Kylie Minogue has revealed on Twitter that she is recording new material with Xenomania. She posted this message:
«Been in the studio again...this time with Xenomania!! Worked w so many great people so far...whooop!!!...more and more songs for you all!!»
Music critic Neil McCormick has also revealed this on Twitter:
«Brian Higgins (Mr Xenomania) tells me he's doing the new Kylie album. Trying something "a bit deeper" that reflects "her experience". Hmm.»
Kylie is currently working on the follow-up to the album X (2007), which is expected to be released in April. Other confirmed and rumoured songwriters and producers include Scissor Sisters, Calvin Harris, RedOne, Nerina Pallot and Richard Stannard.
Alex Gardner's debut single "I'm Not Mad" had its first play yesterday morning on Radio 1. It was featured on the Music Generator, on Fearne Cotton's show. Click the player above to listen to the song (skip to 00:44:30).
Alex will be performing at the New to Q show tomorrow night at the Tabernacle, London. He will be the opening act of the night, right before I Blame Coco and Mike Snow.
Here are a few things that have recently been written about Alex:
The songs are downbeat love songs, something Xenomania can do very well (Call the Shots, I Wish) and his gorgeous voice is striking. This is what differentiates him from a lot of male pop singers but what differentiates him from some acoustic signers like Paolo Nutini or James Morrison is that the songs aren’t dull. The only thing that may be missing is personality which doesn’t exactly shine through but it’s still early and with a decent video that could change and being good looking won’t harm him. Xenomania have transformed him from another acoustic singer to a singing and songwriting pop star. No male singer that’s been trying to do this sort of thing has broken through recently but he could be the one. It’s fair to say that Alex Gardner is a good package. The Chemistry Is Dead
The latest name to emerge from the talent pool that is the Xenomania production stable, UK teenager Alex Gardner arrives at a time when the solo male in the 2010 pop arena is a dime a dozen, and should benefit from this as he looks to make an impact in the charts in the new year. Under the production guidance of Xenomania heads Brian Higgins and Miranda Cooper, Gardner has co-written a collection of big, radio friendly pop songs. Music Week
Expressive, soulful vocals blaring out of a skinny white kid from the U.K., laid over some synths and a mid-temp dance beat? Hey, it certainly worked for Rick Astley. Idolator
Young, pretty and backed by Xenomania, if any young bloke can make it on today’s female-dominated pop market it’s Alex Gardner. The 18-year-old Scot can sing too which is a plus, and he wields a guitar like he means it. RealMusic Blog
Xenomania artists include: Mini Viva, Gabriella Cilmi, Alesha Dixon, Alphabeat, Girls Aloud, Franz Ferdinand, Kylie, Annie, Sugababes.
"Pop's coolest record label ever" (GQ) "With an overload of hooks and enough background detail to keep geeks enthralled, Xenomania's work is the pure, uncut Pop rush" (New York Magazine) "....the future of British pop is being shaped by Brian Higgins -a Phil Spector for the 21st Century" (The Sunday Observer) "One of the countries biggest hit factories" (BBC News) “If you take all of Xenomania’s writing and production credits together, they've had more UK top 10 hits than Madonna, Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears put together.” (NME)
The second solo album by British pop singer Rachel Stevens, of S Club 7 fame, "Come and Get It" was deemed a chart failure and Ms. Stevens's musical career was put on indefinite hold although the album was a critical success, even making a list of the "1000 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die." It has gone on to become a sort of cult phenomena in the U.K. The album spawned the singles "Negotiate with Love," "So Good," "I Said Never Again (But Here We Are)," as well as underground hits "Crazy Boys" and "Nothing Good about This Goodbye."
Xenomania in excelsis, and one of the ’Babes finest moments
Probably one of Xenomania’s most perfect tracks, ‘Round Round’ is mean, it’s taut, it’s sexy and it’s awesome. Preceding ‘Sound Of The Underground’ by several months, it never falls into the slightly nudge-nudge Carry On ‘knowing’ territory that Girls Aloud often do – Sugababes were by far the cooler proposition. The chugging, locomotive introduction and whip-smart rhythms are totally dancefloor irresistible and the classic Destiny’s Child you-ain’t-all-that lyrics (“I don’t need no man, got my kicks for free”) perfectly nonchalant, in the days when they could still draw on Mutya’s sultry drawl.
"Biology" is all hooks—sprouting in all directions, stuffed with more complex subtext than they're often credited with, hooks that build and build until "they give it up, and then they take it away/a girl's got to zip it up, and keep her head in the shade." And that's not even the chorus, or at least not the only one. You can't mistake their biology, but whatever Girls Aloud's genesis or growth, the reason they're so beloved is because they're pretty infallible at making this kind of surprisingly, loveably deep (with hooks, with ideas, with personality) pop.
While the girls themselves spent the decade looking impossibly glamorous (and occasionally, in the wee small hours, a bit “tired and emotional”), evil genius Brian Higgins and his Xenomania writing/production team have doggedly applied themselves to creating some of the finest, shiniest pop records of all time.
From the moment Sound of the Underground’s driving surf guitar riff merged into those retro electro beats and that urgent, panicky vocal about “water running in the wrong direction”, it was clear we were in uncharted territory. Since then, Higgins and co have barely put a foot wrong. From the plangent twang of No Good Advice to the frankly bonkers free-for-alls of The Show and Biology, this singles collection is pure, lipglossed pop perfection.
Purists can talk all they want about innovation, sincerity and credibility, but as much as it might hurt them to admit, the quest for the perfect pop song will always remain music's ultimate goal. If, by the time of their second album What Will The Neighbours Say?, Girls Aloud had stepped out the shadow cast by Popstars: The Rivals, with Chemistry, their third album, the foxy five-piece took a stiletto heel to any memory of the reality show and stomped it to death. They were a real band, with killer songs.
Of course, Brian Higgins and the rest of the Xenomania hit-making team were the real geniuses, but could anyone have delivered this album's closer ‘Racey Lacey’, which lambastes promiscuous females, with such tongue-in-cheek brilliance? And no matter what anyone says, ‘Biology’ is among the best singles of the last 20 years.
With two weeks to go before ABBA World - the world's first officially endorsed ABBA exhibition - opens, The Times has published an article about the Swedish group.
Brian Higgins of Xenomania was interviewed for the occasion. He says that ABBA's "SOS" was «the benchmark song I chose to indicate the direction I wanted us to aim for. That was the standard we aspired to reach melodically».
He also says: «They were great, great records: great chords, beautifully played, clever arrangements and often an incredible musical motif that often matched the main vocal melody in quality. That’s incredibly difficult to do well and yet that’s what they delivered time and time again. Finally, the girls could really sing. They made beautiful sounds, which made every lyric totally believable.»
ABBA World, a 25-room touring exhibition featuring interactive and audiovisual activities, will be open at Earl's Court Exhibition Centre in London, England, from January 27th to March 28th.
Gabriella Cilmi's forthcoming second album Ten is set to be released on March 22nd. The album has one song produced by Xenomania, titled "Hearts Don't Lie".
Gabriella told Digital Spy: «I only did one track with Xenomania, but it's a bloody unreal track called 'Hearts Don't Lie' that could be one of my favourites. The chorus is like the Bee Gees and the bass line is so funky!».
She added that "Hearts Don't Lie" is possibly «the most surprising track» on the album. Ten will feature «lots of uptempo funk and disco-inspired numbers designed to make people groove».
In addition to working with Xenomania (who produced her debut album Lessons To Be Learned), Cilmi has also been in the studio with Dallas Austin, Greg Kurstin and upcoming British production team Invisible Men (one of its members is Jon Shave, who used to work with Xenomania).
"On A Mission", the first single from the album, was produced by The Invisible Men and will be released digitally on Sunday 7th March. The album follows on 22nd March and is now available to pre-order on Play.com.
Other music blogs say that Xenomania's production «gives his music that oomph it was lacking» (We Are Pop Slags) and that Alex Gardner is «one of the most exciting new male pop voices to look out for in 2010» (arjanwrites).
News Shopper has published an interview with Alex. He talks about his partnership with Brian Higgins: «With me and Brian it's different. I had an idea of what I wanted to do. He had an idea of what he wanted me to do. And it was bang in the middle.»
