Sep 302015
 

Screen Shot 2015-09-30 at 2.36.18 pm

The vocals may be dreamy and indistinct but the melodies and hooks are clear enough to make an impact. There is a smooth electro-organic pop vibe about “Wake” that bodes well for Brothertiger’s new album Out of Touch (released on 4th December).  Am digging the way he utilises the electronics to convey a sense of warmth and comfort – the backing vocals are lovingly layered to grant a rather 80s pop sheen. On repeat mode for sure!

 

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Sep 282015
 

Piet 005

Does life have to make sense? Does music need to feel complete? Or is it the inherent contradictions that make music the life-affirming force it can be?

Did anyone expect a new New Order album? Hooky out, Gillian back? In case you are not keeping score, Hooky (bassist Peter Hook) announced in 2007 that New Order was over and that he was leaving. Eight years later, Barney Summer and the rest of the gang (Stephen Morris, Gillian Gilbert, Phil Cunningham & Tom Chapman) has somewhat taken up the challenge to prove Hooky wrong.

And whilst the end product is a sublime dance-rock album of the kind that the original New Order are considered the pioneers of, Music Complete is not really New Order, any more than Electronic or Bad Lieutenant were New Order. The name itself is meaningless – without Hooky’s bass, this is most definitely not New Order.

However, in the final analysis, it makes no fucking difference, does it? With all the electro-pop acts vying for attention in the modern rock wasteland, the old masters have come back from the dead to show the young upstarts how it’s done.

There’s no doubting Summer’s way with a melody (and dodgy lyrics) but it is in the rhythm and the beats that Music Complete excels – big beats, techno, house, disco all mashed up into a heady mixture. “Restless”, “Tutti Frutti” and “Stray Dog” (with Iggy Pop on vocals) all rise like cream to the top but it is in the final number “Superheated” that Music Complete well and truly soars with one of the finest New Order tracks since the glory days of the 80s. “Superheated” is five minutes of sheer electro-pop bliss. Close your eyes and it’s the mid-eighties again.

Gorgeous.

NO NEED TO PRETEND – GAYLE NERVA IS BUZZ-WORTHY TALENT YOU SHOULD NOT IGNORE!

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Aug 302015
 

Gayle

I will be honest (when am I not?) – I first noticed Gayle Nerva in a tour video of I Hate This Place in Japan  sometime ago and was struck by her effervescent personality. Then, it was her lovely voice and then her heartfelt ballads that got my firm attention. I have always believe that given a chance, her music would appeal to a mainstream pop audience home and abroad.

GayleLive

Well, glad to say that her new single “Pretend” is out – it’s a dark electro-pop number produced by Trick’s Marc Lian – and Gayle will be performing at the Esplanade Recital Studio on Saturday, September 5th. Tickets available from SISTIC. Check out the music video below.

Connect with Gayle at Facebook & Twitter.

… still there’s more … 

ROCK ‘N’ ROLL – CRISIS? WHAT CRISIS?

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Jul 262015
 
15 Aug 1993 --- Rock Band Nirvana --- Image by © Jesse Frohman/CORBIS OUTLINE

© Jesse Frohman/CORBIS OUTLINE

Will we ever see a band like Nirvana again? It’s hard to believe that the Nevermind album – which changed the face of the music industry in the early 90s – is now 24 years old! And since the decline of rock ‘n’ roll music in the late 90s, no other rock band has come remotely close to replicating the impact of Nirvana. Yes, we have had successful rock bands since viz. Nickelback, The Strokes, The Killers, Arctic Monkeys, Coldplay et al BUT relatively speaking, these have been minor successes when compared to the seismic pop culture impact of Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Beyonce and the like. Artistically as well, most of these aforementioned bands have failed to deliver.

Curiously enough, the last time critics declared the demise of rock ‘n’ roll was in the late 80s, when Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston ruled the roost, but as the wheel turned rock bands like R.E.M., Nirvana and the Seattle grunge scene ascended to the top of the charts. Well, it’s almost 25 years now and there appears to be no sign of rock ‘n’ roll ever returning to those levels of influence in the mainstream pop industry.

Still, that does not mean that good rock ‘n’ roll music (whether in the guise of pop-rock, indie pop, hard rock, electro-pop, blues rock, garage or punk) wasn’t being made in the last 15 odd years, it’s just that the environment of the music industry has been altered so drastically that it is virtually impossible for what happened in the early 90s to occur once again. The decline in record sales, the rise of singing contests (American Idol, X-Factor etc) and the ubiquity of Youtube, has meant that the major labels have had to hedge their bets and cynically control the musical output and fan appreciation thereof.

