar (!) to our talented dancers (Fay and Yeong Wen) illuminating “End of the Day” and “Shadow Opera” to the sold-out crowd receiving warmly every new song that was delivered to them. And when the band walked off stage it was obvious that the crowd wanted more and the band returned to provide a two-song encore of “The Last Queen” and “Last Rites” before accepting the well-deserved standing ovation.

To the people who played their part in the background – Frankie, Nick, Goose, Caryn, Faizal – I salute you. Your contribution to making Time Trails a success was just as vital as the talented musicians on stage! And of course, the enthusiastic crowd who bought tickets, CDs and T-shirts, thank you very much!

… still there’s more…

(Photo by Lionel Ng)

Mar 272012

(Press release)

Back by popular demand, Youtube sensation Jayesslee is set to bring their Asia tour to Singapore this coming May.

Clocking over 300,000 channel subscribers on Youtubesince their cyber debut in 2009, Janice and Sonia have captivated audiences all over with performances in many countries, including sold out shows in Thailand and Singapore.

Armed with angelic faces coupled with sweet personalities, these social media sweethearts make it easy for one to fall in love with them with their infectious energy and carefree stage performances.

After much eager anticipation, the vivacious twins from down under are finally ready to take on Asia and enchant the audience in a night filled with melodious indulgence.

Singapore is the first stop in this 8-cities tour, which will kick off at the iconic and newly revamped Kallang Theatre come 4th May.

Ticket prices start at $38 and will go on sale 28th March at all Sistic outlets islandwide and also made available online via

Do not miss your chance to catch them live in this one night only performance.



Date: 4th May 2012

Venue: Kallang Theatre

Time: 7.30PM

Tickets: $78, $58, $38

**Above prices do not include SISTIC handling fees


Mar 272012

In the Singapore indie music scene, playing at the Late Night @ Esplanade series is a benchmark for any local indie band. For Cheating Sons, a band that only released its debut album in February last year it’s been a quick ascent to this particular summit. Of course, as its manager (and biggest fan), I’m probably expected to say that! That all said, Time Trails has certainly given the band the opportunity to flex its artistic and creative muscles to present a music show it can call its own. In this respect, we must thank The Esplanade for its faith, belief and support.

The first quarter of 2012 has been spent on two fronts – recording the new album and preparing for Time Trails - this process somewhat overlaps as the gig will only feature new material – the new album in fact – and so it has been a challenge for these two processes to be undertaken in parallel. Apart from the usual administrative and logistical headaches (all settled now, I hope!), the added pressure of working in several guest musicians (including yours truly) has also presented exciting possibilities. All things considered, the guest musicians have added a dimension to the new music that it’s safe to say that fans of Cheating Sons will be pleasantly surprised by how different the band sounds now.

For me personally, this will also be the first time I’ve ever performed at the Esplanade Recital Studio and I am going to savour every minute, believe me. It’s been a thrilling ride with The Sons so far and based on the new material that’s coming together it feels like the journey has only begun! All that’s left for me to say is that I hope you will get your tickets whilst they’re available cos it’ll be Cheating Sons as you’ve never heard them before and all the craft and artistry that everybody involved has put into Time Trails will make your $25 investment a worthy one…in the meantime, check out the wonderful video teaser by Nick Pan (if you haven’t already) and we want to thank SONY Electronics for its generous loan of the NEX-VG10E handycam that made it possible. Still there’s more…

Tickets on sale at SISTIC. Like Cheating Sons at Facebook.

Poster design by Andy Yang.


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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 252012

Overthrown’s 2nd Album Launch: A Hardcore Celebration!

Emily Hill came alive with the Reconstrux Hardcore Fest last Sunday evening as 6 hardcore bands joined our home-grown band Overthrown for the launch of their second album, As It Is. The 8 tracks in their self-released CD included collaborations with Death Before Dishonor and Down To Nothing from the USA, No Turning Back from the Netherlands, King Lychee from Hong Kong, and Restraint from Malaysia.

Overthrown showed the crowd a roarin’ good time! Bringing the spirit of their new album to life onstage, they shared the limelight with guest bands Restraint from Malaysia, The Vampirates from Australia, Anchor from Sweden, and local bands, 2Fold, Obscure and The Jabs. And the crowd reserved their loudest shouts for Overthrown, singing along, going mental in the circle pit, kicking and punching the air, head-banging, and body surfing. What a wild ride!

Waiting while the bands get ready for their sets, watching the crowd buy CDs, T-shirts, stickers and other hardcore memorabilia, applauding the bands that played, watching the crowd goin’ nuts in the mosh pit, seeing everyone enjoy the company of other like-minded individuals – this isn’t just a gig fest, this is a family of friends. The Lion City hardcore experience is not just about the music, it’s a whole lifestyle in itself, and the people who live it take it very seriously indeed. As seen on a cap worn by the bassist of Obscure, “Passion is the reason”.

While it’s hard to appreciate the hardcore sound, the folks who made the climb to Emily Hill that day really had a blast! They walked the walk, and they talked the talk, and by the end of the night, I came to realize that as long as Lion City hardcore lives, these bands and this crowd just won’t back down!

(Jeanette Chin)

Pictures by Steven Chew

Mar 232012

Back in late 2008, our writer Adam Gregory raved about Passion Pit‘s Chunk of Change EP describing Passion Pit as “a blast of fresh air”. Since then, the band has released its debut album – Manners – in 2009 to critical acclaim with songs placed on TV (Big Love), video games (FIFA 10), a performance at the Glastonbury festival and an opening spot on the last Muse US tour cementing its burgeoning reputation. Now the American electropop band makes its way to Singapore as it supports the upcoming release of its sophomore full-length effort in June 2012.


Date: Tuesday, 21st August 2012

Time: 7.30pm

Venue: Esplanade Concert Hall

Tickets are priced at $48, $69, $88 and $98 (excl SISTIC fees). Promoter Greenhorn Productions will make an announcement as to when tickets go on sale so stay tuned!

Facebook event page


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Mar 172012

(Answers provided by Noel Yeo)

1. Why play music?

I enjoy playing music. As I’m sure some people enjoying riding bicycles, driving cars, shooting pigeons. It’s just something I enjoy doing.

2. Who are your influences?

Teenage Fanclub and all of its power pop brethrens. There are so many. Big Star. Matthew Sweet. Badfinger. Some not so obvious. T-Rex. Boo Radleys. Hefner. God, I miss Hefner. I also enjoy Pavement a great deal. It was really punk, the attitude of not really caring. Not caring that you’re wearing a buttoned-down collared shirt.

3. What is success?

Success is being able to express yourself fully. No reservations. No self-censorship. No hang-ups. No fear of reprisals. When the music in your head plays the same as when it’s out in the real world, that’s success. That said, often times the music changes because you’re in a band, so it gets better; that’s another form of success!

4. Why should people buy your music?

It’s hard to say why anyone should do anything. But let’s just say we’ve kept the music as honest as possible. It really reflects what we love doing as a band. We get ourselves into a state of euphoria sometimes when we play. We hope it comes through in the record.

5. Who do you love?

You mean besides wife, family and all that? I don’t actually have an idol. “Kill your idols” is a popular phrase amongst writers, and I find that to be true in almost all aspects of life. No one is that important you can’t take a piss on. But if you’re talking about just people whom I generally admire, I admire anyone who seems to be living their lives without internal conflict. By that I mean anyone who does what they want to do without holding anything back. Morrissey seems to do that. The late Steve Jobs. Ricky Gervais. Larry David. Simon Amstell. I love stand-up comedians. The good ones. Think they show the way.

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

There is no agenda beyond getting the music heard. I don’t think there’s much else you can do as a creator beyond creating that piece of work. Sure you can help promote it, but what happens after is beyond your control. The only thing you can control is the work and the quality of the work. And hopefully, if it’s good enough, it’ll be shared.

7. Who comes to your gigs?

Friends! Past, present and future.

8. What is your favorite album?

Of all time? There are so many, but if you held a gun to my head and force to me to state one, it’d be The Beatles’ “White Album.” It’s an opus from a band I love so much I one day woke up crying because in my dreams they had somehow reformed, all members were there playing, and I was there. It is also an album about a band being broken. Each wanting to do their own thing. But as an outsider, you see them as The Beatles more than ever.

9. What is your favorite song?

“In My Life”. Although I certainly don’t want that at my funeral. That’ll be too obvious. I don’t actually listen to that song a lot. Or any other song. I don’t replay much of any music. There is so much new music out there I can barely keep up. Better to listen to new songs. I love new music.

10. How did you get here?

How very zen. Everything in my life, all the left turns and rights, all success and failures, got me here. Not even sure exactly where here is.

