Tag Archives: HS


Is The World Strange Or Am I Strange?

Cosmo Jarvis is strange. He could be fighting the Taleban with his squared jaw and Captain America physique but he’s playing too small ukuleles and singing on about gay pirates. The English singer-rapper-songwriter-filmmaker confidently tackles themes of identity, conformity, prejudice and the usual to-be-yourself-or-not-to-be struggles in his aptly named second album, Is The World Strange Or Am I Strange?.

Heavy stuff but Jarvis manages to lighten the earnest themes by wrapping the album in folksy, hip-hop and funky elements. It’s all about the juxtaposition. The last thing a rising musician needs is to develop a overtly serious image.

The catchy opening track, Gay Pirates is Nickelodean-ish in sound but damning in lyric. A unabashed shout out to the prejudicial torment gay people (or pirates) go through and the enduring power of love. Awwww.

“And I’m sick of being beaten / And whipped and lashed to death, / I want one night with no gang-rape / But I won’t hold my breath. / But it’s you my love / You’re my land ahoy /Yeah, you’re my boy”.

Kinda sweet isn’t it?

Sure As Hell Not Jesus starts out sleepily before whipping into a bluesy middle-finger to that self-righteous person we all know. The funky Dave’s House Album beats bullishly with each rhyme. Jarvis pours out his questioning mind in Is The World Strange?, a stream-of-consciousness rap that gently slides up and down. Contemplative lyrics in a sea of hypnotic loops.

All in all, Is The World Strange Or Am I Strange? is an enjoyable ride.  Eclectic and light enough to have you go back to certain tracks over and over again. Also, Jarvis feeds my somewhat simplistic view that lyrics should rhyme (he does it brilliantly) so no complains here!

(Hydar Saharudin)


Poor them, barely four years old and The Jezabels are already burdened with three critically acclaimed EPs (The Man is Dead (2009), She’s So Hard (2009) Dark Storm (2010)), sold out shows, award nominations and seeing their songs hit the top music charts in Australia and abroad. Their first LP is on the way too.

The quartet from Sydney, Australia is made up of Hayley (vocals), Heather (piano), Sam (guitars) and Nik (drums). It’s their first time in the island of Temasek and they are one of the 40 bands from 18 countries who performed at Music Matters Live 2011 on the 26th to 28th of May.

We sat down together with Sam and Nik (friendly chaps they are) on the 27th to find out what they had to say about their namesake from the Bible, touring with women and whether file sharing is a good thing (to Mediafire or not? that is the question).




TRACEY THORN You Are A Lover EP (Merge)

If there ever was a definitive voice for all things graceful, introspective, maternal and warm; Tracey Thorn would be a serious contender for it. Hers is a voice that transcends in and out just by being simple. The closest I can compare her to, would be Cher, Jeff Buckley, Pet Shop Boys and Patti Smith (I tried).

Continue reading TRACEY THORN



Spirit People’s debut album is one of those albums. The ones where you listen with raised eyebrows. You are tempted to dismiss it as crap (which is fair) but yet, you cannot help but to delve deeper.

The band from New York City are not related to fellow (and famous) city mates, The Village People. While the latter’s tunes were slick and structured, the same cannot be said for the Spirit People.

Continue reading SPIRIT PEOPLE


JENIFEREVER Silesia (Monotreme)

There’s more to Sweden than ABBA?

Apparently, there is. My grasp of Swedish entertainment is limited to ABBA, The Hives, The Seventh Seal (awesome movie) and Christina Lindberg (Google her!).

So here’s Jeniferever’s 3rd album, Silesia. The Swedish quartet serves a smorgasbord (heehee) of musical dishes. Think of Sigur Ros’s orchestral atmospheres, Explosions in the Sky’s shoegazing tones and a untidy Brian Eno. It’s hard to define them; not that we need to.

The 9-track album delivers beautiful soundscapes; painting scenes of snow, rain and foggy windows. Melancholic, ethereal, oddly uplifting and subtlety melodic; how can one not look out the bus window melodramatically?

The opening eponymous track feels dystopian as it crawls towards a mellifluous oceanic climax. Where The Hills Fall Towards The Ocean is positively haunting. The poppy Dover is for nights with glow-in-the-dark stars on bedroom ceilings.

Silesia has its downs. Such lush sounds demand strong vocals for anchor. That’s absent.

Certain tracks are cruelly disappointing and aimless; like U2’s With Or Without You but without Bono’s cry. After repeated listens, the album drifts into boredom.

It’d be a better album if it was purely instrumental. However, it’s Jeniferever’s ambient sounds that makes Silesia special. I’m a fan.

(Hydar Saharudin)

Official Site

[amazon-product alink=”0000FF” bordercolor=”000000″ height=”240″]B004NA3MGM[/amazon-product]


SUDANESE PLAYBOYS Raised on Alcohol EP (Self-released)

“And if I say to you
/We could be sailing on the sea
/We could be rounding on a breeze
/Through the Jacaranda trees” – Anyhow

Yes, and I did. Really!

And you can do too with the aid of this 4-track EP, Raised on Alcohol by the Sudanese Playboys. Weird name but a marketing win. These playboys are a quintet hailing from the very un-Sudanese land of North London.

The EP is an open air convertible drive through the Caribbean and English countryside during the summers of the 70s. Yet this is no joy ride but a profound one; filled with reflections on life’s joys and bittersweet regrets.

Each track has that friendly swagger; borne out of the Hendrix-esque guitars, rumbling drums, groovy bass lines and accented vocals – the good kind of course. Think Aslan’s Christy Dingham or Glasvegas’s James Allan. Plentiful on positive and soulful vibes.

Tracks like Anyhow and Corners show the band at their most grooviest and reflective; with both songs bathed in summer sunshine and showered with beams of guitar licks and pops.

A promising start for a very likeable band. It’d be a field day for journalistic puns if the band does play in Sudan or the Playboy Mansion.

Official Site

(Hydar Saharudin)


MAN THE CHANGE Weather the Storm LP (Self-Released)

Punk rock band, Man The Change presents their first full-length album, Weather The Storm which is also free for download (Yay!).

The 5-piece band from Brooklyn is similar in musical blueprint to NOFX, The Misfits and Bad Religion. But the comparison stops there for this LP. Each track feels formulaic and generic as they blitz away with rapid drumming and tune-less vocals.

You have your usual barf-inducing emo lyrics on self-esteem and self-sabotage.

However, don’t fret! Put Steve At Second contains mature lyrics calling out for solidarity in a messy world. Definitely a good life lesson for the angsty. That’s Stormare is laced with infectious bass play reminiscent of ska band, Goldfinger. The ending track, Rambo Vs. Bas Rutten is a thumbs up just by its title alone. The tracks also make prime moshing material.

Weather The Storm isn’t horrible nor is it excellent. It’s no-frills punk rock made boring. You can find similar tunes with dozens of other bands. Considering that the band formed in 2009 and that they have graciously allowed their first album to be downloaded for free, it wouldn’t hurt to give it a listen.

Just not during a hangover.

(Hydar Saharudin)