Third time’s the charm and indeed it was.
British independent singer-songwriter Joe Brooks seemed to have tripled his charm when he performed here for the third time on Wednesday at Timbre@Gillman.
And just when you think Joe is becoming accustomed to our sunny island, he quips, “I never played at such humidity before. It’s balls.” But even with so many Singapore fans raving over him, I was pretty sure only the ceiling fans stood out the most.
While Joe definitely made to the “dapper” category in a white shirt with a loose black tie, I couldn’t help but hope that he would change into something more comfortable like tank top and shorts. And he would look as great as well as his voice sounds. I imagine Joe as a versatile dude; if you stick him in a punk rock band he’ll rough it out well.
Kicking the gig off was The Island, a brand new song from Joe’s upcoming album The Boy and The Broken Machine. Already, the new record feels like it would sound amazing. Coming up next was Six String Soldier, then Someday (OK) from his EP, A Reason To Swim. The thing about Joe’s performance is how emotionally invested he is and how he wants to make every song count – not just to himself but his fans too. His repertoire of music speaks for more than itself, as each one is beautifully written added with a little personal touch and a buoyant tune.
Such examples he played were I Find The Light In You and Hello Mr. Sun. Lined up next was his previous single Holes Inside, which everyone couldn’t wait to leap into. Joe’s vocals were nicely silhouetted by the crowd’s silky voices, and he took advantage by getting everyone to wave their phones to form a sea of swaying lights. That’s the literal beauty of concerts.
And I’m glad it doesn’t end there. Joe and his backing band continued with many of my favourites: Five Days of Summer, Marching Band and Rules Of Attraction. Also, there are no prizes for guessing who had the craziest weekend in Toronto that he had to write an incredibly catchy song about it. Yep, the popster himself confessed. But we LOVE the mad piano tinkers and harmonica solo – we had as much fun as you did writing about it Joe! Psst, that’s one more reason to get The Boy And The Broken Machine.
But before Joe caused panic when he made his exit off stage with his band, they sneaked in Green Eyes. I could really hear him crooning la da da da da da die all day long! Of course, Joe returned to play his first and latest singles, Superman and Till My Heart Stops Beating after a huge birthday song and cake (the lad turned 26 last week!).
To sum the concert up from a lyric in The Island, “Time to go big or go home”, I’d say Joe Brooks went big.
Six String Soldier
I Find The Light In You
Hello Mr. Sun
Five Days Of Summer
Rules Of Attraction
Till My Heart Stops Beating
I hate Demi Lovato. There, I said it. Now, before you go all bat-shit crazy for saying so, let me tell you why. Her latest, self-titled album Demi, is a collection of songs that are heavily personal, shedding light on her past few tumultuous years, which saw her entering rehab for substance abuse, bulimia and being diagnosed with bipolar disorder. All these impacted the release of her third album Unbroken, which gave us songs like Skyscraper and Give Your Heart a Break. On her fourth studio effort this time round, she focusses on a positive message with the upliftingly vulnerable Warrior, talks about love in Neon Lights and Nightingale and basically stays as true to herself as possible, and it shows in her excellent craftsmanship. It's precisely her talent at utilising her imperfections to her advantage that leave me in awe of Lovato as a person. Knowing that she's a year younger than me with an abundance of life experience already behind her.... well it stinks. But she says, suck it up, move on, focus on the positives in life, and that's some advice coming from a 20-year-old. Am I sounding like a fan to you yet? Good.
This album is chockfull of understated gems, and possibly radio hits if promoted right. Possessing a brilliant vocal range, Lovato knows how to work each song to her advantage, and her licks on Warrior, coupled with that tinge of affectivity and vulnerability in her voice, pulls at the heartstrings of any listener. You can almost imagine her pain and torment she went through... but nobody knows it better than Lovato.
Fans of her previous hits like Don't Forget, Give Your Heart A Break and Skyscraper will be hooked on tracks like the semi-explosive Fire Starter, the full-bodied swells in Nightingale or the piano-driven In Case. She also channels her inner girly spunk and sass with UK X Factor star Cher Lloyd on Really Don't Care, the latter artiste just an offhand guest vocalist if you think about it. Honestly, Cher Lloyd deserves better than that.
Not really liking Made In The USA, despite some grand statements of love like "Our love runs deep like a Chevy/ If you fall I'll fall with you baby", or "No matter what the people say, I know that we'll never break / cos our love was made/ made in the USA". I'm sorry, but it's 1) cheesy as hell, and 2) reminding me too much of Miley Cyrus' Party in the USA. Did they get a session in with the same songwriter? Haha...
Otherwise, I'm liking the risks Lovato managed to take, especially with the break from all the glitz and glam pop rock we heard in the front end of the tracklisting. Shouldn't Come Back is excellent in bringing out the huskiness of Lovato's vocals, which can be overpowering at times. It definitely paid off to tone down the backing tracks and let the purity of her vocals shine through as she laments a love that would be better off lost. The ditzy/dizzy/deliriousness of Something That We're Not puts Lovato in contention for the summer hit of 2013. Yep, its clever melody and just fun take on wanting to be "more than just friends" captures the essence of young love quite aptly. Definitely upping the aww-factor with this one.
So, yes, to reiterate, I hate Demi Lovato, that one-heck of a talented singer who's an inspiration to many, in possession of a set of vocals that she knows how to work. Y U SO PERFECT?! #totallyobjectivereview
Track Cuts: Shouldn't Come Back, Heart Attack, Something That We're Not, Nightingale, Warrior
Former Hey Monday frontwoman Cassadee Pope set the bar really high for herself after her amazing run on The Voice and being the show’s first female winner, but luckily her new single Wasting All These Tears does not disappoint.
Wasting All These Tears, in the vein of her more popular Voice covers Over You and Stupid Boy, is a pop-rock ballad with a slight country twang to it. The lyrics sound very Taylor Swift You're Not Sorry but with the attitude of Picture to Burn, and vocally Cassadee avoids her kryptonite – low notes – by sticking with her belty upper-but-at-times-shrill range.
Cassadee could have fallen flat on her face with a generic country ballad, but her ability to paint this wonderful picture with her voice, telling this gut-wrenching story of love lost just gets to you. And Cassadee seems to have stopped overusing her vibrato, so six months away from the spotlight has done her good.
The production, however, leaves much to be desired. When she performs it live, it’s a pop-rock song through and through, but the studio version has this annoying fiddle/metal guitar instrument that kind of forces the country onto the song.
American Idol had Kelly Clarkson, X Factor had Leona Lewis and now The Voice hopes Cassadee Pope will be catapulted to superstardom. The single, scheduled to be released on the 4th of June, might just be the one to break the string of failed The Voice winners. Till then, let’s just listen to the live version of Wasting All These Tears and fall in love with this girl.
Whenever I meet an artiste or a musician I truly admire, it is only natural that my heart rate goes off the roof and my tongue gets twisted faster than earphones in my pocket. But upon greeting Lorenzo, Jonathon and Joseph, the guitarist, bassist and keyboardist of Australian indie rock band The Temper Trap, it felt comfortable (maybe because they smelled gorgeous.) Needless to say, my interview with the trio resembled more like a chat than a formal meeting.
For a band that has been chosen to support The Rolling Stones on their 2013 tour, they seemed well-adjusted and earnest to answer our burning questions. Well, it’s also maybe because they’ve sold a million singles in the US. It’s a success well deserved, and it would be a ridiculous lie to say that we’re not stoked to have them on our ground again.
The Temper Trap played at Laneway Festival in 2011 and they even expressed their interest to play it again at some point (take note, Laneway chasers!). In their previous trip here for 4 days, the band had some fun in clubs and even caught up with some school friends. Now don’t tell us for not ever informing you where to stalk your favourite bands!
Plus, if you are curious about what The Temper Trap’s fragrance would ever smell like and what object of great masculinity Jonathon was made to wear during their tours – I’m not letting the cat out of the bag.
You just have to watch the full interview below!
Beyonce did it again.
She lays a punchy funky beat right at the start of Grown Woman. She is the definition of fresh music. Pulling tribal elements into the percussion, it keeps a steady beat with a dance-y bass drum going on and on in the background. The groovy bass line that takes on a vocal sound, so to speak, puts the sick in slick.
The Queen Bey is all about attitude and we can hear it through the lyrics and her fierce occasional scream-squeals. No amount of superlatives can describe the perfection of Beyonce’s voice. Midway the track, she unleashes vocal harmonies that send chills up our spines.
“You know the way I walk/Cause I walk with a vengeance” Heck yeah! One does not simply listen to Grown Woman and not break into dance. With each single, Beyonce just gets better and better. Take note, other songstresses. This is how you do it. This is how you become legendary.
Enough talking. We’ll shut up now and let you listen to the full glory of Beyonce’s new single.
The Billboard Music Awards felt a little stale until Pitbull and the fabulous Ms. Christina Aguilera stepped on stage and turned the whole event into a nightclub, performing Feel This Moment. To top it all off, they even Morten Harket of A-ha to sing Take Me On, which Feel This Moment samples heavily. Now that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you own a song.
But perhaps the best moment, throughout the entire show, when was Xtina popped up on stage in her LBD (little black dress), a pair of amazing high heels and strutting like a diva, looking sexy, svelte and sultry. And those toned as hell legs. Girl, you better work! And her vocals were amazing, despite a way-too-loud backing track.
Although Christina didn’t win any of the four awards she was up for, she certainly won us over back to team Xtina for the next season of the Voice! Oh, and in case you didn’t know, yes Ms. Aguilera will be returning to the Voice for season five, as is Cee-Lo Green.
I look forward to more Xtina fierceness on the Voice next season, but till then, here’s Christina and Pitbull with Feel This Moment!
I can’t possibly imagine how horrifying it must be if I had to wait for as long as 12 years for my favourite band to finally pay a visit to Singapore. Well, I do have a certain notion of how mind-blowingly frustrating it could be, just that I haven’t waited THAT long. Not yet anyway.
So picture 12 years of bottled up teenage angst and then suddenly, lo and behold, the floodgates open and all previous emotions re-surface for a wild night out with The Used. The Utah-based rockers have been around since 2001 and it really is quite astounding that the quartet hasn’t been here before. The Used, the self-titled effort that was eventually certified gold was released back in 2002 is quite possibly the adolescent soundtrack of many. This lot probably felt that they owed the organisers their souls for successfully reigning in the band after such a painstakingly long wait.
The organisers of course, happen to be Live! Empire, who after that explosive Pierce The Veil gig, spoke of greater things to come, most notably the return of Fall Out Boy in August and just to rub it in, blasted Save Rock and Roll in its entirety along with a few select singles to tease and warm the crowd up. Local openers Caracal’s website might be caracalnoise.com but the sounds their live performances delivered that evening were nothing short of gratifying and headbang-worthy at the very least. Lead singer K.C. Meals, the self-proclaimed Used fan acknowledged the rhetoric that The Used were the main heroes of the night, finishing off their prompt set with a few older anthems of their own alongside several spanking new ones, much to the approval of the audience.
Having barely recovered from their stint on the inaugural Alternative Press tour in Japan, The Used seem perfectly at home when they swaggered onto stage, appreciatively surveying the Singaporean crowd for the first time in a dozen years before launching into In Love and Death’s Listening. “It’s a fucking disgrace that we took this long!” Bert McCracken yelped at the earnest audience who obviously couldn’t have agreed more. The potty-mouthed rose-haired frontman barely contained his excitement throughout the night, letting loose a never-ending stream of stage antics including several Michael Jackson-inspired crotch moves before dismissing the late singer as a “child fucker”. I’m pretty sure several strands of Laksa which McCracken professed his love for might’ve been released into the pit. Classy.
To make up for lost time, The Used managed to cover a lot of ground off their entire discography, with classic tunes ranging from 2002’s The Taste of Ink, All That I’ve Got and Buried Myself Alive, all of which was only greeted by die-hard fans that roared the lyrics right back at the band. McCracken talked about the pleasure he derived from the smiles etched on members of the audience but throughout the set, I could not help but notice guitarist Quinn Allman’s constant good-natured grin or bassist Jeph Howard’s looks of triumph, proving how much “music saves lives” and that they were living proof.
Rolling straight off their current record, Vulnerable’s Put Me Out and I Come Alive were irresistible crowd-pleasers that saw the audience flying off their feet and in some cases, quite literally as the sea of bodies welcomed the occasional crowd-surfer. But McCracken’s manic lust for a good time couldn’t have been sated if not for the crowd-parting circle pit he personally called for or the inevitable, eye-opening wall of death that accompanied the fitting Blood on My Hands.
Sticking to his little speech about the band’s humility and undying appreciation towards their fans, the punchy anthem that is Pretty Handsome Awkward was followed closely by a surprise acoustic rendition of On My Own that comprised only of McCracken and a lone Allman after the usual calls for an encore. Such an intimate setting, while undoubtedly welcomed, could not have hoped to live up to what occurred next. Exclaiming that “This is the greatest fucking song ever written!”, The Used exploded into a cover of Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit which melded wonderfully into A Box Full of Sharp Objects bringing the night to breathtaking end.
After over a decade of being left out on all the mad fun that The Used entails, there really wasn’t a question about how much the concert-goers thoroughly enjoyed hanging out with the very band they had once yearned but could only dream about witnessing before their very eyes. I know that feel.
Bird and the Worm
Put Me Out
I Caught Fire
Taste of Ink
I Come Alive
All That I’ve Got
Take It Away
Buried Myself Alive
Blood On My Hands
Pretty Handsome Awkward
On My Own
Smells Like Teen Spirit/A Box Full Of Sharp Objects
Photos: Nur Amaly Effendy, Lionel Boon & Jared Rezel
While in Boston for its Kiss 108 radio station’s outdoor gig, Demi Lovato surprised fans by doing a special duet with Cher Lloyd for their song, Don’t Really Care. The track is taken off her latest album, Demi.
After doing a set with tracks taken off her previous albums, Don’t Forget, Here We Go Again and Unbroken, the singer did a cover of Rihanna’s Stay and brought the British Cher Lloyd out on stage. Fans went wild the moment they heard the pint size singer’s voice and I could pretty much feel the excitement through my laptop screen. After all, it is the first time that the both of them have performed the song together.
I have to say, despite the bad quality of the video; the energy of the two singers can be felt as they danced around on stage together. Sadly, the moment that they shared on stage wasn’t for long and Lloyd left promptly after the song ended.
The Heart Attack singer then took to Twitter to express her appreciation for Lloyd. "LOVE @CherLloyd!!!!! Girl you KILLED it tonight.. SOOO excited to be performing this song again with you. #GIRLPOWER!!!" .
Back in November 2012, Rihanna went on a whirlwind tour of seven countries in seven days to celebrate her 7th album Unapologetic, even going to the extent of chartering a Boeing 777 twinjet to fly her diehard fans and international journalists around. With such historical precedence to this 777 tour, there isn't any surprise that a tour documentary would be made in due course.
RIHANNA 777 chronicles her (mis)adventures in a reality-type format with glamourous footage of her and her possé partying it up in Mexico City, London, Paris, Berlin, New York City, Toronto and Stockholm. Expect to hear hits like S&M, We Found Love, as well as latest tracks Diamonds and Stay, amongst other behind-the-scenes footage that will show a side of Rihanna we might not have known yet.
Thanks to the ace team at Universal Music, Spin or Bin Music has 3 sets of RIHANNA 777 Documentary DVDs for some lucky fans who may have missed out on experiencing the whirlwind tour first hand! To win, follow the steps below!
1. Follow us on Twitter.
2. Tweet the following message:
"I missed out on RIHANNA's 777 tour, but no fear, cos' #SpinorBinMusic has 3 DVDs up for grabs! "
Deadline is on the 24 May, so what are you waiting for!!
Terms & Conditions:
1. Open to Singapore residents only.
2. All entries must be received before 21:00 hours on May 24, 2013.
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 randomly 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.
She can sing like nobody’s business, her tunes are sick and she can dance her ass off, but yet Ms. Kat DeLuna has not been able to gain the attention she deserves. Hopefully her new single Stars will change all that.
The Latino diva is responsible for dance floor staples like Whine Up, Drop it Low and Wanna See You Dance (La La La), but outside of the clubbing scene, her career is at a perpetual standstill. Instead, everyone seems to be raving over another Latino dance floor diva, who shall not be named. Oh Kat, how I wish you’d steal away the crown from Ms. Jennifer Lopez.
This is where Stars comes in, the third single from Kat’s upcoming third studio album, Viva Out Loud, which has been delayed for a year now. Like many of Kat’s songs, Stars is 100% addictive and guaranteed to be stuck in your head. The song lacks her usual dancehall influences, instead playing more to what’s popular right now a.k.a. EDM, but distinctive timbre of Kat’s voice blends so well with the EDM production.
I look forward to hearing Stars in clubs, and fingers crossed that mainstream audiences bump this track too, because god knows Ms. Deluna deserves it. Press play and get addicted to this ish like I have: