MUSIC  Comments Off
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

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.

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.



 MUSIC  Comments Off
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

Jan 072012

January 2012 promises to be a busy month of gigs for yours truly as I try to find as much performance time as possible for my two Noise mentees, Maricelle Wong and Ming See, ahead of the Noise Showcase in March. First up on Friday the 13th at the Red Dot Design Museum comes MAAD Sounds (see above). The girls will be playing three original songs each to split their half-hour slot and I expect very much to try to fit in ‘new’ songs that have been spotlighted recently on Youtube by yours truly. Hope to see you there! More gig announcements to be made…

… still there’s more …


 MUSIC  Comments Off
Jan 062012

Singapore Originals is a new series put up by Timbre Music to recognize independent original musical works by Singaporeans, for Singaporeans. Singapore Originals happens every last Wednesday of the month at Timbre @ The Substation (unless otherwise stated).


Date: Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Time: 8.00pm

Duration: 60 mins

Venue: Timbre @ The Substation

Admission: Free (minimum one drink applies.)


Date: Wednesday, 29 February 2011

Time: 8.00pm

Duration: 60 mins

Venue: Timbre @ The Substation

Admission: Free (minimum one drink applies.)


 MUSIC, PERSONAL  Comments Off
Jan 022012



It’s strange that in 2012, we are still addressing the issue of ‘cover songs’ and ‘tribute bands’ in Singapore. Don’t get me wrong I believe that there is a place for ‘cover songs’ and ‘tribute bands’ – these serve a certain niche market worldwide. The problem is that in Singapore, it’s not a niche market but the only market! Whereas in the western world, new bands may be able to get away with playing cover songs early in their career, there will come a point where their success as a band will depend on the quality of their original music.

It seems almost ludicrous to have to discuss this issue at all. I mean, in the 90s, Singapore indie bands played original music and nobody thought twice about it. Radio and TV featured Singapore indie bands playing their original music and nobody demanded that these bands played familiar cover songs. I mean, that’s what you expected if you had the Oddfellows, Padres, Concave Scream or Stoned Revivals performing on stage. After all, these bands were songwriters and artists in their own right – it’s almost as ridiculous as going to a Coldplay gig and demanding that Chris Martin and company play U2 and Radiohead songs!

But visit any bar or club in Singapore nowadays and chances are that the band on stage will be playing cover songs. Again, I must stress that I am not against this per se but why must being in a cover band about the only way that Singaporean musicians can make a living from music in Singapore? So who is to blame? Musicians? Business owners? Patrons? Media? Government? All of the above?

Is the artistic voice of the Singapore musician not treasured at home? Why do Singaporeans switch off when confronted with unfamiliar Singaporean original songs? Lack of quality? I do not believe so as the acceptance of original Singapore music overseas proves otherwise. Lack of support? Ah, that’s a sticky issue. Especially when it relates to the question of the economic value and worth of music compared to other kinds of ‘products’.

Of course, these issues are not unique to Singapore indie music and apply across the board whenever one discusses the local arts & entertainment scene. But these issues must be addressed head-on by all the stakeholders (mentioned in my third paragraph) and the beginning of the new year seems like a good place to start.

But naturally, if you are reading this here then I’d assume that you are on board with my sentiments and the whole cliche of ‘preaching to the converted’ seems all too applicable. The real question is that do you, dear reader, believe in Singapore music (and musicians) enough to be evangelistic about the cause of Singapore original music? To put it bluntly, what are you willing to do?  For my part, as a music journalist, singer-songwriter, artist manager, mentor and teacher, I am fully committed to doing whatever I can in 2012 (and beyond) to raise the profile/support the cause of Singapore original music in any way that I can. Will you join me please?

Note: This is not meant as a personal attack on anyone within the Singapore music scene so please take this post in the positive and constructive spirit that it was written. Thanks!

Dec 312011

I thought the gig at Hood Bar went very well last night and that Maricelle and Debra impressed all who were present. Personally, I thoroughly enjoyed my set and certainly would like to do more performances in 2012. Thanks to Clement (for being the kind host) and also to Narisa, Ginelle, David and Bevlyn for being in attendance.

These last few weeks of 2012 have seen more videos by yours truly uploaded to Youtube. Frankly, I really quite dislike the proliferation of ‘covers’ at Youtube so as usual I thought I’d do the exact opposite. Thus far, I’ve had a fair amount of videos uploaded with minimal covers (only Gram Parsons’ Hot Buritto #1 & Big Star’s Ballad of El Goodo) but the emphasis has been on my originals. Here’s a compilation of the orginals I’ve uploaded so far on Youtube.

So expect more in 2012. And yes I do accept song requests (of my originals of course). Send your request to kamcomusic AT gmail DOT com.

… still there’s more …


 MUSIC  Comments Off
Dec 302011

We Sink

Icelandic artist Sóley releases her debut solo album, We Sink, which is in the vein of artists such as Joanna Newsom and El Perro del Mar. The album, being honest, raw and lilting, establishes Sóley as an individual artist, having been in the bands Sin Fang and Seabear for many years. Her songs are certainly not to emphasise her singing voice, but the unusual yet captivating melodies and arrangement of her songs.

