PREVIEW: FULHAM V SPURS

In any other season, Craven Cottage would be a daunting place to visit for the Spurs team. However, in a season where Fulham has emphatically beaten the likes of Liverpool and Man Utd at home, you can understand the concern Spurs fans are feeling about this fixture.

That said, the professional manner in which Spurs dispatched Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park last week should at least give Spurs fans a certain measure of confidence that maybe this season, Spurs can actually get something from this away day.

Add the fact that Ledley King and Luka Modric have been pronounced fit for the match is definitely a boost. Bascially, Spurs have to ignore & forget the matches that Fulham has won and concentrate on our own game.

Which means that defensively, Spurs have to play it tight and offensively, to move the ball fast when they have it. Cut out the sloppy passing and the ponderous build-up play and I am sure that Spurs will surprise Fulham.

Sounds easy, eh? But its never that simple with Spurs, is it?

COYS!!!

BITESIZE: INTRO TO SONGWRITING

Yes, folks, here’s some shameless self-promo. The Esplanade has been kind enough (thanks, Chloe!) to invite yours truly to give a 2-hour talk on songwriting. The date is Saturday, 6th February 2009, time is 2pm and venue is Esplanade Rehearsal Studio. Oh and it costs a mere $15 to get a piece of my brain. Cheap, huh?

You can get the tickets at SISTIC.

… and there’s more …

FLORENCE + THE MACHINE

FLORENCE + THE MACHINE Lungs (Universal)

Electro-alt-R&B. Something like that. Kinda like Yazoo, y’know the duo of Alf Moyet and Vince Clarke in the 80s, if anyone of you can remember that far back. Dynamic, muscular and forthright – Florence Welch and friends present “in-your-face” pop music that challenges perceptions both lyrically and musically.

Howl is a prime example as the song threatens to overwhelm with over the top strings and screaming vocals as Florence sings – “If you could only see the beast you’ve made of me/I held it in but now it seems you’ve set it running free/The saints can’t help me now, the ropes have been unbound/I hunt for you with bloody feet across the hallowed ground”.

The violent imagery is carried on into Kiss with a Fist, a rockabilly number where Florence recalls Chrissie (Pretenders) Hynde with lines like “A kick in the teeth is good for some/A kiss with a fist is better than none”. Good stuff.

The rest of Lungs is just as intriguing as Florence + the Machine brings diverse musical and lyrical ideas to the table with a firm foundation in 80s post-punk, which is perfectly fine in my book. An emerging artist to watch…

Florence + the Machine is performing live in Singapore (supported by the xx) on Sunday, 7th February 2009 at the Esplanade Theatre at 8pm. Tickets available at SISTIC.

Official Site

MySpace

ECHO AND THE BUNNYMEN LIVE IN SINGAPORE

Post-punk legends Echo and the Bunnymen finally make their way to our shores in 2010. Having seen 80s favorites Elvis Costello and Lloyd Cole in Singapore already this year, catching Mac & Will will be a perfect start to 2010.

Having been reduced to the core of singer Ian McCulloch and guitarist Will Sergeant since 1999, the Bunnymen have continued to record and release new material, with 2005’s Siberia a standout. Now on tour to support latest record, The Fountain, the Bunnymen will be performing at the Esplanade Theatre on 8th February 2010.

PoP visitors can expect loads of covergae leading up to this momentous event. In a first quarter that is jam-packed with exciting gigs, the Bunnymen concert promises to be extra-special.

Tickets available now at SISTIC.

… and there’s more …

BEST OF 2009

Alright… here’s the deal. What I thought of the works of music listed below may be found somewhere on the Power of Pop. Use the search function if you wanna know more…

1. WILCO Wilco (The Album)

2. THE FIRE FIGHT Henri

3. DAVID MEAD Almost and Always

4. THE OBSERVATORY Dark Folke

5. YEAH YEAH YEAHS Its Blitz!

6. DAVID BAZAN Curse Your Branches

7. ELIZABETH & THE CATAPULT Taller Children

8. ROBYN HITCHCOCK & THE VENUS 3 Goodnight Oslo

9. BRYAN SCARY & THE SHREDDING TEARS Mad Valentines EP

10. CLARE AND THE REASONS Arrow

11. As Tall As Lions You Can’t Take It With You

12. Trentalange awakening, level one

13. Tony Cox Unpublished

14. Paul Steel Moon Rock

15. Chris English Dreamtown

16. Kevin Hearn and Thinbuckle Havana Winter

17. J Tillman Year in the Kingdom

18. Cove Red Awaken the Dreamer

19. Michael Carpenter Redemption #39

20. For this Cycle s/t

21. Marykate O’Neil Underground

22. Black Moth Super Rainbow Eating Us

23. M. Ward Hold Time

24. Inch Chua The Bedroom EP

25. Andrew Chen You Just Might

DARYL HALL JOHN OATES

DARYL HALL JOHN OATES Do What You Want Be What You Are (RCA/Legacy)

If anyone deserves the deluxe retrospective multi-disc box set treatment, it’s got to be Daryl Hall and John Oates, don’t you think?

What makes Hall & Oates so special? How about being one of few acts to have been able to effectively blur the lines behind pop, rock and soul? And if you’re into numbers, how about SIX #1 hits on the Billboard charts and THIRTY-FOUR charting singles in the Billboard Top 100, all told? Not enough? Then what about SEVEN RIAA platinum albums and SIX RIAA gold albums?! Basically, the most successful pop duo in history.

For me, its all about the sheer eclecticism of the music and those amazing tunes, as always! And cool, cool vibes.

This 4CD set contains 74 tracks, all those hits, choice album cuts, live and unreleased recordings to round this up nicely. Although, Hall & Oates hit their purple patch in the 80s, they cut their teeth in the 70s, covering a wide range of genres. The 1st disc brings us up to 1977’s No Goodbye, the duo’s first compilation. Highlights include the epic ballad Waterwheel (off Whole Oats), She’s Gone (off Afternoon Luncheonette), Is It A Star? (off the Todd Rundgren-produced War Babies) and It’s Uncanny (off the aforementioned No Goodbyes). Not to mentioned early singles from pre-duo era in the 60s, which basically derived from a love of Philly Soul and the Temptations.

The 2nd and 3rd discs basically contain my personal Hall & Oates playlist as tracks from wondrous albums like the eponymous “Silver Album” (with the guys in full glam mode), X-Static, Voices, Private Eyes, H2O and Big Bam Boom turn out magnificient song after magnificient song. This is where I go misty-eyed, sing-a-long and simply groove to Sara Smile, Wait For Me, The Woman Comes and Goes, How Does It Feel To Be Back, Kiss on my List, You Make My Dreams, Everytime You Go Away, Head Above Water, Did It In A Minute, I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do), One On One, Go Solo, Say It Isn’t So, Out of Touch, Method of Modern Love and Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid. Whew! What an incredible rush!

The last disc loses steam somewhat and a little focus with the duo’s commercial success beginning to ebb at the end of the 80s. Still tracks like Everything Your Heart Desires and Change of Season are worthy additions to the canon. The set closes with two previously unreleased songs, a 2007 live version of the “title” track (a true statement of intent, if there ever was one) and a re-recording of Dreamer, a song Hall wrote in 1972. Both songs indicate the light has not dimmed despite advancing years.

What more can I say? Every PoP visitor must own this essential collection – yes, you deserve some Hall & Oates in your lives! Whether you’re a rock scholar or a casual listener, there’s enough of everything in the art & craft of Hall & Oates that you will become besotted with – I guarantee it! Enough of the hard sell, go and get it and to Daryl and John if you’re reading this, thanks for the wonderful music!

Official Site

BLAKES

BLAKES Souvenir (WE ARE OK)

The success of the Beatles in the USA, signalled the first wave of the British Invasion as bands like Rolling Stones, The Kinks and The Who made their collective mark on the American rock consciousness. The result was garage-rock, with the Seattle music scene playing a significant role with the likes of the Sonics, The Kingsmen, Paul Revere and the Raiders and the Regents.

Certainly, Seattle band the Blakes carries on the tradition of its predecessors with this faithful revocation of classic 60s garage-rock. Souvenir is filled to the brim with raucous, rollicking rave-ups that never compromise on the melody department. Band out of time? Maybe but if you dug the recent garage-rock revival of White Stripes and Jet, certainly the Blakes punch above their own weight and mix it up with potent doses of powerpop as well. Something for everyone.