This has resulted in the most basic pop formulas viz. hip-hop/R&B accounting for the lion’s share of the chart action. These are 3 of the top 5 singles on Billboard’s Hot 100 right now.

The one main thing connecting all three singles is a highly designed discipline to present the melody/rhythms as simplistically and repetitively as possible so that the hooks are very easy to remember. A deliberate lack of musical sophistication that dumbs down to the lowest common denominator creating an audience that is not able to appreciate anything that does not sound like what it hears on a non-stop basis on the radio. The perfect marketing tactic.

In fact, guitar rock is totally absent for the Top 20, with the nearest example being Maroon 5, and even though the music video for “Sugar” shows the band with guitars, it does not sound like there are any guitars on the song itself! In fact, it adheres greatly to the hip-hop/R&B formula with Adam Levine’s vocals heavily auto-tuned. Talk about soul-less! Going down the rest of the chart will depress any fan of rock ‘n’ roll with the genre’s utter lack of representation.

So, are the rumours true? Is rock ‘n’ roll dead? Well, not at the grass roots level of course, as both in the USA and the UK, there continues to be scores of bands who create great rock ‘n’ roll music, it’s just that even with the oft assumed ability of the internet to connect bands and fans, it’s the major labels leveraging on radio stations, streaming services and Youtube (again!) who will have the attention of mainstream music fans.

There’s the rub. If the major labels feel that the new rock ‘n’ roll have the fan base to make them sit up and notice, then they might feel the need to throw money that way. The question is — will the youth of today ever get tired of the formulaic pop stars being paraded before them? Will they ever hunger for something different enough to alter their listening habits? The signs have not been encouraging. The irony is that whilst the internet is always being trumpeted as the champion of free and alternative choices, the harsh reality is that the internet is still ultimately the tool of our corporate masters to dictate what food we should eat, what clothes we should wear and of course, what music we should listen to.

However, for those of us who are able to think critically for ourselves, the internet provides a means of escaping these corporate shackles and we can only do this by supporting the bands that do not conform to the grand masterplan of our overlords. Then, these bands might have the opportunity and liberty to create the kind of music we desire and love. So, is rock ‘n’ roll in a crisis? Not if rock ‘n’ roll fans continue to support the right bands and be evangelistic about the music they love.

Yes, PoP visitors, the ball is in YOUR court…

In the meantime, check out the Power of Pop playlist at Spotify highlighting 30-odd British guitar rock bands you should be supporting! Please FOLLOW!

… still there’s more … 

CLEAN BANDIT – LIVE IN SINGAPORE

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Jul 062015
 

Clean Bandit - Singapore Artwork

Secret Sounds Asia presents
Title: Clean Bandit – Live in Singapore
Venue: The Coliseum, Hard Rock Hotel Singapore, Resorts World Sentosa Date/Time: Wednesday, 25 November 2015, 8pm

Tickets: $58 Limited Early-Bird, $68 Standard, $88 Door Group package of 4 tickets $250
(+ $4 SISTIC booking fee per ticket)

Ticket Sales Launch Date: Monday 13 July 2015

Tickets available via SISTIC – Online (9am): www.sistic.com.sg – Tel (10am): +65 6348 5555
– In person (10am): At all authorised SISTIC agents & box offices

http://www.cleanbandit.co.uk/
http://www.facebook.com/cleanbandit
http://www.youtube.com/user/cleanbandit

 

RIOT !N MAGENTA – A SOUND REVOLUTION

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Mar 182015
 
Photo credit: Teck Io

Photo credit: Teck

Whatever the genre, nothing gets more attention in a song than a powerful, distinctive female voice. Dedicated music fans should be familiar with Eugenia Yip from her vocal antics with jazz-rockers The Steve McQueens. However, Ginny (as she likes to be called), also fronts electro-outfit Riot !n Magenta, ably backed by Hayashida Ken (synths), Khairyl Hashim (guitar), Sulaiman Supian (bass) and Ritz Ang (drums).

R!M have been somewhat under the radar despite having played Baybeats 2011, launched a debut EP – R3B007 – at Esplanade Recital Studio in 2013 and even opening for CHVRCHES last year. But no doubt that will all change with the release of the new EP, Voices.

The four tracks available on Voices reveals a mature sonic agenda that continues to channel a strong trip-hop-soul vibe that highlights Ginny’s idiosyncratic vocal stylings and melancholy lyrics that emphasise the damage that relationships inflict on humans.

“Love is not supposed to be a chore” (“CTRL”) and “I can’t unhear the things but you said it” (“Told You So”) – words that put the songs in perspective, heartfelt emotions hard to ignore. Supported by pristine electronic beats and ambience, it is so easy to be swept away by the music on this EP. Not to be missed.

Connect with Riot !n Magenta

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/riotinmagenta
Twitter http://www.twitter.com/riotinmagenta
Soundcloud https://soundcloud.com/riot-n-magenta

#SGINDIE

 MUSIC  Comments Off on #SGINDIE
Jun 262014
 

CelinaKimble01

Some weeks back, Celina Kimble launched her new EP at the Arts House and whilst it was a fairly short set – it was full of Celina’s typically emotionally powerful songs backed by a competent band. All told, it was a solid performance by Celina and band. The word is that Celina will be selling her EP at Starbucks outlets and will be doing a couple of performances there as well. Stay tuned for more details.

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COSMIC ARMCHAIR SIGNS WITH ALFA MATRIX [NEWS]

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Apr 042014
 

Singapore electro-pop duo Cosmic Armchair has signed with Alfa Matrix, and has become the first Asian band to sign an album deal with Belgium-based in label. This collaboration with Alfa Matrix, home to international electro stars like Front 242, Recoil, Nitzer Ebb and supergroup Bruderschaft, gives the duo better access to audiences everywhere especially in Europe and America.

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THE GATHERING WITH EMPIRE OF THE SUN [NEWS]

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Jan 132014
 
Pic by Kyle Dean Reinford

Pic by Kyle Dean Reinford

Forefront Asia is launching a new live music series, The Gathering, with their first act, Empire of the Sun. Scheduled to perform on February 21, 2014, at Fort Canning Green, this will be the award-winning Australian electronic music act’s first-ever headline show in Singapore.

Limited early bird tickets, priced at SGD85, are now available at Event Clique (https://tickets.eventclique.com/thegathering)

Details –
Date: Friday, February 21, 2014
Gates Open: 6:00 PM
Venue: Fort Canning Green, Fort Canning Road, Singapore 179618

More info at www.facebook.com/thegatheringasia

ELLIE GOULDING – LIVE IN SINGAPORE [NEWS]

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Jan 122013
 

EG

British songstress Ellie Goulding makes her first appearance in Singapore on Tuesday 26th February at 7.30pm, Esplanade Concert Hall. Tickets are $148, $128, $108, $88, $68 and are available via SISTIC.

Goulding has two well-received albums thus far – Lights (2010) and Halcoyn (2012) – and her electro-pop style has brought her commercial and critical acclaim, not to mention several awards along the way. Check out the video for “Anything Could Happen” below.

Official Site

Presented by Now/Live.

TEGAN AND SARA SET TO RELEASE NEW ALBUM HEARTTHROB JANUARY 29th

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Nov 102012
 

Tegan and Sara‘s new album (their seventh), Heartthrob, will be coming out on Warner Bros. Records January 29th worldwide, with the exception of UK/Europe which is February 18th. Listen to the new single, the catchy danceable “Closer” below. Review to come…

Official Site

Buy at iTunes.

 

PoPTV: GEOGRAPHER – “LOVER’S GAME” [OFFICIAL VIDEO]

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Oct 182012
 

Here’s another electro-pop band for you hipsters to drool over. Although it must be said that when I heard the opening lines of Geographer’s “Lover’s Game”, it sounded like a direct New Order lift but thankfully, it developed it’s own personality as the song progressed. So here you go, the official video… the song is off new album, Myth, out now.

 

Oct 092012
 

Harlan began as a solo project of musician/conceptual artist John Norris that has fine art origins – Norris conceived Harlan originally as a recording project that would coexist with a body of paintings for his Master of Fine Arts Thesis Exhibition. Night Loop is the electronic outfit’s third album and this video of “You’re A Teenager” is suitably disturbing and arty at the same time. Review of Night Loop to come.

Harlan – “You’re a Teenager” from John Norris on Vimeo.

 

I HATE THIS PLACE – LIVE @ HOOD BAR

 MUSIC, PERSONAL  Comments Off on I HATE THIS PLACE – LIVE @ HOOD BAR
Sep 252012
 

Sean Nerney

Just needed to say a few words about I Hate This Place‘s gig at Hood Bar on Saturday, 22nd September. This was the first gig I had arranged for IHTP and I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed their set. Probably due to the F1 weekend, the attendance was not as encouraging as it could have been but them’s the breaks.

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