Tag Archives: Marina & The Diamonds

TURN IT UP TUESDAY: What’s New In Stores This Week (March 17)

The "Butterfly" effect.

The “Butterfly” effect.

As the SXSW festivities get people loaded into Austin, the album chart is about to get loaded with a number of big releases. It’s certainly a diverse list, much like the conference. Here are the albums and singles that are new in stores for the week of March 17:

  • It was quite a roller coaster ride last night as Kendrick Lamar‘s To Pimp A Butterfly album was uploaded, then erased and then uploaded again at iTunes in multiple versions, followed by Spotify, Amazon and other retailers. It appears that everything is now in place for proper sales and data numbers to take effect and the album will almost certainly be at the top of next week’s Billboard 200. Given the early kerfuffle, it’s unclear just how well this will do, but plan on some good commercial and critical love. (iTunes)
  • Moved up after an album leak several weeks ago, Welsh singer and songwriter Marina & The Diamonds is back with FROOT, her first album since 2012. No singles have been issued to radio from the set, but several songs blasted into the top ten on iTunes upon their release. Look for the album to easily rank in the top ten (or even top five) when the official results are revealed. (iTunes)
  • Currently on top of the Alternative chart with “Lampshades On Fire”, their second #1 at the format and first in 11 years, Washington rockers Modest Mouse make their return with Strangers To Ourselves. Amazingly, this is their first set in eight long years. Despite a delay of two weeks from its original date, this should have a strong finish. (iTunes)
  • The soundtrack from Furious 7 is out this week, notable as the final film appearance of actor Paul Walker, who died in a car accident in late 2013. The album features many urban acts, including rapper Wiz Khalifa‘s single “See You Again”, featuring newcomer Charlie Puth. The movie opens in two weeks. (iTunes)
  • Sleeping With Sirens had a real breakout with their last album, Feel, and after a change in label, they’re now out with Madness. Given how popular the instant grat cuts from this have been over the past few weeks, another top ten debut is likely for them. (iTunes)
  • Other releases out this week include: Great Good Fine OK‘s 2M2H (EP) (iTunes), Liz Longley‘s Liz Longley (iTunes), Marcus Miller‘s Afrodeezia (iTunes), Mark Knopfler‘s Tracker (iTunes), Passion‘s Even So Come (Live) (iTunes), Seth Avett & Jessica Lea Mayfield‘s Sing Elliott Smith (iTunes), Tobias Jesso Jr.‘s Goon (iTunes) and Twin Shadow‘s Eclipse (iTunes).

New digital-only singles that you can buy this week include:

  • “Bethlehem Steel”, a pre-release track from Delta Rae. (iTunes)
  • “Biscuits”, the new single from Kacey Musgraves. (iTunes)
  • “Cliché”, new from Christina Grimmie. (iTunes)
  • “Entropy”, a collaboration of Grimes and Bleachers. (iTunes)
  • “My House”, another instant grat track from Flo Rida. (iTunes)
  • “Stitches”, a new pre-release track from Shawn Mendes. (iTunes)

With Lamar’s album moved up one full week, next week’s schedule will definitely feature new albums from Action Bronson, Big Data and more. A full preview is coming in seven!

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RADIO REPORT: What’s Hitting The Airwaves This Month (January 2013)

Every month, dozens of singles are sent to radio and are put up for adds, meaning that stations can choose to put them in rotation and they’ll be reported to airplay services like BDS and Mediabase/Media Monitors. Not every new single gets an adds date, but many do. I’ll be shifting through everything from my music sources and highlighting some of the top songs being sent to their respective formats. Record labels start packing on the releases on the next few weeks, so here’s a sample of what’s hitting the airwaves in January 2013:

Hungry like the wolf.

Hungry like the wolf.

CHR (Contemporary Hit Radio)
The terrific twosome of David Guetta and Sia are hoping that lightning does strike twice for their new collaboration, “She Wolf (Falling To Pieces)”. This is not the same song that Shakira released in 2009, even if the main titles are the same. “Titanium” hit the top five for the pair back in August. Already a top ten hit in the United Kingdom and all across Europe during its release in the Fall, it goes for adds on January 8. That’s also the same day that Ke$ha‘s “C’mon” goes for adds, though it’s already firmly in the top 40 after first single “Die Young” was decreased or dropped by many stations following the Newtown school shooting two weeks ago. (See my full post on that topic.) A video will be released soon. Olly Murs looks to score his second hit with “Troublemaker”, featuring rapper Flo Rida, the last of the January 8 adds date singles. It’s my pick of the week, already up to #3 on my personal chart, and making sold gains at radio (currently #38 and building) with early adds on big name stations like Z100/New York City. Murs recently hit the top spot on the U.K. Singles Chart with the song. His album, Right Place, Right Time, is out in the States in April. (More here.) Finally, there’s “How To Be A Heartbreaker” by Marina & The Diamonds, the followup to “Primadonna”, which just dented the top 40 several months ago. She’s profiled in the same article as Murs is.

Two songs take to the airwaves during the next week, January 15, both by performers with underwhelming debut singles and even more subpar second releases. Teenage singer Austin Mahone has teamed up with rapper Flo Rida on “Say You’re Just A Friend”, which samples the Biz Markie classic from 1990. It’s just a bit of a mess, vocally and sonically, although it looks like there’s a little more money going into it than his debut single, “Say Somethin'”. Don’t expect a high placing for it. (Check out a more in-depth description of it here.) Worse, however, is “C’mon Let Me Ride”, a double entendre laden track by Skylar Grey and Eminem. By some accounts, it’s meant to be a joke song. I’m not quite sure, but how do you go from the hook of “Where’d You Go?” by Fort Minor (credited as Holly Brook) to this? You can’t convince me that Queen actually approved clearance of the sample. It’s appalling, and thus, the CHR programming gods command thee to go back to more serious songs because this little ditty you got here is not working. An album is likely coming from the performer this spring.

Finally, on January 29, OneRepublic goes to CHR radio with “If I Lose Myself”, the second single from their album, Native, which is released in March after being pushed back a few times. It’s a pretty decent track that’s likely to be another big hit for the group. I recently did a full review of the song, which you can view here.

They've got passion in their pit and they ain't afraid to show it.

They’ve got passion in their pit and they ain’t afraid to show it.

Alternative and Adult Album Alternative (AAA)
Already top 40 on the Alternative chart, Boston-based Passion Pit looks to score another hit from Gossamer with “Carried Away”, an 80’s-synthesizer jam that may just be the next hit from an advertisement. It’s the followup to “Take A Walk”, which recently went top ten on the format. I’ve been listening to it quite a bit in the past few days and I’m really loving it. It officially goes for adds on January 8, along with “Inhaler” by Foals, who have had limited success on the U.K. Singles Chart. This one recently peaked at #50 there.

January 15 brings us a whole bunch of releases at Alternative radio, including the latest from Bullet For My Valentine, “Riot”. It’s not my cup of tea, but if you have a hard rocker in the family, they’ll probably enjoy this one. Shiny Toy Guns returns with “Somewhere To Hide”. I really enjoyed their 2007 release, “You Are The One”, and this is another solid record for the band. (P.S. Can you believe the singer on this #41 Hot 100 single from the fall of 1991 now plays guitar in the band? Not like I’d remember a song that was out when I was 1, but it’s a cute Pop track.) Rockers The Airborne Toxic Event are looking for their fifth entry on Alternative radio with “Timeless”. Of their four so far, two have hit the top ten: “Sometime Around Midnight” in 2009 and “Changing” in 2011. Lastly, there’s “Keep You” by the new group Wild Belle. You may recognize their song from its placement in the movie Pitch Perfect. Who wouldn’t want to capitalize on the success of it? We’ll see if it helps the group in the long run.

RCA Records is preparing two singles to go to radio during the next week: “Harlem” by Danish act New Politics, their first single in two years and “The High Road” by Three Days Grace, the second single from Transit Of Venus. Recent single “Chalk Outline” hit the top 15 on the Alternative chart. The third single from Papa Roach‘s album The Connection is also released on the date, entitled “Before I Die”. Then, on January 29, look out for “F— You” by Bad Religion, another hard single from the punk band, and “Two Fingers” by Jake Bugg. He’s been generating a lot of buzz over his native United Kingdom after his album debuted at #1. The singles haven’t done particularly well over there, but they may do something here. (You can find more on Bugg here.)

Over at Adult Album Alternative, a new one from Best New Artist nominee Alabama Shakes goes for adds on January 8, “Hang Loose”. Matt Costa also returns on the date with “Good Times”. The Neighbourhood, who went for Alternative adds with “Sweater Weather” back in December, also go for adds this week with the song at the AAA format. The band Stars release “Give It” the following week, along with Tristan Prettyman‘s “Say Anything”, and look for Bugg’s song at Adult Album Alternative on the same date it goes to Alternative.

That’s it for this month’s Radio Report. See you in February for even more releases.

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Troublemakers and Heartbreakers: Will These Brits Breakthrough Big in 2013?

Murs and Marina: don't sit on them any longer.

Murs and Marina: don’t sit on them any longer.

The U.S. music scene can be a cruel place for artists trying to make the jump over the Atlantic and onto our shores. Even if it’s a hit in the artist’s home country, doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll be a hit in the States. Songs by acts like Cover Drive, Sak Noel and Tulisa became big number-ones in the U.K. without ever making it over here, while others by Example and Florence + The Machine made it on the Dance Chart, but not on Pop playlists. Some of these British acts have never released here before and others have underperformed on the national charts here this year, but that’s alright. They’ll have another chance to impress American audiences with some new sounds in 2013. Here’s a preview of what’s to come from a few of these acts, still praying for a big breakthrough.

