Downtown Singapore
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Downtown Singapore

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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


If you are looking for a band that has shown a tremendous amount of growth then look no further then Downtown Singapore. I first heard of this band when I had to review their “Understanding a Guarantee” EP. They were okay on the EP but I didn’t really feel they found themselves at that point. Since then I have seen a video, and received this album. What a difference a year or so will make? Downtown Singapore has a sound that I can easily see coming from the Drive Thru or Victory camp but that thing that makes these guys stand out is they are more rough around the edges. This is good, solid rock music but not overproduced and polished to the point that you hate it. The easiest band to compare this to would be Audio Karate. Well worth checking out now so you could say you were there first because I suspect these guys to continue plowing forward and getting bigger and better. (JK) - All Ages Zine


Waldorf, Maryland's DOWNTOWN SINGAPORE probably didn't intend to re-write THE GET UP KIDS' "Greatest Hits," but that's the unmistakable impression I get from Understanding A Guarantee. Fortunately, for me, that's good thing, because I swear, if I hear another five-piece trying to emulate TAKING BACK SUNDAY, something is going to get slaughtered around here. The six songs on this EP are definitely in the vein of Something to Write Home About (well the last track doesn't count, it's a cover of Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time"), and are played with the same style of earnestness and fervor. Lead vocalist Jeremiah Scott could give Matt Pryor a run for his money in the way that each word is dispensed with a slightly accented twist that's instantly memorable. DOWNTOWN SINGAPORE's rhythm section isn't flashy, but it always feel in sync, especially with the meaty, layered, dual guitars, and drummer Matthew Thorsen sneaks in more than a few well-flavored fills. More or less Understanding A Guarantee plays out like a captivating emo disc from a period in time when emo wasn't an abused term, or fodder for New York Times journalists.

- Paste Punk


efore you get too excited about the fact that most of the guys in Downtown Singapore are barely of legal drinking age, remember that it's easy to become seduced by an artist's tender years.
Thankfully it's not the band's youth that has people talking but instead its high-energy emo-ish rock. "Velvet Divorce" and "Goodnight Lord," both from the quintet's debut EP Understanding A Guarantee seem proof positive that what drives this band is not only youthful exuberance but hard-earned musical skills and conviction.
Guitarist/vocalist Jerry Scott explained that the band has long been focused on the goal of turning its passion into its profession: "My dad wanted me to get good grades before anything and I never really did that," he explained. "I just felt that school was never really my calling. I always wanted to be involved in music. It was a lot harder to do in school but once I finished it got a lot easier. There was less to juggle."
Understanding has also garnered some attention for the outfit's cover of Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time." The decision to cover the tune — a 1984 hit that had fallen off the charts before many of the members were born or, at the very least, sitting upright without assistance — actually came from outside the band. But lest you form images of a label mogul ashing his oversized Cuban all over the band's equipment and espousing the virtues of recording a well-known tune as a way to break into radio, you should know that it came from a source much closer to the band.
Scott's girlfriend.
"My girlfriend really loves Cyndi Lauper, she listens to her all the time and said that we really needed to do a Cyndi Lauper cover. I figured that that one would be perfect for us," the Waldorf, Md. native said. "I thought that a rock version would be cool and it's worked its way into the live set. And a lot of kids really seem to like it."
No matter your feelings about emo — or Cyndi Lauper — Downtown Singapore (named after seeing a photo in Thrasher magazine of kids burning up their boards in — you guessed it) is likely to offer more than you expect. Catch the band on Friday, May 20 at John Barleycorn's 608 E. Douglas or shake hands with the young men at an in-store at Sam Goody's in the Towne East Mall 7700 E. Kellogg Drive at 4 that afternoon. In the meantime you can hit myspace.com/downtownsingapore to hear for yourself what all the fuss is about.
- F5


Downtown Singapore's Myspace page tells the tale of how the five Maryland natives band met while they were all in jail, broke out together, needed money and started a band. It continues to state that they they are still together "as outlaws running from the law in a van state to state."

