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Kelly Clarkson - Love So Soft

 

album picks

Album Review: Red Velvet's 'Perfect Velvet' Is The Best K-Pop Album of 2017
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The Definitive Track-by-Track Ranking of Taylor Swift's 'reputation' Nobody Asked For
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Niall Horan Shows Us A Different Side Of Him In 'Flicker'
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If you’re not familiar with Unplugged, it is a 60 minute show on MTV where musicians perform their hit singles and sometimes covers using mainly acoustic instruments. Since it only airs once in a blue moon, music fans treasure every episode especially with its rather intimate vibe which displays the artist’s versatility. Exceptional performances are even released as live albums/singles.

Unplugged performances have definitely evolved as the years passed, so we’ve handpicked six of the best to satisfy your varied musical cravings.

 

Nirvana – All Apologies

I have a weird admiration for this song. I am never stable whenever I watch this version. You’d catch me internally wailing over those eargasmic guitar interludes.

 

Eric Clapton – Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out

This majestic live session from one of the world’s guitar legends will surely be a permanent track on your iPods.

 

Oasis – Don’t Look Back In Anger

Surprise, surprise. It’s not Wonderwall. Accompanied by an orchestra, Oasis made everyone sentimental with this unplugged performance in the 90s.

 

Mariah Carey – I’ll Be There

Mariah lives up to her diva reputation in this beautiful rendition of The Jackson 5 hit.

 

Miley Cyrus – Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High

To all you hipsters out there, don’t deny it, this Arctic Monkeys cover is actually pretty good (minus the intimidating dancing).

 
 

Katy Perry – Thinking of You

Expressive and heart-wrenching – this performance just needs to be included in the list.

 

Do you know any other artists who deserve to be on this list? Share them with us!

Photo Credit: MTV

After a 3 year wait, The Vaccines are back with their latest album, English Graffiti.  The English quartet had set the bar quite high with their first two rollicking records which left us with higher expectations from their 3rd one.

The band seemed to have lost their identity with their goal of wanting to make this album a representation of the 2015 sound. Despite their efforts, it came off more futuristic (oh, the irony) with the extra-terrestrial riffs in their single, Dream Lover.

Handsome is probably the only track that gives us the solid indie rock vibe of The Vaccines. With its concoction of upbeat drumming and trippy chord progressions, this seems to be the “hook” of the whole record.

It takes proper skill and luck to pull off certain inconsistencies when it comes to track arrangements. Sad to say, it didn’t work for this record as the rushed tempo of Radio Bikini is immediately followed by the mellow Maybe I Could Hold You. There could have been a smoother transition.

Minimal Affection wouldn’t be a disappointment if you’re looking for an electronic feel similar to Daft Punk’s. It was a good attempt, I must say.

Despite the lack of spark in English Graffiti, it still grows on me after a few listens. But I don't certainly see myself in my 50s going, "Ah yes, these tunes bring me back to good ol' 2015."

Check out the first track of the album, Handsome:

Photo Credit: Columbia Records

What everyone thought was the end of the British band The 1975 turned out to be a brilliant publicity stunt.

After deleting their social media accounts and banishing from the virtual world, The 1975 ‘reappeared’ with a comic strip (shown below) and pink aesthetics. But what really is the band’s motive? It seems like there is a deeper meaning behind all those acts according to fan interpretations.

After rummaging through the depths of tumblr, I’ve discovered some theories. Let me correct myself, their disappearance was not a mere marketing move. It was a reinvention, a change of identity.

Several theories suggest that the drawing on the comic strip was inspired by the Pink Rebellion in France that was started by art students who felt like they were not being taken seriously. Was something holding the band back from being themselves? Perhaps the band encountered an identity crisis and somehow lost their artistic selves in the world of pop culture.

“We said ‘we’re not desperate to be famous, we’re not desperate to be in a massive band, let’s do it our way, on our terms, and make sure that our projection of ourselves is controlled by us.” Matty Healy tries to remind their fans that there is more to their music than “teenage pop dance songs" and black aesthetics.

They want to be identified as artists and not as celebrities. After all, music is a form of expression based on one’s beliefs and emotions. Matty wants fans to connect to their music on a more personal level. The 1975 is redefining themselves.

Besides a tour announcement mentioned in the picture below, it seems like speculations are true and The 1975 are planning to have more intimate shows for dedicated fans. Take note of the word, artists, below.

My guess is that they are trying to erase the pretentiousness, that is, people who go to their shows for the sole purpose of showing it off on social media. It's, MUSIC, people! It's art! Not a pair of jeans to add value to your "cool status."

 

Photo Credit: The 1975

What gives Stillsunrise an edge over other local bands is their unique incorporation of the majestic violin into their music. With their successful show at the Esplanade Theatre Studio last March, the quartet released their latest EP entitled Colours in Black which seems to redefine folk music.

It’s City and Colour meets Iron and Wine, the 7-track EP yields a studio jam feel with what I think is a well thought out intro – sounds of door opening and instruments being held, ready to be played. With its fantasylike theme, I like to think it’s their version of the opening line, "Once Upon A Time."

“Sh*t, it’s gonna be good,” I tell myself

Boy, was I not disappointed. Permission to Dream brings us to a magical wonderland with its soft synths and velvety blendings. This has the potential to be included in the Midnight in Paris soundtrack.

Another personal favorite would be For Now which has a nostalgic feel to it. It’s well-shaped melody which is later complemented by eargasmic classical accompaniment in the interlude leaves us with a calming feeling.

The fairytale-like EP ends with a smooth guitar outro which beautifully concludes the adventure, that is Colours in Black.

Stillsunrise is able to creatively transform the mundanity of life into sweet melodies and thought-provoking lyrics. Let Colours in Black bring you to a dreamland, listen and get the full EP here!

Track Gems: Permission to Dream, For Now, Shalom

Photo Credit: Stillsunrise

We’ve all had a Country Music phase at some point in our lives. Mine happened back in 2009 at the peak of Taylor Swift’s career. Songs about pickup trucks and tears dropping on one’s guitar were topping the charts.

However, if you’ve strayed from the sound of banjo strings since Taylor’s pop transition, don’t fret; here are 3 Country artists that will surely end up on your playlist.

 

Sam Hunt

Sam Hunt has a lot more to offer besides his charm and good looks. Blending two different genres – Country + R&B – and making them sound perfect seems to be his forte. Check out his song, House Party, and tell me it doesn’t bring you back to the Hoedown Throwdown days.

 

Zac Brown Band

What’s a country song without violins and the vibrant ringing of tambourines? (Hey, that rhymed!) With the likes of Rascal Flatts and a more laid back sound, Zac Brown Band is giving country music a fresh twist especially with their latest album, Jekyll + Hyde. Aside from their hit song, Chicken Fried, I personally enjoy Loving You Easy.

 
 

Kelsea Ballerini

Despite being only 21, Kelsea is already capturing everyone’s hearts with her sweet voice and songwriting skills. Her popular hit, Love Me Like You Mean It, is such a feel-good song that you would fall in love with in just the first listen.

 

*******

Do you listen to any other Country artists that you want us to review? Share them with us!

Photo Credit: Samhuntmusic, Jessie Ditmar/Getty

Did you miss out your favorite band’s latest concert? Well, we’ve all been there. But don’t fret, GIG-MERCH.com is here to make you feel like you’ve attended the show with their official limited edition tour merchandise!

GIG-MERCH.com offers a variety of 100% official tour merchandise exclusively for music fans in Asia. With FREE shipping anywhere in Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei on all orders above S$50 and FREE shipping WORLDWIDE on all orders above S$150, getting your favorite band T-shirt has never been more convenient!

You can also enjoy 20% off on any order over S$20 when you sign up to their newsletter or follow them on any of their social media networks.

That’s not all, GIG-MERCH.com will also include a FREE MYSTERY Merchandise with EVERY order!


If you’re a certified Spin or Bin Music Stalker, good news for you; Enjoy 30% off all GIG-MERCH purchases from May 25, 2015 - Jun 7, 2015 when you enter the code ‘spinorbin’ at checkout (min. purchase of S$20) .


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When it comes to giving out the 80s vibe, there’s no other man who can do it effortlessly than Brandon Flowers. The Killers’ frontman seems to have made a smooth transition from alternative rock to the synth-pop genre with his second solo album, The Desired Effect.

If you’re an oldies junkie, this is one of those records you would have probably stolen from your Dad’s music collection – except it’s released in 2015. Flowers’ seems to have established a unique tone for his solo works with his more soothing vocals which are distinct in The Way It’s Always Been.

However, this album won’t probably get you hooked on first listen. The tracks will take time to grow on you despite it’s narrative lyrics and powerful basslines. I would compare it to an authenic meal I’m trying for the first time – weird on the first bite but will leave me wanting more.

Enough of the food metaphors, do give this record a try. Jam to Lonely Town and Diggin’ Up The Heart if you’re feeling like having a “Throwback Thursday." The disco days are back.

 

 

Track Gems: The Way It’s Always Been, Untangled Love, Diggin’ Up The Heart, Lonely Town

Photo credit: Island Records

What’s more exciting than a video filled with gangs of assassins uncharacteristically described as the “epitome of girl power?” NOTHING, according to excited fans.

Taylor Swift's constant updates on Instagram and the involvement of a number of her celebrity friends got everybody hyped for the release of the Bad Blood music video.

But was it really worth all the feels?

When it comes to giving off the “Divergent” vibe (shown above) and hauling around some badass kicks, Taylor certainly did not disappoint. However, after over-analyzing the video, it seems that there’s much more to it than its highly talked-about celebrity cameos.
 
The highly anticipated video opened with “death defying stunts” by Taylor and Selena Gomez who were both busy kicking some guys’ asses. However, Taylor was later pushed out a glass window - by none other than Selena.  I would have described the video as badass... until I discovered the inspiration behind it.

Critics and a few fans would agree that it’s Taylor’s artistic way of portraying her relationship with now frenemy, Katy Perry. As a self-proclaimed Feminist, Taylor received quite a bit of criticism about the video going against the feminist belief that women should support other women instead of bringing each other down. (They did, after all, literally throw some awesome punches.)
 
As a former “Swiftie,”  I did fall into the trap of eager anticipation, and had also looked forward to the release of the video - especially when my homegirl, Lena Dunham, is part of it. However, Lena only had a few seconds of “exposure” and all she did was smoke a cigar. I must say I expected more from the celebrity cameos just like these guys here;

 


Do you think it was worth the wait? Do share with us your thoughts! 

 

Photo credit: Big Machine Records

Before Nate Ruess became popularly known as Fun.’s frontman and ventured his way to a solo career, he made indie rock/pop tunes with Sam Means. Together, they called themselves The Format.

I would describe their style as something that can lift up your mood and calms you down in times of existential breakdowns. We all have those moments, don’t we?

Nate Ruess didn’t specify the reasons of The Format’s break up but they did leave behind 2 albums and 5 EPs. The band performed several shows, which earned them a pretty good number of fans.

The Format’s first album, Interventions + Lullabies, for some reason gave me the Lizzie Mcguire vibe. It captured the energy of the early 2000s – carefree with no responsibilities whatsoever. It fills me with nostalgia. Their sophomore album, Dog Problems, seems to appeal to me a whole lot more because of it's more captivating melodies. It’s a pity the band don’t make music together anymore.

In memory of The Format, let’s bring back 3 of their most popular songs:

 

 
 

Photo credit: theformat.com

Intimate - an overrated word used to describe this latest documentary of Kurt Cobain. The Brett Morgan film will give you access to one of the most intriguing mysteries that is Kurt’s mind. A realistic depiction of Kurt’s life. This is not only for hardcore Nirvana fans, but also to those who are curious about what goes on inside a creative genius’ head

The film follows a chronological order from Kurt’s childhood in Aberdeen to his battle with fame and drug addiction. Interviews with his close family and friends, from Courtney love, Nirvana’s bassist Kris Novoselic to his Father who seldom appears in front of the camera. Their words and personal relationship with Kurt contributed to the authenticity of the film.

Journals, paintings, drawings, audio-recordings, home videos and animations (shown below) represented Kurt’s thoughts in a variety of ways. From trippy images to journal entries, this documentary will make you feel like you’ve invaded Kurt’s privacy, though that’s what the film intends to do (in a non-offensive kind of way).

Montage of Heck will help fans understand Kurt’s battle with depression, and the reasons behind his “rebellious” acts. He discovered music in the middle of the chaos that is his mind. Kurt turned to art and music as a form of outlet to express his deepest frustrations with both himself and the people around him.

His dedication to Nirvana was shown through letters, scribbles of guitar chords and lyrics, and even sketches of the famous album cover, Nevermind.

Watching this film reminded me of the quote by Ned Vizzini, " All the physical suffering in the world couldn't compare to mental anguish." Though there’s only a brief mention of his death at the end, I believe the whole film sums up the reasons behind his suicide.

He was more than just the voice behind Smells Like Teen Spirit. He was man who fought hard to achieve happiness and contentment. This is not his backstory. It’s his life.

 Photo credit: Michel Linssen/Getty, HBO, Universal Pictures