Music Picks: The Esplanade's Red Dot August, local series Hometown Heroes

New jazz/R&B singer Maya Raisha will perform at The Esplanade's concert series Red Dot August.
New jazz/R&B singer Maya Raisha will perform at The Esplanade's concert series Red Dot August.PHOTO: COURTESY OF MAYA RAISHA

Red Dot August

The Esplanade's annual series of concerts, which puts the spotlight on home-grown talent, takes place online this year. The line-up includes both budding names and seasoned acts.

One performer is singer-songwriter Krysta Joy, winner of the National Arts Council's 2018 Noise Music Award. She recently released Embrace The Progress, the follow-up album to her 2019 debut, Enjoy The Process.

Also performing is Maya Raisha, a new jazz/R&B singer who released her debut single, i'm bored (i'll pass), in June.

Veteran country-rock musician Mel Ferdinands, a member of popular 1980s band Gypsy, will play with his current outfit, Mel:Resurrection, while soul/R&B stalwart Tim De Cotta will do a solo set.

Where: Online
When: Aug 1 to 31, various times
Info: The Esplanade website

Hometown Heroes

(Clockwise from left) Aisyah Aziz, Haven, Joie Tan and Riidem. PHOTO: ZENDYLL

Inspired by variety shows such as Running Man, this new game-show-cum-documentary series pits four groups of home-grown music acts against one another.

Each team - named North, South, East and West - comprises four musicians who live in the same part of Singapore.

On the West team, for example, are singers Aisyah Aziz, Joie Tan, Haven and producer Riidem, while the East team is made up of singers Shye, Marian Carmel, Estelle Fly and producer evanturetime.

Four episodes - each focusing on one team exploring places in their neighbourhoods, ranging from goat farms to "haunted" HDB blocks - have been released so far.

Future episodes will see the teams competing in a series of challenges that will also lead to them collaborating on new songs.

Where: Various channels including YouTube
When: New episodes are released every Wednesday
Info: Hometown Heroes website


4 stars


Spiral is the sophomore album by Darkside, the United States-based duo made up of Chilean electronic musician and singer Nicolas Jaar and American multi-instrumentalist Dave Harrington.

The rhythm-based, moody tracks would not sound out of place in a surreal, sci-fi fantasy film or series.

Album opener Narrow Road marries monophonic vocals with lurching beats and jarring guitars, while The Limit layers off-kilter percussion over a steady, krautrock-like rhythms.

The mesmerising melodies of tracks like Liberty Bell lull the listener into a false sense of security before hitting you with artful disruptions that come out of left field.