Category Archives: Pop

REGINA SPEKTOR – BEGIN TO HOPE (Indie/Pop – US)

Regina Spektor was born in Moscow, Russia, and started studying classical piano from the age of six, practising on a Petrof piano given to her mother by her grandfather. She was also exposed to the music of rock and roll bands such as The Beatles, Queen, and The Moody Blues by her father, who obtained such recordings in Eastern Europe and traded cassettes with friends in the Soviet Union. When she was only nine, her family left the Soviet Union, during the period of Perestroika when Jewish citizens were permitted to emigrate. Travelling first to Austria and then Italy and the US, the Spektors settled in the Bronx, where Regina gained a firm grounding in classical music and then gradually became interested in pop, rock, and punk as well.

Regina Spektor - Summer In The City     

Regina Spektor self-released her first two albums 11:11 (2001) and Songs (2002) and sold after performances in downtown NYC. In 2004, she signed a contract with Sire Records to publish and distribute her third album Soviet Kitsch, originally self-released in 2003. Met with critical acclaim, this album helped cement Spektor’s transition from underground to mainstream success.

More info and music on MySpace. Buy all of Regina Spektor’s releasese on Regina Spektor

SUFJAN STEVENS – ILLINOISE (Indie/Orchestral – US)

Sufjan Stevens was born in Detroit, Michigan. A self-taught musician, the young Sufjan played Mozartian sonatas on a toy Casio, and by college became proficient on the oboe, recorder, banjo, guitar, vibraphone, bass, drums, piano, and more. Somewhere along the line he also started to sing, though at the time his friends didn’t encourage it…

Sufjan Stevens - Chicago     

During his last semester in college, Sufjan assembled a selection of songs to produce the inaugural release “A Sun Came” on Asthmatic Kitty Records, a home label Sufjan initiated with his step-dad Lowell. A thousand copies were manufactured but didn’t make it to the public.

After moving to New York, Sufjan set out to complete his most ambitious project to date: a collection of programmatic, symphonic songs for the animals of the Chinese Zodiac. There were no lyrics, but more than a few cymbal swells, and flourishes on the oboe, all accompanied by computer-generated techno beats, and digital noise. The result was enterprising, but not quite flattering. He sent a few copies to press, which fell on confused ears.

Real success came after the release of his album “Come, feel the Illinoise!”. This album is a collection of beautifully ambitious songs which rely on symphonic arrangments, a choir and Sufjan’s fragile voice. Feel the magic of Sufjan’s song writing on tracks like ‘Concerning The UFO Sighting Near Highland, Illinois’, ‘Chicago’ or ‘They Are Night Zombies!! They Are Neighbors!! They Have Come Back From The Dead!! Ahhhh!’. So you think these titles are crazy? Well, wait till you hear the music…

Find out more on MySpace and buy his music on Sufjan

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ENTRE RÍOS – SI HOY (Electronica/Experimental – Argentina)

Just a short note to introduce Entre Ríos, an alternative act from Argentina. The band, formed in 2000 in Buenos Aires, consists of Sebastián Carreras, Gabriel Lucena and Isol. They deliver dreamy electronic pop gems based on a subtle mix of pop melodies, ethereal vocals and gentle electronics.

The band have released three albums so far: Idioma Suave (2002), Sal (2002) and Onda (2005). Listen to “Si Hoy”, taken off the album Sal.

Entre Ríos - Si Hoy     

For more info, check out Entre Ríos on MySpace. If you want to purchase their music, it’s all available for download on Entre Ríos

NAJWA – WALKABOUT (Electro/Indie/Pop – Spain)

Actress-singer-composer Najwa Nimri started making electronic music towards the end of the 90s with her friend Carlos Jean, a rising star in the Spanish electronica scene. Their collaboration gave birth to a first album, No blood, released under the moniker NajwaJean in 1998, and two soundtracks.

Najwa - That Cyclone     

In  2001, Najwa took her first steps as a solo artist with the critically acclaimed album Carefully. It was followed  in 2003 by Mayday, which spawned the hit singles “Hey Boys, Girls” and “Go Cain”.

After three years, she is finally back with a new album! Walkabout is available since February on physical CD or as a download. Stream the whole album right here.

For more info, check out Najwa’s official site. Buy her music on Najwa

saturday nite with… VILLENEUVE

The artist of the day is Villeneuve. His first album is called First Date and it’s now out worlwide.

On his debut album, Villeneuve succeeds in blending together a lot of different influences to create a very special formula that could be described as pop music for the ears of the 21st century.

Mélanie Pain, already known for her participation in Nouvelle Vague, lends her beautiful and delicate voice to Villeneuve’s songs.

Villeneuve - Oh No!     

Listen to more music on MySpace or on the official site here.

Buy the album on First