Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Reminiscence of a Taiwanese girlband...

Remember 4 in Love? The foursome who were Taiwanese pop princesses in the first couple of years of the 21st century, until they disbanded and one of its members, Rainie Yang, has since tightened her grip on Taiwanese entertainment industry and beyond.

Aaah look at the early 2000s fashion. So simple and minimalistic, which meant there was a lot of skin on display sometimes. Is this 4 in Love's final video? I have a feeling it is...Look at the flashbacks of the making of their previous videos. Some famous bands, knowingly or unknowingly, use flashbacks of their previous videos as a tell-tale sign that their days are numbered. It's like their way of saying, "Thank you for the memories."

Monday, 29 August 2011

An NZ band enters Indonesia...will it be a stayer?

Introducing Dear Frontier, a husband and wife duo from Wellington, New Zealand, who recently played a gig in Jakarta on August 13. This is probably the first New Zealand sound that entered Indonesian realm since probably Bic Runga, who didn't make a big impact. Dear Frontier got exposure to the Jakarta crowd mainly thanks to the fact that Hana Miller, one half of the band, is half Indonesian and used to be a frequent Jakarta Post contributor.

Whilst I personally find one of their singles, "Space Age Ending Now", catchy I'm not so sure about the band's future in Indonesia. The typical Indonesian music listener is not into, or not yet used to, "raw" sound that Dear Frontier plays, which is rather commonly found in the NZ music scene. Indonesians are into neat orchestrated sounds, and by "orchestrated" I don't strictly mean orchestra a la Erwin Gutawa and Addie MS.

I'm also not sure about Dear Frontier's "smart" sound. Their EP, which is released online, is called "Post Capitalist"....Indonesian market is not smart enough yet to figure out songs with subtle references to capitalism and Franz Kafka. Or they just don't want to. They are more into beautiful poetic lyrics about simple things in life. For references to neat orchestrated sounds and beautiful lyrics about simple things in life, YouTube KLA Project, Afghan or Maliq & D'Essentials, the famous band which helped Dear Frontier record the whole three songs in "Post Capitalist."

Whether or not Dear Frontier wants to seriously tap into the Indonesian market, Lord knows. My own personal verdict is that they most likely want to keep their "uniquely NZ" sound, despite help from Maliq & D'Essentials and other famous Indonesian musicians whose help they'll probbably enlist for their next projects. If you listen to Dear Frontier's "Problem", you'll agree that there's an undeniable Maliq & D'Essentials involvement there, but as a whole the sound is the duo's own. This way, maybe it doesn't matter that Dear Frontier and the Indonesian market will never fully embrace each other.

Meet Dear Frontier...

Oh, and here's hoping Dear Frontier will stick to its name. Too many NZ bands or solo artists changed their names after some time. Cases in point: Charlie Ash became CASH, Bionic Pixie became Zowie, Phony Bone became Graham & The Zoo...

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

On the return of the boyband/girlband phenomenon...

For those who've been away from the country for a while, Indonesia is currently experiencing the return of girlband/boyband trend, but while ten years ago Indo boybands/girlband acts were inspired their Western counterparts, now they try to emulate their Korean ones to an extent. Amongst the many Korean-inspired local boybands/girlbands such as Sm*sh and G-String (yep that's really their name...but don't worry their image isn't as sexy as the name might suggest), Hitz is one that steps up the game by actually hiring a Korean member! Therefore this boyband sings in Korean, Indonesian and English. Check out their first single, Yes Yes Yes.

One of the members, Irwan Chandra (the one with magnificent cheek bones, in case you miss the super fast "intro to the members" scenes and can't be bothered to play back), is no stranger to the show business. He started his career as a model about ten years ago and, as easily guessed, then branched out to acting. He vanished into oblivion for a while...only to return as a boybander at the age of 34. Isn't it a bit too old? The avarage age range for beginner boybands is 17-24.