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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On My Loop: Car Seat Headrest – TheDrum & Angel Olsen – Shut Up Kiss Me

Almost everybody has been gushing over Car Seat Headrest’s latest album  Teens of Denial and I was stoked to have something new to listen to. Will Toledo, the brains behind it all, has released at least a dozen albums which amazes me because I can barely even write nursery rhyme. Teens of Denial was the album praised to the high heavens but somehow I was just more inclined to check out the album prior to it, Teens of Style. The single off of that album ‘Something Soon’ is an amazing track that’s full with the feeling of exasperation and frustration. I’ve never found a lyric more relatable than I want to kick my dad in the shins because I seriously do (seriously). But ‘The Drum’ is the track that caught my attention because even though it might initially sound flat and detached, it feels almost confessional to me, kind of a reflection of some sort of problematic behaviour that all of us have probably displayed. But I have been repeating the bridge this is our lifetime and I am his creator, a young man slowly pulled apart by separate pulls of gravity for a pretty long time and is it possible to interpret since it came to him in a dream?

And ooh wee is Angel Olsen’s new track a fantastic one. Her album Burn Your Fire for No Witness had me smitten, it was a solid indie rock, lo-fi album with solid tracks. ‘Shut Up Kiss Me’ is a bold step up from her previous album, elevating her sound that’s a perfect mix of sentimentality and attitude. I love it.

 

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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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Not Everything I’ve Come to Expect

The Last Shadow Puppets |Everything You’ve Come To Expect|

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I’m not the internet’s busiest music nerd okay, I usually listen to music at my own sweet pace. Own time own target okay, so this review is coming very late because I just got around to it and despite what Alex Turner and Miles Kane may have titled their album, it’s not what I’ve come to expect from their sophomore album.

When ‘Bad Habits’ was released, I was pretty confused. I did hear a something that was reminiscent of their first album. It included the signature orchestra sound that I adore in their music but ‘Bad Habits’ was weirdly upbeat and felt like they were trying hard to step out of their usual calm and composed sound. Trying a bit too hard to me. I don’t know, I’m just not too fond of this track.

Then ‘Everything You’ve Come to Expect’ came out and I was overjoyed to hear more new songs (besides ‘Bad Habits’) from the people who made The Age of the Understatement. Then I heard it and was slightly underwhelmed actually. It was a smooth, slow-paced and mellow track that was perfectly pleasant to listen to but it wasn’t what I thought a Last Shadow Puppet song would sound like. It lacked this dynamic energy and charm The Age of the Understatement had. But it’s more of a song that grows on you, it’s probably the bias I have towards Alex Turner, but the more I heard it, the more I kind of liked it.

‘Aviation’ seemed like similar track to ‘Bad Habits’ but a major step up from it but still just short of that TLSP charm I’m looking for. But ‘Miracle Aligners’ was a godsend (so far) for this album. It sounds very similar to that song ‘My Girl, My Guy’, which may explain why I like the song (what can I say, the hook is catchy). And the video that accompanied that song, my gosh, I haven’t giggled this much in a long time.

I have so many questions. Why are they tan? Why is Alex’s hair in disarray? Who taught them to dance? What’s up with with the flower petals in the beginning? Was Alex’s part dubbed or is he really speaking Italian? You know what, nevermind, I love the video. It’s a sweet representation of their blooming bromance that I am very jealous of.

Throughout the rest of the album, I can’t help but think that Alex’s and Miles’ newfound image of this exaggerated macho attitude has had a direct impact on the album. It sounds as if they’re trying extra hard to come across as suave and debonair. And if you stripped the album off of its orchestrated instrumentation, I think you might just get Arctic Monkeys’ AM. A very popular album, just not my favourite Arctic Monkeys album.

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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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Zodiac Shit

Just a bunch of songs that I like, gotta keep up with the indie-electronica scene ammirite? (I’m not right and these songs transcend genres honestly). But this type of music was never exactly my favourite (i’ve liked a few songs here and there), but these songs are making a case for it. And there’s  Glass Animal’s new track ‘Life Itself’ which is a bouncy one. After two years since ‘Zaba’, they’ve returned with a track that’s exotically upbeat with a sleek chorus that will spur you to get you to your feet. I mean the lyric “she said i look fat, but i look fantastic” is bound to bring out some sort of reaction.

