PLAYING CATCHUP: The Brit & AU POP Edition


My faves in the UK are projecting my birthday month of June to be a great one for pop. Huzzah...

ALEXANDRA BURKE - "Let It Go"
Club dance is clearly the direction A-Burke is heading toward for her sophomore disc, titled Heartbreak On Hold (lovin' the name!). "Let It Go" follows up "Elephant" which produced mixed feelings for her fanbase (but went to # in the Charts), and has much more of an immediate impact than the first single. It's more of a straight-ahead, 90's-esque dance track, which is never a bad thing, and sounds very good at 11. Heartbreak On Hold is set for a June 4th release in the UK, and there is still no US release in sight.

CHERYL (HOLD THE COLE?) - "Call My Name"
While the news that Girls Aloud will be reuniting at some point in 2012 in honor of their ten year anniversary (what those details will entail is left purposely ambiguous and vague) truly trumps any of the releases by its member bretren as we lie in wait, unarguably the group's most famous face, Cheryl (apparently going mononymously for the time being) is making an attempt at solo album number three. "Call My Name" is the first offering from A Million Lights, set for release the day after my 25th birthday (holla!) on June 18th. The album is set to have production by will.i.am (unfortunately) and Alex Da Kidd amongst others, and has whispers of potential duets or collaborations with Rihanna, Christina Aguilera, Far East Movement, Usher and Taio Cruz. "Call My Name", produced by the now in-demand producer Calvin Harris thanks to Rihanna's "We Found Love," feels like it could have been truly immense had a vocalist with more oomph been laced with the cut, but now it kind of feels like two songs fitted together for the benefit of the club. Whatever. It's definitely a grower and will help tide us all over till the eventual Girls Aloud comeback ishstorm that you know is coming.

PIXIE LOTT - "Dancing On My Own (feat. GD&TOP)"
I never would have thought it would be in the hands of Pixie Lott that my love for Britpop and KPOP would merge, but it has. Lott has enlisted the help of boy band Big Bang's most recongizable faces in G-Dragon (GD) and TOP (probably thanks to their win of Best Worldwide Act at the MTV Europe Music Awards) in the re-recording of her album cut "Dancing On My Own" (no, not a cover of the Robyn song) from her cooly recieved sophomore album Young Foolish Happy, no doubt in an attemp to re-light the fire beneath the album. While I love me some Pixie, I'm more of a fan of her uptempos and found "Dancing On My Own" rather throwaway during my original perusal. I know it's KPOP bias, but the boys GD&TOP help refocus interest in their first official Western-World release. Both artists shine brighter on more party-ready cuts, but I appreciate what this record represents and for that reason alone, it's hard for me to stop playing it over and over.

STOOSHE - "Black Heart"
"Love Me" made me fall for them earlier this year and rose #5 on the UK Charts. Now, the UK Motown-esque-with-a-hip-hop-twist girl group Stooshe returns with their second official radio cut in "Black Heart", a relatable midtempo. "Black Heart" strips out the cheek and exposes the group for what they are at their core -- a trio of very capable sangers (insert acapella clip here). While the timing of this as a summer track leaves me a little bit confused, it doesn't make the song itself any less gush-worthy.

THE SATURDAYS - "30 Days"
I really don't think my ire with The Saturdays and their continuing penchant for moving on to the next in chasing that first #1 hit (yes, ladies - I get it - three albums and a mini gone and you've still been deprived) is a mistake. On the Radar gave us two stellar singles ("All Fired Up" and "Notorious") and an alright one ("My Heart Takes Over") but a mere FIVE MONTHS after their third album was released, we recieve "30 Days", a fun club romp to be sure, produced by Steve Mac (who wrote previous Sats' hits "Ego" and "Notorious") but a new cut nonetheless, relatively ixnaying any other single releases from On Your Radar. Had "30 Days" been promoted as a re-release cut, I would be less upset, as it clearly lends itself well to the club vibe of the album, but alas, this is a preview of the Sats' upcoming fourth record (dare I say, the potential try-to-transition-to-America album). Come on girls -- with Girls Aloud coming back and the Original Sugababes reuniting, you know you gotta come harder than this. Grousing aside, "30 Days" is a great club cut, but it's no better or worse than other gold On Your Radar jams like say, "White Lies." Or "Promise Me." Or "Faster." Or "For Myself." Or "Get Ready, Get Set." (Here comes that angry rant again.)

LITTLE NIKKI - "Intro Intro"
The recently solo (as in as of just a few weeks ago!) Little Nikki is a former 1/3 of the UK girl group SoundGirl, who caught my attention in early 2011. The group found little success in the official sense, but did manage to snag opening billing slots for The Wanted and (scream!) Justin Bieber. Despite this, SoundGirl is officially a wrap, and 16 year old Nicole Shortland needed little prodding. Re-emerging as Little Nikki, her first buzz song is "Intro Intro" complete with a Rihanna meets Katy B kind of feel that's distinctly more grown up than her age would suggest. Get it, girl.

AIDEN GRIMSHAW - "Is This Love"
I'm really not sure why the US even bothered with their own X-Factor. We'd be much better off just re-airing the British version. The 2010 series alone is currently launching a crazy plethora of goodies, via runner up Rebecca Ferguson, third place One Direction (yoo-hoo, hello boys!), my guilty pleasure in Belle Amie (now down another member, oyevey) and also Cher Lloyd. The latest launching is in Aiden Grimshaw, who was let go early on in the semi-finals and yet scored a deal with RCA. One listen to the first single "Is This Love" and you realize why. It's grown-dance-pop gone well-done complete with a rollicking back beat and a swoon-worthy falcetto that literally soars. Out of nowhere, Grimshaw is the word on the lips of some of my very favorite blogger friends. Incredible.

LITTLE BOOTS - "Every Night I Say A Prayer (Tensnake Remix)"
Taking a page out of Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" book with the chosen beat and blares, Little Boots returns (finally!) with "Every Night I Say A Prayer," co-written by Hercules and Love Affair. The song first appeared on her most recent mixtape, Into the Future, and is decidedly more etheral than her previous material but no less captivating. It lacks a spotlight chorus, something to me Little Boots would always do so well, but no matter -- in that sense "Prayer" comes off fresh and new, something unexpected from her camp.

RICKI-LEE - "Do It Like That (Fred Falke Remix)"
My other favorite Aussie popstar (the other being obviously Queen Kylie Minogue) is back for album number three, on the back of two quality singles "Raining Diamonds" and especially "Do It Like That." The latter has a distinct summery feel and the ante is upped in the Fred Falke Remix (unsurprising -- Falke rarely does us wrong!). What I love about Ricki-Lee is her big voice feels so very effortless and lends itself so well to dancey smashes such as this. Primo, indeed.

JOHN ROWLEY - "Stones From Glass Houses"
I first mentioned John back in January thanks to his inventive cover mashup of Marina & The Diamonds' "Radioactive" and Foster The People's "Pumped Up Kicks". He has recently released a brand new original single in the subtle and quite dark "Stones From Glass Houses", complete with a sparse piano baseline competiting with the synth. I really think the DIY vibe suits John's material well, and every original cut he produces is one step better than the prior. You can grab it for yourself know via one of those nifty "set your own price" deals at BandCamp.

1 comment

rcLoy said...

Ah! So many new music to check out, this is gonna be a good month :)
Hi Mel :)

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