ZALLEN – S/T [REVIEW]ZALLEN – S/T [REVIEW]

Zallen (aka Mike Jones) has been laboring as an alternative pop artist for 15 years now and I have been awfully privileged to have been one of the few ‘in the know’. Zallen is a pop alchemist – able to take key 60s/70s pop influences and transform them into something personal and unique.

This is obvious from the get-go. The opening track of Zallen’s latest album – “Which Way Up” – manages to splice together the DNAs of 60s psychedelia (Barrett’s Pink Floyd, The Move and Traffic) with 70’s powerpop (Raspberries, Cheap Trick), not to mention a healthy dose of Bowie.

Ah yes, Bowie. This time around, it seems that Zallen has filtered much of the songwriting, arrangements and instrumentation through the lens of the legendary iconoclast. Tracks like “Grime”, “Stolen” and of course, “Bowie The Android Boy” are the clearest examples of this approach, without ever sounding outright derivative.

Indeed, Zallen utilizes Bowie’s penchant for eclecticism to spur him into expansive territory as the clean and uncluttered pop sounds of “Happy Puppy” and “Shy Boy” provide a wonderful contrast to the darker, buzzier compositions that pervade the album.

The CD comes with bonus enhanced portion with video, photos, lyrics and Zallen’s excellent artwork as well.

Official Site

DEAD BOOTS – VERONICA [REVIEW]DEAD BOOTS – VERONICA [REVIEW]

By now you should be aware of Power of Pop‘s quest to find the courageous bands out there who buck the current post-punk revival trend and mine the coolness of 60s/70s classic rock n’ roll. Talk about risk-taking! So add Dead Boots to the list. With influences identified as Cheap Trick, White Stripes, The Rolling Stones, Beatles, The Who and the Velvet Underground, it’s not too difficult to appreciate the blood, sweat and tears that the band – Tony Perry (Guitar),  Adrian Perry (Vocals, Bass), Ben Tileston (Drums, Vocals) and Lou Jannetty (Guitar, Vocals) – have poured into its debut LP, Veronica.

Songs like the psychedelic “Violent Vows”, the rollicking “Wrecking Ball” and raucous “On the Rocks” truly hit the spot for true-blue rock n’ roll lovers. There are numerous delights here to be savored by fans of 60s pop- rock – “I See You Coming” has a lovely Californian vibe whilst “One of Me” has a dirty bluesy approach that Black Keys fans will dig.

Check out the power-poppin’ “Saturdays” below.

Official Site

DIRT RADICALS – LIVE IN SINGAPORE [INTERVIEW]DIRT RADICALS – LIVE IN SINGAPORE [INTERVIEW]

Screen shot 2013-06-28 at PM 02.49.03

The Dirt Radicals will perform at China One, Clarke Quay on Tuesday, July 2nd 2013. Ahead of its performance, Sam Cooper, the band’s guitarist/vocalist answered queries posed by Power of Pop via email.

What has the band been up to since the release of  … I’ve Got A Rad Feelin’ About This!?

We have pretty much just been touring and trying to promote the band as much as possible! We went to Taiwan, Indonesia and Japan a couple of times and have just been pluggin’ away in the UK.

In your bio, you describe Dirt Radicals as a “progressive punk rock band” – what does that mean?

I think the words ‘pop-punk’ or ‘punk rock’ have a pretty bad wrap in this day and age. Our new album isn’t either of those genres, and those genres tend to be pigeon-holed as easy, 3 chords and boring. We think our style is a bit more progressive than your stereotypical pop-punk/punk rock with more intricacies, and probably a better understanding of composition than most people expect from punk rock.

The Dirt Radicals is now based in the UK – what was the reason for the move?

We never really had a ‘base’ as Matt always lived in the UK, and Mas always lived in Japan. I think we just needed to put a name to where we were based so we could focus on a territory and not confuse people.

Tell us about the recording of the new album, Enter Destroyer.

– where was it recorded?

Enter Destroyer was recorded in different studios across the world, throughout 2012. Drums and Bass were recorded in Singapore while we were in town for a show in 2011. Guitars were recorded in Japan, and the rest (Vocals etc.) were done in the UK.

– who was it produced by?

We had so many different fingers in the pie over the 2 years that we were working on it, so there never was one producer on the record at one time. Ben Rosen from The Gunnery (Marilyn Manson/Unwritten Law/8mm) played a big part in a few of the songs like ‘The Greatest Depression Since The Great Depression’.

– how are the songs different from your debut album?

Enter Destroyer is just a lot better crafted i’d say! We took the time because we didn’t want to rush this one. We kinda felt like our first record was rushed! The songs are more aggressive, yet still approachable to people who don’t like ‘heavy music’ – if that makes sense? I’d say Mas did a great job on guitar parts, and I’m really proud of the melodies.

How do you feel about playing Singapore again? Any special memories about Singapore that you wanna share?

I don’t remember much from the last time we were in Singapore because I think we might have partied a little too hard. I’m a bit anxious about this Singapore show actually! It could be the only show in Asia we do for a very long time – so I want it to be a good one!

Enter Destroyer is out now! Buy at iTunes.

Tickets are $20 at the door.

Produced by SNOWBIRD PRODUCTIONS.
Official Venue : China One
Marketing Partner : The Linch Agency
Official Drink: Jack Daniel’s

PAUL MCCARTNEY AND WINGS: ROCKSHOW DVDPAUL MCCARTNEY AND WINGS: ROCKSHOW DVD

It’s almost impossible for me to be completely objective about Paul McCartney & Wings and this particular DVD. After all, Wings Over America – the live triple album that was released from this tour was one of my very first album purchases as a wide-eyed 15 year-old fledging rock fan.

So it’s full-blown nostalgia as I watched this recording of the concert in Seattle in 1976 where 67,000 fans witnessed McCartney & Wings deliver 28 songs including not only the band’s greatest hits but also tunes from McCartney’s Beatles songbook!

Some of my favourite versions of McCartney’s material are featured here – “Maybe I’m Amazed”, “The Long and Winding Road”, “My Love”, “Let Me Roll It”, “Live and Let Die”, “Letting Go” and so on. Supported ably by arguably the best Wings lineup – Denny Laine, the late Jim McCulloch and Joe English – not to mention a crack horn section, Rockshow is a historic document that is wonderfully presented for audiences (old and new) almost forty years later.

Highly recommended – but you knew that!

TRIPWIRES – SPACEHOPPER [REVIEW]TRIPWIRES – SPACEHOPPER [REVIEW]

This is epic Brit-rock at its finest. And when I say ‘Brit-rock’, I am basically referring to the psychedelic noise-rock outfits that have illuminated the British music scene in the 80s and 90s. Which roughly means references to post-punk, shoegaze and Britpop – sounds good to me!

Reading outfit, Tripwires, consist of longtime friends frontman Rhys Edwards, guitarist Joe Stone, bassist Ben White and drummer Sam Pilsbury, certainly have a collective finger on the pulse on what has made Brit-rock the coolest kid on the indie rock block.

Meaning – a diverse range of styles that augment stellar songwriting that emphasizes melodies and arrangements over a gimmicky veneer. It’s so obvious that this quartet are genuine rock fans to begin with – enthusing as they do over Neil Young and Yo La Tengo to the Flaming Lips and Sonic Youth (yes, not a Brit amongst them) but closer inspection reveal other pointed influences.

“Feedback Loop” seems to channel a unique combo of Suede and the Verve, “Shimmer” (listen below) betrays a psych-gaze vibe that recalls latter-day Ride and the House of Love (via the Bunnymen, perhaps) whilst the opening title track’s space-rock leanings will leave Swervedriver and early Radiohead fans with a huge grin on their faces.

Brit-rock lovers need not hesitate, Tripwires’ Spacehopper is an album made in heaven, for you!

Official Site

TRI-STATE – EP [REVIEW]TRI-STATE – EP [REVIEW]

‘Old school indie rock band’ – has a certain ring, don’t it? The phrase has an air of authenticity that distinguishes its proponents from the hipster poseurs that dominate the modern rock world at the moment.

Tri-State hail from Essex County, NJ and consist of Mason Rather (bass/vocals), Jeff Zelevansky (guitar/vocals), Brady McNamara (drums), Julian Brash (guitar/vocals). In its email request to us, the band claimed an affinity for “Built to Spill, Guided by Voices, Pavement, and so on”. All fine references!

In actual fact, it’s probably more accurate to describe Tri-State as classic rock n’ roll band in the grand tradition of The Rolling Stones, The Band and Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers where the stylings of country, folk, rock and pop meld together to produce a heady, melodic groovy brew.

This six-track debut EP may be low on production values but that doesn’t detract from the integrity of sound and vision, an open-minded rock lover will definitely discover. An attitude that prioritizes substance over form pervades the EP with songs that are lovingly crafted to be the best they can be. It’s always refreshing to listen to a band that ignores artifice and pretense in favor of honest music-making.

Whether it be the working class invocations of  “Hawk in the Fog”, the gleeful jangly abandon of “All Different”, the balladic whimsy of “Search Party”, the Westerberg-channeling “Muddling Thru”, the dynamic earthiness of “Back Before” or the quirky folk of “Country Squire”, Tri-State hit the right notes, by and large.

In the final analysis, good songwriting and a dogged determination win the day for rock n’ roll excellence! Recommended.

More info at Facebook.

MUM, WAVVES & SHELVES – LIVE AT ZOUK [REVIEW]MUM, WAVVES & SHELVES – LIVE AT ZOUK [REVIEW]

Picture by Dawn CHUA

Mum by Dawn CHUA

It ain’t rock n’ roll. 

Well, for most part (two-thirds) this oddly curated gig featured the loud, brash, melody-driven indie rock that I personally get my rocks off to completely. And whereas the likes of Shelves and Wavves had whipped up the crowd into a frenzy of sorts, Icelandic experimental outfit Mum duly engineered a totally different mood and tone. Minimalist, arty-farty, esoteric and pretentious, it left some members of the audience scratching their heads (figuratively, of course) though for the diehards, it was manna from heaven.

Wavves by Dawn Chua

Wavves by Dawn CHUA

Now, believe me, I have sufficient knowledge to be able to understand where Mum was coming from, artistically and creatively but that merely reaches out to my head and not my groin. No such problem with Wavves who plunged headlong into punky no-wave feedback-drenched bubblegum ditties with a vengeance that compelled many a audience member to mosh and headbang. Short, sharp and sweet songs that needed no artful explanation to comprehend.

Shelves by Dawn CHUA

Shelves by Dawn CHUA

Shelves, as always, ever dependable to provide the sugar and the beat, Noel Yeo animated as usual, fronting the band with geeky abandon and it is indeed encouraging to see new lead guitarist Daryl Peh getting into the groove, whilst the reliable rhythm section of Robin Chua and Brian Leery lock down the ever important pulse.

A curiously eclectic lineup that challenged the usual conventions well enough to just about… work. Kudos goes to the organizers (Chugg/19SIXTYFIVE) accordingly. MORE!

 

 

DEAD STARS – HIGH GAIN EP [REVIEW]DEAD STARS – HIGH GAIN EP [REVIEW]

The early 90s were an exciting time for alternative rock. It was an epoch where edgy melodies met crunchy guitars with pummeling rhythms! Hell yes, it’s time for a 90s alt-rock revival and Williamsburg, Brooklyn’s Dead Stars have no qualms declaring their intent to evokes the likes of Teenage Fanclub, Pavement, Sonic Youth and Dinosaur, Jr. in their delightfully tuneful rock agenda.

This five-track EP is a pleasing introduction to the wonders of Dead Star’s way with a melody and ups the ante with punk, country and folk vibes headily incorporated for a intoxicating brew. The one-two knockout punch of the rollicking “Waste Away” and sensitive “Let It Go” bring out all the best feelings rock n’ roll imparts – adrenaline pumping, wild abandon and the unconfined thrill of rock songs that hit the spot!

