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album picks

Album Review: Pharrell Williams - G I R L
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Album Review: 5 Seconds of Summer - She Looks So Perfect EP
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Album Review: Various Artists - Vampire Academy OST
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The tenth instalment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe which came in the form of Captain America: The Winter Solider was an absolute game-changer. The sheer magnitude of the events that took place has rocked many a spin-off and its crippling repercussions will no doubt manifest themselves in future films. But even muggles who’re clueless as to what I just said, will surely have noticed the sudden surge of memes that have overthrown other loyal fads with the unanimous declaration of “Hail HYDRA”.

A terrorist organisation at its core, the group’s motto references the myth of the Hydra, stating that "if a head is cut off, two more will take its place" proclaiming their resilience and growing strength in the face of resistance.

With plenty of backstabbing going around, you never really know who you can trust - especially not those who have been constantly whispering in your ear through a façade of inclusiveness and companionship. Don’t be too surprised if your favourite boyband turns out to be stooges of a dictatorial figure bent on world domination of some sort!

 

1. The Chainsmokers

The “Selfie Song” or officially, #SELFIE exploited the rising trend of self-portrait photographs, propagating alarming levels of narcissism and bloated self-importance. To some, it’s “shit-white-girls-say-meets-a-club-remix.” The introduction of yet another mindless viral phenomenon is no doubt a ploy in HYDRA’s larger scheme in reducing the denizens of the world to a pathetic state of self-indulgence.

 

2. Jimmy Fallon

In spite of constantly being the most-watched late night talk show host, a coup against the long-standing Jay Leno was a dubious decision on NBC’s part. Fallon however, stood to gain the most as the newly-instated host of The Tonight Show with an earlier timeslot and the programme’s illustrious history.  Overly enthusiastic about the gig, Fallon is “so nice, so giddy to just be there, so thoroughly un-tortured in the way most comedians (and late-night hosts) are”. Seducing the masses with bubbliness, his debut dance with Will Smith to the history of hip-hop could be signaling an Order 66-like purge.

 

3. Miley Cyrus

Tearing to shreds the image of the virginal Disney princess for eternity, Cyrus has emerged from her Hannah Montana cocoon with her now infamous tongue stuck wide out. Despite popular opinion, Cyrus was not in fact responsible for the invention of twerking but merely revolutionised it and for what purpose? The deterioration of moral values that accompanies such bold acts of indecency will no doubt corrupt and weaken the populations’ moral courage.

 

4. Pharrell Williams

For frequent Spotify users, Pharrell’s blaring advertisement about the advocacy of some sort of happiness movement is not only a constant pain in the butt but sounds too good to be true. There is a limit as to how positive a person can be and the rapper might’ve even been able to get away with the misleading mirage of a joyous utopia if not for his fishy hat. Nice try, HYDRA.

 

5. Pete Wentz

Unable to breach the staunch goodness within Fall Out Boy frontman Patrick Stump, the emo Pete Wentz is not afraid to show his true colours in an attempt to lure him to the Dark Side.

 

6. Taylor Swift

The string of various lovers T-Swizzle is reported to have is not only unfounded but serves to boost the image of a severely wronged girl-next-door without a hint of actual controversy surrounding her. A pretty solid cover to hide the songstress’ actual persona that is as deadly as one Natasha Romanoff, scathing lyrics may not be the only thing she’s proficient at…

 

7. 5 Seconds of Summer

I thought we all agreed that there is no emo revival so why is this bunch suddenly jumping on the pop punk bandwagon?? No amount of skunk hair, Joy Division shirts or even a music video consisting of impressive amounts of underwear and half-naked torsos will convince me that 5SOS is not a Trojan Horse of yet another power-chord driven, self-proclaimed, begging-to-defer rock band. HYDRA’s misplaced intentions of installing sleeper agents have now OFFICIALLY defiled the “sacred” relationship between pizza and the genre. 

Photo credit: Uskok on deviantART, Dim Mak Records, MTV, NBC, WireImage, Big Machine Records, Tumblr 

While we remain aware of the fact that music per se is the most important part of a musician’s career, we figured it’s high time we shifted the spotlight for a moment from the sonic arts to the lesser-regarded visual arts of making music, especially when it takes the form of an album. I’m speaking of none other than album covers.

Doubling as the visual representation of an artiste’s music, the cover art is the first thing you see upon contact with a record, and often plays a large part in attracting or repelling potential listeners. It’s practically an indispensible part of the music, thus being just as important as anything else.

Here are our top five album covers that tend towards more artistic realms. Additionally, in the spirit of supporting local, we pick ones from Singaporean bands/singers. You might be surprised by what we find.

 

5. wyd:syd — Yesterlove

Illustrated by Michelle Maxine, this cover art is for not a full-length album, but a single track entitled Yesterlove. Like this colourful, unorthodox cover art, indie rock outfit wyd:syd is not what you’d expect when you think about Singapore-based bands. In other words, if you heard their songs on the radio, you’d think they were some talented bunch of foreign blokes.

 

4. Inch Chua — Bumfuzzle

Coming in at number four is Inch Chua’s latest album Bumfuzzle. If you know what a Merlion is, surely, hers is a name you’d be more than familiar with. An indie sweetheart who’s left Singapore for the United States (the supposed land of opportunity), Inch’s musical artistry shows in her album cover, featuring an illustrated self-portrait that couldn’t hold a candle to the mundane headshot photographs that almost every single artiste has once used as “cover art”. Also, note the subtle letters that spell out the record name.

 

3. Sapporo Safaris — Figures of Eight

Now, this is something different. A queer cover art to match a queer, almost unpronounceable, band name. Formed in 2012, this eight-man indie pop band has already released their debut four-track EP, Figures of Eight. It’s unbelievable the amount of effort they’ve put into the album, especially in terms of design, from the CD booklet to the disc itself.

You’d think from one look at their simplistic watercolour cover art that they were mere amateurs, but further scrutiny would reveal their utter originality and musical prowess.

 

2. 7nightsatsea — Drift Easy, Heavy Hands

The second best album cover we’ve seen is one that’s a bit more conceptual. It’s Drift Easy, Heavy Hands, a six-track EP by local band 7nightsatsea that specialises in experimental/post-rock music. As if getting an artist (Allison M. Low) to create the album art wasn’t enough, they had to employ the help of SSYSTM to design the typography as well. Then again, two is better than one, right? The result: An album cover that blows the previous ones out of the water (pun intended).

 

1. The Caulfield Cult, Godard Split

An upcoming record done in collaboration with UK band Godard, what’s special about Godard Split is that it’s made specifically as a 7-inch vinyl record. The Caulfield Cult is a hardcore band from Singapore, who're under two record labels; one from Germany and the other from UK. The album cover art for Godard Split is done by an artist from UK who goes by the moniker, WOLF MASK.

I’m sure it’s clear how this cover art found its way to the top of this list, but if I had to spell out a reason, just look at the detail of the illustration—the broken cabinet door, the fire outside the window, the individually named cereal boxes, the fuzzy TV screen, the skeleton with a cigarette in his mouth, etc. Even the colour scheme is perfect. (And coincidentally, purple is my favourite colour.)

Photo credit: wyd:syd, Inch Chua, The Caulfield Cult, Sapporo Safaris, 7nightsatsea

It’s no surprise in this digital age that the term, “vinyl records”, might as well be extinct. Nonetheless, this ancient music format is crawling its way back into the lives of Twentieth-Century folks, even in this tiny little island called Singapore.

This year, vinyl lovers, old and young alike, will come together to celebrate Record Store Day on April 19. Never been to a record store before? Never listened to a record before? No matter.

This annual celebration is the perfect welcome party for all newcomers, and here, I’ve rounded up three things to do on Record Store Day.

 

1. Phonographic Day

Presented by Retrophonic Records, a local record store, Phonographic Day invites creative individuals to celebrate music and art through a series of activities that kindles inspiration.

Happening at the FLABSLAB Gallery from April 18 to 19, there’ll be plenty to check out: Music appreciation sessions, live illustration, a photo and art exhibition, and exclusive vinyl records and equipment on sale. Listen to vinyl records all day and get in on the doodling sessions at the same time.

Who knows? You might end up with one or two newfound passions.

 

2. Chinatown Vinyl Squad

A vinyl art exhibition curated by Kult, a design studio, art gallery and publisher showcasing the works of local and international artists, Chinatown Vinyl Squad is the perfect event for exposure to the arts and vinyl scene. 

Featuring Chinese record covers from the ‘70s and ‘80s, watch how 34 artists each “destroy” or give them a refreshing facelift by silkscreening, collaging or painting over the covers.

Be introduced to local artists like Speak Cryptic and Reptiliaphobia, as well as foreign artists from UK, US and Indonesia at the event. And of course, there’ll be food, drinks and free copies of the Kult magazine. Just head to the Zui Hong Lou Bar before April 29 when it closes.

 

3. Wax On Wax Off

If you haven’t heard of Loof, it’s a rooftop bar—Singapore’s first. And on April 19 at night, treat yourself to a party under the stars with live local acts. To commemorate Record Store Day, exclusive vinyl releases will be on sale at Wax On Wax Off’s very own vinyl flea market. And though those records don’t always come cheap, they’re most certainly rare and absolutely irresistible.

