Saturday, September 25, 2010


GENETIC HABIT From Outside (BigO)

You’ve got to admire the sheer reach of Singapore band Genetic Habit’s eclectic blend of influences. Music lovers will find that this 12-track album contains almost every imaginable genre prominent in the last decade or so. Ballads, jazz-funk, electronica, corporate rock and rap all get featured on this rather ambitious release. However, as the key movers viz. Clifton See and Calvin Nam are music producers by trade, one can’t help but feel that Genetic Habit is a science project of sorts and the production has a certain ‘canned’ atmosphere. It could be deliberate for all I now. Still, the contrived & passionless nature of many of the songs (especially the love ballads) keep Genetic Habit from coming anywhere near the finest Singaporean pop-rock is capable of. C

(from 2005)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


From the "pen" of Robin Chua (ex-Livonia, now Shelves)


Twang Bar Kings - Black Twang (Deluxe Edition)

It's with great pleasure & honour that I get to present to you here a little relic from Singapore's music scene: Black Twang by Twang Bar Kings. Those of you who know your music history well would know that the band's main two members are Don Bosco & Leslie Low. Bosco would later hook up with Mortal Flower's singer Adrian Ho to form Daze, while Leslie Low is the voice behind local legends Humpback Oak, & later on, The Observatory.

Originally released in 2006 via the band's official website, this deluxe edition now compiles together Black Twang (a collection of demos), as well as Brownblink by Jug, which is another one of Low's side project. There are also three more bonus tracks thrown in, with a rehearsal take on the Lennon / McCartney tune, "Forgiven". All the songs' quality may be fuzzy & lo-fi, but you can't deny the brilliance. Humpback Oak fans might wanna check out the Jug's versions of "Daddy In The Lift" & "Vein" contained in the second disc.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010


A little late in the day as I believe that this latest Noise compilation was issued in August in conjunction with Youth Olympic Games. Yes, some of the tracks may have been featured in previous Noise compilations but it's always good to have them all in one place, I guess.

Highlights for me include The Lion Story's rock and rolling Don't Ever Stop, Cove Red's 70s folk-channeling Taste of Life, For This Cycle's distinctive Closure Part 2, Elektone old-school electronic Damn This Disco, Julian Kwok's feisty Working Class Woes, Cindy Teoh's twee Hard To Let You Go, Zahidah's sweet Make Up Song, Crystal Goh's ethereal Fall to Fly and Celina Foo's dynamic Rabbit Hole. 

A worthy 30-track showcase of S-ROCK talent. Get it while you can...



Monday, September 20, 2010

NOISE 2010

The auditions of Noise's The Apprenticeship Program (TAP) was conducted over seven hours on Saturday at Timbre, the Arts House. This is my third year as a mentor with TAP and every year is different and interesting. But what is consistent is the camaraderie shared amongst the mentors. This year Dave Tan (Electrico) joined Don Richmond, Jason Tan, Jon Chan, Patrick Chng and myself as we reviewed the 14 bands and singer-songwriters shortlisted for TAP. 

As usual, the mentors had loads of fun - cracking irreverent jokes and making humorous observations - as the bands and singer-songwriters had the difficult task of showcasing their talent and potential. The applicants had to perform two songs and then undergo rigorous interrogation (interview, really) by the mentors. The main thing we wanted to know was what the applicant hoped to achieve by joining TAP. 

After the auditions, each mentor had to select an applicant (or two) to take under his wing for the next 10 weeks under TAP. Well, as it turns out, everyone chose only one applicant, whilst I elected for two (!) and Jason and Don agreed to share one! Make sense? It will, trust me.

For me personally, once again, it was instinctive - following my gut - believing that there is something I could share with the applicants that would benefit them in their musical path. I'm pretty jazzed by my new apprentices and look forward to working with them pretty soon. Who did I choose? Now, that would be telling...

Pix by Jon Chan.