Exclusive Free MP3 Download: The Knocks "Dancing With The DJ"


Another emerging new act that is stirring up a storm at CMJ this year are ArjanWrites.com faves The Knocks. The duo of Ben "B-Roc" Ruttner and James "JPatt" Patterson serves up a breezy, feel-good blend of dance pop that is incredibly catchy and very well put together.

If you're a frequent reader of this blog, you have heard some of their earlier tracks and remixes, but today the group is exclusively sharing their fantastic new single "Dancing With The DJ" on this blog. The single is a soulful, retro-styled slice of pop that will surely will put a big smile on your face today. Grab it while it's hot.

The Knocks also invite you to "like" them on Facebook to download "Thinking About You," the single's B-side.  (A big thank you to the The Knocks for premiering this track.)

The Knocks "Dancing With The DJ" [exclusive]

Free Download: Mancini "In The End"


Mancini is stirring up a hot little fuss with their debut single "Up Country" that was released in the U.K. this week. It is still a bit early but I think that this new talent is poised for success. As I blogged previously, the group offers both style and substance with their peppy electro pop and charismatic and hyper-seductive front woman Iraina Mancini.

The group's manager has already received an inquiry from a major U.S. label this week so things are moving ahead for the group. To feed the buzz a little more, the band has allowed me to exclusively share their song "In The End." The version I posted is a demo that is currently being reworked by Jagz Kooner. It will likely be Mancini's second or third single.

"In The End" is a gritty, rock-infused pop song that clearly shows off those "gyrating guitars" that the band has been talking about. It is a tight track that bursts with Iraina's hypnotic energy. Playing the role of a lusty lover, she croons about "sleeping out" in the grass with the "trees" around and "ants (. . .) crawling on [her] back." Mancino is up for a good time and this is another track to prove it. (Click here to purchase Mancini music on indiestore.)

Download Mancini "In The End" (Demo) [MP3]

Free Download: Ultra "The Sun Shines Brighter"


Ultra sold millions of records a few years ago, but its four members went their separate ways after a nasty dispute with their record label. The quartet’s new album "The Sun Shines Brighter” marks their official comeback. The title track is a gooey love song that might manage to stick with you whether you like it or not.

Fans of Take That, Boyzone and Westlife will be in for a sweet treat, and others might just want to bite into this guilty pleasure to get a little taste for it. It is one of those middle-of-the-road pop songs that you indulge in or spit out immediately. (Free download is courtesy of indiestore that has made this song available as a promotional track with permission of the artist. Click here to purchase other MP3s in the indiestore catalog.)

Download Ultra "The Sun Shines Brighter" [MP3 via indiestore]

Free Download: Nicole Atkins "The Way It Is"


Who ever knew Amy Winehouse had an equally gifted older sister? Nicole Atkins might not be as spunky and raw as La Winehouse, but she most definitely has an old soul and vibe that is reminiscent of our favorite British booze girl.

Have a listen to the track "The Way It Is" that is pretty good. It doesn't have that kick that Winehouse's vocals brings to her music or that hot-as-hell swagger that producer Mark Ronson cranks out, but it is a worthy one to add to your music collection.

Atkins, 27, was born in the idyllic town of Neptune, New Jersey just down the coastline from Ashbury Park. Her music career started when she picked up a guitar as a child to play a Grateful Dead song. Her father introduced her to blues artists like Jimmy Reed and let her sit in on sessions with local musician friends. In her late teens, she moved to Norh Carolina to play with alt-country band Los Parasols before making a name for herself as a solo performer on New York City's anti-folk scene.

Inspired by artists like Patsy Cline, Lou Reed and The Smiths, Atkins' songwriting on her forthcoming debut is inspired by both her upbringing as well as world affairs, such as the war in the Middle East. "I'm not a political songwriter, but you can't help write about things that are happening to you and around you," she says in a statement.  (A special shout out to my peeps at Sony Music who for the first time ever agreed to make a guilt-free download available on this blog. It is a little miracle.)

Download Nicole Atkins "The Way It Is" [MP3]

Free Download: Ultraviolet "Out Of Control"


Back in 2004, I met up with Sarah Hudson to talk about her major label debut "Naked Truth" that I regarded as one of the most promising pop debuts at the time. Hudson (who is the cousin of movie actress Kate Hudson) grew up down and out in Los Angeles with both her parents working in the music business. She attended an all-girls private Catholic high school where inspiration for her future songwriting was easy to come by - there was sex, drugs, Mercedes and BMW's, and lots of "daddy's little girls."

Her teenage experiences led to a radio-friendly album that was slick and well-produced, yet still managed to tell Hudson's truth. Despite positive reviews and a television appearance on the first season of BRAVO's Poject Runway, the record fizzled into obscurity.

But Hudson is back, harder and fiercer than before. She is now fronting Los Angeles-based synth pop outfit Ultraviolet together with Sami (synths), Brand (guitar) and Chris (drums). The group is building a fanbase from the ground up following the proven MySpace formula. 

Ultraviolet is like the evil little sister of cookie cutter synth pop band Stefy who are also from Southern California. Ultraviolet's gritty music is the perfect soundtrack to the schizophrenic and hedonistic wasteland that makes up much of Los Angeles, home of hope and shattered dreams that can eat you up or spit you out. Something that Hudson experienced first-hand and all around her since she grew up.

"Out Of Control" will make you want to kick and scream. It is a throbbing electro pop anthem that prominently displays Hudson's in-your-face lyrics. This crazy-ass "bitch" might be on the hunt and "out of control" but she will have you hooked for more just seconds into the song. (Thanks to Sarah and the band for allowing me to share the track. Click here to buy more track from Ultraviolet's EP.)

Download Ultraviolet "Out Of Control" [MP3]