Power of Pop is truly looking forward to the Bloc Party concert at the Fort Gate, Fort Canning Park on Monday, 18th March and came up with the five reasons (below) why you just cannot miss this momentous gig. You’re ready?
Just got back from the Round Two of the Baybeats Auditions 2013 and we wanted to put out a quick response whilst our thoughts and feelings are fresh in my mind. This is the seventh year of the Baybeats Auditions where young local bands are given an opportunity to showcase their talents during one the largest alternative rock music festivals in the region. This year’s slate of hopefuls have thrown up a diverse array of bands/artists signaling a sea change in the very definition of alternative rock music.
First off, we want to congratulate all 16 bands for giving it their best shot. It is instructional to note that playing at the Baybeats Festival is not the be-all-and-end-all for aspiring bands/artists although it can be a useful launching platform for a new band. It is heartening to see the different bands provide a snapshot of what can be available in the S-ROCK scene in the years to come. we want to highlight bands that – in our humble opinion – represent exciting prospects for S-ROCK.
First off, let me get something off my chest. The SCAPE Gallery is a horrible avenue for live rock music performance. No two ways about it – the sound was so harsh and unbalanced at the venue that I felt physically nauseous at times. Which is a pity because certainly the four bands that played at this gig deserved a much friendlier platform to showcase their music. But there you go…
Sapporo Safaris will be playing at the Esplanade Outdoor Theatre on 2nd February, this Saturday, as part of the Esplanade’s February Freshie series. Other artists that will be featured in this series are Weish, These Brittle Bones and Another Sunday Afternoon. They will be playing two sets at 8.45-9.30pm and 10-10.45pm.
We understand that the band is really excited to be part of this series and to be given this opportunity to play at the Esplanade, especially since it had to pull out of the auditions to be in Baybeats 2013. The band will be playing tracks off its newly-released EP, Figures of Eight, as well as some new tracks. Merchandise will be available for sale viz. physical EP and tees.
There is little doubt that St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival (Singapore edition) has become a landmark indie music event in SE Asia since it made its debut in 2011. Fans from all over the region flock to our shores to catch a glimpse of indie artists/bands hand-picked by the team at Chugg Entertainment. With the recent deluge of performances available to Singaporean music lovers, it is sometimes easy to take an event like the Laneway Festival for granted. After all, it’s not often that a true blue music fan gets to watch 14 bands/artists in a single day in Singapore and for a reasonable price (especially in the context of today’s rock concert market).
Dan Chan, frontman of Xingfoo&Roy brings us his unique perspective of being a performer and audience member at Identite 8.4
I met Amir through a fellow local musician named Chris(also known as Bravepaper). After exchanging emails, Amir asked if our band would like to play at Homeclub’s Identite 8.4 and we gladly accepted!
We played Homeclub’s Big Night Out Launch party along with The Livid Suns and Deon Toh on the 25th (last Friday) and it was great. A fairy large crowd showed up and The Livid Suns kicked the party off with some of their original tracks. Ending with a cover of “Gold Lion” by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Their fierce musical style reminded me of comparable local acts such as Fire Away! Samson and Caracal.
Xingfoo&Roy played next and we can’t express the amount of gratitude we have towards Homeclub and the crowd. The crowd was warm and cheerful which vanished our anxiety almost immediately. The sound was also the best we’d ever had, so props to Homeclub for that! The show was amazing mainly due to the crowd as they danced and sang along to our songs. Pleasing the crowd drove us to play so much better than we ever have.
Ending the event with a mix of alternative-pop tracks was singer songwriter Deon Toh. Deon sang as his backing band complemented his songs. His creamy and soothing voice toned the mood down quite a fair bit and left the audiences bobbing their heads to a set of his original songs which included the catchy, “Little Lives” and they ended with a cover of a Band Of Horses song. Deon Toh is a very talented individual with an immense amount of soul and we hope to hear more from him in the near future.
On the whole, Identite 8.4 was a success and we’d love to thank Homeclub for being such a great contribution to the thriving local music scene.
Art students will find Art Decade thoroughly intriguing. The band describes its music as “neo indie classical, symphonic post-pop and rock” and the title track of its new album – “Western Sunrise” will certainly impress as it was made almost entirely using Procreate, a $5 iPad app. For the video, the band teamed up with visionary animator and director, Whitney Alexander. The initial concept of the video was to create a sort of painting in motion in the style of the impressionists. Judge for yourself!
Yes, we’re always on the look-out for good old-fashioned pop-rock sweetness here at Power of Pop! So here’s Sam Page, who’s got a new album in tow – Breach – and you can listen to “Hold On”, a charming lil ditty that recalls Dinosaur Jr and Matthew Sweet in a very good way. Check it out!
Who are Bored Spies? Well, think of the trio (Cherie Ko, Sooyoung Park & Morfin) as some kind of off-the-wall Canadian-Korean-Singaporean musical venture that somehow perfectly falls into contemporary indie rock space circa 2013. Privileged as always to be slightly ahead of the game, I am listening to the debut single from Bored Spies and marveling at the immediacy and intricacy of the music – sweet yet brash, bold yet amiable – full of contrasting hues and yet dead-eyed focused on heart and soul.
“Summer 720” opens with a psychedelic rock motif that would not be out of place on a Jefferson Airplane record before Ko’s languid vocals pulls us violently into the present and the so-called retro-wave, where high treble guitar arpeggios provide relevant soundscapes. A brilliant summer anti-anthem for the 360 degree summer nation (720 is 360 doubled, geddit???).
“沙鼠E” is a slowburn 90s alt-rock channeling number where bass chords, guitar riffs, synthesized string attack, tempo shifts and Ko’s swooning vocals produces a bittersweet effect. With soaring musical phrases to keep one’s attention, it’s gone too soon after it begins, leaving the listener bereft and begging for more.
Bored Spies’ “Summer 720” b/w 沙鼠E will be released on 25th January 2013.
Have been very excited by the many open mics/songwriter showcases popping up all over our little red dot in the past few months and I am glad to be involved in Stagefright @ Artistry together with Artistry Cafe and buddy Pat Chng. For February and March, yours truly will be curating this showcase. I’ll will be looking more at songwriting and the best way to present the song (usually acoustic) but ultimately am open to anything… drop me a line <email@example.com> with all the necessary links…
Charles J Tan is back with the first single from his upcoming album, Maybe Somewhere North. According to Tan, “the single is an upbeat tune that celebrates friendship, love and community”. The song features Aarika Lee (of SIXX) on guest vocals. It’s a toe tapper for sure, and perfect for those cool sunny mornings that hopefully we’ll get more of in surprising Singapore.
The official music video will be released on 14 February 2013 to coincide with Valentine’s Day. Charles will kick off a series of album launches starting with the first full band concert of the year at the Esplanade Outdoor Theatre at Mosaic Music Festival on 11 March 2013. Fans can expect to hear the new album performed live for the first time ever in Singapore. In the meantime, check out the lyric video below and if you like what you hear (and why wouldn’t you?), pick it up at iTunes.
Another Friday, another Identite presented by Home Club and RSC. On 25th January, TheLivid Sun, Xingfoo&Roy and Deon Toh take to the stage for the Big Night Out Launch Party. We managed to get hold of Daniel out of Xingfoo&Roy to respond to our queries…
What is Xingfoo&Roy?
Xingfoo&Roy is a band comprised of three boys, Gabriel, Jeremy and Daniel. We’ve been playing together since early 2011 and have been writing music ever since. The reason why we love to write music is because we’d like to share our views on certain subjects in the form of musical expression. The name came about from a short story Gabriel wrote about two characters. Xingfoo and Roy. We also decided on the name, as it was a reference to Sigfred and Roy, the magicians. We wanted a local sounding band name as well feel that many local band are trying to sound western. Got to stick to your roots man.
Modern Soul singer-songwriter Dru Chen will be on tour in Singapore from January 30 to February 8 leading up to the release of his Intentions EP. Dru Chen will be performing 7 shows, 2 radio spots and filming 2 videos during this trip, including collaborations with The Sam Willows, Aya Sekine, Charlie Lim, NUS Live Lounge by Radio Pulze and Radio Heatwave.
Well, there is little doubt that the Singapore edition of the Laneway Festival 2013 coming to us this Saturday, 26th January is the first big music event of the new year. I am personally looking forward to Alt-J, Tame Impala and Real Estate, whilst keeping an eye (and ear) out for Polica, Of Monsters and Men, Divine Fits and Japandroids. Of course, I will also be indulging in my favourite past time – people watching and Laneway Festival always provides great opportunities for that!
In any case, here’s the schedule for Saturday’s big show.
Yes, this review is a little late. Yes, I had loads of fun with friends and new acquaintances, not to mention the delivery of good good music. What else do you need to know?
Upfront let me just say that congratulations are in order to Other Sounds for hosting a fabulous party. I mean, the food was simply yummy and even though I had dinner before I came, I still managed to polish a couple of burgers and pizza slices. So kudos! And… the free flow alcohol, courtesy of Asahi was much welcomed as well. Is the indie music scene coming of age. Step by step, in the right direction.
The Pinholes have been active in the S-ROCK scene for some time now. Through personnel changes, singer and principal songwriter Famie Suliman remains the constant as the band continues to carry out its retro pop mission with aplomb and no small amount of fun.
The single “Sunshine” is The Pinholes’ opening salvo before the release of its debut full-length (sometime this year?) and this live favourite is given the happy production treatment its cheerful sound thoroughly deserves. Light-hearted and infectious, listeners are guaranteed a splendid 60s poppin’ time with this authentic pastiche/tribute to a special era.
To be honest, I never expected to write this review. Up to the point that I received the email from Peipei (LIKES Communications), I had not even heard of Hong Kong/Canadian singer-songwriter Ellen Loo. And when Peipei invited me to catch Ellen’s show at the Esplanade Recital Studio, I was feeling a bit mixed. After all, I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, a fan of Mandarin pop but I thought – “nothing ventured, nothing gained” – and I am so glad that I took the plunge.
The Cannanes are back. The Aussie duo of Fran Gibson and Steven O’Neil are back (after 11 years) with the kind of music that the late great Kurt Cobain himself name-checked. A cool retro vibe permeates this wonderful new track – “Bumper”, even if the three chord progression is as old as time itself. Be warned, it’s highly infectious! New EP to come…in the meantime…
Every now and then, I get an email with a link that makes me sit up and take notice! Well, here’s one good example – Photo Ops aka Terry Price, who plays every instrument on the upcoming LP, How To Say Goodbye, scheduled for a February 26th release. “It Makes Me Cry,” shows Price’s knack for an infectious hook coupled with poignant lyrics. Lovely epic heartfelt pop music!
What will be the next rock trend the new kids on the block will cotton on to? Well, in the last five years the post-punk/new wave of the 80s has been fairly squeezed dry by new bands so perhaps now it’s time to move up a decade. If we look at the early 90s, power pop definitely was popular enough for major labels to sign the likes of Weezer, Jellyfish, Teenage Fanclub, Semisonic, Fastball, Superdrag, The Grays, Wanderlust and the like.
It has been a long while but suddenly out of the blue, we have a NEW David Bowie single (“Where Are We Now?”) and album (The Next Day)! More news to come but in the meantime, just enjoy this moment and the haunting video below. Beautiful.
There are numerous landmarks achieved with this, the debut album of synth-pop combo, Depeche Mode. Released by Mute Records, it was a rare genuine indie album for its time. Speak and Spell contained also many songs which were amongst the first electronic numbers heard on the airwaves e.g. “New Life”, “Just Can’t Get Enough” and my personal favourite, “Dreaming of Me”. The use of synthesizers instead of the usual guitar, bass and drums instrumentation was so refreshing back in 1981. But what made the music of early Depeche Mode so memorable and timeless are the brilliant songs. Pop songs filled with hooks that captured the imagination of the post-punk generation, and taking Kraftwerk’s uncompromising electronic agenda to its logical conclusion. The album was also the only Depeche Mode LP with then-prinicipal songwriter Vince Clarke (who’d go on with further success with Yazoo, The Assembly and Erasure). Martin Gore would come to the fore in Clarke’s absence, turning the outfit towards the darker material it would become world famous for in subsequent years. Three decades later, thanks to the post-punk revival, Speak and Spell is as relevant as it ever was. Essential.
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.