Friday, August 31, 2007

Word for the week: Bebas


It's my country's birthday today ('bebas' means 'free'). Wish they gave everyone a cake.

Sore - Bebas (from Centralismo)
Sore's brand of liberation comes with a jetty, a Kir Royal and Gong Li doing the limbo.

The Sleeping Satellite - Bebas (from Transmisi Pertama EP)
All the power chords, verse-chorus-bridge structures and "na-na-na" interludes in the world cannot mask the wide-eyed joy of a freed one.

Steven & Coconut Treez - Bebas Merdeka (single)
They say life in Bali begins at midnight. This one jives with you at around 6.21am.

Peterpan - Bebas (from Hari Yang Cerah)
Pop rock behemoths channel Pearl Jam for the first 10 seconds, then Lifehouse for the remaining 198. Which works, weirdly.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Gig-gles: Malacca 'House if Indie' 2007

On most days, I hate sushi. This kind of hatred doesn't exist on the same level as, say, my hatred for durian (which subsequently is nothing like my hatred for ties, which has no equivalent).

Having said that, a significant portion of this hate is dependent on the degree of sushi love shown by my surrounding lunch companions at any given time. So, if they're into sushi, and want nothing but sushi for lunch, and will declare war on Turkmenistan if they don't get sushi—well, then I become one of the peacemaking types, and will willingly oblige to picking off one or two plates from that conveyor belt. All in the name of getting a piece of the action, of course.

Actually, what the heck? I'm a thievin' pirate! So piss off, sushi! I'll just chuck my first mate into the sea as bait, and use him to draw in a leopard seal. Then while the dude is still flailing and flapping in the sea, i'll stuff my head down the leopard seal's throat and suck out his intestines like Hokkien mee.


Malacca and indie is like me and sushi. And in this case, the sushi looks absolutely bitchin'.

Venue: Dataran Phalawan, Malacca
Date: Sunday, 2 September
Time: 12 noon
Admission: RM20
Line up: SevenCollar T-Shirt, Love Me Butch, Bittersweet, Furniture, Couple, Muck, Free Love, Telephony Delivery, The Rhaman, The Spektors, Priority, Coffee's Lux, Oh Chentaku, Ben Cracko (DJ)

Couple - Say Hi (from Top Of The Pop)
Bittersweet - Come On (from Perfect Match)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

New Release: Documentary In Amber - Self Titled

Have you ever met someone, whom you are sure you're going to hate?

Maybe it's the way he looks at himself in the mirror. Maybe it's the way he keeps pressing lift-buttons like they are going to come down any faster if he did. Or maybe it's his squinty eyed, high cheekbone look that suggests he is likely an arse. Maybe it's the greasy hair that he so intends on combing every 30 seconds. Or maybe, just maybe he was born with a Decepticon-like look to your Autobot-like demeanor.

And so you decide that enemies like him cannot be allowed to roam this land. So you approach him, tap him on his shoulder and just as you are about to level his head in, he strips his face-mask to reveal - Petra Nemcova.

And you fall in love in about 5 seconds and in about 30 seconds you are married and in about 5 hours you have a tub full of kids.

Man I love romance. Peace.

Oh by the way, check out this album by Singaporean post-rock band Documentary In Amber. It's Petra-like lovely.

1. prelude
3. it's alright
5. for these are truly the last days

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Killers: Live in KL?

An insider within an insider inside an insider of an inside, told me that there's a mini bidding war going on to bring Las Vegas post-punk stars The Killers in for a one-off show.

Fresh off their kudos-throwing stage-closing show at Glastonbury, these 80s hard nuts are going to be a joy to behold should they ever make it to our guidelines-throwing shores. I mean, don't you want to watch 'Mr. Brightside' live? Or see Brandon Flowers in a glittering quasi-Elvis suit?

I have no idea why I said 'one-off show'. I mean, it's not like the band's going to tour around Malaysia. I mean if they did, they would all pack themselves into a van and before they can even adjust their seats they would've reached the next venue. Brandon Flowers would get so sick of eating 'nasi lemak' for breakfast every morning that he would insult Mawi and Siti. He might also make a pass on some Datuk's son and get hauled off to jail.

Bet you thought the 'son' bit was a mistake. Hah, no it wasn't. I mean which hetero dude wears a glittering Elvis suit?

Oh yeah, me. But only to sleep. Need to match the twinkly wallpaper in my room.

The Killers - Read My Mind (Pet Shop Boys Stars Are Blazing Mix) (from Read My Mind British CD single)

Look what I found in the bargain bin

Marcus Miller
The Sun Don't Lie
(Pra Records)

Price: S$7.95

For those mildly familiar with the world of virtuoso bass players, Marcus Miller would seem to be a bit of a sore thumb. Yeah, he's got that padded resume of having handled low end duties for Miles Davies and Luther Vandross, but that's hardly a novel belt notch in a scene where everybody has played for somebody, sometime. And arguably, Michael Manring's got far more bizarre experimentations, Victor Wooten pretty much owns all the prime property in the slap-n-pop neighbourhood, and John Patitucci evokes those dreamy lines on a double bass that are tailor-stitched for smoky lounge sessions.

But Miller is a straddler. As in, the type that can plant his feet firmly in seemingly disparate realms without incurring serious musical hernia. The Sun Don't Lie spreads his multi-flavoured jam with acute tastefulness, so that the skill-centric devotee, the funky monkey and the casual jazzpian can walk away with their own custom-made lollipop.