Consisting of Jeff Moore (guitar/vocals), John Watterberg (bass) and Jaye Moore (drums), Dead Stars is a power trio of the best kind  – where that indeterminable touch of cool and homespun connection meld perfectly – the ultimate godsend for rock fans out there tired of all this fucking hipster bullshit!

LONG AND WINDING ROAD: EMO FASCISM – ARE WE THERE YET?LONG AND WINDING ROAD: EMO FASCISM – ARE WE THERE YET?

Silver-KM

We are about seven weeks away from the launch of Emo FASCISM Launch Week!

As far as the music is concerned, Pat and I are working on the final mixes of the 12 songs that will make up the CD. A 4-track sampler is now available at Soundcloud with opening track “Silver” the final teaser in the set. Check it out below.

Eric has done his part – the cover design – and the art concept will be carried through on the CD sleeve, merch and posters (with the assistance of the lovely 23賴). See below.

EmoFASCISMsm

 

Four dates have been confirmed during the Emo FASCISM Launch Week. Details to come soon.

Emo FASCISM will also be available on Bandcamp and iTunes in August for those unable to attend any of the gigs.

Very excited about this new milestone in my musical career and none of this would have been possible without the amazing Patrick Chng, who has been an inspiration and endless source of encouragement to me to record a new album after all these years!

So, look out for more news to come in the weeks ahead.

… still there’s more …

GEEK OUT! MAN OF STEEL [REVIEW]GEEK OUT! MAN OF STEEL [REVIEW]

Reboot. Re-imagination. Re-telling.

In geek movie franchises (scifi, fantasy or superhero), going back to the beginning to re-introduce a iconic character is virtually unavoidable nowadays. In Batman Begins (2005), Christopher Nolan (director/co-screenwriter) and David S Goyer (co-screenwriter) succeeded in re-vitalizing the Dark Knight after the critical failure of Batman & Robin (1997). This success was due to Nolan’s approach to portray Batman as realistically as possible (within the context of a superhero movie) and Nolan and Goyer would bring the franchise to greater heights with Dark Knight (2008) and Dark Knight Rises (2012).

It was therefore natural for Warner Bros and DC Comics to look to Nolan and Goyer to do the same for Superman. By all accounts, Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns (2006) was a massive flop and Warner Bros was keen to turn it all around for Superman with Man of Steel. Adding director Zack Snyder (300 and Watchmen) to the mix, Nolan and Goyer applied the Dark Knight approach to Superman.

And it works.

With nods to numerous scifi movies of the recent past (MatrixIndependence Day) and a healthy referencing of the first two Christopher Reeve Superman movies, Man of Steel is,without doubt, one of the best superhero movies ever made and provides a solid platform for Warner Bros to build up the DC Universe from its foundation.

So many high points – the brilliant cast, the thought-provoking themes, the appropriate flashback sequences, the astounding art direction, the sensational special effects and dynamic film score – but the best part of all was that Snyder, Nolan and Goyer chose not to pander to the comic book audience only but instilled a science-fictional tread that ran right through the well-written plot narrative.

Highly recommended.

Man of Steel is now showing at a cinema near you.

BORN CAGES – THE SIDELINES EP [REVIEW]BORN CAGES – THE SIDELINES EP [REVIEW]

Lest we forget, in the mid-70s New York brought forth nascent punk and the ‘new wave’. Even as there appears to be a new punk uprising in London, might we also witness an exciting fresh rock n’ roll perspective from New York?

Well, when I first heard the opening lines to “Don’t Look Back” – the first track of Brooklyn band Born Cages‘ new EP The Sidelines EP, there was a palpable sense of overwhelming promise that bears closer examination. (Listen below)

Born Cages (Vlad Holiday on lead vocals and guitar, Amanda Carl on keyboards, Steve Kellner on bass, and Dave Tantao on drums) seems to have engineered a sound that manages to squeeze arena rock and post-punk sensibilities into the same headspace.

