Popjustice » The Briefing http://www.popjustice.com 100% Solid Pop Music Mon, 15 Sep 2014 14:34:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Nick Gardner’s ‘Lose You’ is one of 2014’s best debut releases. http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/nick-gardners-lose-you-is-one-of-2014s-best-debut-releases/130653/ http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/nick-gardners-lose-you-is-one-of-2014s-best-debut-releases/130653/#comments Tue, 09 Sep 2014 08:15:43 +0000 http://www.popjustice.com/?p=130653 nick-gardner

He might not have many people turning up to his warehouse parties but new Interscope signing Nick Gardner could well be British pop’s best shot at solomaleamazingness in 2015.

He likes and listens to pop music in the same way we and you do. He’s a fan of Kelly Clarkson (not a euphemism). He’s got Ryan Tedder’s haircut. Best of all he’s got a brilliant debut release. ‘Lose You’, which has appeared on iTunes today to tie in with Nick’s appearance at Thursday’s iTunes Festival show, is really great.

Usually these early, chuck-something-on-iTunes releases are so caught up in softly-softly, don’t-scare-the-horses tastemaking nonsense that it’s impossible to get a grip on how a new popstar’s likely to sound by the time an album eventually rolls around, but ‘Lose You’ is a proper banger. It’s a bit soulful, a bit electronic, a bit epic, it’s got a hook on which you could hang a whole sack of hook wordplay, AND IT SOUNDS LIKE PHIL COLLINS.

The backstory is that Interscope signed Nick as a result of his YouTube covers, which these days is the rule rather than the exception but that’s what happened so there you go.

Actually there’s a better backstory than that.

The other day we asked Nick to send over one of those ‘Reasons I’m Amazing’ things we sometimes do. He said no. “Tell you what!” he wrote. “I’ll just write a big old bunch of stuff and you can pick and choose what you would like to use.” An extremely lengthy email followed and while we are aware that the internet is pretty big it is finite. Fortunately, when we were searching our inbox it turned out that we still have Nick’s 2011 application for work experience at Popjustice.

So let’s have a look at what he said back then.

“I very much like pop music and subscribe to Popjustice’s philosophy that it is too often looked down on by people that don’t know a great deal about it.”

“I spend a lot of time organising my iTunes – poorly organised iTunes libraries are the work of the Devil.”

“I really like ellipses…”

“I play piano (kind of well), guitar (not well) and harmonica (not well at all).”

“I hope Britney Spears’ new single is good.”

We didn’t get him in for work experience because frankly there’s no room at Popjustice HQ for a harmonica player, competent or otherwise.

But Nick got in touch with us again near the end of 2012, this time about his music. He sent over some bits; there was no harmonica. It was good. Then the Interscope deal happened. Nick’s kept us updated as the months have ticked by, and as those months have ticked by the tunes he’s played us have got bigger and better.

With the exception of X Factor finalists and UK Featscene artists like Sam Smith and John Newman, the UK seems to have a lot of trouble launching and cherishing solo male pop artists. Maybe the harsh truth is that they just tend not to be good enough. But on the evidence of ‘Lose You’ and the other songs we’ve heard, Nick Gardner’s good enough to make a strong impression, not just in the UK but overseas too.

(And if it does all go tits up, we’ll have another look at that work experience application.)

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There’s more than one Monarchy celebrating an exciting new creation today http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/theres-more-than-one-monarchy-celebrating-an-exciting-new-creation-today/130645/ http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/theres-more-than-one-monarchy-celebrating-an-exciting-new-creation-today/130645/#comments Mon, 08 Sep 2014 15:25:28 +0000 http://www.popjustice.com/?p=130645 10609629_855734584438525_6234282084952484829_n

Monarchy were always really good and on their new EP ‘Almost Human’, which is out today, they remain so. You can buy it now but if you fancy it a bit of try-before-you-buy action you can try out the whole thing in the SoundCloud player below.

As you will hear, the music is:

  • Electronic
  • Poignant
  • Beautiful
  • Different enough from the old stuff to be interesting
  • Similar enough to the old stuff to be amazing

Here’s that SoundCloud player we were talking about.

There’s some sort of video competition going on at the moment too, it’s all a bit long-winded but if you want to help them make their new video you can click here and they’ll tell you all about it.

