Popjustice » The Briefing http://www.popjustice.com 100% Solid Pop Music Tue, 23 Sep 2014 16:06:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Boyband Blowout: TBA http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/boyband-blowout-tba/131040/ http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/boyband-blowout-tba/131040/#comments Tue, 23 Sep 2014 16:06:54 +0000 http://www.popjustice.com/?p=131040 tba

Where are they from?

TBA are from various locations, all TBA.

Who are they?

TBA is an eight-piece octopop experiment that exists in the mind of Simon Cowell, and probably also in some sort of secret safehouse or behind the padlocked door of a far-flung branch of Big Yellow Self Storage. But TBA do not yet exist for viewers of this year’s X Factor. Those viewers may well have seen the members audition as soloists but are still to witness the outfit on stage together. (They were unveiled during the filmed bootcamp sessions at Wembley, but we’re fucked if we can find a photo online.)

What do they do?

Sing, dance, look pretty happy until the third album campaign rolls around by which point they’re just hanging on for the cash and wearing hats that make them look like witches etc etc etc.

Did they do the ice bucket challenge?

Sadly TBA do not appear to have done the Ice Bucket Challenge but it would make a good setpiece when it comes to the live finals, would it not? GET FRIEDMAN ON THE PHONE.

What do their fans say?

This, like the band’s name, is TBA. But you can probably imagine how it will all pan out.

What is their best song?

It’s fair to assume they’ll be covering a Sam Smith tune at some point during the live finals. So, not that one.

What’s next?

You’ll find out this weekend during one of the three (!) X Factor episodes ITV are chucking onto the airwaves.

Where are they?

Like we say they’re probably in a Cowell safehouse (ie Sinitta’s garden shed) but you would expect Syco to ensure that by this time next year they’re here, there and round the corner because if they’re not then what, quite frankly, is the point?

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Boyband Blowout: After Romeo http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/boyband-blowout-after-romeo/131050/ http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/boyband-blowout-after-romeo/131050/#comments Tue, 23 Sep 2014 15:55:56 +0000 http://www.popjustice.com/?p=131050 After Romeo

Where are they from?

After Romeo are from America.

Who are they?

According to their Wikipedia entry, LA-based quintet After Romeo are a “pop – rhythm and blues band”, which is certainly one way of describing them. Their YouTube channel is a weird mix of truly awful covers (be warned, their ‘reading’ of Swifto’s ‘Shake It Off‘ may ruin the original forever), horrendous ‘video content‘ marking each member out as instantly slappable, and some of their own songs, one of which is called – wait for it – ‘LOL (Love On Lock)’.

What do they do?

They seem intent on striking a weird balance between annoying frat party jocks and earnest cover version artistes. Also – and this might actually be the best thing about them – they call their fans “Bromeos & Juliets”.

Did they do the Ice Bucket Challenge?

Never ones to miss an opportunity for something to go viral, After Romeo did their definitely-for-charity challenge in the middle of Times Square in New York.

What do their fans say?

“I fucken love u guys but I am not gay” – Jackson Dunphy, via YouTube

“Oh my god I’m crying. Not really. But I’ve been waiting for these songs forever!”- Kacci Johnson, via YouTube

“ok I admit I have a slight obsession with @afterromeo but it’s their fault that they’re hot and amazing” – @Tell_Me_Wishes 

What is their best song?

Weirdly they only seem to have one full song on their extensive YouTube account but this snippet of a sort-of-Tedder-lite moody ballad has the potential to be marginally listenable.

What’s next?

According to After Romeo Updates on Twitter, After Romeo’s next single is called ‘Juliet’ and will be out on November 19. Mind you, they then say “but we will see”, which sounds pretty ominous actually.

Where are they?

They’re on Twitter. They’re also on Facebook. They’re on their own actual website.

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Boyband Blowout: Justice Crew http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/boyband-blowout-justice-crew/131020/ http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/boyband-blowout-justice-crew/131020/#comments Tue, 23 Sep 2014 15:26:56 +0000 http://www.popjustice.com/?p=131020 justice-crew-flying-around

Where are they from?

Justice Crew are from Australia.

Who are they?

A former dance crew who won season four of Australia’s Got Talent four years ago, Justice Crew have settled on a six-member lineup for the purposes of ‘pop stardom’. They signed to Sony after winning Australia’s Got Talent and released some tunes that did alright but it was ‘Boom Boom’ that really did the business for the band, giving them their first Number One single and going six times platinum in Australia.

What do they do?

Dance a lot and take their shirts off more than you might argue is strictly necessary. They’ve supported Pitbull and Chris Brown, and Flo Rida has appeared on one of their singles.

Did they do the Ice Bucket Challenge?

They most certainly did, and they no doubt very reluctantly took their shirts off in order to do it.

With any luck the enjoyment they got from executing this charitable act is directly proportional to the money they helped raise.

What do their fans say?

“i like justice crew haha” – @twinbumps

“THEY”RE AUSTRALIAN :D I JUST FOUND OUT WHOOOHOOOO NOW WE HAVE 5SOS AND JUSTICE CREW GO US AUSSIES :D” – Amber Risdon, via YouTube

“they like touching their balls ALOT” – Matra Ruom, via YouTube

What is their best song?

‘Que Sera’ has a pleasing stompy quality and offers the following advice: “At the end of the day, some you win, some you don’t.”

What’s next?

‘Que Sera’ is coming out in the UK next month. We quite like the lyric video teaser thing they did a few months ago.

Where are they?

They’re on Twitter. They’re also on Facebook. They’re on their own actual website.

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Boyband Blowout: Spoon http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/boyband-blowout-spoon/131030/ http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/boyband-blowout-spoon/131030/#comments Tue, 23 Sep 2014 15:18:02 +0000 http://www.popjustice.com/?p=131030 SPOON

Where are they from?

Spoon are from Hungary.

Who are they?

Spoon – A BOYBAND CALLED SPOON – were first seen by Hungarian audiences on this year’s X Faktor, which our rudimentary Hungarian/English translation skills tell us is, quite obviously, the Hungarian version of The Voice.

What do they do?

They wear matching t-shirts. They play guitars, or at least two of them do. They have hair. They can stand up straight, which seems to suggest they all have spines. Look there are only so many pieces of information we can really extract from a couple of photos and one bit of audio. We just wanted to write about a boyband called Spoon. Did they get through to the next stage of X Faktor? Were they divided into two acts: one playing guitars, the others just singing? Who knows? Apart from anyone who watches TV in Hungary, but even so, who really knows?

Did they do the Ice Bucket Challenge?

There is no evidence of Spoon taking part in the Ice Bucket Challenge – though there is nothing to suggest that they would decline if nominated. Actually is the Ice Bucket Challenge even still happening or did it just implode once it got to Russ from Scooch?

What do their fans say?

It would be unfair to say that Spoon have no fans - this page has 970 likes, for instance – but the internet doesn’t seem to be groaning under the weight of Spoon fans attempting to trend the name of their favourite act. What are Spoon fans even called? Spooners? Spoonerists? SPOONBENDERS? Hard to say.

What is their best song?

It would have to be what is apparently their only song: their own version of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ ‘Can’t Hold Us’. Perhaps they need to do some more covers to really engage with potential fans. We propose ‘How Spoon Is Now’, ‘Dude Looks Like A Ladle’ and’You Cutlery Love’.

What’s next?

To all utensil purposes world domination seems a given.

Where are they?

They appear to be on Facebook.

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Boyband Blowout: The Main Level http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/boyband-blowout-the-main-level/131045/ http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/boyband-blowout-the-main-level/131045/#comments Tue, 23 Sep 2014 14:56:05 +0000 http://www.popjustice.com/?p=131045 The Main Level

Where are they from?

The Main Level are from Norway.

Who are they?

Taking the route favoured by most current popstars, The Main Level started out by filming themselves covering just about every song they could find and uploading it all to YouTube (this pensive version of ‘Here’s To Never Growing Up’ is rather nice). Rather than just sticking a camera phone in a broom cupboard and tinkling away on a battered keyboard, their videos all came with pretty high production values which suggested there was label backing from the very start. After six months of dicking around with other people’s songs they eventually released their debut single in the shape of the breezy singalong, ‘Blackout’, which was recently followed two weeks ago by ‘Go Go With You’.

What do they do?

If you’re thinking those “woah oh oh” bits in ‘Blackout’ are ‘quite’ One Direction then it’s also worth bearing in mind that ‘Go Go With You’ was the song that tricked some people into thinking it was the new One Direction single when it ‘leaked’ this morning.

Did they do the Ice Bucket challenge?

No. :(

What do their fans say?

“I think I broke the replay button :/ your song is awesome !!!” – Nurul Izzah Ab Hadi, via YouTube

“One moment.. is this your own single?  I thought this was a cover because this is a great song!! You rock, guys!!” – Alissa Jackson, via YouTube

“my mother told me that if i listen to “go go with you” again she will kill me lol” – @lukeyslove

What is their best song?

Despite the slightly dangerous-sounding lyrics (“make you blackout like I do, when I think of you”), ‘Blackout’ feels like the perfect template for a boyband single in 2014.

What’s next?

According to Twitter the ‘boys’ are currently in the studio working on some new songs that seem to involve guitars, although hopefully they will be used for good rather than evil.

