Archive for April, 2012

Charley says VIDEO! Who Are The CloneZ – Good TimeZ

April 27, 2012

Dutch production team Future Presidents are so awesome that they’d honestly deserve an entire blog post of their own. Not only have they been ensuring that Dutch kiddiepop is sounding better than half of what’s in the charts, they’ve given proper grown-up Benelux popstars some of their most awesome tracks as well. Just ask EliZe or Lester & Abdou!

Their latest project is the mysteriously named Who Are The CloneZ? Little is known about the project, other than that the video features an awesomely cute dance crew with an average age of about 9. You may have seen some of these kids before on Dutch tv talent show Junior Dance.

Don’t let that put you off though as “Good TimeZ” sounds like Rock Mafia’s “The Big Bang” made a baby while listening to “Paper Planes” by M.I.A. Oh, and if you’re going to count the pop culture references in the song’s lyrics you might want to get yourself another pair of hands in advance!

“Good TimeZ” by Who Are The CloneZ is available on Spotify and iTunes.

Charley says SONG! Eva Jacobs – If I Ain’t Got You

April 26, 2012

If you’ve read my post on what is next for the The Voice Van Vlaanderen contestants then you knew Eva Jacobs had something up her sleeve for us!

Eva was one of the early favourites in the competition, but was surprisingly eliminated in the Battle Rounds. With a Wouter Van Belle produced album already recorded, she wasn’t going to let the momentum fade, though. After getting back into the studio to tweak some last bits and pieces she is ready to release her eponymous album on May 18th. I’m assuming Eva’s debut will include some of the tracks she has up on her official website and YouTube channel, as well as her Bent Van Looy penned, pre-The Voice single “Shine“.

To really kickstart this campaign the soulful singer/songwriter has gone back to the moment Belgium first fell in love with her, her impressive rendition of Alicia Keys’ ‘If I Ain’t Got You’. It got all four chairs turning when she auditioned for The Voice and has been a fan favourite since, so she’s recorded a studio version to be released as her brand new single.

“If I Ain’t Got You” by Eva Jacobs is available on Spotify and iTunes from April 27th.

See also: Charley says LIST! The Voice Van Vlaanderen: The Aftermath

Charley says VIDEO! Jeronimo – One Kiss

April 25, 2012

You may remember Jeronimo from when I described his “I Am No Superman” as a Dutch Eric Saade doing a Mohombi sounding song.

Since I last wrote about him Jeronimo tried to represent The Netherlands at Eurovision with “Sacrifice“, but sadly failed to make the live show. He did release two more singles. “Somebody Who Loves Me” saw the Dutch singer slow things down a bit, while his most recent effort, “I Want You Baby“, was a cover of the inescapable “Ai Se Eu Te Pego“. Be sure to check it out, as it’s waaay better than Michel Telo’s own English translation!

For “One Kiss“, the brand new single from his debut album set for May 25th,  Jeronimo sticks to those Brazilian influences with some Romanian dance elements thrown in for good measure. The result is as effortlessly catchy as Jeronimo’s earlier output, so be prepared to have it stuck in your head from the moment you click play on the sunny music video below!

See also: Charley says VIDEO! Jeronimo ft. Stay-C – I Am No Superman

Charley says INTERVIEW! Labrinth

April 20, 2012

“I wanted it to sound like an earthquake,
but not an earthquake without HD!”

Earlier this month Labrinth was in Belgium to open for Drake at Vorst Nationaal in Brussels. Just before he took to the stage I had a chat with the British singer, songwriter and producer extraordinaire!

With his Tinie Tempah featuring hit single “Earthquake” being one of the slickest productions in recent pop history and his debut album “Electronic Earth” available now on Spotify and iTunes we had plenty to discuss.

So treat yourself to Labrinth’s online album sampler and check out the interview for everything from the importance of artwork to his rumoured collaboration with Tulisa and the age old quesion… Is Simon Cowell as scary as he’s made out to be?

Charley: It’s super lame, but I have to ask, how many phone interviews have started with the journalist saying “Labrinth, come in”?

Labrinth: *laughs* So far, in Belgium, none! You can be the first!

Charley: I saw you tweet about getting to discover Brussels before your show here, how did you like it?

Labrinth: Brussels was really nice! It’s just weird to be here though, cause it’s such a different culture. The way everybody is and the way they approach things, it’s just very different.

Charley: I have to congratulate you on your album “Electronic Earth” being number 2 in the UK mid weeks, that must be awesome? [Note: Since this interview Labrinth’s album did in fact get to number 2 in the album charts where it’s still comfortably top 10]

Labrinth: Yeah, it’s really wild! I’ve been working for a long time and with a few artists and stuff like that, so you never expect these things, you just keep pushing for it, man.

