Ah, spring. As the snow thaws, the sun warms our faces and city parks stink of six-months worth of dog shit.
It’s also the time when the music industry gears up for the major, big-name releases. The two most anticipated are discs by Madonna, whose Hard Candy drops on Tue, Apr 29, and Mariah Carey, who unleashes E=MC² on Apr 15. Incredibly, Carey’s new single “Touch My Body” has become her 18th number one single in the US and she is now in a position to overtake The Beatles if she hits 20. It’s quite the record for such a completely boring and predictable artist.
So expect more overly produced R’n’B slop clogging the air waves this summer. Interestingly, Mariah interprets “E=MC²” as “The emancipation of Mariah Carey to the second power” and is, sadly, nothing to do with scientific theory. Personally I think a scientific concept album would have been a lot more fun. Imagine a Carey cover of Thomas Dolby’s “She Blinded Me With Science.” Now wouldn’t that be entertaining?
Robyn, the pint-sized Swedish pop princess who gained fame in the late ’90s for her Max Martin-produced “Do You Know What It Takes,” is back and better than ever. Back then, she was basically chewed up and spat out by the music industry who wanted to mould her into a cash cow Britney/Christina clone. Robyn was having none of it, so she bailed and went it alone. By all accounts, she has come out on top with a string of brilliant singles released on her own Konichiwa Records label, including “Handle Me,” “Who’s That Girl” and the now well-known collaboration with electro act Kleerup “With Every Heartbeat.” Robyn fever is definitely spreading to this continent and she’s on a mini tour of North America, which includes Montreal on Sun, May 4 at Cabaret la Tulipe and Toronto on May 5 at Phoenix Concert Theatre. Don’t miss it! It should be packed to the rafters by, I imagine, a lot of gay boys.
Hipster faves Ladytron are back and releasing their new album Velocifero in June on Vancouver-based Nettwerk Records. The last album Witching Hour saw a major shift in sound and things should get even more interesting with Velocifero which was recorded in Paris and produced by Alessandro Cortini (Nine Inch Nails) and Vicarious Bliss (Justice). No word yet on a tour but it seems likely. Too bad they are so dull live.
You may have heard of Alphabeat by now. If you haven’t, keep your ears perked because this Danish pop group are ridiculously fun and their songs are infectiously catchy. Apparently they want to be taken seriously as they recently declined to open for The Spice Girls, not wishing to be viewed as disposable pop. Their song “Fascination” has gone top ten in the UK and they are definitely worth a download or two. Also, the group Matinee Club (formerly The Modern) are on the rise. The British electro-pop group have just been signed to Universal in Europe for a five album deal and the “Discotheque Francais” single has been remixed by the fantastic Manhattan Clique. If you like sweet dance pop beats, synthesizers and huge choruses, Matinee Club are for you. Happy listening!