Where are they?

They’re on Twitter. They’re also on Facebook. They’re on their own actual website.

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Boyband Blowout: BAP http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/boyband-blowout-bap/131029/ http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/boyband-blowout-bap/131029/#comments Tue, 23 Sep 2014 13:25:09 +0000 http://www.popjustice.com/?p=131029 BAP

It is now 4pm. Every ten minutes between now and 5pm we will be posting reports on boybands from around the globe. Let’s start with this amazingly named lot.

Where are they from?

BAP are from Seoul, South Korea.

Who are they?

Signed to TS Entertainment – also the home of girlband Secret who once released a song called ‘Madonna’ (amazing) – the brilliantly-named BAP (Best Absolute Perfect, obviously) are the sort of tightly-choreographed, ludicrously-dressed pop entity that South Korea’s pop industry seems to produce with rather more ease than its UK counterpart. Formed in 2011, they’ve released about eight EPs but only got round to releasing their debut album, ‘First Sensibility’, in February of this year. Mind you, they were busy for a while filming Ta-Dah, It’s BAP, a TV show in which they “play the role of aliens from a different planet who worked together to debut as BAP and invade Earth to help save their dying planet, Planet Mato.” Amazing. So amazing that let’s just print that sentence again: Mind you, they were busy for a while filming Ta-Dah, It’s BAP, a TV show in which they “play the role of aliens from a different planet who worked together to debut as BAP and invade Earth to help save their dying planet, Planet Mato.”

What do they do?

Unlike a lot of other K-Pop acts, BAP have crossed over to Europe, with the hilariously seriousface ‘One Shot‘ apparently topping the German Asian Music Charts for 17 months (!). They’ve also played at London’s Brixton Academy and were nominated for an MTV Europe Music award.

Did they do the Ice Bucket Challenge?

Yes they did.

They didn’t seem to enjoy it much to be honest.

What do their fans say?

“B.A.P you are a TRUE  Real Talent… Not a Fake one.” – Ely Bang, via YouTube

“omg they are so hot i’m on fire.. FINLAND IS ON FIRE! <3″ – CandyCat552, via YouTube

“You can’t deny how hardworking B.A.P are…working on albums whenever they get the chance” – @eyes_on_jepp

What is their best song?

2012’s ‘Power’ is an industrial-sounding boyband banger that brings back memories of both Five and Backstreet Boys at their mock-aggressive best.

What’s next?

According to their Wikipedia entry the twelve-legged pop explorers are currently having a bit of break following their world tour and the release of their ‘BAP Unplugged 2014′. :(

Where are they?

They’re on Twitter (with six separate accounts, cheers guys!). They’re also on Facebook.

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Boyband Blowout: The Fooo Conspiracy http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/boyband-blowout-the-fooo-conspiracy/131024/ http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/boyband-blowout-the-fooo-conspiracy/131024/#comments Tue, 23 Sep 2014 11:39:53 +0000 http://www.popjustice.com/?p=131024 The Fooo

Where are they from?

The Fooo Conspiracy are from Sweden.

Who are they?

Formerly known as The Fooo, Oscar, Oscar, Omar and Felix – for it is they – announced their arrival in 2013 by popping a label-curated ‘viral’ video of themselves dancing around a high street in Stockholm. They were dancing to their own song, the so-ludicrous-it’s-almost-amazing ‘Kangaroos’, a song not about an influx of marsupials but about the trainer brand (key lyric: “don’t step on my kangaroos”). From there they supported Justin Bieber on his Swedish tour dates, ‘scooped’ a Swedish Grammy for Innovator Of The Year (!) and in April of this year their debut album ‘Off The Grid’ peaked at Number One in Sweden. Their song ‘Suitcase’ features one of the most ridiculous nursery rhyme interpolations of all time.

What do they do?

A proper boyband in the sense that there are no guitars or stools, The Fooo Conspiracy mainly dance energetically to songs that walk the fine line between ‘novelty’ and ‘genius’.

Did they do the ice bucket challenge?

Of course they did! There’s a video…

…that shows the build up but not the actual event itself, although as these pictures clearly show they were indeed soaked in icy water by some people dressed as animals while wearing some truly awful trainers.

What do their fans say?

“Its like a mix of kpop, JB and 1D” – Lucille Cosgrave, via YouTube

“hahahaHAHAH what the fuck” – Louise Jern, via YouTube

“no matter where i come from and where i am, i will always support my angels @thefooomusic, i love you boys” – @fooselfie 

What is their best song?

If it weren’t for the fact it suddenly ‘interpolates’ The Wheels On The Bus it would have been ‘Suitcase‘, and their song about listening to Zane Lowe on the radio is as amazing today as it was when we first posted it, but we haven’t featured the Jason Derulo-esque ‘Whistle’ yet, so let’s say that’s the best one for now.

What’s next?

The band are currently having a short break while Oscar recovers from recently falling two metres and landing on his head. This is a serious business so please no laughing at the back.

Where are they?

They’re on Twitter. They’re also on Facebook. They’re on their own actual website.

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Scottish independence: what would it mean for pop? http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/scottish-independence-what-would-it-mean-for-pop/130767/ http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/scottish-independence-what-would-it-mean-for-pop/130767/#comments Tue, 16 Sep 2014 10:07:33 +0000 http://www.popjustice.com/?p=130767 In two days, the people of Scotland will take part in what is billed as the most important vote in living memory: independence from the rest of the United Kingdom.

There are so many issues at stake here, with question marks hanging over employment, the monarchy, and the future of the NHS.

But what about the big issues? Here’s what an independent Scotland could mean for pop.

iTunes

itunes-store-scotland

If Scotland achieves independence, it could have its own iTunes store. While Scottish artists could effectively block their releases to buyers from the remaining countries in the United Kingdom, they could also find that they are unable to purchase music by great artists like Pixie Lott.

Release dates

2015-calendar

In Ireland, music buyers are able to buy new album releases on a Friday, while the rest of the UK has made do with a Monday.

Could Scotland arbitrarily pull their own releases forward by an extra day, meaning that Scottish fans get music 24 hours earlier than everyone else?

Alternative music

twin_atlantic

Independence-fancier Alex Salmond reckons that Westminster sticking its oar in is bad for the Scottish economy, and that independence would make Scotland better off.

Indie and alternative music is often said to flourish in times of economic hardship, meaning that if Salmond’s claims are true an independent Scotland is good for pop.

(Obviously the Better Together lot say the opposite.)

Eurovision

graham-norton-eurovision

From 2016, Scotland could send its own entry to the Eurovision Song Contest. This is excellent news for Lulu, but bad news for anyone hoping that 1988’s entrant Scott Fitzgerald might once again represent the rest of the UK on the planet’s shiniest pop stage.

Vinyl

black-vinyl

The Better Together campaign has warned against Scotland’s reliance on North Sea oil, noting that Scotland would have to draw on oil revenues to fund public spending and that if the amount fell, public services could be impacted. Look we don’t know what this means but if you like buying music in the most inconvenient format possible it might cost more.

Platinum discs

platinum-disc

Currently, a platinum disc represents sales 300,000 album sales in the UK.

If there are fewer people in the UK, it will be harder for an album to reach 300,000 sales and popstars – even Scottish ones who choose to release their music in England – will therefore find it harder to get a platinum disc.

While at first glance this may appear to pose a huge threat to the jobs of people working in the framing industry, it’s worth noting that Scotland could set its own rules for obtaining a platinum disc. They could go completely berserk and start awarding platinum discs for sales in excess of twelve copies.

This would create jobs in the Scottish framing industry AND make Scotland look like it’s better at music than everyone else.

Music on TV

cdukj-logo

Alex Salmond reckons a new Scottish Broadcasting Corporation could share ‘content’ with the BBC. A former BBC Director General says that’s bollocks.

Either way there’s a chance the SBC could start a new Top Of The Pops or CD:UK-style show which could be brilliant (if it can convince musicians to leave London), and people in England could just watch it on YouTube (unless it’s been geoblocked).

CD:UK would need a new name, obviously.

Fearne Cotton

fearne-cotton

Some economists think that an independent Scotland’s TV licence could be three times as expensive as the current UK one.

Surely this is a small price to pay when you consider that, if an independent Scotland does develop its own version of the BBC, Scottish listeners may not have to listen to Fearne Cotton’s Radio 1 show.

The charts

scottish-charts

The Official Charts Company already compile a Scottish singles chart and, as you can see above, it’s slightly different to the UK one.

The Script, for instance, are more popular in Scotland, though this may change if Fearne Cotton’s influence no longer goes north of the border.

It’s interesting to note that GRL, 5 Seconds Of Summer and Taylor Swift are all doing better in Scotland while Sam Smith, Magic! and Chris Brown are all doing worse so –  The Script and George Ezra aside – a more well-established Scottish singles chart could be good news for fans of decent pop.

Shereen from Neon Jungle

neon-jungle-crown

Although the Queen’s role in Scotland wouldn’t change in the short term, there is a slim chance that Shereen from Neon Jungle could end up becoming the Queen of Scotland or something.

Well there you have it. Whichever way the vote goes on Thursday, we hope this guide has made sense of some very complicated issues.

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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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