My favourite songs of 2015 so far

My website currently looks like a total disaster – but it will soon be fixed. In the meantime have a listen to the best songs of 2015 so far!

VÉRITÉ

verite

I’m so predictable. Is there any way I wouldn’t fall in love with Verite?

Verite is not French, but New York based singer Kelsey Byrne who obviously just fancied a little slice of European (or at worst Quebec) and a much more popstar name in her life. She’s been making music for years, and after studying teamed up with songwriters behind Ingrid Michaelson and Sara Bareilles to work on her music.

Weekend is utterly glorious. I love the way the verse bubbles happily along, already as a great pop song, only to explode with absolute joy once the incredible chorus hits.

TOVE STYRKE

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Every couple of weeks in radio land, pluggers from record labels come in and play us some new songs that they want radio programmers to consider for plays. A few weeks ago I was played the new Kelly Clarkson single, GRL Lighthouse and this by Tove Styrke. I really like all three songs, but Ego – the most unlikely for play on my station – was my absolute favourite. I wasn’t allowed to keep a copy of the record, and wouldn’t let the plugger leave until I had played it 5 times and danced round the studio to it.

Utterly gorgeous and cosmic sounding, Ego is the most mainstream record Tove Styrke has released since signing to RCA records and having an international profile outside of the pop blogs. At the moment the label are very much focusing her as a Radio 1 / specialist act which is an utterly dull positioning exercise they sometimes have to do to make people who rely on stats and what others do aware of her.

I just love it. It’s an absolute smash and I’ll be playing it in as many places as possible.

OH SWEDEN

Hoodie Allen

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Meet Hoodie Allen – a former google employee (you don’t get a job there if you’re not super clever) turned rapper. From what I can make out he’s been known on the indie scene in America for a good few years and released lots of music, but All About It feels like a big turn, and the first time he could pop up here in the UK in a big way.

An Ed Sheeran feature (although it’s more of a & surely?) is certainly going to help him, and this fun video is very endearing. I don’t know what the UK release plan is or if he’s coming through a certain label, but this song can be currently purchased as part of the All About It EP, but it’s set as ‘album only’ which normally means it’s coming in a big way later in the year.

FUN.

Incidentally Hoodie’s name reminded me of Hobbie Stuart – what happened there? Disastrous idea on a launch single and nothing since :(

Marlon Roudette – When The Beat Drops Out

marlon

If Marlon Roudette’s name sounds familiar it might be because it’s an amazing name for a popstar, but most likely because he’s been banging about for a few years – in fact he might be someone you would expect to appear on The Voice looking for a 2nd chance. Instead his new single ‘When The Beat Drops Out’ offers him his strongest chance of making it in his home country.

Marlon originally came on the radar back in 2005 as part of Mattafix, then he came back in 2010 claiming to have ‘gone pop’ and scored a huge European hit with the Guy Chambers penned ‘New Age’. It was great, but the UK didn’t care – it charted at #90.

Now here we go again… When The Beat Drops Out is again, a brilliant song. It’s been #1 in Germany, and the all important Latvia. It’s out in the UK on January 25 and Marlon is in a much better position, as the only non talent show act, other than Labrinth, to be signed to Syco. You can hear how it would fit pretty much on all the mainstream radio stations and it’s already on Spotify gaining traction.

Echosmith – Cool Kids

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Normally when I go to America I hear a couple of songs that are definitely going to make it in the UK. Last year it was Lorde, and this year Echosmith,

Cool Kids has been a ‘sleeper hit’ in the USA, and like so many great acts before it, first began to get traction due to the band’s slot on The Warped Tour. Eventually it hit #9 on the confusing US chart, and I saw them perform it on Jimmy Fallon.

This week they played London for their first UK show and sent Cool Kids out to radio here with a 21 December release date. I’m pretty sure it’s not going to make much impact right now, but instead will just get the right people noticing them ahead of a re-release and proper campaign next Spring. What a tune though. It’s not OMG AMAZING but it’s very, very close. They’re my new ‘Under The Blacklight’ Rilo Kiley and live at The Barfly they rocked it with singer Sydney pushing Lana Del Rey meets Anna Kendrick cute vibes. I’m just annoyed they arrived on my radar a week too late to give them a BBC Sound of… vote!

 

Parra for Cuva

First came Waves, then Stolen Dance, then Am I Wrong, then Prayer in C – and now in this summer of songs that all have the same kind of sound yet remain amazing is this cover of Wicked Games.

Of course, this has actually been kicking about for ages and I assume the others have too, but what a gloriously chilled blissful song to bring summer to a close.
Parra for Cuva is German producer Nicholas Demuth and vocals come from the good surnamed Anna Naklab – a woman who looks absolutely nothing like the blonde lady on the cover.

Big in Belgium, it’s out here September 28th

Sheppard

Brisbane based brother and sister band Sheppard are about to launch in the UK with this brilliant debut single ‘Geronimo’ described by Lucien Grange as a ‘universal #1 waiting to happen.’

Amy (blue hair) and George (male singer) lead the group, but when I saw them last week they turned out to be a bit of a muddle. On one hand you’ve got some perky, cheesy pop like Geronimo, and then suddenly when Amy sings you’ve got a polished shiny, Katy Perry style popstar, blasting out some almost musical theatre numbers. Still they’re off to a good start – they’ve been signed up for management by Bieber / Rixton guru Scooter Braun, and signed in the UK to Decca. The latter is slightly weird because they’re a label that tend to focus on the classical, or much older Radio 2 vibe. Of course, overall it comes through Universal, but putting them on Decca certainly seems odd.

Also I liked them much more before I found out three of them were siblings. I know we have the incredible Haim now and that should solve those fears, BUT IT DOESN’T. I think there may be some crazy happy clappy Christianity going on behind closed doors (see : Bedingfields). Irrational.

Geronimo is out in the UK Sept 25.

Juce

In these post MKS days (seriously, who knows) CGC are your new favourite girl group waiting to happen. They are Cherish, Georgia and Chalin, known to their record label as Juce and the least ‘put together’ group of girls you’ll ever see. They say they met in a disco all singing along to early r&b and knew they were meant for each other.

Signed to Island Records they seem in very early stages, but have made an impact thanks to a couple of excellent 90s style videos and songs perfect for a hazy summer day. Keep looking for this lot.

Kiesza

A brand new artist with an incredible first single – meet Kiesza.

The revitalised Virgin Records in the UK is having an incredible run of brilliant dance tracks at the moment and Hideaway is the latest. Virgin have a #1 this week with My Love and this is sure to give them another when it comes out in April 12 as it’s already Shazam #1!

Kiesza is a trained ballerina – hence the ability to dance like a beast in this wicked one shot video. She’s Canadian but moved to London mid-January. Bring on the fun!

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