Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Xenomania, er... mania

Last night, I popped out to see six (yes, six) new acts who've been indentured at the Girls Aloud hit factory known as Xenomania.

These events are always a mixed blessing. On one hand, you could be seeing the future of pop. On the other, you might have to endure two hours of shit and spend the next three months avoiding awkward phone calls from everyone concerned.

Thankfully, this was a good one - like sticking your head into a bowl full of chorus juice and having a long, cool drink.

The acts ranged from Maxine, a 16 year old from the Bronx with a shocking pink quiff, to JFK, Xenomania's "house band" (pictured above) whose Merseybeat harmonies skillfully disguised their Aussie origins. Watch out for a song of theirs called Hummingbird - it's going to be massive. Perhaps as massive as The Promise, which they co-wrote, fact collectors.

Closing the night were a boy quartet called Nitevisions who, I kid you not, were the second coming of Duran Duran.

Xenomania already have already sent a few acts out in the great wide world - Vagabond, Mini Viva and Jessie Malakouti, to name just a few - but all of last night's artists were brand spanking new. The production house is essentially acting as a talent agency - scouting and developing young musicians then selling them on to record labels as a complete package (thus reducing the chance of the big labels interfering with their, ahem, "artistic vision").

Although none of the newbies have signed a deal yet, I saw various bigwigs hanging around the venue, as well as some people with normal hair, and plenty more who had mistaken the Flight Of The Conchords' hair gel episode as an educational documentary.

So, big things on the horizon? Maybe...

Brian Higgins told us he wants a "100% hit rate" for his stable of artists. They're certainly distinct enough to make an impact but the recent successes of JLS and Peter Andre don't exactly instil me with confidence in the nation's appetite for finely-tuned, cutting-edge pop.

Let's hope Xenomania can convince them otherwise.

Mini Viva - Left My Heart In Tokyo

Further Reading:
Xenomania Records
Xenomania fansite

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