The Other Sounds: Hot, hot May

You know that feeling.

You’re flushed, blushing with breathlessness. You feel your body’s temperature rise as your heart palpitates wildly. Beads of sweat are trickling down your back, and your glistening bosom is heaving with each pant.

That’s right. Summer is here, and things are really starting to heat up in here. Here are our hottest picks for May: the sweatiest, sexiest songs. Grab your lover. Or, if lacking one, your towel.

1. Carsick Cars / Zhong Nan Hai
2. Go Chic / Culture Supervisor
3. Dave Matthews Band / Crash Into Me
4. Daft Punk feat. Panda Bear / Doin It Right
5. Broken Social Scene / Lover’s Spit
6. Lovage / Sex (I’m A)
7. Flying Lotus feat. Thom Yorke / Electric Candyman
8. The Aikiu / Pieces of Gold
9. Trophy Wife / Microlite
10. Chumbawamba / Tubthumping
11. Ariel Pink / Is This The Best Spot?
12. Touch Sensitive / Pizza Guy
13. Pink Mountaintops / Sweet 69
14. Bicep / Vision of Love
15. Cut Copy / Hearts On Fire
16. Matthew Dear / Neighbourhoods
17. The Brian Jonestown Massacre / Love

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By Zixin Lin

Lush 99.5FM appeals for support as poor ratings threaten its future

It is no secret that local radio station Lush 99.5 has struggled to maintain strong ratings in the past, and the pressure to perform has urged the station to appeal to its loyal listeners and fans for help in keeping the station alive.

Creative Director Georgina Chang has taken to the radio station’s Facebook page, expressing gratitude for all of their listeners’ support, and asking them to complete a survey in an effort to understand why listeners have not been tuning in.

Lush 99.5FM appeals for support as poor ratings threaten its future

With a scope as broad as having an “eclectic blend of chill-out music, samba, electro, jazz, alternative and more”, it is not surprising that Singapore’s potentially most ‘alternative’ radio station is struggling to keep ratings up.

One of thirteen radio stations owned by MediaCorp, the largest media broadcaster and provider in Singapore, Lush 99.5 competes directly against its more successful sister stations including 987FM, and Chinese radio station YES. 99.3, two of the highest rated stations in the country.

The listener survey consists of several rate-your-satisfaction questions relating to the quality and variety of music played, as well as ratings for their programmes and DJs, and questions about listeners’ tune-in habits and preferences.

Complete the survey here to help keep Lush 99.5 “alive and vibrant”.

By Melissa Yong

A serving of humble pie with The Temper Trap

It is almost too easy for a musician to get cocky after a taste of fame. But for The Temper Trap, it seemed to be anything but the case. The band were in Singapore for an acoustic session with MTV Asia last week, and we sat down with them for a short chat, not even half expecting the humbleness and openness they approached everything with. After all, they had broken big time with their debut album, Conditions, and lead single ‘Sweet Disposition’, and have seen the world touring with their music for almost ten years now.

Yet, the band came off as reserved, a humble bunch that seemed more worried about their upcoming acoustic session than anything else. They were certainly not afraid to lower our expectations with confessions of the set possibly including “mistakes, profused sweating and awkward moments”. Still, they try to have an optimistic outlook about it all, acknowledging that although it’s not really their thing, to play acoustically, that they were going to “strap on [their] acoustic guitars and hope for the best.”

A serving of humble pie with The Temper Trap

They’re “not really a jam band”, Dundas notes, because of the multi-layering in certain songs and the amount of sonic depth involved. When it comes to live shows, they like to keep focussed on reproducing the exact sounds on stage rather than straying too far from the record.

“I want to make — not necessarily for the world or for critics — the perfect record for me.”

And on the topic of playing in small concert halls compared to stadium arenas, The Temper Trap is not too fussy about the numbers. “It just really depends on the crowd. You can have a great show to two people, or 20,000.” Dundas and Mandagi begin to reminisce about a certain gig in Paris. “We played to 500 people, and the energy in that room that day was just off the scale,” Mandagi says.

The response from the audience will always be more fulfilling to the quintet than the actual measure of people in the crowd, and one way to get into their hearts is to sing along, according to the Dundas. “It’s always amazing to have that kind of crowd singing the words back at you louder than Dougy can sing through the PA, it’s always really special.”

When the conversation hooks right about to the time they spend in the studio, Mandagi and Dundas tell us that the progression from their first to their second release was about experimenting with “some new toys, because we couldn’t afford them back then. I guess naturally, we just started writing with those instruments.”

“It’s always amazing to have that kind of crowd singing the words back at you louder than Dougy can sing through the PA, it’s always really special.”

And as for the upcoming third album that had us on the edge of our seats, the band keeps tight-lipped, saying that the specifics hadn’t been mapped out yet. “The plan is to have no plan, because it’s still in its early days, and I guess its good to still have an open mind,” Mandagi tells us. “We don’t really know the direction as such, or if there will even be one. We can kind of dabble in a few different styles or genres, while still making it uniquely us — I think that’s kind of our thing.”

A serving of humble pie with The Temper Trap

Mandagi did however, mention a personal goal that he has had in mind for any new releases. “I want to make — not necessarily for the world or for critics — the perfect record for me. One that I can be like, “Yeah, that’s it.” But that’s impossible, really. Even to come close would be a really good feeling and a personal achievement.”

“The plan is to have no plan, because it’s still in its early days, and I guess its good to still have an open mind.”

But for now, The Temper Trap has a bigger role needed of them soon enough, and that is opening for The Rolling Stones’ 50th anniversary show at Hyde Park this July. Here, the humility shows through again through Dundas. “We’re very honored to get that chance. It’s going to be a pretty special gig, 65,000 people in Hyde Park. We’re all kind of big Stones fans so I think more than anything, we’re really excited to get to see them. And us getting to go up there and play is just kind of a bonus.”

With such sweet dispositions (pun totally intended), it should not be so difficult for The Temper Trap to continue climbing up the ladder of success — and maybe one day soon enough, they will be the ones headlining a show at Hyde Park.

By Tryne Ong

Photos by Maria Clare Khoo

MTV Sessions with The Temper Trap will premiere on MTV SEA Saturday, June 1 at 11.30am (WIB), 12.30pm (SG/HK/PH) and 1.30pm (MAL).

Deftones @ The Coliseum (28.05.13)

Second time’s a charm in this case, for Deftone’s first show in Singapore since playing their maiden gig at For Canning in 2011. And this time, the band were touring on the back of their latest release Koi No Yokan, their second album without founding member Chi Cheng, who sadly passed away a few weeks before they started on the Southeast Asian leg of their tour.

The band wasted no time, starting punctually at the stipulated time of 8pm and opening with one of the heaviest songs in their discography, ‘Diamond Eyes’. As Stefan Carpenter chugged the very first breakdown on his downtuned 8-string guitar, the crowd immediately went berserk, with a pit starting right from the get-go.

The 5-piece didn’t relent once, and the following songs were heavy hitters as well; ‘Rocket Skates’, ‘Be Quiet and Drive’, ‘Lhabia’ and ‘My Own Summer’ had anthemic choruses which got the 1500-strong crowd singing along and moshing. Frontman Chino Moreno also showed excellent stage presence, leaping to the crowd, counting down the crowd into songs, and even climbing into the VIP area to perform a song while the rest of the band stayed on stage.

The band also played slow numbers like the dreamy tunes, ‘Digital Bath’ and ‘Knife Party’, which were favourites with the crowd, with Digital Bath proving to be one of the shout-along songs of the night, with huge resounds of ‘Tonight… I feel like… more!’, in addition to songs like ‘Sextape’, and ‘You’ve Seen the Butcher’, which made the crowd groove to the emotional and, at times, downright sexual vibes of the tracks.

