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End of Decade: lists
Posted at 8:33 PM, 29 November 2009 - 1 Comments

As the decade comes to an end, music publications and blogs are publishing their "best of the decade" lists. These are the Xenomania songs/albums that appear on those lists:

Observer Music Monthly:
75 best singles of the decade


23. Girls Aloud - Biology (2005)



NME - 100 TRACKS OF THE DECADE

39. Girls Aloud - Sound Of The Underground (2002)

Pop starts getting cool again…
The hangover of conveyor-belt comedy-awful manufactured pap was still prominent in everyone’s minds in 2002. Who’d have thought it would take the puppeteering of Louis Walsh on the back of Popstars: The Rivals to reignite people’s imaginations at pop’s possibilities?
The key catalyst at play here was the chap responsible for that weird vocoder effect on Cher’s ‘Believe’. Helmed by Brian Higgins, production house Xenomania would steer ‘proper pop music’ on course to become one of the defining buzz trends of the Noughties with a trend-bucking all-inclusive manifesto approach to their sound palette. JH

The Telegraph:
100 songs that defined the Noughties


15. Girls Aloud - Sound of the Underground (2002)


Xenomania's blend of electro and guitars set pop production standards.



Times Online:
The 100 best pop albums of the Noughties


62. Girls Aloud - Tangled Up (2007)

Working again with the lightning-bottlers at Xenomania, Cole and co leave the memory of One True Voice even farther behind. Not since Abba and Michael Jackson has pure pop been so unanimously praised.




The Decade blog - The 100 best tracks of the 2000s

61. Girls Aloud – Biology (2005)

Six months before Biology was released, the Crazy Frog was at number one in the UK charts after becoming an overnight ringtone sensation/irritation. This is only worthy of mention because of the precedent it set: if a guileless ringtone – a piece of music designed to last no more than a few bars – can be a hit, what would happen when a well-oiled pop machine took on the form? Girls Aloud’s finest moment, that’s what. Sure, Biology’s three utterly disparate sections could all be songs in their own right, but the decision to cram them together into some attention-deficit shuffle-mode playlist is the genius here. Every thirty seconds, another section is cut down in its prime, replaced by an even better hook. This tumbling, speedy feeling of Sunny D-esque sensory overload is allowed to build for two minutes before we get to the chorus, at which point the track is so high on multi-flavoured spangly pop sherbet that the only option is a broad grin to acknowledge the nonsense. Call it mash-up culture, ringtone pop or just plain nuts, what can’t be avoided here is that Biology is both brilliantly original and unconventional – something that, from the land’s biggest pop group, is deliciously rare.


Pitchfork: The Top 500 Tracks of the 2000s

245. Girls Aloud – Biology (2005)


RoberAwards.com
The Noughties: Honorary Mentions - Producers

XENOMANIA

In the UK, they have become the emergency choice for artists in need of a hit. The production team formed by Brian Higgins and Miranda Cooper has re-shaped the state of British pop thanks to their unique talent scouting skills. Higgins had his big break with Cher’s global smash “Believe”; since then Xenomania has been behind the hits of Girls Aloud, Sugababes, Annie and St. Etienne among many other pop starlettes.

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Preview the new St. Trinian's soundtrack
Posted at 7:03 PM, - 0 Comments

The soundtrack of the St. Trinian's II: The Legend of Fritton's Gold film will be released on December 14th. It features eight songs produced by Xenomania: five by the Banned of St Trinian's and three by Girls Aloud member Sarah Harding. Banned of St Trinian's single "Up and Away is now available to download on iTunes.

Amazon has clips of each song on the soundtrack - click here to listen. Throughout the week, Popjustice has also selected four songs from the soundtrack as Song Of The Day. Here's what they say (click the song titles for 30 second clips):


-- Banned Of St Trinian's - Up & Away
'Banned Of St Trinian's' are basically a sort of Xenomania house band who've contributed a handful of tracks to the new St Trinian's soundtrack album.
'Up & Away' is one of the best Banned Of St Trinian's contributions - it might not have the polish or finishing touches one requires in a big chart record but the song itself sounds like a bit of a hit. Except it's been pissed away on this soundtrack album so it probably never will be a hit. But that somehow makes its existence here all the more exciting.

