The Other Sounds: July

So the 2013 National Day Parade song was — how do we put this nicely — a complete and utter flop. But that doesn’t mean you have to spend your August in silence!

For all its media controls, expensive venues, yadda yadda, you know you still love the Singaporean music scene to bits. There are 11 days left to National Day, and in the spirit of chest-beating national pride, July’s playlist is 100% Singaporean. Born and bred, double confirm plus chop.

Here are our absolute favouritest songs ever from these shores: from old-time players like Force Vomit and The Observatory, to rising stars (and crescent hurhurhur) like Cashew Chemists and Pleasantry. Against the backdrop of a National Conversation discussing what the ‘Singaporean identity’ means, encompasses, or sadly excludes, it might be good to remind yourself how much of a melting-pot of cultures and genres we’re meant to be.

1. Cashew Chemists / Not In Love
2. Yuji Kamagai / War With Herself
3. Shelves / Against A Wall
4. The Pinholes / Preferably
5. Caracal / Bruce Banner Made A Big Mess
6. Sherene’s Closet / Over
7. Plainsunset / Girl On Queen Street
8. A Vacant Affair / Mirrors
9. B-Quartet / Stupid Luxury
10. 53A / Falling Into You
11. Force Vomit / Siti
12. Elektone / Damn This Disco
13. The Observatory / Headworm
14. The Analog Girl / April
15. Gema / I Couldn’t Be there
16. Monster Cat / Underwater
17. Pleasantry / Near And Dear
18. Nightlight / The Sam Willows
19. Villes / The Levy
20. West Grand Boulevard / Now We Will
21. Trella / The Gavel And The Block
22. 细水长流 / 梁文福

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By Zixin Lin

Jogja Hip Hop Foundation: Deeply rooted idealists

How often do Asian countries come together in celebration of hip-hop? Not as often as they should, I would think.

So, when a night that brings along Indonesian fusion rap collective, Jogja Hip Hop Foundation (JHHF) to Singapore to guest perform alongside our own Hip Hop Queen, Mawar Berduri, and the Suratkhabar Lama (SKL) crew, we try our best to find out as much as possible about them before wandering into the show.

Here, we speak to Jogja Hip Hop Foundation, and through this conversation understand everything from their core aesthetic, political ideals, western hip hop influences, and traditional Indonesian art forms like puppeteering and gamelan.

Hello Jogja Hip Hop Foundation! Could you give our readers a brief introduction of the group?
JHHF was founded by Marzuki Mohammad (aka Kill the DJ) in 2003, we want to project the group to accommodate Yogyakarta based hip-hop crews that mostly use the traditional Javanese language. Our highlight consists of three crews who consistently rap in Javanese language who also combine Javanese traditional groove with urban music beats; they are Jahanam (Balance and M2MX), Rotra (Ki Ageng Gantaz & Radjapati), and Kill the DJ (Marzuki).

What are the different roles of everyone in the group?
Marzuki is the director and also the founder of JHF. Balance and Gantaz is the beat maker, and Radjapati and M2MX have the speciality of making vocal arrangement.

Many of your songs have lyrics reflecting a proud cultural heritage of Jogjakarta. What is it about the place that ignites such pride?
We are not perfect – and neither is Yogyakarta – but we are really proud both to be Javanese people and of our city, Yogyakarta. It might just be the most humble place you’ll ever visit. We, the people of this city, are connected to each other; we’ve had so many natural disasters and each time, we help hand in hand; we also celebrate every achievement we’ve had together.

Yogyakarta is a special province because even though we are part of the Republic of Indonesia, we are still a monarchy province lead by a king and we have the lowest corruption index in Indonesia. That’s why we talk a lot about Yogyakarta and why we choose to combine our traditional culture with hip hop. We incorporate ancient poetry and literature in our lyrics, we use Javanese as the language, and we also add gamelan and other traditional sounds in our music.

Gamelan? We know that gamelan is traditional Indonesian music, but could you tell us some of its characteristics?
It is different from western music’s sound; Southeast Asia uses pentatonic notes heavily. This includes Gamelan, which is from land of Java. It is our root — just like the Javanese language that we’re using every single day, Gamelan has also become part of our daily life. We’ve listened to it since we were born. Honestly, it creates us, it builds our character and identity even when our generation is now increasingly influenced by a global world.

