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Popjustice's exclusive playback of "Yes"
Posted at 7:04 PM, 26 February 2009 - 1 Comments

On 6th March Popjustice is hosting an exclusive playback of the new Pet Shop Boys album at London's Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA). It will be an early opportunity for fans to listen to Yes from beginning to end.

There'll be a full playback of the new album at 7pm in the ICA theatre followed by Peter Robinson (a.k.a. Mr. Popjustice) asking Chris and Neil questions posed by the fans. Then there'll be a full play back of the "etc." bonus album.

Entry to the event is free but it is required to register in advance. Click here to register and have your question put to Neil and Chris. If you're selected, you'll be notified by midnight on Tuesday March 3.

Pictured above is Popjustice's attempt at recreating the Yes sleeve using sweets. See the results of the "experiment" here.

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Neil Tennant: "Working at Xenomania reminded me of working at Smash Hits"
Posted at 11:54 AM, - 0 Comments

Pet Shop Boys on old cover of Smash Hits Pet Shop Boys' Neil Tennant has compared working with Xenomania to when he worked as a writer and assistant editor for defunct pop magazine Smash Hits.

Speaking to Q Magazine of their time with Brian Higgins, Tennant said: «He loves hit records, but he really takes the biscuit».

«Working at Xenomania reminded me of working at Smash Hits 'cos you've got this house full of people and they're all totally into music. They all have comments to make. A truly great atmosphere.»

Talking of their unorthodox studio methods, Tennant added that Higgins was supportive but "ruthless" with his opinion on the songs produced, saying: «You get marked [in a similar way to] on iTunes, where you have a star rating, and you get comments. You get quite chuffed: "Brian thinks my bridge is brilliant".»

This month's Q magazine has an interview with the duo and a review of Yes (rated 3/5).

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New Xenomania acts: live
Posted at 12:00 PM, 24 February 2009 - 0 Comments

--- Attitude Magazine's blog has written a review of Xenomania's showcase from earlier this month:
«Pop children alert! This week the good folk at Xenomania Records, producers of all sorts of pop brilliance from Girls Aloud to the new (and amazing) Pet Shop Boys long player, held a showcase of their new talent at Notting Hill Arts Club.

This secret society of top-notch songwriters/producers, who are usually holed up in a country house in Kent, were in London to show off the new talent they rounded up in 2008 and hope to launch in 2009. And we were there. GET US.

Attitude was particularly a digging Mini Viva, two 18-year-old ladies in leggings, hi-tops and a way round synth pop stormer. Basically, the look is two teens on a dance stepper and the vibe is catchy-as-hell pop.

Plus, boy wonder Alex Gardner was simply lush, as they say in the Valleys (possibly).

Basically, Xenomania + the kids from Fame should = the best thing to hit the charts since the last best thing. Check out Xenomania Records for all Xenomania’s children.»

--- Watch recent videos of Xenomania's children playing live: This is Alex Gardner performing "Yesterday's News":

And Vagabond playing "I've Been Wanting You":

--- Upcoming live shows:

24 Feb 2009, 10:00 PM - Zigfrid Von Underbelly, London, - £5
18 Mar 2009, 08:00 PM - Hoxton Bar & Kitchen, London, - £6

Mini Viva

25 Feb 2009 19:00 - Water Rats, London
4 Mar 2009 20:15 - Water Rats, London

Jessie Malakouti
24 Feb 2009, 07:00 PM - Zigfrid Von Underbelly, London
04 Mar 2009, 08:00 PM - Monto Water Rats, London
10 Mar 2009, 08:00 PM - The Dublin Castle , London
16 Mar 2009, 08:00 PM - Notting Hill Arts Club , London (invite only)
23 Mar 2009, 08:00 PM - Monto Water Rats w/Jefree Star , London
07 Apr 2009, 07:00 PM - Monto Water Rats , London

The Electric City
27 Feb 2009, 08:00 PM - West Rocks @ Shepards Bar *DJ set*, London
18 Mar 2009, 08:00 PM - The British Music Embassy @ Latitude 30, Austin, Texas
19 Mar 2009, 08:00 PM - offical SXSW showcase at WAVE, Austin, Texas
20 Mar 2009, 08:00 PM - SXSW, Austin, Texas
21 Mar 2009, 08:00 PM - SXSW, Austin, Texas
22 Mar 2009, 08:00 PM - SXSW, Austin, Texas

Vagabond (view all live dates)
Vagabond are giving away tickets for their next London show (March 3rd @ The Troubadour). Guest list is limited, so first come first served.
Email your name to: eliza@locomotionent.com.

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Xenomania article on Mirror.co.uk
Posted at 5:53 PM, 21 February 2009 - 0 Comments

British tabloid Daily Mirror has published today an article about Xenomania, "the secret hit factory that made Girls Aloud". Why? Because when Girls Aloud went onstage at the Brits to receive the award for Best British Single, Kimberley Walsh thanked Xenomania for writing "The Promise".

«Her words at Wednesday’s glitzy music awards were a rare public nod to Girls Aloud’s secret weapon for chart success – a small band of bubblegum pop creators called Xenomania», writes Matt Roper.

The article is pretty much a collection of quotes from Brian Higgins and Miranda Cooper from various interviews to other newspapers and magazines (which you can find on our press section). However, the article doesn't cite any source for those quotes...


New Pet Shop Boys video
Posted at 11:27 PM, 20 February 2009 - 2 Comments

The video for "Love Etc." has been made available. It's an animated video made by a Dutch digital artist called Han Hoogerbrugge. Watch it below:

Other videos that might be of interest:

x Love etc. (Gui Boratto Remix)
x Love etc. (Kurd Maverick remix)
x Some guy dancing to "Love etc."
x "Love etc." playing on a radio station in Brazil

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Sarah Cracknell: "We've never had any trouble with Xenomania"
Posted at 10:32 PM, - 0 Comments

Sarah Cracknell (from Saint Etienne) told Planet Sound that she's "surprised" that Franz Ferdinand were unable to work with Xenomania:

«We've never had any trouble with Xenomania. Maybe Franz weren't willing to let themselves go enough. I can't speak for them, but I'm surprised it couldn't have worked out.»

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"Untouchable" is the next Girls Aloud single
Posted at 8:57 PM, - 0 Comments

"Untouchable" has been officially announced today as Girls Aloud's new single. It will be released on April 27th, to coincide with the group's upcoming tour.

Meanwhile, Popjustice has promised to march on the Universal Music building if a "radio edit" of the song is announced. "Untouchable" really is untouchable.


Vagabond: what's new
Posted at 8:13 PM, - 0 Comments

-- Vagabond are today's "New band of the day" on the Guardian. Paul Lester writes: «It will be some – many – people's idea of class, of adult sophistication, of "sexy". Vagabond will appeal to lovers of smoov balladry with a hint of urban and to lapsed soul fans who remember old-style R&B when it was more about grit and sweat than tricksy time signatures and surface dazzle».

Vagabond are seen as «a surprising choice» for Xenomania: «It's funny, or ironic, or something, that a band with a penchant for the "real" and authentic should join forces with the new gods of synthetic pop, but like we say, you'd never know, really (although weirdly, one of their songs, I've Been Wanting You, sounds like New Order-style electro-pop crooned by Hucknall). All Xenomania have done is make all the component parts – the supple basslines, Stax-y keyboards, choppy guitars and That Voice – clear in the mix, so that you can revel in the singing and the dexterous musicianship, all the things that today's mainstream music buyers love».

Paul Lester adds that in Alex Vargas «they've got a regular curly-permed sex-hunk of a frontman who just happens to have one of the most impressive white soul voices since Mick Hucknall, Paul Young, Robert Palmer and Marti Pellow; it even recalls the young Steve Winwood with its thick, deep, rumbling bluesy quality».

--- Their debut LP You Don't Know The Half Of It is released May 25.

--- Debut single "Sweat (Until the Morning)" is released by Geffen on 11th May.

--- The video was shot last weekend in Las Vegas, in the Mojave desert. Paul Minor was the video director.

--- "Sweat (Until The Morning)" has received a bashment treatment with a remix by Toddla T.

--- Read a review of a recent Vagabond show:
«Vagabond played a short, tight set last week at Water Rats. They just keep getting better and better. Ladies down the front swooned over Irrepressible front man Alex Vargas, he really is one to watch.

Debut single “Sweat (Until The Morning)” sounds cracking live as does “I’ve Been Waiting” and “Don’t Wanna Run No More”. This guitar based six piece have an r&b pop sound like no one else.
We can’t wait for their debut album in May. Their producer Brian Higgins was in the audience on Tuesday.»
-- Vagabond will be the main support for the James Morrison UK tour starting next month.

Upcoming shows:
21 Feb 2009 20:00 Colosseum, Covertry
22 Feb 2009 20:00 King Tut’s, Glasgow
25 Feb 2009 20:00 The Fly, London
3 Mar 2009 21:00 The Troubadour London
9 Mar 2009 20:00 Portland Arms, Cambridge
10 Mar 2009 20:00 The Lanes, Bristol (Club NME)
11 Mar 2009 20:00 The Hub, Exeter (Vibraphonic Festival!)
12 Mar 2009 20:15 Water Rats London
13 Mar 2009 20:00 Marquee, Hertford
14 Mar 2009 20:00 The Cellars, Portsmouth Southsea
19 Mar 2009 20:00 Apollo , Manchester (Supporting James Morrison)
20 Mar 2009 20:00 Apollo , Manchester (Supporting James Morrison)
21 Mar 2009 20:00 Colston Hall , Bristol (Supporting James Morrison)
23 Mar 2009 20:00 Academy , Glasgow (Supporting James Morrison)
24 Mar 2009 20:00 Academy , Newcastle (Supporting James Morrison)
26 Mar 2009 20:00 Guildhall , Portsmouth (Supporting James Morrison)
27 Mar 2009 20:00 Uni Great Hall , Exeter (Supporting James Morrison)
28 Mar 2009 20:00 Theatre Severn , Shrewsbury (Supporting James Morrison)
30 Mar 2009 20:00 Hammersmith Apollo , London (Supporting James Morrison)
31 Mar 2009 20:00 Royal Albert Hall, London (Supporting James Morrison)
2 Apr 2009 20:00 Academy , Leeds (Supporting James Morrison)
3 Apr 2009 20:00 Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham (Supporting James Morrison)
4 Apr 2009 20:00 Academy, Birmingham (Supporting James Morrison)
6 Apr 2009 20:00 Academy, Sheffield (Supporting James Morrison)
7 Apr 2009 20:00 BIC, Bournemouth (Supporting James Morrison)

-- Links:
Vagabond on MySpace
Vagabond on YouTube
Vagabond on Facebook
Vagabond on Twitter

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"The Promise" wins Best British Single
Posted at 10:54 PM, 18 February 2009 - 1 Comments

Girls Aloud's "The Promise" won the year's Best British Single at the BRIT Awards tonight, voted by the public. It's the first BRIT award of the group's career. Coming onstage, the girls looked absolutely thrilled and happy (and a little bit drunk) - for a moment you could even see Nadine Coyle and Sarah Harding singing the song as they walked the stage. Kimberley Walsh thanked Xenomania "for writing an amazing song".

"The Promise" is a song written by Brian Higgins, Carla Marie Williams, Jason Resch, Kieran Jones and Miranda Cooper and produced by Brian Higgins/Xenomania. Congratulations to Girls Aloud and Xenomania!

Girls Aloud receiving the award
Girls Aloud performing "The Promise"

To end the ceremony, Pet Shop Boys received the "Outstanding Contribution to Music" and performed a medley of the duo's classics. Among them, was Pet Shop Boys' brand new single "Love etc." and "All Over The World", from their new album Yes. Watch the full performance here.

Congratulations to Pet Shop Boys!

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Preview the new Pet Shop Boys album
Posted at 6:01 PM, - 10 Comments

You can now hear 30-second clips of all the songs from Yes on iTunes UK. Pet Shop Boys release their new album on March 23rd, preceded by the single “Love etc.” on March 16th.

The duo will receive the "Outstanding Contribution to Music" award at the Brit Awards 2009 tonight. They will end the show with a medley of Pet Shop Boys classics, produced by Stuart Price, with performances by Lady Gaga and Brandon Flowers.

The show is broadcast live in the UK on ITV1 from 8 - 10 pm with further coverage continuing after on ITV2. In addition, BBC Radio 2 will be broadcasting live from the event from 9 - 10.30 pm. You can watch online here.

Parlophone has put together a video medley of Pet Shop Boys' greatest hits as a tribute to the band and has also written a chronology that details the duo's extensive career. Here's the 2009 chronology, which documents their work with Xenomania:
2009 – January
On January 12 the Girls Aloud single, “The Loving Kind”, is released and reaches the top ten. It is a song co-written by the Pet Shop Boys and Girls Aloud’s regular producers, Xenomania, the British production team led by Brian Higgins, and was originally written in sessions for the next Pet Shop Boys album. When Chris expressed reservations about the song – “I didn’t think it was breaking new ground for us” – Brian Higgins asked whether he could record it with Girls Aloud, an idea they eagerly encouraged. “Thrilled to pieces by that,” says Chris.

2009 – February
On February 18 the Pet Shop Boys are given the Outstanding Achievement Award at the Brit awards, and invited to perform at the close of the ceremony. “I think we’re really accepting this award on behalf of pop music, more than anything,” says Chris beforehand. “A very underrated form of music.”

2009 – March
On March 16 the single “Love etc.” is released. It is written with, and produced by, Xenomania, and was planned as the first single from early on in the sessions for the new Pet Shop Boys album: “I think it somehow manages to sound like typical Pet Shop Boys without sounding like any record we’ve ever made before. It’s a post-lifestyle anthem. I think it’s quite appropriate for the time. What the credit crunch seems to reveal is: if you take the shopping out of society then precisely what is left? The song is saying life isn’t just about wealth and shopping.”

2009 – March
On March 23 the album Yes is released. Unlike their previous album, when the Pet Shop Boys first started writing songs for what would become Yes they had no fixed scheme either sonically or in terms of subject matter. “We ended up writing a group of really poppy songs,” says Neil, “and therefore we decided we would approach the producers Xenomania because they seemed to us like the most interesting and imaginative pop producers at the moment.” Three of the eleven songs on the final album would also be written with Xenomania: “It’s an interesting process. It stretches you and brings new things into your vocabulary.” Johnny Marr - “he famously years ago described himself as the Carlos Alomar of the Pet Shop Boys” – returns to play guitar and also the harmonica, the instrument’s first appearance on a Pet Shop Boys record. “We can’t seem to remember how we came up with the title Yes,” says Neil. “Our official story is that we may have taken it from the famous Yoko Ono exhibition in 1967 where you had to climb up a step ladder – as John Lennon famously did - pick up a magnifying glass, look at a tiny word written on the ceiling, and the word was ‘yes’. I think it partly came from that.” (Chris adds: “We thought No was a bit negative.”)


"London Conversations: The Best Of Saint Etienne" is out today
Posted at 1:49 PM, 16 February 2009 - 0 Comments

London Conversations: The Best Of Saint Etienne hits stores in the UK today. It's the band's fifth anthology, marking the start of a campaign to remaster and reissue their entire back catalogue.

The Quietus reviewed the compilation today, saying that it is «a comprehensive history of a band that believes in the art of pop»:

«From the baggy-meets-Balearic sound of 1991's debut 'Only Love Can Break Your Heart' through incursions into Northern Soul and Techno, via proto-Britpop, to recent collaborations with the Xenomania hit factory, Saint Etienne have always produced a carefully crafted dialogue between a nostalgic delight in (and archivist's knowledge of) pop culture's golden age(s), and thoroughly modern production.»

London Conversations comes in three different formats:

1) 2xCD + DVD housed in a Booklet format
2) 2XCD
3) 2XLP

The expanded edition includes an extra disc with all the band's videos. The DVD is housed in an exclusive book-shaped package with exclusive artwork and sleeve notes by music journalist Jon Savage.

Find out more about the formats and tracklists here.

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What the Internet thinks: "Love etc."
Posted at 7:56 PM, 15 February 2009 - 0 Comments

The reactions to Pet Shop Boys' new single, "Love Etc.", have definitely been very positive. It is being acclaimed as the duo's best single in many years and it is even receiving high praises from people who admit to not being fans of Pet Shop Boys.

The song has been praised for being very subtle, dark and minimalistic and yet being very addictive. A number of reactions have also noted how the reciprocal love between Xenomania and Pet Shop Boys is made very clear in the song.

Some of the best moments in the song that people have pointed out include the stadium-chant glam chorus, Neil Tennant's ageless voice, the tingling synth line, the observational lyrical style and the ravishing melody.

Listen to the song and read some reviews.

Pet Shop Boys release "Love etc." on Parlophone Records on March 16th. The single was co-written by Pet Shop Boys with Xenomania, who also produced the track. It will be released on 2 CD singles and as two digital bundles.

These are the formats and tracklistings:

1. Love etc.
2. Gin and Jag

1. Love etc. (Album version)
2. Love etc. (Pet Shop Boys mix)
3. Love etc. (Gui Boratto remix)
4. Love etc. (Kurd Maverick remix)
5. Love etc. (Frankmusik Star & Garter dub)
6. Love etc. (Kurd Maverick dub)

Digital Bundle 1
1. Love etc.
2. We're all criminals now
3. Vulnerable
4. Did you see me coming?

Digital Bundle 2
1. Love etc. (Pet Shop Boys mix)
2. Love etc. (Gui Boratto remix)
3. Love etc. (Kurd Maverick remix)
4. Love etc. (Frankmusik Star & Garter dub)


No new Girls Aloud album this year
Posted at 7:28 PM, - 0 Comments

Girls Aloud's official web site confirms that the next Girls Aloud album will only be released next year. The band have just signed a new record deal with Fascination/Polydor for a minimum of three more albums. Girls Aloud will be doing «various bits and pieces on their own outside of Girls Aloud this year».

It seems like the group is set to be working with Xenomania, as The Sun reports that Cheryl Cole has studio time booked with Xenomania after the Girls Aloud tour finishes in the summer.


Special edition of "Yes" comes with bonus CD
Posted at 7:23 PM, - 5 Comments

From Pet Shop Boys' official web site:

«Along with the regular release of “Yes” on March 23rd, there’ll be a double-CD release including a bonus CD which Pet Shop Boys have titled “etc.”

The first track on it is a new Tennant/Lowe song, produced by Xenomania, called “This used to be the future”, which features vocals by Neil, Chris and guest vocalist Philip Oakey from The Human League. The other six tracks on “etc.” are instrumental dub mixes by Xenomania and Pet Shop Boys of tracks from “Yes”. (The inspiration for this bonus album came from The Human League’s 1982 dub album, “Love and Dancing”.)

The full track-listing of “etc.” is as follows:
1 This used to be the future
2. More than a dream (Magical dub)
3. Pandemonium (The stars and the sun dub)
4. The way it used to be (Left of love dub)
5. All over the world (This is a dub)
6. Vulnerable (Public eye dub)
7. Love etc. (Beautiful dub)

“Yes, Pet Shop Boys etc.” will also have a simultaneous digital release.»

Read reviews of Yes from Attitude Magazine and The Quietus.


New Xenomania acts: Mini Viva
Posted at 6:20 PM, 09 February 2009 - 0 Comments

Mini Viva are Frankee Connolly and Britt Love, a new pop duo that is being launched by Xenomania. They've been playing a few gigs and last year they released their first single "Left My Heart In Tokyo" on limited 10" vinyl (with Japanese-style packaging).

The release only contained remixes by the French producer and DJ Fred Falke (known for his collaborative work with Alan Braxe). "Left My Heart In Tokyo" was the first single on new London-based label World's Finest Records.

Popjustice has written about Mini Viva today, saying that «they're quite brilliant in their own right and would be worth writing about even if Bono was beehind the whole thing».

Listen to some songs:

Left My Heart In Tokyo (live)
Left My Heart In Tokyo (Treasure Fingers Remix)
Left My Heart In Tokyo (Fred Falke Dub Mix)
Bedroom Viba + Breakfast Club


YouTube channel
World's Finest Records

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New sound clips: Xenomania vaults + Jessie Malakouti
Posted at 6:13 PM, - 0 Comments

Xenomania's official MySpace page has been updated today with new demo clips of Jessie Malakouti and an instrumental track titled "Theme From Xenomania" (!):
«Then there's also a demo clip of a new track by Jessie Malakouti called "Baby Don't Ask Me". Jessie's busy revamping her Myspace site - there are new photos up right now, and you'll also be able to find this demo plus a couple more at www.myspace.com/jessiemalakouti later today.

And finally on the player.....in the first of an occasional series, we're going to post demo clips from the Xenomania vaults. The first one is called "Theme From Xenomania" and it's there right now for your listening pleasure. There will be more to come so keep checking back....

We'll have more for you in the next couple of days about a couple of other new acts. More on that soon.»

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New Xenomania acts: live videos
Posted at 1:37 PM, - 0 Comments

It seems like tonight there will be a big Xenomania private party/gig at the Notting Hill Arts Club in London. If you haven't been invited, have a look at these recent live videos of some of the new bands that have been working with Xenomania. First up is Vagabond, who we already told you about, performing their debut single "Sweat (Until The Morning)":

The Electric City playing a new song called "Rapture":

Mini Viva singing "Left My Heart In Tokyo":

Two members of Pageboy doing an acoustic set:

That's Brooke Gengras singing. Quite brilliant, isn't she?

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Listen to the new Pet Shop Boys single
Posted at 8:00 PM, 05 February 2009 - 3 Comments

The new Pet Shop Boys single, "Love Etc.", was co-written and produced by Xenomania. It will be released on March 16th.


New Xenomania acts: Vagabond
Posted at 7:51 PM, 01 February 2009 - 0 Comments

Vagabond are one of Xenomania's new acts, a young five-piece pop/rock band with a bluesy and soulful sound. The group consists of Alex Vargas (vocals, acoustic guitar), Stephen Carter (backing vocals, guitar), Luke Fitton (backing vocals, guitar), Sam Odiwe (bass) and Karl Penney (drums).

They met in the Xenomania studio («we were a band before we even knew it», says guitarist Luke Fitton) and have been crafting their sound under the guidance of Brian Higgins. They are the first band signed to the newly-revived Geffen label. Since playing their first acoustic show less than six months ago, their time has been spent between studio work and national touring.

Frontman Alex Vargas (who is very reminiscent of Michael Hutchence) explains Vagabond's sound: «Soul is the thread that runs through everything we do. Our tastes span pop, rock, lounge, funk and blues, but it's these clashes that make us interesting, that make us who we are». Some of the influences listed on the band's MySpace include Sly & The Family Stone, Hall & Oates, The Spencer Davis Group, Cat Stevens, Sam Cooke, INXS and Duran Duran.

Their first release was More Than You Take, a limited 12'' EP with two versions of "More Than You Can Take" plus "Do You Fear Me?" and "Go".

Music Week says that «the Xenomania production team is onto a winner with Vagabond: this is top-shelf pop with international ambitions». Popjustice has written two articles about the band and says that Vagabond «are definitely more at home on the side of Gabriella Cilmi than, say, an electrocybermetal balls-out techno rock troupe, and they won't be to all your tastes».

However, Popjustice points out that a couple of the tracks do sound like "proper Xenomania". "I've Been Wanting You" is «electronic and exciting and very very good indeed», and "More Than You Can Take" is «enjoyable in an early-2000s George Michael sort of way».

The debut album from Vagabond (tentatively titled You Don't Know the Half Of It! - a line from the song "Smile Of Mona Liza") arrives summer 2009. Their first single, "Sweat (Until The Morning)", is due this spring. Popjustice indicates that the single «starts off pretending to be 'Unfinished Sympathy' then slides into a slick, orchestral funk sort of 'affair' which doesn't really sound very good on the first listen but ends up hitting the spot about halfway through the fourth spin».

Listen to some songs:

More Than You Can Take
I Know A Girl | live
Sweat Until The Morning
I've Been Wanting You
I Said Hello
Do You Fear Me?


Vagabond on MySpace
Vagabond on YouTube
Vagabond on Twitter
Vagabond on Facebook
Vagabond on Bebo
Vagabond on IMEEM
Vagabond on Last.fm
Vagabond press release

Upcoming shows:

3 Feb 2009 19:30 -- Water Rats London
7 Feb 2009 20:00 -- Oakford Social Club, Reading
8 Feb 2009 20:00 -- Charlotte, Leicester
9 Feb 2009 21:00 -- Notting Hill Arts Club (Private Show) London
10 Feb 2009 20:00 -- Dry Bar, Manchester
11 Feb 2009 20:00 -- Cockpit, Leeds
12 Feb 2009 20:00 -- Rockhouse, Derby (Club NME)
18 Feb 2009 20:00 -- 229, London (Club Fandango!)
21 Feb 2009 20:00 -- Colosseum, Covertry
22 Feb 2009 20:00 -- King Tut’s, Glasgow
25 Feb 2009 20:00 -- The Fly, London London
3 Mar 2009 21:00 -- The Troubadour London
9 Mar 2009 20:00 -- Portland Arms, Cambridge
10 Mar 2009 20:00 -- The Lanes, Bristol (Club NME)
11 Mar 2009 20:00 -- The Hub, Exeter (Vibraphonic Festival!)
12 Mar 2009 20:15 -- Water Rats London
13 Mar 2009 20:00 -- Marquee, Hertford
14 Mar 2009 20:00 -- The Cellars, Portsmouth