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The new Kitty Brucknell lyric video. http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/the-new-kitty-brucknell-video/130647/ http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/the-new-kitty-brucknell-video/130647/#comments Mon, 08 Sep 2014 15:05:13 +0000 http://www.popjustice.com/?p=130647 Presented without comment.

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Who fancies watching the new Erasure video? http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/who-fancies-watching-the-new-erasure-video/130640/ http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/who-fancies-watching-the-new-erasure-video/130640/#comments Mon, 08 Sep 2014 14:57:40 +0000 http://www.popjustice.com/?p=130640 erasure-2014

You cannot go wrong with a bit of Erasure, and their new album ‘The Violet Flame’ is all the more noteworthy due to the fact that it’s been produced by Richard X. The last proper album to be produced by Richard X was that Will Young one and you know how that turned out. (Pretty well.)

Anyway today we bring you a first look at Erasure’s new video, for the rather splendid lead single ‘Elevation’.

Like the majority of videos to danceworthy tunes in 2014, the ‘Elevation’ clip include flares and people having a nice old time on holiday but doesn’t actually feature the artist in question. Further proof, surely, that after decades in this business we call pop Erasure still have their finger on or at least  very near the pulse.

Here is that video.

The song’s out now if you want to buy it but you’re best off waiting for the full remix package which includes this great Club Clique remix…

…plus a number of other good reworks. The remix EP’s out on the 15th and the album’s out a week later; you can pre-order either or both (or neither, this is completely your choice) on iTunes.

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No. http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/no/130358/ http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/no/130358/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 14:30:16 +0000 http://www.popjustice.com/?p=130358

Nice idea. Shame really.

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Should Jessie J leave the country? http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/should-jessie-j-leave-the-country/130275/ http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/should-jessie-j-leave-the-country/130275/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 12:45:16 +0000 http://www.popjustice.com/?p=130275 Jessie J new

You may have read over the weekend that Jessica ‘Jessie Cornish’ J has sold her London home, and has bought one in LA.

The good news is that none of this is because she’s not under investigation for criminal activity. She’s not fleeing to avoid justice! Instead, she wants to go somewhere where her talents are appreciated.

Here’s what she had to say to the Daily Mail. (Warning – hyperlinked text contains link to Mail Online.)

“In America they see me as a singer whereas here I feel that people don’t appreciate my voice. I’ve dedicated my life to singing and I want it to be taken seriously. Here it seems that all people want to know is what I’ve had for breakfast and who I’m sleeping with.”

It’s sad that Jessie J feels unappreciated in the UK. Maybe she should try being Pixie Lott for a week. But the question is: should she move to America? Or should we attempt to make her change her mind?

Let’s look at the evidence.

PRO

She may well find that her voice is better accepted in America. In the UK we have a problem with what we call ‘showing off’, even when it comes to popstars, musicians and people whose actual job is to show off a bit. Sing but don’t over-sing. Collect an award but don’t look too pleased with yourself. That sort of thing. In America this idea of ‘showing off’ is more likely to be identified as ‘letting your talents run free’. There are loads of big-lunged vocal run espousers over there.

CON

There are LOADS of big-lunged vocal run espousers over there. In the UK Jessie J is one of the few big actual popstars who can properly belt out ludicrous notes. She is a big fish in a small bucket. Does she have what it takes to offer American audiences something they feel (or don’t realise) they’re missing? Or would it be like Cheryl going home? (Cole to Newcastle.) (Like coals to Newcastle.) (This would have worked better before she changed her name.)

PRO

This could be just the right time to make that move. With the VMAs performance still fresh in the mind of the US public, and the Ariana/Nicki single ‘Bang Bang’ actually turning out to be a proper hit, this could be just the right time to stomp-stomp-arrive in America. The UK will just have to make do with the occasional promo trip. That will teach us to underappreciate our popstars.

CON

If you compare big US pop releases with big UK pop releases, it’s not unusual to find yourself wondering if America simply has far higher standards. And quite different expectations. Last year Jessie’s second album ‘Alive’ came out in the UK and under-performed; her US label simply refused to release it. (Even though ‘Thunder’ was amazing.) “The American label don’t think it will work for their territory,” Jessie told Digital Spy at the time. “That’s not my decision – I wish I could explain that in detail to my fans. The label does have power and if they don’t think it will work for their territory, I can’t force them to put it out.”

PRO

Hang on, the US label wanting bigger, better songs isn’t a con at all really, is it? It’s only a con if you’re incapable of pulling it off, or lack the confidence to even try. Jessica Cornish certainly does not lack confidence, so she’s at least halfway there.

