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All this month, we'll be giving away music goodies just to reward you for being with us this past year. So remember to stalk us here AND on our Twitter.
The great eighth studio album, Britney Jean, finally released this week.once sang, “You want a piece of me?” What we didn’t realize is that she meant it literally — and now she’s ready to deliver with her
Described as her most “personal record” to date fans are delighted to see the Britney we've all missed so much back to her former self. Some of the biggest song-writers and producers across the world (including Will.i.am) were hired to craft the album, so it is almost certain that we'd be seeing a few club bangers from this killer record.
Want to win a copy of Britney Jean to start your holidays? Feeling lucky? Well, follow these simple steps below to stand a chance!
1. Follow us on Twitter.
Photo credit: Sony Music
Terms & Conditions:
1. Open to Singapore and Malaysia residents only.
2. All entries must be received before 21:00 hours on December 8, 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 pick ten (10) 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.
Lady Gaga has just premiered her new song Venus a few hours ago. Co-written by the Applause singer with the help of DJ White Shadow, Hugo Leclercq, Dino Zisis, Nick Monson and Sun Ra, the song was expected to serve as the second official single but was replaced by the R-Kelly-assisted track Do What U Want.
Our quick verdict.
We dodged a bullet. Thank god Do What U Want stopped the Birth of Venus.
I like the melody during the chorus, which sounds like it could have been on an Abba album from the early 80s. And that is pretty much the only redeeming feature of this - every other aspect is kinda terrible. The song comes across as a self-parody at times.
God bless the executives at Interscope for stepping in.
Photo credit: Interscope Records
Litchfield National Park - The epitome of natural beauty. A place which I never thought I would enjoy as much as I did.
Now for those who know me, you'd know that I am a huge beach resort fan. I love to relax, reflect and unwind on the beach, away from the hustle and bustle of the city - Valyn, bring me to Boracay (inside joke).
So when I knew our 2 fabulous NT hosts/nannies/friends (Iris and Luke) were going to bring us waterfall-hopping, I wasn't very impressed. Hello? Rushing around just to take a dip in the waters? Not.
I. Was. Wrong.
This was one of the highlights of my trip. The magnificent waterfalls and surrounding sceneries were absolutely mesmerizing. And it may sound a little strange to you but I actually uncovered secrets of my fellow blogger-friends at the waterfalls. Still deciding whether to share the secrets here ;)
First stop - Wangi Falls.
To be honest, I didn't want to get in the waters till the time we set foot at the entrance of the waterfall. Why?
1. The views were too spectacular.
2. Everyone seem to be enjoying themselves.
3. It was VERY hot; a dip in the water was an instant cooling relief.
4. What could I do for the rest of the day if I didn't get in the waters? It was a waterfall hopping day!
5. The babes of blogosphere were playing by the waterfall. Period.
I didn't regret it. In fact, I think I made the best decision in my life over here. Hahahaha
Ai and I were the most adventurous. Swimming to the end of the waterfall and trying to climb the rocks where a deep water hole resides. The rock surfaces are very slippery so be careful when you are climbing or walking on the rocks. Buddy up when you are swimming to the deep-end of the waterfall as well, especially if you are a weak swimmer. I had nothing to fear as Ai was a NATIONAL SWIMMER - one of the many amazing facts I've learned about her during this trip.
Next up, Florence Falls.
Now, you are wrong if you think all waterfalls are the same. The crystal clear pools at Florence Falls are a refreshing respite no matter how hot the day is. We could even see different species of fish swimming around us at the shallow end of the fall - including the rainbow fish. I did try to stretch my leg to see if the fish will nibble on the dead skin cells on my foot but no. Unfortunately, this is not a fish spa.
Again, Ai coerced me to swim to the far end of the waterfall. I was a little skeptical this time round because there were not a lot of people at the end. It must mean something, right? Besides, Luke was quick to point out that crocodiles were spotted in the waters before we stepped into the falls. But I relented since I had the NATIONAL SWIMMER with me and she looked FIERCE enough to scare the crocs away with the tattoos on her body.
Our final waterfall hopping destination was at Buley Rockhole which has a series of waterholes that cascade down a hill. There are little waterfalls which are kids friendly and are just divine to swim in. We just hopped from waterhole to waterhole, enjoying the force of fresh water cascading down our backs. Bliss.
It’s easy to lose yourself here, but I tend to think that is kind of the point, after all. Come and experience it for yourself.
On the way out of the park, we stopped by several termite mounds which look like gigantic tombstones from afar but they are actually amazing architectural structures built by termites, complete with tunnels and insulation! Impressive, much? The mounds are also aligned north to south to minimise the exposure to the sun.
Definitely worth the stop on the way out of the park!
From the spectacular Wangi Falls, the beauty and great swimming at Florence Falls and the cool refreshing water of Buley Rockpools, Litchfield National Park is one place you shouldn't miss when you are at Northern Territory!
We got up at 5am to catch the sunrise at Yellow Water Cruise but the reward is well worth it. Watching the sun rise in the horizon behind the early morning mist was just magically breathtaking. When you are young, it is easy to take for granted simple yet beautiful things that mother nature has to offer such as the rising of the sun. I miss those times when my thoughts would just drift with the breeze and my heart caressed by the soothing sounds of wildlife. And the cruise definitely brought back those moments again.
The sight of the beautiful water lilies was another awe-inspiring moment for me. I thought of how lilies grow out of the mud, transforming mud into beauty. And humans do have something in common with these flowers. We have the opportunity to remain stuck in the mud - holding on to grudges, retaliate, wallow in self pity and succumb to temptations - or grow out of the mud and bloom into our true nature. Staying in the mud is safe and comfortable but we waste precious moments waiting for someone to rescue us. Rising out of the mud takes courage. It may be a bumpy journey but the reward is priceless.
Back to the actual cruise... (getting too emo!)
The guide was extremely knowledgeable and exceptionally observant. We saw an abundance bird life (kingfishers, sea eagles, jabiru, storks, herons, ducks... more bird life than I've ever seen in my lifetime!) which we would have missed if he didn't point them out to us and maneuvered the boat in as close as possible.
If you are going on this cruise, choose the dawn departure timing! You won't regret it and the early start is well worth it.
We head to Ubirr Rock for more spectacular rock art after the Yellow Water Cruise.
The rock art at Ubirr Rock is absolutely incredible in its detail and level of preservation. The walk to the lookout is terrific with magnificent views of the stone canopy! Many of these rock art depict traditional foods and tells stories about law and creation. One particular rock art caught my eye - It shows a young girl who broke traditional food taboos by eating Barramundi at the wrong time of her life. She was punished and a battle between clans followed.
Aboriginal people were obviously not creating paintings purely for aesthetic purposes but for teaching as well. The production of these magnificent works represented conscious and purposeful activity of a high order and clearly testifies to the remarkable intellectual power of the human species. As childiren, Aboriginal people are taught to respect these laws and the system of punishment which enforces them.
If you are taking the 90-minute hike up to the lookout area, remember to bring drinking water and wear a pair of comfortable/ sport shoes!
First and foremost, Spin or Bin Music would like to sincerely apologise to all winners (Michelle, Anna, Sunny and Niyanie) of our F1 ticket contest.
Some of you may have heard about what had happened with regards to our F1 ticket contest situation. To avoid and clear any rumours about it, this was what had happened.
It began with the idea to connect with our readers and get to know you guys more, which led us to hold a giveaway where our readers could win a ticket each to hang out with the writers of SBM and watch the F1 concerts together. What we failed to do before holding the contest was to read Singapore GP's terms and conditions, which unbeknownst to us, stated that our purchased tickets could not be given away as contest prizes. Singapore GP was alerted about this and all our passes revoked. We tried our best to get the staff at Singapore GP to reconsider their decision, but to no avail. As a result, we were forced to contact our contest winners to relay the bad news to them.
It is to our deepest regret that something like this would happen due to our mistake of overlooking the terms and conditions. It did not matter to us that we could not watch the shows or review them, because what we are most concerned about is disappointing the winners, who had put in the effort to take part in the contest. Once again, we are sorry to let all winners down. We would also like to thank you guys for extending such grace and understanding to us despite being informed of such disappointing news (our readers are really the best).
It was a difficult experience as this was the first time something like this happened to us. However, the situation also taught us a lesson to be more careful when dealing with external parties and served as a reminder to all of us about the importance of reading the terms and conditions, be it when purchasing something off the internet or signing up for a new account online.
As we put this chapter behind, we are thankful to all our readers for your love and kind understanding. All of us here at Spin or Bin Music will work to be more careful to make sure that something like this never happen again, and to also uphold our name and give all of you the best that we can.
