Category Archives: General

Charlotte Church – ‘One’ EP

At the age of only 26, Charlotte Church has lived a life many would die for; she possesses an enviable discography of successful albums, has performed in front of hundreds of thousands, and owns a powerful voice that has yet to let her down. On the downside, her life over the years has been ripped apart and even hacked into, evidenced by her part in the Leveson inquiry this year. Her growth from ‘voice of an angel’, to ‘crazy chick’ was documented and covered on a scale perhaps only equal to Britney Spears own tabloid troubles. After joining the pop scene in 2005 with ‘Tissues and Issues’, she was a fully fledged adult. Her next album wouldn’t be until 2010, instead she focused on a successful channel 4 talk show, and raising her children. At the same time, I craved a chance to experience her voice live. I got my chance last month in Leeds.

At the Brudenell Social Club, Church showcased a collection of entirely new material, and absolutely no past singles, instead focusing on her new direction; (I resisted the urge to request Brave New World or Unfaithful, instead focusing my energy into buying every item of merchandise – twice). The intimate setting allowed her voice and personality to shine, the star reaching notes I couldn’t believe with ease and confidence. Sometimes I hear a studio voice so much I open myself to disappointment when I hear it live. Charlotte somehow manages to beat her studio recordings.

This was my first experience of a gig where I wouldn’t be familiar with any of the material, and I was blown away. The new EP, titled One, is available for pre-order on iTunes, with a release date of September 3rd. The tracks are current single How Not To Be Surprised When You’re A Ghost, Say It’s True, The Rise and Beautiful Wreck. All were performed at the gig, with The Rise being a standout.

Forget what you think you know about her, and give the songs a chance. You won’t regret it.

 

Alexandra Burke – Heartbreak On Hold

  After promoting her debut album to double-Platinum status, the last couple of years have been quiet for former X-Factor winner Alexandra Burke. Stories of record label conflicts have swamped the press, and many were left wondering if a second album would happen at all. Then she released ‘Elephant‘ in March, a song that pleased fans and critics alike, and coasted into the top five. The album it’s pulled from, Heartbreak On Hold, is released on Monday, and is already garnering heaps of praise.

The album as a whole is influenced by 90’s dance music, samples of which seem to be cropping up in a substantial amount of songs this year. Current single ‘Let It Go’ deserves to be performing much better than it currently is, as it features one of her best vocal performances yet, as well as an addictive beat. The poor radio airplay of the two singles is suspicious to say the least. Opening track ‘Heartbreak On Hold’ is the standout choice for single number three, club-ready and current, with a fantastic vocal throughout.  ‘Oh La La‘ is another banger, a track that samples a well known dance track, yet manages to carve its own identity. A couple of duff tracks is forgivable on a 16 track record.

The album is out on Monday.

Charlotte Church new EP

After recently announcing a return to music, Charlotte Church stopped by BBC Radio Wales last week to premiere three new tracks she has recorded, possibly for inclusion on an EP in late 2012. Her last release, 2010’s Back To Scratch, was a departure from both her classical and pop releases, instead leaning towards easy listening, and from the sound of these new tracks, it seems she is continuing along that path. Check out the tracks below:

Her official site is offering a free download of ‘The Rise’, as well as revealing a list of tour dates

http://charlottechurchmusic.com/

Cody Draiken Interview + Brand new single

Cody Draiken is rapidly making waves in the music world. After listening to the tracks he’s released so far, it’s certainly not hard to see why. Catchy production, cocky lyrics and a sexy voice, what’s not to like? Displaying enough swagger to charge Cher Lloyd for a year, he’s making a name for himself as the one to watch. Draiken has released his latest track today, already receiving heaps of praise, much of it commenting on his break-out potential. Titled Vacuum, it’s been a long-awaited treat for fans, after a couple of snippets were posted online. It’s also, a certified choon, with one of the craziest, catchiest and hard breakdows of recent memory.

I’ve previously written about his existing singles ‘Killer Bod’ and ‘Dirty Talker’, which remain flawlessly executed pop cuts that manage to integrate into 2012, as well as sounding fresh and post-modern. The dubstep breakdown in Killer Bod for example? Came yonks before it started being the norm.

To introduce him to a lot of people, as well as provide something to his existing fans, I thought I’d speak to the man himself, find out what makes him tick, as well as his plans for the rest of 2012!


Name: Cody Draiken
Residence: Currently living in North Hollywood
Age: 23 years old
Genre: I’d compare my music style as a cross between pop, electro, and experimental combined with a bit of a raspy, edgier voice. I even have songs, like Killer Bod, that feature a little dubstep. Ultimately, my team and I try to create catchy music.


What inspired you to become a musician? 

I have always loved music. In grade school I use to sing Britney Spears and the Backstreet Boys with my cousin in the talent shows. Haha. Now that I’m in my 20’s, it’s so embarrassing to watch those talent show videos but looking back, those were the best moments of my childhood… I loved every minute of it and that’s what started my addiction to music.

When I moved to California I met Robert Platz, a drummer and producer from North Hollywood, and we instantly hit it off. He understood my vision, we eventually came up with my 1st song “Killer Bod” and we’ve been making music ever since. We make a rad team and I love the kid to death, he’s super talented for being only 20 years old.


Who are your musical influences?

God, there are so many! Ummm, producer-writer wise, I’m really inspired by Dr. Luke, Max Martin, and Benny Blanco. Those guys are seriously amazing and so talented at what they do. When it comes to singers, there’s a list! I honestly couldn’t pick… I have so many favorites.

Just in general, a lot of people in my life are big influences when it comes to simply writing. The good and the bad. My new song “Vacuum” came from one of the bad… Haha.


Are you planning on collating your releases into an EP or album?

I plan on releasing an EP or two and then an album. Robert Platz and I have been working on a load of demos, so we’ll eventually sit down to select which songs make the EP(s) & album and which ones get cut off from life support. 😛


Can you tease about any other songs? Lyrics/favorite titles etc

Well, “Vacuum” is definitely my baby right now. It was one of the first songs I’ve written, so it will always be a favorite… but a few that would make my “Top F-ing Rad 5 List” would be, “Hit Record”, “Ouija Board”, “Dirty Talker”, “1, 2, 3, 4”, and “Super Glue”. Number one would have to be “Hit Record”.


Was it your intention to create the perfect party soundtrack?

I’ve always told myself that if my music can help someone forget about life’s problems for 5 or even 15 minutes, then I’ve done my job. So I never wanted to be taken too seriously… I’m here to party with the world and the world should tag along and party with me…. So let’s go crash some parties! 🙂


Where do you see yourself in two years?

I have so many goals I want to accomplish, but I know it will take a long time to accomplish them and then new goals will be set along the way. So let’s just hope for the best and see where I’m at in 2 years… 😉


Talk about responding/replying to your fans on Twitter etc

Anyone who follows me on Twitter or Facebook knows I try to reply back to my fans. Almost everyday Twitter blocks me because I always hit their “daily tweet limit”, which is BS. Haha. I love talking with my Party Crashers (which is what I call my fans) because their my family and they know that. I’ve even had a chance to call a few up on the phone. We had some amazing conversations! There are a lot of up and coming artists that rarely or flat out don’t connect with their fans and that annoys me. All the fans want is a hi and thank you… plus it’s the least you can do for them supporting your career.
Find out more:
Check out Vacuum below:


The Saturday’s – 30 Days EP (Out Now)

Since fourth album On Your Radar has become their lowest selling yet, someone clearly thought the bands savior would be a re-release. Whilst the albums three singles all went to twenty and sold well, the album scraped in at number 23, before disappearing from trace. When you consider the fact that the other three albums went top ten, you can’t help but think that maybe they just didn’t connect with the public this time; leaving a re-release slightly pointless.

Nevertheless, 30 Days has been released as the first single from the forthcoming repackaged album, and is currently sitting at number one on the iTunes album chart, due to the inclusion of two B-Sides and two remixes. The song individually is sitting outside the top ten, at eleven. The song itself is fine, being finely produced and well sung (by their standards that is). The frustrating thing is, there are many better songs on the album, three of which leave this particular song in the dust. And although it’s sitting proudly at the top of iTunes, it’s in no doubt due to pre-orders from the fan-base, meaning it’ll likely slide down during the week. B-Side Turn Myself In has been highly anticipated by fans since it was performed on their last tour, leaving its placement on the EP a likely strategy to ensure a decent chart placing. It’s barely worth the one listen to be brutally honest.