You’re also influenced by Western hip-hop music from America. Could you name some of these influences?
Most of us are influenced by the old-school style of hip hop. We love to listen to Public Enemy, Beastie Boys, Naughty by Nature, Wu Tang Clan, even Vanilla Ice and Kris Kros! But we also keep up with hip hop nowadays, learn about their industry. Eminem, Jay Z, Kanye West, who doesn’t?

And what are some other hip-hop groups/artists in Indonesia that you respect and identify with?
Iwa-K, Homicide, Saykoji.

In what way is a puppet master in your culture, similar to a freestyle rapper in western culture?
Being a puppet master means you have to be a good story teller. He or she will play the ‘wayang’ while telling stories and making conversation throughout the night. Isn’t he or she better than a rapper! Most of Southeast Asia’s traditional literature are oral or verbal cultures, not written — surely a puppet master will be capable of writing lyric sheets, with beautiful rhymes, as thick as dictionary books in a single night.

Independence and democracy seem to be central themes in your songs, like in ‘Song of Sabdatama’. If possible, what would you like to change about the political system in your country? How do you see music as helping see this through?
Not every song speaks about democracy and independence. Most of it talks about our daily life and what actually happens in Indonesia. Indonesia, although a very rich country, is depraved in many places, and of course we want to change that. Every big step starts with a small one. We are the kind of people who believe in our own roles, and we know our part as a musician and an artist. When our songs are played as the soundtrack of a protest activities (the ones with good causes of course), we think we’ve encouraged people to do something to make a change; a good change for this country.

Great! Thanks so much for this interview. Looking forward to the set!
Please do come!

Asia is the future of the world. Believe it!

By Zachary Tang

Jogja Hip Hop Foundation will be performing at the Esplanade on Saturday, 31 August.

The Maine’s Jared Monaco: “Our fans are in it for the right reasons”

The Maine have come a long way since their inception in 2007, from their incredibly infectious tunes on their debut album, to leaving their record label and releasing their fourth album, Forever Halloween in June.

With their debut show in Singapore coming up on 13 September, we caught up with guitarist Jared Monaco and talk about his fans around the world, the new album, and whether the band would be willing to try some of our local durian…

You started the band out of high school with no idea how big it would eventually get. How does it feel knowing that there are people from the other side of the world who love your music?
When we started this band, we didn’t even realise it would be a possibility to travel around the world playing shows. I think it came as a shock to realise we could finally be an international band. It’s one of the most rewarding things we have done. I feel like we owe so much to the internet. Word travels so fast these days, and I feel like that played a large part in getting to travel the world.

You’ve toured heaps throughout Europe, and you’ve been to Asia before. What are some of the biggest cultural differences you have experienced?
Not really any culture shocks or anything, we didn’t go into those places with any expectations. There is something magical about both. I guess I haven’t noticed much of a difference because our fans all over the world usually have the same reaction at our shows, which makes us feel at home even in the most remote locations. Traveling has really put things into perspective. Having a knowledge of how the world works outside of America is a privilege.

“There are certain things I know and understand, but John’s lyrics aren’t always one of them.”

And your fans, they must be pretty different all over the world?
Not so much! Music fans are music fans. Our fans are in it for the right reasons. Sure, there are some places where they are more passionate, or more vocal about it, but in general, most of our fans are very similar.

Besides recording albums, The Maine are involved in a few side projects, filming documentaries and even writing books. Are these projects meant to sort of leverage off each other, maybe as a way for fans to get to know the band a little more? Or are they independent avenues for you to put your energy elsewhere?
It’s honestly a little bit of both. We try to document everything we do. Whether or not a fan wants to find out more about our band, for example, they can open our new book, ROADS, and enjoy 500 incredible photos taken by Dirk Mai. It’s really a work of art. I think when the creativity flows, it’s nice to have a few outlets for it.

Have you got anything else in store that you could tell us about?
Nothing in the way of extra content at the moment, but we were able to press Forever Halloween on vinyl, which was a first for us. I’m very excited about that.

That is very exciting! Your sound has evolved on this new album from a far more accessible ‘pop rock’, to what I hear is a very mature, alternative rock sound. Forever Halloween sounds sort of like an expansion from Pioneer — less of a jump compared to that between Black and White and Pioneer. Do you think you’re getting closer to ‘finding’ The Maine’s sound?
Forever Halloween is definitely a companion to Pioneer, but I feel like there are remnants of all our albums on Forever Halloween. We’re not trying to change our sound, or making a conscious effort to veer from what we used to sound like. We just write songs how we write songs, and manipulate them in the studio to try to capture a feeling. Forever Halloween is all about a mood.

