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Album Review: Tegan And Sara Keep The Synthpop Train Chugging With 'Love You To Death'
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Album Review: Ariana Grande's Potential Is Getting More & More Realised With 'Dangerous Woman'
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Album Review: Yuna Shines In Her Most Confident Work With 'Chapters'
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Longtime indie rockers Tegan And Sara have had a recent synthpop transition following their successful 2013 release Heartthrob that shone the duo in a fresh new light. Love You To Death continues their newfound sound with a more outgoing attitude about it on this love-hate record.

What makes their indie pop sound standout is how catchy their synth lines and vocal hooks are. Their indie rock career may have helped that with the synth pumping Boyfriend and the tongue-twisting Dying To Know leaving earworms in our heads with memorable lines.

The twins' synthpop vibes stretch across different types here, from the CHVRCHES-esque midtempo opener That Girl, the 80's-inspired Faint Of Heart and the upbeat BWU (it stand for 'be with you' FYI) which recalls some indie rock elements. The latter is another example of how indie rock has helped them breakthrough to mainstream with this new genre.

Love You To Death is filled with songs of lost love, giving it a slight hint of a breakup album hiding behind optimistic indie pop sounds, with the exception of 100x, a somber piano tune that gives the Quin twins their most honest showing on the tracklist.

Things are looking bright for this indie power duo and Love You To Death is another testament to their new musical surge. You can catch Tegan And Sara in Singapore at The Star Theatre on 29 July.

Track Gems: Dying To Know, U-Turn, BWU, Boyfriend

*****

Concert Details:

Date: 29 July 2016
Venue: The Star Theatre, The Star Performing Arts Centre
Ticket Prices: $68, $88, $148, VIP BOX $228 (only 16 seats available)

Tickets are now available for purchase at SISTIC.

Spin or Bin Music is proud to be the Official Music Blog for Tegan and Sara Tour 2016 in Singapore!

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There is certainly no doubting Ariana Grande's superstar capacity, with a voice like Mariah, a young career similar to her peers in Selena and Demi, and an impressive resume of hit singles at just close to 23 years of age. And with the Dangerous Woman alter ego she's adopted, Ariana finds an exciting identity for her to evolve from and fulfill her high potential.

Despite the Max Martin-fueled tracks Leave Me Lonely and Let Me Love You featuring Macy Gray & Lil Wayne respectively, Ariana gets less help making this album and depends more on herself, with her artistry showing on the energetic Greedy and on the sparkling opener Moonlight, which, like much of the album, tones down the instrumentation and allows her limitless vocal prowess to shine through.

We also see a boost in Ariana's confidence as she sings more about sex using her sultry vocals on the Nicki Minaj-assisted, reggae-influenced track Side To Side and on the flirtatious tune Into You teasing "a little less conversation and a little more touch my body".

The album is Ariana's best by far, showcasing her crazy vocal abilities. She's growing into a more complex artist and person, and hopefully she can take this "dangerous woman" persona and finally silence those Mariah-comparing critics by nurturing her artist identity and realising her amazing potential.

Track Gems: Moonlight, Into You, Everyday, Side To Side

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Malaysian pop sensation Yuna has taken an alternative route to her pop sound ever since her compelling 2013 release in Nocturnal. Chapters continues that detour as Yuna tries to fuse in some trendy pop elements to garner to a wider range of listeners.

Yuna puts on what has to be her best vocal performances on the album, especially in the engaging synthpop track Lanes and in her duet with Usher on Crush, where the duo blend their unique vocals quite compatibly. Her vocal partnership with Jhené Aiko on Used Yo Love You also raises some eyebrows as you might have some trouble telling them apart in that bassy RnB track.

She also varies her sonic palette on the record somewhat tastefully, from the powerful lounge jazz-ish tune Best Love and the electronic Best Of Me with its plucked strings and swaying synths.

However, Chapters is filled with pages of slow-tempo heartbreak numbers that just have too much melancholy in them that it downs the optimistic spirit channelled by the other, more-promoted, songs. The opening Mannequin already places you in a low mood as does the verbose Unrequited Love. Although in Too Close, Yuna manages to get it sounding like a melodically powerful song about the fear of love.

Despite the disappointing arrangements and songwriting in some parts throughout the album, Yuna's dominant singing puts Chapters among her best works as she shows the world her immense talent as an artist.

Track Gems: Too Close, Best Love, Best Of Me, Lanes

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The Strokes burst onto the scene in the new millenium and the fun rock & roll sound they brought would define their career. 15 or so years later, with 5 albums in the bag, the quintet comeback with a highly-anticipated release in the Future Present Past EP.

However, the music The Strokes have been recently putting out didn't have the same genius and exciting energy of their earlier works, with 2013's Comedown Machine even alienating some longtime fans. Now, the Strokes clearly look to return to that indie rock sound as heard on the nostalgic guitarwork on OBLIVIUS and Threat Of Joy, showcasing the famed AHJ/Valensi partnership once again.

The Strokes seem to have incorporated some ideas meant to reach out to the newer, younger listeners on the EP, with frontman Julian Casablancas introducing sounds inspired from his solo work with The Voidz. Julian even goes back to his Lou Reed impersonations on the good-vibe-inducing Threat Of Joy.

The dark, experimental tones that Julian explored with The Voidz were quite pretentious personally, but still it was a refreshing perspective from which to hear his droning vocals. These dark vibes spread across the EP from the synth strings in the electronic lo-fi opener Drag Queen to the haunting remix of OBLIVIUS from drummer Fab Moretti.

Still, Future Present Past is a great listen for longtime Strokes fans, and though the EP doesn't give the band any sonic evolution or revolution, it's a fun little 4-track mix that shows that The Strokes may only do well in the safehouse of indie rock, and we don't think we mind another Is This It.

Track Gems: Threat Of Joy, Drag Queen

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What makes a cover album a good one is how it is able to recreate the same effect as the original and at the same time, bring something refreshingly new to it. South Korean-born Australian recording artist Dami Im has a go at that with Classic Carpenters, her 3rd album that covers the best tunes from 70s pop sibling duo The Carpenters.

Having done her country proud representing Australia in their best run at Eurovision 2016, and as an Australian X Factor winner, Dami undoubtedly showed her experience and professionalism in this rather decent cover album that is surely well-receiving to Carpenters fans.

The most recognizable Carpenters song Close To You kicks off the record with Dami bringing back some easy listening nostalgia with a slightly stronger take on Karen Carpenters laid back vocals. She also brings a relaxed arrangement to upbeat essential Carpenters tracks in Superstar and the cheerful Yesterday Once More.

Dami herself claims that she was "trying to sing them as honest and raw as I could as Dami, rather than pretending to be someone else", and it was clear on familiar tracks like the danceable cover of a cover This Masquerade and the feel good tune I Won't Last A Day Without You.

To sum up, Classic Carpenters is a good cover album that shows Dami Im's artistry from a unique perspective, and a definite buy for longtime Carpenters fans who want to see these songs painted with a different brush.

Track Gems: Superstar, Close To You, I Need To Be In Love, Yesterday Once More

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