Music

Gentle Bones among local acts who blew us away in 2014

THE SAM WILLOWS

Looking back...

As a band, The Sam Willows have performed on many big stages this year, including their second gig at the Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix.

Its members, siblings Benjamin and Narelle Kheng, Sandra Tang and Jon Chua, have also been active in their individual pursuits.

While Chua, 24, devoted time to his music and events company Lezzgo, siblings Benjamin, 24, and Narelle, 21, acted in shows on okto and Channel 5.

Tang, 24, and Benjamin were also in Ah Boys To Men The Musical.

To sum it up, Benjamin said: "We took it down a notch on the music front to pursue our (other) creative interests. That gives us a good break before we dive into music again next year."

Looking ahead...

"A really good year," promised the pop-folk quartet. Apart from singles and an album, The Sam Willows will be organising their very own gig.

2015 goal

"To create good music and go bigger than we ever have," said Narelle.

Watch Gentles Bones and The Sam Willows

WHAT: Celebrate SG50

WHEN: Tonight, 7.30pm

WHERE: The Float at Marina Bay

TICKETS: $28, $68 and $128 from Sistic (www.sistic.com.sg or 6348-5555)


GENTLE BONES

Looking back...

Gentle Bones, also known as Joel Tan (above), scored a local iTunes No. 1 with his debut single Until We Die and released his self-titled EP in August, which also shot to the top of the local iTunes chart.

The 20-year-old held an EP launch party at live music venue TAB to a sold-out crowd of more than 650 people.

Tan, who is also the iTunes Singapore Best New Artist of 2014, opened for popular YouTube stars Alex Goot and Against The Current as well as Vine breakout stars Us The Duo.

"The EP launch was the most memorable for me. I honestly did not expect anything out of my musical journey. I'm really a 'low expectations' kind of guy," Tan told M.

Looking ahead...

"More music, hopefully. I'm hoping for a regional tour to push the EP and maybe a full-length album by mid-next year."

2015 goal

"To have more people listen to my music from anywhere in the world...and to be more disciplined!"


.gif

Looking back...

Following their EP release in last year titled Saudade, .gif (pronounced "dot jif") were on a roll this year.

The electronic duo (above), comprising Chew Wei Shan and Nurudin Sadali, opened for US electronic musician Baths and performed at local festivals like Baybeats and 100 Bands.

Recently, they were in Jakarta for the Java Soundsfair festival.

Their golden moments in 2014? Taking the stage alongside 99 other local acts at 100 Bands, said Chew, 24. For Nurudin, 26, it was the invitation to play at Java Soundsfair and Laneway Festival next year.

Looking ahead...

A full-length album is under way, with a single that will be revealed at Laneway Festival next month.

"The most stressful part is picking the songs and fighting over that. We have around 20 songs. More songs only means more fights," said Chew, with a laugh.

2015 goal

"To finally finish my solo album... I've been saying that for two years," said Chew, who also performs on her own under the moniker Weish.

Nurudin's goal is to keep tabs on his partner: "To make sure she finishes her solo album."

Watch .gif

WHAT: St. Jerome's Laneway Festival Singapore

WHEN: Jan 24

WHERE: The Meadow, Gardens by the Bay

TICKETS: $165 from laneway.eventclique.com or Sistic


PLEASANTRY

Looking back...

It's been the indie pop-rock quintet's busiest year since it formed in 2011.

Pleasantry (above), comprising frontman Samantha Teng, bassist Isa Ong, drummer Daniaal Adam and guitarists Ahmad Ariff and Haziq Hussain, released their limited edition EP, Inhabit this year. They also launched their debut album Synapses at the Esplanade Recital Studio to over 200 people and it was well received by local critics.

Ong, 24, said: "We were shocked to see (that) people actually forked out money to see us play, that truly touched us. Seeing them pushes us to keep doing what we're doing."

Looking ahead...

Expect music videos and new music, as Pleasantry is in the midst of writing and recording new songs.

The band hopes to collaborate with a unconfirmed Canadian act and release a split EP in time for their gig at the Canadian Music Week next year. It will be their first overseas performance, all thanks to Teng, who signed them up in secret.

"It's great exposure and we're looking forward to gaining experience from an overseas show," said Ong.

On Valentine's day, Pleasantry will join local act Charlie Lim and foreign acts like Belle and Sebastian as well as Caribou at The Gathering festival held at Fort Canning Green.

2015 goal

A regional tour to promote their album.

Watch Pleasantry

WHAT: Good Times NYE PARTAY 2014

WHEN: Tonight, 9pm

WHERE: Blujaz Cafe

TICKETS: $20 at the door