A good story will keep you in palm-sweating suspense. A good story does not reveal its true ending until the last moment. Right now, I am going to break those rules of a good story by telling you this: I was one of the organisers for Lowercase Week, a week-long arts showcase. I was also part of one of the acts playing at Lowercase Week, in The Loft Collective. I feel rather uncomfortable if I do not say it, so now that the reveal-all has been brought forward to the beginning, I can concentrate on the meat of this story in earnest. That meat being the acts which I had a chance to enjoy at Lowercase, a newly opened bistro cafe at LASALLE College of the Arts, a venue with a homely vibe that draws sojourning artists looking to create an abode of their own.
As an organiser, I have to admit that I took a chance on some of the acts, who I had never seen before live and just went with my gut feeling after seeing some pixels on a YouTube screen. Damndiggitydamn, was I surprised with them: it fuelled my half-hope-half-hypothesis-half-wondering-if-I-am-deluded hunch that our local scene was once again starting to move beyond the curve and produce some interesting diversity in the music-scape of this island. So as a music writer here at the wonderful City Nomads (which is a home for me to write about music), I would like to suggest to you five growing music acts that have been perking up ears.
The doe-eyed folk/pop singer-songwriter has been gathering great reviews on her YouTube channel, where she posts videos of her songs and covers. Listen to it and try to tell me that voice is not amazing. Nope, I didn’t think so. Armed with just a vocal looper pedal and keyboard (something that seems to be becoming more popular with singer-songwriters these days), she lit up the stage at Lowercase with her heartening folk/pop song writing and inventive vocal layers. Linying has been writing more of her own material and getting out more in way of gigs, so check this lady out! (Don’t say I didn’t tell you so)
Mantravine is the journey of producer Rupak George. He delves into the electronic realm with sounds that remind me of angklungs and flutes and Istanbul. Being a solo artist, he triggers and loops everything himself live, so it’s and I heard voices of admiration coming for him from people who attended his gig at Lowercase Week, and I liked that he played my favourite track from his work so far, Somo, and dedicated it to the protestors in Istanbul against police cruelty. After his set, he got on the guitar for Wobology, and the whole scene changed…
Wobology is a band that plays a wonderful, boisterous, and yet sophisticated (did I just use boisterous and sophiscated in the same sentence? It’s true.) electro-reggae/RnB. With a guitarist, a trombone player, a beats/synths guy, and a great vocalist, there is a certain quality to their music that makes it very nice to chill to. Everyone in Lowercase was bouncing and chilling to the beat of their set. And by the looks of it, they had a great following and supporters too with them. Catch these guys live, I implore you.
52nd St is not a band that makes their own songs, but damn can they do their country really well. I mean, really REALLY well. Their Eagles tribute set at Lowercase Week was an explosion of energy and chemistry, especially with 6 folks squeezed on the stage. It’s no surprise, given that the boys of 52nd St have known and jammed with one another since secondary school. But it’s superfluous to the point: check them out at a bar/pub near you to feed your fixation of vinyl and the 80s – Eagles, Rolling Stones and The Beatles.
Ilyas Sholihyn, when he is not telling people about his funny pinkie accident or being an excellent music editor at Bandwagon.sg, puts on his producer incarnation as FuturaHelvetica (a name that is the combination of two fonts). As an artist, he has been gathering material on SoundCloud, and I was finally glad to have a chance to hear it live. He performed with Supersixteen. (the post-rock artist Jowell Tan) for Lowercase Week, and treated us to the spectrum of lo-fi electronic sounds and songs. I have forgotten if he played this song, but it has been stuck in my ears recently.
And there you have it. From electronica to folk to country, forget partiality, as a gig organiser and supporter of everyone who walks in their dream of being an artist, I would say that you do need to check these acts out with your friends. Or grab a drink, sit back at Lowercase and enjoy the new soundscapes coming out of our country.
Image courtesy of Lowercase