Imagine if you will, Bruce Springsteen fronting Television instead of the E Street Band and perhaps you might begin to get a better idea of the rush I experiences when confronted by Born Cages’ sonic agenda.

This thrill-making is further explored in tracks like “Caiti”, where references to Arctic Monkey’s driving guitar rhythm are evoked, and “Metaphor”, where jaded dance-pop is given a shot in the arm by sinewy alt-country rock!

But ultimately it is the edgy anthemic lustre of “Don’t Look Back” that holds the biggest hope that perhaps Born Cages will be able to transcend genre limitations and break out…

Official Site

WAVVES – LIVE AT ZOUK [INTERVIEW]WAVVES – LIVE AT ZOUK [INTERVIEW]

One more for the road. Stephen Wavves talks to us about the upcoming gig at Zouk with Mum and Shelves.

What is the first thing you’re gonna do when you arrive in Singapore?
Eat eat eat eat

What is the one fact that you do know about Singapore?
Singapore has a reputation of having incredibly strict policies….particularly regarding behavior. So we all have to watch ourselves and not get arrested.

What can fans expect from your performance in Singapore?
Our shows usually are pretty high energy. Lots of kids moshing and stagediving. The more the crowd gets into it the more we get into. We feed off the energy of each other.

What are you most looking forward to in Singapore?
Other than meeting the people who have common interests….its gotta be eating. I’m fat.

Do you have a message for your fans in Singapore?
Come say hi and bring us sweet Singaporean treats.

Tickets are available now on zoukclub.com at $80.
Doors open 7:30pm.

THE ROLLING STONES: CROSSFIRE HURRICANE [DVD REVIEW]THE ROLLING STONES: CROSSFIRE HURRICANE [DVD REVIEW]

Considering the number of iconic films that The Rolling Stones have been associated with – Gimme Shelter, Sympathy for the DevilPerformance and Cocksucker Blues, it was simply not enough for director Brett Morgen to come up with a by-the-numbers 50th anniversary retrospective. Which, to his immense credit, he didn’t!

Fact is, Crossfire Hurricane manages to provide a kaleidoscopic perspective of events that made the Stones the living rock n’ roll legends that they are. One very crucial decision made was not to shoot the Stones as they currently are – so they only provide the relevant voiceover but visually, the viewer is never distracted from the story by how the Stones look like in 2013 (basically, old).

In this manner, Crossfire Hurricane is able to be interesting to new and old fans alike. It never comes across as a nostalgic exercise but a critical study of key events of the Stones’ career that intersected with the milestones of rock n’ roll. Thus, this documentary film is essential for longtime fans as well as rock scholars.

BEVLYN KHOO – THE PEOPLE I’VE KNOWN [REVIEW]BEVLYN KHOO – THE PEOPLE I’VE KNOWN [REVIEW]

After a couple of albums where she mainly recorded covers, singer-songwriter Bevlyn Khoo is in her element once again, with an indie album of her own original material. This bi-lingual work (seven Mandarin, four English) demonstrates Bevlyn’s astute understanding of the soft rock dynamics of the Seventies (which forms the core of Mando-pop). Crucially, Bevlyn is much more than a pretty face and pleasing voice – she is a serious songwriter in her own right!

That said, whilst the opening track “The Haha Song” is a little throwaway and inconsequential – it is with songs like the soulful ballad “I Just Want You To Know” that Bevlyn is able to easily tug on heart strings with the right chord changes, vocal inflections and thoughtful arrangements. Without a doubt, this number is one of the finer ballads I have heard in 2013.

The title track has a strong John Barry vibe (what with the Midnight Cowboy harmonica) and is yet another touching piano ballad, “Sweet Love” will send all the bossa nova lovers out there into ecstasy and “Let Me Think About It” borrows knowingly from Barry White, with all the late 70s disco feel that that implies (new Daft Punk fans might want to investigate).

Surprised yet? There’s more to Bevlyn Khoo than meets the eye. Seventies pop fans cannot ignore this rather intriguing indie release.

