PLAYING CATCHUP: Alphabeat, Dragonette, Pastele, Eva Simons, Kat Graham, The Wanted and More!


This is what happens when I'm forced into "hiding" when it comes to this blog: my Spotify continues to whirlygig and I end up with a monster list of tunage that I'm enjoying 'round the clock that I never get around to clamouring over here in my online musical diary. Consider these your homework in terms of what to check out (if you haven't yet), as it pretty much sums up what's really blown me away since I've been able to blog properly (from an English-language perspective at least. KPOP comes this weekend, followed by a listing of UK-based tracks that the US Spotify chooses not to service...the nerve!).

ALPHABEAT - "Vacation"
All glitter, sunglasses, sparkle and 80's summer fun. This has literally kicked off my morning every morning since it's launched worldwide on iTunes. It makes me wanna wear legwarmers and a ponytail to the side (like I don't do that already...oops). Oh, Alphabeat - how I've missed you!

DRAGONETTE - "Let It Go"
The kids in Dragonette are undoubtedly the artist I'd most like to see succeed in a mainstream way here in the States in 2012. Their two previous records were electro gold and their upcoming third release, helmed by "Let It Go", should prove to be nothing less. Plus there's word they may include their original version of Nicola Roberts' "Lucky Day" (which they co-wrote). Get excited.

MARINA & THE DIAMONDS - "Primadonna"
Electra Heart, come to me. Dear Selfish PopStar Wannabes, take Marina's advice and stop being so damn annoying. Love, The Rational and Intelligent Femmes of the Universe. (Oh, I went there.)

NEON TREES - "Everybody Talks"
What a singable, radio-ready alt-pop jam! 2012 is shaping up to the year that America starts to (re-)embrace the irreverant pop tune, what with fun. and Gotye soaring to the #1 position on the Hot 100. Definitely falls into a similar vein.

EVA SIMONS - "I Don't Like You"
The Dutch dance artist that so many confused for Lady Gaga when she blasted onto the "she has potential" scene with 2009's "Silly Boy" has returned to us with this dancefloor smash. While it starts out feeling like it might be slow and somewhat generic, once that chorus heats up ("Oh Nooo!/I've gone coooolllllld!/In the hearttttttt!"), you just can't deny it.

JENNIFER LOPEZ - "Dance Again" (feat. Pitbull)
And the winner of the most uninventive, if-it-ain't-broke-don't-fix-it mentality goes to....But seriously. It kind of is "On the Floor" all over again. Complete with Pitbull. Again. And RedOne at the helm. Again. Ready to dance? Again? Uh, duh. (But yeah -- derivative of "On The Floor", party of 3.)

PASTELE - "Step 2 This"
My girl Pastele recently released her debut solo EP bow, City of Pastele, via her website for free, on the back of this summer anthem and as soon as I heard it in full, it was forever stuck on blackhole repeat. So many cute quotables in this, I can't count ("Howya doin', Brad Pitt?"). Video here. Go step 2 this beat (beat beat). Also worth checking out -- "Comin' With Me".

THE WANTED - "Chasing the Sun"
Where I stand on the very important Team The Wanted/Team One Direction debate vacillates by the day (by the hour, really). "Chasing the Sun" is very good indeed, and considering I literally wore out "What Makes You Beautiful", this is very me right now. Plus, looking at them doesn't make me feel all pervy like looking at 1D does...just saying.

MARK FOSTER, A-TRAK, KIMBRA - "Warrior"
I'm sorry - I think the burgeoning Brooklyn Hipster in me is showing (pray for me, fam). This fusion of DJ (A-Trak), underrated solo songstress (Kimbra, featured on Gotye's "Somebody That I Used To Know" smash) and the 'underground'-turned-'mainstream' frontman (Foster, who helms Foster the People) converge in this humdinger. Try getting this repetative chorus out of your head. I double dare you.

KAT GRAHAM - "Put Your Graffiti On Me"
Dear A&M/Octone Records, I'm side-eyeing you. You nab yourself a young, electro-wizzing dance/pop female after I leave your offices as an intern? Yeah, way to be. Bitter Betty Thoughts aside, "Graffiti" is the biz. For those of you who are like moi, Kat Graham is best known for her central role on the CW's other 'Supernatural'-themed show ('The Vampire Diaries'), but don't let that discourage you. This one has all the bells and whistles -- it's loud, it's sassy, it's in-your-face. Dig.

JACKIE SCOTT - "Love Sick"
While her debut single "Don't Mess With Me" was a little too Ke$ha for my taste, the more melodic "Love Sick" is definitely my speed. And that chorus? ("Music makes my world pop/But your lovin' makes my heart stop") Yeah. I can get down to that.

NICKI MINAJ - "Pound the Alarm"
This album cut from Minaj's recently released sophomore record (also titled Pink Friday, but with a colon and a Roman Reloaded tacked on, leading me to falsly believe it was a re-release at first...but that's another story) is produced by RedOne and sounds like it. But like lead single "Starships" before it, I'm impossible to resist Nicki when she goes all electro/Top 40-radio-accessible.

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