Shelves’ eponymous debut album is available now.

Official Site


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Mar 162012


It’s Heavy In Here

The Observatory may have a reputation for being an arty, cerebral band but deep down the quartet (viz Leslie Low, Vivian Wang, Dharma & Victor Low) is a rock band at heart. Whilst previous album – Dark Folke – had strong elements of neo-folk sprinkled throughout, there is little doubt that the main inspiration for new album Catacombs is music of a heavier nature. Apart from the dirge-like reveries of “Insomnia” and “Anger & Futility”, long time fans may be surprised by the sheer visceral metallic envelopes that the band wrapped this intricate songs in.

The title track is a prime example of this. As heavy as something you might find on that legendary first Black Sabbath album, “Catacombs” is a cathartic squall as Low sings, “Behind these eyes are catacombs”, you will definitely shiver. Likewise on unsettling “Headworm”, the disturbing metaphor is raised – “For the worms in my head/How are you?/You have been with me through thick and thin” Brrrrr. And then there is “Accidentagram”. Is this dark atmospheric track an examination of lunacy? Taking the words and music together, it is a representation of madness that one will find chilling.

There is no pandering to hip and cool tastes on Catacombs. Only an uncompromising honest work of art that expresses the deepest feelings and emotions of the artist and lays them bare for its audience to dissect, absorb and devour. Kudos to The Observatory for being brave and talented enough to bring us all this sonic tour de force.

Online ordering for Catacombs is now available. Proceed to

Catch The Observatory live at the Substation. Details below.

April 20 & 21
The Substation Theatre
45 Armenian Street Singapore
Standing only

Tickets available from The Substation Box Office
Open Monday – Friday
Phone +65 6337 7800
Email [email protected]



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Mar 132012


With the resurgence of 90s alternative/powerpop/rock, bands like Girls, Yuck, WU LYF, Radical Dads and the like channel the influences of Pixies, Teenage Fanclub, Dinosaur Jr and Weezer into a beautiful noise. In these circumstances, it seems appropriate that in the Singapore indie rock scene Noel Yeo, Melvin Ho and Robin Chua, members from two nineties bands (viz Suchness and Livonia) have, together with Brian Leery (from Leeson) released a smashing debut album that succinctly captures the zeitgeist of these  sweet and fuzzy times.

The name of the band is Shelves and the eponymous debut LP that has resulted from this collaboration rivals anything its Western contemporaries have mustered so far. Seriously folks, songs like “Against The Wall” and “(She Wakes Up To) The Beat” would have gotten the hipster crowd at the recent Laneway Festival agog with blind worship, if not for the notoriously illogical anti-Singapore sentiment that pervades music lovers here.

Bottom line, kind people, is that it can only be about good music i.e. memorable melodies, crunchy guitars and an easy vibe that appeals to the teenage pop-rocker in all of us. Tracks like “Holiday”, “Killer Concern”, “It’s Always Summer”, “Sussed Out” and “Superstar” are so filled to the brim with superior tunes that it’s almost criminal that a songwriting talent like Noel Yeo still remains an obscure commodity.

Hopefully, Shelves will redress any injustices in this respect and earn Shelves the love and acclaim the melody-driven quartet truly deserves. You can either purchase the vinyl LP at one of the band’s shows or digital download at the Bandcamp link below.

Official Site


Upcoming Shelves gigs:

Mosaic Music Festival 2012 Esplanade Outdoor Theatre 13 Mar 2012

Identite w/ Obedient Wives Club HOME Club 23 Mar 2012

The Pigeonhole 30 Mar 2012

Mar 132012

(I Hate This Place – Gayle Nerva, Sean Nerney and Roman Tarrasov. Responses from Sean)

1. Why play music?

I’ve been playing music for as long as I can remember. For me it’s a pure form of expression, a way to communicate things with more than words. So aside from being a lot of fun, it’s also a very good outlet.

2. Who are your influences?

I’ve been heavily influenced by electronic and pop groups of the 80s as well as people who are active in the contemporary electronic music scene. I’m a big fan of Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails, as well as the Postal Service and Lights.

3. What is success?

For me success would mean being able to make a living doing something that is also creatively fulfilling. I think people are happiest doing something that they personally believe in. If that thing can also sustain you materially I think that is all to the good.

4. Why should people buy your music?

For me, people buying my music is not as important as having them connect with it. If people have a genuine connection with the songs, not only will this add to their lives, they will also support the music, either through coming to shows or purchasing merchandise.