“Forcing a song to be happy or sad or frightening or whatever can ruin the whole experience. Sometimes the song dictates how it wants to be heard, not the band.”

Do you think this more sombre mood is a reflection of growing up?
Maybe? It’s hard to say, mainly because there were songs that sounded happy and cheerful, but once we got into the studio, they came out a little darker. That kind of thing just happens. It’s best to just go with it. Forcing a song to be happy or sad or frightening or whatever can ruin the whole experience. Sometimes the song dictates how it wants to be heard, not the band. That was the case for many songs on Forever Halloween.

On your song ‘Happy’ where you sing, “When will what I have ever be good enough / I’m sad, funny it seems lately / This ain’t a fairytale,” I thought that was a very good representation of what it’s like to be a teenager. How pivotal a role were those years in your life?
Extremely pivotal. Everyone is most impressionable in their adolescence. Really though, the song is more about realising that you won’t be happy all of the time. It’s coming to terms with that. That’s a message that applies to all ages.

I also wanted to ask about ‘Blood Red’ — Forever Halloween isn’t really a Halloween album, but ‘Blood Red’ seems to fit the theme. Could you tell us more about it?
There are certain things I know and understand, but John’s lyrics aren’t always one of them. Forever Halloween was a personal outpour for him, and there are certain songs I could speculate on, but I don’t know their exact meaning. I think that’s an amazing power of music. Anyone can associate any meaning to any song. My guess is vampires?

“I feel like we owe so much to the internet. Word travels so fast these days, and I feel like that played a large part in getting to travel the world.”

Vampires! How soon until you think you’ll be ready to start writing again?
We’re already working on smaller endeavors. It’s not something we set out to do, but sometimes the ideas start flowing and we jump at the opportunity. Again, we don’t like to force anything. When the time is right, we’ll be at it again.

Cool. We’re so excited to see you guys in Singapore in September, and it will have been three months since the album’s release, and obviously a few more since you finished recording — have you become weary of performing the songs live?
Actually, we’re very excited to be playing the new songs. Right now we’re on our first tour since the album came out but we’re only playing four new songs. There is still so much ground to cover, and we’re excited to play even more new songs when we come to Singapore!

Thanks a lot for this interview, Jared. We’ll have to get some durian into you while you’re here — have you heard about that fruit? It’s been described as eating your favourite ice cream… on the toilet.
Any time! Toilet ice cream! What could be better?

By Izzan Haziq

The Maine will be playing at TAB on Friday, 13 September.

Joel Teo

Stuck firmly in the 80s, Joel enjoys nothing more than a glass of scotch with a backing track of classic rock. He has a particular weak spot for delicious food, tantalizing cocktails, captivating music and riveting novels.

Singapore Rock Festival Day 2 @ Fort Canning Park (6.03.14)
Singapore Rock Festival Day 1 @ Fort Canning Park (5.03.14)
Taking Back Sunday @ *SCAPE, The Ground Theatre (02.03.2014)
And So I Watch You From Afar @ Zouk (28.02.14)
Phoenix @ The Star Performing Arts Centre (15.01.14)
Dashboard Confessional @ Shine Auditorium (4.12.13)
One OK Rock @ The Coliseum (22.11.13)
The Cairos @ Home Club (9.10.13)
The inevitable comparison: Laneway Festival vs. Camp Symmetry
Arctic Monkeys – AM
Metallica @ Changi Exhibition Centre (24.08.13)
Stereophonics @ Fort Canning Park (14.08.13)
Collecting, storing, and curating our music: A changing landscape

Collecting, storing, and curating our music: A changing landscape

I grew up in an age where vinyl had long been replaced by cassette players, quality sacrificed for portability. It didn’t last long, though. The advent of CDs quickly saw cassette tapes being made obsolete; people seemed to be able to accept the slight increase in bulk, for the added convenience of being able to skip tracks and the significantly increased quality.

Then came the advent of the MP3 player. We were no longer constrained by the physical constraints of a CD. A device that fit in the palm of the hand could store thousands of songs. And now history repeats itself as we put convenience over quality, for we have streaming services, like Deezer and Spotify.

For those unacquainted, Spotify launched about three months ago in Singapore, after having had great success in the USA for more than a year. And with a database that includes most major labels and a number of independent ones as well, it allows easy access to almost all music that one can think of, right from the mythical entity of the cloud.

