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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

VAMPIRE WEEKEND

Music journalists worldwide are highlighting the current New York music scene as one to watch closely. One of the upcoming bands mentioned is Vampire Weekend. Already, David (Talking Heads) Byrne has endorsed VW. No wonder, as VW's style incorporates a heady mix of African pop, Western classical music and 80s new wave, which has to be heard to be believed.
You can listen to four catchy tracks from their eponymous debut album at its myspace site viz. A-Punk, Mansard Roof, Oxford Comma and Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa. Believe me, the noise that VW makes is refreshing...

I especially love Oxford Comma - the keyboard backing, the cute tune...

YOUR FORGIVENESS

I'm in the mood to make music...
Last couple of weeks, I've been coming up with snatches of piano pieces in preparation for films I will be scoring in the near future. Nothing quite compares to the buzz when a tune and visuals come together.
If all goes well, I could be writing for three movies in the coming weeks!
Will keep you all posted...
... in the meantime, I've upload a demo of Your Forgiveness, submitted for consideration for a film few years back but rejected. Comments, please.
I quite like it...

...and there's more...

Monday, February 04, 2008

...I'LL BE WATCHIN' YOU...

Bloody awesome!
That's the only way I could describe what I'd witnessed at the Indoor Stadium tonight.
Kudos to Andy Summers, Stewart Copeland and Sting for not coasting this reunion tour. Instead, the Police put their heart and soul into a solid two hours of sheer rockin' pleasure.
All the usual suspects were reeled out to universal acclaim. The 10,000-strong crowd enjoyed every minute right from the moment the trio opened the set with Message in a Bottle.
It was obvious that the band was trying its best to keep the songs fresh by tweaking arrangements and even mixing tracks together e.g. Voices Inside My Head and When the World is Running Down and Can't Stand Losing You and Regatta de Blanc.
Strangely enough, for me, it all really hit home with Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic, which I've always considered to be lightweight and trivial. Yet, in the midst of the song, whilst I was dancing, clapping and singing along, I must confessed I welled up a bit. I felt like the 20-year-old who'd prance around in his home to the soundtrack of his favorite Police tracks... awww...
Considering the fact that these men were more than a decade older than me meant little as the power and energy of the performance rolled back the years. Stewart Copeland hit the drums so hard, it was unbelievable, Andy Summers displayed the deftness of touch that has influenced guitarists to this day and Sting still managed to hit the high notes on Roxanne.
For its encore, the band dived into King of Pain, So Lonely and the classic Every Breath You Take. But even that was not the end, as Summers hung around exhorting his mates to deliver one last number and launched into the riff for Next To You as Sting and Copeland returned to the set to deliver a blistering final number.
A truly unforgettable night...
Bloody awesome!

HI-FIVE!

Besides Tomorrow Is Our Permanent Address, here's a list of some of the songs that have been heavily rotating at S-ROCK central.

Closure - Allura

Courtesy of Nick Chan, this raw, unmixed recording of one of my favourite Allura songs struck me as a little meek when I first heard it but it has somehow gained strength with each succeeding listen. I imagine that there is a lot of work to be done before it's finished but the sheer power of the song shines through. Inch sounds suitably emotional with her impassioned vocals but it is HQ that carries the track with his intricate drumming. More the sum of its individual parts, this version of Closure, if nothing else, will keep me hungry for the 'real thing' when it comes...

Captain Funkycurls - The Great Spy Experiment

A track that has gone AWOL from the GSE setlist (though it was encored at ZoukOut!) but upon closer examination, it is a wondrous distillation of all the groovy Britpop influences that made Flower Show Riots such an enjoyable album. Certainly, it contains one of the most affected vocals from Saiful ("gloawing"?) and the line "So come aboard and fly with me" truly soars. Perhaps one of the more organic GSE tracks - looking forward to hearing the band play Captain Funkycurls live once again... "Come on now!"

Fiona - Jack and Rai

This is either a demo or a preliminary recording that I have a few concerns about but in essence, contains one of the catchiest choruses around. Presented in a power pop fashion (ala Fountains of Wayne), I can imagine Fiona sitting comfortably in the Billboard Top Twenty (with accompanying music video, of course!). It's deceptively simple but isn't that's how all the great pop songs kinda creep up on you? Can't wait for the album to check out the final product...

Ordinary is King - You and Whose Army?

Ah, this dreamy space rock song has long convinced me that You and Whose Army? could possible bridge the gap between arty post-rock and classic pop-rock in the Singapore music scene. With a melancholy vibe that never relents with a sustaining edge that builds in crescendo till the heady climax. Bonk and Beni sound heavenly harmonizing over the chorus, James' slide guitar is simply gorgeous and Adam's bass provides the throbbing backbone. I could listen to this forever...

Absolute Beginners - Leeson

It takes balls to call your song Absolute Beginners. I mean, there are already two great songs with that name, one by the Jam and the other by David Bowie. So it better be good. No, it better be bloody awesome! Amazingly enough, Leeson manage to come up with a song that lives up to those finest Britpop traditions. It helps when your vocalist is a Brit, I guess, but the entire track flows with all the right juices - from the Kinks to Blur to Arctic Monkeys - and showcases a irresistible chorus that should have most audiences singing along to.

Wanna be part of Hi-Five? Then, send me an mp3 of your best song at soulalt (at) gmail (dot) com

...and there's more...

A-TOBOGGANING WE WILL GO...

Perplexed
FreakyFir

Sunday, February 03, 2008

A TOBANGGANING TRIUMPH!

Bani Haykal began the gig by quoting from an ee cummings poem before B-Quartet launched into Alphanumeric and began a sonic and literary journey that sent the crowded Playden into raptures.
This highly anticipated gig to launch the magnificent B-Quartet debut album did not at any time disappoint. What was clearly evident from the opening song onwards was how tight the band was. Normally, bands may take a little time to warm up before hitting their stride but not so with B-Quartet. Phenomenal musicianship.
Reproducing every single track from the album almost perfectly, it was an awesome buzz to listen to Shoebox, Personal Space, Disp rs, Stupid Luxury and the absolute highlight of the night - Boutique. Personally, I was totally lost in the music, bopping to the beat, singing along to those gorgeous tunes and lapping up every little nuance. Oh joy!
Not only that, the band delivered a visceral Paranoid Android and a quaint Rainbow Connection (yup, that one!). In addition, each member had a moment in the spotlight with their own "monologue" - from Raizan's deft guitar pyrotechnics (smokin') to Hidir's brilliant vocal performance (man, is he talented!) to Faizal's sweet birthday song to his mom (awww) to Haykal's touching memories of his late father - don't worry, Haykal, it didn't bring the event down but put a human face (and heart) on it instead...
What more can I really say? Positively one of the best Singapore gigs in living memory and I hope and pray that it is only the beginning...
And a great shout out to all the groovy groovy people - Adam, Beni, Bonk, James, Inch, Saiful, Huzaifah, Soo, Takahiro, Shu Hoong, Syed, Audie, Fir, HQ, Aaron and Inch!

...still there's more...