It came from SoundCloud: PC Music’s internet pop invasion

Exploring the fizzy world bursting towards the charts.

Originally published in The Edge

Playing a track on SoundCloud is never as straightforward as it may seem. Once non-skippable audio promos subside to gift you 30 seconds and an abrupt ending that reminds you of the firm’s perpetually iffy situation with the industry as a whole, the real fun can begin as it catapults you down a mesmerising rabbit hole of what happens when you give seamless distribution and budget creation tools to the most idiosyncratic budding musicians. Entire self-sufficient niches have established themselves, attracting new prey in this very fashion, and singular hits, especially in the dance world, have flourished from silent launches on the platform, but few lasting trends have managed to escape through into more mainstream vistas. PC Music is ready to be the exception. Continue reading “It came from SoundCloud: PC Music’s internet pop invasion”

EP review: Charli XCX – Vroom Vroom

The new label and its eponymous EP send mainstream pop underground to an alarmingly enjoyable effect.

Originally published in The Edge

The ascension of Charli XCX from Bishop’s Stortford to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 is peculiar to fathom. One moment, you’re uploading tracks to MySpace with titles like ‘!Franchesckaar!,’ attending raves to perform with your parents, and signed to Orgy Music (which is apparently a genuine record label); the next you’re pop’s resident punk edge, trashing hotels and raucously bitching from Los Angeles to Tokyo, yet still having the approachable youth appeal to pull off a theme song for tearjerking young adult tale The Fault In Our Stars.

This apparent lack of intermediacy makes her, seemingly, the perfect fit to mesh with the incredibly bizarre and similarly bombastic PC Music label/genre/subculture/social study/pyramid scheme. On this bridge to the surely inevitable third album later this year, she launches Vroom Vroom, her own experimental pop vanity collective, and Vroom Vroom, a concise and intense four track EP to go with it produced by aural oddball SOPHIE. Continue reading “EP review: Charli XCX – Vroom Vroom”

Album review: SOPHIE – Product

Beginning and ending with the only two tracks worth listening to, SOPHIE’s collection of singles leaves more than just an unpleasant ringing behind.

Originally published in The Edge

To celebrate Black Friday, SOPHIE, the foremost enigma of electronic pop who once described his genre as ‘advertising’, has released debut album Product in formats ranging from CD to…silicon thing. The London-based producer, who was last heard soundtracking a McDonald’s commercial (‘LEMONADE’) and collaborating with Madonna and Diplo (‘Bitch I’m Madonna’), made a pseudonym for himself in 2013 when his rather unique approach to the fundamentals of sound production, drowned in a sickly sweet marinade, surfaced through Glaswegian label Numbers. Continue reading “Album review: SOPHIE – Product”