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Hot New Pop Alert: Listen to Melanie Lynx 'Naked Heart' [Exclusive]

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Melanie Lynx is one of those rare new talents who has the uncanny ability to bounce between heartfelt balladry and uplifting pop with great ease. Her new EP, titled "Naked Heart," perfectly shows off her finely-tuned pop sensibilities and knack for writing incredibly hooky tunes that makes her an exciting new artist to keep your eye (and ear) on this year.

One of the EP's highlights is the very personal title track on which Lynx speaks her truth and bares her soul. "Imma take off my jeans/Off my shirt," she sings on the touching song that may get her compared to Katy Perry. "Let me show you where I hide my scars/Let me show you my naked heart."

She writes me in an email that "Naked Heart" carries a very special meaning. "[It] is a song I could listen to on repeat. I connect with it so deeply. really speaks of finally revealing the hurt of a dysfunctional relationship. It's raw real, and was by far the most emotional song to record, which is why I made it the title of the EP."

Lynx brings out the good times on the equally well-crafted "Perfectly Flawed" with lyrics like, "Let's sit on the roof to forget our trouble/Watching the people go by/Something about the way they keep on going/Holding on is not an easy ride."

The singer says about the song, "We all make mistakes, no question there. Perfectly is about accepting ourselves the way we are - all faults and flaws included. I love playing this one live - everyone always gets up and dances! I am certainly Perfectly Flawed, and am definitely OK with that!"

Born and raised in a small Rhode Island town, Melanie Lynx became passionate about both singing and performance at a young age. This early performance craft was perfected until she was accepted into the prestigious Berklee College of Music as a vocalist. Now, at just 21 years old, Melanie’s performance skills have earned her countless competition victories on both a local and national scale. A few of these accomplishments include her participation in Hollywood Week on Fox's American Idol (she made it to Hollywood rounds on season 10).

Download Melanie Lynx 'Naked Heart' EP on iTunes on March 1 (and we highly recommend that you do! Five out of five stars.)

February 28, 2013 | Permalink

A Few Words About Sirah and Why She's One of Music's Next Big Things

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There's no doubt in my mind that Sirah is one of the most promising and exciting new artists to emerge on the scene this year. She's a rapidly rising star who serves up a fresh new sound and unique point of view that is the result of bold musical experimentations and years of hard work.

The year started out on a high note for Sirah who received a GRAMMY earlier this month for her collaboration with Skrillex on "Bangarang." The two L.A. pals received the coveted golden statue for Best Dance Recording. (Here's some backstage footage of Skrillex and Sirah backstage answering questions in the media room, including one from yours truly.)

Signed mid-last year to Pulse/Atlantic Records, Sirah is hardly a new face on the scene. In fact, she has been writing music and performing shows for over eight years with the support of her peers like Yung Skeeter, She Wants Revenge's Justin Warfield, Matt Squire, Dim Mak's Alvin Risk and others. She also zigzagged around the country on Vans Warped Tour for a few year that garnered her a loyal following of fans.

After intially starting out as a traditional hip hop artist, Sirah dabbled for a moment in pop with tracks like "Double Yellow Lines" that we first blogged about back in 2011. "I feel like I really came into my own and found what it was I wanted to do musically about three years ago," she tells in a recent interview with Stage Underground. "I'd been an 'underground' rapper for four or five years, I knew I wanted to branch out and work with a different medium."

She adds, "I didn’t know what that meant at the time but I found my producer Mighty Mike and we started making pop based, melodic, singy rap, it was the same me, just a different side with happier music."

All of her sonic experimentations and collaborations led to an innovative, electro-edged hip pop sound that is confident, radio-savvy and has the potential to go far and wide. Most importantly, despite her slick new sound, Sirah's songwriting and punchy delivery maintains her daring, independent spirit that makes her such a striking and genuine talent.

Her new single "My City" is solid proof of that. "What glimmers ain't always gold/I'm a diamond in the rough/Coal under a lot of pressure, came out well enough," she spits on top of jagged electro beats, a message that sums up her humble roots and artistic viewpoint perfectly. Check out the freshly-unveiled video for the song below. (Download Sirah "C.U.L.T. Too Young To Die" on iTunes now.)

February 28, 2013 | Permalink

Danish Pop Duo The Arctic Wife Premieres Debut Single 'Constancia' [Review]

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Danish alt-pop duo The Arctic Wife explodes onto international music scene with their fiery debut single "Constancia" that makes a lasting impression. The group is the teaming of singer Copenhagen's Maja Westman and producer Charlie Alexandar who both bring their own unique musical sensibilities to their new pop project. The soundtrack to Maja’s youth were traditional Swedish folk songs while Charlie was raised on a steady diet of British indie rock. Their penchant for powerful productions with stirring melodies is clearly demonstrated by "Constancia." The track is ruled by racing pianos, amped up strings, throbbing beats and Maja spirited vocals that gives the song's emotional pull a mighty boost. (Click here to download The Arctic Wife "Constancia" on iTunes.)

February 27, 2013 | Permalink

Hot New Pop Alert: Drop City Yacht Club 'Crickets' featuring Jeremih [Review]

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If there's one thing you need to know about newcomers Drop City Yacht Club, it is that they want to make a different kind of pop that is slightly left of center yet still irresistible catchy. Their debut single, titled "Crickets," is a perfect example of that. It's a hot and happening slice of hip pop that blends a radio-ready pop hook with a retro-styled groove and a sunny California attitude that has hit, hit, hit written all over it. 

Drop City Yacht Club (formerly The Freshmen) is the teaming of A. Wolf, Kristo and THX who make music for the Playlist Generation that is not confined to one singular genre or sonic aeshtetic. "We're all madmen in our own way," the group explains in a press release. "We don't approach our tracks like typical rap records. We're trying to write songs and break rules. We want to shake some shit up. There aren't any boundaries. We're all from Cali so it was easy to click. It always felt like it was meant to be because we were all on the same page about doing something fresh from day one."

That attitude is also reflected by the group's unusual band name. "Drop City is an old hippie community [in Colorado]," explains A Wolf. "We're super zany, artsy and left of everything going on right now. You don't expect us to do what we do so we felt like that part of the name fit us perfectly. Then, you've got the yacht club or the establishment. It plays on opposing ends of the spectrum. You wouldn't find a yacht club in Drop City. We basically go to yacht clubs and get crazy."

The group got its start in the San Francisco Bay Area when rapper A. Wolf started working with fellow MC Kristo to work on new productions and beats. As they continued collaborating, Kristo wanted to focus on rapping as well, and the duo decided to seek out a producer who shared their vision of "finding a middle ground between The Beastie Boys and The Beach Boys." The group invited soundboard wiz THX (Snoop Dogg, Erykah Badu) to come work with them and the three hit it off instantly.

"Crickets" is Drop City Yacht Club's official debut single that perfectly outlines their genre-mashing musical vision (and sense of humor as demonstrated by lyrics like, "I told her we should kick it, but all I heard was cricket).The group explains, "There's a self-deprecating undertone, and it represents who we are as characters. We take our music seriously, but we have no problem making fun of ourselves either."

They add, "So much music is made for today. We want to be remembered for crafting great songs that were popular rather than just pop songs. If you can be the soundtrack to someone's life, that's the highest props you can get." Expect big things from Drop City Yacht Club. File next to the fresh beats of MKTO and 2AM Club. (Download Drop City Yacht Club "Crickets" on iTunes now.)

February 26, 2013 | Permalink

Listen Now: John Newman 'Try' Review [Free MP3 Download]

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You may remember that I first alerted you about John Newman's new music when I wrote about his very good acoustic version of "Stay The Night" back in November. Since then, Newman has been writing and recording more new music that will be included on his forthcoming debut album. The hotly-tipped singer already has had a taste of chart success with Rudimental's U.K. smash hit "Not Giving In" that features his distinct, soulful vocals.

In a recent interview, Newman talks candidly about his own unqiue brand of pop he's working on. "I got signed with Island about a year ago now and I put a lot of time into the Rudimental project before concentrating on the album in the last few months," he tells Upraw Magazine. "I was struggling to find this gap before and now there’s pianos from ages ago, crazy 90s hooks and soul hooks; so I’m just playing around with the genre and mixing bits from my influences into one. I don’t want to sit anywhere with anyone else and follow trends. I want to be classy with it and actually have some longevity."

Newman's gift for soul was inspired by by a variety of genres and styles, but there's one record in particular that left a last impression on him. "I was very much into my house music, I was deejaying and producing from a young age and it was funky house that dominated my sets and software," he explains in an interview. "At 16, I discovered an album that changed my life and music. It was Otis Redding's 'Otis Sings Soul.' Before this, the dark sides of hip hop, the strong melodies of pop and the driving piano lines in house had already taken their toll when it came to his songwriting."

The freshly-unveiled demo version of "Try" provides fans with a few more clues about Newman's musical direction that incorporates many of his inspirations (and perhaps also includes a reference to his hard work in recent months). Set to an anthemic piano riff, "Try" is an uplifting soul-pop stomper ruled by optimism. "Working so I hard/I was alone/Lately I've found I'm headed astray," Newman sings. "You don't have to cover up the tears at all/I'm stronger, stronger/Cause I know that you're saving me." (Watch this space for more John Newman news soon.) 

 John Newman "Try" [MP3]

February 24, 2013 | Permalink