CON

As she noted in the Daily Mail interview, Jessie is sad that in the UK “it seems that all people want to know is what I’ve had for breakfast and who I’m sleeping with”. But could it be the case that the US media – not exactly known for its aversion to showbiz tittle tattle – isn’t interested in these things because it’s doesn’t yet care? And that as soon as she becomes properly huge in America (as is her plan), she’ll get the full breakfast and bonking treatment anyway?

PRO

The weather is usually better.

There’s certainly a lot to think about there. But now we ask you, the Popjustice reader, to help Jessie J make up her mind. It’s important here that you put to one side your own opinions. Instead, consider only what is best for Jessie J.

So now we ask – again, considering it was in the headline – should Jessie J leave the country?

UPDATE!!!!!!!!

The vote is now closed and we can reveal that a very mean 15.6% of you want Jessie J to stay in the UK where she is unappreciated.

On the other hand a heartening 84.4% of you have magnanimously decided that Jessie should be able to follow her heart and move to America.

Jessie, if you’re reading this we wish you all the best in your future endeavours and, if you do make the move to America, we hope you find the appreciation you are looking for.

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Notes on preparing for a POP MONSTER http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/notes-on-preparing-for-a-pop-monster/130005/ http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/notes-on-preparing-for-a-pop-monster/130005/#comments Mon, 18 Aug 2014 15:16:06 +0000 http://www.popjustice.com/?p=130005 pop-monsters-likely

It’s easy to be complacent but we would like to take this opportunity to remind all Popjustice viewers of the very real threat that a POP MONSTER could at any moment appear from nowhere and devour your entire Twitter feed.

A POP MONSTER can take one of three forms.

1.
Some POP MONSTERS roar into view with a reasonable amount of warning. For instance there’s tonight’s Taylor Swift Swiftogeddon event, in which Taylor Swift will almost certainly unveil a new song during a pre-announced live stream. That kicks off at about 10pm UK time.

2.
In other cases, such as Charli XCX‘s forthcoming single ‘Break The Rules’, you feel that the signs are there for a song to simply appear at any moment. (Case in point: The Charli XCX single did indeed appear while we were editing this post.)

3.
And then there’s the ever-present threat of a Full Beyoncé. (Please refer to our earlier discussion of what does and does not constitute a Full Beyoncé.) Again, we urge readers not to be complacent – with one new Nicki Minaj remix already out there and another, Rihanna-featuring remix being rumoured online, there is a very real threat of Beyoncé re-beyoncéing ‘BEYONCÉ’ as a full-on remix album in the coming days or weeks. Naturally, Rihanna herself could simply dump a comeback single online at any moment.

Don’t forget that any of the above types of POP MONSTER may also leak ahead of schedule, resulting in a full-scale pop emergency.

Preparing for the appearance of a POP MONSTER is as important psychologically as it is physically. It goes without saying that your body should be ready – but is your mind ready?

  • If you know a big release is coming, have you been listening to that artist’s back catalogue back to back in order to reacquaint yourself with their amazingness?
  • If you know the title of the song, have you already thought about how you will use that title in the wording of an amusing reaction tweet?
  • If you’re heading out and have reason to suspect a POP MONSTER outbreak may occur, can you relax knowing that your phone is fully charged?

Of course, preparing for a POP MONSTER is only any use if you’re also prepared for how you will deal with the aftermath.

This is why we have prepared a POP MONSTER instant response form. It’s important that you complete this form after any attack from a POP MONSTER.

Click here for the POP MONSTER instant response form and make sure it’s bookmarked for easy retrieval in the event of a surprise POP MONSTER attack. 

Good luck!

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Deluxe Edition. August 27. Indiana, Amelia Lily, Ace Wilder, Rashelle, M.O and MNEK. Blimey. http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/deluxe-edition-august-27-indiana-amelia-lily-ace-wilder-rashelle-m-o-and-mnek-blimey/129915/ http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/deluxe-edition-august-27-indiana-amelia-lily-ace-wilder-rashelle-m-o-and-mnek-blimey/129915/#comments Fri, 15 Aug 2014 09:16:46 +0000 http://www.popjustice.com/?p=129915 popjustice deluxe edition august 2014

It’s a popstar pileup.

Appearing at the next Popjustice Deluxe Edition, which takes place in just under two weeks, we have:

1. Indiana

2. Amelia Lily

3. Ace Wilder

4. M.O

5. Rashelle

6. And – ‘spinning some tunes’ – MNEK

All these acts are amazing in different ways and it’s going to be a good night – to get your name on the door use the form below but do remember that, as ever, entry’s on a first come first served basis.

See you on the 27th!

THE GUESTLIST IS NOW CLOSED, APOLS.

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The Knocks have bashed together 2014’s greatest mixtape http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/the-knocks-have-bashed-together-2014s-greatest-mixtape/129881/ http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/the-knocks-have-bashed-together-2014s-greatest-mixtape/129881/#comments Wed, 13 Aug 2014 20:56:06 +0000 http://www.popjustice.com/?p=129881 the-knocks-back

You are about sixty seconds away from installing one of those dodgy SoundCloud-downloading browser extensions that everyone pretends don’t exist and we most certainly do not endorse.

The Knocks (whose work we have covered before on numerous occasions) have a new single out shortly and where some acts might whack out just any old #contentbollocks in an attempt to drum up interest these two have – we believe quite intentionally – invented a mixtape so incredible that you will struggle to believe what is going into your ears.

Take a look at this tracklisting.

  • Jackson 5 – I Want You Back (Z-Trip remix)
  • The Bee Gees – Stayin’ Alive (The Teddybears remix)
  • Stevie Wonder – Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours
  • Simon & Garfunkel – Cecilia
  • White Town – Your Woman
  • Talking Heads – Burning Down The House
  • EMF – Unbelievable
  • Fatboy Slim – Praise You
  • Justin Timberlake – Senorita
  • Chic – I Want Your Love (Todd Terje edit)
  • Shannon – Let The Music Play
  • Khia – My Neck, My Back (Lick It)
  • Madonna – Into The Groove
  • New Order – Bizarre Love Triangle
  • KC & The Sunshine Band – That’s The Way I Like It
  • Daft Punk – Da Funk
  • Ohio Players – Rollercoaster
  • Slave – Just A Touch Of Love
  • Talking Heads – Once in A Lifetime
  • Soul II Soul – Back To Life
  • Morrissey – The Last of The International Playboys
  • Pet Shop Boys – West End Girls
  • Paul Simon – You Can Call Me Al (Flight Facilities edit)
  • Salt ‘n’ Pepa – Push It
  • Bruce Springsteen – I’m On Fire (Cousin Cole edit)
  • The Clash – Rock The Casbah (B-Roc/Funkagenda refix)
  • Junior Senior – Move Your Feet
  • Fleetwood Mac – Dreams (Gigamesh remix)
  • The Smiths – This Charming Man (Luis Leon bootleg)
  • The Knocks feat Powers – Classic

And take a listen to this.

Now that’s how you do a mixtape.

There’s some explanatory blurb they’ve put on SoundCloud which we have copied and will now paste: “Everyone has their own definition of the word ‘classic’ and their own opinions on what a ‘classic’ song is. This is a collection of songs from a range of different time periods and genres that we consider classic in our eyes. Some original versions, some edits or remixes but still classic song writing in our opinion. We hope you enjoy our walk down memory lane.”

Their single is called ‘Classic’ you see. It’s good. It’s right at the end of the above mixtape, but it’s also right at the end of this blog entry.

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Here’s a video of Conway in London. http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/heres-a-video-of-conway-in-london/129802/ http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/heres-a-video-of-conway-in-london/129802/#comments Fri, 08 Aug 2014 18:17:55 +0000 http://www.popjustice.com/?p=129802 pj_128

Popstar-in-waiting Conway was in London a few weeks ago, playing some gigs (concerts), meeting some people and doing the various things one does when preparing to launch oneself as a recording artiste.

We ate a jolly nice lunch with her while she was here, and afterwards had an excellent chat. We haven’t written up the chat yet because it’s the end of the week and we were busy listening to Friday Bangers but considering she’s ‘teased’ some Popjustice content to her Twitter followers why not have a look at a video she made while she was in London.

In it you will see:

  • Conway standing by a large waterway
  • A duck
  • Conway observing that the being a popstar thing is “super incredible”
  • Various other things

Here it is:

You will note that a lot of the music in this video content is just a tiny bit on the shouty side but we’ve heard some of her proper album tracks and you can rest assured that big pop moments are in no short supply, so stay tuned.

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