-- Banned Of St Trinian's - Jump Off
Here's another track from the new St Trinian's soundtrack, a Xenomania-authored raveular pop tune which contains the line "we can make our own kind of voodoo or we can spend the night in like you do" and for that reason alone should be burned to disc, vacuum sealed in some sort of outsized Thermos flask then fired into space as an example to other civilisations of how we make pop music on Planet Earth.

-- Banned Of St Trinian's - I Can Get What I Want
It's quite 'What Will The Neighbours Say?'-era Girls Aloud-ish in feel and it has precisely three amazing bits in it. That's three more than most songs, readers.

-- Sarah Harding - Too Bad
The surprisingly brilliant 'Too Bad' is the best of three Sarah Harding solo tracks on the 'St Trinian's 2: The Legend Of Fritton's Gold' soundtrack.
It starts off like Julian Lennon's 'Too Late For Goodbyes' then lets rip into a massive arms-aloft Dannii Minogue-style chorus, has a big sort of rapped bit in the middle, and even makes time for a little nod towards Westworld's 'Sonic Boom Boy'.
If we may humbly suggest a placement for 'Too Bad' in your Girls Aloud playlists, slotting the track somewhere in between 'Close To Love' and 'Girl Overboard' would probably do nicely.

Popjustice also points out that some of the songs on the soundtrack sound «a bit like the first draft of a Girls Aloud album»: «most of the songs sound like they would benefit from a bit more magic dust - but it's a pretty great soundtrack album, is far better than it really needs to be and is, we imagine, about 100 times better than the film».

They add: «In a year without a Girls Aloud album it's a better Girls Aloud album than the Cheryl Cole album».

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End of Decade: Sound Of The Overground
(NME article, November 2009)

Posted at 4:37 PM, - 2 Comments

NME magazine has published a special "End of Decade" issue, celebrating the changing shape of music over the last ten years. One of the key features on this souvenir issue is about Girls Aloud and Xenomania. You can read an excerpt of the article below (the rest of it focuses primarily on Timbaland and The Neptunes):

Published: NME (End Of Decade souvenir issue)
Written by: Emily MacKay

Pop music since the turn of the century has been more exciting, more subversive, more forward-thinking and more downright danceable than ever.


When they predicted back in the '80s that pop would eat itself, they weren't wrong. What they didn't realise was that by feeding on its own internal organs, pop would only make itself stronger.

In 2002, when Girls Aloud won Popstars: The Rivals, reality TV was still in its fairly early days. Big Brother was only in its third series and the country was already well over the hysteria and subsequent undignified demise of original Popstars winner Hear'Say, but we hadn't quite reached the relentless conveyor belt of moon-faced idiots and exploitative freakery the genre ultimately descended to. It could still surprise you. That said, nothing could have prepared us for the Girls' "Sound of the Underground".

Wisely avoiding either the generic kiddy-pop route or the slough of sugary balladry that many subsequent reality TV stars have taken, it instead raced down the path the Sugababes had beat out with "Round Round" - sharp, danceable, relentlessly modern pop. The hard drum'n'bass rhythms, the ridiculous rockabilly guitar sample, the tense, abstract lyrics. Rather than trying to tack on an edge of credibility, it was made by people who knew exactly what they were doing. As a result we had the only decent Christmas Number One of the decade. It was smart, sexy, witty and it was... popular. It was a bit of a shock.

In the US, the influence of hip-hop and r&b had been pushing pop to new heights via the likes of Destiny's Child, Aaliyah and Kelis. British pop, however, had failed to meet the challenge of dance music, drum'n'bass and garage, remaining stuck in the novelty rut carved by the Spice Girls (you can bleat on about girl power all you want, but the plain fact is the majority of the Spice Girls' songs were naff as hell), Boyzone and B*Witched. "Sound of the Underground" (and "Round Round" before it) was a whole new kind of pop. It didn't glory in its own cheesiness. It wasn't wholesome Royal Variety Show family entertainment. It was shiny and sexy and perfect. While Kimberley, Nadine, Sarah, Cheryl and Nicola deserve their own credit (if you think you can give a song like that to just anyone, imagine the twins from this year's X Factor singing it), it made us start to think about chart its in a different way.

Growing accustomed as we now were to looking behind the scenes, peeling back pop's perfect skin to prod at the mechanical workings underneath, the producers of the track, Xenomania, became stars of a sort themselves. Seven years later we're excited about Mini Viva because they're produced by Xenomania. We're not excited by Xenomania because of Mini Viva. Xenomania leader Brian Higgins' previous biggest credits had been working with Dannii Minogue and Saint Etienne and writing and producing Cher's "Believe" (whose bizarre use of Auto-Tune is arguably still an influence in hip-hop today). Following "Sound of the Underground" and "Round Round", though, Xeno have sprinkled their magic dust over Kylie, Annie and the Pet Shop Boys, becoming a byword for wickedly clever, saucy, superficial, heartbroken pop. If you take all their writing and production credits together, they've had more UK top 10 hits than Madonna, Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears put together.


TOP OF THE POP

Brian Higgins of Xenomania on how pop got hip again

«The decade started with Hear'Say - to many people as bad as we could get. The rise of very cool pop music ties in with the decline in television. TV was the vehicle of pop and up until 2001 the Internet hadn't taken hold, hadn't become ubiquitous within culture. As a result you were still able to market things very heavily through the TV screen. People had less access and less ability to check how good something was.

«Britpop went terribly wrong. It was about four or five groups that were fantastic and everything else was rubbish. The Spice Girls and All Saints came along, freshened that up and changed it. Then you had four or five years where everybody followed on from that, so the quality was diminishing and diminishing and diminishing and it ended up with an attempt to revitalise the genre.

«We were just desperate to make uptempo dance-friendly records. It was about risk-taking, about being unpredictable, sonically, but still being catchy as hell. I feel people are much more up for taking risks sonically, which is fantastic. But at the end of the day, the number of people who can produce a strong musical idea, deliver a melody that fulfils an idea, is low. The person who can nail a great melody is a rare commodity in the music business.

«The emergence of La Roux and things like that don't give the general public enough credit - if you give them something challenging they can accept it and digest it brilliantly. La Roux is an example of a record that on the surface sounds difficult but listen to it a few times and you can pick up on the magic within it.»

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Mini Viva A-listed on Radio 1 + MTV Live Session
Posted at 1:43 PM, - 0 Comments

This week, Mini Viva's forthcoming single "I Wish" has climbed up to BBC Radio 1's A-list. The single will be released on iTunes on December 13th - you can pre-order your copy now on itunes.com/miniviva.

Frankee and Britt recently performed at their very own Nokia MTV Session. The session features "I Wish", their debut single "Left My Heart In Tokyo" and a version of Taio Cruz's "Break Your Heart":







Mini Viva are currently on their Clubland tour. You can follow their journey on Twitter. These are the remaining dates:

Sunday 29 November 09 Sheffield Arena
Friday 4 December 09 Manchester MEN Arena
Saturday 5 December 09 London HMV Hammersmith Apollo
Sunday 6 December 09 Birmingham NIA

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Gabriella Cilmi readies new album
Posted at 1:23 PM, - 3 Comments

Gabriella Cilmi has been busy recording her new album, due to be released in the new year. She has once again teamed up with Xenomania but has also recruited other producers such as Greg Kurstin.

The 18-year-old singer told the Daily Star: «The album is now being mixed and it’s in a totally new direction. It’s been inspired by Donna Summer, Flashdance and 80s disco. The 80s sound is popular at the moment but I’m doing part of the era that hasn’t been touched. It also has a slightly 70s feel and that is my favourite era.»

She added: «Most of the material for the album was written in a studio five doors up from my place when I was in my pyjamas. The first single is all about unleashing your inner super-hero and it’s a big anthem for women.»

Gabriella Cilmi's new official website is now live at gabriellacilmi.com.

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Alex Gardner live videos
Posted at 12:47 PM, - 0 Comments

New Xenomania talent Alex Gardner was recently the "New Band Of The Day" in the Guardian. They say: «From the tracks we've heard, Higgins and his young ward won't be pursuing a lysergic pop direction despite the historic surrounds, but they appear to have successfully carved a niche for Gardner. Less techno-ish than Erik Hassle but more dancey than Gary Go and certainly straighter and less playful than Frankmusik, Tommy Sparks and Dan Black, he could be the first breakthrough male star for eons.»

There's a few live videos on YouTube from his show at the Little Noise sessions in Union Chapel. Here's "I'm Not Mad":


"Believe":


"Picture Me Running":


"Yesterday's News":

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The Banned of St Trinian's
Posted at 7:32 PM, 19 November 2009 - 0 Comments

The Banned of St Trinian's is a fictional group created for the new St. Trinian's film, with songs produced by Xenomania.

In the film, they act as the official School Band, and are made up of a mixture of tribes: Jess (rude girl) with the killer heels to match her killer vocals, Beth (emo) rocks up the stage, Daisy (eco) takes accapella to a new level and Harriet (geek) uses her super-brainpower for some wicked harmonies.

You can watch an introduction video with a few sound clips on the St. Trinian's website. Their single "Up & Away" will be released as a digital download on November 30th. The soundtrack arrives on December 14th. Besides the Banned of St Trinian's, Xenomania have also produced three songs recorded by Sarah Harding.


Members of the Banned of St Trinian's:
Daisy Tonge (Eco Warrior)
Harriet Bamford (Geek)
Jessica Agombar (Rude Girl)
Jess Bell (Emo)

Links:
St. Trinian's movie
Banned of St Trinian's on Facebook

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Alex Gardner: from Scotland to Wonderland
Posted at 8:29 PM, 18 November 2009 - 0 Comments

Alex Gardner is a Scottish singer who at just 16 packed his bags for London and through a twist of fate ended up meeting Brian Higgins of Xenomania.

«I was invited to the house where Alice In Wonderland was written», he said in an interview. «I was bit apprehensive about being invited to this strange house in the country, but I did my research and found it belonged to pop producer Brian Higgins».

The Xenomania mansion is the former home of Alice Liddell, the inspiration for Lewis Carroll's children's classic Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

For the last year, Alex has been going back to the Xenomania house to write songs with Higgins. «Although we're writing together, Brian always insists the songs are drawn from my own experiences, so most of them are about girls», he adds. «The only song I've written that's not about a girl is about Edinburgh. It's called "Where Were You?" and it's a message to all my friends not to forget me.»

Alex Gardner has now signed a worldwide record deal with Universal/A&M Records and has just completed a short tour with Paolo Nutini. His debut single "Yesterday's News" should be released in March 2010.

He was recently invited to do a quick interview and an acoustic session for The Daily Record. Click the links below to watch:

Alex Gardner - Yesterday's News (acoustic)
Alex Gardner - You See With Me (acoustic)
Alex Gardner - There Goes My Heart (acoustic)
Alex Gardner interview


Upcoming shows:

18 Nov Little Noise Sessions @ Union Chapel - w/ MIKA & Paloma Faith, London
28 Nov Homecoming Live @ SECC Glasgow, Scotland
27 Jan New To Q @ The Tabernacle, London

Links:

Alex Gardner MySpace
Alex Gardner YouTube
Video: Alex Gardner at T in the Park
Video: Alex Gardner - Heartbreak (live)

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Pet Shop Boys - Christmas EP
Posted at 8:03 PM, - 0 Comments

Pet Shop Boys will release a new EP, Christmas, in continental Europe on December 11th and in the UK on December 14th. The full track listing is:

1. It doesn’t often snow at Christmas
2. My girl
3. All over the world (new version)
4. Viva la vida/Domino dancing
5. My girl (our house mix)

"All over the world" is a new version of the track from Pet Shop Boys' latest album, Yes. Also included is a new version of "It doesn’t often snow at Christmas", originally an exclusive Pet Shop Boys fan club Christmas single.

Both new versions are produced by Marius de Vries and Pet Shop Boys, based on the original tracks, with orchestral and choir arrangements by Matt Robertson and Marius de Vries. The EP also includes Pet Shop Boys’ arrangement of the Madness classic, "My Girl", and the medley of Coldplay’s "Viva La Vida" and Pet Shop Boys' "Domino Dancing", produced by Stuart Price.

Christmas is being released on both CD and digital download. You can pre-order it here.

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Annie's Don't Stop is out now in the US
Posted at 2:08 PM, - 0 Comments

Don't Stop has now been released in the United States. Idolator met up with Annie to talk about the album. She reveals that she wrote around 400 songs with Xenomania and that her only Mini Viva co-write was "Left My Heart In Tokyo" (she is writing for other artists, but still doesn't reveal who).

Here's a few selected quotes from the interview:

Meeting up with Brian Higgins:
«I didn’t really know much about Brian, so I remember I first met him and I was a little bit hungover. I only slept for two hours and felt terrible! He was like, “Right. Okay. We’re gonna start working now.” And I was like, shit—this is terrible. But, to me it’s been the greatest experience, because most of the producers are much more into production and all the sounds. And of course that’s brilliant. But Brian is just about songs, basically.

«He really challenged me on my own songwriting. I just felt I experienced a lot. The first thing he said when we did the contract was, “We have to write a lot of songs, and it’s going to take a really long time.” So I ended up writing 300 to 400 songs. I have loads of songs lying around there.»

Working with Brian Higgins:
«In a way, he’s a maniac. But he’s wonderful. He’s one of the most hard-working persons I think I ever met in my life, but really such a lover of great pop music. (...)
I think he’s used to working with a lot of artists who don’t write their own music, who don’t take part in the production. I remember when we recorded “Bad Times,” I immediately had some ideas for some synth lines. He was like, “I’m amazed! I’ve got so much more respect for you.” For me, it was very natural to take part in the production. I don’t think he was that used to working with somebody who was that involved in the process of doing the actual music.»

The Girls Aloud collaboration:
«They used to [be on there], but what happened was the record label got so excited because Girls Aloud wanted to do it. I think [the label] called up their management—”Oh! We have to have a music video with Girls Aloud!” Of course, then the management of Girls Aloud panicked. They were like, “No! Their record is gonna come out at the same time as Annie’s, and it’s just gonna be confusing.” Blah, blah, blah. It was a shame, and Brian was annoyed because he thought we should just record it and not talk too much about it.»


Reviews from the US press:
  • Though it is typically the producer and co-writer's job to bring out the best in the star, Annie's best work has a way of encapsulating the appeal of her partners, whether it's showcasing Richard X's gift for giving 1980s pop aesthetics a modern make-over, or Xenomania's glossy, super-charged pop-rock hybrid. Pitchfork 7.2 / 7.7
  • The music is high-grade, glossy electro-pop, heavily indebted to the ’80s, as with the tweeting synths of “Songs Remind Me Of You,” buzzing keyboard-bass of “I Don’t Like Your Band,” and candy-coated new-wave guitars of “Bad Times.” The A.V. Club B+
  • Novelty is only part of what makes pop work, and on Don’t Stop, Annie brings enough of the other stuff — hooks, grooves, and a combination of sass and sincerity — to make you forgive her tardiness Boston Phoenix 3/4
  • Amid the booming, whistling cheerleader stomp of opener "Hey Annie," she hollas back about finding "a new pulse," and throughout Don't Stop, the singer does come off as feistier, even combative. Spin
  • Amazingly enough, what Don’t Stop sounds like more than anything else is what the pop future was promised to sound like after the electronica infiltration of mainstream around the time Annie first started making music (what we actually got is a different thing). Edge Boston
  • With Don't Stop, Annie has accomplished a rare feat-an intimate and human electronic pop album. These songs aren't cold and robotic, nor are they unearthly or bizarre. They're warm and breathtakingly pretty. The Daily Californian
  • Produced with thick warmth, strangely overlayed by an icy cold that conjures up images of ABBA as produced by Giorgio Moroder, it has a kind of futuristic nostalgia, like a memory of something very cool that hasn't happened yet. LAist

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Vagabond will be back next year
Posted at 11:58 AM, - 0 Comments

Vagabond left a message on their MySpace stating that they will be back next year with new material:

«Hi everyone: So sorry we haven't checked in for a while! As we announced a while back we're busy writing and recording new material. We want to have a new record ready for the new year which is why we have decided to stop touring for a bit and not release another single this side of Christmas. Pleeease bear with us. We'll be back with new music soon!! Much love. Vagabond.»
Meanwhile, if you want to be updated on the band's work in the Xenomania studios, you can follow Vagabond's Stephen Carter and Luke Fitton on Twitter:

twitter.com/vagabondstephen
twitter.com/lfitton

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Jessie Malakouti remix contest
Posted at 11:31 AM, - 0 Comments


Big Stereo is hosting a remix contest for Jessie Malakouti's "Standing Up For the Lonely". The winner’s remix will be included on the digital single release and will also receive software from Ableton.

Send your completed remix to bigstereoremixcontest@gmail.com by December 14th. Visit Big Stereo to download the parts.

Meanwhile, the Moto Blanco "Standing Up For the Lonely" remix is now available on Ministry Of Sound's 2010 Annual Dance Compilation.

"Standing Up For The Lonely" will be released digitally in January 2010.

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Xenomania on the new St. Trinian's soundtrack
Posted at 9:58 PM, 12 November 2009 - 0 Comments

The soundtrack to the film St. Trinian's II: The Legend of Fritton's Gold will have new songs produced by Xenomania. Sarah Harding, who stars in the film, has recorded three exclusive tracks with the team: "Too Bad", "Make It Easy" and "Boys Keep Swinging" (a David Bowie cover?).

The rest of the album includes other original Xenomania tracks recorded by the Banned of St Trinian's. The film will be in cinemas from December 18th and the soundtrack will be in shops on December 14th (pre-order it here). This is the tracklist:

1. Banned of St Trinian's - St Trinian's Theme
2. Sarah Harding - Too Bad
3. Banned of St Trinian's - Up And Away
4. The Saturdays - Lose Control
5. Banned of St Trinian's - We Got The Beat
6. Florence + The Machine - Kiss With A Fist
7. Sarah Harding - Make It Easy
8. Noisettes - Saturday Night
9. Banned of St Trinian's - I Can Get What I Want
10. Girls Can't Catch - Keep Your Head Up
11. Sarah Harding - Boys Keep Swinging
12. Dragonette - You're A Disaster
13. Banned of St Trinian's - Jump Off
14. Girls Aloud - I Predict A Riot (live)
15. Cast of St Trinian's - St Trinian's Theme

The first St Trinian's soundtrack, released in 2007, included three songs produced by Xenomania: "Sanctuary", recorded by Gabriella Cilmi, and Girls Aloud's "Theme To St. Trinian's" and "On My Way To Satisfaction".

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Girls Aloud hope to record new album next summer
Posted at 9:32 PM, - 0 Comments


Kimberley Walsh told Digital Spy that Girls Aloud are hoping to record their next album in the summer.

Girls Aloud are currently working on solo projects, but Kimberley explained that Brian Higgins will already be crafting the follow-up to last year's Out Of Control: «He'll be writing already. He'll have carried on writing even just when we finished the last album, so hopefully we'll get in the studio next year - summer, hopefully».

"We've never ever planned in terms of months or weeks. It's always a rush but that's part of the madness that actually helps us somehow," she said. «Maybe it's the pressure? Once we say, 'Right, we're going to come in and do an album', creatively [Brian] will be like 'Right right right!' I think sometimes that works better. We fly by the seat of our pants. We do everything last minute but it works.»

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Annie: "Brian Higgins is much more of a songwriter and is very focused on the actual writing of a song"
Posted at 9:30 PM, - 0 Comments

Annie recently mentioned in an interview that working with Xenomania on her latest album allowed her to focus more on the songwriting:

«Brian [Higgins] was working more with the songs and challenging me in many ways. I really liked that, and it was something I wanted to do more on this album; concentrate more on the actual songs and what I wanted to say and how I wanted it to represent me».

She added: «What I found so cool about working with him is that he's much more of a songwriter and is very focused on the actual writing of a song. That was very interesting for me. When you work with producers, they're thinking more about the production and they leave all the lyrics and songwriting to [the artist].»

Annie is now part of the Xenomania team, working on songwriting for other artists: «I never thought that was really possible to do, but Brian really liked my songwriting and asked if I'd be interested in writing for other artists as well since they don't work with all that many songwriters. For me, it was very inspiring to get to write other songs ― it made me think differently.»

Don't Stop will be released in the U.S. on 17th November. The album continues to receive an excellent response from the press. Here's an updated round-up of the reviews:

  • Xenomania-abetted lipstick-pop genius finally strikes. 8/10 NME
  • It's a delightful confection, filled with attention to detail and perfectly turned – and deserving of your attention. 4/5 The Guardian
  • With Don’t Stop she has created a vital pop record, one that in 2009 sounds even more relevant, vital and absolutely necessary than Anniemal did back when it was released. 90% onethirtybpm
  • It’s brilliant - packed full of the sort of songs that would get X Factor judges saying things like “Smashed it” and contains enough moments to inspire a whole second generation of wannabes like Little Boots. 7/10 Drowned In Sound
  • Featuring some of the most inventive producers in pop and steered by a singer who knows her way round a catchy melody or five, Don't Stop is one of the best pop albums of 2009. 4.5/5 musicOMH
  • A bold collection on which Annie rarely puts a foot wrong. 4/5 Uncut Magazine
  • Probably still unlikely to connect with a populace happy to make do with Akon and Jason Mraz, obviously, but an absolute triumph in every other sense. The Quietus
  • 12 slices of sublime pop genius, and one ranks right up there with the best contemporary female pop. BBC Music
  • It re-affirms Annie as the greatest pop star not to break through this decade. 8/10 Planet Sound
  • [A] juxtaposition of sadness and electro-pop ecstasy 3.5./5 Slant Magazine
  • This is an album packed with perfectly pitched electro-pop, atmospheric 80s-tinged ballads and brilliantly withering put-downs – what more could you ask for? 4/5 This is Leicestershire

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Xenomania castings: male rapper
Posted at 9:22 PM, - 0 Comments

Looking for: a rapper for a brand new Xenomania project.

Details: male rapper/lyricist, aged 16-19. Must have talent, enthusiasm and a commitment to a career in music.

E-mail your contact details, a photo and mp3s/YouTube/MySpace page to
thomas@jaynecollinscasting.com

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Miranda Cooper wins Red Magazine's "Creative" award
Posted at 12:46 PM, 04 November 2009 - 0 Comments

Miranda Cooper received the "Creative" award yesterday at the first Red's Hot Women Awards. The awards were created by Red Magazine to celebrate women's achievements in their workplace. The "Creative" category specifically celebrates achievements in the arts.

Upon receiving the award, Miranda thanked "the amazing artists" that she's worked with and "the amazing team" Xenomania, who are "a huge family down in Kent".

View the complete list of winners of the Red's Hot Women Awards 2009. You can also watch coverage of the ceremony on this link - Miranda Cooper receives her award at around 17 minutes of the video.


CREATIVE: teaching the world to sing
Winner: Miranda Cooper, Xenomania


«Miranda Cooper is one of the most powerful women in the UK music industry – not that you’ll have heard of her (although you’ve probably hummed her tunes). As co-owner of writing and producing pop-factory Xenomania, the 34-year-old is the driving force behind Girls Aloud, and has also written for Kylie and the Sugababes.

‘At Xenomania, we’re a one-stop-shop,’ says Cooper. ‘You used to be able to make a fantastic living out of just making records, but that’s not the case any more. We become partners with an artist in their brand, because our songs fuel a sizeable income for them, from modelling to sponsorship deals to private gigs in Russia. I’m involved in everything from styling to choreography.

‘Writing songs is an amazing form of escapism, but also intimate. We sit around with dictaphones and sing our hearts out. It’s like being naked in front of people – you worry everyone’s going to laugh at you.’ Sniggers are unlikely when the songs you’re singing are hits like Girls Aloud’s Call The Shots.»


What the judges said:

Amanda Ross: ‘It’s easy to be creative within a niche, much harder to do it so successfully with mass appeal.’

Jane Shepherdson: ‘It was important to award someone creative themselves. People might not know Miranda, but show them something she’s done, and they’ll recognise it.’

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Video: Mini Viva - I Wish
Posted at 3:09 PM, 03 November 2009 - 5 Comments



"I Wish" is the brand new single from Mini Viva, available to pre-order on iTunes from 9th November and out officially on 14th December.

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