And so when the album peeked out from the lower crevices of a bargain shelf in Singapore, I greeted it with starry-eyed surprise. Deciding to add this to the must-buy pile was about as difficult as choosing between dinner with Zhang Ziyi and lunch with my GM. Unless you are one of those folks who actually has Zhang Ziyi as your GM. In which case, please forward my resume. Now.

Marcus Miller - Panther (from The Sun Don't Lie)

Monday, August 27, 2007

The great Friday Night Lights DVD challenge

So I attribute my current fixation with American football drama serial Friday Night Lights to three factors: the original movie, the Explosions In The Sky-fronted soundtrack, and Minka Kelly. All three are worth checking out (in appropriate times and moods, of course).

Anyways, I'm only three episodes in (thanks to weekly screenings on Star World), but it's already got me hunting for the DVD. And the smug producers are so assured that we urchins will dig it with glowing, unabashed passion, that they've promised to give a full refund to the unsatisfied punter that buys the whole season one DVD.

Alas, once again, the offer only applies State-side; woe befalls us who reside on the wrong side of the Pacific. Oh well. I can take minor consolation in the sense that it's quite unlikely that someone is going to go through all that trouble to claim any kind of money-back guarantee. There's always some redeeming factor that prevents us from making that extra post office trip. Like there was one time I ordered a Russian mail order bride. But when she came, I found out she was Greek, hated vodka and couldn't do the troika. But she had dimples when she smiled. So I kept her, and christened her Olganopolis. I'm telling ya, she wraps a mean yiros.

For more info, visit

Explosions In The Sky - A Slow Dance (from Friday Night Lights soundtrack)

Napalm Death Live in KL: This weekend

Yes boys, girls, trolls, ogres and denizens of the 12th level of hell, Napalm Death is coming to town to wreck yet another round of absolute metal carnage.

It's been six-years since their last visit and these behemoths of death metal have not chilled a second. Its 13th LP Smear Campaign, released last year, has been receiving decent reviews from both critics and fans alike. Expect the show to feature heavily from this album with a few 10-second classics from Scum thrown in perhaps?

Support for the show is provided by local metal legends such as Sil-Khannaz, Koffin Kanser, Langsuir and Restraint.

Note: In order to best survive this show, please put together your very own survival kit that consists:

  • A full body armor (including helmet and sword)
  • Anti-hell gate spray (in case hell decides to open up and swallow some of their own)
  • A small bottle of shampoo to wash away the flying fleas in the air
  • Two bottles of deodorant (dry preferred)
  • Garlic and stake (in case vampires show up)
  • Two black tees in case one gets ripped (you don't want to be seen in any color other than black)
  • Optional fake wig
Napalm Death - Breed to Breathe (from Inside the Torn Apart)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Madge for sale

Like, who wouldn't wanna buy her? You get a dip in her US$325 million pot, instant diplomatic ties with Malawi and free Kabbalah lessons.

Alas, the deal ain't quite so. But it's close enough. NME reports that Madonna's 1991-started label Maverick Records was officially bought over by Warner Music. Yeah, it's the label that brought us Alanis Morissette, Prodigy, Deftones, Michelle Branch, Jack's Mannequin, American Idol's John Stevens,...

It's a good move. To say the least. Now, we can celebrate the diva purely on the basis of her music. Oh wait, didn't she also do Swept Away? Err, gee. Hmmm. Someone wanna buy an acting career too?

Some ex-Maverickians:

Alanis Morissette - That I Would Be Good (from Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie)
Deftones - Rapture (from Saturday Night Wrist)

PLUS: Madonna - Die Another Day (live) (from I'm Going to Tell You a Secret)

Look what I found in the bargain bin

Heathen Chemistry

Price: S$5.95

Even on my most British days, when I'm slinging on a Union Jack-emblazoned bag and sporting a Beatnik bowl-cut, do I profess Oasis as one of my favorite bands. I could rat off about 10 Oasis songs that I find absolutely hand-clappingly great but for some odd reason, they've never been able to climb up to the top of my heap. Presumably, the Gallaghers keep dragging each other down near the top. But yet I find myself buying their album no. five (a personal third). Why? Because I am a cheap-ass. For about RM12.00, it's a bit of a steal.

But Heathen Chemistry has its moments. The bittersweet balladry of 'Stop Crying Your Heart Out' and its sepia-ish video stood out for me in particular.

Look, I know I'm not British. But I do eat fish and chips, a lot. And I eat them with Lingams chilli sauce at that. And you know what Lingams means in ancient Anglo? 'I don't give a crap', that's what.

Oasis - Songbird (from Heathen Chemistry)

B-Side of the Week - Bigger Boys and Stolen Sweethearts

Arctic Monkeys
Bigger Boys and Stolen Sweethearts (from I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor single)
(Domino Records)

Dear Pirates,

I am 16 and still in school. I met A in art class and we immediately fell in love. We would do our homework together and spend many afternoons laughing. But recently, she met B and I've lost my sweetheart. B is tall, muscular, good-looking and he plays basketball for the national under 18s. I want to kill myself because I just can't fight with B. I can't even reach his head cos he's that huge. Please tell me why I should still live.


Dear Specky,

Why should you live? Life has obviously dealt you a cruel blow and there comes a time in every teenage boy's life when he realises that some guys are just bigger and better than him. Guys like me, for instance. When I was your age, I stole many girls from losers too. I remember this girl called Helena, oh boy was she hot. We used to make out in the girls toilet. Oh yeah. And she had these nice lips. Best I'd ever kissed, and I was already 14 by then. She was dating a chess player when we met. He was a nerd. Perhaps just like you, Specky. But I! I was athletic. Charming. So debonair, Specky. So confident. So... what's that word... triumphant! Yeah! That's what I am. A triumphant man. Yeah... it's so nice to be a beautiful man.


Arctic Monkeys - Bigger Boys and Stolen Sweethearts

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Word for the week: Start


Every end has a beginning. And our dearly beloved pirate is only just beginning. And in the beginning, there was light.

The Gloria Record - Start Here (from Start Here)
Amidst a fountain of swirls and wails, Chris Simpson summons the weary to the journey.

Voxtrot - The Start of Something (from Raised by Wolves EP)
Marianne, let the ghosts sleep tonight", urges Ramesh Srivastava. How could she not, when Texas's answer to Belle & Sebastian oozes lullabies like this?

Gwen Stefani - U Started It (from The Sweet Escape)
Gwen's much-protested concert at Stadium Putra last night had her donning jackets on and leggings under the microminis. Coo-coo-ool.

Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A Start - The Red Loop (from Worst Band Name Ever)
Someone find a cooler band name.

The Go! Team - Junior Kickstart (from Thunder, Lightning Strike)
Hawaii Five-O, sans the moptops, with the melting ice creams.

Editors - An End Has A Start (from An End Has A Start)
Yes it does.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Let's get lyrical, lyrical: Art Brut - People in Love

People in love, lie around and get fat
I didn't want us to end up like that
This isn't the first time
You've fallen apart
Now you're indulging in just playing a part

The more it happens, the easier it gets
You can learn to enjoy this type of upset
So pass me the wine
A cigarette too
We've about a week and a half to get through

To every girl, that's ever been with me
I've got over you all, eventually
What becomes of the broken-hearted?
They're drunk for a few weeks,
Then back where they started
So pass me the wine
A cigarette too
We've about a week and a half to get through

You can tell how bad you feel
By how long you're in the shower
You're in and out in minutes
Whereas it used to take hours

It's not the breaking up,
It's the starting again
Meeting new people, taking them out as a friend
The more it happens, the easier it gets
You can learn to enjoy this type of upset
People in love, lie around and get fat
I didn't want us to end up like that

To every girl, that's ever been with me
I've got over you, eventually
What becomes of the broken-hearted?
They're drunk for a few weeks,
Then back where they started
So pass me the wine
A cigarette too
We've about a week and a half to get through

You're indulging in just playing a part
So pass me the wine
A cigarette too
We've about a week and a half to get through
People in love, lie around and get fat
I didn't want us to end up like that
The more it happens, the easier it gets
You can learn to enjoy this type of upset

This one's dedicated to a fellow pirate. Cheers mate, good seas ahead, good seas ahead.

Art Brut - People in Love (from It's a Bit Complicated)

Monday, August 20, 2007

New Release: Amasser - Legal Wall

Have you ever received junk mail that did good on what it said it offered? You know, as in you actually drove home that new car, won yourself that iPod or actually went out on a date with Victoria Silvstedt?

Well, ye Pirates have and no, it's not offered by Reverend Viagra or single lonely female.

Amasser, a mysterious bunch from Minnesota dropped us a line about posting some songs off their LP Legal Wall. Needless to say we were skeptical because a) it sounds like spam mail for lawyers and we are about as lawful as Sarawak Sally b) Amasser sounds like a brand of death ray guns you can pick up at Tesco, and c) who in their blazing right mind would want us to post their music?!

Ah, but ye skeptics are sorely mistaken. Not only is it not spam mail or a brand of death ray guns (although that would've been mildly cooler), Amasser sports some wonderfully tasty electro-pop on Legal Wall, with some blanketed noise-warmth to fill the gaps between the blips and the gorgeous lazy melodies peeking through. 'For Omaha' is my champagne cut with its stuttering piano lines and bittersweet melody. Larrrrvely, as the Brits would say.

The album is slated for proper release in October, but right now the band are handing out hand-made packages to people that chat them up or girls that are supremely hot. Okay I added the supremely hot girls bit myself but if you hot girls have nowhere to go after meeting Amasser, I am all here.

1) Legal Wall
2) Cranium Posse
3) Kilo Binge
4) Data Clip Rig
5) Green Like the Sky
6) For Omaha
7) The Clipperton Suite
8) Persona System
9) A Litmus Cheer
10) Moonwatcher

Friday, August 17, 2007

Look what I found in the bargain bin

Blue Swan Orchestra

Price: S$2.95

One in awhile, in a distant robotic planet where they have giant sized leeches in their Koi ponds, you get blown away by a deal so bloody sensational, that you just you err ... end up in tiny little chunks.

Yes, I found this Goldenboy CD in a HMV store at the bargain corner going for S$2.95. I knew little about them, much less about this record but for that measly amount, the risk was well worth taking.

The result? A record I have bumped up to at the very least a Top 25 in my most valuable list. This is Grandaddy without the electronics. Soothing lazy pop melodies with Elliot Smith pitching in on a song or two. Absolutely, 100%, ultra gorgeous, like Petra Nemcova in a loose G.I. Joe tee, holding up an ayam penyet meal with Godzilla: Final Wars playing on the telly behind her.

Goldenboy - Wild Was the Night (Blue Swan Orchestra)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Look what I found in the bargain bin

Pretty Girls Make Graves
Good Health

Price: S$2.95

The used CD corner at the Grammaphone in Ngee Ann City, Singapore has always been a bit of Stamford Bridge for me. That is assuming I am say, Frank Lampard, John Terry or the guy selling hot dogs outside the stadium. And not Mess-some-more Taibi.

Before it was Golden Smog, this round it's this. Punchy melodic girly proto punk with a slight emo gaze? Everyone sing Kumbaya now in the key of D.

What, you can't reach that key? Here's some rope, tie them suckers together real tight. If that doesn't work, then you can clamp them together with a hot sandwich maker. If that too fails then you can put on a G-string and tie a ribbon around your neck. If that also surprisingly fails you can try and coach an elephant how to hold a samurai sword.

If you've tried all that and it still doesn't work then you seriously don't have to sing. Cause we would've all died laughing at you anyways.

Pretty Girls Make Graves - Speakers Push the Air (from Good Health)

Look what I found in the bargain bin

Ani DiFranco
Little Plastic Castle
(Righteous Babe)

Price: S$5

Question of the day: how did he get her?

It's a pertinent question, only because Little Plastic Castle is a bit like a footballer's wife. It's got those curvaceous melodies and protest lyrics that DiFranco likes to wrap around her percussive playing, plus the added mariachi brass fills in selected spots that make it that much more responsive to touch.

But then there's the cover. It's way down there. Not like smack at the bottom (I think the latest Ice-T album is definitive Christian Karembeu), but not too far from it. I'm not the type that judges contents by their cover, but seeing this atrocity in a dusty box forced me to reconsider my worldview. Thankfully, common sense won.

Still, the cover is definitely a footballer. And I'm not talking about those tight-tee Italian Casanovas. I'd say it's closer to... him:

Ani DiFranco - Fuel (from Little Plastic Castle)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Word for the week: Ball


The English Premiere League has started. Yeah, I know it's not the only football league (soccer for all you oval pig-skin supporting types) in the world. But it's honestly the only one we're bothered about. One-third of the pirates is religiously going for Liverpool as he has for like forever. The other roots for whoever is on his fantasy football roster. And me? I'm a sport neutral by nature, but I reckon Sunderland are going to do stuff. Nasty stuff.

Anyways, here are some songs, together with the types of football games they might be best suited for. Plus, since I missed Word for the Week last week, here's me being extra generous. I'm cool like that.

White Stripes - Ball and Biscuit (from Elephant)
2 - 3. In the 2nd minute, the goalie bites the striker's balls; it's a non-stop bloodbath thereon in, with the winner coming in injury time as the teams' towelboys pummel each other.

The Observatory - Oddball (from Blank Walls)
1 - 1. In the 32nd minute, three streakers invade the pitch. They are joined by the stadium security, who see it as their coming out party.

Jack Johnson - Mudfootball (from Bushfire Fairytales)
5 - 4. Impromptu beach football match, dominated by a 12-year-old Portuguese prodigy whose monosyllabic name alone will earn him a 12 million pound contract one day.

Treeball - Favourite Enemy (from I Dream Of Eclectic Sheep)
4 - 0. The home side just spent 300 million pounds on new janitors. The visitors work as janitors.

Joe Hisaishi - Boiraa Mushi (Sootballs) (from Spirited Away soundtrack)
0 - 2. Foggy conditions prevent long ball specialists from ruining the game, and the close control balladeers step in for 90 minutes of paradise.

Interpol - Wrecking Ball (from Our Love To Admire)
1 - 1. Chockablock with sublime midfield passing and mazy dribbling. The fans are the winners.

The Dodos - The Ball (from Beware Of The Maniacs)
3 - 0. The home team scores all goals in the first 25 minutes, then lets their hyperactive 17-year-olds give the visitors a muscle-cramping runaround.

R.E.M. - Beachball (from Reveal)
2 - 2. One foul, zero yellow or red cards. Both teams exchange shirts, phone numbers and wives after the game.

The Hold Steady - Take Me Out To The Ballgame (single)
Play ball.

My Chemical Romance Live in KL?

Hear ye all ye mascara totting emo kids, there are strong rumors circulating that the hippest meanest leather-wearing emo son-of-a-goths My Chemical Romance will be making a stop in our mucky town.

Apparently the Singapore deal is done dusted and headed for the printers. but there are rumors that someone here's looking to cash in on the Black Parade. The tentative ballpark is December.

So lock your eyes here, there, down the street from your house to the nearest coffee shop, your furry imaginary friend Kundu and the hot girl selling raw fish at the market for more news on this.

My Chemical Romance - Disenchanted (from The Black Parade)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Tony Wilson: 1950 - 2007

The man, the legend, clocked out at 6.05pm on August 10th, 2007.

The mogul behind the seminal careers of Manchester heroes Joy Division and The Happy Mondays, Wilson constructed the Manc club empire, drawing largely from his experience of watching the Sex Pistols show at the Lesser Free Trade Hall.

He leaves behind his legacy as the founder of the now legendary Factory Records, the also equally legendary Hacienda club, a movie based on his life (24 Hour Party People) and tons of scathing remarks about Morrissey ('A nasty human being' who 'treats people like shit').

In bucking the trend of posting songs by either the Mondays, Joy Division or New Order, we instead bring you two songs by two rather seminal bands who were obviously a bi-product of the man's legacy.

Mr. Manchester will be missed.

Interpol - Pioneer to the Falls (from Our Love to Admire)
Primal Scream - Some Velvet Morning (from Evil Heat)

Monday, August 13, 2007

Baybeats 2007: Sunday - Aloha

Festival closers must be big. Festival closers must be loud. Festival closers must be epic. Festival closers must sell out stadiums, and albums, and their soul.

And then there's Aloha. Purveyors of the plaintive. Upholders of the underrated. Epitomes of the everyman. And fully capable of leaving you with the same feeling you'd have after walking through an orchard: satisfied by variety, guilt-free and imbued with a renewed sense that goodness is the fruit plucked only by the inquisitive.

Blessed are the brave.

Rating: 7.6

Aloha - Your Eyes (from Some Echoes)

Baybeats 2007: Sunday - They Will Kill Us All

I wanted them to kill me. Kill me good. Slash me across the chest and rip my throat out. Dump me by the road to dwell on their violence while I slowly bleed to death.

I had heard of their notoreity. A string of murders followed with larger killings. It started off with tens and twentys. Eventually, hundreds fell by their sword. I saw them kill once. They hammered an entire small room with pure fury until everyone, except I who was watching in secret, lay dead. I secretly wanted to be among the dead. I waited.

Their largest stage yet. Several hundred stood in the vicinity. I stood. Among them. Fist clenched with certain mortality on my mind. Not so certain after all.

They were weak. Lazy. Took breaks between numbers and strolled around looking bored. With every new attack they built it up from scratch. I saw them murder once, murder many, gaining a lust for blood with each kill. But here, at their promised badland, they cared less. They really cared less.

I didn't die. Got scratched on my arm and I walked out the scene unharmed. And they? They blew it.

Rating: 3.9

They Will Kill Us All - Situational Separate (unreleased demo)

Friday, August 10, 2007

Baybeats 2007: Sunday - One Buck Short

Catching One Buck Short's set was more a case of "I'm tired of waiting around" than any purposed eagerness to catch Malaysia's pop-punkers second Baybeats appearance. They closed the Powerhouse Stage, and over at the Arena, Aloha were taking a while to set up. So why not?

I mean, it's not hard to figure out that they'd predictably go all ballistic in front of a gaggle of tweens, who would predictably go all ballistic back. Still, One Buck Short are a fun watch, even if a progressively bland listen. You get scrawny lads and ladettes on each other's shoulders, and a throng of sing-a-longs and cheesy dancing. And you get a band who are wholeheartedly convinced that their brand of music is the way to go.

Also, to their credit, they're certainly getting better at what they do, as opening slots for Fall Out Boy and Good Charlotte and a performance at the just-over Singfest prove. And they'll likely be around a little while longer, since there aren't many chuggy-riffed bands around this region with their kind of established fanbase. So hooray for the prolonged shelf life.

Three chords and 15 minutes later, I left.

Rating: 4.5

One Buck Short - That Day (live recording at Paul's Place, 2004)

Baybeats 2007: Sunday - Tookoo

So while waiting for some of our overawed buddies to get their CDs signed by Everyone Loves Irene, I hung around the Nokia Powerhouse stage to watch China's Tookoo. We only caught about 10 minutes (as we were rushing to get a good spot for They Will Kill Us All), but it was a decent if not too original pot. They've got the whole Maximo Park post-punk thing going on, with the requisite emo stylings that any band in this fest might be expected to have.

Wouldn't be really fair to give it a rating, I suppose. But heck, who ever said I was fair? There was this one time when this kid tripped me up during basketball in school one day. So I bought myself a Russian nuke and blasted his neighbourhood. Take that.

Rating: 5.9

Tookoo - Dance For Yourself (from Dance For Yourself EP)

Baybeats 2007: Sunday - Everybody Loves Irene

The starry-eyed boy watched as Irene, the impish girl with a bag slung over her shoulder and a plastic water bottle, walked nonchalantly onto stage.

(Is she serious? This is her entrance?)

The band was already playing. She's cute. You'll forgive her posturing. (Some say you might even love her.) She stands at the mic and cheshires so sweetly, you'd have sworn that across the bay, someone in Indonesia was receiving her smile. She welcomes the crowd. Waves a little. Like a doe-eyed doll.

Then it happens. Her eyes go square over the heads of the crowd. The languid basslines and droning keyboards turn the waterfront into a strange and empty landscape and Irene - June one moment ago - has gone all December. Her hands twitch. Her voice is heartbreaking. Her smile is six months ago and her act is cunning. Almost sharp.

This little chameloen weaves in and out of character. Strawberry Shortcake one moment, Beth Gibbons the next. The set was enthralling. The starry-eyed boy was entranced. After holding an extraodinary note on the final number, Irene picks up her sling bag and water bottle, and she walks out.

The band play on. What a way to go.

Rating: 7.0

Everybody Loves Irene - You're My Tragedy (from The Very First Thing You Must Learn About Flying Is Gravity)

Baybeats 2007: Saturday - The Lovesong

Watching The Lovesong's set isn't completely unlike watching an American Godzilla movie or a Japanese John Rambo, complete with red headbands and bomb-tipped arrows.

The sound is unmistakably At the Drive-in. Ben Tse's monologues over the angular guitars and twinkly picking bits is square within what ATDI were doing on Relationships of Command. Except you have a bunch of Asian dudes on stage pretending its sunny El Paso Texas and that they are some chicos who ran over the Mexican border a couple of years back.

But hey, you shouldn't blame someone for being good-looking, no matter how big an ass the bugger may be. If anything The Lovesong have to be saluted for copying from a good source. It looks like the ghost of cotton candy murder ala Whence He Came has been properly expunged from their gauntly bodies. All that's left is just err ... the stick.

Rating: 6.8

The Lovesong - One Becomes What One Used to Hate (from DD/MM/YYYY)

Baybeats 2007: Saturday - Urbandub

Have you ever been punched before, like square in the nose? And just after the punch makes contact with those two fragile bones in your nose and you hear it snap, a large crate that's housing a Gundam robot drops on you, smashing almost every single bone in your body, except that one bone holding your buttocks up and just as you try to call upon that bone to deliver you some dignity, the Gundam robot's rear end comes apart and falls on you, smashing that last bone as well. Have your ever felt like this at all?

Well watching Urbandub's set on Saturday felt a little like that. With a name like that I was expecting some skinny bearded dude behind a DJ console or some rastafarians with way too much hair which has seen way too little shampoo in their existence. But alas, the four piece from the Philippines strode on stage, strummed a de-tuned note and proceeded to knock the pants off the unassuming crowd gathered at the Powerhouse stage just after dinner time. Starting with the punchy emo rock monster that was 'Alert the Armoury', the band went on to play five other songs, hardly letting up for the duration of their set. With tons of soaring choruses, perfect three part harmonies and even a C.C. Deville endorsed guitar-over-shoulders swinging move, this was emo the way it was meant to be played.

What? You mean you have never seen a Gundam robot before? Isn't there one in every home? I grew up with one always around me. Either changing my nappies, boiling some soup, driving me to my prom and taking my dog for walks. I thought it was rather weird that it kept using a huge plasma cannon to stir my coffee. I mean I am pretty used to ordering it around. My friends used to say say I was a pretty tough and big kid. I have no idea what they were talking about.

Rating: 8.7

Urbandub - Frailty (from Embrace)

Baybeats 2007: Saturday - Blindside

I used to work next to a guy who swore his life on Glassjaw, Underoath and Blindside. I'd ween him on my Pearl Jam, and he'd educate me on the wonders of Christian hardcore. I'd debate that Smashing Pumpkins could grind it with the best of them, and then he'd play me 10 seconds of 'About A Burning Fire', and say how Billy Corgan's squeal on 'Zero' sounds like a pregnant shrimp compared to Christian Lindskog's alphamale wail.

So my excitement was palpable when I heard that the Swedes were scheduled to close Saturday night at the Arena Stage. And dang, what a set. I'm convinced Baybeats witnessed its largest ever mosh pit. Scenes of shirt-swinging and fist-pumping were aplenty.

Me? I was happy catching the action away from the banging bods, and humming in my head to 'Pitiful' and 'Eye Of The Storm'. Bottom line: Budding metal acts around the region who missed this need to replay those Youtube videos over and over to get a firm lesson in how to manhandle thousands. And swing a mic stand. And do a kick flip with a guitar. And yowl like you mean it.

Oh, and apparently the band went to church the next morning. Rawk.

Rating: 8.2

Blindside - The Way You Dance (from The Black Rose EP)

Baybeats 2007: Saturday - Observation Deck - Reza Salleh and Warren Chan

One day, Romeo and Teddy Bear die and go to heaven. At the Pearly Gates, St Peter tells them, "Only one of you can go in. To enter heaven, you have to play me a 30-minute set as a singer-songwriter".

Without delay, Romeo whips out an acoustic guitar and starts plucking. He sways his hips from side-to-side, stares longingly into St Peter's eyes and starts singing a whole bunch of vaginally-lubricating numbers. When he finishes, the crowd that has gathered around the Pearly Gates rip into applause and cheer.

Then St Peter turns to Teddy Bear and says, "It's your turn, Teddy".

So Teddy Bear, defying the rules of singer-songwriterism, pulls out a giant red Ibanez Artcore, plugs it into the nearest amp and starts singing like a nervous child, his awkward eyes evading every stare. In between songs, he tells everyone that his playing is bad because he's scared. When he finishes, the crowd clap respectfully.

St Peter looks at the both of them and immediately says "Teddy Bear, welcome to heaven." And so the Pearly Gates open and Teddy Bear walks in happily.

Then Romeo, jaw dropping, asks St Peter, "How come I didn't get into heaven? My plucking was technically challenging, my stage presence was alluring, my diction has improved by leaps and bounds and I connected with the crowd! They loved me!"

To which St Peter said...

(errr... what's the punchline oredi ah? shit. i forgot the punchline)

Reza Salleh - 5.4
Warren Chan - 7.9

Reza Salleh - A Relic Is What I Live In (from Voices From Next Door compilation)
Warren Chan - Dear Derelict (from Ferns' On Botany)

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Baybeats 2007: Friday - Azmyl Yunor & The Sigarettes

You know what's the best thing about knowing how to joget? No, it's not so you can lose 10kg in four weeks with money-back guarantee and have lots of fun doing it. The best thing about knowing how to joget is that you can joget to Azmyl Yunor & the Sigarettes - a feat accomplished by many a Singaporean on the night Malaysia's cult folkie graced the bay.

Against the backdrop of vein-popping, throat-wrenching emo types, Azmyl's country cool comes off as laid back relief, like turning the standing fan to face your direction while you lie in the grass on a warm afternoon. And in the grass, there are all these nice woody smells. And eventhough somewhere in those smells there is a lumbering scent of your serotonin's blues, the rest of the whiff conjures all the exciting freshness that makes your lungs pop and your eyes water with popsicle joy. And as you lie in the sun, the cry of a harmonica explodes in your head, like a pocket-sized orchestra. Voices sing along. Feet dance along. They don't just dance. They joget. And then, it all winds down.

You get up from the grass and turn off the fan.

Now you're one.

Rating: 7.3

Azmyl Yunor - Charity Lane (from Tenets EP)

Baybeats 2007: Friday - Utopium

So it's been four days since Baybeats concluded, and one of the bands we've been raving about most is Utopium. Unfortunately, it's not the positive kind of raving; more of the ridiculing, "Do you remember him saying that?!?" nature.

But there's a good reason for this. From the band's name to their jet black outfits to their multinational makeup (members are from France, Russia and Mexico) to their cosmic shoegaze soundscapes, everything about Utopium suggested a performance of grandiose, moonwalking proportions. But evidently, the only sign of outer space came from frontman Maxime Petrovski's monotone speaking voice. I wish I had a recording of it; it's a bit like R2D2 talking into a stand fan (we tried recreating it a couple of days later, to everyone's glee). The songs themselves were equally flatline, each one sounding like a poor man's Ride and with half the capacity to elevate beyond rote two-chord progressions. We watched them for about 15 minutes, offered our quota of snide remarks, and then headed off to watch Plainsunset.

Rating: 3.2

Utopium - Planeador (from No Memory Man)

Baybeats 2007: Friday - Stentorian

Sometimes, you need to stop talking. My momma taught me that. She also taught me to bathe twice a day, smile at bad drivers and be nice to cats. But I'm a bad learner.

I sometimes wish bands had mummies too. That way, they'd have proper oversight and receive constant advice about their blindspots. Like Stentorian, for example. They've got that kind of zipper-tight proggy-funk sound that could easily give Maroon 5 a run for their moolah, and a keen sense of melody that makes songs like 'Fly' and 'Fancy Girl' worth singing along to. But they've also got a gratingly annoying frontman who needs to stop canvasing support from the stage and making the crowd tell him that his band rocks. Plus, the band looked rather self-conscious, and seemed awkwardly incapable of occupying the Powerhouse Stage in a manner that would do justice to their stellar musicianship.

Still, I'd give them a couple more years of polishing up the nitty-gritty before passing any conclusive judgment. There's a pearl in this oyster; it just needs mummy's gentle fingers to pry it out.

Rating: 5.1

Stentorian - Contemplation (from Stentorian EP)

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The pirate's nightmare

Yeah, I'll get to the whole Baybeats recap soon, but just heard some news that's too important to ignore. News that threatens the very existence of this blog, and thousands like it. News that could mean the difference between you waking up to a bright, sunny tomorrow, or a dank, torturous one.

According to NME, someone has just created a virus called W32.Deletemusic that is programmed to detect and delete all the music on your hard drive, including any attached external ones. Not only does the bastardly creator lack the brain power to come up with a better name, he or she couldn't even offer the decency of letting us keep stuff on external hard drives.

Anyways, some music industry director dude gave three tips to MP3-zens worldwide on how to avoid suffering such an ignoble fate:
  1. think twice before attaching an external memory card to your computer
  2. back up your music on DVD, and
  3. make sure your anti-virus is up to date.
I'm offering a fourth: let's start a fund to collect enough money to hire Dog the Bounty Hunter to hunt down the idiot who created this virus, and drag him to my doorstep alive and barely breathing, so we can all take turns bashing his head with our sister's Lindsey Lohan CDs.

Grandaddy - Hewlett's Daughter (from The Sophtware Slump)

Baybeats 2007: Friday - Plainsunset

Plainsunset closed the Nokia Arena on Friday night in front of a large crowd. By large I mean when you see it from afar, you see a large brown glob of sago-looking mess. Isn't it something to know that humans in large quantities often look brown, as in like brownies.

Playing a mixture of oldie goldies such as the karaoke-ready 'Find a Way' and newer cuts like 'Interference' from their upcoming fourth album, Plainsunset clocked in a by-the-numbers set with plenty of the monkeying, watered down. There was little of those 10-feet leaps, the newer cuts appeared a little choppy at times and they certainly take themselves far too seriously these days.

Rating: 6.7

Plainsunset - Find a Way (from Love Songs for the Emotionally Wounded)

Baybeats 2007: Thursday - Mercury Rev

"Spacey!" she exclaimed.

I looked at my friend, a tad confused. You saw Kevin?

"That's the word I was looking for!" she continued. "I'm trying to think of a way to describe their music. So it's spacey!"

Ahhh. Fair enough. But looking for and interstellar parallel to Mercury Rev's music surely requires one to head beyond the Milky Way, and into the nether regions of Eagle Nubula NGC 6611 or thereabouts. It's got that kind of dimension, and their Thursday night performance at the Esplanade Theatre was pretty much that kind of fantastic voyage. The mix was a little loud, and backing visuals that accompanied each song sometimes bordered on uppity pretension. But hey, they played six songs from Deserter's Songs and one of my All Is Dream favs 'The Dark Is Rising' (though they left out 'Spiders and Flies'), so who's to complain? Plus, when else can you get a chance to recreate a journey through the cosmos without having to leave those plush, cushy chairs?

Rating: 7.2

Mercury Rev - The Dark Is Rising (from All Is Dream)

Aye aye lads, we meet yet again

Ye three pirates have returned to our murky shores, fresh from a sumptuous outing of 'ayam penyet', some bargain raids and four solid days of ear-chomping music.

The next few days, we will be bringing you non-stop reviews, fresh from the coffers, uncut, purely for your dastardly enjoyment. There will be plenty of blood spilled but also many a lagger to cheers on.

And just so its clear, I am not the one in the middle.

Good seas then.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

To Baybeats we go!

The sails are up. The wind is a-blowin.

The pirates are taking to the sea for an Esplanadean long weekend of making snide comments at emo bands, quasi-drunk shouting at local heroes (and by local, you know what we mean), raiding bargain bins, robbing HMV and eating multiple crates of mos burger.

We also have four cool chicks in the chest.

Three pirates. Four chicks.

Trust me. It adds up.

Rarity on the rarity: I Like A Boy In Uniform (School Uniform)

B-side of the week takes a break this... err... week... Instead, here's a rarity on the rarity, a new feature that shows up unannounced and... not... often.

The Pipettes
I Like A Boy In Uniform (School Uniform)
Unpopular Records

Rare factor: Standalone 2005 single with only 500 copies ever printed.

On every plane, there is one air stewardess whom you want to lean over you to serve orange juice to the repeatedly thirsty bloke sitting by the window.

In every hospital, there is one nurse whom you want to take your blood pressure, because it feels so good when she squeezes that rubber thing and your arm tightens up.

In every chateau, there is one french maid whom you want to dust the lazy chair that you're on, especially if the lazy chair is the kind with the propelling hidden foot-rest that can trip someone into falling onto the chair.

At every camp-site, there is one girl guide whom you'll let tie all the knots, because there's nothing nicer sometimes than letting a girl pull all the strings.

At every netball game, there is one player whom you hope will score all the goals, because eventhough she has to lift one leg in suchaway that reminds you of male canines leaking, it's still a lot more entertaining than lawn bowling.

Because it's all about the uniform.

At every classroom, there is one girl who looks better wearing school uniform than wearing anything or nothing else.

The Pipettes - I Like A Boy In Uniform (School Uniform)

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Who's Who at Baybeats 2007: City On Film (US)

Who in blazing tarnations is City On Film? Well it's the new moniker for ex-Braid/Hey Mercedes frontman Bob Nanna.

Part rock band, part DJ combo, this act should appease not only fans of straight balls out emo rock but perhaps a few who like it sprinkled with something a little tastier.

And yes, that is his real name and not some gag I made. I mean, if I wanted to make a gag I usually make pretty damn sure it looks like a gag. Like why would I go with something as unfunny as Bob Nanna. That's about as serious as names come. It goes well in the military ("General Nanna, should I give the order to launch that 100 ton nuclear warhead sir?") or politics ("President Nanna, you shouldn't be looking at your intern that way.").

Man the name is so serious, I feel like putting on a tie even when I am just saying it.

City On Film - King Leer (Morrissey cover)

Look what I found in the bargain bin

Hidden Cameras
Mississauga Goddam
(Rough Trade)

Price: RM37.90

She hesitates. Stabs at her keyboard one more time. Wishes she could stab it one more time.

Quiet commotion. She calls the manager. System error? But I just sold Olivia Newton John's album to that 55-year-old lady a second ago, she claims.

Meanwhile, he's standing on the other side. Smug. Like a mug. There's nothing quite like finding an imported album that has been wrongly price tagged, so that what usually goes for the upper regions of RM70 is now about to be sold for the lower regions of US$10.

More quiet commotion. She gives him a cursory glance. He gives her an extended one. I dare you to ask me to pay more, he stares. I double dare you...

She sighs. Deletes the original price from the system. Punches in the new price. Heads will roll tonight, and his will bop and wiggle to the harmonies of Canada's Beach Boys reincarnate.

Will that be all, she asks.


The Hidden Cameras - We Oh We (from Mississauga Goddam)

Who's Who at Baybeats 2007: They Will Kill Us All (M'sia)

If there is a highlight for me in the coming Baybeats it would be to watch the warm fuzz tones of They Will Kill Us All magnified on a large stage.

With an album looming and tons of street cred from tireless gigs and a rich indie lineage (Couple, Polythene, Custom Daisy and OAG are just some of the bands that the members of They Will Kill Us All have been a part of), they should be sharp enough to take Baybeats Sunday's almost-closing slot with a gentle swipe of their large sword.

Yes sword as in a large blade. And no I wasn't trying to be tongue-in-cheek nasty. I really meant a sword. As in the type I use to chop vegetables at home. What? That's a knife? Of course it isn't. It has a Thundercats insignia on it which blinks when I press a button below the handle and it's made of plastic. Damn right it's a macho sword. Though a knife would be better to chop vegetables with seeing as I have not been able to chop a single vegetable since I started using it. Maybe it's too sharp or something.

They Will Kill Us All - Secret Episodes (from Junk CD 10)
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