Official Site

MySpace

CLARE AND THE REASONS

CLARE AND THE REASONS Arrow (Frog Stand)

If you were a mad scientist and discovered a means to distill the talents of Paul McCartney, XTC, John Cale and Brian Wilson and add a huge dollop of female sensibility, you’d probably end up with Clare and the Reasons. This Brooklyn-based band follow up their critically lauded debut Movie with an even more accomplished pure pop effort. Rather astonishing actually.

Eclectic at its core, the music on Arrow mixes and mashed chamber pop (with lush classical arrangements), electronica (throbbing, pulsing synth patterns), music hall quirkiness (check out the bizarre cover of Genesis’ That’s All!) and general pop mellifluousness.

Together with Elizabeth and the Catapult’s Taller Children, Arrow might just be the pop album of the year!

Essential, of course.

Official Site

MySpace

… DRIBBLING …

LOST MY HEAD

After Liverpool’s latest defeat (their 7th Prem loss this season – they only lost twice last season and finished 2nd) to bottom club Portsmouth, manager Rafa Benitez gave a mystifying post-match interview, describing referee Lee Mason’s performance as “perfect” and that the referee “made no mistakes”. When asked about his own prospects, Benitez replied glibly  – “we hope to win the next game”.

Clearly, all is not well at Anfield and Benitez is acting like a petulant child, as if the walls are closing in on him slowly but surely. Increasingly, there is a haunted look in his eyes after each poor result. Against Portsmouth, that fear and paranoid spread to the players as they failed to react properly to going one-down and one-man down, after Javier Mascherano lost his head. Perhaps that had as much to do with Benitez’ selection as much as anything.

I mean, what “top” team goes to Portsmouth with two holding midfielders? And why does Benitez persist with ordinary players like Lucas and Dossena, when the likes of Benayoun and Babel remain benched? You reap what you sow. When a team like Liverpool with their history and prestige, thinks only of defence first, then you know there has to be problems.

The fact is that the quality of Liverpool’s squad is poor – especially having lost lynchpin Alonso to Real Madrid and replacing him with a player whom Benitez does not even play i.e. the elusive Alberto Aquilani. The other big signing of the close season? The severely overrated (and overpriced) Glen Johnson! Add to that the over-dependence on the respective forms of Steve Gerrard and Fernando Torres and this all spells mini-crisis.

So, what now for Liverpool and Rafa Benitez? Apparently, Benitez’s recent contract renewal makes him virtually unsackable (a compensation of 15 million quid has been mentioned) and with the debt problems of the owners, there’s little cash to be splashed around in the January transfer window. So Liverpool is stuck with its manager and players till the end of the season.

Can the team turn things around and reclaim its top four place? It looks highly unlikely now with either Villa, Spurs or Man City threatening to replace Liverpool in the top four. If Liverpool cannot look forward to Champs League football in 2010-2011, will top players like Torres or Gerrard hang around? And will then the financial difficulties faced by the club force its hand to sell these prized assets to its deadliest enemies viz Chelsea and Man Utd? This is a nightmare scenario that every Liverpool fan can barely contemplate but unfortunately for them, at this point of time, looks a distinct possibility.

… DRIBBLING …

This a new PoP feature, where I blog about football stuff that is non-Spurs related. So here goes. Appreciate your comments.

DON’T DREAM IT’S OVER

So Sparky is gone, as predicted. After the outlay of 200 million quid in the close season, there was no doubt that his employers were going to be less than patient about results. Well, 2 wins in the last 11 Prem games was obviously not good enough. Is 18 months sufficient time to assess a manager’s capability? Of course, pundits will always cite Hughes’ ex-boss Fergie getting 5 seasons breathing space before winning his first trophy (the FA Cup, if you must know) but that was then and this is now.

Still, one wonders whether now is the time to offload Hughes. Certainly, if you wanted to bring in someone new, you’d do it before the January transfer window so that the new man can get the players he wants. But are these players availble  in January? And what about Hughes’ replacement, Roberto Mancini, an untested quality outside of Italy? I mean, strictly speaking, didn’t Mancini guide Inter to the Scudetto only because Juve and Milan had been decimated by the corruption scandal and resultant sanctions?

So, isn’t bringing in Mancini as big a risk as keeping Mark Hughes? Not only that, it has been reported that Mancini is only a caretaker manager and will only be offered to stay on if City makes the top four. What planet are these people living on? That’s incredible pressure on a manager and unless Mancini is a miracle worker, the rest of the season will be transitional for City. Which certainly does not serve City’s cause at all.

Time will tell of course but I don’t envy Mancini the task ahead. The players whom Hughes brought are probably not pleased by his sacking and Mancini will also shake things further up in the January window, so lifting morale will be an issue, not to mention the destabilising effect of wholesale changes in January. Should be interesting to witness how all of this pans out.

BLACKBURN 0 SPURS 2

What a week this has been for Spurs! After the pathetic loss to Wolves last weekend, Spurs picked up 6 points on the trot, demolishing the highly-priced Man City team at White Hart Lane, before going to Ewood Park and fashioning a hard-earned victory over tough-tackling Blackburn Rovers.

Truth be told, Spurs were sloppy and hesistant in the first half and were rather unfortunate to go into half-time leading. From Niko Kranjcar’s excellent hanging cross, Peter Crouch beat two Rovers defenders to head past Paul Robinson from close range. Rovers starting the 2nd half with greater domination and intent both Spurs with a combination of solid defending and goalkeeping were resilient and repelled Rovers’ offence.

With thirty minutes left, Harry Redknapp brought on Jermaine Jenas and Robbie Keane, and this had a positive effect on Spurs game, which became more fluid. From a pacy move, with both Keane and Jenas involved, Crouch found himself one-on-one with Robinson and he converted the opportunity clinically.

A good result all round, as Ewood Park is not often a happy hunting ground for Spurs. As the game wore on, Spurs got better at defending and chasing every loose ball, hard-earned but well-deserved at the end of the day. Still, it makes one wonder, if Spurs had only won those games against Wolves and Stoke, we’d actually be SECOND!!!

With the Christmas fixtures coming up, its make or break time for Spurs’ Champions League ambitions in the weeks ahead.

COYS!!!

MOON DVD

MOON DVD

I don’t really want to say too much about the movie itself, so as not to give away the wonderful plotline. Suffice to say that director Duncan Jones (the former Zowie Bowie, scion of David) has fashioned an excellent sci-fi mood piece that relies on characterization and story rather than action to further its ideas.

With obvious nods to 2001: A Space Odyssey, Silent Running and Alien, Moon is a thoughtful examination of the human condition set within the parameters of a sci-fi movie. Astonishingly enough, the film was made for a mere $5 million (!) but is a much more satisfying experience than summer blockbusters like Transformers and G.I. Joe.

Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell) is an employee contracted by the company Lunar Industries to extract helium-3 from lunar soil for much-needed clean energy back on Earth. He is stationed for three years at the largely automated “Sarang” (sarang means love in Korean) lunar base with only a robotic assistant named GERTY (voiced by Kevin Spacey) for company.

With Rockwell having most of the screen time to himself, the actor does well to express the dislocation and alienation felt by Sam Bell as his world and everything he believes in, starts to unravel. As previously mentioned, I don’t want to say too much more. Check out the Moon DVD and enjoy this well-crafted tale by Duncan Jones, who looks a bright prospect indeed. Together with District 9, Moon is probably my film of the year.

Space Oddity, indeed.

+65 INDIE UNDERGROUND

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VARIOUS ARTISTS +65 Indie Underground (Universal)

Finally! A proper retrospective S-ROCK document of the last 25 years. For that reason alone, anyone who has any links to the Singapore music scene in anyway imaginable must go out and purchase this epochal release now.

Stop & think.

The fact that this release is such a rarity and a treasure for true blue S-ROCK lovers is in itself an inditement on the scene itself. By right, the music found in this set should be readily available but unfortunately unless you bought the original releases in the 80s and 9os, there’s absolutely no way to get your hands on the music. Until now.

Caveat – of course, dear reader, you are aware that as Watchmen, I am featured in this release – so take comments whichever way you want. Personally, I was particularly interested in checking out the 90s-era bands and the representation is hard to fault viz. Corporate Toil, Oddfellows, Padres, OP, Twang Bar Kings, S.U.D.S. (YEAH!), Humpback Oak, The Pagans, Livonia, Concave Scream, Stompin’ Ground, The Ordinary People, Force Vomit, Plainsunset, the Lilac Saints, Etc, Boredphucks. A mean line-up.

Naturally, you could quibble about the absence of AWOL, the Shades, Swirling Madness, ESP, Pink Elephants, Mortal Flower and so on OR you could argue about the song selection but there’s no denying the power of all this wonderful music in one place, so to speak.

Personal faves – Padres’ Radio Station really brings back memories (classic S-ROCK anthem), Twang Bar King’s Daddy in a Lift – still sounds like its at the wrong speed (!), Livonia’s Veageance is Mine, Humpback Oak’s Circling Square, Boredphucks’ Zoe Tay, Stoned Revivals’ Goodil, Etc’s Adolesce & S.U.D.S.’ Braindead Nation.

I could go on but will probably wax lyrical and get too nostalgic (check out the Power of Pop blog for that). Suffice to repeat, that this is bloody essential… now if only we could get proper re-issues of the 90s albums

And the real issue is posed by X’Ho – “Is Singapore rock alive and free at last?” – hopefully +65 Indie Underground is a move in the right direction.

PLAINSUNSET

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PLAINSUNSET Collabor-8 (WMUM/Universal)

After the astonishing comeback that was the eponymous 4th album, the beloved S-ROCK band Plainsunset returns with a collection of new PS tracks coupled with special collaborative projects which gives the album its name. By and large the collaborations work, except for maybe the opening Tears For You in which rapper Sheikh Haikal totally ruins. That said, the faux paux is somewhat redeemed by the amazing collaborations with Amanda Ling (Rainfall) and Dubwise (Monsters in the Sea).

The former is a surprising successful exercise in electronica with a soft balladic touch which works on every level. The latter is a dynamic number which proves that electronic music has as much balls as punk or metal. Again, a significant departure for PS with treated vocals, throbbing bass and hip-hop beat and like Rainfall, a eerie light atmosphere which hits the mark.

In-between, we have the usual muscular pop-punk outings viz. Blank Faces, the Valiant and Lights Down that PS is best known, which will keep the fans well pleased. The last two tracks feature the Lard Brothers deconstructing The River Song rather ingeniously and Matthew Lim (A Vacant Affair), Joshua Tan (Fire Fight) and Jean Low (Giants Must Fall) gloriously contributing to the anthemic seven-minute Uncertain.

Barring my comments on that unfortunate opener, Collabor-8 is an unqualified success and establishes yet another benchmark for Plainsunset. So make your way down to the Esplanade Recital Studio at 9.30pm on Friday, 18th December for the launch party. Tickets – $25 @ SISTIC

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PARAMORE LIVE IN SINGAPORE

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Yes, indie kids, this is the ONE you’ve been waiting for and yes, its official, after all the false dawns.

Concert and Ticketing Information:

Date:                Sunday, 7 March 2010

Time:                8.00pm

Venue:              Singapore Indoor Stadium

Tickets:            S$108, S$88, S$68 *Not inclusive of standard SISTIC fee.

Available from Thursday, 17 December at www.sistic.com & all authorised SISTIC outlets.
Tel: 65 6348 5555

More info to come…

AS TALL AS LIONS

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AS TALL AS LIONS You Can’t Take It With You (Triple Crown)

You want irony? How about a band that tries their damndest to squeeze in every conceivable genre and style into 3-4 minute songs and then illustrates the point on their album cover? So can it be done? Heh.

I hate to be facetious about references and inspirations but does vocalist Dan Nigro remind you of Sting? Well, As Tall As Lions does possess the dynamic, restless nature that the Police had in spades. Sure, the infectious melodicism may be lacking but I’d argue that the incandescent music of You Can’t Take It With You has as much commercial potential.

There’s just so much going in songs like the subtly explosive Circles, the freewheeling Sixes and Sevens, the exotic title track and the relentlessly cool Go Easy (See the Love), that its almost hard to imagine that those are the opening four songs! Masters of contrasting moods, inflections of diverse sonic worlds and flat-out brilliant instrumentation, this wildly creative group deserves the time and effort from rock scholars to simply listen…

The rest of You Can’t Take It With You never finds the band compromising its unique vision as it continues to throw everything and the kitchen sink into the mix. Get ready for the Beatles, U2, the Police, Pink Floyd, Jeff Buckley, Lou Reed, Van Morrison, Kraftwerk, New Order, Leonard Cohen, Radiohead and then some, figuring in the rhyme and reason that is As Tall As Lions.

Official Site

MySpace

KELLARISSA

kellarissa_flamingo

KELLARISSA Flamingo (Mint)

Arty-farty pop is a law unto itself. That is, if Larissa Loyva’s (a.k.a. Kellarissa) first release under the Mint label, is anything to go by. Employing austere piano/keyboards/guitar accompliments or cheesy drum synths, with melody lines that range from bubblegummy to atonal to ethnic, Kellarissa never fails to subvert expectations (the last track is a traditional Finnish song!). Not an easy album to assimiliate into any form of mainstream consciousness – one particular track (Virta Vie) combines a low machine hum with hymn-like reverie – Kellarissa is very much an acquired taste but for music lovers who enjoy the challenge of embracing pop as art, then Flamingo may just be right up your alley.

MySpace

IMOGEN HEAP LIVE IN SINGAPORE

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Greenhorn Productions presents IMOGEN HEAP – Live! at the Esplanade Concert Hall, Singapore on 29 March 2010 at 9 p.m.

Tickets at $48 (student price – limited), $68, $88, $108, $128, $148 (excluding sistic fees). Fans of Greenhorn Productions facebook page will be eligible for priority booking/discounts.

More information to come…

THE JAYHAWKS

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THE JAYHAWKS Music from the North Country (American)

For me personally, the Jayhawks has been a band I have tried to emulate when I started putting together a new band – the Groovy People – about two years ago. Basically, classic pop-rock with an alt-country edge, a sonic representation of Gram Parsons’ mythical Cosmic American Music.

This 3CD deluxe edition of this Jayhawks retrospective provides a pretty good enough idea of what this excellent band was/is about. “Was/is” because the band has been on hiatus since the last album, 2003’s fine Rainy Day Music. Disc one cherry picks the band’s five official albums – Blue Earth, Hollywood Town Hall, Tomorrow the Green Grass, Sound of Lies and the aforesaid Rainy Day Music. Disc two features rare and unreleased tracks whilst disc three is a DVD of music videos and EPKs throughout the band’s career.

Regular PoP visitors will be aware of how much I loved the Jayhawks, I still listen to them whenever I need a “pick-up” and songs like Trouble, Angelyne, Smile, Blue, I’m Gonna Make You Love Me are mainstays on my playlist. Not to mention that Sound of Lies remains one of my favourite albums of all time.

What is even more impressive is that after the departure of co-founder Mark Olsen (after Tomorrow the Green Grass), the band actually became stronger as Gary Louris, Tim O’Reagan, Marc Pearlman and Karen Grotberg delivered timeless music that still resonates today.

The remastering of these great songs has worked wonders as even an longtime fan like me is finding new delights from this oft-heard repertoire. So I can’t recommend Music from the North Country any higher. Every PoP visitor MUST have this compilation in their collection and after your appetite has been whetted (and it will be) and you want know more, go to the albums in order of preference – Sound of Lies, Tomorrow the Green Grass, Rainy Day Music, Smile, Hollywood Town Hall and Blue Earth.

Bloody essential.

The official site.

MySpace

MORE! SINGAPORE 60S

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VARIOUS ARTISTS More! Singapore 60s Treasures From the Vault (Universal)

After the warm reception given to the 5CD retrospective of the Philips Singapore 60s back catalogue, Universal Singapore has released a 2-CD follow up. Again, the sound isn’t the best it can be since the original masters are long gone but as an archival record of an exceptional epoch of Singapore music, this set is again essential for all fans of that era.

Being born in 1961, I was obviously very young when these records saw light of day but certainly I can vaguely remember the buzz that these Singapore bands generated in this heyday of Singapore music. The influences of the likes of Cliff Richards & the Shadows, the Ventures, Elvis Presley, the Everly Brothers and of course, the Beatles is clearly apparent on these records. A fair mix of covers and originals are showcased here, with no discernible distinction between the two, a testament to the songwriting talent on these shores even in those bygones days.

Judging from the music styles (not to mention the group names), it is evident that Cliff Richards & the Shadows provided a very strong model for many of these bands e.g. Heather and the Diamond Four, Henry Suriya & the Boys, Steve Lorainne & the Clansman and so on.

For fans who picked up the first set, More! Singapore 60s is a must-have. Good songs with excellent performances recommended for lovers of 60s music.

SPURS 0 WOLVES 1

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Naturally, at the end of this game, Spurs were booed off the pitch by their own fans. Bitterly disappointed with the result and performance, especially after the tremendous high of the last home game, the 9-1 thrashing of Wigan.

The focus again from the media and fans alike will be an assessment of Spurs Champions League ambitions. But again, is that a reasonable expectation? Seems to be that the realistic target for this season – especially after being at the bottom at the beginning of the last –  is first and foremost a top six placing. This requires a measure of consistency that Spurs is still trying to achieve. Not only that but Spurs continue to lack a winning mentality that separates the men from the boys. Which means not only going to the homes of your competitors (like Villa and Everton) and dominating the play but taking your chances to win such crucial games (which Spurs did not).

At home, barring perhaps the Liverpool, Burnley and Wigan (of course) games, Spurs haven’t actually set the Premiership alight with their ponderous play. Fact is our midfield is much too predictable and when desperation creeps in and Crouch is the target, our offence is much too easy to defend against as the likes of Birmingham, Stoke and Wolves (teams that Spurs should comfortably put away) have proven.

So what about the game itself? Well, a typical Spurs non-performance i.e. lapse of concentration at set-piece and the inability to break down a 10-man defence thereafter. No power, no mobility, no pace and no guile. On the positive side, the return of Luka Modric… nothing much else to say, actually.

That said, the rest of the Premiership results – including Villa’s shocking 1-0 victory at Old Trafford and Man City’s 3-3 at Bolton indicates that there’s a long way to go and that Spurs’ chances of having a rewarding season have not been completely extinguished by this poor result.

COYS!!!

POWER OF POP INTERVIEW – Carlos Castaño

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Who is Carlos Castaño and how did you start out playing music?

I’ve been a musician all my life, my father was (and still is) in a rock & roll band and it was ultimately his music that got me started. Everything from The Beatles to Led Zeppelin, I got from my dad. He also gave me my first acoustic (a Yamaha) and my first electric guitar (a Fender Strat), and the rest is just beautiful water under the bridge.

Who are your influences?

I would have to say that for songwriting, Damien Rice, James Morrison, and Ray LaMontagne have all been MAJOR influences. John Mayer, undoubtedly, influences the way I sing words, phrasing, themes, and basically the overall feel of a song. He’s got that pop-but-not-quite sound down pat and I think it’s genius.

You previously played in other bands. How different is it playing solo and has your music evolved?

Playing solo is definitely scarier. I’m usually caught with my knees shaking onstage. I think that it’s largely due to that fact that these are MY stories I’m telling, MY versions of what I’ve been through, been exposed to, been around, and I think it’s that nakedness that just really does it for me. It scares me but it also pushed me into a gray area of change that I really love right now. Evolution is honestly the strongest and weakest way to describe it, I think it’s just acceptance – accepting that at this point in time, this is who I’m supposed to be.

Why do you play music?

Because it sets me free from things that say “No, you can’t do that.”

You’re in the process of recording a new album. What was involved in the recording process for the album?

More than anything, TRUST played a MAJOR role in the album (which is my first as a solo artist, 4th as a musician). It’s my first time working with a producer and so far it’s been a blessing of mixed outcomes. Kelvin (Uy, Angulo guitarist, my producer) has been great and it’s his musical know-how that I rely on so much, not just to get through a song, but to make sure that the song that gets through is the one we want. He can cut up, add and subtract from a song and the end result would make more sense to me than how I wrote it. Pat (Jalbuena, Kerplunk! Studios engineer) has been very patient with my music and I truly believe that sound-wise, they really know what they’re doing there in Makati.

What was the lyrical process for making the album?

Story-telling all the way, every song represents a specific in my life. Be it a person, an event, an ex-girlfriend, a couple I’m close to, random nights out and all the drama that comes with it, celebrities. Plainly put, I take a picture in my mind and write about that photograph.

You’ve has played shows with many other bands in the Philippines. If you had a chance to collaborate with a band, who would it be and why?

I would say Julianne, she’s amazing.

What’s the future plans for Carlos Castaño??

Well, right now I just released an EP with six songs and I’m finishing the FULL album so yeah, let’s see where that will take us. I’m just taking it a day at a time, one blessing at a time, one trip at a time.

(Rebecca Lincoln)

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+65 INDIE UNDERGROUND

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It’s coming… be patient, S-ROCK pilgrim, the definitive S-ROCK compilation (for now, anyways) will be in stores next week. In the meantime, drool over the fancy packaging….

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Me? I’m pretty honoured to be mentioned in the same breath as these truly great bands!

Salute!

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