First single and track of the album I’ll Drown is a beautifully crafted piece, where percussion defines and appropriate pauses lure the listener in to the rest of the album. Despite the album being acoustic-folk, the use of multiple instruments and Sóley’s unique vocals sets her music apart from the usual (sometimes boring) fare offered by acoustic artists. Each track on the album is unique enough to be a single, but they are also altogether cohesive and form an album that is enchanting and creepy enough, to be the background music of an abandoned circus scene in a movie. Given the current popularity of many indie female artists, Sóley has the potential to be one of the most popular indie/folk artists around, given more publicity and marketing.

(Melissa Ng)

Official Site


 MUSIC  Comments Off
May 132011


18 year old Perth singer-songwriter possesses a sweet, fragile larynx, with music to match. Lionheart is ethereal and baroque, resonating warmly as one takes it all in. The song is taken from Kay’s debut EP.

The lass has already won a 2010 Western Australia Music Award (WAM), and been nominated for a 2011 Independent Music Award for best Indie/Alternative/Hard Rock Song. All this without a record label or even a full length album under her belt!

Listen to/watch Lionheart and find out why this is so…

Official Site


 MUSIC  Comments Off
Apr 142011

It’s taken 14 months – give or take – but finally Debra did her maiden headlining gig at Broun Cafe. Two sets of her originals and her favorite covers were achieved in slightly under an hour. She was initially extremely nervous but once she started singing, the nerves slowly dissipated and Debra was in her element. For me personally, I was a little under the weather but that did not stop me for providing the necessary support on acoustic guitar/electronic piano and occasional backing vocals. In fact, it was fun not having to think about singing, lyrics and stage banter – y’know the usual thing I have to do at a gig. This was Debra’s show! All things considered, the show went well – though there were the odd mistakes and false starts (from both of us!), overall it was a good run-out for Debra – with the promise of more to come…

I was also very pleased to meet Laura and Ewan, the owners of Broun Cafe, and glad to find that they were a down-to-earth young couple, who loved music and were genuinely interested in providing their patrons an enlightening experience. I was fortunate to check out their Irish Beef Stew which warmed and filled me up very well after the gig, thank you very much!

With Narisa (with Suzan) coming up next Wednesday at the same venue, I hope that this will be the beginning of a fruitful partnership between Broun Cafe and KAMCO Music. Next up for Debra – the third edition of the Noise-Timbre Singer-songwriter Programme.

… still there’s more …



 MUSIC  Comments Off
Apr 112011

This was a relatively tough shoot as we (Pat & I) had to contend with the blistering heat, the erratic wind as well as the various school children running around but ultimately worth the effort! You can listen to more of Deon’s music at his Bandcamp page.


Apr 112011

It’s been a while since the last submission for PoP Confidential but recently local singer-songwriter Seyra passed me her 5-track self-titled sampler EP and so…

Seyra models herself on Malaysian singer-songwriters Yuna and Zee Avi both in her songwriting and vocal delivery. Her songs are basic, simple and focus on communicating melody, lyrics, emotions and feelings without too much artifice. Although she presents herself more as a folk-pop artist, I rather liked the songs where she incorporated a slight ‘indie-alternative’ edge, for example in the bright You Make Me Go, the breezy Last Brigade and the dreamy Goodnight, where the full band set-up fleshed out her sound considerably.

Strangely, I was not quite as taken with the folk ballads – Forwards and Back & Skinny Lips – where despite her best efforts, the melodies seemed a little uninspired and the exaggerated vocal inflections somewhat distracted as well.

Still, there’s enough potential here to suggest that with more time and effort, Seyra can develop into a Singapore songwriter of note. In any case, S-ROCK fans will be able to check out Seyra when she performs at Baybeats 2011, later this year. One to look out for…

Find out more…

Myspace | Soundcloud | Facebook | Twitter




 MUSIC  Comments Off
Apr 082011

MARISSA LEVY 63 Songs About Joe

I have a confession to make before I begin:  I’ve always had a weakness for spunky, cute indie female vocalists, so I try to overcompensate by being extra harsh on the material on display. Make of the following review what you will, then, because they certainly don’t come spunkier or cutesier than New Yorker Marissa Levy.  “I am coy, I am subtle, I’m cute and I’m trouble,” she proudly declares on her new EP 63 Songs About Joe (it’s actually only five songs long, calm down). Thankfully the record is palatable, or the blatant indie ingenue poseuring might have been rather rich.

As it stands, though, 63 Songs About Joe is an acceptably melodic pop-rock affair, slickly produced by Mike Viola of Candy Butchers fame. Levy claims to draw influence from The Beatles and The Beach Boys; fair enough, tracks like A Love Song and Heartbreak Liar will float their airy ways into your ears pleasantly. There are enough hooks here anchoring Levy’s breezy vocal performance to make this short EP an enjoyable experience, though, if I were to nitpick, not a particularly ingeniuous or gutsy one —the material never seems to vary from the slick sunshine pop, and the production is squeaky clean in the vein of indie-pop darlings Two Door Cinema Club. Oh, but don’t bother with cynical music critic me, pfft. She’s cute after all.

(Samuel C Wee)

[amazon-product alink="0000FF" bordercolor="000000" height="240"]B004OTW0WO[/amazon-product]



 MUSIC  Comments Off
Apr 032011

As regular PoP visitors will only be too keenly aware, I fell head over heels in love with Natalie’s Perfect when I first heard it whilst judging the Noise Singapore Open Category. So, it was an absolute pleasure to be able to provide the guitar backing for Natalie when we recorded our version of the song for S-Indie TV. I think it worked out quite well. Enjoy…



Natalie’s Little Heart EP is out now.

Official Site

Thanks to Patrick Chng/Walk On Music.


 MUSIC  Comments Off
Mar 312011


We spoke to young singer-songwriter on the banks of the Singapore River about his new EP, Letters and what he’s been doing in the music scene recently. Check it out!



PoPTV: Talkin’ the Line is brought to you by Walk On Music and Power of Pop.


 MUSIC  Comments Off
Mar 272011

KAI 11:11 EP

Upon initial listening to Kai’s debut EP, 11:11, with the opening track Crowds, her vocals instantaneously struck me, and literally, stuck itself onto me. I find myself struggling to figure out which artiste’s vocals she reminds me clearly of. Is it Tanya Chua, Joanna Wang, Norah Jones, Colbie Caillat or Zee Avi?

Continue reading »



Another packed crowd at Timbre at the Substation witnessed the 2nd edition of the Noise-Timbre Singer-Songwriter Programme. In truth, the majority of the Timbre patrons may have been present for the excellent pizzas rather than the Programme itself but the whole point of the Programme is to expose Singapore songwriting (and songwriters) to audiences unfamiliar with it and so on that count, the Programme has certainly achieved its aim, thus far.

Continue reading »


 MUSIC  Comments Off
Mar 212011



Singapore singer-songwriter Natalie Hiong has been a recent addition to the Singapore indie music scene but she has certainly wasted no time to make an impact. PoPTV: Talkin’ The Line caught up with Natalie (within the bustling environs of the Singapore Management University) to find out what she has been up to since becoming a full-time musician.



Talkin’ The Line is jointly presented by Walk On Music and Power of Pop.


 MUSIC  Comments Off
Mar 032011

CHARLES J TAN The Pelham Sessions EP (Self-released)

The first thing you’d notice on this record is Tan’s vocals – you can’t miss them. Husky, deep, well-rounded and full, it makes you sit up and pay attention. His enunciation is clear and brings out each word carefully, which is a very positive thing… But unfortunately this is also what brings out the bone I have to pick with this EP: the less-than-satisfactory lyrics.

Continue reading »


You could say that this event was almost a year in the making. Having spoken to Timbre co-founder Danny Loong about a dedicated programme for Singapore singer-songwriters in March 2010, it was very satisfactory to finally stand on the Timbre stage and host this event. Happy to say that the venue was packed and particularly so to see my RP students (viz Bryan, Linqi, Emily and Peiqi) turn up as well! In addition, the support of Noise Singapore has been invaluable to the cause.

Continue reading »

Feb 192011

I am counting on all you Power of Pop regulars to be at Timbre @ Substation in force to support this landmark event – let’s show everyone that Singapore songwriting is worth the time, effort and $$$! Not forgetting also the Noise music showcases. A good S-ROCK week, all told!

Come up and say hi – take a photo with me and I will post it here on Power of Pop!

… still there’s more …

Feb 112011

It seems like I’ve been waiting for a singer-songwriter centric event to come to pass for the longest time. Well, it’s finally here. Mark your calendars to turn up at Timbre @ Substation on Wednesday 23rd February 7.15pm to witness the first installment of the Noise-Timbre Singer Songwriter Programme.

I am also equally excited to be able to have talented singer-songwriter Ling Kai as our very first special guest star to share with us her songs and her methods/inspirations. Perhaps she will tell us about her internationally renowned song – Larkin Step – which garnered more than a million views on Check out the sheer number of cover versions and you will understand the wide appeal of Ling’s song.

Continue reading »


 MUSIC  Comments Off
Jan 242011

LLOYD COLE Broken Record (Self-released)

Cole’s country and folk influences are evident in the use of instruments like the pedal steel, banjo and mandolin, as well as the narrative nature of his lyrics. I must confess that’s basically the extent of my knowledge about Cole or any other pop-country-folk-ish music, so if I go ahead and say that this album is worth listening to, it’s completely without reference or comparison or expectation. And this album really is worth listening to.

Continue reading »

Dec 262010

A couple of days ago, I was interviewed by The New Paper regarding the Noise-Timbre Singer-Songwriter Programme and was asked if I had any tips for aspiring singer-songwriters to be noticed in this Programme. Well, one tip is of course to watch, listen and learn from people who write good songs and perform them well on youtube. Alright, I have made this process a little easier for you – check out the examples below.

Continue reading »

© 2012 POWER OF POP: Music, Film, Comics & Book Reviews Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha