Monday, December 22, 2014

BONNIE MCKEE : California Winter

The residents of the southern Californian coast probably understand better than most what us Aussies go through during the festive season; no snow, no mistletoe, no need for that mulled wine or hot chocolate to stave off Jack Frost's nipping at your nose.
No, the Aussie summer is all about beach, barbecues, flies, sunscreen, sparkling wine and fun in the sun.
So in that respect, there's a lot we can relate to in this little festive nugget, released by up and coming US songstress Bonnie McKee who, we suspect, will receive a fresh career push in the new year.
It's a cute-as-a-button song that's accompanied by a cute-as-a-button clip, filmed in one take entirely within the confines of a studio, in which Bonnie demonstrates the differences between the winters of the northern US states and those of southern California. While the former is undeniably magical, we do love a little bit of sun on our skin in the great southern land.


Probably one of our more unorthodox choices in this year's top ten countdown. New Zealand starlet Brooke Fraser's latest album 'Brutal Romantic' was fabulous; full of sonically sublime future-pop nuggets, including this truly inspired single, 'Kings & Queens'.
A top 20 hit in her homeland, it was virtually ignored by the mainstream here in Australia, but we gave it (and the 'Brutal Romantic' project) plenty of love. It doesn't matter whether it was a hit or not, it connected with us, so we're bestowing upon it the No.9 position in our top ten pop singles of 2014.


If you're a little bit like us, you'll be looking back on the year that's been and wondering where the hell it's gone!
But 2014 was another amazing year here at auspOp and, as always, we can't thank you enough for your loyalty and your support. 'Cause it's that that's kept us going (it sure as hell ain't the money!)
So what have we been up to throughout 2014? Well we've brought you in excess of 1740 pop stores including a number of exclusives. Added to that there have been a myriad interviews with some of the biggest names in the pop game, plus tour and chart information, new releases, new clips and so much more.
Here's a quick wrap of the year that was;

We kicked off the year in fine style by offering up copies of the US edition of Cher's album 'Closer To The Truth', brought you a succession of new videos from some of your Aussie pop favourites including Jess Mauboy, Taylor Henderson and Dami Im, had a review of the Rebecca Ferguson album and in amongst all the stories about your favourite pop artists, continued delivering our regulars like Chart Watch, the new release schedule, giveaways and the auspOp Diary.

Fast forward to February and we chatted with Michael Paynter about his new album in what was the first of a succession of interviews and Q&As throughout the year. Katy Perry announced her tour, 5 Seconds Of Summer arrived with 'She Looks So Perfect' and Nathaniel tried to prove that lightning could strike twice with his sound-a-like second single 'You're Beautiful'. The public was wiser.

In March, Frente announced their reformation, Coldplay confirmed their album and Sia's 'Chandelier' lit up the pop sphere. Gaga brought us the epic 'G.U.Y' clip, Anastacia returned with 'Stupid Little Things' and Sam Smith captivated us with 'Stay With Me'. We interviewed Nathaniel, Marcia Hines and Neon Jungle and had a Q&A with Marvin Priest, plus we exclusively brought you the sublime 'Mind The Gap' by Nabiha.

April was another big month with 150 stories across the 30 days. In amongst all that lot was Kanye West's tour postponement, a Q&A with Ella Hooper about her new album 'In Tongues', news that 'The Voice' favourite Diana Rouvas was taking her new single to the dancefloors of the country, plus a Q&A with Rachael Leahcar, the Short Stack comeback, new music for Dami Im, the return of our 'Countdown To Eurovision' series, an interview with Harrison Craig and we cheekily hinted at the name of Jessica Mauboy's Eurovision single 'Sea Of Flags'.

May kicked of with the announcement of the new Mariah Carey album 'Me. I Am Mariah. The Elusive Chanteuse'. But it was also the month that Eurovision crowned a popular winner, Michael Jackson's new LP was revealed, the Chantoozies reformed for a cover of 'Baby It's You' and we published a Q&A with Kiyomi Vella. There was an album review of Lily Allen's 'Sheezus' and another for Michael Jackson's 'Xscape', plus the underwhelming clip for Kylie's 'I Was Gonna Cancel'.

Approaching the middle of the year, there was no slowing down for us at auspOp. There were album reviews for Mariah, Cher Lloyd, Jennifer Lopez, Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith, Kimbra returned with '90s Music' and South Korean star Psy tried (and failed) with 'Hangover'. There was new music for Bonnie Anderson and Cheryl Cole (who subsequently dropped her 'Cole'), the 2014 APRA winners and interviews with DJ Cassidy, Bonnie Anderson and Foxes.

After the halfway mark, the Madden Brothers dropped the clip for 'We Are Done', Brad took a dislike to Robin Thicke's album 'Paula' (as did the rest of the intelligent record buying public) and we interviewed Andy Bull about his fab album 'Sea Of Approval'. Former 'Australian Idol' winner Wes Carr dropped onto the dancefloor, Anja won 'The Voice' and we chatted to UK pop songstress Ella Henderson and with Aussie pop singer Taylor Henderson.
Internet star Troye Sivan beguiled us with his 'Trxye' EP and the first of Brad's ace #TBT interviews went live - with Rogue Traders' James Ash.

Anja Nissen chatted to us about not releasing the obligatory winner's single, the GRLS from G.R.L dropped down under for a promotional visit and Dami Im hit with 'Gladiator'. Guy Sebastian was accused of copying Pitbull's 'Timber' with his new single 'Come Home With Me', we were super-quick off the mark to bring you news about the PWL Kylie repackages and we chatted with Prinnie about her EP.

Lots more album reviews and interviews in September, including Brad's chat with Abz from 5ive, which turned out to be the last interview he gave before quitting the band just days after our story went live. There was a #TBT interview with Casey Donovan ten years after she won 'Idol', Nathaniel broke through with 'Live Louder' and One Direction announced that the title of their fourth album would be 'Four'. We interviewed Kimbra, we interviewed Nathaniel, we chatted with Rob Mills and Jason Orange quit Take That.

October is generally the busiest month of the year as record companies roll out the announcements on their Christmas releases - and this October didn't disappoint, with an average of just over six pop stories a day. Jessica Mauboy returned with the infectious 'Can I Get A Moment?', there were the ARIA nominees, plus an interview with The Collective, and Anja Nissen confirmed the release of her long-awaited debut single 'I'm So Excited'. The trouble for Anja was that no-one else was. The Veronicas' comeback was on in earnest, so we chatted to them and we exclusively brought you all the details about the new Paulini single and album. There was another interview with Anastacia and another with Canadian superstar Sarah McLachlan, we gave away tickets to Aqua's Aussie tour, reported on the S Club 7 comeback and had more interviews; Kaz James and Jessica Mauboy.

ARIA month always throws up a few surprises and last month didn't disappoint. Sure, there were the all-important winners of the 2014 ARIA Awards, but November served up so much more; Sammy Jade introduced us to 'Sweet Talk', Ministry Of Sound notched up their 200th local compilation album, Beyoncé announced details of her deluxe box and Katy Perry launched pop-up shops. We chatted to Paulini about her future plans and her new album, we gave you the exclusive first look at Dannii recording her track for the 'We Love Disney' compilation, Brad posed some questions to 'X Factor' winner Marlisa, we chatted with Betty Who and published another #TBT interview... with former Andrew G, Osher Günsberg.

And we haven't slowed down much in December either, delivering an interview with Justice Crew, a #TBT interview with Manni Carella and a Q&A with up and coming Aussie DJ Marcus Santoro. There were album reviews, rumblings of a Taylor Swift tour (which came to fruition), more album reviews, more clips and more tour information. We also gave you the opportunity to have your say as to the best singles and albums of 2014 (click on the links in the sidebar to have YOUR say) and after a little leakage, Madonna announced the upcoming release of her new album 'Rebel Heart'.

Pop news, new releases, tour information, album and concert reviews, interviews, Q&As, #TBT interviews, breaking news, release schedules, Chart Watch, heaps of giveaways, news wraps, cover images and so much more... Yes, it's been a big year. But there's so much more to come in 2015 with new features, new surprises and new ways for you to connect. Because as they say in the classics, change... is good.


