Category Archives: Updates

Phoenix – J-Boy

Phoenix has been a band that I’ve gone to for polished indie-pop when I just want to give myself some sort of mental break because of the simplicity of their sound (I can’t listen to Death Grips all day can I?). I love Phoenix for their upbeat, jangly and animated sound which I often use to compensate for the lack of good and solid pop songs (bless the likes of Carly Rae Jepsen for changing that fact). Phoenix’s music is usually pretty energetic and spirited which I think is lacking in “J-Boy”. The instrumentation is great, very reminiscent of Phoenix’s signature peppy synths. The synths in this track also bring to mind The Human League a little bit (not complaining since I’ve unashamedly sung out loud to “Don’t You Want Me”). But Mars’ autotuned vocals are a turn-off for me as it overshadows the charming hushed voice I’m so used to hearing from Mars’. It also kind of takes away from their romantic vision of love and desire since the autotune makes him sound more detached and dispassionate to me. I’d still play this song on repeat though, just until it grows on me.

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Gorillaz – Hallelujah Money ft. Benjamin Clementine

I am actually absolutely frustrated by the negative responses people have had towards this song. Mostly because most common complaint I’ve seen was that there was too much Benjamin Celmentine and too little Gorillaz. Are people oblivious to Gorillaz’s constant collaboration with the countless talented artists in the past? (I’m really quite pissed by those comments). It is the different collaborations that has made Gorillaz special and make each album creatively different. Some of my favourite Gorillaz songs are ones that where the featuring artist have sung a significant part, Fire Coming Out of A Monkey’s Head, Doncamatic (I’m not ashamed), November has Come, Stylo, Some Kind of Nature, Empire Ants, I could go on. I feel that Benjamin Clementine’s vocals actually add to the track, calm and collected but yet assertive and bold enough to capture your attention, actually making you listen to this political message of corrupt politicians and worshiping money, a message that is pretty relevant right now. I am always grateful to Gorillaz for introducing to me to these new, up and coming and exceptionally interesting artists.

Another common complaint that I seriously disagree with is that the track is boring. It’s anything but. The track is quite intriguing, it builds progressively but ultimately proves to be still calm and gentle, kind of leaving with you with chills (I kind of ignored Spongebob running away crying which I don’t think I want to analyse Spongebob). Maybe the beat seems uninspired but I think that it sounds just like the Gorillaz I’ve always known and adored and I think its composed ambiance of the track is just to make way for Clementine’s strong and poetic words spoken through his distinctively passionate voice. The beat actually nicely accompanies Clementine while Damon Albarn will from time to time softly question the future of the human race (a voice which I have missed), elevating the song to feel just that more poignant.

I love Gorillaz and have been anticipating their comeback just as much as any other fan but the escalating hype surrounding the Gorillaz’s comeback was probably this track’s downfall. I just think that expectations have been built up to the point that disappointment was inevitable. I really think that people just have to give a few more listens or just wait for the entire album to be released (I have faith in Gorillaz).

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Clipping. – Air ‘Em Out

Clipping. dropped a new video yo (it’s okay, I cringed too). Looks like Daveed Diggs has some free time away from being Thomas Jefferson and that Tony Award can’t save him in this X-Files situation he’s in for the video for ‘Air Em Out’. I’m no hip-hop expert or whatever, but I do know that I like this song and the video’s  equally good too (has that signature Clipping. concept of simplicity infused with “hidden messages”… or something).

The experimental hip-hop group impressed with their debut mixtape Midcity but I became more interested in their album CLPPNG. Their EP ‘Wriggle’ was nothing short of what Clipping. are capable of but it felt slightly toned down from the intricate noises that I usually hear from their songs (‘Shooter’ was banging though).

‘Air Em Out’ seems to be going back to those  intricate noises that were prominent in CLPPNG (well, to me but what do I know about hip-hop right). But it is just the first track released for their new album Slpendor and Misery which makes it as intriguing as the video (seriously, this is some Stranger Things shit).

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A Weeze-tastic Time

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It’s the first time Weezer are going to step onto Singapore’s shores and no way in heck was I going to miss it (even though I have a morning class the next day). They may have been in the biz for about 20 years but they still seem as sprightly as ever (although Rivers is super pale, get some Singapore sun Rivers). They definitely can still hold their own on stage, giving an excellent performance while making it look completely effortless. With at least nine albums under their belt (a few questionable ones *cough* Raditude *cough*) I was hoping for an extra long set that would please those die-hard fans and also casual listeners. But oh well, the setlist only had 15 songs with the whole night coming to end at a kid-friendly time of 10pm (might as well, I have class the next day).

