Category: MUSIC

Every kind of music under the sun

PUGWASHPUGWASH

Pic by Ger O'Donnell
Pic by Ger O’Donnell

If like me you are besotted with classic pop and love the music of The Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Byrds, ELO and XTC, then my question to you is – why aren’t you listening to Pugwash? And if this is the first time you have heard of this awesome Irish band, then your timing is impeccable.

A Rose in a Garden of Weeds: A Preamble Through the History of Pugwash (to be released on 23rd September) collects songs from the band’s 1999 origins through the present day and when placed together in one place like this, is probably the closest a classic pop fan will get to heaven in 2014.

Pugwash A Rose In A Garden Digi

It is impossible not to fall in love with perfect pop songs like “Be My Friend Awhile,” “Apples,” “Answers on a Postcard,” “Fall Down”, “It’s Nice to be Nice” and so on and on and on. These 17 tracks constitute some of the finest pop music made since the new millennium and deserves as much attention as possible, if there’s any justice left in this cruel world.

I was lucky enough to catch the band live last year in London and believe me, it’s a wonder to behold. That Rickenbacker sound, those harmonies and infectious tunes will have you singing along in no time, unfamiliarity be damned! So check out the US tour dates below to make sure you don’t miss out on the fun, PoPies!

Check out the video for “It’s Nice to be Nice” below…

MUSIC OR NOTHINGMUSIC OR NOTHING

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MUSIC OR NOTHING

Being involved in the music scene in Singapore is all about what one makes of the situation. Compared to a mere five years ago, there are many opportunities to fill your time with life-enriching activities. You just know where to look…

KM-DeapVally-04

On Thursday (21st August) I met up and interview Julie Edwards (above, left) and Lindsey Troy of LA-based blues-rockers Deap Vally and found them to be intelligent, beautiful women who knew exactly what they wanted out of life. Mightily impressed with them in that short space of time we chatted.

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JPNSGRLS – CIRCULATIONJPNSGRLS – CIRCULATION

JPNSGRLS-Circulation-cover

In just the first four tracks of Circulation – the Vancouver quartet’s full-length debut (released by Light Organ Records on 15th July)  – JPNSGRLS (pronounced as “Japanese Girls”) clearly demarcate what makes them so special in this age of pristine pop hacks and artless copyists. There’s the visceral melodicism of 90s grunge (“Smalls”), the slinky dynamism of 70s power pop (“Tiger”), the epic urgency of the millennial post-punk revival (“Brandon”) and the post-modern appropriation of Afrocentric music (“Circulation”), that demonstrate the band’s ability to slip and slide across the various musical references that have driven contemporary indie rock into mainstream acceptance.

Central to JPNSGRLS modus operandi is a willingness to break down its song components into clearly definable roles that is distinctive enough to stand on its own but the sum of which is greater than its individual parts. In theoretical terms, whilst the song accompaniments perform their harmonic functions, there are also enough polyphonic elements in the guitars (Oliver Mann), bass (Chris McClelland) and drums (Graham Serl) to create entirely unique arrangements that elevate these songs way above your what even the most competent rhythm sections are able to achieve in indie rock.

Singer Charlie Kerr’s vocal delivery of the meaningful lyrics is the glue that keeps this intricate latticework moving together like a well-designed well-oiled music machine. Kerr certainly has a way to make his singing almost conversational in tone, emotionally resonant and yet operating as highly intelligent banter as well. Like in the way he expresses a sense of low self-esteem in the title track – “Like I’m counting Mississippi’s till it’s convenient/You say I’m nothing baby, we’re in agreement” or in the manner he pays tribute to the late Brandon Teena in “Brandon” (a trans man who was tragically raped and murdered) “Cause Brandon really understands/What it means to be a man” or in the internal psychological warfare that thrives within relationships expressed in the animalistic iconology of “Tiger” – “I’m a spider/I wanna crawl up your legs girl”.

But of course, Circulation is more than its first four tracks as the band brings the lyrical and musical concepts further in the frenetic “Mushrooms”, the mesmerizing “Tennis Shoes”, the rollicking “Laughing Gas” and the angularly funky “David and Goliath”. Simply put, Circulation is one of those albums, rock lovers can listen to all the way through – a rarity in itself in 2014. Bloody essential!

Official Site

PoP ARTPoP ART

PoP Art is a PoP feature where we examine the influence on ART on rock and pop music, in particular album covers.

Today we look at Pop art, a movement that began in UK and the USA in the 50s. The dominant figure in this ‘genre’ is probably one of the most influential artists in contemporary art – Andy Warhol.

Velvet Underground

Released in 1967, The Velvet Underground & Nico may not have sold many units but it’s enduring significance cannot be over-emphasized. What was also unique about the album design was that early copies of the album invited the owner to “Peel slowly and see”, peeling back the banana skin revealed a flesh-colored banana underneath.  Recently, there was a legal battle between the Andy Warhol Foundation of Visual Arts and the band over copyrights over the cover design.

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HEAVEN KNOWS I’M MISERABLE NOWHEAVEN KNOWS I’M MISERABLE NOW

HEAVEN KNOWS I’M MISERABLE NOW – THE SMITHS (1984)

When Paul Weller broke up The Jam in 1982, there was a huge vacuum in my life that his follow-up project The Style Council could not quite fill. I needed a band that could mean the same thing to me as The Jam did. In early 1984, the ever-dependable John Peel was championing a new band called The Smiths (viz. Morrissey, Johnny Marr, Andy Rourke & Mike Joyce) who had just released their third single (“What Difference Does It Make”) and eponymous debut album in January and February of that year respectively.

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SIMON TOWNSHEND | INTERVIEWSIMON TOWNSHEND | INTERVIEW

Simon Townshend

Simon Townshend released one of the more intriguing albums of 2012, the under-rated Looking Out, Looking In. We were fortunate and privileged to be able to pose a couple of questions to Townshend via email and we set out his responses below.

As a musician/recording artist, has being the younger brother of Pete Townshend been an advantage or disadvantage and why so?

I think it works both ways. I suppose I have a lot to live up to, especially when some people expect so much of me. Having said that my name has opened a few doors that would have perhaps remained shut. I am really proud of my brother and have always loved his music / lyrics – The Who are one of my all time favourite bands. However, I have many other musical influences and my sound is unique. I think once people realise that the sibling association takes a back seat they will judge me on my own merits. At the end of the day it’s down to me and my music to win music lovers over.

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