JAKE BUGG
18-year-old Bugg’s been huge on the U.K.’s independent scene, so much so that his self-titled debut album went to #1 in that country. Only one single from his album made it into the top 40 of the Singles Chart there and it’s the same one being tested on the U.S. market. “Two Fingers” goes for Alternative adds at the end of January. Like much of his album, it’s country and folk-tinged tune that you can clap and tap your feet to. It’s a song about longing for independence and leaving all the non-essentials behind. It’ll take you a while before you come to the realization that this is indeed a young person singing and writing this and not an older, more experienced performer. This one has zero chance of crossing over to the mainstream formats, but if Bugg gets the recognition at Alternative and AAA radio, he should be very proud of himself.

MARINA & THE DIAMONDS
This one-woman band, originally born in Wales, has been a strong seller on Album Chart in the United Kingdom. Debut album The Family Jewels attained a peak of #5 and shipped Gold and her latest release, Electra Heart, was certified Silver earlier this year after hitting the top spot. The leadoff single, “Primadonna”, went to #11 on the U.K. Singles Chart, and made a minor splash on the U.S. Pop airplay chart, rising to #39. It was most likely dismissed as a Katy Perry sound-alike by radio programmers, though Marina’s roots go deeper than that. She has a socially-conscious dance-pop sound, especially on her latest release, a concept album of sorts about the American Dream and the negative shades of it as seen through the lens of a ruthless young female. She’ll be trying again in the U.S. in 2013 with second single “How To Be A Heartbreaker”, which is even more radio-friendly and will hopefully her first big single in the States. It goes for adds in January. I’ve certainly enjoyed listening to it over the past few months. With a rocking guitar line mixed with her rule book-style lyrics, it should entice a wider audience to her music. Sometimes you gotta go more simple to break the scene: that’ll teach ’em how to be a chartbreaker.

OLLY MURS
Since placing second on his season of The X Factor, Murs has been a consistent seller on the charts, racking up four number-one singles in the United Kingdom in a period of two years. One of those, “Heart Skips A Beat”, was released in the U.K. in a version featuring rap duo Rizzle Kicks. When the song was sent to the U.S., a new version was recorded featuring a rap break from duo Chiddy Bang. Despite two videos filmed and numerous appearances, the song couldn’t make it past the top 30 on CHR radio. His album, Right Place, Right Time, has been pushed back until April here (though a certain someone already ordered the U.K. deluxe edition, I wonder who) but for good reason. His recent #1 hit in his native U.K., “Troublemaker”, will be released to CHR radio here in the States in early January. It bears a similar guitar line to Maroon 5‘s “Misery” from 2009 but in a different key, and knowing the tween audience, I would doubt they’d remember it. Bottom line is, it’s insanely catchy and even an appearance by Flo Rida is harmless in the general scheme of things. Murs deserves a chance to have a successful career in the States. Will he successfully cause some Trouble in 2013? It remains to be seen.

RITA ORA
You’ve probably heard about this lady in the press recently after an ex-boyfriend blasted her on Twitter, but since that other party is irrelevant and just wants attention (it runs in that family), that’s as far as I’ll go with that one. Luckily, Ora has far more talent than he does, racking up three number-one singles and one number-one album in the United Kingdom. Two of her singles, “How We Do (Party)” and “R.I.P.”, became minor radio hits here in the States. The latter single was initially issued with rapper Tinie Tempah, but Drake replaced him for the U.S. version. Stuck in a rut and on the verge of getting her album shelved here in the States, Ora is now releasing a third single, “Radioactive”, due at U.S. radio early next week. The chorus has an anthem-like quality and the dance-pop sound of it would fit in neatly on today’s radio. If not a Pop smash, it’ll certainly take the Dance chart by storm. As the old saying goes, third time is the charm. Let’s see if it’s really true for Ora and her U.S. standing.

SAM & THE WOMP
File this one in the same folder with Yolanda Be Cool & DCUP‘s “We No Speak Americano”. A #1 hit in the United Kingdom in July 2010, it took until November to peak in the United States, and it only became a minor-charting hit mainly because it was such a polarizing Dance single. The debut single from this trio, “Bom Bom”, which hit the top in the U.K. back in August, casually strutted into the CHR top 50 just a few days ago. You’re either going to love or hate this one; it’s in-your-face and features a pulsating rapped vocal as well as some trumpet solos that almost sound African-influenced. The duo hasn’t charted in the U.K. since, so expect this one to be their only charting record on both shores. Radio might be on the fence with this one, but if consumers start catching onto it, it may just become inescapable in the new year.

Of course, more U.K. sensations will be taking their chance on the U.S. as the year goes on. I’ve noted Stateside efforts by Conor Maynard and The Saturdays in earlier posts. Here’s to you, British acts. May the odds ever be in your favor.

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