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Free Download: Sally Shapiro "Anorak Christmas" (Piano Remix)


Check out a guilt-free MP3 download of the Piano Remix of Sally Shapiro's "Anorak Christmas" that will surely get you in the spirit of the season. The song is taken from the Swedish pop singer's debut album "Disco Romance" that is out now on Paperbag Records. Inspired by Italo disco and the classic sound of Giorgio Moroder, "Disco Romance" was produced by Johan Agebjörn and first released in Sweden in 2006.

Shapiro and Agebjörn bonded when they exchanged mixtapes in 2004 that revealed their shared musical taste which included such artists as Madonna, Limahl, Visage, Savage and Fun Fun. After recognizing the potential of Sally’s voice during a session of Christmas carols, Agebjörn wrote the song "I'll Be By Your Side" in early 2005 with the intention of creating something that could capture the sound of the underground 80's Italo Disco scene

Sally Shapiro is a pseudonym that the singer has used since the start of her career. She has never revealed her real name. "I chose [the name] Sally Shapiro because we were inspired by artists like Valerie Dore and Katy Gray, who also had a team of producers and writers behind them using the name of a singer as the title for the project,” explains her producer Agebjorn. "We wanted to make it as authentic as possible in the ’80s disco tradition."

The Piano Mix of "Anorak Christmas" is filled with Shapiro's angelic vocals, glistening synths and lots of good sentiment. I find the first three minutes of this remix a bit tedious, but some oompf kicks around the 3:15 minute when a bouncy bassline sets it. Can you see the stars? Also, check out a free download of Shapiro's Sackaros." (Click here to purchase "Disco Romance" on Amazon.)

Download Sally Sapiro "Anorak Christmas" (Piano Mix) [MP3]
Sample Sally Shapiro "Anorak Christmas" (Original) [MP3]
Download Sally Shapiro "Sackaros" (Agebjorn Remix) [MP3]

November 28, 2007 in MP3 | Permalink | Comments (6)

The Tuesday Punch: Kenna, Kylie, Beyonce, Blake Lewis, Free MP3s and Miscellaneous Thoughts


With the holiday season in full swing, record labels are dropping major new releases left and right. From Alicia Keys to Mary J Blige, and from Celine Dion to Kylie Minogue. While listening to all these new albums, I have been thinking a lot lately about innovation in pop music.

What is truly fresh out there that pushes the envelope? A lot of change and innovation in popular music happens gradually. A little synth effect here and a punchy new beat there, it is hard to really notice anything drastically. I'm not a musical elitist who argues that pop music has to be innovative to be good. Not at all. Those are two different things.

But I find myself looking for more sounds to really wow me. I remember the sensation when I first heard Fischerspooner's "Emerge" and I was sure that I was hearing the future. For a moment I was lost in translation. It broke me down and put me back together with a whole new appreciation for music.

I have been listening to a lot of hip hop music lately. Some of the things The Neptunes did five years ago was so novel and still sounds so ahead of its time. I'm not so much into the raps, but I find their production stylings incredibly exciting. Hip hop is such a producer's playground and it seems other rules apply to the genre. Rules that can be broken, redefined and for those reasons may be more open to innovation.

What we need is more artists challenging each other, and listeners challenging artists. Like a dance off. If you think you got it, then bring it. Anyways, I digress. This is an ongoing debate so if you want to chime in with your thoughts go right ahead. Meanwhile, let's serve up a fruity punch today for your clicking pleasure:

  I was kicked out of the Gay Bloggies Battle, but you can still vote for me in the Billboard/Nielsen Music Blog Contest. I'd love your vote!

Congrats to Mitzi and David for winning the Darren Hayes contest, and Tobias for winning the KT Tunstall/Shure headphones.

Talking about innovation... Kenna was featured this week as MTV Artist of the Week and getting a lot of airtime with live performances and his alter-ego Kip Kennedy. He deserves all that love.

Kaskade (pictured above) has launched a special MySpace page to highlight all of his most current remixes. Currently, he is streaming his revamps of Britney Spears' "Gimme More," Seal's "Amazing" and Justin Timberlake's "LoveStoned."

Emerging Canadian pop singer Will W shows off his sense melody and does a live mash up of Britney's "Gimme More" and Madonna's "Into The Groove." It's swirly.

Who knew that American Idol runner up Blake Lewis is close friends with Oscar-nominated producer BT? They recorded together before and after Lewis started his run on the FOX television show. See the video here. (Edit: Original video I linked to was removed from YouTube.)

Beyonce will be recording a country album together with songwriter Amanda Ghost.

Free MP3s: Scissor For Lefty "GhettoWays" (Baron Remix) and Justice "D.A.N.C.E." Benny Blanco remix featuring Mos Def & Spank Rock.

Just in case you missed it. Stream Kylie's entire new album "X" on MSN Australia (Thanks Raphael).

November 27, 2007 in The Punch | Permalink | Comments (1)

Video Premiere: Roz Bell "Papercut"

Is the gray and cold getting you a little down today?

Roz Bell has just right amount of sunshine and handclaps to make it all a little better. Check out the brand-new video for his single "Papercut" that is taken from his debut album "The First Sunbeams." It is one of the most refreshing pop debuts of the years that  was produced almost entirely by James Robertson (Esthero, Skye Sweetnam) and mixed by Neal Pogue (Outkast, Citizen Cope, Transplants).

Leave it up this Canadian to wrap up his cool in a breezy, warming wrapper. Go Roz!

November 26, 2007 in Roz Bell | Permalink | Comments (1)

Listen to Shenkar Ft. Natasha Bedingfield "End Of Time"


Finally, I had time this weekend to catch up with the entire first season of NBC's Heroes. I'm such a sucker for fantastical, supernatural storytelling, and this TV show does it very well.

The 7-disc DVD set includes an interesting mini documentary about the making of the music for the hit show. The composers behind the score are none other than Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman. Prince aficionados among you will remember them as two old members of The Revolution, Prince's backing band. The duo also had some chart success on their own most notably with the song "Waterfall" in 1987. (Click here to see what they look like now.)

In the Heroes documentary, Wendy & Lisa talk about the process of producing the show's score. Important part of the Heroes sound is the voice of Shenkar, an Indian singer and multi-instrumentalist who has sold over 35 million records since he started his career in 1975.

Shankar's latest album is titled "Open The Door" and features collaborations with a slew of guests including pop singer Natasha Bedingfield, American Idol judge Randy Jackson, Madonna producer Patrick Leonard, Wendy & Lisa, Train's Pat Monahan, The Human Value's Turu and Blackalicious' Lateef.

Shankar's teaming with Natasha Bedingfield is one of the most striking pieces on the album. It is a mesmerizing fusion of Bedingfield's contemporary pop qualities with Shankar's atmospheric, traditional Indian sensibilities that results in something timeless and distinctly original. (Click here to download "End Of Time" on iTunes.)

Listen to Shankar ft. Natasha Bedingfield "End Of Time"

November 26, 2007 in Global Beats | Permalink | Comments (0)

A Few Words About Pink "Dear Mr. President"

Backstage at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2006, Pink was adamant that her protest song "Dear Mr. President" would never be a single. "Although, I'm sure France and Germany would like it to be," she added.

But who knew? I was surprised to see a video for the song pop up on VH1 this week, which might indicate that the fine folks at Zomba, Pink's record label, might have decided to release it as a single after all.

Written by Pink and Billy Mann (and featuring the Indigo Girls), "Dear Mr. President" is a bold statement about Pink's feelings towards the current U.S. president and his politics. She sings, "Dear Mr. President, Come take a walk with me. I'd like to ask you some questions if we can speak honestly. (. . .) What kind of father would take his own daughter's rights away? And what kind of father might hate his own daughter if she were gay? You've come a long way from whiskey and cocaine."

That's some powerful stuff coming from a mainstream pop artist. But maybe Pink is really not so mainstream after all in terms of her creativity.

There is a candor and fearlessness about her music that is truly genuine and make her stand out from the pack. She has carved out a unique (and slightly contradicting) niche for herself that enables her to put out slick pop tunes like "U + Ur Hand," but also bolder and more reflective pieces such as "Dear Mr. President" and "Waiting For Love."

And the best thing of all is probably that her record label fully supports her and might even release "Dear Mr. President" as a single, which potentially could set off a radio talkshow firestorm of Dixie Chicks-like proportions.

November 23, 2007 in A Few Words, Pink | Permalink | Comments (20)