One of the reasons we decided to create auspOp six and a half years ago - and pretty much our raison d'être - is to champion pop music, particularly Australian pop music that might not ordinarily get a look-in over in the big bad commercial world where they're often more concerned about profit than supporting local talent.
So it gives us great pleasure to announce that our No.9 pop album of 2014 belongs to one of our own... Taylor Henderson.
Brad said of the LP on its release in the middle of the year that it was "a bit like a nice big bowl of chicken soup; simple, but it makes you feel warm and cozy."
He went on to say that 'Burnt Letters' is "a pretty reliable album. There are enough flecks of variety to appeal to a wider demographic whilst giving Taylor’s existing fans more of his signature acoustic pop/rock that they love so much."
auspOp's No.9 pop album of 2014 is Taylor Henderson's 'Burnt Letters'.

THE VERONICAS : If You Love Someone

The Veronicas made a very welcome return to the pop charts earlier this year with their No.1 smash 'You Ruin Me' and quickly followed that up with the release of their long-awaited new self-titled album.
Now they're launching headlong into the campaign for the second single from 'The Veronicas' project, 'If You Love Someone'.
Revealed to the world over the weekend, the official video (below) is like a beacon of positivity; a fight of the good fight; of always allowing the possibility of positivity win over the relentless negativity that's so often rammed down our throats, particularly in the mainstream media. To that end, the girls also encourage the viewer to seek out alternative channels of news reporting that aim to debunk a lot of the mistruths we're often fed by the mainstream.
As for the song itself, we didn't even need to attempt an APRA search to know that this little ditty has DNA's pop paws all over it.

Sunday, December 21, 2014


It's been an incredible year for British singer Sam Smith. After being named last year's 'Critics Choice' from the people at the Brit Awards (usually a sure-fire sign that big things are to come), he's gone on to conquer charts across the globe with his grown-up, intelligent, soul-filled pop music.
We were tossing up between 'I'm Not The Only One' and 'Like I Can' for tenth favourite pop single of 2014. But in the end (and despite its newness), it was the latter which fell across the line, due in part to its uplifting, almost gospel-like choruses and stylish black and white video postcard from New York (below).
Presenting our No.10 pop single of 2014; Sam Smith's cracking 'Like I Can'.


It appears that Madonna's Australian fans just can't get enough of the tracks from the singer's forthcoming 13th studio album 'Rebel Heart'.
Word of the new Madonna LP broke late yesterday afternoon, with six songs made available for immediate download ('Living For Love', 'Devil Pray', 'Ghosttown', 'Unapologetic Bitch', 'Illuminati' and 'Bitch, I'm Madonna'). Each of the six tracks is currently sitting back to back in positions 12-17 on the iTunes singles chart and it would appear that the vast majority of Madge's global fandom likes what she's serving up.
Of course, the release of the six tracks yesterday was in reaction to the recent leak of these (and more) songs onto the net; Madonna confirming that she had planned to drop the lead single on February 14.
"I was hoping to release my new single "Living For Love" on Valentine's Day with the rest of the album coming in the Spring," she said in a statement. "I would prefer my fans to hear completed versions of some of the songs instead of the incomplete tracks that are circulating. Please consider these six songs as an early Christmas gift."
Producers whose work features on the album include Diplo, Kanye West, Billboard, dahi and Blood Diamond, along with Madonna herself.
More music from 'Rebel Heart' is set to be released on Monday February 09, with the album currently slated for a global March 10 release.



Tuesday : Sun Kil Moon (East Coast)

Dec 22 : BATEAU BAY – Scott Russo/Phil Jamieson (Entrance Leagues Club)
Dec 23 : WOLLONGONG – Scott Russo/Phil Jamieson (Waves)
Dec 26 : ADELAIDE – Derrick Carter (Mr Kim’s)
Dec 26 : PERTH – Knife Party (The Pavilions)
Dec 27 : BRISBANE – Derrick Carter (TBC Club)
Dec 27 : DOYALSON – Brothers3 (Doyalson RSL)
Dec 27 : MELBOURNE – The Basics (Corner Hotel)
Dec 27 : MELBOURNE – Salt N Pepa/CDB (Forum Theatre)
Dec 28 : BANKSTOWN – Brothers3 (Bankstown Sports)
Dec 28 – Jan 01 : LORNE – Falls Festival
Dec 28 : PERTH – Derrick Carter (Stables Bar)