This is all obviously in jest, but the last part isn't too far from the truth: Downtown Singapore has been doing practically nonstop touring since December in support of their first EP, Understanding a Guarantee. I'd expect these guys to get a little more attention after the Get Up Kids finish their tour this summer, as singer Jeremiah Scott's voice very closely resembles that of Matt Pryor, and TGUK fans will be pining for new material. The EP sounds a lot like Something to Write Home About, and I mean that in the best way possible.

The two guitarists don't try to be flashy, but are always in sync. There aren't a lot of things worse than a band with great vocals and drumming, but a cheesy or out-of-sync guitar section. The guitars and vocals are are accompanied well by Matthew Thorsen's drumming, especially his fill-ins throughout the EP, most notably on the Velvet Divorce, the fourth track.

The six track EP is definitely something the band should be proud of, though there is room for improvement. I'm looking forward to hear the bands' effort on the eventual release of a full-length. Though most of the EP's songs focus on "love, loss, life, and death," the final track is a cover of Cyndi Lauper's Time After Time. "We wouldn't do it if it wasn't a great song," says Scott of the cover. "But, you know, there's something kind of funny about it. Gotta lighten up every once in a while or you'll suffocate".
- Mammoth Press


This CD is an absolute masterpiece. The band has me convinced right from the first second how awesome they are! I found out about them on Purevolume and I liked them immediately. Vocalist Jeremiah Scott totally reminds me to Matt Prior from The Get Up Kids in its early days. The similarity is astonishing. Indeed, the band sounds like a much rawer edition of The Get Up Kids. This young band has so much passion and talent, so they will convince you of greatness right from the start as well. If I must place this band into a genre, I would call them an emotional rock band with intuition for amazing pop songs. Jeremiah has a young but powerful voice, the drums are intense and powerful, and the guitars are screaming while they can also be so soft as well. The band also reveals a surprise: They cover the Cindy Lauper hit "Time after Time". (Gameface once covered that song too, but not as good as this.) Downtown Singapore inserts a lot of fresh spirit and dynamic into Lauper's track and truly makes the song come to life again. I am so stoked by this band and I look forward to a full length release. In my eyes, this is the next big thing. Wow!


Tracklisting:
01 Month of may
02 Goodnight lord
03 Love gift
04 Lower east side
05 Velvet divorce
06 Time after time
- Punk76.com


by Charlie Carroll
The members of Downtown
Singapore got together during high
school and have since then been
steadily gaining popularity. Although
many people may have labeled them
as an “emo” band, they consider
themselves first and foremost a rock
band. Downtown Singapore will be
playing a show at the Fat Baby Bar
in NYC on Jan. 4 with The Good
North, Orange Park, and Lakota.
This five-piece started out as a
group of high school teens from
Waldorf, Maryland, looking to establish
a rock band that would spread their
shared passion for music. Since the
beginning, the lineup of Downtown
Singapore has undergone numerous
changes, at one time even including
six members. Throughout their career,
the trio, comprised of Jerry Scott
(vocals, guitar), Spud VanGasbeck
(vocals, guitar) and Matt Thorsen
(drums), has always served as the
backbone of the original group.
However, the band seems to have
found a solid act with the addition of
guitarist Jake Rabadi and bassist
Josh Louge.
The band signed with indie label
DCide Records and they have already
recorded a six-track EP,
Understanding A Guarantee. As the
band grew bigger, they got the
opportunity to play on the Mecca of
punk venues, Warped Tour. Their
music has also reached MTV’s ears,
earning them airplay multiple times
on the network’s hit show “Real
World/Road Rules Challenge.”
Downtown Singapore’s full-length
album Don’t Let Your Guard Down
will be released in stores on Feb. 21.
The show begins at 7:30 p.m. and
tickets can be purchased for $7 at the
door. For more information, visit
dtownrock.com
downtown singapore
Guaranteed Success
Guaranteed Success - Aquarian Weekly


Downtown Singapore aren't big talkers. They're not out to shove their gospel down the throats of anyone who will listen, and they sure as hell aren't about to make any outrageous claims about their music in order to make a buck. This Waldorf, MD, quintet doesn't have much to say at all, but that doesn't make a difference: they've got MTV on their side. That's right: the good old boys at everyone's favorite reality-TV network have done the dirty work for Downtown Singapore, effectively throwing their sounds into the ears of millions of teeny-boppin' middle-schoolers across the globe. They have been on more than one occasion featured as background music on REAL WORLD-ROAD RULES CHALLENGE.

But don't let their MTV status fool you: these guys aren't in it to swoon school girls. Downtown Singapore are here to rock. And rock they do on their most recent DCide Records full-length, DON'T LET YOUR GUARD DOWN (produced by Matt Squire of Panic! at the Disco). They are leading the new wave of hard-rocking Washington DC bands into the next generation and are really starting to get the credit they deserve. They also landed themselves some gigs on the notoriously popular (yet underground) Vans Warped Tour.

In a recent and surprisingly succinct e-mail interview with SKRATCH, the boys in the band tried as hard as they could to keep their band on the down-low.

SKRATCH: The name of the band came from an article in THRASHER MAGAZINE. Tell us the story. There has got to be something deeper, right?
DOWNTOWN SINGAPORE: Actually, there isn't. We were really just looking through the magazine and found a really cool name. We actually didn't really like it at first, but it grew on us.

SKRATCH: REAL WORLD-ROAD RULES CHALLENGE featured your music. Did that function as a way to spread the word to the masses, or was it merely background rock that many will never know played?
DOWNTOWN SINGAPORE: Being played on REAL WORLD-ROAD RULES CHALLENGE was really cool. I don't think it really promoted us; it was just cool to our friends [...] to hear us on TV.

SKRATCH: How did the producers from the show come across your music? DOWNTOWN SINGAPORE: I think the label had something to do with that.

SKRATCH: How did they decide Downtown Singapore's rock would be the background track to a teeny-bopper reality-TV show highlighting the hormone-driven lives of a bunch of buffed-out meatheads and hot college co-eds?
DOWNTOWN SINGAPORE: Ha ha ha ha. I really don't know. But I did see an episode when they played us, and it really kinda set the mood. But yeah, I understand definitely where you're coming from.

SKRATCH: Downtown Singapore don't seem to be se focused on the fashion trends that have invaded the genre. Why not?
DOWNTOWN SINGAPORE: Yeah. We like to wear clothes that fit us comfortably. The whole girl-pants thing is just crazy, in my head. I've actually tried on a good pair of girl jeans-and was NOT blown away at how far my butt crack was hanging out.

SKRATCH: How do shows at home compare to those on the road? Will as many kids show up to a show in say, Seattle, as will in the DC area?
DOWNTOWN SINGAPORE: Shows around where we live are awesome just because our friends are there and stuff. We're not really well known in a lot of states, so not as many kids would come out-although more and more kids are coming out to shows because they've checked us out on Myspace or Purevolume.

SKRATCH: What makes the DC area the best place to start a band in the United States?
DOWNTOWN SINGAPORE: I wouldn't really consider DC the best place, but I really think it's one of the best, because there is a lot of different music coming out around here; so many influences are traveling around here.

SKRATCH: So many new bands of this underground rock genre have forsaken the outdated www.downtownsingapore.com Website for Myspace. What does Myspace bring to bands such as Downtown Singapore that they wouldn't have had before?
DOWNTOWN SINGAPORE: I hate to say it, but Myspace helps us out a lot. It's just a really good networking tool to get your band known throughout the world almost. [...] But I really think Myspace isn't going to be around for a long time, so who knows?

SKRATCH: How does a newer, less-proven band get the attention of a respected and established producer like Matt Squire?
DOWNTOWN SINGAPORE: Well, our label set it up. It's really cool to be able to have a really nice record even before actually having everyone get to know us.

SKRATCH: It seems like the recording process of the new album will be a big step up for the band. How was it working with DCide and Matt Squire?
DOWNTOWN SINGAPORE: Wow! It was amazing working with Matt Squire. We have never done a professional record before, so the first time was really cool. We learned a lot of things and actually came out of the studio as better players. It was all just a learning experience for all of us.

SKRATCH: What other hardships have you guys encountered as up-and-comers in a scene saturated with so many bands of a similar genre?
DOWNTOWN SINGAPORE: We always try to get the crowd into our music on tour, but it's really hard to when they all just want to have karate classes in the mosh pits now. It was always hard for us to try to break through that stuff-even when we first started. We were a Deftones rip-off band, and everyone else around us was pop-punk.

For more information on Downtown Singapore, check out their Website at www.myspace.com/downtownsingapore or www.dtownrock.com. Their debut full-length, DON'T LET YOUR GUARD DOWN, was released in February and promises to lift these young rockers out of pop/rock monotony. Check their Websites for info on the album, and upcoming tour dates, because there are many. If you would like to comment on this interview or anything else in SKRATCH, please e-mail us at speakup@skratchmagazine.com.

- Skratch Magazine


Discography

"Understanding a Guarantee" EP -Feb 2005 (DCide Records)
featured Month of May and Velvet Divorce
"Don't Let Your Guard Down" LP -March 2006 (DCide Records)
features What She Said

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

"We're a rock band," states guitarist/back-up vocalist Matt "Spud" Van Gasbeck of his band Downtown Singapore. "Our influences are probably the same as all the bands in the post-punk realm, and those bands have influenced us as well, but whether or not that's what we sound like or what we get called is incidental. We just want to rock." The Waldorf, MD fivesome does just that, shying away from labels that might limit the potential of their music. After five years of various line-ups, dating back to high school for the original members, that potential is finally being realized.
Aided by the talents of producer Matt Squire (Panic! at the Disco, The Receiving End of Sirens), Downtown Singapore (who culled their name from a thrasher skate magazine article about skating in that very location) has created Don’t Let Your Guard Down, a layered and compelling debut album that reveals evident growth from their 2005 EP, Understanding a Guarantee. Don't Let Your Guard Down is a diverse collection of 12 tracks
that range from the quiet ballad of "Teresa Rizal" to the thumping rocker of “Pose Up”. "After touring we were opened up to a lot of new influences from other bands on the road," singer Jerry Scott explains. "He Is Legend is a big one. It gave us that more rock 'n' roll feel on some of the songs. It's still 'Downtown Singapore' though."
Don't Let Your Guard Down draws on a vast wealth of influences that include the Deftones, Cave In and Jimmy Eat World, and is driven by the quintet's use of three guitars, Matt Thorsen's heavy-hitting drums and Scott's remarkably clear voice. On "Choirboy," an obvious standout track, Downtown Singapore is joined by Larry
Soliman, friend and singer of My American Heart, resulting in an incredibly melodic, subtly hooky song that sounds like the product of a very practiced band. That sense of growing experience isn't an illusion; the group has been on the road for the past year after signing to Washington, DC-based indie DCide Records, playing with bands like The All American Rejects, Emery, Hidden In Plain View and hellogoodbye and slowly fostering a kind of tightness that only comes with practice.
"I think we're a lot more solid since we've been out on the road touring," Scott says. "We definitely are one with our instruments now and we're a lot better at communicating with our audience."
Being on the road for so long, including a recent nationwide stint on the Punk the Clock tour, doesn't mean the band has forgotten their roots. Downtown Singapore recorded Don't Let Your Guard Down in Squire's College Park, MD studio and feels a strong kinship with their hometown. "Being from the this area is a huge influence," guitarist Jake Rabadi says. "Lack of a music scene in Maryland has helped because it forced us to find our own sound and our own scene rather than try to fit into some specific genre." There is certainly no denying that Downtown Singapore has succeeded in finding their own unique voice, always remaining focused on creating good music rather than trying fit in. "We don't wear girl pants," Scott says.
"We try not to fall in any scene. All we want to do is play rock 'n' roll for kids who like our music." Mission accomplished.