Alternatively, if you’re not willing to part with your money, you could just look forward to the music sets by DJ Ko Flow, Darren Dubwise, Tom Shellsuit, etc. who will all be spinning purely vinyl records—no computers or MP3s, just vinyl. And yes, you can groove along for free.

Oh and did I mention These Brittle Bones will be making an appearance at 8pm as well? Are you marking your calendars already? Because I am!

 

Photo credit: FLABSLAB, Colossal Photos, Loof, Record Store Day

Sending out an alert to our beloved Glamberts, this is an update of utmost importance!

A source close to the fabulous sexiness that is Adam Lambert has revealed exclusive information to us regarding his upcoming third studio album!

Lately the superstar has been pretty busy with his television work, from mentoring on American Idol to appearing on Glee, but it seems that the former Idol runner-up is back in the studio and recording again with pop super-producer Max Martin, and a handful of ace songwriters, in Sweden.

Our source, who prefers to remain anonymous, has sent over an image that shows lyrics for a new song. The song is said to be very personal, with underlying messages in the lyrics! Seems like Adam has been taking songwriting lessons from Ms. Taylor Swift.

We wonder who or what the song is about and when (if ever) it will be released, but we are very sure Glamberts are absolutely thrilled for this piece of news!

To celebrate the start of this new era, we are giving away a set of autographed Adam Lambert albums (Trespassing and For Your Entertainment) to one lucky Glambert!

Here's what you gotta do.

1) Follow us on Twitter.

2) Simply tweet this message "#SpinorBinMusicEXCLUSIVE! New music from Adam Lambert LEAKED! http://bit.ly/1gp3PZO".

This exclusive celebratory giveaway will only last for the next 24hours (ends April 1, 9:00pm Singapore time). So get in the festive action NOW!

Photo credit: Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

************************

Update: April 1,2014

Got yourself a little too excited over Adam Lambert's latest song lyrics leak? Well, sorry to burst your bubble, but it was not exactly written by the glam rocker himself. The elaborate truth is - We at Spin or Bin Music turned into songwriters for the day and worked to create a set of song lyrics that would fit into Lambert's discography. If we managed to fool you, then our jobs here are done.

Mr. Glambert, himself, clarified on Twitter hours ago...

It was all in the name of fun, and we know Glamberts love a little cheeky, so hopefully this managed to make you smile.

We also want to congratulate @jagkmerrickan for winning the exclusive autographed Adam Lambert albums! Yes! Genuine autographs! Please check your Twitter DM inbox for further instructions on how to claim the prize!

And if it wasn't clear enough...

Have a great April you guys! :)

In less than 5 minutes, the whole country will be flipping the off switch for another Earth Hour. And guess who’s joining us this evening? None other than the cast of The Amazing Spider-man 2, of course!

As global ambassadors of the event, the likes of Emma Stone, Andrew Garfield and Jamie Foxx (eye-candy much?!) have dropped by to kick it off right here in sunny Singapore.

And if that’s not reason enough to get excited about this annual Earth-saving affair, here is a digital mix tape to serve as company for the big day (or at least, the big hour), and at the same time, get us in the mood for some lights-out. Well, you get the idea…

 

1. Turn Off The Lights – Panic! At The Disco

You heard Brendon Urie. Turn Off The Lights may not be his band’s top tracks, but it doesn’t mean it isn’t any good for the ears. Check out that pre-chorus/chorus. Listen to it once and tell me you’re not even the least interested in clicking the replay button.

 

2. My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark ­­­­­– Fall Out Boy

A few candles and an hour without florescent lighting? Perhaps Fall Out Boy does know what you did in the dark, or what you’re going to do… Celebrate Earth Hour with the stars under the stars, of course!  

 

3. Bright Lights Bigger City – CeeLo Green

Even when CeeLo’s singing about “bright lights and the big city”, this song is sure to have you dancing in the dark. It doesn’t even matter whether you’re partying with the crowd at The Float @ Marina Bay or commemorating the worldwide movement alone at home. No one can stop the groove from getting into your head and your hips.

 

4. Danger! High Voltage – Electric Six

“Danger, danger/High voltage” Its chorus lines should suffice as reminders to keep off the electricity now and again. Besides, save the Earth and earn Karma points, no? Also, electrocution isn’t fun. But I digress.

 

5. Many Shades Of Black – The Raconteurs

Did you know the co-founder of The Raconteurs sang backup to the previous Electric Six single? Yes, it’s my favourite, Jack White. There are many shades of black, indeed: Ebony, taupe, charcoal, and pitch black, which is what the globe will be soon enough.

 

Photo credit: Christian Haugen