Tag Archives: Tegan & Sara

RADIO REPORT: POP! Goes The Picks (October 2014)

The radio airwaves are looking ripe this autumn as plenty of new acts and established artists crash the party with new tunes. Which ones will climb to the top and which ones will hit a stop? Here are some of my favorites being serviced in October on the AAA, Alternative, CHR and Hot AC formats:

CHR (*) and HOT AC (**)

Charli XCX
CHARLI XCX – “Break The Rules” (October 6) (*)
Label: Atlantic/RRP
2014 has been a huge year so far for this singer. She’s dominated the top spot at CHR for six weeks since June between her collaboration with Iggy Azalea, “Fancy”, and her own solo single from The Fault In Our Stars, “Boom Clap”. Now, from her effort due in December, Sucker, the pop airwaves should lick “Break” up like a Tootsie Pop. Now that’s sweet.

Train
TRAIN – “Cadillac, Cadillac” (October 6) (**)
Label: Columbia
“Angel In Blue Jeans” may not have experienced a heavenly ascent to top of the charts, but a top ten peak at their core format is nothing to be ashamed of. They’re quickly following it up with this track from their newest album Bulletproof Picasso. It’s no “Pink Cadillac”, but hey, what is? The song’s not my favorite cut from it, but Hot AC will still jump at it.

Better Than Ezra
BETTER THAN EZRA – “Gonna Get Better” (October 13) (**)
Label: The End/ADA
Hard to believe that it’s been almost twenty years since “Good” shot to #1 on the Alternative survey for five weeks, but the Louisiana trio keeps on rocking with a new effort, All Together Now. Lead single “Crazy Lucky” just dented the Hot AC top 40, and they will try once again with this slower number. Anybody for another spin for “Desperately Wanting”?

Gwen Stefani
GWEN STEFANI – “Baby Don’t Lie” (October 13) (*)
Label: Interscope
It’s one of the biggest Q4 surprises of the bunch and a particularly exciting one given Stefani’s bolstered profile on The Voice. It’s been eight years since The Great Escape hit shelves, and though a No Doubt comeback stalled out in 2012, people genuinely seem excited for this. Hey, Gwen, I think we could all use the single right now. What you waiting for?

Eden XO
EDEN XO – “Too Cool To Dance” (October 20) (*)
Label: Virgin/Capitol
Singer and songwriter Jessie Malakouti has been through several labels and a few groups, even an opening spot on tour for Britney Spears, but the 25-year-old from California could have her most accessible song yet. Fun, flirty and most of all, fabulous, this shiny and irresistible dance record is bound to get some boys and girls on the floor. Look out for it.

O.A.R.
O.A.R. – “Favorite Song” (October 27) (**)
Label: Vanguard
Taken from The Rockville LP, “Favorite” is the followup to “Peace”, which recently went top 20 after a slow ride up the chart. It was co-written by Kevin Kadish, who some might call the ace of “Bass” as of late, if you know what I mean. It’s another change of pace, but one that should do well for the fall, a cute and upbeat ode to some good musical memories.

ALTERNATIVE (*) and AAA (**)

Elle King
ELLE KING – “Ex’s & Oh’s” (October 6) (**)
Label: RCA
During the summer of 2012, King released an EP which included the song “Playing For Keeps”, which was picked up by VH1 as the theme for Mob Wives Chicago, which last just one season. Luckily, the singer’s had better luck, back for the second season of her musical mission with a sizzling stomper of a song that’s poised to pack a punch with programmers.

Hozier
HOZIER – “From Eden” (October 6) (**)
Label: Columbia
With “Take Me To Church” crossing over to multiple formats after its #1 success at the AAA format, things are looking super for the setup of the young Irish singer’s debut album next week. “Eden” first appeared as the title track of his EP from earlier this year and already went to #2 in Ireland, matching his highest peak there. Expect a solid outcome here.

Damien Rice
DAMIEN RICE – “I Don’t Want To Change You” (October 13) (**)
Label: Warner Bros.
The 40-year-old Irish performer has been away from the charts for some time now: his last studio album was 9 back in 2006, featuring the single “9 Crimes”. Although his success in the U.S. has been limited, he’s obviously done quite well in parts of Europe, including the U.K. and his native Ireland. However, AAA radio really ought to pay attention to this.

HAIM
HAIM – “Don’t Save Me” (October 13) (*)
Label: Columbia
Just when we thought the Days Are Gone era was over, Alana, Danielle and Este are looking for their second top 40 hit at Alternative radio with this song. It’s the followup to “Forever”, which also crossed to pop radio after it was placed in an ad for Target. I am not sure there’s much momentum left in the era, but it’d be nice to have more ladies on the radio.

Night Terrors of 1927
NIGHT TERRORS OF 1927 featuring TEGAN & SARA – “When You Were Mine” (October 13) (*)
Label: Atlantic/RRP
Back in April, this duo went to Alternative radio with another song called “Dust And Bones”. Although it didn’t become their breakout song at the format, members Blake Sennett and Jarrod Gorbel have teamed up on their next single with the sisters Quin in an attempt to prove that two is definitely better than one. The result? Their point is a very valid one.

Grizfolk
GRIZFOLK – “Hymnals” (October 20) (**)
Label: Virgin/Capitol
“The Struggle”, well, struggled to gather a lot of attention in the airplay department, but that is not stopping the quintet from going forth with an even stronger song from their EP From The Spark. Though it’s not go to radio for another few weeks, a video for the song is in production and coming soon. I’m rooting for the band and hoping this can break them.

Which track(s) would you like to see do well from the list above? Let me know! Comment below or click the “Get Social!” tab to find PGTC on social media.

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Adam’s Top Albums of 2013 — Part One (20-11)

Some say that the album is dead thanks to the usual excuses: complaints about filler and lackluster quality, the down trend of sales in the single heavy market we’re currently trapped in and fewer and fewer artists getting signed to major labels. To that I say, nonsense! Plenty of awesome albums came out this year chock full of great songs from both commercially successful acts and independent DIY musicians. From pop to rock to dance and everything in-between, I’ve ranked 20 of my favorites from the year that was.

For this survey, dozens of albums were considered, both those released this year and those released last year that I heard for the first time this year. (I did not compile any sort of albums year-end list in 2012.) About 30-35 made the shortlist, then that was eventually crammed down to the 20 you’re about to see over the next two days.

Just missing the chart:
25. The Band PerryPioneer
24. Barenaked LadiesGrinning Streak
23. New PoliticsA Bad Girl In Harlem
22. Jessie WareDevotion
21. John NewmanTribute

Let’s check off the first ten on the list and let you in on what ranks between 20-11 for 2013:

One step "Closer" to a hit.

“Closer” to the charts.

20. TEGAN & SARA – Heartthrob
Sisters Tegan and Sara Quin have had their share of musical ups and downs in the past 15 years; this year featured a change of sound into the pop world rather than their usual indie rock fare with the help of producer Greg Kurstin. The effort was both a critical and commercial success, including the hit “Closer” and the solid followup single, “I Was A Fool”.

Pop the Bublé.

Pop the Bublé.

19. MICHAEL BUBLÉ – To Be Loved
The Canadian crooner delivered another good effort, becoming his latest #1 album on the Billboard 200. Leadoff single “It’s A Beautiful Day”, adult contemporary speak for a four letter word followed by a “you”, topped my survey for four weeks, while remakes of “Somethin’ Stupid” (with Reese Witherspoon) and “Who’s Lovin’ You” were keeping it smooth.

Down with the kids.

Down with the kids.

18. TOM ODELL – Long Way Down
Odell just turned 23 in November, and a what year 2013 was for him. His first album debuted at #1 went Gold in his native U.K., with third release “Another Love” becoming a top ten record on the Singles Chart. It also ascended into the top 20 on my survey. From the mellow “Grow Old With Me” and title track to the rockier “Hold Me”, it’s a great start for the singer.

The pop princess of Prism.

This is how she do.

17. KATY PERRY – PRISM (PGTC Review)
This year, Perry came back with a bang, or should I say a “Roar”, and filled the pop charts once again with joyous jams. While the first half of the album shines with a ton of potential radio-ready tracks like “Birthday” and “International Smile”, it falls off significantly in the second half, leading to an uneven album. It’s no Teenage Dream, but it’s no nightmare either.

"Girl", you know it's true.

Where’s the love?

16. HANSON – Anthem
Long after the days of the 1997 pop anthem “Mmmbop”, the Oklahoma trio are still cranking out great music in 2013 on what could be their best album yet. Lead single “Get The Girl Back” rose to #11 on my chart, their biggest hit in nine years. Mixing elements of rock and soul with their nice nostalgic touch, tracks like “Fired Up” and “You Can’t Stop Us” shine on.

So far Gone.

So far Gone.

15. HAIM – Days Are Gone
You saw them appear on Saturday Night Live in November and a few months prior to that, their first album debuted in the top ten on the Billboard 200. The brilliantly constructed ode to fun 80’s pop is felt throughout the entire effort, especially on the first few songs like “Forever”, “The Wire” and “Don’t Save Me”. Do save a place for this on your 2013 list, however.

Don't Walk away from this one.

Don’t Walk away from this one.

14. WALK OFF THE EARTH – R.E.V.O.
Their YouTube videos rank them highly in the viral community, and earlier this year, the quintet released their first album through Columbia Records. The Canadian band managed to put a pair of singles into my top ten this year: “Red Hands” (#5) and “Gang Of Rhythm” (#10). Mixing flavors of pop, reggae and ska, their breezy sound is as sunny as a summer day.

A page-turner.

A page-turner.

13. FIVE FOR FIGHTING – Bookmarks (PGTC Review)
48-year-old John Ondrasik took his time when recording his new album, and for the most part, the end product was satisfactory. Produced by longtime collaborator Gregg Wattenberg, the set captures great moments, including single “What If” and the soaring “Heaven Knows”, but also has its share of odd sequences and cheesy lyrics. It’s still worth a read.

Bravely entering the release ring.

Bravely entering the countdown.

12. SARA BAREILLES – The Blessed Unrest (PGTC Review)
Probably the most surprising nomination for a GRAMMY Award for Album Of The Year as announced last week, Bareilles’s third major label LP on Epic Records is a collection pleasant pop tunes mixed with a pinch of experimental choices. While it falls short of her previous albums, songs like “Chasing The Sun” and “I Choose You” are lovely selections.

They've lost that lovin' feeling (again.)

They’ll be “Counting” spots.

11. ONEREPUBLIC – Native
The band who said it’s too late to apologize doesn’t have to be sorry for this. Delayed until March, Native was their most critically successful album yet, and they’ll be “Counting Stars” for a while. While single “If I Lose Myself” is their highest ranked song on my Top 100 of 2013, I’m also a fan of “Burning Bridges” and “I Lived”, which haven’t seen a wide release.

Look out for my top ten albums of 2013 coming tomorrow on the blog. Until then, if you’re liking any of my choices so far, comment below or find PGTC on Facebook and Twitter by clicking the “Get Social!” tab.

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Record Store Day 2013: What I’m Looking At

Viva la Vinyl.

Viva la Vinyl.

Ah, yes, it’s a nice spring day. The birds are singing and the sun is shining… but wait, where are all the people to enjoy this? Well, duh, they’re waiting in line outside their local record store for Record Store Day! The 2013 edition of RSD is tomorrow, April 20, and big things are going down once again. The Day was founded back in 2007 in a more regional form before it expanded nationally in 2008. I remember buying my first two vinyl singles then: 7″ records of “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz and “Supernatural Superserious” by R.E.M., both songs I loved at the time. Today, there are hundreds of items available for purchase, from pop to rock to soul to country and everything in-between. Just, remember to get there early, or you may miss out on what you want! I thought I’d highlight some of the pieces that I’m looking to find on my hunt around some of the stores here. I’m up for the challenge — are you? Then, let’s get groovy.

BON JOVI – Live EP
Format: 12″ vinyl EP
View artwork

On the heels of their latest studio album, What About Now, comes this EP exclusively for Record Store Day. It contains four tracks, including hits like “Keep The Faith” and “Livin’ On A Prayer”. This has the distinction of being one of the few picture disc releases up for purchase, which is very cool.

CHEECH & CHONG featuring ALICE BOWIE – “Earache My Eye”
Format: 7″ vinyl single
View artwork

It wouldn’t be 4/20 without an offering from Cheech & Chong, am I right? Their biggest hit, a top ten single in 1974, comes in its original form with the same picture sleeve and tracklisting: “Earache My Eye” as the a-side; “Turn That Thing Down” as the b-side. Did I mention it’s on green-colored vinyl? Wicked, man.

FITZ & THE TANTRUMS – “Out Of My League”
Format: 12″ vinyl single
View artwork

“Out Of My League” is currently occupying the #2 spot on my personal chart, so I’d love to find a copy of it on Saturday. The 12″ single is pressed on a clear-colored vinyl with “League” as the a-side and a song called “Spark” as the b-side. Both songs appear on the band’s forthcoming album, More Than Just A Dream, which is out on May 7.

FRANK TURNER – “Recovery”
Format: 7″ vinyl single
View artwork

Turner’s single is making some waves at Alternative and Adult Alternative radio and I’ve been liking it for a few weeks now. “Recovery” is on the a-side, while a song called “We Shall Not Overcome” is on the flip side. The English singer releases Tape Deck Heart on April 23, the Tuesday after Record Store Day.

MUMFORD & SONS – Live At Bull Moose EP
Format: 10″ vinyl EP, CD
View artwork

This four-track effort was recorded last year at the Bull Moose location in Scarborough, Maine. It features three tracks from their Grammy-winning album Babel, including the single “I Will Wait”, as well as one from their debut album, Sigh No More. There are more pressed copies on CD than vinyl, so be on the lookout.

PAUL MCCARTNEY & WINGS – “Maybe I’m Amazed (Live)”
Format: 7″ vinyl single
View artwork

I’m sure you hear this song quite a lot of Adult Contemporary and Classic Hits stations. It peaked at #10 on the Hot 100 in 1977. The short and long versions on both sides of this single are of the live version from the Wings Over America LP. Last year, McCartney put out another 7″ single for the Day, “Another Day”, backed with “Oh Woman Oh Why”.

TEGAN & SARA – “Closer”
Format: 12″ vinyl single
View artwork

This one recently made it as high as #26 on my personal chart, but I would definitely purchase it on vinyl. I believe this is meant to bear the same tracklisting as this six-song EP released digitally last month. This comes from their album entitled Heartthrob, which recently debuted in the top ten on the Billboard 200 album chart.

There are a few other things I’m looking at, including releases from David Bowie and Walk The Moon, but of course, I don’t think I’ll be able to find everything on my wish list. I’ll update this on Saturday. Are you looking forward to Record Store Day and is there a release that you’ve got to have? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

EDIT: The only release I didn’t find out of the eight was the Frank Turner 7″ single. Otherwise, I found everything I wanted, plus more! You can view pictures of what I purchased here, here and here.

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Girls, Girls, Girls: New Singles About To Pop

Before the Radio Report goes up tomorrow, here’s a few of the fierce females releasing new singles to mainstream radio in the next few weeks. From the straight-up sounds of pop to the electronic eargasms of tomorrow, here’s a few of my choices that you may see climbing up the charts this spring.

Ready or not, she's back.

Ready or not, she’s back.

BRIDGIT MENDLER – “Hurricane” (Radio Edit)

Former Disney kid Mendler made a successful transition into the world of mainstream music when her debut single, “Ready Or Not”, hit the CHR top 40 several months ago. Though it wasn’t the biggest of hits for the young singer, Hollywood Records is trying again with this second single from Hello My Name Is…, a song called “Hurricane”. It’s another rap-sung track from the singer, with the same sort of reggae-influenced vibe as Jessie J‘s “Price Tag” or Skylar Grey‘s “C’mon Let Me Ride”. “Hurricane” was co-written by Mendler, Evan Bogart, Andrew Goldstein and Emanuel Kiriakou and produced by the latter two gentlemen. All three previously worked together on Hot Chelle Rae‘s 2011 album Whatever. Mendler once again brings out the cringeworthy, juvenile lyrics. Remember “I like your face, do you like my song?” from “Ready”? This time around, it’s “I’m flopping on my bed like a flying squirrel.” I mean, I just don’t know what to do with that, so I’m going to move on and pretend it never happened. She’s 20. I guess I can deal with it. Otherwise, it’s a harmless and cute little song with a lot of vocal stuttering about a girl who compares her noticing a boy she really likes to “standing in the eye of a hurricane” because of her emotions gone haywire. Young girls can relate to it. It’s not the strongest song from her debut album, but the breezy nature of it could hold it on radio until the warmer months arrive. I would hate to see the effort go to waste just because the wrong single was selected.

Quicker than a Rae of light.

Far from “Over”.

CARLY RAE JEPSEN – “Tonight I’m Getting Over You”

27-year-old Jepsen had a big breakthrough last year with hits like “Call Me Maybe” and “Good Time”, a collaboration with Owl City. Third single “This Kiss” failed to make a significant impact on the charts, so she’s dusted herself off and moved on to a fourth single from Kiss, “Tonight I’m Getting Over You”. The song has a long list of writers on it: in addition to Jepsen, there is Clarence Coffee Jr. (part of a production team called The Monsters and The Strangerz… jeez, who came up with that?) Lukas Hibert (German producer new to the U.S. market), Shiloh Hoganson (Canadian singer whose U.S. crossover failed a few years ago), Katerina Loules (German songwriter with her first big credit) and Max Martin (super-producer behind the Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears, etc.), with production duties handled by Hibert and Martin. The sound is a little more dance-driven than Jepsen’s other singles, with an unnecessary dubstep post-chorus that’s just grating on the ears. Nothing too hard to understand lyrically; the girl is gonna “keep dancing ’til the morning with somebody new” as she gets over her old flame. It’s a decent song, but unfortunately, it comes across as a throwaway track. I’m not quite sure how “Curiosity” got passed over again or even the duet with Justin Bieber, “Beautiful”. With everyone releasing lighter songs as of late, it would’ve fit right in. Alas, a video has been shot and the song’s been sent to radio, so I guess we’re stuck with it. Coming off a flop, I’m not expecting big things from it, but expect it to be a mid-charting hit before Jepsen moves onto recording a new album.

One step "Closer" to a hit.

One step “Closer” to a hit.

TEGAN & SARA – “Closer”

If this is going to be one of the first big Alternative crossover hits on the year, I approve. The two Quin sisters have been singing together since 1999 and are probably best known for their 2004 single, “Walking With A Ghost”. They also had a pair of minor chart successes in Canada as featured vocalists on singles by producers Morgan Page and Tiësto. Their days of dance have rubbed off on their new sound as found on their recent release, Heartthrob, expected to debut in the top ten on the Billboard 200 album chart, and this first single. It was written and produced by the Quins as well as Greg Kurstin, who worked on hits by Kelly Clarkson and Pink. The song itself is about the boundaries of a relationship, with the protagonist egging on her lover to “come a little closer,” but it isn’t just a sexual notion she desires. She explains: “It’s not just all physical/I’m the type who won’t get oh-so-critical/So let’s make things physical/I won’t treat you like you’re oh-so-typical.” This, combined with a glittering electro-pop beat, is the perfect combination for a great song with just the right amount of attitude. Will mainstream radio take a liking to the duo? I sure hope so. The song’s already been a top-20 national hit in Canada and it’s still in the top 100 on the overall chart on iTunes here in the States. It should also be their second song to make my personal chart in just a few weeks. The girls certainly deserve, but it’s up to programmers to decide whether to pump it or dump it.

Are there any other good pop tracks by the ladies that I should be listening to? Let me know! Post your thoughts in the comments or find me on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

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TURN IT UP TUESDAY: What’s New In Stores This Week (Jan. 29)

Just can't get enough of 'em.

Just can’t get enough of ’em.

From pop to soul to rock and even a little acoustic music, here are the new releases out in stores on Tuesday, January 29:

  • My pick of the week this week is an easy one: it’s the Chasing The Saturdays EP from British girl group The Saturdays. It’s their first album release in the States, which has followed a successful career in the United Kingdom for the girls. The five-track EP features new single, “What About Us?”, as well as four single releases from various efforts, my favorite being their 2011 single, “All Fired Up”. The television show that bares the same name as the EP is current airing on the E! network. (iTunes)
  • In a shock to absolutely no one, Justin Bieber will likely score next week’s #1 album with Believe Acoustic, an album’s worth of acoustic versions of songs from his last album, Believe, and two additional new tracks. It’s sale priced at $7.99 for the week, so, I guess the label really wants a big week out of it. (iTunes)
  • Duo Tegan & Sara release their seventh studio album, Heartthrob. Lead single “Closer” is top 40 on Alternative radio. (iTunes)
  • Former American Idol contestant Colton Dixon releases his first album, A Messenger. Lead single “You Are” is a top ten record on the Christian CHR airplay survey. (iTunes)
  • As the lead singer of The Gap Band, he led the group to big hits like “You Dropped A Bomb On Me”. Charlie Wilson releases his latest solo effort, Love, Charlie, featuring the Urban AC hit “My Love Is All I Have”. (iTunes)
  • Hardcore metal band Hatebreed release their first album since 2009, The Divinity of Purpose. (iTunes)
  • Singer-songwriter Ben Harper collaborates with harmonica player Charlie Musselwhite on his newest album, Get Up!, which comes with a bonus DVD in its physical release. (iTunes)
  • A special multi-disc deluxe edition of Fleetwood Mac‘s landmark album Rumours comes out today, featuring the original album, selections from the 1977 Rumours World Tour, plus demos and instrumentals. (iTunes)
  • Classical and opera singer Andrea Bocelli puts out a new album, Passione, which features duets with Jennifer Lopez and Nelly Furtado. (Amazon)
  • Did you miss her? She missed you. Lisa Loeb‘s new studio set, No Fairy Tale, is out today. (Amazon)
  • Destiny’s Child releases a cash-in compilation, Love Songs, featuring new track “Nuclear” as well as mix of mostly album tracks. (Amazon)

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

  • “Remix (I Like The)”, the latest offering from Boston’s New Kids On The Block. It leads off 10, which is in stores April 2. (iTunes)
  • “By Your Side”, a remake of the Sade hit as done by Ben Taylor, the son of James Taylor and Carly Simon. Taylor performed the song on Monday night’s edition of The Bachelor. (iTunes)

See you for the pre-GRAMMY edition next week!

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