dispatches from the pop scene...minus the corn syrup.

Monday, September 01, 2014

Calvin Harris & John Newman's "Blame": Here's A Preview Of The Single

Calvin Harris has been teasing his Instagram followers by posting a couple shoddy snippets of his "Summer" follow-up single "Blame," but now there's finally a clear clip where we can hear John Newman's chorus on the damn thing.

The song is set for release on September 7, while it will officially premiere (possibly via the Emil Nava-directed video) on September 4. Until then...

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Mary J. Blige Working With Disclosure, Sam Smith, Naughty Boy On 'The London Sessions'

I've never bought a Mary J. Blige album, though I've picked up a few of her singles here and there. But if ever there was a time to grab one of her full LPs, it seems like the upcoming one, The London Sessions, would be it.

Blige spent a month in London making the record, having been inspired by the sounds of Disclosure (she already appeared on a reworked version of their single "F For You") and Sam Smith (ditto with "Stay With Me"). Now she's gone into the RAK studio with what seems like a Who's Who of the British pop-house scene at the moment.



Below are excerpts from a pretty decent Guardian feature that was published yesterday:
With her vocal duties done, Blige comes into the mixing room to listen to the playbacks, sinking into a sofa next to the project's American executive producer, Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins, a don of the production world who has worked most notably with Michael Jackson, Beyoncé and Lady Gaga. Aside from the song, the two also appear keen to talk about food, and in particular fish and chips, the consumption of which Blige feels is central to what she calls "the London-scene experience". [Jimmy] Napes meanwhile is in the RAK kitchen, which has hosted the tea breaks of everything from Radiohead's The Bends to Kim Wilde's Kids in America. I ask him how he came to be part of the album.

"It has been a little bit surreal to be honest," he says, 'I grew up listening to Mary J Blige, and then there she is with the Disclosure boys in Kentish Town, where my studio is, next to a car park. She had loved Stay With Me, which I wrote with Sam Smith for his album, and that's how I got the opportunity to work on this project. We were writing for a week or so – we've got some wicked songs. It does take time to get the confidence to say to her, 'I think you can sing that better' – but it's crucial. She is counting on me to call her on stuff, because she wants to make the best record she can."

*****
It is certainly not an out-and-out house record. Pick Me Up, produced by Watford's own Naughty Boy and co-written with Emeli Sandé, mixes sub-bass with clarinet and a percussion sound that recalls early 00s UK garage. Therapy, written by Napes and Sam Smith, has a doo-wop feel, while the Disclosure number is house plus additional squelches. Disparate as the writers and producers may be, Jerkins agrees that these all sound unquestionably like Mary J Blige tracks: 'She knows how to cement her voice to the lyric. She knows how to make you know what she's been through." The feeling that she conveys of a life lived though all its triumphs and defeats is certainly at the heart of Blige's sound.

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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Shayne Ward Talks About Recording 4th Album (Out In February) With Mike Stock: Watch

Shayne Ward, 2005 UK X Factor winner, is one of the hottest pieces of tail to ever hit the pop scene — and he's done plenty of nude pics for the world to enjoy. But more important than that, in 2007 he put out one of the finest pop album of the previous decade: Breathless.

So good news for all fans of Shayne's music and his naked ass: The handsome Mancunian is recording his fourth LP with pop maestro Mike Stock, and, according to the below Good Morning Britain interview from this past week, it'll be released in February 2015.
"The great thing about it is that it's been about four years since I've had something of my own out, so to work with someone of Mike Stock's caliber is incredible. So it's gonna be a real pop album for the fans. I'm looking at February."

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UK Chart Roundup: "Prayer In C" Converts One More Country To The Flock

Lilly Wood & The Prick's "Prayer In C" is a 2010 song that was remixed by Robin Shulz, of Mr. Probz "Waves'-remixing fame, and re-released all across Europe earlier this summer. The new rendition finally hits the UK and hops up to the top spot on the chart this week.



"Waves" is just now making an impact on the US chart, so expect "Prayer In C" to pop onto the Billboard Hot 100 some time in 2017.