I had a fantastic time at Kakadu during the two-day tour, largely thanks to our knowledgeable and enthusiastic guide from Adventure Tours, Luke. He is warm, friendly, and goes out of his way to make our visit at sacred Aboriginal sites and magical waterholes memorable.
The unspoilt nature of the parks at Kakadu from cascading waterfalls to towering sandstone walls was simply breathtaking. It was astounding to see a wide variety of wildlife such as cockatoos, wallabies, reptiles as you cruise through the wetlands.
Our first stop was at the Spectacular Jumping Crocodile Cruise which was about an hour drive from the city center. We cruised along the Adelaide River until crocodiles were spotted in the area - which actually didn't take long in the crocodile-infested river! The captain takes the craft as close as they can then stop to lure the crocodiles to the boat with a bait and then... WHAM! A hungry crocodile will launch itself out of water to snatch its food. Totally entertaining and thrilling! The small group allowed for some awesome close up photos, feeding from both sides of the boat meant everyone could see properly and have the opportunity to get some really close up photos. We were so close to the crocodiles that I could reach out and touch them if I wanted to. But unless you have a death wish, I wouldn't recommend this!
Another highlight was the feeding of the hawks on the return to the pontoon, I was super amazed at the speed and the agility of these beautiful birds!
It was scorching hot when we arrived at Nourlangie Rock but the Aboriginal art on the rock faces as well as the magnificent views from the look out point were all worth it. All the Aboriginal artworks have a story behind them. Generally, the act of painting was more important than the painting itself. Ancient Aborigines painted image over each other as they were not concerned about preserving an image for posterity but simply wanted to paint to tell a story. It dawned upon me that the Aborigines already knew this famous quote from Yvon Chouinard long before the businessman was around - “How you climb a mountain is more important than reaching the top.”
The 1.5km circular walk to the Anbangbang galleries introduces local Aboriginal mythology associated with some of the natural rock features, which gives an a good depth and aspect of the trail. It's wonderful to see how Aboriginal arts are still preserved carefully for people from other parts of the world to witness, enjoy, and get connected to their behavior, all through rock-painting art.
Whether you are traveling independently or as part of an organized tour, it is essential that you carry these items along with you:
1. Good walking shoes
4. Insect repellent
Despite the fly swatting, the once-in-a-lifetime experience to admire the ancient Aboriginal rocks arts and landscape spanning more than thousands of years was priceless.
We know we are kinda late on this but we have a debate over these 3 queens during our recent blogging workshop and we've reached a consensus. Well, not without a catfight within the team.
Lady Gaga is the clear favourite.
Even though Katy Perry managed to tame a fearsome tiger in her music video, her roar was not loud enough to outshine Miley Cyrus and Lady Gaga during the VMAs.
Think VMAs and what comes to mind is probably the controversial Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke performance; most of you probably turned off your TVs, like I did.
At least Lady Gaga managed a triumphant return to a music scene, sounding impeccable, and looking svelte and sexier than ever in her seashell bra and blonde locks.
However, Katy wasn’t even able to incite interest or create a buzz about her performance despite how she managed to top the charts with Roar.
Despite traveling all the way to the Empire Fulton Perry Park for her special closing performance, away from where the main stage, Katy’s closing show was too conservative and lacked shock value.
That’s not to say her performance was particularly bad – it was a good performance by Katy’s standards – but nothing in comparison to what went on earlier in the night.
What was worse was that she took Good Morning America about a week later to diss Miley’s performance by saying, “Honestly, I thought that my performance was the most scandalous because I kept my clothes on.”
Ouch, bitter much Katy?
Mother Monster even ran to the teen queen’s defence, saying, “everyone is entitled to their own artistic expression and if you have a problem with it, just change the channel” when she appeared on Bravo.
So whose side are you on? Miley’s and Gaga’s, or Katy’s?
On our last night in Darwin, we had a sumptuous sunset dinner on 'Charles Darwin' with Darwin Harbour Cruises. A couple of us went up to the top deck to enjoy the beautiful sunset. After viewing a good number of sunsets and sunrises in Northern Territory for the past few days, the spectacular views made me realize how simple things in life can be so beautiful. When I wake up and see the sunset in the morning, I feel energized to know that there's a new day ahead of me. And when the sun sets, I feel relaxed knowing that the day has ended and it's going to be a brand new day the next day.
I am generally not a fan of buffet since I tend to overeat and then feel crappy and tired. So when it was our turn to pick up food from the buffet counter, I made a conscious effort to pick 1 or 2 items per dish before coming back to stack more food which I like. IT WAS A WRONG MOVE. As we were the last table to collect our food, we only had 15mins to finish our dinner before the staff closed the buffet counter. I wouldn't feel disgruntled if the food was bad. But what a meal, it was! The oysters were fresh and the local prawns were spectacular! There was also beef, chicken, fish, and salads! A must-do for any Darwin trip (just request to get your food first)!
We had a great HOT afternoon at Crocosaurus Cove on our final day of the tour. It was really hot as a lot of the activities were conducted outside without shade.
Once inside the Crocosaurus Cove, do not be surprised to see a large crocodile-free swimming in the aquarium glass. I was even more surprised to know that the croc's name is Leo. Haha! Apparently, 'Leo' was captured in the mid 1980's by Finniss River Station owner, Leo Venturin. It was always getting into trouble by escaping and attacking the other male crocodiles in the farm. Perhaps this explains why he is housed alone now?
My best experience came during my close encounter with an adult crocodile during feeding time. I felt an adrenaline rush as soon as I entered into the enclosure containing the crocodile. Is this safe? Would the crocodile prefer to eat Asian meat (aka me)? My worries were unfounded. There is a huge 2m wall separating me from the crocodile and in case of any emergency, I can safely retreat to the narrow 'maze' which I think is designed as a secondary safety net for the keepers. I spent about 5 mins trying to lure the crocodile to the bait even though the bait was just right next to its mouth! This further proves that crocodiles are opportunistic and move at a slow pace to wait for the perfect moment to attack in a very fast precession.
Another activity which is no less exciting is fishing! Just imagine, fishing with a crocodile as its object! Crocodile fishing is done by a fishing pole and bait in the form of meat. It was really fun teasing the baby crocodiles with the bait and watching them 'hunt' for their food!
The Crocosaurus Cove experience would not be completed without going in to the Cage of Death. This is the only cage in the world that brings you face to face with some of the largest saltwater crocodiles in captivity. Our heroine of the day, Christina, volunteered to swim in the cage with a handicapped crocodile named Chopper. You do not have to worry about safety as you would be caged in a transparent glass box before the cage is lowered into the adult crocodile's pool. And the icing on the cake? Getting your 15mins of fame as visitors to the enclosure start snapping away pictures of you swimming with the crocodile. :)
Escape the heat as there are indoor areas with air-con by visiting the reptile museum which houses some of the world's most venomous snakes, taking pictures with baby crocodile Fluffy as well as watching a reptile show. All of us were watching in amazement as the elastic walls of the python expanded to accommodate the rat as it devoured the prey slowly.
Best time to visit Crocosaurus Cove is at 11am as it is feeding time for the crocs! Definitely check it out when in Darwin!
I recently spent 9 days in Northern Territory, Australia with 9 other bloggers who won top honors at Singapore Blog Awards 2013, shooting with an iPhone. Nothing else. Just the phone.
I know my iPhone could get good results in the right conditions, but I also know that there would be some photos that it simply couldn't take. Using a phone camera freed-up my head. I didn't have to fuss over settings and have no gear to shepherd - it was just my phone and me breathing in the sights and sounds of Northern Territory. When I saw good things, I got good pictures. When I didn’t, there was no technical wizardry to save the day. And most importantly, I want to show you the spectacular scenes of Northern Territory through a camera which serves as one's “everyday-carry”.
The city centre is only 10-15 minutes from the airport. As soon as we checked in the hotel and got some much needed rest, we were out on the bus for a short tour around the city.
Stokes Hill Wharf used to be the merchant ship unloading and loading wharf and was used by the Navy Patrol Boats, fishing boats and some small tourist boats vessels. Today it is used by tourist boats, customs patrol boats and the wharf is filled with eateries, small cafes and restaurants. Darwin and northern Australia was bombed over an 18 month period after the first bombing of Darwin during World War II - there were more bombs dropped on Darwin than Pearl Harbour! To commemorate the bombing of Darwin 1942, a small feature wall was erected...
Next stop - Museum and Art Gallery of the NT. It has been awhile since I last visited a museum, but was exceptionally pleased to be in time to see significant works from the National Gallery. There are lots of diverse displays of aboriginal arts (including the original Namatajurra paintings) as well as awesome taxidermy of local bird and animal life. The exhibition on Cyclone Tracy which devastated Darwin on Christmas Eve 1974 is particularly well done. There are illustrations of the various housing constructs, right down to the typical furnishings of the era. Dramatic footage of the aftermath, and many pictures of Darwin before Tracy (and after). Entry to the museum is free and is a definite must-see when in Darwin!
We headed to Mindil Beach to enjoy the sunset and wander the markets. I love this place as it is not your typical market - Ai Sakura can attest to the fact that I am sensitive to the word "market" (inside joke :P). The food is a cultural delight as they sell everything from Asian to Greek to local cuisine at reasonable prices. My only qualm? To make a choice out of so many alluring food on offer! I settled for the humongous Yiros in the end which was tender and didn't exude the pungent smell like most lamb meat. The music described as "High-tech didgeridoo meets drum and bass" was good, the food was great, and a walk to the beach to watch the sunset just capped off an amazing night...
20 years, is a long wait by any stretch of imagination. But faith is one strong emotion, and the faithfuls waited. Glad some things don’t change or waver! I was standing in queue for a taxi to the venue, and dare I say the entire serpentine line was dressed in black. The little red dot was showing its true colours. And we all had one thing in common; goose bumps…the God’s of rock will decent on stage tonight, the night of August 24! Here’s to all the metal heads…
Changi Exhibition Centre is one of the better venues to hold a concert of this magnitude, or shall I say enormity. You see, whenever you head to a true blue (black) rock concert, you get a different vibe. It’s like coming home, very powerful and moving. Many generations come together and become young again, ready to head bang. And we need space, yes we do. Our music is big, our passion bigger.
Slated to kick off at 8.30 pm, the band didn’t make the 40,000-strong crowd wait for long. The Ecstasy Of Gold soon started to play, letting us all know that the time has come (it has been their intro since 1981). And then it happened…James Hetfield’s iconic voiced took over our collective conscience. Hammett, with his long hair and fingers started to string magic. Ulrich’s drums was making our neck muscles strain. If that was not enough, Trujillo was pounding us to a pulp. HIT THE LIGHTS… the sky could have fallen.
There were planes going over our heads (the airport is nearby), not that it bothered any, we were the loudest bunch in the planet at that given time. But a strange thought came to me…can those flyers hear us too; and if yes, are they head banging as well while opening their little bag of peanuts.
Beer was on free flow, at least so it seemed. Was spilling all over, given all the gyration physically possible. METALLICA, didn’t hold back either, they were belting out numbers which are rock anthems now; Ride The Lightning, Fade To Black, Welcome Home… ohhh I am home!
I saw a father egging on his son to sing along with him. I know that kid has a bright future, I just do.
Not many bands, and here I mean bands which are good three decades old; can keep the same intensity. Age is surely not just a number when you have to take your skills to hell and back in front of screaming fans for hours. Strangely METALLICA does it effortlessly; and why am I surprised?
“You want heavy? METALLICA gives you heavy babyyyyy!”, Hetfield thundered between the songs. Our spirit soared. Hammett is a treat to watch, thanks to the giant LED screens now a days, one can see how fast his fingers move over the strings. Dissecting each note into many melodies.
The crowd totally went berserk when Nothing Else Matters was played. Thing is, that song matters to every metal head. And let me blunt about it, most blew their vocal cords on it, THEY KNEW THE LYRICS! Now, I am not trying to be high browed or cocky. I think Hetfield echoed my sentiments when he asked the crowd, ‘who is a METALLICA veteran, and who a virgin?’
But hey, once you are part of us, you become us. So, doesn’t matter if you are just being initiated to the fold. Enter Sandman…..does this dream have an end?
The band signed off with Creeping Death, Battery and Seek & Destroy. We all stood numb; over-awed by it all. All those years of waiting, of idol worship and a singular dream to see them perform live.
In the end, the fantastic four held the Singapore flag, and made a promise to be back soon. I will wait, and so will Singapore!
1. Hit the Lights
2. Master of Puppets
3. The Shortest Straw
4. Ride the Lightning
5. Fade to Black
6. The Memory Remains
7. Broken, Beat & Scarred
8. Welcome Home (Sanitarium)
9. Sad but True
10. ...And Justice for All
12. For Whom the Bell Tolls
14. Nothing Else Matters
15. Enter Sandman
16. Creeping Death
18.Seek & Destroy
All photos courtesy of LAMC Productions