From vinyl to cassettes, to CDs to digital, and now streaming, the way we curate our music choice and selection has changed much. Gone are the days of having a room full of vinyls or racks upon racks of CDs. As we move on from medium to medium, it gets simpler to amass more music as physical constraints become less of a concern. And it’s not just space, but also cost.

Back when CDs actually cost a significant chunk of cash, and piracy wasn’t quite as rampant, one had to carefully pick and choose what was purchased. For the most part, our only exposure to the CD’s music would have been the radio. I sometimes found myself buying the album based on the art alone, an experience I’m sure many can empathize with.

Discovering new music has become a breeze. Even before streaming services, there was YouTube. But as we get increasingly digitized, the feeling of ownership we have over our music gets increasingly diluted as well — downloading and storing music on the hard drive is so easy. Most enthusiasts easily have tracks numbering the thousands sitting on the computer. But even then, the music collection was still your own. You owned, organized and curated your own digital music collection. With streaming services, however, you’re reduced to “following” artists and compiling gimped playlists. Everything is streamed from the cloud. There’s no feeling of ownership over one’s own music taste any longer.

Don’t get me wrong, I think streaming services are great in many ways.  Before, a friend telling me that I “had to listen to a song” meant taking the artist and title down, and hoping that I would remember to look it up when I returned home. Now, all I have to do is look up the song on the spot in my phone and save it in a playlist, ready to be listened to wherever I want. Getting ready for a gig? Just look-up the set-list for the band’s latest concert and load up the playlist online.

But if streaming is to become a mainstay, it begs the question of how the next generation will treat the discovery of music. For example, Spotify has its share of obscure artists in its library, but at this point, there are still glaring gaps in its database. Even looking at fairly mainstream acts; Mathchbox Twenty is nowhere to be found, and many artists such as Coheed and Cambria don’t have their full discography on there. Thom Yorke just pulled all his solo work from Spotify, as a protest against “new artists getting paid fuck all”, a trend that, if continued, will see many independent artists soundly missing from this landscape.

And when music is normally available at the click of a finger, what happens when the song or artist isn’t available? Will we get lazy? Will we be content to only listen to what is there out of convenience? If it’s not on Spotify, does it really exist?

It’s early days yet, and many issues that are cropping up now are sure to be resolved down the road. But even as we embrace the age of streaming for all its conveniences with open arms, let’s not forget that for all the variety in the music that streaming apps offer us, there is so much more out there if only we just take the effort to search.

By Joel Teo

Camp Symmetry confirms second headline act… to absolutely no one’s surprise

After their inadvertent outing by Urbanscapes yesterday, Camp Symmetry has today confirmed the second act of its highly anticipated lineup for the event to be held this Novemer at The Meadow, Gardens By the Bay.

Ending weeks of speculation as a result of some not-so-subtle hints on Symmetry Entertainment’s Twitter account, it has been announced that Texan post-rockers Explosions in the Sky will be one of the festival’s headlining acts.

The band joins garage pop duo Best Coast on the bill, while an appearance by Danish band Mew still remains unconfirmed.

With information trickling through on Camp Symmetry’s debut since its confirmation almost two weeks ago, we are certainly being kept on our toes. Several more bands will be join the lineup in the coming weeks, with ticket details to be released in the (undisclosed) future.

For now, you’ll just have to wait up, frantically monitoring Camp Symmetry’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

In the meantime, have a listen to Explosions in the Sky’s new track ‘Join Me On My Avalanche’, composed with David Wingo for upcoming comedy flick Prince Avalanche.

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By Eleanor Turnbull

[CLOSED] WIN: Pair of tickets to Placebo

Fancy rocking out to Placebo live? Well today’s your lucky day, as we have a pair of tickets to give out to a dedicated fan!

To enter, simply share or like this photo on Facebook, or tag a friend who you would like to take with you.

The British rockers will be performing at The Coliseum, Hard Rock Hotel on 27 August. More details here.

Contest ends 7PM on Monday, August 19th.

An open letter to venues far and wide

Below is a list of things I have come across at live venues in China, through my experiences doing sound. It is a simple list of things that venues need to consider in making their venue work on a technical basis. Some are more significant than others, but I know that what most venues think and worry about most is money. Fair enough, they are a business too. They need money to survive like the rest of us. So what I have done is put this list in order of cost, going from cheapest, to most expensive.

Clean your stage and clean your equipment
I have seen some shocking stages in my time. I mean, there must have been grime and dust that has built up over years — it’s awful. All you need to do is once every one or two weeks, go on the stage and clear all those old glasses, old cables, old flyers, etc., and just sort the stage out. Give it a sweep or even a mop. It costs nothing and it is so much nicer to work on when clean.

Clean your control area, where your mixing desk, etc., are. Same as above, I have seen some messy control spaces that are just filthy.

CLEAN YOUR AMPS. And basically all your gear. Amps will work better and last longer if they can stay cool — an efficient amp is a more powerful amp. Clean the filters in front of the amps, and let them breathe. Dust build-up will just kill them. Same goes for all electrical equipment. CLEAN CLEAN CLEAN. It costs nothing.

I went to a venue in Beijing recently and the drum kit was so dusty that it was beyond belief, and the first thing I thought was that these guys just didn’t care.

Set up your equipment correctly
Amps as main speakers sitting on top of each other is a big no-no. They need to breathe, so stack them right — put space between them. That will stop them shutting off.

Have all your cables labelled correctly. If something goes wrong, labels are your friend.

If you don’t know how something should be set up, get an opinion, and not just from some guy who works as local labour for some AV company, but from someone who knows what they are doing. I have seen the most bizarre wiring set-ups it’s not even funny, and it took double the soundcheck time just to figure out what does what.

Lighting systems that are just so badly programmed are un-useable.

Main FOH (front of house) speakers pointing in the wrong place? Before any tuning, in fact, before anything — speaker placement is so, so, so important.

This list could go on and on… Nothing will work correctly if it is not set up right.

Make sure people know what they are doing
Have a sound guy who knows what he is doing and actually cares about his job. Pushing the faders up and then sitting on your smart phone is not mixing a band!

I was in the above-mentioned venue in Beijing with a touring artist, and the venue brought in a sound guy who did not know chalk from cheese — he was just plain shit. You must realize now that this artist will continue to travel the world touring, and he will talk about how bad this venue is to anyone willing to listen before talking about the great cocktail they have on the menu. That venue is now tarnished, and all because of a simple lack of care.

Bands make a huge effort to get to a level of being able to play in front of people, and they do not need to be let down by a bad sound guy.

Put the sound desk in the right place
I am sorry but you should not own a venue that programs live bands if you think putting the sound desk on the side of stage is okay. WHAT THE FUCK?! It’s for the sound guy, they need to hear what’s going on. For a few extra dollars, buy some longer cables and put the desk at the back of the room. Not under a set of stairs, or on a level above the stage, or under a balcony, or any other stupid place. The person doing sound needs to hear the room clearly.

A sound guy can’t mix drums, vocals and bass if they are placed in front of a guitar amp. And to simply say, “Well, he can walk out into the room and listen,” — it does not work that way. You need to hear the changes, and you need to hear and compare what changes you are actually making.

And by the way, you don’t want to have your venue so crowded that the sound guy will have too much trouble walking around the venue. Yes, this is the biggest problem.

Do a weekly check of your equipment
Have your technical staff turn everything on once a week and make sure it is all working. Put some music on, turn on the monitors, play all your lighting programs. It will take only an hour or two. That way, you know everything is working or not.

It is a good idea to have your sound guy turn up an hour before the bands. Get him to turn everything on, make sure it all works. Are the drums okay? Are the monitors working? Are all the amps on? Bands should not have to waste their soundcheck time whilst a sound guy fixes some issue he should have worked on before the band walked in.

Have spares
Have a few spares of everything lying around — a few more mic cables, audio adaptors, DIs, mic clips, PVC and gaffa tape, drum skins, etc. You will always need them and it will always be at the worst possible time, when you find yourself hurriedly searching for them.

Most costly: HAVE NICE GEAR!
Don’t say that you are Shanghai’s premier live venue and then have an LED wall only partly working. Take pride in the gear you own.

A nice microphone does not cost much but makes a significant difference, and that can be said for all pieces of equipment. Invest in your gear, look after it, use it right, and it will make all the difference.

If you have trashed gear and you say it’s because drunken punters get on after the bands and have a bash, empower and train your staff to tell them to get off, and to respect the venue.

I think many owners of venues, not just in China but everywhere, don’t understand the importance of how good a “good sound” is. It can make a or break a night.

To see or hear that your favourite band is coming to town, you wait and wait, you tell all your friends, you get excited all day, you listen to it on your iPod getting ready, you turn up to the gig, the band comes on and bang, they start… but all you hear is a big muddy wash of noise.

Punters realize this. They walk away going, “Blah, blah, venue is no good,” just because of its simple set-up mistakes, maintenance issues, and simply not taking the time to get to know their gear or asking someone who does know.