Weezer did compensate their short set with amzing showmanship which is this band’s strong suit (a striking contrast to their awkward but endearing interviews). They engaged the crowd, kept the energy level up (even though some people in the crowd were dull duds) and even entertained us with a couple of shenanigans here and there. Like that sombrero, that was a cute little prop he had there. Actually, there were absolutely no shortage of props that night. Leis were involved just to sing ‘Island in The Sun’ and Rivers even made a nice reference to Singapore being an island itself (thanks Rivers, appreciate it). A king outfit was even prepared for ‘King of the World’ which rivers donned oh so nicely. At one point, Rivers ran to the back of the convention centre to hug fans (AND I MISSED OUT ON IT). What a good sport though.

There was a nice blend of old and new songs that were played that night with ‘My Name is Jonas’ from the Blue Album and ‘Jacked Up’ from the White Album. Popular hits like ‘Undone (Sweater Song)’ and ‘Say It Aint So’ (the must-plays) were massive crowd-pleasers, at least I was screaming at the top of my lungs. The other albums were not forgotten of course, ‘Pork and Beans’, ‘Perfect Situation’, ‘Hash Pipe’ and ‘(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To’ showed off what their 20-year career was about. I do have one complaint; them mashing up 5 songs together was a little unsatisfying. ‘Dope Nose’, ‘Back to the Shack’, ‘Keep Fishin’, ‘The Good Life’ and ‘Surf Wax America’ are all fan favourites and only getting bite-sized versions of each song just leaves me hanging. I WANNA SCREAM SURF WAX AMERICA! I’LL TAKE MY BOARD FOR GOD’S SAKE.

 

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The encore took a surprising turn, Rivers started covering Fun’s ‘We Are Young’ and I got caught up and started singing along (i’m not even fond of the song but Rivers got to me man). When that ended, he kind of started to read people’s tweets about the show aloud to the crowd. It felt like kind of a bust to me because there only seemed to be about two or three tweets that were in broken English (sorry I didn’t tweet during the show, was I supposed to?) His acoustic version of ‘El Scorcho’ managed to get us back on track and the whole band got back on stage to, (it’s a cliche but I’ll say it) rock it out! They ended the night with ‘Buddy Holly’ and I went all out. I mean all out, people were actually slowly moving away from me (i told you they were dull duds). Even by the end of it, the band didn’t seem to break a sweat and I was praying and hoping maybe (just maybe) they’d play more but alas, my prayers were not answered.

Rivers announced that they’d come back every year and they better because I wanna sing along to the full of ‘Surf Wax America’ okay. I’m expecting you, Pat, Brian and Scott to come again, do the meet and greet again and play ‘Surf Wax America’ AGAIN.

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Tycho – Division

My brother introduced me to Tycho but the album Dive just rubbed me the wrong way for some reason. It’s ambient electronica sound just reminded me of the soundtrack to The Sims, it’s relaxing sure but doesn’t exactly invoke anything in me (which I know is the point of Tycho’s music) but nothing from this album was memorable for me. Then when I realised that I had to read a ton of books for school and that music with lyrics were too distracting, I gave Tycho another go and listened to his next album Awake and it was a direction that I could get on board with. There were post-rock moments in Awake that were much more engaging and interesting for me. It seems that Tycho is going to continue in this direction with this track ‘Division’. The track is dynamic with some serious drum beats and outstanding synths accompanied with scintillating guitar lines. All that and with just a touch of an edge. Doesn’t harsh your mellow, but doesn’t just fall into the background either.

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Future Present Past

2016_TheStrokes_CultRecords_260516Happy Strokes Day! (Yesterday)

2016 has been a pretty good year for new releases, well, for me. There was Radiohead’s A Moon Shaped Pool which is beyond words, because I don’t think I’m capable enough of putting brilliance of that standard into words. There was also Chance The Rapper’s Colouring Book, Weezer’s White Album, Wild Nothing and Jake Bugg (actually only a couple of songs from him). So many more releases this year that I’ve been excited about. But the holy grail of releases has just happened and it’s The Strokes’ Future Present Past EP.

