Girls Aloud's official web site has announced that their new album is titled Out Of Control. Sarah Harding recently revealed that the band still have one or two more albums to release: «We’ve signed a new contract and it’s all looking rosy».
Interviewed by MTV, Sarah said that the band has been working on the album all summer, although they've only just got a copy: «Cheryl is listening it right now! We’ve got 5 days to approve everything».
Sarah told MTV that she had a good time recording the album: «It’s usually quite stressful for me but I felt more relaxed this time. We’ll have to wait and see but I think the songs fitted my voice well this time around. (...) When I was laying tracks down with Toby (Scott, an engineer at the Xenomania studios) we had lots of tea breaks and messing around. It depends who your technician is as to how much fun the recording is. We got the work done but we did it at our own pace.»
Asked about Girls Aloud's d'n'b songs like "What You Crying For?", she replied: «When Brian puts a DnB spin on things I love it. I was a big Drum and Bass junkie when I grew up (Sarah lists around 20 different DnB DJs she loves). There is one track that’s a bit like that but I don’t know if it will make the record.»
Speaking to BBC News, Kimberley Walsh said that the album title was their record company's idea. «They said: "We don't know what to say, you lot are out of control. We can't tell you anything". So that's where that came from. "Out of control" means you can't tell us what to do.»
Kimberley added that the group were very much «involved in the direction» of the record: «This year I think a few of us have written bits and pieces and we've been quite involved in the direction of how it's going. So we're really pleased.»
She revealed that «the '60s thing is quite prominent» on the new album. «But it's out of the ordinary. Not really what you'd expect». «The whole album's a lot older sounding. It wasn't intentional - it was just kind of how it went, you know?»
--- Alesha's new single is "Song Of The Day" in Popjustice. "The Boy Does Nothing" is given a 10/10 score, while Alesha is #1 on the "PJ Almighty". Popjustice review the song: «Starts off like 'Mambo #5'. Ends up like Perez Prado's 'Guaglione'. Has a brilliant "HEY!" bit in it. Has about 28 different hooks and catchy bits. Will appeal as much to Strictly Come Dancing viewers as it does to annoying self-appointed internet pop 'sophisticates' like us lot. Etc etc. 10/10.»
--- Pet Shop Boys have been at Abbey Road studios recording strings and brass on two songs for their new album. On the band's official site, Neil Tennant said that the album only features two songs with an orchestra. «Generally it's more electronic-sounding than the last album», he added.
--- Gabriella Cilmihas been nominated for a record amount of ARIA Awards (Australia’s version of the BRIT Awards). Gabriella is currently in the running for the following awards: Best Female Artist / Single Of The Year ("Sweet About Me") / Breakthrough Artist Album (Lessons To Be Learned) / Breakthrough Artist Single ("Sweet About Me") / Best Pop Release (Lessons To Be Learned) and Highest Selling Single. The Awards will take place on October 19th 2008. Gabriella has also been named the youngest person to be nominated for a Q award in which she’s been nominated for best Breakthrough act.
--- Robert Forster, former member of the Go-Betweens, picked Gabriella Cilmi's "Sweet About Me" as his favourite Australian song of the past two decades. He wrote: «The song had reached that point of saturation where there just seemed to be one song on the radio. And it was Australian, sung by a 16-year-old girl from Melbourne, and everything about the record was fresh – the sound, the cracked bluesy voice, and the production. It’s a great, adventurous pop record and it was lovely hearing it everywhere I went. I also found myself, as you do with hypnotic pop songs, singing the chorus at odd times under my breath – “nothing sweet about me” – which happens to be true.»
--- Former Guns'n'Roses bassist Duff MacKagan has declared himself a Girls Aloud fan: «Girls Aloud — I’m like, ‘What the hell is this?’ It’s amazing, like great pop songs, you know — like the whole stick . . . I think it’s brilliant.»
Head over to Alesha's MySpace to listen to a one-minute clip of the new Xenomania-produced single "The Boy Does Nothing". Popjustice also has a small clip and lists three reasons why this "'Mambo #5'-esque epic" is "amazing":
1. "Does he wash up never wash up, does he clean up no he never cleans up, does he brush up, never brushed up, he does nothing, the boy does nothing." CHORUS OF THE YEAR. (The end, "if the man can't dance, he gets no second chance" might be outro lyric of the year as well.)
2. One of the best bits is after the second chorus when it all goes properly mental with Alesha screaming "do the mambo, shake it all around now" before hurling herself into an "I wanna see you work, I wanna see you move your body and turn, I wanna see ya work it work it out now" bit before the final chorus explodes all over the place.
