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Album Review: Greg Holden - Chase The Sun
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Album Review: Passion Pit - Kindred
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Album Review: Tinashe - Aquarius
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more album picks

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Greg Holden may not be a household name to many and with a number of albums so far in his career, fame isn't so important to him. The singer-songwriter has contributed his own songs to many TV shows and more notably co-writing Home, the song Philip Philips performed after being crowned the 11th American Idol.

Chase The Sun is the New York-based British singer-songwriter's first album released by a major label, Warner Bros. It's a folk rock record with a sort of Mumford/Lumineers sound and at times, the story-telling style of Dylan himself.

Holden seems to have an affinity for simple verses that lead into grand, sing-along choruses in the many anthemic tracks like A Wonderful World, Bulletproof and Give It Away. These song types are just perfect for bars and pubs, which is where I presume Greg finds his target audience most of the time.

Working with a major label seems to have opened Holden to new avenues when writing songs. The lead single, Hold On Tight is a super motivational folk tune telling you Don't take your life for granted. Greg surprisingly goes into a personal, soothing piano ballad that sounds so different from his usual guitar-work in Go Chase The Sun.

Mainstream music may have crept into his muse with some pop aspects in the catchy and groovy Free Again. Greg also displays his personal songwriting style best in Boys In The Street. A heart-wrenching story about a gay man living his entire life without his father's approval of who he truly is.

It's quite saddening to know that this man's most famous work isn't something performed by him because this guy is one of the more unique individuals among the many singer-songwriters in the world. His personal songs just reach out to you and connect with you, which is what music is truly meant for. Chase The Sun shows the best of Greg Holden, a down-to-earth musician and a wonderful story-teller.

Track Gems: Boys In The Street, Free Again, Hold On Tight, A Wonderful World

Photo credit: Warner Bros

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On 21st April, indie pop band, Passion Pit, released their newest album, Kindred. The first two singles from Kindred, Lifted Up (1985) and Where the Sky Hangs, had given us a gist of what to expect from the album - which was a mix of contrasted tracks.

With a full listen of the album, Kindred is indeed filled with a variety. Just like Lifted Up (1985) and Where the Sky Hangs, the tracks in Kindred are mashed up with fast and slow beats.

Lead singer, Michael Angelakos, has always been known to write lyrics as a reflection of what he has been through in his life. In Whole Life Story, Michael shares the struggles which he faced with his wife, which would have been a follow-up to Constant Conversations from Gossamer.

All I Want isn’t as appealing as the other tracks in Kindred. Instead of having a dominant beat to set the track in place, it sounded way too much of a noise, with too much background sounds. With different beats playing at one go, it becomes difficult to listen, and as the song continues, the vocals sounded detached from the music that’s playing, making it the least harmonious track in Kindred.

Comparing with Gossamer, Kindred does not seem to have a theme through its songs. It is not as heartfelt as Gossamer was, and it felt disorientated. Only a few tracks gave good impressions, while others, like My Brother Taught Me How to Swim, gave off desperate verdicts that Passion Pit is just trying to fill up the album.

Kindred’s third single, Until We Can’t (Let’s Go):

Track gems: Lifted Up (1985), Where the Sky Hangs, Whole Life Story, Looks Like Rain

Photo credit: Columbia Records

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Two months after kicking off her critically-acclaimed world tour in Canada, pop superstar Meghan Trainor has finally landed in Singapore, her last of two shows in Asia. The singer-songwriter certainly put on a show one will remember for months to come.

Chants for Meghan filled the air as her five-piece band and a quartet of dancers, which double up as backup singers, took their places on stage. While she was in a rush to make it to her press conference, she kicked off the That Bass Tour right on time with her electrifying new single, Dear Future Husband.

The Good: Just about everything. Her pitch-perfect vocals on ballads 3am and John Legend collaboration Like I’m Gonna Lose You sounded just like they were recorded in the studio. Of course, it was the upbeat numbers Walkashame and Bang Dem Sticks that got the mainly pre-teen crowd movin’. 

Meghan interacted with many lucky fans throughout the show (including yours truly) and it did not seem one bit forced. Be it noticing signs held up by her Megatronz in the crowd or slapping hands with the deafening crowd after her show, she made everyone in the building feel special.

The (not so) Bad: Her performance of What If I isn’t bad, accompanied by a spinning disco ball that lit up the Coliseum in a myriad of colours. It just felt out of place. The performance dampened the crowd, being a ballad wedged on the setlist between the upbeat Lips Are Movin’ and All About That Bass.

The Surprise: The acoustic performance of Title featured no flashy backdrops, no dancers, nor an overwhelming bassline. Just Meghan, her ukulele and an acoustic guitar. However, it was clearly the best performance all night. Who would have known?

Meghan certainly did not come off as an amateur one-hit wonder still finding her spot on the pop roster on Thursday night. Rather, in that short one hour, it felt like she was a seasoned professional, one that successfully connected and entertained the thousands who came down that night.

Photo Credit: Live Nation Lushington

We Came as Romans is a post-hardcore group out of Troy, Michigan that was formed in 2005 when they were seniors in high school.  After several lineup changes, they released their debut album, To Plant a Seed, in 2009 to solid reviews. Featuring thematic, synth-filled choruses along with their heavy vocal screams, WCAR was able to create a unique sound and quickly carved out a healthy fan base, especially among the younger crowd. The band's relentless touring to support this album (alongside acts such as Asking Alexandria, Parkway Drive, Of Mice and Men, and more) brought them closer to fans and increased their popularity.

In support of their latest album Tracing Back Roots, WCAR is hitting the road again with a pit stop at our sunny shores.

Concert details:

       We Came As Romans: Tracing Back Roots Tour
       Date: May 20, 2015
       Venue: Neverland II, St James Power Station
       Ticket prices: $70 (April), $80 (May)
       All tickets available here.

And how could we not link you up with this awesome band with free tickets?

Brilliantly, the gang at Inokii has kindly kicked three pairs of tickets in our direction and given we've already got tickets to the show, we’re kicking them all over to you ’cause we know you’d love to rock out with us!

Here's what you gotta do:

1) Follow us on Twitter.

2) Simply tweet the message “! Gimme a pair of tickets to catch We Came As Romans LIVE in Singapore! "

Photo credit: Inokii

Terms & Conditions:
1. Open to Singapore residents only.
2. All entries must be received before 21:00 hours on April 30, 2015.
3. Multiple tweets are allowed but each Twitter account will only be entitled to one winning chance.
4. Representative of Spin or Bin Music will pick three (3) tweets amongst all eligible tweets. Spin or Bin Music’s decision is final and binding. No correspondence will be entertained about Spin or Bin Music’s decision.
5. Spin or Bin Music reserves the right to disqualify all entries that do not meet the rules and regulations of the Contest. These include entries submitted with invalid or incorrect information.
6. Winners will receive a tweet/ DM from Spin or Bin Music with further instructions on how to claim the prize.
7. Spin or Bin Music is not responsible for, nor obligated to replace, any lost, stolen, or damaged prize sent through mail.

Making Singapore proud at Asia’s Got Talent against other rivals, Fathin Amira received a standing ovation with her rendition of Mamma Knows Best.

Straddling with swag akin to Beyoncé Knowles and possessing a power house falsetto like Christina Aguilera during her audition, Amira had control over her unbridled voice without losing a smidge of spontaneity. The dextrous vocalist also made it to the semi finals and is flying our country’s flag high. Showing us that mama knows best indeed, Fathin credits her mum for the artist she is today.

This is by far the biggest opportunity that she has ever experienced.Asia's Got Talent is a great platform for extraordinary talents, it’s okay to be a little bit ambitious right? My dream is to be an international singer, who inspires & aspires. If your dreams don't scare/thrill you, means they're not big enough. This is big, and this is real. This could be it, for me.”

Despite contesting against strong contenders from the Philippines which has boasted a wealth of international signers like Charice Pempengco and Christian Bautista, Fathin is brimming with perseverance in order to achieve her dream.

“I’m truly blessed to be part of this big production and I’m hoping to get the support again. The production team is so accommodating, professional and open to new ideas. All the tears, hard work and patience, everything paid off! I can't wait to show the world what I've been working on for exactly 7 years (ever since Singapore Idol in 2009).”

Yes the thought of SG Idol may feel like eons ago, however Fathin has also amassed her experiences from other platforms such as the The Final 1, Youth Olympic Games, ITE College East, charity shows and her Dad’s solo concert.

It is indeed a dream come true, from listening to her granny’s oldies/ pop keroncong songs from her karaoke set- she is soaring high across Singapore’s border. Her granny taught her the art of singing and this led to her liking for evergreen hits.

Recalling about her first musical experience in 1997, Fathin performed for the Knowledge Base Economy Convention, where she sang alongside Najib Ali, Zubir Abdullah and Abdul Ghani.  This was attended by the then Prime Minister, Mr Goh Chok Tong.

In addition, her Malay debut single "Sebenarnya" was also nominated in APM for Most Popular Song. Obtaining her song writing inspirations from Tori Kelly, Fathin feels that Tori is an artist who is able to relate her feelings both lyrically and musically to reality.

“It’s been about 7 years odd  in this industry ever since Singapore Idol (2009). I was rather reserved and shy when I first started in Singapore Idol. After SG Idol, I joined my Dad's wedding band, and ITE Showchoir. That's where the real thing started, singing in front of the guests, and new sets of audiences every weekend. I learned a lot of new repertoires from both of these platforms.”

With a little more refining, I’m certain that her contributions to the music society will not only be recognized in Singapore but also internationally. Who knows Fathin might be inducted into a Hall Of Fame - maybe the next Yuna?!

 

 

Photo Credits: Fathin Amira