Official Site

 

 

MUM – LIVE AT ZOUK [INTERVIEW]MUM – LIVE AT ZOUK [INTERVIEW]

Icelandic wonders Mum will thrill local audiences when they return to our shores on 15th June at Zouk, alongside Wavves and our very own Shelves. Ahead of the gig, we had a short and sharp exchange with Mum’s Örvar Þóreyjarson Smárason.

What is the first thing you’re gonna do when you arrive in Singapore?

I am going to have something to eat. I had amazing indian food there last time, so I am looking forward to that.

What is the one fact that you do know about Singapore?

I heard somewhere that you can’t chew gum on the street. It’s probably not true, but I like it because I really can’t stand chewing gum.

What can fans expect from your performance in Singapore?

They can expect to be surprised. Expecting the unexpected is a good way to spend the evening.

What are you most looking forward to in Singapore?

Playing the show is of course on the top of my list, but I really look forward to walking around and looking at all the huge buildings.

Do you have a message for your fans in Singapore?

Have fun, stay loose and play nice.

Tickets are available now on zoukclub.com at $80.
Doors open 7:30pm.

BAYBEATS 2013 [NEWS]BAYBEATS 2013 [NEWS]

I’ll be honest with you (stop laughing!) – I haven’t been pushing this years’ Baybeats Festival as hard as I have in previous years because I think it’s reached a critical mass where it doesn’t need my 2cts worth anymore. Also, with the number of local music blogs that have appeared in the last year or so, I don’t feel that Power of Pop needs to carry that burden any longer. Which is an excellent sign for the S-ROCK scene, of course.

Suffice to say that if you’re a music lover and happen to be in country during those three days – 28, 29 & 30 June – then you cannot miss Baybeats 2013. And…which bands would Power of Pop recommend? Here goes.

Friday, 28th – Mannequins (7pm, Outdoor Theatre) | Dropbeat Heartbeat (7.30pm, Powerhouse) | Tall Mountains (7pm, 8.30pm, 10pm Concourse) | Force Vomit (9.30pm, Powerhouse).

Saturday, 29th – sub:shaman (6 pm, Outdoor Theatre) | Pastelpower (3.30pm, Observation Deck 6.15pm, 9.15pm Concourse) | These Brittle Bones (5.30pm Observation Deck 7.45pm, 10pm Concourse) | Wormrot (9.30pm, Powerhouse)

Sunday, 30th – 7nightsatsea (6 pm, Outdoor Theatre) | The Pinholes (6.15pm, 7.45pm Concourse) | Esther Lowless (3.30pm, Observation Deck 7pm, 8.30pm Concourse) | A Vacant Affair (8.30pm, Powerhourse) | Electrico (9pm, Outdoor Theatre)

More info at the Baybeats 2013 website.

… still there’s more …

 

 

LISTENING BOOTH: CELESTIA “BOY IN THE WELL” [STREAMING]LISTENING BOOTH: CELESTIA “BOY IN THE WELL” [STREAMING]

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Here’s a promising track from Celestia, one of the bands on SPear. “Boy in the Well” is an intriguing (probably unintentional) combination of post-punk BIG music (U2, Simple Minds), alt-country and rock n’ roll, with an ironically passive female vocal (and she does go quite flat on the crucial last note!). Wish the SPear website had more information about the song and the band. In any case you can check out Celestia and three other bands tomorrow at the SPear Launch at the Coliseum. In the meantime, enjoy “Boy in the Well”.

MUM, WAVVES & SHELVES – LIVE AT ZOUK [NEWS]MUM, WAVVES & SHELVES – LIVE AT ZOUK [NEWS]

An exclusive triple-bill of indie acts, featuring Singapore’s own Shelves, American surf-rockers Wavves and Icelandic
experimental band Múm, will be held on 15 June, 8pm at Zouk. Ahead of next Saturday’s gig, we got Shelves’ Noel Yeo to share his thoughts with us.

L-R: Robin Chua, Daryl Peh, Brian Koh & Noel Yeo

Can you talk about the recent personnel changes in Shelves?

A big one! We say bye to Mel, who, you know, has been with me since Suchness, and hello to Daryl, whom we first met as our sound guy at Hood Bar. He essentially came up to us and said, hi, I’ve got your LP, which was great because that meant he knew our sound so we didn’t really have to brief him. But it is a dirtier, grittier sound he’s introducing to Shelves, which we all love.

Can we expect new material at the Zouk show?

Actually yes! We are often somewhat embarrassed to be playing songs not on our album. I mean, it was the impetus to get our debut recorded and released. We were playing too many songs not meant to be on the album. So now we have an EP in the works. Sort of. We know which songs, but new ones keep being added in. Might be an LP by next week.

Múm or Wavves – which do you prefer more and why?

I should start by saying that I love both. Caught mum when they were last here in Singapore. But Wavves is definitely closer to our hearts now, if not sound. Quite a dream to be opening for them, really. Ok, didn’t actually dream that, but if you told me a few months ago Shelves would be opening for Wavves, I’d be, yes, perfect, but how unlikely is that.

How do you feel about sharing a stage with these bands?

It’s an impossible line-up. Mum with Wavves? I didn’t think they had the same fans. Add to that Shelves? Read that for other parts of the tour the line-up was Mum, Wavves and British Sea Power. I feel like apologising. I would have loved to catch them.

What is in the future for Shelves?

We don’t really make plans. We even have a song about that, which going to be in our next EP/LP. Is that a plan?

Tickets are available now on zoukclub.com AND Event Cliquehttp://bit.ly/16NwTVS at $80.
Doors open 7:30pm.

Stay tuned for interviews with Múm and Wavves.

…still there’s more…

HISTORY OF THE EAGLES: THE STORY OF AN AMERICAN BAND [DVD REVIEW]HISTORY OF THE EAGLES: THE STORY OF AN AMERICAN BAND [DVD REVIEW]

There can be no doubt about The Eagles‘ place in rock history. Biggest selling album of the 20th century, inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame, a comeback album that sold in excess of 5 million in these troubled times for the music industry and a best-selling live show that continues to run and run.

Not to mention, a sideshow of controversy that has dogged the band despite the absolute highs. The high profile suit by former member Don Felder against The Eagles and the publication of Felder’s ‘tell-all’ book, Heaven and Hell: My Life in the Eagles (1974 – 2001) has tarnished somewhat the reputations of Don Henley and Glenn Frey (the co-leaders of the band) but that has not stopped the musical juggernaut from continuing to pull in the big bucks.

This documentary – as you might imagined – tells the story from Henley and Frey’s perspective. Both men are rather dismissive about Felder in the interviews and Frey evens gets in some descriptive expletives for good measure. The fact that the duo come across smug and self-righteous leaves a very bad taste in the mouth.

The first DVD recounts the band’s rise to fame and implosion in 1980 with rare footage and incisive comments from the key players. The second DVD recounts the band’s even more impressive comeback beginning the Hell Freezes Over tour in 1990.

Of the two DVDs, the first one is the most exciting as one gets to witness the making of iconic songs (“Take It Easy”, “One of These Nights”) and albums (Hotel California) and how Henley and Frey went from backing Linda Ronstadt to having the best-selling album of the 20th Century – Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975). The second DVD, well, is simply too sanctimonious at times with the unwelcome sight of Henley and Frey justifying their arrogance – rather unwatchable at times. Overall, the excellent first DVD is worth the price of admission though.

Buy now!

BlurayDVDBOX SET | iTunes

NELSON TAN – KYRIE ELEISON [REVIEW]NELSON TAN – KYRIE ELEISON [REVIEW]

Screen shot 2013-06-01 at AM 08.41.14

I have not known Nelson Tan for too long but in that short space of time, I have found him to be one of the most dedicated musicians out there in the unforgiving world of S-ROCK. His love and passion for music has led Nelson to cover a whole range of musical styles and formats. After all, I first came across him when he replaced Kenny Png on bass with In Each Hand a Cutlass and neo-progressive instrumental rock is a far cry from the finely-tuned Mando-rock you will find on Nelson’s newly-released solo album, Kyrie Eleison (Greek for “Lord, have mercy”).

Suffice to for me to state that the album is well-crafted and produced and filled to the brim with fine melodies, thoughtful arrangements and instrumentation to satisfy pop lovers, whether or not you follow Mando-rock specifically. For me personally, I am honoured that Nelson decided to cover “My One & Only” in Mandarin and according to the man himself, the translation is faithful to the original lyrics. I will take his word for that.

Nelson launches Kyrie Eleison tonight at Hood Bar from 8pm.

Check out Kyrie Eleison‘s Bandcamp page.

Like Nelson Tan on Facebook.

KARL HYDE – EDGELAND [REVIEW]KARL HYDE – EDGELAND [REVIEW]

Underworld’s Karl Hyde has been in the music business since 1980 and Edgeland is Hyde’s first solo album!

Having fronted Underworld through different genres within the electronic music sphere – before making the big time in the 1990s with techno dance music – it’s refreshing to consider Hyde’s musical approach to his debut solo work.

On Edgeland, Hyde takes his new role as singer-songwriter seriously with a clutch of well-crafted pop-rock songs which exploit his electronic music background to the hilt. The result – memorable melodies, thoughtful lyrics and fresh song arrangements/instrumentations and a worthy addition to the essential listening pile for 2013.

Outstanding tracks include “Angel Cafe” with its ‘found sound’ percussion and heavenly atmospherics; “Your Perfume Was The Best Thing” with its chorus synth hooks and textured harmonies and “Cut Clouds” with its ambient stylings and fragile demeanour. Brilliant.

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MATTHEW LEE – STRAWBERRY VANILLA [REVIEW]MATTHEW LEE – STRAWBERRY VANILLA [REVIEW]

Look I believe in supporting as many different ‘genres’ as possible, especially within the S-ROCK scene but sometimes one does impose a certain bias upon musical direction and approaches. Take guitarist Matthew Lee for example. His 9-track album is instrumental rock that covers a gamut of diverse styles – hard rock, metal, pop-punk, classical and even sentimental – so there’s no questioning his eclecticism. But some of the tracks  – “=D”, “I Remember Happiness” and “Strawberry Vanilla” should really have vocals and not a guitar playing what are essentially vocal lines.

No quibbling with Lee’s technical prowess whatsoever but there’s no getting over the nagging feeling that some of these tracks would be better served with vocals. Check out Strawberry Vanilla and see if you agree…

 

NEWSLOOP ON ANDROID [NEWS]NEWSLOOP ON ANDROID [NEWS]

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SKINNY GIRL DIET + THE ETHICAL DEBATING SOCIETY: SPLIT 7″ [REVIEW]SKINNY GIRL DIET + THE ETHICAL DEBATING SOCIETY: SPLIT 7″ [REVIEW]

Skinny Girl Diet

Is it 1991 again? I sure hope so! This split 7″ shared between two London-based punk outfits viz. Skinny Girl Diet and The Ethical Debating Society, is a refreshing kick in the nuts for music lovers tired of the travesty known as ‘pop-punk’.

SGD‘s two tracks – “DMT” and “Homesick” strike a blow against pristine, hi-fi, politically correct teenybopper crap that poses as ‘punk’ in 2013.  Literally three chord wonders that bleed with attitude and a reckless disregard for the conventions of what a female pop band should sound like (especially like the way “Homesick” actually speeds up during the song!). Sure, it’s a style and look that recalls the Riot Grrl movement of the 90s (and all its antecedents) but definitely, something we desperately need in these anti-sceptic musical times!

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Similarly, TEDS owe a debt to the Riot Grrl movement with its strident anti-pop agenda. The two songs here – “Child’s Play” and “Creosote Idea” are slightly more structured punk fare with an agitprop slant. Lots of shouting backed by slashing guitars and over before you even know it – but ultimately catchy as all hell.

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For all the angsty people out there — this means YOU!

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