Monthly Archives: January 2012

Amelle – Rebel (Debut solo single?)

   Amelle Berrabah has been working on solo material the last couple of months, and if her recent tweets, with the hash-tag ‘Rebel’ are to be analysed, it appears a single is ready for imminent release. What we do know is that she has spent the last few weeks in the studio, as well as doing various photo shoots, possibly for a single cover.

  With fellow babe Heidi Range announcing a break for the band, it seems like it will be a while until we get an eighth Sugababes record, especially since Amelle has all the ingredients for success, having previously hit number one with her collaboration with Tinchy Strider.

  Whilst she seems unwilling to reveal too much at the minute, it’s clear something is ready to be released…

 

 

Watch the video for Strider collaboration ‘Never Leave You’ below:

 

Cher Lloyd – MTV Sessions

   Soon-to-be Platinum selling Cher Lloyd recently stopped by the MTV studios to record an acoustic set of songs from her debut record Sticks+Stones. She performed the singles With Ur Love and Want U Back, as well as album highlights Superhero and Beautiful People.

  Lloyd is currently working on new tracks for an American release of the album, as well as a Re-release over here. Her current single Want U Back includes a rap verse from US X-Factor contestant Astro, which has been poorly received over here.

 

 

Listen to the tracks below, feedback welcome!

 

 

Evanescence – My Heart Is Broken Video

  American rock band Evanescence today revealed the video from the second single from their self-titled third album. My Heart Is Broken, a rock-ballad, will be released to UK radio in mid-February, with a digital release at the end of the month.

The video can be viewed on the bands official VEVO page

http://www.vevo.com/watch/evanescence/my-heart-is-broken/USWV41100052

Heidi Range planning solo album?

  Longest serving Sugababe Heidi Range, who is currently competing on ITV‘s Dancing On Ice, has expressed an interest in recording a solo album. Like her fellow ‘Babe Amelle Berrabah, Range is said to be considering starting her own project whilst the band are on a temporary hiatus. A member of the band, dubbed the most successful British girl-band of the Century, since 2001, it’s been rumoured she was previously been offered solo contracts on various occasions, turning them down due to band commitments.

  Range has only recorded one solo track since joining the Sugababes, the track ‘Sometimes’ that featured on the album ‘Three’, so it’s exciting to speculate about what her own material would sound like.

The stunning Heidi

 

Cody Draiken: An introduction

Just as I was getting anxious, waiting for new music from Nadia Oh and Ke$ha, who are responsible for all my favourite party tunes, Cody Draiken appears! A Hollywood guy, he is currently working on his debut album, releasing a few tracks online as a taster. At first glance his music appears to paint him as a male version of Ke$ha, albeit much cleaner and with a sexier voice. And not that it’s important, but he also looks like this:

If that picture doesn’t inspire you to check out his tunes, nothing will. His currently released tracks include; Killer Bod, an electro pop tune that’s flawless, Not Too Drunk To Dance, which is the song that invites the comparisons to Ke$ha, with its focus on alcohol and dancing. Check out a remix of Killer Bod below, in a remix that utilises the dub-step elements whilst still keeping his sexy vocals front and center.

SOPA and PIPA: What are the threats?

  Today, one of the worlds most visited websites, Wikipedia, blacked out all its content as a form of protest. Whilst many are currently venting on Twitter wondering what the problem is, many are aware that it’s a justified response to the proposition of two new bills just put forward to US Congress; SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP Act). What these bills propose, in simplified terms, is a kind of  regulation of the Internet, not just on the larger scale websites, but also smaller ones, including blogs. Its been said that these bills have been proposed to make it harder for sites to distribute or point in the direction of counterfeit materials, including films, music, and even hand-bags. These bills would be more damaging to people outside the United States, as it would effectively give the US government the power to punish foreign users who infringe their material. President of the United States Obama has slated the proposition, calculating that such drastic measures would prevent freedom of speech, potentially punish for entirely lawful behavior and hinder the innovation of smaller businesses and such. Whilst its clear piracy is a major problem, one that’s cutting the music industry deep, there are a few steps that could be taken to ensure piracy doesn’t become too much of a problem.

  The US record labels have become very slow at recognising demand overseas. For example, due to news websites and blogs reporting on songs that have premiered over there, fans here are left waiting weeks, possible months to be given the opportunity to buy it themselves. This is why so many make the choice to download it instead. It’s the basic idea of supply and demand. If  you own the material and there’s a demand for it, yet you hold it back, you shouldn’t be surprised when people go elsewhere. America usually follows the ‘On Air On Sale’ tactic with their releases, meaning it’s usually available for purchase as soon as it hits the radio. This usually results in a high debut on the charts, then a drop whilst airplay picks up. As their charts reflect both airplay and sales, songs tend to stick around much longer than they do in the UK. Record labels over here have attempted the same tactic, and its left artists with respectable sales, yet poor chart positions. The desire for a top ten is much greater over here, which is why release dates are much more staggered. The excuse used is the fact that they need the gap to plan promotional appearances and such. However, if an artist performs a song live on TV, and it is not available for purchase, what’s the point?

  What’s even more frustrating, is the fact that certain record labels are known to leak full albums themselves, albeit in impaired quality, in order to generate hype and anticipation of the release. This has happened twice with Evanescence, and it’s rumoured to also be a tactic employed by Britney Spears team. The most serious of piracy takes place pre-release, as the product is not available for sale, meaning illegal download is the only option available. However, the amount of security placed on the products to ensure it stays hidden is poor to say the least. The internet is changing, at first it was a miracle, now to most people it’s a tool. Many leaked songs and albums are taken directly from email accounts of record label employees and even the artists. Whilst this is undoubtedly a crime, it’s slightly suspect that such precious cargo is distributed, albeit selectively, in such a dangerous way.