Charley: For those who haven’t yet checked out your album, how would you describe it?

Labrinth: I would say it’s quite mixed, it’s got quite a lot of variety on it. If you’re into commercial variety, then I’m the guy for you.

Charley: I saw on your official web store that there’s this amazing 10 disc Limited Edition Boxset of your album with specially created artwork. How important is it for you to have that kind of releases?

Labrinth: It’s definitely important for me. It feels more engaging. It’s getting me and my fans closer and letting them know what I’m about and what I’m into. I just felt like sometimes we forget about the artwork in albums, cause of course there’s a lot of digital sales these days. I feel like this album will sell well physically cause there’s been a bit of time put into it.

Charley: Do you have any prized possessions like that in your own album collection as well?

Labrinth: Yeah, I think “Purple Rain” was sick, it was the first album I ever bought and I love the artwork on that. Parliament-Funkadelic album sleeves were insane… Of course Earth, Wind & Fire… Loads of old school bands! Especially from the 70’s, they have amazing artwork.

Charley: Back to your album, one of the singles was “Earthquake” which had a super cool video. Now, at one point you’re in this black cloak, and this might just be me, but is that a Star Wars reference?

Labrinth: It is! I’m a Jedi fan! I’ve always loved it, so I thought why not have a little tribute in my video to something I’m into.

Charley: One of the best things for me about “Earthquake” is how there’s so much going on in the production and yet it doesn’t feel cluttered. How do you find the right balance for that?

Labrinth: That’s definitely me going absolutely insane and throwing all the paint on the canvas while working closely with Serban Ghenea, who’s an amazing engineer. He helps me find some clarity in all the madness. I wanted it to sound like an earthquake, but not an earthquake without HD! *laughs*

Charley: One of my favourite tracks on the album is “Sundown“. I love how even without listening to the lyrics it’s dark and dirty and sexy… How do you go about creating an atmosphere like that?

Labrinth: That’s all mood, man. “Sundown” came to me randomly in the middle of the day. Sometimes those are the best songs where the melody comes to you, the vibe comes to you and you just have your way with it. That track for me is one of my favourites on the album, cause it’s just honest. You can hear my heart and my soul in it, honestly. Maybe not lyrically, but definitely in terms of the vibe, definitely.

Charley: I saw this YouTube clip where you show a camera crew around your studio and you just seemed to lit up talking about it. Is that your happy place?

Labrinth: Yeah, man, it definitely is! Oh my God, I love my home and my home is the studio, so… When I go back to the studio I just feel like… “It’s creative time!” It does take me to my happy place, but the stage as well!

Charley: To go from the comfort of your studio onto that stage, what was it like taking that step?

Labrinth: It was scary, man! Cause of course, I was performing alongside Tinie Tempah after producing his first two records and he brought me on a lot of shows, but it was a bit weird thinking about being the artist fronting your own music. It took a bit of time, but we just kept on working at it and it feels like I’m the right place right now. If you come down to my shows you can hear how my sound and the vibe works. I feel like I’ve got my music on stage now and people are hearing it and it’s full of integrity.

Charley: You mentioned producing for other people and one of my favourite productions of yours is Ms Dynamite’s “Neva Soft“. People mainly know her from her big mainstream hits, how do you go from that to those amazing minimalistic D&B beats?

Labrinth: I think one thing that everyone’s going to learn about me is that I’m not an artist that has one style. It’s not me trying to blow my own trumpet or anything, it’s just that’s the way I like music anyway. One day you’ll hear me producing a dirty hip hop record that sounds amazing and then the next you’ll hear me producing a jazz record. That’s what I’m about, I just want to make music and hopefully people love that and enjoy what I put out.

Charley: Is there any truth to the rumours that you’re working on Tulisa‘s solo album?

Labrinth: She asked me to work on some tracks for her and we had a chat about it, but we haven’t confirmed yet.

Charley: Well I hope you do anyway!

Labrinth: Excellent, thank you very much.

Charley: Now one last question, you’re signed to Simon Cowell’s record label Syco. Is he as scary as people make him out to be?

Labrinth: No, man! He’s definitely not! I think it’s about giving him the right stuff. If he likes your music he doesn’t turn into the horrible person he seems to be on The X Factor.

Charley: Well, with your track record that shouldn’t be a problem!

“Electronic Earth” by Labrinth is available on Spotify and iTunes.