The UK Top 10:

1. "Prayer In C" - Lilly Wood & Robin Shulz *1 week*
2. "Maps" - Maroon 5 *new*
3. "Lovers On The Sun" - David Guetta feat. Sam Martin
4. "Shake It Off" - Taylor Swift *new*
5. "Am I Wrong" - Nico & Vinz
6. "Rude" - MAGIC!
7. "Black Widow" - Iggy Azalea feat. Rita Ora
8. "Don't" - Ed Sheeran
9. "I'm Not The Only One" - Sam Smith 
10. "My Head Is A Jungle" - Wankelmut & Emma Louise

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Saturday, August 30, 2014

Kiesza's 'Hideaway' EP: Here's What The Physical CD Looks Like, Inside And Out

I'm spending the long holiday weekend on Shelter Island, right at the tail-end of Long Island. For the drive out here, I grabbed some CDs for the road trip, and realized I'd gotten this as a promo in the mail.

Cute packaging. And, awww — remember CDs?

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Friday, August 29, 2014

Meeting Gorgon City (Plus, Here's Their "Unmissable" Video)

While most people are shooting foam out of their front ends over Disclosure, my particular UK house duo of choice in 2014 has been Gorgon City. That's not to take away from Disclosure, because I really dig what those two are doing — but to my ears, the material Matt and Kye from Gorgon City have been crafting is pretty sophisticated stuff as far as dance music goes.

Last month I had a phone conversation with Matt while the pair were in Italy performing, and I did up a profile on the guys for Idolator. Luckily they were happy to come by our New York studio at Idolator this week while in town for this weekend's Electric Zoo fest. I'll post the on-camera piece we did as soon as I whip it all together.



Anyway, Gorgon City's video for new single "Unmissable" just premiered. It's a pretty fantastic track off their upcoming album Sirens (out October 7), which is full of many more fantastic tracks.

Sirens tracklist

1. Coming Home (featuring Maverick Sabre)
2. Ready For Your Love (featuring MNEK)
3. Lover Like You (featuring Katy B)
4. Here For You (featuring Laura Welsh)
5. FTPA (featuring Erik Hassle)
6. Go All Night (featuring Jennifer Hudson)
7. Unmissable (featuring Zak Abel)
8. Real (featuring Yasmin)
9. Imagination (featuring Katy Menditta)
10. 6 AM (featuring Tish Hyman)
11. Elevate (featuring Anne-Marie)
12. Take It All (featuring The Six)
13. Hard On Me (featuring Maverick Sabre)

DELUXE EDITION BONUS TRACKS

14. Try Me Out (featuring Anne-Marie)
15. No More (featuring L.I.V.)
16. Here For You (featuring Laura Welsh) (VEVO Lift Performance)
17. Doing It Wrong (featuring L.I.V.)

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

US Chart Roundup: Taylor Swift Is #1 (Duh), Tove Lo & Kiesza Climb And Mr. Probz Makes His Debut

The good thing about Taylor Swift releasing new single "Shake It Off" last Monday and it selling 544,000 downloads in its first week is that the song blew the surge in Nicki Minaj's "Anaconda" surge and cock-blocked that trash from reaching #1.



Nicki's video, where she bounces her ass, shoves a banana in her mouth and sprays whipped cream on her boobs, naturally racked up 87 million YouTube views in its first week (hence the song flying up 37 positions to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100).



Nicki can't be to jacked, though, since "Anaconda" is now the highest-charting single of her career (as a lead artist).

Elsewhere, Clean Bandit's "Rather Be" sadly drops one more spot to #15 (I really wish it had gone higher than its #13 peak here), while Tove Lo's "Habits (Stay High)" jumps from #30 to #23.

Outside of the Top 40, Kiesza's "Hideaway" climbs up to #60, and "Waves" by Mr. Probz, a former #1 across Europe, makes its Hot 100 debut at #88.

Check out the interviews I did with Clean Bandit, Tove Lo, Kiesza and Mr. Probz over at Idolator.

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "Shake It Off" - Taylor Swift *new* *1 week*
2. "Anaconda" - Nicki Minaj
3. "All About That Bass" - Meghan Trainor
4. "Stay With Me" - Sam Smith
5. "Rude" - MAGIC!
6. "Black Widow" - Iggy Azalea feat. Rita Ora
7. "Break Free" - Ariana Grande feat. Zedd
8. "Chandelier" - Sia
9. "Bang Bang" - Jessie J, Ariana Grande & Nicki Minaj
10. "Am I Wrong" - Nico & Vinz

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Sunday, August 24, 2014

UK Chart Roundup: My Head Is A Jungle

David Guetta blows chunks anymore, but this Wankelmut and Emma Louise song is nice:



The UK Top 10:

1. "Lovers On The Sun" - David Guetta feat. Sam Martin *new* *1 week*
2. "Am I Wrong" - Nico & Vinz
3. "Rude" - MAGIC!
4. "Shake It Off" - Taylor Swift *new*
5. "My Head Is A Jungle" - Wankelmut & Emma Louise
6. "Love Runs Out" - OneRepublic
7. "Budapest" - George Ezra
8. "Don't" - Ed Sheeran
9. "Tonight (We Live Forever)" - Union J *new*
10. "Ghost" - Ella Henderson

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

US Chart Roundup: We're Fucked & There's No Escape From Ariana Grande And Iggy Azalea

Ariana Grande and Iggy Azalea are two bitches who are now entrenched so far into our lives, no one is going to be able to jack off without one of them (or both of them) sitting between your knees and watching.



Combined, these broads take up five of the positions in the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 this week. And each one has three songs in the upper tier of the chart (with "Problem" obviously being the collaboration between the two). You can see which ones I'm talking about below. To spell them all out would be to inflict more madness upon my soul, so let's just move on.



This week the Top 10 disposes of Charli XCX's #10-peaking "Boom Clap" (it's down to #11) and Maroon 5's dull as shit "Maps" (now at #12), while Clean Bandit's "Rather Be" annoyingly also drops one position to #14.

Tove Lo's "Habits (Stay High)" moves up to #30, and Nicki Minaj's piece of shit garbage track "Anaconda" thankfully plummets 20 spots down to #39. The video for that mess premiered yesterday, and in case you missed that bit of lite porn...



On a final note, Kiesza's "Hideaway" continues its slow ascent up the chart, and finds itself at #65 this week. At this point, it should (hopefully) be a stateside hit sometime this fall...or, you now — in 2015.

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "Rude" - MAGIC! *6 weeks*
2. "All About That Bass" - Meghan Trainor
3. "Stay With Me" - Sam Smith
4. "Break Free" - Ariana Grande feat. Zedd
5. "Fancy" - Iggy Azalea feat. Charli XCX
6. "Am I Wrong" - Nico & Vinz
7. "Problem" - Ariana Grande feat. Iggy Azalea
8. "Black Widow" - Iggy Azalea feat. Rita Ora
9. "Chandelier" - Sia
10. "Bang Bang" - Jessie J, Ariana Grande & Nicki Minaj

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Sunday, August 17, 2014

UK Chart Roundup: Kiesza Will Not Be A One-Hit Wonder

England's love affair with Kiesza continues as the Canadian doll's second single "Giant In My Heart" goes into the UK singles roundup at #4 this week. This, of course, follows the chart-topping performance of global smash "Hideaway" in the spring.

Bring on the album, pretty please.

The UK Top 10:

1. "Am I Wrong" - Nico & Vinz *2 weeks*
2. "Rude" - MAGIC!
3. "Love Runs Out" - OneRepublic
4. "Giant In My Heart" - Kiesza *new*
5. "Ghost" - Ella Henderson
6. "Budapest" - George Ezra
7. "Faded" - ZHU
8. "Problem" - Ariana Grande feat. Iggy Azalea
9. "Crazy Stupid Love" - Cheryl Cole feat. Tinie Tempah
10. "Boom Clap" - Charli XCX

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