Monday, August 13, 2012

NOW SPINNING: New from Dragonette, JoJo, Pet Shop Boys, The Veronicas & More...

Forgive the relative lack of updates. My BFF and I threw a bachelorette party this past weekend (related post coming soon) for a mutual friend, and between that, work and the return of The KPOP Panel (yes, it really happened! -- check it out!), my creativity took a beating this past week. Luckily, there's lots of new music from some pretty huge and stellar artists to squee about, so let's get right to it...

DRAGONETTE - "Live In This City"
Bouncy, crisp and a twinge of a retro, summer feel,  "City" is the second official single from Dragonette's upcoming third album, Bodyparts, due in late September. The more electronic "Let It Go" set the bar very high for this project, but to be honest, Dragonette is a band that is built to never fail when it comes to good tunage. By the time the chorus is re-spun with the bass/drum bottom dropped out around the 2:10 mark, you wanna scream the hook loud and proud. This has quickly become one of my favorite Dragonette songs ever, in with a catalog like theirs, it's literally like picking a favorite out of your own children. Seriously. Seriously. Please Music Gods, let this be the song that finally gives Dragonette their due at American Pop Radio.

KARMIN - "Hello" (watch the brand new music vid here)
Hi. Konichiwa. Are you a believah?
Karmin attempts to reign in the latebuss success they are currently still enjoying with their debut original single "Brokenhearted" (officially released back in February) via the equally kitchsy (and Stargate-produced) "Hello". The song is, in my opinion, the other main spotlight from their Hello EP and does the job well once you're a bit overtired of "Brokenhearted" (which I literally wore out). "Hello" features a lot more of Karmin's trademark pop meets hip hop influence via vocalist Amy Heidemann's "rapping" during the verses/pre-chorus ("Don't they know that I came from Nebraska/Am gonna quit?/Nice of you to ask, but/Mama told me go and chase what ya aftah/I'm on track so I'm gonna rap fastah"). Therefore, it's probably not for everyone, but if you dig it, you really dig it and you have to admit -- there's nothing else really like Karmin on the radio...

JOJO - "Demonstrate"
So, if around mid-July you heard something crashing and burning, it was probably my heart as it was formally announced Ms. JoJo's upcoming third album -- originally titled All I Want Is Everything, then retitled to Jumping Trains, and featuring such baller cuts as "Lie to Me" and "Sexy To Me" -- would be...wait for it...shelved. Here's my heart, JoJo. Feel free to stomp on it. Sad feels aside -- ya'll, I've waited years for this album -- it makes me happy that JoJo is standing up for the music she wants to make. You can forget about the project's former first single, "Diaster" (aka "Too Little, Too Late", part 2), as it will not be making an appearance on whatever Jo decides to call her third record this time 'round, and to be fair, it makes sense. It was certainly a far cry from the tunage she released gratis via the mixtape Can't Take That Away From Me. This was why when the "real" lead single -- the slower, darker, sexier "Demonstrate" -- made the rounds, it felt much more organically JoJo at this stage in her musical life than "Diaster" did. The song was produced by a former collaborator of Alicia Keys, who clearly knows how to wrangle a bit voice without losing it's power and intensity. The song will be available on iTunes at the end of the month.

JoJo - Demonstrate by FUTURESOUND / BGR

PET SHOP BOYS - "A Certain 'Je Ne Sais Quoi'" (listen here)
I don't know if you all know this or not, but the Olympics are currently going on in London. Oh, you're aware? OK - just checking. Pet Shop Boys are one of the UK's trademark longevity pop acts, and they recently whipped out the Winner EP featuring the single "Winner" to go hand in hand with the games. I found the song a bit too cheesy (and me saying that really says something, now doesn't it) but the more slinky "A Certain 'Je Ne Sais Quoi'" b-side really cooks. Both songs will be featured on PSB's upcoming Elysium album, due next month.

You guys, it's been almost five years since The V-Ron's brilliant, electro-fuzzy album Hook Me Up hit shelves. That is literally an eternity in the pop realm. Thankfully, the Australian twin duo is back finally with "Lolita", the lead single from their upcoming third album, Life on Mars, which have been hearing glimmers and whispers of since mid-2010. If you liked the V-Ron's more straight-ahead debut (beyond the lead single "4Ever", which was a bit of a red herring), perhaps you'll be a bit bluesy about this, but "Lolita" suggests that the third album will continue to pull from the Hook Me Up kind of electropop headspace. But for folks like me, I could not be happier about that fact. "Lolita" itself begins sounding a bit Elle Goulding "Lights"-esque before barging into a familiar feeling hook ("I'm your Lolita/La Femme Nikita/When we're together/You'll love me forever"). Life on Mars, please don't pull a Jumping Trains on me. Get the hell on with it already. I feel so Veronica Deprived!

MADONNA - "Turn Up the Radio (R3hab Remix)" (listen here)
Obligatory MDNA reference: Remember back in February when everyone was abuzz about Madonna's latest album campaign? Where the hell did that energy go? "Turn Up the Radio" seemed like a pretty snoozy track on the record (despite it's title) and yet was chosen as a single over the likes of "Gang Bang" (shot you down). I didn't really get it until I heard the more exciting remixes (although, collabing with Far East Movement? I love FM as much as the next person but YOU. ARE. MADONNA. First, LMFAO and now this? What in the...). R3hab is my fave of the lot. Also - I do have tix to see The Queen of Pop perform at the Garden this November...

JOSS STONE - "(For God's Sake) Give More Power To the People"
I was one of those kids who first discovered Joss Stone through her debut The Soul Sessions idea back in 2003 (mostly thanks her cover of White Stripes's "Fell In Love With A Girl") and lost (most) interest with her original material. Her big bluesy voice is just undeniable though, which is why I was so psyched here what she had to offer with her Soul Sessions sequel release a weeks back. "Power To the People" is a Chi-Lites cover and her huge vocals really make it sound anthematic (that opening growl alone is enough to give you goosebumps). She also covers Womack & Womack's "Teardrops" -- also worth perusing.

ELECTROVAMP - "Hands Up" (with Keenan Cahill) (listen here)
Oh, Electrovamp. Me and these Welsh sisters go way back on this blog (holy 2009 flashback!). The duo opened for Girls Aloud back in the day and "Drinks Taste Better When They're Free" and "X Larger" were my jams when I first moved to the City back in early 2009, but time came and went and with no full album to peruse, I lost interest. I'm happy to report they are still cranking out the dancefloor jams -- the most recent being "Hands Up," a fun little corker of a song. Hopefully their official album release is truly on the horizon now...

ALUNAGEORGE - "You Know You Like It"
Are you seeing a pattern yet? What is it with me and duos lately (Karmin, Pet Shop Boys, The V-Rons, ElectroVamp)? Anyhoot -- AlunaGeorge is a new duo from London (named Aluna and George, get it?) and they are utterly fantastic. Their sparse, electronic-esque sound in "You Know You Like It" coupled with Aluna's baby-pitched voice will draw obvious comparisons to Robyn (when is that a bad thing ever?) -- think "Anytime You Like". The rest of the EP is also fantastic. "Just A Touch" is a bit more straight-ahead poppy feel while handclappy "Put Up Your Hands" is refreshingly soft and slinky despite its decieving dance-party title (I feel a Kylie moment coming on...). These ones are seriously ones to watch. Love love love.

JESSIE WARE - "Running"
Gorgeous British singer-songwriter Jessie Ware is being hotly tipped to be the next big thing across the pond. I usually roll my eyes when most artists are hyped in such a way -- except when they are being exported from the UK because let's face it -- their track record is pretty solid. Marina & The Diamonds, Elle Goulding, Emeli Sande, Charli XCX...I rest my case. Jessie Ware fits in somewhere between the last two. Her vocals ooze with sensuality and soul, set to a ever-so-slightly electro-trussed backbeat making something slightly retro and classic feel distinctly 2012. "Running" is instantly addictive in its subtlety (and it has electric guitar!). Her debut album, Devotion, is set for August 20th.


John said...

Of all the tracks on this list, I'm loving Jessie Ware's the most. Lush...reminds me of when tracks from Soul II Soul and Lisa Stansfield were on the radio. As for JoJo, I like the track. I'm suspicious of the motivations for a producer change, though. It can't be a coincidence that JoJo grabs a hot producer like 40 and then he's attached to Blackground's Aaliyah record? Backroom deal?

Mel said...

John - I have similar fears. Fingers crossed she's going down this path to pursue a more grown/R&B-influenced feel rather than trying to just be rhythmic because it's working at the mo' but I think it's probably a mixture of a lot of elements. I was kind of wishing she was going to get away from Blackground entirely, to be honest.

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