In keeping to the name of the tour that brought the band to our shores, the band played about five songs from their newest album Koi No Yokan, with tracks like the brooding dream rock melody ‘Rosemary’ and mosh songs like ‘Poltergeist’.

The Deftones ‘ended’ their set with the songs ‘Change (In the House of Flies)’ and ‘Engine No.9’ but it wasn’t long before the band emerged to chants of ‘Encore!’, and broke into  a three-song reprise of songs from their debut album Adrenaline, which was released almost a decade ago. As the screams of ‘7 Words’ faded out, the crowd was bathed in a shower of guitar picks and setlists.

The audience at the Resorts World show was an older crowd, numbering in their early to late twenties, save for a few younger fans whom presumably discovered them way back in the day with the release of their ‘Diamond Eyes’ album in 2010. But age was not a number to anyone in the pit, as both young and old fans moshed together and sang along as if they’ve had known each other for years, the camaraderie between the fans of the legendary rock band apparent.

The whole audience at The Coliseum was bathed in the vibe of the night. It was an almost a religious experience, yet at the same time strangely romantic. Emotions ran high throughout — it was just an explosion of feelings to their favourite songs and how it riled up every single bit of emotion in them to sing along to it.

If there was any proof needed of the band’s influence on modern rock music, one only needs to see them live, and experience how their music captivates and moves fans, both young and old. And while other bands have gone on to add dubstep, electronica, folk to their sound — with mixed results — Deftones truly are timeless. They will always be… Deftones.

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Set list:
Diamond Eyes
Rocket Skates
Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away)
My Own Summer (Shove It)
Knife Party
Swerve City
You’ve Seen the Butcher
Digital Bath
Change (In the House of Flies)
Engine No. 9

7 Words

By Louis Foo

The Wonder Years – The Greatest Generation

If we were to name a band most widely quoted in varsity font on Tumblr, it would be The Wonder Years. With the release of their fourth studio album, The Greatest Generation, one of the biggest pop-punk bands are back with their characteristic brand of relatable lyrics and catchy melodies.

The Wonder Years are one of those bands that are consistent in their quality of musical output, and this album is another excellent addition to their discography.

At first listen of the first few seconds of opening track, ‘There, There’, it seems that The Wonder Years have mellowed down – apparently not though, as the drums and guitars quickly crash in full-on pop-punk force, setting the pace for the remaining tracks on the album.

A song to note is ‘Dismantling Summer ‘, which features bleak lyrics paired with a happy and catchy melody. The true nature of their songs may be misleading at times because of this, but the beauty of The Wonder Years is in their super relatable lyrics that cover a wide range of topics and situations executed with beautiful melodies. “I’ve been acting like I’m strong / but the truth is / I’ve been losing ground, Soupy sings against the band’s full force of instruments.

The Wonder Years have once again impressed fans, both old and new with their energetic brand of idealistic pop-punk, many of whom seek to connect with a musical tune for their everyday problems. The band have written songs about every kind of situation, including straightened hair, teenage parents, and even ninjas, and the evidence of their honesty and sincerity in their music is shown in their fan base, which surpasses the young teenager stereotype of the pop-punk genre, the appeal extending as far as the generation that grew up on bands such as Green Day and Blink-182.

All in all, this album doesn’t deviate greatly from their other recent material; however, it does feature more mature lyrical themes and will not disappoint old fans of the band, also serving as a suitable entry album for newer fans.


By Louis Foo

Police investigate defaced national flag at The Used concert

The use of a Singapore flag with the words “THE USED NATION” pasted across it with alphabetical stickers is currently under investigation by police, after it was displayed hanging from an amplifier on stage at American rock band The Used’s concert at The Coliseum on Friday, 18 May.

It is reported that the flag was immediately removed — within “a few minutes” — when organizers were informed of its presence, but in true nature of the internet, photographs have emerged on Stomp, leading the event’s organizers Live! Empire to appeal to the band’s fans to remove any photographs of the flag from the internet.

