Best of 2012: Jens Lekman – I Know What Love Isn’t

Arriving five years since his last full-length record, I Know What Love Isn’t from Jens Lekman is certainly well worth the wait, an enchanting breakup album so good it deserves its own manic pixie dream girl. In his songs, Lekman has seldom shied away from self-deprecation and lightheaded moments of vulnerability. I Know What Love Isn’t takes it a few steps further in revealing all the hallmarks of a hopeless romantic, brimming over with its rumination on heartbreak and love’s memories — or as Jens sings it, it’s all a bit like learning to carry along a broken heart gracefully. – Keith. mp3: Jens Lekman – I Want a Pair of Cowboy Boots

I Know What Love Isn’t is out now on Secretly Canadian.


Music Alliance Pact – December 2012 Issue

SINGAPORE: I’m Waking Up To…
.gif embodies the illusion of data passing off as real-life moving images by giving us an electronic amalgamation of observatory life with shades of melancholy, hope and resolution. While usually accompanied by ukulele, Weish finds the embrace of warm textures courtesy of Din, with synthesizers and beat arrangements assembling base emotions into the soul of a machine. – Brian.

To download all 39 songs in one file click here. MAP is published on the 15th of every month, featuring a showcase of music handpicked by bloggers from all over the world.

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Best of 2012: Patrick Watson – Adventures in Your Own Backyard

Patrick Watson
Adventures in Your Own Backyard, the homespun fourth album by Patrick Watson, finds the Canadian singer-songwriter and his bandmates expanding their joint creative discipline in the confines of their home studio. The result is a set of handcrafted songs that manage to sound intimate in spite of the somewhat mercurial quality of the musical arrangements. The waltzing grandeur of Adventures in Your Own Backyard bears the distinctive traits of Watson’s songwriting, yet the languorous song material chugs along with a confidence that infuses the album with a sense of discovery in every melodic detail. – Keith. mp3: Patrick Watson – Words In the Fire

Adventures in Your Own Backyard is out now on Domino Records.

Best of 2012: Actress – R.I.P

I know we haven’t been the most regular in writing this year. But the year-end review is something we’d never let go, so look out for our take on the best releases this year. Thanks for sticking with us.
The appended artwork for ActressR.I.P is an an evocative accompaniment to the album, with Eve Ackroyd’s charcoal rendition of a hand feeling for yet blending into the textured painting serving as an apt interpretation of how Darren Cunningham immerses himself into the multifarious layers that make up his music. This is dark stuff that’s full of life, meaning, and context: Cunningham’s rave roots still occupy a shadowy presence, but with R.I.P it is but one part of a larger ensemble that slips in and out of your consciousness and remains in my opinion the most deeply affecting release of the year. – Dan.
mp3: Actress – Shadow from Tartarus

R.I.P is available on Honest Jon’s Records.

Music Alliance Pact – 50th Anniversary Edition

SINGAPORE: I’m Waking Up To…
Gema’s debut EP Before is a sprawling canvas of sounds, textures, layers, beats and samples that come together to form a cohesive theme of soulful disturbia. I’m somewhat afraid of what I might find inside Gema’s head. Every sound seems to have a sort of nascent meaning, which is scary because such premeditated behaviour has no place in the hands of a musician capable of carving another world straight into your skull. He’s one of the newest additions to the Syndicate stable, and we hope the marriage of the two will equal three. – Brian.

To download all 40 songs in one file click here. MAP is published on the 15th of every month, featuring a showcase of music handpicked by bloggers from all over the world. This month marks the 50th edition!

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Music Alliance Pact – October 2012 Issue

SINGAPORE: I’m Waking Up To…
GalacticaSaul’s Tighs
In a little-known recess in Singapore’s music scene, there existed a group of science fiction aficionados with a common love for the space odyssey Battlestar Galactica. They went on to write some dreamily-inspired shoegaze with titles such as Saul’s Tighs and Gaius Is Crying… Again, referencing series characters Colonel Saul Tigh and Dr Gaius Baltar. While the concept is an inside joke, the music is anything but. Their songcraft and taste in melodies evoke an immense sense of loss in the immeasurable vastness of space. It takes you back to the heyday of science fiction when the music was sprawling and searching, as opposed to present-day equivalents of over-budgeted pyrotechnics.

To download all 39 songs in one file click here. MAP is published on the 15th of every month, featuring a showcase of music handpicked by bloggers from all over the world.

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#401 Dear Eloise – 她从来不 (She Never)

I finally caught the Andy Warhol: 15 Minutes Eternal exhibition at the Art/Science Museum last weekend. Presented in a strictly chronological and unapologetically didatic approach, the exhibition served as a well-charted primer to Warhol’s work through the years. There was something magical about viewing his early commercial work, his rudimentary but precisely transferred blotted lines anticipating his impending factory-produced pop art statements. But I found his later works somewhat devoid of that cutting edge, as if he ironically ended up mass producing and reproducing his established aesthetic, almost labouriously. I did, however, find myself mesmerised at the middle of the exhibition by the seemingly never-ending video of the Velvet Underground at rehearsal with not just Nico but also her young son, doing his bit to add to the incessant waves of noise.

That’s perhaps a somewhat contrived, literal, if not roundabout, way of introducing what I’ve happened to be listening to a lot to these days – the clearly Velvets-inspired Dear Eloise and their second album 美丽陌生人 (they’ve written it as Beauty in Strangers in the liner notes, although I feel – despite the unwarranted Madonna comparison – it should be more accurately Beautiful Stranger). The protagonist makes her existentially-challenged appearance in “她从来不” (She Never), defined by the shadow of her absence, a mysteriously powerful force that absorbs the sun and the wind into that nothingness as well. It’s a perfectly ethereal and partly naive storyline that endears to as much as it loses itself in the very consuming noise it invokes. – Dan.

mp3: Dear Eloise – 她从来不 (She Never)

美丽陌生人 (Beauty in Strangers) is out now on Maybe Mars and distributed through tenzenmen.