Much better is The Way You Watch Me. An On Your Radar album track featuring Travie McCoy, the version here is a Saturday’s only one, with a previously unheard second verse and a much more pleasant listening experience. Also included is a karaoke version, as well as two average remixes. I can’t help but think the problem the band has it lack of identity, as opposed to unappealing music. Crap tunes never stopped Girls Aloud sustaining continued success; why do The Saturday’s never seem to gain any ground?

Garbage – Not Your Kind Of People (May 14th)

Seven years after their last studio album, Garbage return this month with Not Your Kind Of People, a record that has been funded and distributed by the band themselves, an example of how the lack of a label isn’t always the end.

A confident record, it wisely avoids trying to do anything new, instead focusing on what the band do well, and dialing it up a notch. Stand out tracks include the current singles, ‘Blood For Poppies’ and ‘Battle In Me’, as well as the stunning title track, and ‘Sugar’, a contender for third single.

Check out the Poppies video below:

 

 

Charlotte Church to release new music

Despite placing high on the 2012 list of richest musicians, Charlotte Church‘ musical output is limited to a small collection of classical recordings, and two pop albums, released in 2005 and 2010. Tissues And Issues (2005) was one of the strongest pop records of recent times, my thoughts of which you can read here. Her follow-up, Back To Scratch, was a stunning album that leaned towards alt-pop and was ignored by the masses. Church has just announced on Twitter she is to release new music shortly. No further details are available, such as the genre it will belong to, or whether it will feature on a full album. Here’s hoping it’s not too far away!

No Doubt album coming September 2012

Eleven years after their last album release, No Doubt have officially announced the release of their new untitled record for the 25th September. Track-list, cover and single details are still under wraps, but it wouldn’t be a stretch to imagine a single finding it’s way online in the very near future. Stay tuned!

Five reasons why Britney Spears shouldn’t do The X-Factor

Incase you’ve been living on Pluto for the last decade, Britney Spears is the biggest selling female of the last decade, with over 150 million record sales, countless sold out concerts, as well as tabloid coverage second to none. With a judging chair on The X-Factor USA almost certain to happen, it’s incredible how polarized people’s opinions are. Whilst some agree she is the perfect choice for the role, others believe it’s a mistake. I for one believe it is a grave error, and have gathered five reasons why!

1: She’s Britney Spears.

She doesn’t require a career lift like Jennifer Lopez and Christina Aguilera did when they went down the talent show route. Her latest album, last year’s Femme Fatale, was her lowest selling yet, but it still went Platinum. Hardly cause for panic.

2: She’s under a conservator-ship.

Brit’s fiance was recently given the task of taking responsibility of her finances and business decisions.  According to the courts and her family, she’s incapable of making her own choices and thinking for herself, despite spending the majority of last year undertaking a grueling touring schedule. Is a place on a high-profile show a good idea?

3: She barely speaks.

Brit’s recent interviews and appearances have inspired some to label her ‘Cue-card-ney’, due to her apparent inability to say anything that isn’t scripted. What’s unclear is whether or not this is her own decision, or one on behalf of her team. There is an immense pressure on talent show judges to gain attention with their comments. I can see it now;

Simon: ”That was just awful. The vocals were poor, that was definitely the wrong song choice.. Britney, what did you think?’

Britney: ”Um, it was cool. Um,  like it. Yeah. 

No thank you.

4: She lip-syncs.

As much as I love Britney, and have been impressed on numerous occasions with her voice, she hasn’t sung live enough times to warrant criticizing other people’s voices. Whilst she has come a long way in the last ten years, out-distancing her peers, she simply has no right to judge voices. This is coming from someone who loves her; can you imagine the reaction from a regular viewer? I’m aware Cheryl Cole, a woman who sings like she’s trying to swallow gravel, escaped such comments, but she was the UK’s darling at the time, Britney’s profile here is almost non-existent.

5: I couldn’t really think of a fifth, so here’s a nice live video of miss Spears:

 



Cody Draiken – Vacuum (Teaser)

Future star Cody Draiken has finally given a taster of forthcoming single ‘Vacuum’, releasing a short clip of the track on Soundcloud. As well as a genuine progression, it’s also catchy as fuck. The full track will be released sometime in May. Check it out below: