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Annie's new album has leaked
Posted at 10:46 PM, 30 August 2008 - 4 Comments

Don't Stop has leaked in its entirety today. The album was scheduled for a release on October 6, but now it will most likely be out only in early 2009. Annie went to a studio in London a few weeks ago to record new songs and an intro, so it will probably have a slightly different tracklist from the planned one.

Don't Stop is Annie's second album. It includes collaborations with Alex Kapranos from Franz Ferdinand (who plays guitar on "Loco" and "My Love Is Better") and Frederik from Datarock (vocals on "I Can't Let Go"). Girls Aloud's voices are no longer heard on "My Love Is Better" (instead, Annie has recorded the background vocals herself). Don't Stop features production work from Xenomania, Richard X and Timo Kaukolampi. Brian Higgins has worked on the entire album's direction, as executive producer.

The track list of the leaked version looks like this:

01. My Love Is Better
(produced by Xenomania)
02. I Know UR Girlfriend Hates Me
(produced by Richard X)
03. Sweet
(produced by Xenomania)
04. Loco
(produced by Xenomania)
05. Bad Times
(produced by Xenomania)
06. I Can't Let Go
(produced by Timo Kaukolampi)
07. Marie Cherie
(produced by Timo Kaukolampi)
08. When The Night
(produced by Xenomania)
09. Heaven and Hell
(produced by Xenomania)
10. What Do You Want (The Breakfast Song)
(produced by Timo Kaukolampi)
11. Take You Home
(produced by Timo Kaukolampi)
12. Songs Remind Me Of You
(produced by Richard X)
13. Danny, Danny (bonus track)
(produced by Xenomania)

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"Brian Higgins' success now is entirely down to us", Bob Stanley jokes
Posted at 11:04 AM, - 1 Comments

Brian Higgins' collaborations with Saint Etienne began on the Motiv8 remixes of "Hug My Soul", in 1994, and "He's On The Phone", in 1995. "He's On The Phone" became one of the band's biggest hits, reaching the #11 position on the UK singles chart. Back then, Brian Higgins was only working as a "production assistant" with Steve Rodway. Now, Higgins leads the Xenomania powerhouse.

On an interview with the Manchester Evening News, Saint Etienne's Bob Stanley said, in a very tongue-in-cheek manner: «He was an engineer back then. So his success now is entirely down to us». Their relationship has endured until today, with Bob Stanley working part-time as an A&R at Xenomania, and Sarah Cracknell and Pete Wiggs contributing as freelance writers. Gabriella Cilmi's latest single, "Save The Lies", is an example of that collaboration.

Xenomania have also re-remixed Saint Etienne's "lost single" "Burnt Out Car", which, according to the article, is released on September 22. The album London Conversations: The Best of Saint Etienne follows on September 29.

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Nationwide Xenomania castings in October
Posted at 9:39 PM, 26 August 2008 - 1 Comments

Xenomania's MySpace has been updated with information about new auditions in October, in England. This time Xenomania Records are searching for both male and female singers and musicians. Dates and more details should be posted within the next weeks.


The latest: Saint Etienne, Annie, Gabriella Cilmi, Xeno castings
Posted at 10:41 PM, 21 August 2008 - 9 Comments

--- "Burnt Out Car 2008" release date:
The online stores that have the 7'' single available for pre-order seem to believe that it will be released on September 8. But Saint Etienne's Bob Stanley wrote two different posts today on the band's MySpace blog, each with a different release date (September 22nd and 15th). The most likely date is however September 15, as Bob added that the single will be out a day after Heavenly's 18th birthday party (St. Etienne headline on September 14). You can listen to a 30-second clip of "Burnt Out Car 2008" on BBC 6 Music and vote for it to gain some airplay.

--- Annie was in in London for a few days working on two new songs and an intro, to be added to the album Don't Stop.

--- Gabriella Cilmi's version of "Fly Me To The Moon" (produced by Xenomania, one of the b-sides of her new single "Save The Lies") is the soundtrack of ITV2's ad campaign. Cilmi also stars in the promo.

--- Female vocalists wanted for Xenomania label:
- Female Vocalist, 15–22 years -- Great voice, great looks
- Female Vocalist, 16-22 years -- Blonde, under 5’5” to join a new girl band
For more information contact info@jaynecollinscasting.com

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New Gabriella Cilmi single out today
Posted at 11:42 PM, 18 August 2008 - 1 Comments

Gabriella Cilmi's new single in the UK, "Save The Lies (Good To Me)", gets its official release as a maxi-CD today. Also available to buy are two digital EP bundles, one with remixes and the other with cover versions of Justin Timberlake's "Cry Me A River" and of the old standard "Fly Me To The Moon" (which has been recorded by Frank Sinatra, Connie Francis, Tony Bennett, among others).

The new radio version of "Save The Lies (Good To Me)" includes extra layers of vocals and synths. The song was written by Gabriella Cilmi, Miranda Cooper, Brian Higgins, Tim Powell, Bob Bradley (who was previously responsible for the opening bass riff on Sugababes' "Red Dress") and Saint Etienne's Bob Stanley & Pete Wiggs.

The single has been receiving mixed reviews. While some praise her attitude, enthusiasm and varied sonic styles, others have criticized the song's "cheap faux-feminist ‘empowering’ lyric" and Gabriella's similarities to the singer Anastacia, "notably in her contralto voice and noisy growl":

-- Teletext Planet Sound: «The Aussie sounds lean, mean and keen to show you a good time. Combining Sugababes production values with a tune that echoes Kylie & Robbie's Kids, it's pop with attitude.» 8/10
-- Manchester Evening News: «It's got hit running through it like a stick of rock. Shameless hussy.» 3/5
-- Digital Spy: «She may only be a whippersnapper, but Cilmi is already displaying the chameleon-like quality that every popstar needs.»

These are the formats and track lists of the single:

1. Save The Lies (Good To Me) – radio edit
2. Sweet About Me – Live Version
3. Cry Me A River – Live Version
4. Fly Me To the Moon

Digital downloads - EP1 (buy on iTunes)
1 Save The Lies (Good To Me) - radio edit
2 Save The Lies (Good To Me) - Kinky Roland mix
3 Save The Lies (Good To Me) - Mason vocal mix
4 Save The Lies (Good To Me) - Mason Dub mix
5 Save The Lies (Good To Me) - Out Of Office club mix
6 Save The Lies (Good To Me) - Out Of Office dub mix

Digital downloads - EP2 (buy on iTunes)
1. Save The Lies (Good To Me) – radio edit
2. Sweet About Me – Live Version
3. Cry Me A River – Live Version
4. Fly Me To the Moon

-- "Save The Lies" video
-- "Save The Lies" lyrics, information and reviews
-- Gabriella performing "Cry Me A River" live

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The greatest greatest hits album of 2008
Posted at 12:29 PM, 17 August 2008 - 2 Comments

Saint Etienne's new single premiered on BBC London radio on August 6th. "Burnt Out Car 2008" is a version re-remixed by Xenomania, which doesn't sound too dissimilar from the old Balearico remix. It was featured last Thursday on Popjustice as "song of the day" with a 30-second clip and a small write-up:

«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'.»

Last Monday Popjustice dubbed Saint Etienne's new compilation as "the greatest greatest hits album of 2008", with a picture of the CD out on a rooftop in London (stars above it, cars below it, etc.): "You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll have a little dance. What else could you want in a pop album?".

London Conversations: The Best of Saint Etienne is due out in the UK on September 29. It will be available in a single-disc condensed format, a double album and a 2CD+DVD boxed set with all of their music videos and a book-shaped package which contains exclusive artwork and sleeve notes by journalist Jon Savage.

Two new singles are set to be released from the compilation. The first of those, coming out on September 8th on CD and vinyl formats, is an update of "Burnt Out Car" produced by Xenomania (the 7'' vinyl is now available for pre-order). The second will be "This Is Tomorrow", a collaboration with Annie and Richard X.

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Annie rumors
Posted at 11:45 AM, - 2 Comments

There have been a few rumours floating around these past weeks regarding Annie's upcoming album and single. Supposedly, a source from her label claims that Don't Stop will suffer some changes, with Annie being sent back to a studio to record new songs. Because of this, her new album and single may be delayed until early 2009.

Last week Annie wrote a post on her blog which confirmed that she is indeed going to work on new songs: "This week I'm going to a studio in London, will be working some new songs....I'm really excited. Been writing some lyrics, and have lots of ideas bout the production..... yehaaaa...... will tell more later". Nothing else has yet been confirmed.

Annie's first single from Don't Stop, "I Know Ur Girlfriend Hates Me", spent one week in the UK singles chart, reaching #54. The expected second single, "My Love Is Better", was originally a collaboration with Franz Ferdinand's Alex Kapranos and Girls Aloud. However, Girls Aloud's label demanded their vocals to be removed, as they were "due to do promotion at the same time". Annie has since recorded all the backing vocals herself.

-- Annie News Corner
-- Annie topic on the Popjustice forum
-- Annie on MySpace
-- Annie's official site
-- Info about "My Love Is Better"

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Brian Higgins: «Sweet About Me is the finest record I have made»
Posted at 11:39 AM, - 3 Comments

The Manchester Evening News recently published an article about the success of Gabriella Cilmi's "Sweet About Me". Brian Higgins is quoted as having described the hit as "the finest record I have made".

Gabriella Cilmi talks about working with the producer: "He came to Australia and said to me: 'We're going to make this record and I won't let you down'," she recalls. "I think he's one of those people who really means what he says and it rubbed off on me. At first, we clashed over our different musical tastes. He made pop records for the Sugababes and Girls Aloud; and I was jamming back home with my mates playing Led Zeppelin. Janis Joplin was my idol. So at first, we really disagreed."

Cilmi adds: "Luckily, Brian knew how to work with me. When I first started off, I refused to sing anything soft or write anything a bit sensitive. But Brian played me the Rain Song and said: 'Look, even Led Zeppelin had a sensitive side.' And that's when I started thinking differently about things and experimenting."

Gabriella Cilmi, the youngest ever solo artist to top the ARIA charts in Australia, is also one of the new Australian acts that are helping to fuel a music industry recovery, according to the latest ARIA wholesale figures. Now, Cilmi is expected to to take on America, having signed a major record deal in the US (on the Republic imprint, which launched artists such as Mika and Amy Winehouse in America).

Gabriella Cilmi's new single, "Save The Lies", is released through Island Records tomorrow.

Trivia and facts about "Sweet About Me":

-- It's on the soundtrack of the game The Sims 2: Apartment Life.
-- It has been used in a commercial for Sure in the UK, as well as a commercial for Dove Bodywash.
-- It made Gabriella Cilmi the youngest Australian to reach the top of the Australian charts.
-- In the UK charts it entered at number 68 and began to steadily climb the charts, reaching its peak at #6.
-- It has so far spent 23 weeks in the UK Singles Top 75.
-- The Independent calls it "the sound of Summer".
-- The sound of "Sweet About Me" was inspired by a trip to Paris, after scouring second-hand record shops for French soundtracks from the '50s and obscure psychedelic albums.
-- Liam Gallagher says it is his favourite song of 2008.

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Annie Live iTunes Festival EP
Posted at 11:37 AM, - 0 Comments

Annie has released a five-track live EP of her performance at the iTunes Festival in London. It is available to download from the UK iTunes store. The EP features five songs from her upcoming album Don't Stop. The tracklist is as follows:

1. Loco
2. Take You Home
3. Songs Remind Me Of You
4. I Know UR Girlfriend Hates Me
5. What Do You Want (The Breakfast Song)

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New Girls Aloud album before Christmas
Posted at 10:00 AM, - 0 Comments

Cheryl Cole has revealed that Girls Aloud's 6th album will be out in time for Christmas: "We're releasing our album a little bit before Christmas, if everything goes according to plan. We're at the final stages vocally."

The Sun claims that the band's new single will be out in October, although it hasn't yet been chosen. "A source" told The Sun: “The girls are really excited about this one. They think it’s their best album yet. The last was their most successful so far and that has given them the drive to keep going. They have spent more time recording this one than they have in the past because they want to get it right.”


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