Music Picks: Online gigs by Jazz Association (Singapore), Billie Eilish and Sam Smith, and more

Grammy-winning pop singer Billie Eilish will make up for canned gigs with a live stream show.
Grammy-winning pop singer Billie Eilish will make up for canned gigs with a live stream show.PHOTO: NYTIMES

Jass @ Home: Two's company

Some of Singapore's most prominent jazz names will be doing a series of duets over the next three Sundays.

The online shows by The Jazz Association (Singapore) (Jass) will feature not just established acts like Cultural Medallion recipients Jeremy Monteiro and Louis Soliano, but also budding talents such as Siti Nur Iman.

Other musicians and singers include Weixiang Tan, Kerong Chok, Aya Sekine and Alemay Fernandez.

They will play their renditions of jazz standards such as What A Difference A Day Makes, Our Love Is Here To Stay and Stompin' At The Savoy.

Where: Jass YouTube channel and Facebook page

When: Oct 25, Nov 1 and Nov 8, 8.30pm

Admission: Free but those who wish to make a donation to JASS, an Institution of a Public Character charity, can do so at this website

Billie Eilish - Where do we go? The livestream

Like other musicians, Grammy-winning pop singer Billie Eilish had to cancel her global arena tour this year. This live stream show is one way she is making up for the canned gigs.

The concert promises to be multi-dimensional and interactive and the 18-year-old singer will be performing in a 3D virtual environment reconfigured from her cancelled tour set.

Joining her will be brother and regular collaborator Finneas and drummer Andrew Marshall.

Where: Billie Eilish website

When: Oct 25, 6am

Admission: From US$30 ($40.67)

Info: Billie Eilish website

Sam Smith Live at Abbey Road Studios


PHOTO: ALASDAIR MCLELLAN

English singer Sam Smith will celebrate the release of upcoming album Love Goes with this online show performed at London's iconic Abbey Road studios.

Fans will not want to miss out as it is said to be the singer's only full concert in 2020. Viewers will also have the chance to interact with Smith via a question-and-answer session.

Besides hits such as Stay With Me, Lay Me Down and Too Good At Goodbyes, the 28-year-old singer will also perform new tunes such as Love Goes, My Oasis and Kids Again live for the first time.

Where: Sam Smith website

When: Oct 31, 5pm

Admission: From US$13 ($17.60)

Info: Sam Smith website

Alternative rock

Fake It Flowers


PHOTO: DIRTY HIT

Beabadoobee

4 stars

This debut album by Filipino-British singer-songwriter Beabadoobee would not have sounded out of place if it was released at the height of the early 1990s alt-rock boom.

In fact, I dare say it would have been feted and its songs would have become staples on classic indie-disco playlists.

The 20-year-old, whose real name is Bea Kristi, has got the sonic aesthetics of songs from three decades ago down to a pat - from the grungy, distorted power-chords to the crashing cymbals of the drums.

Her luscious voice has the qualities of 1990s female alt-rock titans such as Belly's Tanya Donelly and Throwing Muses' Kristin Hersh, while the guitars sound like they can only come from old, seasoned Fenders favoured by the likes of Nirvana's Kurt Cobain or the Smashing Pumpkins' Billy Corgan.

With tracks like Care, Dye It Red and Emo Song that detail teenage travails from self-harm to bullying, the release has enough genuine spunk to make it a lot more than a mere pastiche.

Indie rock

Serpentine Flowers


PHOTO: MATT BERNINGER/INSTAGRAM

Matt Berninger

3 stars

Unencumbered by the gravity of his indie rock band The National, American singer Matt Berninger takes on a divergent track in his solo debut album, Serpentine Flowers.

There is a palpable sense of longing in many of the tracks, many of them lush, forlorn ballads. Berninger is almost unrecognisable in Collar Of Your Shirt, where he abandons his trademark baritone to sing in a much higher register.

In the mellow and minimal Silver Springs, he duets with singer-musician Gail Dorsey, best known for playing bass for the late David Bowie. She takes on the lower notes while he goes high.

One More Second, which Berninger has described as a flipside to Dolly Parton classic I Will Always Love You, has a lounge-ish quality. Like many of the album's tracks, it features hammond organ lines from album producer Booker T. Jones, a soul veteran from Booker T. & The MG's.

There is a tactful balance between despondent lyrics and upbeat instrumentation in tracks like Oh Dearie. "I am near the bottom / Name the blues, I got 'em / I don't see no brightness / I'm kinda startin' to like this," he croons over sparkly guitars.

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