REQ’s debut EP is a bold statement from the UK born, Singapore based rapper. With a unique blend of sounds that stem from his upbringing in the UK’s ‘Grime’ culture to his Asian Roots, his EP ‘Against All Odds’ delivers something fresh that hasn’t been heard before.
With a mixture of storytelling tracks, hardhitters to songs with a pop feel, it is clear that REQ draws from his unique experiences living in different continents. Straight from the lyrical “Intro” to his first single from the EP ‘Know Me Like That’, it is clear that there is something for everyone on this project.
Born in Birkenhead, England, REQ has been steadily making his move from a behind-the- scenes role to the foreground of the music industry. From the young age of 15, he has tried his hand in a number of fields, from spoken word to an undefeated streak in battle rap that lasted for nearly 2 years. Since then, he has concentrated on more studio work, with songwriting credits on songs by notable Filipino artists such as Rayver Cruz and Yeng Constantino.
Now with the spread of the British grime culture and the acceptance of the British accent within the genre of Hip-Hop finally being digested worldwide, REQ’s debut EP could not be being released at a better time.
Fashion photographer Lenne Chai spent the last nine months producing and directing a sci-fi music video for musician Charlie Lim. It is Lenne’s third ever music video, and also the most ambitious so far …
“The video is a collaborative pro-bono project featuring the work from Lim Qi Xuan (alien designer), Tina Fung (set designer) and whitehorsegrey (illustrations). The video is inspired by moon landing conspiracies and celebrity culture, where Charlie plays a hapless “astronaut” directed by aliens.”
We kick off 2017 with a new drop from electronic music producer and DJ, Louis Quek aka Intriguant.
(from the press release)
In 2014, when Intriguant released his debut EP, Ellipse, it gathered the attention of music critics from Israel to Slovakia, and was featured on respected New York music magazine, The Fader. Since then he has been gracing major festival stages such as St Jeromeʼs Laneway Festival and the Singapore International Jazz Festival.
Tomorrow he is dropping his first full-length album, Recluse. With his signature style of crafting moody soundscapes that sway between ambient techno and glitchy instrumental hip-hop, Recluse presents an emotive sonic journey which straddles between the solace and desolation of solitude.
It is not all lonely through the album as Intriguant roped in the whoʼs who in Singaporeʼs music scene for vocal duties in the studio. The producer succeeded in shedding new light to the crooning capabilities of established names such as Charlie Lim, Tim De Cotta and Ginny Bloop (Eugenia Yip of The Steve McQueens and Riot in Magenta fame). Emerging acts received the spotlight as well as Omar Kenobi from Mediocre Haircut Crew and KATØ shine through Intriguantʼs cinematic beats.
The filmic nature of Intriguantʼs music is undeniable and this is made more apparent through the music video for lead single, “Chemistry”. Written and directed by Joant Úbeda, the video serves like a short film which showcases Úbedaʼs capability in visual storytelling set against the poignant soundscapes of Intriguantʼs composition.
RECLUSE will be available on all major digital stores and streaming services starting January 6. Don’t miss the album launch party on 7 January at the Esplanade Annexe Studio.
Punk rock band Hardihood kicks off your week-end with their long-awaited debut album, Take Your Stand. Off the new album is the lead single ‘Darkest Hour’, released via a live session video shot during the recording. “The single is inspired by the daily grind of a working class adult living in a cosmopolitan city. We wrote it as a wake-up call for us to take action against the mindless compensations paid to make us turn a blind eye to reality,” says vocalist Halim Ismail.
(from the press release)
Take Your Stand is an emotionally charged collection of 8 songs that’s a fiery blend of post-rock, punk, metal, bluesy jams, and alt-grunge. The overwhelming sound is still guitars, but the record isn’t just another dizzying barrage of distortion; rather, it showcases the versatility of the band’s shred-and-shout approach.
The album was recorded live at Singapore’s legendary TNT studios, engineered by Wong Ah Boy. “We decided not to go with track-by-track recording as we wanted to capture the raw and live feel of playing as a band,” explains guitarist Iskandar M Fawzi.
Hardihood was formed in 2013 when Iskandar, Halim, Yuzaimi and Shahreil met at a gig. Despite their different backgrounds and musical influences, they discovered that they shared one common passion: Punk rock. In 2015, Endra replaced Yuzaimi on drums. The band released their first self-funded and self-produced EP ‘Tomorrow’ in 2015, with engineer and co-producer Bob Kamal. ‘Tomorrow’ showcased the band’s diverse influences and styles, ranging from jazz and post rock to punk rock.
The album will be available through the band’s bandcamp page.
Formed by singer-guitarist Cherie Ko and multi-instrumentalist Ted Doré, TOMGIRL’s self-titled album is a 33-minute dark noir ride through cult B-movie homages and outlaw Americana, chronicling the duo’s lawless escapades, deadly criminal encounters and white-hot passion.
Meeting serendipitously in Singapore while sharing their joint passion for live music, the pair formed an immediate chemistry, culminating in a musical collaboration that defied distance and convention. Pressed for time with Doré soon returning to his home of Melbourne, the newly formed duo had to act fast. “We wrote ‘Darker Now’ together one night before Ted flew back to Melbourne. The second song we wrote was ‘Walk All Over Me’ and it was what set everything in stone. It made us realise that this was real, and ‘Darker Now’ wasn’t just a happy accident,” says Ko.
Intermittently writing a handful of songs together and the rest while apart, the vagabond pair produced 10 tracks in just one year, with a compelling story inspired by their love for cult film noir classics. Throughout the album’s 10 tracks, listeners are teleported to a world of gangland lawlessness and reckless abandon, while immersed in the duo’s modern tale of dizzying newfound love, crushing heartbreak and blinding lust for revenge. In contrast to the bright electronic sounds that listeners have come to expect from girl-boy duos in the pop sphere, attitude and danger to explore their story, marked by whirling tremolo guitars, atmospheric tension, and fearless vocal hooks; a sound that is both familiar and refreshed. On distilling the spirit of rebellion in TOMGIRL adopts a sonic signature that brims with their sound, Ko explains, “It’s about letting go and going all out, with no regard for the consequences.”
The album’s opening “[Prologue]” immediately plunges audiences into a grainy, black-and-white fever dream, with the sound of Harley-Davidsons roaring behind surf-inspired guitar licks reminiscent of Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino’s Grindhouse. Like unknown dangers lurking around the corner, “Darker Now” dramatically kicks in with Doré’s distorted guitars setting a thick, smoky atmosphere, while Ko’s velvety vocals narrate the aftermath of a blood-curdling crime. On the cusp of capture, she cautions the perpetrator – or, perhaps, the listeners – of a hell-bound foreshadowing in a crescendo of infectious harmony. Quickly changing pace, “Heartbeats” lulls listeners into a flirtatious garage pop number on the confusing, exciting sensations of a new flame. With soft chimes atop fuzzy guitars and a driving bass line, images of a bubble-gum chewing siren’s encounter with a leather jacket-clad bad boy introduce the first sparks between lovers from different sides of the tracks. Like the fluctuating heartbeats of the protagonists, the listener is taken through shifting paces in the songs that follow as the romance unfolds and cracks begin to surface.
Commenting on the diversity of the album’s tone, Doré explains, “We wanted it to be a rollercoaster ride of emotions and moods – visceral and aggressive one moment, ethereal and moody the next.”
A rollercoaster, it is, as audiences arrive at the viscera of the album’s darkest moment, “Walk All Over Me.” Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, and in tribute to classic revenge ballads like Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Are Made For Walkin’,” TOMGIRL puts its own gritty spin on the country genre. Through sinister guitar rhythms and hard-hearted vocals, the song serves as a warning while chronicling the dissolution of a love that once burned bright, going into graphic lyrical detail about the consequences of crossing the wrong woman.
While TOMGIRL’s filmic muses reprise the sounds of the ’50s and ’60s with a dark noir pop twist, the album is not without its unexpected forays into genres that fall outside the era. Where “Lust To Dust” echoes melancholy riffs championed by the likes of The Smiths’ Johnny Marr, “Mini-Skirt Mob” takes listeners on an unnerving electronic ride that reminisces the electro-punk stylings of American duo, Suicide. Ko and Doré’s enthusiasm for blurring sonic boundaries comes to a head in what might be the album’s most focused and emotional effort, “Alchemy” – a genre-crossing slow number that blends elements of electronica, fuzz and noise rock, desperate voices cry for salvation over pained guitars and electronic instrumentation that culminate in a somber, cinematic conclusion, while leaving listeners unsure of the fate of the law-breaking lovers.
As individual stories, TOMGIRL’s 10 tracks traverse different territories in a wide-ranging spectrum of sound, spanning distinct influences and eras while maintaining a dark noir aesthetic throughout. However, when pieced together, each song represents a chapter in the story as a whole, characterizing the different emotions and expressions of a love that burns so bright it consumes all in its path.“We all experience the full spectrum of human emotions,” says Ko. “Without darkness, we shall never experience the real embrace of warmth and light.”
TOMGIRL’s self-titled debut will be released across all major digital platforms come September 2. The album is also available on translucent blood red vinyl, available for pre-order at www.tomgirlband.com.
The pair will be performing the entire album live at Mosaic Music Weekend on September 4. Limited tickets are still available at SISTIC.