In Shanghai, I have offered to come help four separate venues totally free of charge. I wouldn’t say I am an expert, but I have been building venues technically for fifteen years and I am happy to share my knowledge and give these venues a helping hand — not simply for me, but for all my friends here in Shanghai who are in bands, all my mates who love to see bands play, and all my friends who have taken a chance and opened a venue here in Shanghai and let all these great bands come and play.

But, not one venue has said “yes”. And this comes to the nasty part: THEY DONT CARE. Start caring venues, please!

By Nathan Sidoti
Guest writer

via Slink Rat

Urbanscapes satellite show inadvertently reveals Camp Symmetry headliners

Urbanscapes have finally announced details of their newly revealed “satellite shows“, the first of which will feature Explosions In The Sky and Mew together for a “double-bill to end all double-bills.”

And surprise, surprise, the announcement has inadvertently outed both bands as headliners for Singapore’s own Camp Symmetry festival, leaving punters satisfied enough to move on to speculating the rest of the line-up.

The double-billed satellite show, to be held on 31 October in KL, comes two short days before Camp Symmetry on 2 November, and almost one whole month before Urbanscapes on 23-24 November.

With that fact, Symmetry’s constant teasers on social media, Mew’s show in Jakarta on 26 October, and Singaporeans’ unexplainably overwhelming affinity to post-rock; we’re both confident and hopeful that both bands will be appear as headliners at Camp Symmetry… for perhaps a festival to end all festivals.

Urbanscapes Satellite Show #1
with Explosions In The Sky and Mew
KL Live
Thursday, 31 October 2013

Tickets available now at Ticketpro.

By Melissa Yong

The Attic Show 2.0 @ Blu Jaz (20.07.13)

Whoever said that rock n’ roll is dead? Because we’re pretty sure it’s alive and kicking, having reared its beautiful head at Blu Jaz’s third-storey bar last Saturday. Featuring a triple bill of Lovejets, The Pinholes and Cashew Chemists, The Attic Show 2.0 was exactly what we needed to remind ourselves that Singapore can do rock and roll with as much vigour and bravado as anyone else in the world.

Lovejets took off with their set with the difficult task as openers to open up the crowd. Lead singer Noor Akid attempted to stir up the energy levels, singing into the faces of a few bemused show-goers — it was a brave effort, some people growing visibly more charmed by the quartet. The band persevered, offering big tunes like ‘Dance With Me’ and ‘Maryanne’, and steadily, the crowd reacted positively. It is never easy to be the opening band, but Lovejets took on the challenge suavely and opened the party wonderfully.

Soon, The Pinholes took over the stage, donned in their signature blue collared shirts and black tailored pants. They’re a band that seem to get better and more interesting each time they perform, the audience immediately perked up with the extra ‘oomph’ from them. Lead vocalist Famie as usual, gave us a healthy dose of cheekiness, laughing at his own nonsensical talk in between songs including insanely catchy numbers like crowd-pleasers ‘Sunshine’ and ‘Preferably’. As usual, The Pinholes’ set was as much about the showmanship and participation of the audience, as it was their performance. They ended their set with a powerful rendition of the Arctic Monkeys’ ‘I Bet That You Look Good On The Dancefloor’ that got just about everyone bopping and screaming along.

Wrapping things up was, of course, Cashew Chemists; also the organizers of The Attic Show, whose first edition was held late last year. And while The Pinholes’ set was bombastic and (the good kind of) chaotic earlier in the night, Cashew Chemists’ set was more clean and crisp, without losing any of the innate flourish of their songs.

They played a full set of songs including a few from their EP, first single ‘Common Equation’, unreleased song ‘If I’m Alone’, and also towards the end, a new song they’d written — apparently in just five minutes — and were obviously thrilled to have lead guitarist Brian Chia back in Singapore again. The ease with which they played together gave their performance a certain sureness atop an already confident and charming display, the sort of ease that one sees in many international bands — a confidence to muck around on stage, play spontaneously, and talk amongst each other and the crowd, and it makes you forget that you are in fact, watching a local band (something no one admits to but no doubt has in the back of their minds).

The Attic Show 2.0 was a great way to present the growing local scene — a well programmed mix of similar-but-not-the-same bands that brought to us something unique with each set. And with Cashew Chemists heading to Melbourne to perform in the near future, we hope that more bands will follow suit in putting on their own shows and heading abroad to spread the word of our own brand of rock and roll.

by Tryne Ong