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Franz Ferdinand: "Working with Xenomania was just so wrong that we thought it may be right"
Posted at 5:53 PM, - 0 Comments

Franz Ferdinand have been speaking a lot in interviews about their unsuccessful recording sessions with Xenomania. The band began recording their third album with the pop production house in 2008, but ended up ditching the sessions later in the year. Their latest album, Tonight, was recently released.

They have been constantly asked in interviews about the reason why things didn't work out, and what they have learned from the experience. Long story short, it didn't work out with Xenomania because of some irreconcilable methods (they even had a "huge barney" in front of Brian Higgins over a drum beat...). They say that Brian Higgins' process of working with his team of ten or so people was too messy - they have specific staff in their organisation working on areas like lyrics, melodies or beats and Franz Ferdinand operate the same way, so the band felt it was "a case of too many cooks".

Franz Ferdinand also felt "amazed" by some people's reaction to their collaboration: «I think it says a lot about the prejudices a lot of people have, everyone from other musicians to fans and journalists, about bands like us and people like Xenomania. And the idea that those worlds could never come together.»

Here are few interesting excerpts from interviews:

--- «We spent a couple of weeks with Brian and went down to their studio in Kent. We had a great time there and they are very inspiring, lovely people but it had very little impact on the record in the long run. It just wasn’t right for us. What worked on paper didn’t work when we got there. They make music in a different way to us. They’re used to writing their own songs and we’re used to writing our own. We don’t need them to write songs for us. But I do love them and they are a lot more innovative than many other contemporaries.”

--- When asked what they took away from their time with Brian Higgins's company, singer Alex Kapranos joked: "Some crockery, some silverware. All the Girls Aloud master tapes!"
Bassist Bob Hardy commented: "Xenomania had an amazing work ethic. After we spent a couple of days with them, we worked a little bit harder when we got back to Glasgow."
Kapranos continued: "I enjoyed it. It was really interesting to see how they worked. It was an eye opener."

--- Alex Kapranos: «I was always kind of interested to see how Xenomania worked. Their idea of writing in a modular way – sometimes you sketch down ideas, record melodies or improvise as we sit around on the session. It’s not a conventional style they use, but if there’s a way of saying the way they write …
«They have a target and know what they’re writing for whereas we write and that’s the adventure. The surprise is the reward.»
«Certain rules went down that weren’t liked. Nick and I had a huge barney in front of Brian Higgins over the whole high-hat scoop drum beat [the signature beat that held down much of their debut] as daft as it sounds…»

--- «Working with Xenomania was just so wrong that we thought it may be right. Brian Higgins is a guy who's used to working with manufactured pop groups, and the process of working with his team of ten or so people was just too messy. They have specific staff in their organisation working on areas like lyrics and we operate the same way with our Franz Ferdinand organisation. The result was a case of too many cooks. I'm not disappointed because I think it worked out best for everyone in the end.»

--- «The way Xenomania work is that there is a group of them and one of them will do the melodies and one will do the lyrics and then someone on beats and keyboards so it’s very similar to how we work. In a way they’re a band on their own and we didn’t need their expertise as we have our own.»

--- «I love their unconventional attitude to pop music. The structures and sounds of their songs are really radical. But they're a set of writers, even more than producers, and we're a set of writers as well and we didn't want anybody else writing songs for us. It was almost like asking another band to produce your record and write for you. It didn't seem to ring true. But it was a good experience. I came away feeling very positive from it.»

--- «I was really amazed by the way people reacted to that. I think it says a lot about the prejudices a lot of people have, everyone from other musicians to fans and journalists, about bands like us and people like Xenomania. And the idea that those worlds could never come together.
«But I loved the ideas that those guys had and they've made some very interesting records. Their songs are unpredictable, they are novel, they are original yet they still have an extremely strong sense of melody and that's everything I wanted Franz Ferdinand to be.»
«(...) they are so used to writing everything and maybe we couldn't get our heads around that or it would have taken a really long time to work out the record. We got on well, we had a really, really good time but it wasn't going to be right.»

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