A new year, a new start, a new calendar of gigs for you to attend. 2014 was already an incredibly packed year but 2015 looks set to up the ante and then some. From two triple-threat shows that will satiate the hunger of any experimental rock fans, to big-budget rock shows along with intimate club shows. Oh yes, there's also Laneway and Super 0, both huge festivals in their own right. Recovered from your hangover yet? No? Well get yourself prepared because January's going to be one heck of a month.
We've also revamped our Gig Picks guide a bit. No Spotify playlist this time. Instead with each event, there's an FFO which means For Fans Of. If you like the artists we mention under FFO then chances are you must be at that event. We got your back.
Our first gig pick of the year already happens tomorrow! Music site and budding concert organizers Offkey curates their first gig that spans three different Southeast Asian countries. Echolight comes representing Indonesia, Deepset's making their way across the causeway while our own Paint the Sky Red rounds up the hat-trick of a night of cinematic post-rock.
FFO: Mogwai, Explosions in the Sky, Mono
Current stadium indie-pop favourites direct from the UK, who just happens to make pretty delicious hot sauce too, Bastille will be making their maiden appearance at The Coliseum thanks to Now/Live. If you've never heard of the group or any of their song titles, you would've at least heard their hit track 'Pompeii' all over the radio airwaves throughout 2014. If their growing legions of fans and consistently healthy arena ticket sales are anything to go by, expect an epic stage show with brooding synth-pop anthems.
FFO: CHVRCHES, Imagine Dragons, AWOLNATION.
There are few artists who inexplicably love performing in Singapore. We've hosted Anberlin (RIP), Travis, Yuna, The Drums, Rachel Yamagata multiple times and now we can proudly add Jamie xx to the list. The shadowy and reticent member of gloomy synth-pop trio The xx has performed here a grand total of four times, twice with his group and twice times on his lonesome. Despite not having released a full-length solo LP aside from his excellent reimagining of poet Gil Scott-Heron's opus I'm Not Here, he's made a name for himself in the touring circuit armed with a few stunning post-dubstep singles. With yet another DJ set slated for Bassic at Zouk, let's hope 2015 will finally be his year.
FFO: SBTRKT, Four Tet, Jacques Greene.
It's been quite a long wait for local avid fans, part of a fanbase which has grown exponentially since his recent effort Awake. Now Tycho will finally be performing here. At the intimate Victoria Theatre, which underwent a recent major renovation, Tycho will be bringing his brand of electronic music awash with smooth ambient melodies, balanced by captivating post-rock instrumentation along with stunning visuals. Tickets are almost sold out so we suggest you'd better get yours fast.
FFO: Washed Out, Boards of Canada, God is an Astronaut.
As part of Esplanade's January series entitled 'All Things New', they'll be introducing experimental jazz trio TAJ to a bigger crowd as they prepare the release of their debut EP The Astral Journey. Blending the smooth sounds and finesse of jazz, the concise punch of hip-hop and the spacey elements of electronic music, the group has been hard at work over the year playing small shows but you'll get to see them on the big stage at Esplanade Waterfront - for free! They'll also be playing at BluJaz a few days later and the group's bassist Tim De Cotta will be playing with his own band The Warriors during a lunchtime timeslot at LaSalle.
FFO: Badbadnotgood, Mouse on the Keys, Robert Glasper Experiment.
Borne out of an explosive growth of pop talent from YouTube, Korean-Australian duo Jayesslee has been one of the more enduring popular acts here ever since they started in 2008 uploading their own acoustic renditions of chart-topping hits. Ever since, they've amassed nearly two million YouTube subscribers and released their own songs. Continuing the tradition started by fellow YouTubers Pentatonix, they'll be performing here on three consecutive nights at Kallang Theatre after their first two dates here were instantly sold out. Good luck grabbing tickets for the third night.
FFO: pop song covers with an acoustic twist, Christina Perri, Daniela Andrade.
Essentially a music festival for the bass-lovers and purveyors of dance, local party connoisseurs Super 0 will be upping the ante by incorporating art performances, exhibits and workshops into one solid day of festivities rounded off by a music stage set up by Red Bull Music Academy. Their stage will play host to exciting live acts and DJs such as minimal techno legend The Field, deep house up-and-comer Ben Pearce, futuristic hip-hop devotee TOKiMONSTA, Beats in Space head honcho Tim Sweeney among many others. A night guaranteed commanded by disorientating and entrancing dance music.
FFO: a good time in a secluded place.
A enigmatic figure whose real name and face remain a mystery, Slow Magic will be headed our way to command the dancefloor of Life is Beautiful Kitchen & Bar. With him, he'll bring his unique take on electronic music - the kind that grabs the seductive qualities of future R&B and drowns them in downtempo soundscapes, with poppy structures and melodies that lend themselves comfortably to the dancefloor without being too heady.
FFO: Gold Panda, How to Dress Well, xxyyxx.
Another hat-trick of bands in one line-up happening in the same month. Except this time, less moody and more visceral. Revel in a sea of thrilling odd-time signatures and intelligent song structures with Taiwanese math-rock afficionados Elephant Gym, experimental Malaysian outfit NAO along with rising local band Sphaeras.
FFO: Battles, And So I Watch You From Afar, This Town Needs Guns.
Guitar-heads here have been in for a treat the past year. Having brought down both Steve Vai and Joe Satriani recently, LAMC Productions is continuing the momentum by bringing down two veteran guitarists to play together: jazz-fusion legend Larry Carlton and Toto's Steve Lukather. Having performed together for years, they've been known for their exceptional on-stage chemistry and expect nothing less come 21 January.
FFO: Lee Ritenour, John Maclaughlin, Joe Satriani.
That time of the year again. The people behind Laneway Festival brought in another classy line-up of acts - consisting of those recently baptised into the fiery pit of Pitchfork hype, along with bold and established musicians. Heading the 19-artist parade is Swedish electro-pop darling Lykke Li along with acclaimed folk-pop duo Angus & Julia Stone, brooding electronic crooner Chet Faker, up-and-coming stadium rockers Royal Blood, future R&B seductresses FKA Twigs and Banks, among many others. Continuing the new practice started this year, they'll be including Singaporean bands. Enigmatic duo .gif (featured here on our Bandwagon Sessions) and melancholic folk group Hanging Up the Moon were picked this time. They're even bringing over some of our friends across the causeway - Pastel Lite and Enterprise have been scheduled to perform.
FFO: any of the bands listed + a good festival environment
If you're planning on going for Laneway and you've got the next day free, but not in the mood for another high-octane concert, head on down to the Singapore Art Museum to unwind with food and art vendors setting up shop all over the museum grounds. And of course, there will be live music with the acoustic stylings of Iris Judotter and The Little Giant.
FFO: quaint marketplaces with gentle acoustic music.
Time to unearth your black nail polish and your dreaded MySpace account because quirky post-hardcore outfit Chiodos are finally landing here. Having been recently reunited with original vocalist Craig Owens, who kept himself busy with supergroup D.R.U.G.S. during his non-Chiodos downtime, they've since put out a new record armed with a rejuvenated and even darker sound. Expect aggressive moshpit-friendly tunes with unorthodox structures and heartfelt melodies.
FFO: Underoath, The Fall of Troy, From First to Last.
From underground metalcore favorites to mainstream hard rock revivalists, Avenged Sevenfold has been on a whirlwind of a career that has resulted in glorious highs (chart-topping albums, constant arena shows) and unfortunate lows (death of founding member The Rev). Returning to Singapore for the fourth time within the span of eight years, the group has always been at the top of their game with a larger-than-life stage presence and awe-inspiring instrumental skills, along with catchy rock anthems. If their last three shows are anything to go by, expect a big crowd and an even bigger show.
FFO: Guns N Roses, Metallica, Trivium.
While details aren't out yet on their pre-event gig, what we do know about Distro Day Out is that every year it doesn't fail to feature the best in Singapore's underground scene in the form of earnestly-packaged vinyl, CD and cassettes along with zines, t-shirts and accessories. Held once again at The Substation, we're confident that Distro Day Out 2015 will be one of the most informative and enriching events you can attend about our own scene that thrives on DIY and community-based ethics. Meet some new friends and buy some new music.
FFO: underground music that run the gamut from hardcore punk to experimental styles.