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On My Loop: Hibou – When The Season Ends

To me, Hibou kinda sounds like the love child of DIIV and Wild Nothing. There’s a bubbly sensation to Peter Michel’s tracks that just makes me tingly all over. ‘When The Season Ends’ is a track has that has some sort of Phoenix indie-pop beat but mixed in with the light dreaminess of DIIV and Wild Nothing. Vocals may be just a tad apathetic, but hey, it goes with this style of music.

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New Tame Impala, Same Old Psychedelic Vibes

IMG-20160421-WA0003 editedThis incredible psychedelic rock outfit made their way down to Singapore’s shores once again and ooh wee did I have a great time. They were here for a previous Laneway Festival that I was unfortunately was not a part of but thank the lord they came back to grace me with their presence in an amazing location, The Star Theatre. There were assigned seats so I didn’t have to wait in line for hours just to be in the front (phew) and the seats we got were in the front row, right in front of the stage – I was ecstatic. The night was starting off on the right note and I haven’t even broken a sweat (thank goodness since I had an exam the next day, woops). The band even came out on time! (What?! Everybody always comes out late, thanks for the punctuality Kevin, appreciate it!)

Tame Impala’s music has always resonated with me, as an introverted loser whose shyness is criminally vulgar (ehh ehh see what I did there with that Smith’s reference? Man, I’m pretentious). Innerspeaker was an amazing album with songs like “Solitude is Bliss”, “Lucidity” and “Why Won’t You Make Up Your Mind” which they did play during their set. But Lonerism was a whole other level of introverted psychedelic rock anthems. This was an album that got me through some of my lowest points where I felt alienated and worthless, so thanks for the preventive measures (or songs) from a complete breakdown Parker. But seriously, “Why Won’t They Talk to Me?” had such a significant impact on me, it was to the extent that when I heard it live,  tears started to well up in my eyes.

I may have digressed a little too much but hey, that’s what Tame Impala’s music does to you – causes you to enter into a space where the colours are iridescent and your feet feel like they’re no longer rooted to the ground. If you saw me at the concert, I would be embarrassing myself by dancing in my own world and shamelessly calling out to Kevin by screaming his own lyrics to him. These moments  will be forever remembered through some embarrassing recordings of me which I am strangely proud of actually. But I’m pinning my then condition on the captivating light arrangements. The photos I have don’t exactly do justice to what I experienced that night which was like falling down a rabbit hole (a rabbit that was tripping on acid maybe, not like I would know right).

Their set had a good mix of songs from all three albums but of course they had to play a little more of “Currents” which I am not complaining about because that album was superb. From start to finish, I was on board except for maybe “Gossip”, yeah wasn’t too keen on that one. Nonetheless, this album definitely managed to elevate Tame Impala’s standing as a musical outfit. Opening with “Let It Happen”, it got me and the audience (especially me) grooving and jiving from the get go. Five songs later they played “The Moment” which had this Tears for Fears-esque sound and got me dreaming to be in the 80s with blown-out feathered hair and an earring on one ear.

And when that bass line to “The Less I Know The Better” started playing, I was all set and ready to jam out (Trevor I hate you btw, whoever you are). God bless this band for playing “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards” and “New Person, Same Old Mistakes” for the encore. The former song was definitely a crowd favourite, the audience almost overpowering Kevin’s vocals. There was also an insane amount of confetti that just added to the magical feeling of the night. “New Person, Same Old Mistakes” kind of brought out my atrocious falsetto during the bridge cause you’ve got your demons and she’s got her regrets. You cannot deny that this line is nothing short of brilliant.

The set felt terribly short and the whole thing kind of ended at a kid-friendly time of 10.30pm and I still didn’t manage to get the setlist dammnit. But I left feeling fulfilled and with a sore throat from singing my lungs out. Kevin may have been just a touch off-pitch but the whole night was an amazing experience, listening to the songs that have acted as a comforting friend for me, live, was overwhelming. Thank you so much and just come back okay.

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Laneway 2016

It was time for another round of festival goodness, or at least I thought it was. I guess this year’s Laneway was a passable showcase of “fresh” indie acts with the likes of Beach House, Battles, DIIV, Grimes and The 1975. Yes, The 1975. No hate, they’ve got catchy tunes but I didn’t expect them to replace Tobias Jesso Jr. Come on, The 1975? They should’ve just had their own concert, played more songs and both their fans and myself would be much happier.

And did I say DIIV was part of the line-up? Oh, they pulled out. At. the. last. minute. I was pissed. Sure this year’s line-up was praised to the high heavens but it looked to me as if it was going to be an electronica-fueled day (yes I know there were others like METZ and Thundercat but damn I was pissy about DIIV cancelling). The only few bands I was looking forward to were Violent Soho, DIIV, Battles, Beach House and Grimes. And DIIV cancelled, might I emphasise once more- at the last minute. It definitely dampened my mood (the blistering Singapore heat wasn’t helping either what with me fuming with rage).

But it’s okay, I tried to let that one slide since Violent Soho gave a heck of a show. This Aussie alternative rock band was my saving grace amongst the sea of electronica acts. I’m going to make a lame attempt at a meme because I don’t always curse, but when I do, it’s during a Violent Soho song. A ‘Hell Fuck Yeah!’ to you Violent Soho, your magnificently luxuriant hair brought life to the stage and jealousy to my mind (seriously, I could never wave around my long hair like you guys and not get it tangled into the guitar). ‘Saramona Said’ and ‘Covered in Chrome’ gave me a sensation to scream, shout and jump around hapzardly, as did the people in the mosh who did a wonderful job in having an awesome time (I’m no good in moshes cause I’m a right stiff).

Next in line on my personal Laneway list was Battles. But no, some bad luck there as well. Battles faced some technical problems that I’m still unsure about but am nonetheless pissed at (yo Laneway, get it together for the acts I want to see please). It’s pretty punny how people commented that we had to pick our “battles”. Haha, wow, I’m so amused that Battle’s set was cut short while The 1975’s set seemed to go forever (yes, I’m bitter, this mostly stems from DIIV’s cancellation tsk). I did however, get to hear ‘Atlas’ which was basically the main song every Battles fan wants to hear. Props to John the drummer for filling in with such tenacity when technical difficulties started, you one-handedly kept the momentum going (especially in the monstrous heat) which means your sir, are a rockstar.

Beach House was next. ‘Bloom’ and ‘Teen Dream’ are amazing albums in their own right, bringing this dreamy, hazy shoegaze sound to a whole new level making Beach House the masters of this particular sound. I could say the same for ‘Depression Cherry’ and ‘Thank Your Lucky Stars’ but it seems to me that the band has gotten slightly too comfortable to move beyond and enhance what they’re already good at. Both albums feel longer than they need to be really. However, being right after The 1975, it was a delightful contrast and I sang my heart out to ’10 Mile Stereo’ and ‘Myth’ despite me sounding like a dying cat (sorry not sorry Laneway-goers who were unlucky enough to be around me).

It was almost as if I was experiencing culture shock, jumping from Beach House to Grimes. I can’t admit to being one those who thought ‘Visions’ was an absolute masterpiece (I’m sure it was, but I just couldn’t get into it for some reason) but ‘Art Angels’ was a nice change of pace for the singer-songwriter. Her second album was more commercial and easy to digest in my opinion (I know that sounds weird coming from a  pretentious hipster like me). Claire is 27, but when she’s on stage, it looks like someone who’s still in their teen years, just having oodles of fun with her dancers and featuring artist, Aristophanes. Forgetting lyrics does contribute to her seemingly youth, but with her fantastic showmanship, it was a forgiveable fault (I myself can’t remember what I had for breakfast).

CHVRCHES took over quickly but I was never too interested in their music. They gave a solid and entertaining performance sure, but I was too busy looking for water (screaming along to ‘Kill V. Maim’ is no joke). A side note: it was funny to me how Lauren kept reminding us they don’t get to come to Singapore that often when this is their third time here in three years (bring some other band will ya Laneway, WHY NOT FIDLAR? They were in the Australian line-up!)

Flume tho. I was sceptical at first since I was never really big on DJs or the like (Is Flume a DJ? I’m not sure, so sorry). But Flume tho. His songs allows you to immerse in a parallel universe where there’s a constant cool breeze and club lights shimmering against your face that is lost in reverie.

Honorable mention to The Internet and Thundercat because you guys are so smooth as heck.

This was a long post, but I have my doubts for next year’s Laneway Festival. The line-up better be good, or there’ll be one less Laneway-goer (I know I won’t be missed).

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