Friday, December 11, 2009

Did I say too much?

I've realized in the time since I did my first list of newcomers I'm looking forward to hearing albums from in 2010 that I left out some acts who I'm just as excited about as those that made the first list. Plus, just to make this post a little longer--because that's what it really needed, more words--let's cover the couple of artists who I felt fell somewhere in between having a "proper" release before the end of 2009 and not. Consider this part two in an ongoing series--the Marinas, the Ellies, the Mini Vivas, and the more established artists will be in a future post (or several).

Le Kid
Remember Le Kid? Sure you do--the swooshy dance-pop of "Telephone"? The bouncey summery feel of "Mercy, Mercy"? The four person Swedish pop group has yet to actually release a proper single, but even if they hadn't, their pop credentials alone would have me drooling: they're backed by Sharon Vaughn and Anders Hansson, '80s producer and band member whose great work has continued right up to the this decade with Alcazar, BWO, Lena Philipsson, Rachel Stevens, and Agnes's third album. The group's own music-making members are no slouches either, with Märta Grauers, Felix Persson, and Anton Malmberg Hård af Segerstad having contributed songs for BWO, Agnes, Alcazar, Magnus Carlsson, and Velvet, amongst others. The last two members of the quintet are Helena and Johanna, singers equally capable of perk and attitude. Altogether, they seem to love bold, bright colors, which is a perfect reflection of what we've heard of their music so far.

Speaking of which, in regards to what Le Kid will sound like, well, we've only got a months-old description from Oswalds Popcorn about the sound of the demos--to paraphrase/translate, thorougly commercial "Kylie-pop" meets the type of indie-electro they do so well in Norway--and the aforementioned two songs to base our expectations off of. "Telephone," which mixes bits of Kylie vocals, an "I Said Never Again (But Here We Are)" pre-chorus, and a refrain which feels like '80s pop-rock totally remade as modern dance-pop, and "Mercy Mercy," which has a beat which has drawn numerous comparisons to Girls Aloud's "Can't Speak French" but is much more sunny beachside fun (and much better) than that song, are both instantly appealing pop songs, enough so that when the group finally does come out of that studio they've been holed up in I'm expecting the pop joy to come raining down. The music seems to be there and the group comes across as nothing less than totally endearing in the video for "Mercy Mercy" and on their blog, even when explaining why they're not releasing music yet. A group of people who love pop music, are brilliant at making it, have a good image going, and seem like genuinely great, fun people--what more could you ask for?

Listen: "Telephone"

Find them on: MySpace
Buy: nothing yet. The album was supposed to be out this fall, but you get the feeling the group and their backers want to do this right.
Other people writing about them: Oswalds Popcorn, Don't Stop The Pop, Popjustice, Karinski

Sky Ferreira
Young American singer Sky, who was sneaking into clubs before she could legally drive, has sort of a mainstreamed hipster style, but it's the songwriters working with her that have caught pop fans' attention more than her image: Bloodshy & Avant (Britney Spears' "Toxic," Rachel Stevens' "Sweet Dreams My LA Ex," Miike Snow), Greg Kurstin (the Bird and the Bee, Lily Allen's It's Not Me, It's You, and, like Bloodshy & Avant, much amazingness), Lindy Robbins (Backstreet Boys' "Incomplete," Nick Lachey's "What's Left Of Me"), Paul Epworth (Florence + the Machine's "Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)," the new songs on Annie's "Don't Stop"), Nicole Morier (Electrocute, Britney Spears's "Heaven On Earth" and "Rock Me In"), and Dallas Austin (Madonna's "Secret," Pink's "Just Like A Pill," Sugababes' "Push The Button," Gwen Stefani's "Cool"). On paper, that should mean there's no way we won't end up with some top-class pop songs.

The reality of what we've heard so far has been disappointing--far less electronic than I would have hoped for, much more fuzzy indie-pop-rock influenced, and even beyond that, nothing that screams "hit" (Lolita, written with Nicole Morier, has a certain cutesy catchiness and the Greg Kurstin-penned "Femme Fatale" isn't without appeal, but I guess when the buzz about Sky started I got my hopes up for some sort of fierce young pop starlet who'd have her own "Toxic" as well as gorgeous synth-decorated mid-tempo songs like "I Could Say" and "Cool")--but maybe her people are just holding back all the big guns for her proper debut? It could be that Sky has chosen to pursue a musical style that isn't one near and dear to my heart, but I can't give up the thought that she surely must have at least one fantastic song for us.

Listen: I'd rather post "Lolita" or "Femme Fatale," but her record label is being pretty restrictive even with videos streaming audio, so here's her covering Miike Snow's "Animal"

Find her on: MySpace
Buy: nothing yet, but she's signed to Parlophone and will be releasing her debut album next year
Other people writing about her: The Guardian's New Band of the Day, The Chemistry Is Dead, Arjan Writes

Two guy (yes, two, but I don't have the tech skills to edit together a picture of the two of them) act Visitor--Australian in origin, British in base--mixes electronic and rock sounds--well, I can't put it any better than Popjustice, which has surely heard more songs by them at this point anyway: "a sort of pop-hungry, high drama missing link between The Killers and the Pet Shop Boys." Calling card "Los Feeling," produced by Diamond Cut, could easily fit in amongst, say, the output of all the amazing slightly indie electronic groups coming out of Australia, and I say that as the highest sort of compliment. They've also worked with fellow Australians Van She. Without a record deal yet, they're one of those groups we can't technically count on getting out a formal release in 2010, but with the interest, I'm hopeful.

Listen: "Los Feeling"

Find them on: MySpace
Buy: nothing yet, but you can freely and legally download the demo of "Los Feeling" from most of the sites listed below
Other people writing about them: Popjustice, XOLondon, Adem with an E, Arjan Writes, Discodust


Robpop said...

PPG! The Le Kid album is very good! You will adore it.

Paul said...

Very much looking forward to the Le Kid album, it seems like it's been coming for ages (much like Isabel Guzman!)

Anonymous said...

Have you heard the new Swedish Idol winner Eirk Gronwall's debut single 'Higher'??

It's very Ryan Tedder esque but was written by Jocke Olovsson & Pär Westerberg and sounds like all the best Tedder ballads smashed together yet more poptastic than all of them somehow.


Robpop said...

Jocke Olovsson...of Oh Laura, Isabel Guzman and Tortuga ;-)

And paul the Isabel Guzman albumn is nearly nearly done. Its fantastic.

xolondon said...

Check Sheena Beaston for Sky's solid cover of Stand Back (Stevie Nicks). It sounds like Ladyhawke but that is a good thing!

Anonymous said...

I have great news by the way that Darin is working with RedOne again on new tracks!
Very exciting news :D

Poster Girl said...

Bobby, you've heard it? I'm envious, but reassured to hear that!

Paul, an Isabel album would be very welcome, when or if we should ever get it.

Conor and Bobby, I wish Jocke would have more of a web presence so we could keep track of what he's involved in! I don't adore this single, but Erik is a worthy winner. Great news about Darin!

XO, now that you say that, how had I NOT made the Ladyhawke comparison in my mind before? It does! As with you, though, sounding like Ladyhawke would be fine with me--fantastic, actually.