  It’s the same with films. Back in 2003, Finding Nemo was already available to buy on DVD in America, whilst the UK were still awaiting a cinema release. Yet the studio still displayed shock that fans were importing the DVD instead of waiting, a perfectly legal action,  yet one that still upset them.

  Thepiratebay.org, arguable the worlds biggest database of Torrents (a file containing the location of a particular file), have received hundreds of thousands of lawsuit threats, yet they refuse to back down, due to the site being out of the United States jurisdiction. Effectively, the site acts as a search engine, the same as Google and Yahoo. It’s the users who utilise the sites for pirated material, and while piracy is piracy, punishing a search engine is unfair. The powers that be are perfectly aware it’s impossible to punish every single person who bypasses copyright law, but it isn’t as impossible to cut the sources, namely the sites that assist the users.

  With so many big sites opposing the bill, its clear it isn’t going to be as easy as the creators of the bill hoped. Many sites are offering petitions and such, but it’s slightly worrying that people are bemoaning the loss of Wikipedia without realising the full extent of the dangers freedom of speech and the internet is facing.

Preeya Kalidas – EastEnd pop-star?

  As well as mincing about Albert Square for the last couple on Eastenders, Preeya Kalidas has also been quietly establishing a music career, releasing her own, as well as making guest appearances in anticipation of an album. After two singles; ‘Shimmy’ and ‘It’s a problem’, as well as a guest spot on Skepta’s ‘Cross My Heart’, Preeya has announced her album will be ready by summer 2012, to be released on All Around The World Records, home to Cascada, amongst other legends… Whether or not this album is a good thing is up to you. Check out her latest single below:

 

 

The Veronicas – Hook Me Up

  Australian duo The Veronicas have only released two studio albums since 2005,  achieving six Platinum certifications for them. Surprisingly, despite the near five-year gap since their last album, they are still among the most popular bands in the country. In summer 2009, they released their first single in the UK. ‘Untouched’ was a massive hit, gaining substantial airplay and commendable sales. The band began to generate a good amount of buzz, arriving in Britain as established pop-stars. Imagine if Ke$ha joined AA, had a bath, got an education and sprouted a twin and you have the Veronicas. The band announced plans to use one of their biggest Aussie hits, ‘4Ever’ as the second UK release, as well as a special version of their sophomore record ‘Hook Me Up’.

  After being re-recorded, and with a brand new video shot for the single, it faced constantly delayed release dates, and the hype began to die down. After finally seeing a digital release, it managed to chart at seventeen, a far cry from the top ten placement of its predecessor. The album Hook Me Up charted at 35 and spawned a third single; Everything I’m Not, which failed to chart. The band have scheduled their third record for a late 2012 release, though it remains to be seen whether or not they will also launch it here. Despite their rocky introduction to these shores, it remains a solid album, with plenty of great songs scattered throughout the lengthy 16-long track list. Apart from the singles, stand out tracks include the flirtitious ‘Take Me On The Floor’ and the cocky ‘Popular’.

Check out the video for Untouched below:

 


Madonna – Broken (I’m Sorry)

  Whilst in the studio preparing for her 2009 Greatest Hits collection ‘Celebration’, Madonna recorded around ten new tracks, eventually featuring only two on the collection, as well as an iTunes exclusive third. The track Celebration was released as the lead single, whilst the other, ‘Revolver’ was released as single number two, without a video and without success.  

  Recently, a song intended for the compilation leaked onto the internet. Broken (I’m sorry), randomly appeared on YouTube with no explanation. Along the lines of her 2005 blockbuster Hung Up, the club-ready track appears to be a response to an ex partner, upon realisation that the scars have healed. It’s approximately ten times better than the tracks she chose for the collection.

 

Take a listen;

Britney Spears – Mona Lisa

In 2004, after damaging her knee on the video shoot for ‘Outrageous’, Britney Spears announced she would be taking a career break, since the injury would make it impossible for her to continue her Onyx Hotel Tour. In a new relationship with her backup dancer Kevin Federline, she saw the injury as a sign that she was over-exhausting herself, and would benefit greatly from some time out from the spotlight. After selling over fifty million records from 1998-2004, it’s understandle she thought she deserved a break. During this time, her label Jive Records announced plans to form a girl-band, a band that would essentially be Britney Spears times five. Everything, from the look, style, vocal technique etc would be duplicated, a plan that thankfully never turned into reality. After her first Greatest Hits was released in November 2004, selling six million copies, as well as two more successful singles. 

  Despite the announcement of a break, Spears herself went into the Kiss-FM studios in LA to premiere a rough mix of a track she had written and hoped to release as a single from an album she had been working on in secret. Mona Lisa, as she called it, was a track like nothing she had released before. The instrumental was striking and bold, whilst the vocals were untouched, piercing, yet strong. The internet reception was explosive; who was she talking about in the song? why were her vocals finally being displayed untouched? Afterwards, Jive Records were apparently unhappy that she had premiered a song without their consent, and refused to go ahead with the album, effectively throwing it away. Spears later released a letter on her website which read;  ”I think I should rephrase myself…when I was talking about taking a ‘break’. What I meant was I am taking a break from being told what to do…”. Disregarding whatever the situation with the label was, it’s clear she was unhappy with the interfering in her career, in terms of the material she was given, to the way her promotional appearances were handled. After getting pregnant, the album never materialised, remaining only in the form of a few leaked tracks, the rest being locked away somewhere at Jive HQ.

Listen to Mona Lisa below: