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Ready to Pop: Mike Posner

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The term "hip pop" is a pretty loose term, but it is bands like Chester French, 2AM Club, Shwayze and 3OH!3 who give it meaning by blurring the lines between pop and hip hop in their own unique way. Mike Posner is also one of those artists who takes the two genres to an exciting new place. His music is a mash of catchy melodies, clever sampling and a straight up attitude that packs plenty of street cred and has just right amount of radio-friendly gloss.

It is the kind of stuff fans love, and critics have a hard time to define and put in a box.

Posner released a free mixtape late last year that has created firestorm at college campuses around the country. Produced together with Clinton Sparks and DJ Benzi, "One Foot Out The Door" is an irresistible hip pop hybrid with some excellent pop gems, including tracks like "Cooler Than Me," "Don't Trust Me" and "Red Button," which showcase Posner's impressive songwriting chops and confident delivery.

Posner credits his upbringing for his eclectic taste in music that spans from the sweet to the crunchy.  Growing up in Southfield, Michigan, Motown "was spoon-fed to me my whole life," Posner says in a press release. "My dad was a Deadhead but he had a really interesting taste in music – B.B. King, Marvin Gaye and Luther Vandross – sometimes even the Counting Crows."

He really got a taste for music and songwriting simply by listening to music on his way to school. “I had one of those huge CD books, and I'd listen to everything,” says Posner - pointing to acts ranging from Led Zepplin to Nas - and from Elton John to Eric Clapton.

After interning at a hip hop radio station in Detroit, he started producing his own music, which ultimately let to a record deal with RCA/Jive who has now labeled Posner as one of their priority acts for 2010 (together with the equally exciting 2AM Club). Do yourself a mighty favor and download Mike Posner's mixtapes at no charge. You will be glad you did.

February 25, 2010 in Mike Posner | Permalink | Comments (1)

Keane To Release "Night Train" in May

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Here's something to really look forward to.

Keane is arguably one of the most gifted pop bands of the last decade. Tim Rice-Oxley's heartfelt songwriting and Tom Chaplin's instantly recognizable vocals are a powerful combination that has led to memorable songs like "Somewhere Only We Know," "Crystal Ball" and "Nothing In My Way" to name just a few.

But what I truly appreciate about Keane is that they are not to afraid to break out of their comfort zone and try something new and different. Whether that is recording totally fun covers like their remake of Destiny Child's "Bootylicious" or teaming up with dance producer Stuart Price to record the incredibly "Perfect Symmetry," which is one of the most underrated records over the last 5 years.

On their forthcoming new album, titled "Night Train," the group once again ventures into new territory, going beyond the sweet balladry they are mostly know for.

"Night Train features eight powerful new tracks and includes genre-busting collaborations with Somali rapper K'naan and Japanese rapped MC Tigarah (remember this?). For the first time, Tim Rice-Oxley also contributes vocals to the album. Songs for this new record were written and recorded during the band’s "Perfect Symmetry" world tour that saw them playing to arenas in 28 countries.The album takes its title from the band's favourite mode of transportation during the tour.

"Night Train" is to be released on Cherrytree/Interscope Records in the U.S. on May 11. The band who has had three consecutive #1 albums in their native UK andhave played sold out shows throughout the US will also soon announce tour dates in North America for this coming spring.

UPDATE: Listen to a brand-new track the group recorded for a Haiti Relief compilation. The band goes French.

February 25, 2010 in Keane | Permalink | Comments (1)

Free MP3 Download: Late Night Alumni "Light Reading"

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Ryan Reddon (aka Kaskade) is one of my favorite dance and electronica producers. He is one of those rare dancefloor talents who not only understands how to work the turntables, but also is a gifted songwriter with a knack for melody, which enables him to reinvent existing tracks in a completely new way.

After releasing his fifth artist album "Strobelight Seduction' two years ago," he is now back with Late Night alumni, a band he formed with Becky Jean Williams, Finn Bjarnson and John Hancock back in 2003. The quartet released their debut album in 2005 on the famous Hed Kandi label that included the single, "Empty Streets," which was a chart-topping track across Europe.

On their new record, titled "Of Birds, Bees, Butterflies, Etc," the band brings more of the glistening, chill out dance pop that has Kaskade written all over it. Immaculately crafted and beautifully arranged, Late Night Alumni walks a perfect balance between organic pop and electronica that perfectly spotlights the mesmerizing vocal presence of front-woman Becky Jean Williams.

The album's first two singles "You Can Be The One" and "Finally Found" feature remixes by top producers including Sultan & Ned Shepard, Max Vangelli and DJ Eco. A video for the single "Finally Found" is due for release later this month. Check out an exclusive MP3 download of "Light Reading." (Support new pop and download "Of Birds, Bees, Butterflies, Etc" here.)

Late Night Alumni "Light Reading"

February 24, 2010 in MP3 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Free MP3 Download: Japayork "So New"

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Japayork's "So New" is a fresh blast of electro-pop that is brilliantly put together. Moving at the speed of the dancefloor, it is a lush and richly layered synth workout that will have you craving for more. Guaranteed. Japayork makes just the right first impression with this track. After living in Tokyo and New York, this hotly-tipped newcomer now resides in London where he works as a a videographer and graphic designer. When he is not not putting together album artwork for others and uploading cool new videos to YouTube, he is toying around at home producing his own music. Many thanks for that. Very, very curious to hear more.

Japayork "So New"

February 23, 2010 in MP3 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Free MP3 Download: Jack Penate "So Near" (Penguin Prison Remix)

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Penguin Prison keeps on bringing the goodness. Check out his remix of Jack Penate's "So Near." Simply brilliant. Don't need any more words to describe it. Grab it while you can.

Penguin Prison (aka Chris Glover) is someone to keep you eye on. Glover, who sang as a kid in a gospel choir together with a young Alicia Keys, puts together a refined and savvy brew of electro-pop that combines plenty of streed cred with slick, chart-ready pop sensibilities. Think LCD Soundsystem meets Frankmusik. It's the type of high-caliber pop that you can chew on for a long while without ever losing its taste. Penguin Prison is currently recording his full-length debut. An album to look forward to. So hurry sir!

Jack Penate "So Near" (Penguin Prison Remix)

February 23, 2010 in MP3 | Permalink | Comments (0)