It's Wednesday! Time for another round of 5 Must-Hear Pop Songs of the Week!
To help celebrate the 2012 mtvU Woodie Awards Festival -- you can live-stream it Thursday, March 15, at 2 p.m. ET/1 p.m. CT live from the SXSW Music Festival, followed by the 2012 mtvU Woodie Awards Sunday, March 18, at 8/7c -- I've selected a few tunes from both performers and nominees alike to help get into the Woodies spirit. Some of these tracks are new, some not so new--but all of them are most definitely worth some wood.
1.) Swedish House Mafia, "Greyhound"
EDM super trio Swedish House Mafia are one of the artists nominated for a Performing Woodie, and deservedly so: The producer/DJ superstars (individually known as Axwell, Steve Angello and Sebastian Ingrosso) were the first-ever electronic acts to book Madison Square Garden, and according to Rolling Stone, sold out the entire arena in just 9 minutes. In fact, the event was so massive that the group even broadcast a live stream during the concert for everyone who couldn't attend. As if there was any further proof needed that club music truly does reign supreme these days, this would probably do the trick.
After the release of SHM's pulverizing single "Antidote" in late 2011 with Knife Party (and the totally NSFW Kill Bill-like accompanying video) comes another serving of testosterone-laden techno: "Greyhound," a frantic, frenzied arena-size anthem full of punishing techno beats (a perfect fit for a Mortal Kombat soundtrack, no doubt!), which was just released yesterday. It's another winning dance floor smash, perfect for sending a room full of 20,000 people into an all-out frenzy.
2.) Kimbra, "Good Intent"
But apart from being a feature on a top-selling smash, Kimbra's also a talented singer-songwriter in her own right. Back in late August, the 21-year-old quirk-pop songstress unleashed her wonderfully diverse, colorful debut, Vows (in her homeland of New Zealand), a record filled with catchy cuts like "Settle Down" and "Cameo Lover." Her latest single, "Good Intent," finds the singer getting caught up in the jazzy swing of things, weaving a sordid tale of a supposedly good man's dirty dealings in the night: "You know you shouldn't be there but your money's all spent/You've got your reputation and your good intent," Kimbra taunts above the bass plucks. With traces of the seductive, playful acid jazz sound of Bitter:Sweet and enough quirky, disco-lite delivery of Roisin Murphy, Kimbra keeps it comfortably diverse and refreshingly unique on her debut -- which should be headed stateside shortly.
Listen to more Must-Hear Pop Songs Of The Week after the jump!
3.) Charli XCX, "Stay Away"
Though she's nominated as a Breaking Woodie newcomer, UK goth-pop princess Charli XCX has been a fixture within the underground British pop scene for years now, ever since she began uploading her DIY electronica tunes like "Art B****" and "I Wanna Be Darth Vader" on her Myspace page years ago.
After inking a deal with IAMSOUND Records earlier this year, the LDN-bred club kid is now planning to bring her unique brand of hulking dark pop to the forefront with a new EP in May. One of the singer's best offerings thus far? Last year's gritty "Stay Away," which sees the songstress quivering commands above a hulking, industrial beat. "Your love's so cold, just like an arrow pierced through my skin/ I bleed," she trembles on top of the grinding synthesizers, produced by Ariel Rechtshaid.
Whether or not Charli ends up snagging the Woodie this year, prepare for this incredible talent to break out in a big way in 2012: She's the real deal.
4.) Calvin Harris, "Let's Go (feat. Ne-Yo)"
This year, the Woodies are honoring EDM (that's electronic dance music, for the initiated) artists with their very own category this year: The EDM Effect Woodie. Calvin Harris, one of the several talented nominees, has certainly had a banner year thus far: Along with his infectious summertime tune "Bounce" alongside Kelis, the Scottish DJ struck gold -- err, multiplatinum with his incredible collaboration with Rihanna, the Ibiza-friendly dance floor anthem, "We Found Love."
Most recently, Harris just unleashed his latest (soon-to-be) hit with R&B crooner Ne-Yo: "Let's Go," which plays very much like the brother to Rihanna's defining 2011 anthem; explosive chorus, four-to-the-floor blazing beats and all. With collaborations in the works for both his next album and others--including a highly anticipated collaboration with Girls Aloud sweetheart Cheryl Cole--Harris might just be ousting David Guetta as the DJ to beat on radio.
5.) Skrillex, "Bangarang"
Dubstep king Skrillex has certifiably exploaded. One month ago, the California-bred producer snagged three awards at the 2012 Grammys. It's simply a proven fact: Everyone loves Skrillex! Even Shakira stopped traffic to dance to Skrillex in the street--and you know what they say about those hips.
His latest single, "Bangaran," which is the title track from his 2011 EP, features rapper Sirah and that signature brain-melting dubstep wobble that's caused him to own the genre (at least in the United States). Insert some majorly chopped 'n' screwed vocals and chants of "Shout to all my boss boys!" and there you have it: Skrillex doing what he does best, leading to his most commercially successful single to date.
As a result, I wouldn't be too surprised if the painfully shy EDM producer wound up sweeping at the Woodies this year as well.
Bradley Stern is a writer from Connecticut. In his spare time, he enjoys organizing his Britney Spears CD collection in reverse chronological order and plotting the various ways in which he will bring down Katy Perry to become Rihanna's best friend. But most of all, he spends his time tweeting daily about pop music on his blog, MuuMuse.
Photo credit: Getty Images/Atlantic Records/EMI