Charley says SONG! Men2B – Keep On Moving

April 15, 2012

Dutch Popstars: The Rivals boyband Men2B with their 2005 top 30 single “Keep On Moving“, which was written by Alain Clark before he became a superstar of his own.

Just because.

Charley says SONG! Sarah Ferri – On My Own

April 14, 2012

Sarah Ferri doesn’t sound like what you usually come across on this blog, but how can you deny anyone with cover art like that?

Sarah’s style is perhaps best described with how she launched her debut album “Ferritales“. She took to the cosy coffee bars of her hometown Ghent to surprise the customers with her mix of 50’s swing with toe-tapping jazz elements. It’s a wonderful idea to consume Sarah’s music in a “coffee with chocolate muffin” setting or while having some pastry in a tiny tea-room with colourful vintage wallpaper. You get the idea.

Lead single “Were You There” explores Sarah’s piano ballad side, but personally I’d start with “On My Own“. The album opener sounds like Vaya Con Dios getting stuck in a time machine to the earlier part of the last century with Caro Emerald and Lady Linn in tow.

And once again, that album cover!

“Ferritales” by Sarah Ferri is available on Spotify and iTunes.

Charley says LIST! The Voice Van Vlaanderen: The Aftermath

April 12, 2012

With today’s announcement that vtm will be airing the first season of Belgium’s Got Talent (let’s just ignore 2007’s Supertalent on VT4 for now) it seems as though the dust has settled on season one of The Voice Van Vlaanderen.

Late last year tv channel vtm set out to look for the best voice in Flanders, the Dutch speaking part of Belgium. (French speaking public broadcast RTBF did the same for Wallonia with The Voice Belgique, but that’s for another post) Manning the spinning chairs were four of Flander’s biggest names in music: Clouseau frontman Koen Wauters, Arid lead singer Jasper Steverlinck, Idool’s biggest success story Natalia and Hooverphonic mastermind Alex Callier.

With this post I’ll try and do a bit of a round-up on what the musical future holds for some of this season’s best loved contestants. With few official announcement available, all information was acquired from various websites, newspapers, magazines, Facebook accounts etc. If I’ve missed out on anything/anyone, if you’ve got an update on the information posted or even if you’re with a label and want to tell us about your post-The Voice plans, don’t hesitate to comment below!

So, let’s get to it, shall we?

THE FINAL FOUR

Glenn Claes, winner: Last month I already introduced you to The Voice Van Vlaanderen winner Glenn and his debut single. Since then “Knight In Shining Armour” got into the top 3 before gently starting to slide down the charts. However, Glenn is currently doing a signing tour at Free Record Shop stores all over Flanders which will surely have a positive impact on physical sales, so don’t write the gentle guitar ballad off just yet! A rush-released album was originally planned for April, but was pushed back to September to allow for a quality collection of what will no doubt be radio friendly, Kooks-ish guitar pop. A second single for the summertime seems like a given.

Silke Mastbooms, runner-up: With her single ‘Awake‘ peaking at number 2 and, to this day, still clinging on inside the top 10, Silke is doing impressively well in the charts despite not winning. It’s no surprise she was offered a record deal as well. Silke impressed on a weekly base with her clear vocals, but the challenge for her will be to find her own musical niche. Will she be a Belgian Leona? Will she do quirky girl-pop like Carly Rae Jepsen? Will it be something completely different? I for one can’t wait to hear what Sony Music comes up with for this girl! (And, you know, if she wants to cover Jesper Nohrstedt’s “Take Our Hearts” then I’m not complaining at all…)

Iris Van Straten: Before she entered The Voice Iris was best known for playing Sabrina on the 90’s sitcom “De Familie Backeljau”. However, come 2012 the ditzy blonde had become a crazy-in-a-good-way smoky-voiced chanteuse. With Iris it wasn’t so much about every note being perfect, it was the unique sound of and character in her voice. Combined with coach Alex Callier’s impeccable song choices (Springsteen’s “The River”! Cash’s “Hurt”! Boy George’s “Somebody To Love Me”!) it was a story of success. Despite her single “Teasing” going top 10, she was deemed too much of an acquired taste at first, so an album seemed uncertain. Luckily, Alex stepped in and promised to write and produce it for her.

Bert Voordeckers: His “Come” was the least successful of the finalists’ singles, but that isn’t stopping Bert from making musical plans. He is said to release a studio version of his audition song, “Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon”, and has announced a theater tour with sports commentator Michel Wuyts. First though, he is recovering from getting a gastric band put in, in a bid to lose 70 kilograms.

THE 24 FINALISTS

Axelle Aerts: Going into it, Axelle Aerts seemed to have it all going for her. I even said as much in a post on this blog. She had talent show experience from when she did Junior Eurovision, she was the opening act on coach Natalia’s SingStar Glamorous Tour, she’d shown some major pop promise with her first proper single as Axeela and her The Voice audition was impressive to say the least… And yet, she had to leave the show in the first week. After forgetting to put in her in-ear monitors during her rendition of Jessie J’s “Domino”, the public chose not to send her straight through to next week. And when it came to it, Natalia decided to save Yass Smaali over Axelle, because she felt the latter still had a life of other opportunities ahead of her. And it does seem that Axelle’s talent didn’t go unnoticed… Not only will she part of the upcoming The Voice tour, she has been tweeting about being in the studio! It is however unclear if a future single will be released through Sony Music or her old label SonicAngel.

Charlotte Buyl: Charlotte is another contestant who didn’t make it out of the first live show. Since leaving the show she’s hinted at a possible new single for her dance project Pearl. You may remember their excellent singles “Like A Video Game” and “Speechless“. Nothing’s been confirmed yet, but with Charlotte more famous than ever, why wouldn’t N.E.W.S Records revive the Peter Luts produced project?

Stéphanie Onclin: Stéphanie may have stranded in the semi-final, but her rocking performance of Skunk Anansie’s “Weak” seems to have struck a chord with the Flemish public. Stéphanie will be part of “The Voice On Tour” and is said to have a single coming up. Here’s to hoping we finally have a new Laura Ramaekers!

Zusjes Vinken: The Vinken sisters’ rendition of “Hallelujah” managed to enchant the nation and even got The Voice to bend its rules and allow a musical trio. Surprisingly, Elisabeth, Gabriëla and Alexandra only lasted two live shows despite their “Bang Bang” being one of The Voice’s first chart hits. No announcements have been made, but considering the pre-live show hype and support from the likes of radio station MNM, it would surprise me if no one signed them eventually. Oh, and can I put in a request for them to do an Appleton and simply go by Vinken from now?

THOSE THAT STRANDED IN THE BATTLES

Claudia Decaluwé: I was so happy to hear Claudia auditioned for The Voice. When I was a kid her 90’s girl duo Sha-Na was perhaps the first act I was ever a fan of. After leaving the group Claudia went on to Eurovision fame, forming the band Spark with her then husband. They came second with the catchy “Someday” in 2002’s national final. Later she would also join Ameerah (of “The Sound Of Missing You” fame) in the Twinsband. Since not making it out of the Battles in The Voice, Claudia has restarted Spark, posting a cover of “Boys Of Summer” as a first taster.

Eva Jacobs: With an impressive rendition of “If I Ain’t Got You” Eva seemed a certainty for the live shows. Surprisingly, coach Koen opted to send through Pistice Yoka Mpela instead. But not to worry, Eva had her album recorded even before she auditioned. A single will be released just three weeks from now, with a Wouter Van Belle produced album to follow. If you’re curious as to what it’ll sound like, check out her 2011 single “Shine” (written by Das Pop’s Bent Van Looy!) and a sample of “Stay With Me” on her official website.

Lien Vervoort: Lien was no stranger to talent shows when she signed up for The Voice. She’d already taken part in Can You Duet and Let’s Go Lasgo, which had resulted in providing vocals on the Peter Luts hits “The Rain” and “Hands Up“. For her first release after The Voice Lien has teamed up with Peter’s former Lasgo colleague Dave McCullen. Lien is the voice on dance anthem “Calling Your Name” which hit iTunes at the end of last month.

Zippora De Brauwer: Being responsible for the epic “Lotus Eater“, Zippora will always be an early 00’s dance legend no matter what. Since stranding in the Battles of The Voice Van Vlaanderen she’s gone right back to her dance roots and we wouldn’t want to have it any other way! She released “Never Again” with producers Nils van Zandt and Sergio Silvano and considering she’s put out a couple of singles with BIP Records in recent years, I’m confident that there’s more to come.

spotify:track:3cHLqcPKi887E5pYKdlZyy

Update 4.5.2012: Sony Music has announced that Glenn, Silke, Bert, Axelle and Stéphanie will all be releasing a single before the summer.

See also: Charley says TV! Looking For Pearl
See also: Charley says INTERVIEW! Peter Luts
See also: Charley says VIDEO! Pearl – Like A Video Game
See also:
Charley says TV! Axelle on The Voice Van Vlaanderen
See also: Charley says ARTIST! David Vervoort (Formerly Of Lasgo)
See also: Charley says VIDEO! Peter Luts ft. Lien Vervoort – The Rain
See also: Charley says SONG! Peter Luts ft. Lynn Larouge – Hands Up
See also: Charley says ARTIST! Glenn Claes (Winner Of The Voice Van Vlaanderen)

Charley says VIDEO! Bodyspasm – Twenty Radios

April 8, 2012

If you’ve been searching for a worthy follow-up to ‘Anticipate‘ by Skream ft. Sam Frank then look no more.

Bodyspasm are Belgian brothers Pieter and Sebastiaan Steeno. Their Facebook page describes them as an electronic boyband and while their music is certainly electronic, don’t expect them to tell you what makes you beautiful or how they’re glad you came.

Their official debut single ‘Twenty Radios‘ is a full-on escapist rave anthem with beats that only get even fatter and dirtier as the song progresses. With an awesome video to match and the involvement of Shameboy‘s Luuk Cox in the track, this seems like a surefire winner to me.

‘Twenty Radios’ by Bodyspasm is available on Spotify and iTunes.

Charley says EVENT! Amandine Bourgeois (Vivacité – April 6th 2012)

April 7, 2012

If Diana Vickers and Amy Winehouse had a secret French love child, it’d probably be Amandine Bourgeois.

Yesterday I was lucky enough to witness Amandine’s mix of blues and soul with French chanson storytelling in person. After a full day of back to back promo, Amandine took to the stage at Walloon radio station Vivacité for a select audience. The hour long showcase had her peform acoustic renditions of her biggest hits and tracks from the brand new album ‘Sans Amour Mon Amour‘. The performance, which was combined with short interview segments, was both a treat for longtime fans and a perfect introduction for Amandine novices. So if you can, be sure to catch it on Monday at Vivacité’s ‘Vu À La Radio‘.

Four years ago Amandine was scouted on MySpace by the producers of Nouvelle Star, the French version of Idol. Since beating Benjamin Siksou to the title in the talent show’s final she’s scored herself a top 5 album in France. The album, ‘20 m²‘, contained ‘L’Homme De La Situation‘, which can be considered her biggest hit so far. The audience at Amandine’s Vivacité showcase were certainly singing along to the chorus word by word when prompted.

Amandine’s gorgeous rendition of Amy Winehouse’s ‘Back To Black’ formed the perfect bridge between her older songs and the material from her sophomore release. The ‘Sans Amour Mon Amour‘ album was partly created in the UK and has that vintage swing feel to show for it. On the night, this was perhaps best evidenced by ‘En Claquant Des Doigts‘, which loosely translates as “while snapping your fingers”. The track is a surefire toetapper which is going to have you join in with the backing choir in no time, even if you don’t speak a word of French. Check out the album’s lead single ‘Sans Amour‘ as well for more where that came from.

Highlight of the night for me, however, easily goes to ‘Le Revoir‘. And rest assured, the intimate ballad sounds just as heartbreakingly beautiful on the album as it did live.

‘Sans Amour Mon Amour’ by Amandine Bourgeois is available on Spotify and iTunes.

Charley says VIDEO! Mandy Capristo – The Way I Like It

April 6, 2012

When I first got into Monrose, the German girl trio were just about to launch their ‘I Am‘ album. Little did I know that all this time I had been missing out on ‘Strictly Physical‘. ‘Strictly Physical‘ was the group’s second album and contained the epic ‘Hot Summer‘ which went on to be covered by artists from Australia to Korea, it had fingerlickingly delicious electropop in the form of ‘Dangerous‘, heartbreaking ballads like ‘What You Don’t Know‘, the Olive’s ‘You’re Not Alone‘ sampling ‘Just Like That‘, the self-referencing and attitude-drenched ‘Monrose Theme‘… Basically, it was one of the greatest girl group albums the world would ever be treated to.

When late 2010 Mandy, Senna and Bahar announced they were going to part ways, it was a sad, sad day for pop fans around the globe. Now, finally, we have something to fill that Monrose shaped void in our lives. Mandy Capristo, who at just 22 has been on the pop scene for 6 years now, has just unleashed her very first solo video onto the internet. ‘The Way I Like It‘ is a slow burning electropop tune that still manages to pack a mean punch. The video contrasts an abandoned setting to Mandy’s stunning gorgeousness. Yes, perhaps I’m getting a bit hyperbolic about this, but if ‘The Way I Like It‘ is an indication of what her upcoming album ‘Grace’ is going to offer then sign me up!

‘The Way I Like It’ by Mandy Capristo is available on Spotify and iTunes.
‘Grace’ by Mandy Capristo is released April 27th 2012.
‘Strictly Physical’ by Monrose is available on Spotify and iTunes.