3. It doesn't sound like anything Alesha's done before, it doesn't sound like anything Xenomania have ever done before, and it doesn't sound like anything else that's been in the charts for however long it is since Lou Bega was roaming the earth.
The single is out on November 3rd, followed by the album The Alesha Show, released on November 17th.
Don't Stop will definitely only be released next year, according to Annie's Norwegian manager Kathrine Synnes. On this article, she says the the album has been postponed not due to lack of hits, but because Annie's label (Island Records) wants to spend more time on the album.
Meanwhile, "Songs Remind Me Of You" will be released as a 12'' single next month.
The new version of "Burnt Out Car" is now available to buy in stores. "Burnt Out Car 2008" [also known as "Burnt Out Car (Xenomania mix)"] is Saint Etienne's first single in three years.
It's out on a limited 7" and two CDs, one with b-sides and the other with Mark Brown's mix and his radio edit. The song is a "Xenomania-dusted version" of Saint Etienne's 1995 withdrawn single. It will precede the release of London Conversations: The Best Of Saint Etienne, which has been put back to 13th October due to complications over the packaging.
-- «The opening synthage of Burnt Out Car 2008 implies a great big homosexual disco anthem is imminent, yet thankfully it just stops short of reaching such lows heights. Xenomania hint towards the long-forgotten golden millisecond they provided for Dannii Minogue’s career, but all in all, add sweet FA to the first edition.» The Sloppy Dog
-- «This is an old song made to sound like a new song by Xenomania, although when we say 'new' we should point out that it does have a STRONG scent of 1998 about it. No worry, however, because 'Burnt Out Car' is a jolly little number and will launch Saint Etienne's newest Greatest Hits compilation with 'great aplomb'.» Popjustice
-- «It’s no He’s on the Phone, but what is? He’s on the Phone of course. Not this though. It’s as lovely as you’d expect though from such a lush group of chilled dance purveyors. As pleasant for a chill-out as for a dance floor filler. 6.710» Experimental Music Love
-- «Sounds great, a bit more chipper and sonically detailed than the version on Travel Edition, which was a bit minimalist. A bit more drums too, I’d say. Now, will someone please sell the single via digital download in the States?» Ack Phhht!
-- «(...) the new single, Burnt Out Car, is a re-doing of a ‘lost’ single from the 90s. It’s cheery, catchy and may be just the way in for a new generation of electronic pop lovers to catch the Saint Etienne vibe.» Liverpool Echo
-- «While the new version has all the hallmarks of the Xenomania Euro Hi NRG sound they have been known for, it is not cheesy. The production is lush and very fluid. Sarah Cracknell's vocals float over the track and are almost hypnotic in some places. This mix sounds like it could have been done in the 90's, but it doesn't sound dated. This is a great update.» Sweet MuZik
CD1: 1. Burnt Out Car - Xenomania Mix 2. Night Vision 3. Destroy The Building
CD2: 1. Burnt Out Car - Xenomania Mix 2. Burnt Out Car - Mark Brown Remix Edit 3. Burnt Out Car - Mark Brown Remix
7" vinyl: 1. Burnt Out Car - Xenomania Mix 2. River
«Back working with Xenomania this week after a summer break. Had an interesting week: we wrote a new song over the backing-track of a song we weren't totally happy with and we really like it now. The album should be finished by the end of October. Meanwhile the Xenomania ducks seem to be breeding!»
The new Girls Aloud single, "The Promise", has just been premiered on BBC Radio 1. Nadine Coyle described the song as a «progressed version of "Can't Speak French"», which is «more on the 60s kind of feel good vibe that's happening now in music». She also revealed that the new Girls Aloud album might be released on November 10th.
Alesha Dixon will release the Xenomania-produced single "The Boy Does Nothing" in November. She recently spoke to Digital Spy about the song:
«In order for me to be impressed by a guy, he's gotta be able to dance. It's a very feel good song. We call it "bottled happiness", it's one of those songs that just makes you feel good. Hopefully, it will encourage people to get up and dance, and the video is going to be a big dance number. So it's a really nice way to come back, actually.»
Besides working with Xenomania for her new album, Alesha has also teamed up with artists such as the R&B duo The Underdogs and US songwriter Rick Nowels.
She revealed that the album has «a nice balance», with «a lot of variety». «You've got feel good songs and more emotional songs, a bit more thought-provoking and a bit heartfelt. So hopefully the listener will feel like they're going through an emotional roller coaster».
Xenomania Records is holding auditions from October 18th to November 1st in Edinburgh, Newcastle, Leeds, Manchester and London. They will be looking for male and female singers and girl/boy groups aged 15-25 with "talent, enthusiasm, and a firm commitment to a career in music".
If you're interested, send your name, age, MySpace/web link and photo to email@example.com or, alternatively, send a message to Xenomania's MySpace. Applicants will be asked to sing acapella, so no music/backing tracks are needed. Xenomania's MySpace advises: «the mornings can be busier, so if you don't want to hang around, please come in the afternoon».
Sarah Cracknell and Bob Stanley from Saint Etienne were on BBC Radio 2 last Thursday to talk about the band's new compilation and single. "Burnt Out Car 2008" was played, and you can have a listen below. Please note that the sound quality is far from perfect, as it is a radio rip, but you can buy the song in all its physical and digital glory on September 22nd.
"The Promise" is Girls Aloud's new single. The song will have its first play next Sunday (September 14), on BBC Radio 1, at around 7pm. It will be released both physically and digitally on October 27. Girls Aloud's official website describes the single as «a stormer of a track».
Girls Aloud/Xenomania have once again been awarded with Popjustice's Twenty Quid Music Prize. "Call The Shots" was crowned the best pop single of the past year. The event took place last Tuesday (September 9) and was judged by 30-odd readers of the Popjustice website (who ranged from music industry professionals to die-hard pop fans). The Popjustice Twenty Quid Music Prize, now in its sixth year, is given out on the same night as the Mercury Awards.
The nominees: A&E - Goldfrapp About You Now - Sugababes Bleeding Love - Leona Lewis Call The Shots - Girls Aloud Dance Wiv Me - Dizzee Rascal feat Calvin Harris Flux - Bloc Party Money - Daggers That's Not My Name - The Ting Tings Valerie - Mark Ronson feat Amy Winehouse Ready For The Floor - Hot Chip Song 4 Mutya (Out Of Control) - Groove Armada feat Mutya Buena Stuck On Repeat - Little Boots
The latest issue of POP Magazine includes an interview with the Pet Shop Boys, where they talk about Xenomania. Neil Tennant reveals that the group were already considering working with them for their last album, but New Order beat them to it. He also compares Xenomania to Smash Hits magazine (where Neil worked as a journalist in the 1980s), and praises "Biology", saying that the song «exists in its own world».
Here are a few excerpts from the interview:
NEIL TENNANT : We considered approaching Xenomania for the last album, Fundamental. Then we read that New Order were working with them. There's always been this synchronicity between the record collections of Bernard Sumner and the Pet Shop Boys, right from the word go. People have often thought mistakenly that we were influenced by "Blue Monday" but actually Bernard was just influenced by the same records we were. Eurobeat, Italodisco, ermerging New York hip hop... So we thought damn, can't believe it he's already got there. So we did that with Trevor Horn. But the tracks we started writing this year, most of them were pop, so we thought it was worth approaching Xenomania.
(...) We really didn't know that much about them. I very much liked the single "Biology" by Girls Aloud. I think that was an amazing single. It's funny 'cause it's nothing like anything Xenomania or Girls Aloud have ever done. It exists in its own world. It's quite sixties isn't it? Like so much of pop now.
POP MAGAZINE : You never know what Xenomania are going to do next. Which is unique for a production house. They don't have a formula.
NEIL TENNANT : No they don't. They're based out in Kent - that's quite important because it's a world of its own. It reminds me of Smash Hits. We used to be over the road from failing circulations. We had an article about New York hip hop before NME did. We used to lean out of the window to watch Nick Kent walking down the street. Secretly of course we were all thrilled to see him. We used to HATE Number One Magazine. We felt we got it, and those people didn't really get it. Well, Xenomania feels like that. Personally, I could disappear into a room upstairs at Xenomania and become part of the factory writing songs for Girls Aloud. I'd be quite happy, actually
CHRIS LOWE : It'd be a lot of fun !
POP MAGAZINE : Brian Higgins who set up Xenomania, his first success was "Believe" by Cher, wasn't it?
CHRIS LOWE : We didn't know that when we first met him! We discovered that. So impressed. "You wrote that ?!"
[Speaking about Justin Timberlake recording a song with the title "Cry Me A River"]
NEIL TENNANT : We keep having a discussion with Brian Higgins about... I maintain it's WEAK to write a new song called "Cry Me A River" when there's already a famous one. But he says it doesn't matter 'cause it's sincere.
Xenomania is a songwriting and production house based in Kent, England. It was founded by songwriter and producer Brian Higgins.
Since 1996, Xenomania have written, produced and remixed tracks for a string of successful artists including Girls Aloud, Pet Shop Boys, Sugababes, Dannii and Kylie Minogue, Saint Etienne, Cher, Gabriella Cilmi and many others.