Wednesday, 5 November 2014

New Pop Roundup

It's been a while since the last Roundup, but get ready for a bumper catch up.  Some old songs, some new songs and some very good songs.

Strap in.

Naomi Pilgrim – It’s All Good

Swedish pop isn’t all icy synths you know.  Pilgrim brings some deep soulful vocals to her sound, accompanied by dark disco production reminiscent of VV Brown’s 2013 album but with a stronger pop bent.  As if the sensual vocals weren’t enough, the second verse provides a hefty bass boost, before the synths fizz into a whirring tumult in the middle eight.  The title says it all: it’s all good.


Listen: It’s All Good is available now.

Elliphant – One More (feat. MØ)

This was released a couple of months ago, but remains amongst the best work these two Scandi artists have released.  Combining the aggressive hip-hop style of Sweden’s Elliphant with the punky attitude of Denmark’s MØ, their voices blend over clipped beats and hazy synths that really take off in the song’s second half.  Together they’re like a Scandi (and superior) version of Lorde.


Listen: One More is available now.

Gwen Stefani – Baby Don’t Lie

The queen has returned and she hasn’t aged a day.  Anyone expecting the quirky sound of What You Waiting For may be disappointed, but the initial Hollaback Girl-esque “uh huh” gives way to an incredibly polished and catchy pop track that fits neatly into today’s sound.  There’s even a psychedelic video to match that’s almost guaranteed to induce a headache.  That it’s not released in the UK for another couple of months is simply a crime against music.


Listen: Baby Don’t Lie is released in the UK on 11th January.

Nick Jonas – Teacher

So far, since the demise of the Jonas Brothers, Nick Jonas seems to be making a career of taking his top off and impersonating Justin Timberlake.  But when he does such a good job of it, can you blame him?


Listen: Full album ‘Nick Jonas’ will be released on 11th November.

The Veronicas – Line of Fire

That’s right, the Aussie twin sisters are making a comeback - not just a one hit wonder after all (Untouched if you’ve forgotten).  You Ruin Me is the official first single, but a piano ballad is not the way to make an impact.  Line of Fire is the banger we need: blazing synths, soaring vocals and dramatic strings.  Welcome back.


Listen: Their full self-titled album will be released on 21st November.

Take That - These Days

Jason Orange may have left the band, but we all know Take That is just a platform for Gary Barlow's best work (let's just forget about his solo career shall we?).  These Days hardly rivals Greatest Day for day songs, but it's a fun little pop track all the same.  Still, they seem to be making up for the lack of Orange by employing as many dancers as possible in the video.  They just look weird as a three-piece.


Listen: These Days is released on 23rd November.

Kendrick Lamar - i

The video for i continues Lamar's cinematic streak, but this is a clear move away from the M.A.A.D City towards mainstream tastes.  His groove and flow, though, is undeniable and the production is infectious - make sure you stick around for the bass solo towards the end.  Rap doesn't get much funkier than this.

Oh and whilst you're here, here's a clip of Lamar singing along to Taylor Swift's Shake It Off.  Because who wouldn't?


Listen: i is available now.

Tulisa - Living Without You

The video begins like a cheap perfume advert, but soon progresses into hysterical camp: pouty lips, sniffing armpits, plenty of squatting, a Gwen Stefani reference, and lads mag posing.  It's like a preview for the next series of Drag Race, just less classy.  The song itself lacks a proper chorus but the 90s house inspired production is catchy.  I like this far more than I should and I'm not happy about it.


Listen: Living Without You is released on 7th December.

Willow Smith - Female Energy

If she's confused about her name these days, Willow/Wilough/Willy has long surpassed her dad and brother as the coolest Smith of the bunch.  She's just released a new EP entitled '3' which is far removed from her hair-whipping days.  Female Energy isn't on the EP, but it's indicative of her new style.  It's more a long rambling than a proper track, but the 90s R&B vibes prove the girl's got class and talent.


Listen: '3' is available for free for a limited time on Google Play.

Little Boots - Taste It

Her 2013 album 'Nocturnes' is hugely underrated, but with her next work Little Boots is changing direction.  Her disco days are long gone; now it's all percussive beats and stark production.  Influenced by late Nineties Everything But The Girl and early 00's R&B, this is far more offbeat than we're used to.  She may have creative freedom working on her own record label, but this might be an experimental step too far.


Listen: Taste It is taken from forthcoming EP 'Business Pleasure', due on 1st December.

Flyte - Light Me Up

Who said guitar music was dying?  Is that still a thing?  Regardless, the jaunty, 80s post-punk strumming and sunny melodies in Flyte's Light Me Up are nothing short of joyous.  The band's quirky indie music has instant appeal and, following support slots for the likes of Bombay Bicycle Club, you're likely to be hearing a lot more of it in the near future.


Listen: Light Me Up is released on 17th November.

Dawn Richard - Blow

Not to be confused with Glow from her brilliant 2012 album 'Goldenheart', Blow is Richard's return after girl group Danity Kane split up...again.  There's allogations of bullying and full on fists flying, but there's no denying that Richard is the most talented of the bunch.  Blow is a fierce piece of aggressive, minimalist R&B and tribal beats - the perfect accompaniment for some questionable booty shaking.


Listen: Blow will feature on 'Blackheart', the follow up to 'Goldenheart', released on 15th January.