His debut album is set for release in the summer: «I have enough for a double-disk, with b-sides, which is a great situation to be in – the struggle of ‘I can’t take that one off’, ‘I’ve got to keep that one’.»
Alex Gardner will play at the New To Q session at Tabernacle, Powis Street, London, on January 27, alongside I Blame Coco and Miike Snow. After that he plays a series of headline shows up and down the UK, plus a gig at the Jazz Café in Camden as special guest to Paloma Faith.
HMV's 10 next big things of 2010 Scottish singer-songwriter Gardner has been described as a "male Duffy". The former model has been working with Xenomania producer Brian Higgins, who has successful collaborated with the likes of Girls Aloud to Franz Ferdinand. Gardner's debut album is due out in March.
Daily Star - Ones to watch in 2010 A GUITAR-playing, soul-pop male vocalist is probably not the obvious choice for pop factory Xenomania to team up with but the fusion works to create timeless tunes for a lazy summer’s day.
Music Week - 10 for 2010 The latest act to emerge from Xenomania masterminds Brian Higgins and Miranda Cooper, UK teenager Gardner has co-written a collection of big, radio-friendly pop songs that have been winning early support from radio programmers in the run-up to his debut album release next year. Signed to Universal label A&M, home to Duffy and fellow hopefuls Chapel Club, Gardner will be subject to a campaign getting underway in March with the release of lead single I'm Not Mad. This will be followed in June by a second single and his as-yet-untitled debut album. A&M managing director Simon Gavin says the initial response to his music has given his label confidence. "We always believed very strongly in Alex, his album was one of the most complete pop records I've heard in some time, but it's been comforting to hear that radio is on the same page. We've had a unanimous thumbs-up from that area, and at a programming level everyone feels like Alex is an artist that can really work across the board, in what is quite a fragmented radio market. We feel he has something that will fit in all areas." The early campaign has included support dates with Paulo Nutini and The Script. Gardner was also part of the line-up of artists that performed at Xenofest, Xenomania's summer showcase.
It's clear that the world needs a new Girls Aloud album. It shouldn't be too long now - if the Daily Star is to be believed, the girls will reunite with production team Xenomania in the summer.
Meanwhile, Girls Aloud fans have launched an online campaign to restore the group's record-breaking chart run. On 3 May 2009, "Untouchable" reached number 11 in the UK Singles Chart. It was the first Girls Aloud single to miss out on a top 10 placing, thus being their lowest charting single to date.
Fans of the girl group have now set up a Rage Against The Machine-style Facebook group to give the single a second chance and get it on the top 10. To do this, they are going to choose a specific week (to be defined) to download the song and/or its remixes from any download site that counts towards the chart.
The online music publications have been publishing the inevitable "best of the year" lists. This is the third (and final?) round-up of the Xenomania songs/albums that appear on those lists. (See part one and two)
Even though it came from an '08 LP, even though it was chopped up like a cheap cut of meat for its single release, and even though it ended GA's run of top ten hits, we couldn't not include this sublime disco-pop torch song. They'll be back next year, right? Right?!
29. Mini Viva: 'Left My Heart In Tokyo'
The debut from Mini Viva - a.k.a. lively Northerners Britt and Frankee - proved once again that a day without a Xenomania pop song is like a donut without the post-gobble guilt, a silent trump without the private smirk, a Daily Mail diatribe without the... we'll stop there.
41. Pet Shop Boys: 'Love etc' Like lots of pop fans, DS got the horn when we heard the Pets were teaming up with Xenomania. The blood kept rushing south thanks to 'Love Etc', an electro gem with a call-and-response hook, a timely message and a nod to trendy artist Gerhard Richter.
It was great to have the Pet Shop Boys back with a new album and after watching them steal the show on this year’s Brit Awards when they received the life time achievement award and sang the track All Over the World which has Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker March woven into the song from their new album Yes. The album is one of their best albums for years and includes the excellent Love Etc, The Way It Used to be and Did You See It Coming. It was produced by Xenomania, the production team behind Girls Aloud, and there are a couple of songs I could imagine the girls singing More Than a Dream being one.
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.