5. Who do you love?

Anyone who loves life :)

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

I would love for I Hate This Place to carve a space for itself in Singapore’s music scene. There is so much going on right now locally. I think the time is right for a project like this to step up and try to contribute to everything that is happening.

7. Who comes to your gigs?

Friends, family, randoms…. :) I think one of the good things about I Hate This Place is that it has a wide appeal – I think it doesn’t purposely try to appeal to any particular scene. If you’re a fan of electronic music you’ll probably have a good time.

8. What is your favorite album?

It changes all the time, but currently devouring Siberia, the new album from Lights, and Oh Land. In terms of timeless appeal, I can always out in The Downward Spiral from Nine Inch Nails, Massive Attack’s Mezzanine or Kid A by Radiohead.

9. What is your favorite song?

From the albums above: “Suspension”, “Wolf & I”, “Piggy”, “Inertia Creeps”, and “How to Disappear Completely”.

10. How did you get here?

I didn’t die :)

More information about I Hate This Place at its Facebook page.

Join I Hate This Place for some ElectroPop Music at BluJaz Cafe, 3rd Floor (SPACE) on the 28th March! The last Wednesday of the Month. 7PM SHARP! Also playing - Cosmic ArmchairRiot !n MagentaDJ Nate and DJ Kithsa from the Electronic Music Lab on decks!

Mar 122012

A Concert For The Fans

Iconic ‘80s band Duran Duran played the Singapore Indoor Stadium and treated everyone to a Saturday night filled with a selection of their greatest hits and songs from their latest album, All You Need Is Now. The band gave a tremendous performance, emphasizing they are first and foremost a live band.

Opening the show in dramatic fashion with instrumental number “Return To Now”, leading into the lyrically poetic “Before The Rain”, the band then launched into an energetic rendition of “Planet Earth” and James Bond theme “A View To A Kill”. Mixing fast songs with ballads, the band delivered wave after wave of musical ecstasy.

Spending 2010 promoting All You Need Is Now, the band embarked on a tour spanning the globe in 2011, taking them through UK, Europe, North America, Dubai and Singapore. They will also be heading to Seoul, Hong Kong, Australia, and South America.

Midway through the tour, lead singer Simon Le Bon had encountered problems with his voice, forcing the band to take pause and wonder about a possible future without him. Tour dates were re-scheduled, so that he could recover, and after 3 months, they were back on the road again.

On Saturday night, Simon was in fine form. His voice was buttery smooth in “Come Undone” and showed no sign of strain throughout the evening, not even with hard-hitting tracks like “Wild Boys”.

With the band returning to the early ‘80s sound of their first 3 albums, it is evident that Duran Duran have come full circle. Through its ups and downs, changing band members and personal struggles, this band has survived. This concert was for the fans. Through the challenges, all they needed to do was to focus on the people right in front of them. The ones who’ve stuck by them through the years. Nothing else matters. All we need is now.

(Jeanette Chin)

Mar 122012

(Press release)

KittyWu Records presents BITCH MAGNET for a one-night-only performance at HOME CLUB on Friday, 13 April 2012. Formed in the fall of 1986 by Jon Fine (guitar) and Park Sooyoung (bass and vocals) and Orestes Morfín (drums), BITCH MAGNET have been recognized as a significant influence on generations of aggressive and musically complex bands, including Mogwai, Don Caballero, Rodan, June of 44 and Battles.

BITCH MAGNET, inactive since 2004, had their entire remastered Bitch Magnet catalog, plus six previously unreleased tracks, released as a triple-CD and a limited edition triple-LP in late 2011 by Temporary Residence Limited. It was greeted by rapturous critical responses from outlets ranging from the New York Times to Total Guitar, including four-star reviews in Rolling Stone and Mojo and a five-star review in Uncut.

The post-hardcore pioneers reunited at All Tomorrow’s Parties “Nightmare Before Christmas” festival in December 2011, and the band also performed a handful of dates in the UK, Europe and Asia in late 2011. Those performances marked the first onstage appearance of the band’s original recorded lineup – Morfin, Park and Fine – since 1989.

BITCH MAGNET will be joined by Singapore band AMATEUR TAKES CONTROL.

Event Title: KittyWu presents BITCH MAGNET (US)

Event Date: Friday, 13 April 2012

Event Time: Doors open at 8pm

Venue: HOME CLUB, 20 Upper Circular Road, #B1-01/06, The Riverwalk

Tickets: SGD25 (Advance) / SGD30 (Door)

Purchase advance tickets from

Mar 042012

My NOISE mentee Maricelle Wong is a relative novice to the world of music performance and songwriting. But from the time I met her under the The NOISE Music Mentorship Program, I could see that she was passionate about wanting to learn as much as she could. Maricelle is raw in many respects but there is no denying the talent she possesses for both songwriting and performance. Slowly and surely, she is gaining confidence in these areas and I have seen great steps forward in her journey. Tonight is a significant milestone for Maricelle as she makes her debut at the Esplanade Concourse. Two highlights in her set will be her originals – the bubbly “Take A Picture” and the dark “Love Is A Drug” – which represents both sides of Maricelle’s persona effectively. Also look out for “Apple of My Eye”, the lyrics of which were inspired partly by the recent Taiwanese film and for which I wrote a melody for. Come on down to witness a budding music talent on our own shores with more to come… In the meantime, check out Maricelle‘s video performance of “Apple of My Eye” below.

Maricelle’s Facebook Page.


Mar 022012

This coming weekend (Friday 2nd to Sunday 4th March) marks the end of yet another NOISE Music Mentorship Programme with the NOISE Music Showcase at the Esplanade viz. The Concourse and the Outdoor Theatre. For me, I have been very fortunate to form relationships with my two mentees, Ming See and Maricelle.

Ming See is a quiet and reserved person, someone who chooses to shun the spotlight. So for her, performing can be a bit of a challenge, with handling stage fright a major issue. But this is probably true for all performers. However, what is really special about Ming See is her songwriting. Literate concepts and classic UK folk influences make Ming See’s music a bit different from the usual singer-songwriter fare we might get here in Singapore. Her music is rather quiet and spare, with a voice to match. So the Concourse surroundings will be suitable if everybody simply focuses and listens carefully.

I am looking forward to hearing Ming See at the Concourse tonight at 7.15pm. If you are interested in the exciting musical talents developing right at our door steps then I hope to see you there too.


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Feb 272012

Power of Pop is proud – yes, proud – to report that Singaporean singer-songwriter Inch Chua has been invited back to the prestigious South by Southwest (SXSW) music festival in Austin, Texas. Together with her backing band, The Metric System, they will perform multiple showcases from March 10-14, 2012 during SXSW. Following SXSW, Inch will debut at Canadian Music Week (CMW) in Toronto from March 21-22, 2012.

Inch was first featured by Power of Pop in 2007 in an interview as the front person of indie band Allura ahead of its appearance at Baybeats Festival that year. In the five years since, the singer-songwriter has blossomed into a formidable solo artist in her own right. Inch is now signed and represented by Mighty Fresh, an award-winning talent management company based in Santa Monica, California. We wish Inch all the best in North America! If you are in the vicinity, listed below are when and where you can catch Inch Chua & the Metric System.

Los Angeles Dates:

Inch Chua @ Genghis Cohen

Date: March 22, 2012 (Thursday) Venue: Genghis Cohen, 740 N. Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles Time: 10:00 PM

SXSW Tour dates:

Sweet Relief Musician Fund @ The Beacon

Date: March 10, 2012 (Saturday) Venue: Austin Convention Center Time: 3:30pm

Ainjel Emme & Inch Chua

Date: March 12, 2012 (Monday) Venue: Ming’s Café, 2604 Guadalupe St, Austin TX Time: 9:00pm

SXSW Style x Fashion Show

Date: March 17, 2012 (Saturday) Venue: Austin Convention Center Time: 6:30pm

Official SXSW Showcase

Date: March 14, 2012 (Wednesday) Venue: Beale Street Tavern, 214, East 6th Street, Austin TX Time: 9:00 pm

Official CMW Tour Dates:

Official CMW Showcase (Acoustic)

Date: March 21, 2012 (Wednesday) Venue: Free Times Café, 320 College St, Toronto Time: 11:00PM

Official CMW Showcase (Full Band)

Date: March 22, 2012 (Thursday) Venue: Tranzac (Front Room), 292 Brunswick Ave, Toronto Time: 8:00 PM

Lomography, Toronto

Date: March 23, 2012 (Friday) Venue: Lomography Gallery Store, 536 Queen Street West, Toronto Time: 8:00 PM

Official Site

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