In a Facebook update regarding the investigation, Live! Empire informed its fans that in fact, it is “illegal for you to post” photographs of the defaced flag, also warning that fans who publish the photographs will be tracked down by police.

Police investigate defaced national flag at The Used

The band’s dedicated global fan base, who have named themselves “The Used Nation”, have defended the use of the flag as serving to “[signify] how they appreciate their united Singaporean fans”, but it is unclear at this stage who is actually responsible for the its defacement and display.

By Melissa Yong

The Slink Rat Gossip Column with… Dune Rats

Xiao Zhong: What’s the most amount of money you’ve been paid to do a show/job? What show/job was it?
Danny: A Jordanian prince paid us £30,000 to play at his daughter’s birthday party. He flew us there and everything, they were all really nice people.

What’s the deal with that person you really hate? What happened?
He blew in my girlfriend.

When did you first have sex? How often do you have sex now?
Fucken heaps, eh….

Who is the one that got away?
None. Bong it out, bro it down.

What do you wish you were asked more often in interviews?
How much we get paid per show.

What were you thinking when you did that thing that was really fucking stupid?
“This will look really fucking cool in front of my mates and that chick I really wanna fuck.” And then it didn’t.

What is one thing you would change about yourself if you could?
The fact that I can’t breath underwater.

What are some of your proudest achievements so far?
Finding the music, marijuana and mad bitches.

By Xiao Zhong
Guest writer, Slink Rat

Catch Dune Rats live in Singapore on Friday, 31 May. Details here.

Radical Dads – Rapid Reality

First track ‘Mountain Town’ on Radical Dads’ album Rapid Reality is a little three-minute fuzzball of nostalgic call-backs to parties gone hazy due to the heat and adrenaline, a danceable 90’s post-punk indie revival comprising hammering guitar riffs and swinging drums. It’s unafraid to show off the slightly bittersweet undertone that comes with this kind of revival rock.

That’s also how I’d describe every other song on the surprisingly short Rapid Reality, bar ‘Hi Desert’ and ‘Stampede’. I don’t mind the lack of variety at all — actually; the lack of variation in catchy pop-punk records like these is what keeps vibes, spirits and parties alike going crazy all throughout the night. But here comes a gripe or two.

1) I wish these Brooklyn kids rocked a little bit harder. Their sound comes across a little bit subdued and watered-down. The aesthetic value of pop-punk thrives solely on the sweetness of its sugar-coated melodies, but these superficial tunes can wear thin easily. Take that awesome Cribs-esque riff on titular track ‘Rapid Reality’, for instance. It’s great for a loop or two, but it loses quite a bit of its rock-hardness when the accompanying guitar comes in. This happens for most of the songs off Rapid Reality, and I think it could be due to…

2) The poor production values on this album. Fine, fine, it’s noise rock, and noise represents the gritty reality that pervades our sweaty adolescent lives as we party the night away. Sure it does, but it can also muddy your highs-and-lows and create a bland-sounding mid-level haze. It can reduce the impacts of each drum hit, make non-existent whatever bass sounds there are (if the lack of a bassist wasn’t already enough). I’d mention the clean- and clear-cut sounds of the Thermals as a comparison, but I don’t have to go that far; even the noisier Japandroids outfit benefits greatly from the presence of sounds of the lower frequency, for they provide the punchiness that makes it all the more party-hard.

But I’m only groaning about this as beneath their flaws, Radical Dads have got a good sense for crafting good pop-rock. Their seven-minute epic ‘Shackleton’ showcases tasteful progression while it shifts through different phases, before tailing off with some unabashed feedback fun that’s both playful and thoughtful. Closer ‘Go 45’ too marks itself off as a highlight, featuring both entertaining guitar experimentation and the catchiest hook on the album. A great note to end an unfortunately flawed album.


By BJ Lim