This band has been with me while I still had Sony Ericsson phone with a keypad and I thought that ‘Reptilia’, ‘You Only Live Once’ and ’12:51′ were the best songs ever (ah, the blossoming of my pretentious youth). Even though the albums that followed after Room on Fire were met with mixed reactions from fans I honestly thought they were pretty decent albums. Of course there were tracks from each album that I didn’t like but the songs that I did like definitely compensated for their weaker tracks. My favourite song from the band is actually ‘Razorblade’ from First Impressions of Earth (pls dun judge me). I know we can never expect them to return to the sound from Is This It but I think ‘Threat of Joy’ from this EP comes close.

The whole EP is a little something for every Strokes fan. A lot of people have been commenting on how ‘Drag Queen’ is for those who are more appreciative of JC + The Voidz’s  sound (how do I add an apostrophe if there’s a Z btw?). While ‘Oblivius’ is for those who are fond of ‘First Impressions of Earth’ and ‘Threat of Joy’ is for those who has been babbling how they miss the band’s ‘Is This It’ days. I sort of agree with the things said about ‘Oblivius’ and ‘Threat of Joy’ but I don’t think ‘Drag Queen’ necessarily reminds me of JC + The Voidz. Sure there’s an intensity from the bass but it’s subtler and it also becomes much more lighthearted than any JC + The Voidz track. I’d say that ‘You’re so Right’ from Angles is a lot more comparable to JC + The Voidz’s tracks than ‘Drag Queen’. The track kind of reminds me ’12:51′ to be honest.

I’m just on cloud nine right nowknowing The Strokes are together in the studio. I’m ecstatic but my fingers are still crossed though. I don’t need another Comedown Machine (it was nice the first time, please lord let there not be a second time).

You can listen to the EP here btw    http://cultrecords.com/

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The Stone Roses – All For One

We all know the legend that are The Stone Roses and the anticipation we went through for a hint of new material from the band. But ‘All For One’ doesn’t exactly hold up. I know it’s unreasonable to hold the band up against their old work but this track just seems uninspired and rushed to me. Hearing that same cliched chant about camaraderie repeatedly  is a little worn-out. The lyrics itself look like they were randomly put together and the instrumentation is just as repetitive as the lyrics, even with the guitar solo at the end that sounds just a tad generic. There’s just something missing to this track cause I know The Stone Roses are capable of more. Hopefully the simplicity of the track grows on me later on because darn it I believe in this band and maybe the rest of album will be different (please lord).

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My 2015

I’d say this year was the year of many milestones for me. Entering uni, controlling the everyday anxiety I have, but most of all, going to more concerts *woop woop* (Not exactly that much more, but still “more”). Laneway 2015 has probably sparked some sort of new found bravery in me to plough through crowds of scenesters (that are definitely eyeing me up and down condescendingly) and to just relax, focus on whoever’s on stage and let myself go. Heck, I even managed to survive a concert all by myself (seriously this was against all odds.) I’m proud of that and I honestly had an unforgettable time.

I’ve been to a number of concerts recently, even to some that I’d never thought I’d attend *cough* One Direction *cough* Jessie J (my wonderful internship gave me the wonderful opportunity to be amongst extremely excitable fangirls). But New Found Glory wasn’t too bad. So there’s gonna be a slew of concert photos and posts, and me failing  describe their performances. Just know I had a good time and a pretty good year. Yay 2015!

FIDLAR – 40oz. On Repeat

The voice of teenage angst, FIDLAR, released a new track, ’40oz. On Repeat’ and it was nothing less than what you would expect from them. They’re still that laid-back, straight up garage punk band that I grew so fond of two years ago with their debut album. Even after those two long years, their chaotic energy show no signs of dwindling. Their video parodying our favourite 90’s music videos is a hoot to watch and Zack Carper makes for a very pretty Britney Spears btw.

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Blur’s Amusing ‘Ong Ong’ Video

I’m glad to see that age hasn’t taken away the Britpop legends’ sense of fun and good humour in their new music video for ‘Ong Ong’. Playing video games and dressing up in costumes is the perfect way to accompany the light-hearted track. Who needs deeper meanings when you can have Damon Albarn in an ice cream suit being all silly? And Alex James in a bright red fat suit was the cherry on top of it all.

Would it be at all possible to see them wear these costumes at gigs?

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