For many, the 80s and ‘New Wave’ go hand in hand. It was all about flashy colours, glam clothes and the sense that style was every bit as important as the music itself.
Of course, what followed changed the face of music forever, as acts like Bananarama, Frankie Goes to Hollywood and Simple Minds became some of the biggest British acts to ‘go global’ since the Beatles.
It was the era of big hair, big choruses and countless one hit wonders. But we reckon it gave us some of the most incredible songs of all time – so without further ado, get stuck in with our 80s New Wave station and take a trip back in time to when Britain (or at the very least, Duran Duran) ruled the waves.
“Oh your hair is beautiful…”
Hands up if you had the T-Shirt.
That’s more like it!
We’re back again to give you a freshly-baked batch of Next Big Things, where every week we bring you hits from our most loved new artists. This week we’ve got three summery pop tunes for you to sink your teeth into. The warm weather might have disappeared around us, but that won’t stop us turning to our summer playlists!
So without further ado, here are this week’s choices. Like what you see? Then tune in to our Next Big Thing station to hear them and the rest of our up-and-coming favourites.
In the crowded British indie scene, there’s something very fresh about Childhood. Their pretty, psychedelic guitar sounds offer a more American indie rock flavour, similar to those of rising stars Mac DeMarco and Real Estate, but it’s the vocal performance of singer Ben Romans Hopcraft that really catches the eye on their latest of a handful of promising singles, Falls Away. The impressive vocal range he shows throughout is scarily similar to Chris Martin!
You mean you haven’t heard about Mamas Gun yet?! The London five-piece is the latest band to brighten up your summer with groovy funk. With catchy choruses disco synth-lines that Daft Punk and Chromeo would be proud of, it’s the perfect soundtrack to a sunny day out in the park (or a nostalgic day when you’re inevitably rained in).
It’s upbeat, folky and perfectly pop. Sheppard have been Australia’s best kept secret for a while now, but that’s all about to change with the UK release of their hit Geronimo – a song that went quadruple platinum in Australia and spent three weeks at number one in their charts. Surely it’s only a matter of time until the song reaches the same heights here and we’re all saying Geronimo before autumn hits us.
The head-banger. The ultimate ‘lick’. That super-charged refrain that still gets your dad misty eyed whenever he hears it on the radio. That’s what a real air guitar anthem is all about, and why - decades on - they remain some of the greatest moments in music, ever.
It seems you lot can’t get enough of a good ol’ riff or two either – a poll released by BBC 2 today saw Led Zeppelin’s 1969 classic (and sometime Top of the Pops theme tune) voted into the top slot, followed closely by the likes of Deep Purple, Guns n Roses and AC/DC.
But what, exactly ‘makes’ a guitar anthem an anthem? We searched tirelessly to compile a definitive list of some of the greatest rock numbers of all time, guaranteed to have you with your air guitar at the ready.
And remember, follow this simple checklist when it comes to picking your favourite:
Packs a punch
Twiddly solo bit
All kinds of epic
Insane skill level
Are you ready for September? Nope, us neither. If it was up to us, we’d make sure it was summer all year round. But perhaps some brilliant new music might help the switch to Autumn go down a little easier. We’ve picked a handful of highlights from this week’s new releases, so why not get your ears around our Brand New & Brilliant station.
Lillywood & Robin Schulz – Prayer In C
If you went on holiday anywhere in Europe at all over the summer, you wouldn’t have been able to get away from this track. Mark our words, this will probably be the biggest dance smash of the year, as Robin Schulz goes on remixing duties again following his work on Mr Probz mega-hit ‘Waves’.
Duke Dumont – Won’t Look Back
Based around a cheeky sample of rave classic Ride On Time, this 90s-sounding club number is a stunning, bass-heavy number to usher in all those Freshers’ partied over the coming months. Could it be his third No. 1 in a row? It wouldn’t surprise us at all if it was!
Maroon 5 – Maps
Adam Levine and co. return after two years away with this jaunty, super-catchy cut that sounds like it’d go down just right with a cool drink, slice of lime and miles of sun-kissed beaches. A strong introduction to what we’re sure will be a corker of a fifth album from the group.
What better way to cap off a summer of incredible tunes and unforgettable memories than an exclusive selection of highlights from our pals over at Ministry of Sound!
Whether you spent the sunny months raving it up or throwing as many BBQ parties as humanly possible,we’ve got some of the biggest club smashes of the year to keep you going!
Perhaps a little London Grammar floats your boat? Or maybe you couldn’t get enough of the DVBBS & Borgeous mega-hit Tsunami? If you’re anything like us, you’ve been dropping to it every day of the week on the morning commute. Because, you know, that’s just how we roll.
(We’re totally that guy at the front)
You’ll find songs from both artists in our Ministry of Sound station alongside a veritable bevy of top-class floorfillers, including the likes of Storm Queen, Duke Dumont and Chris Malinchak.
Ready to dance? We sure are…
So, continuing our chats with each of the Union J boys, next up was birthday-boy George, who tells us a little bit about live shows and the loyal JCats!
First off, Happy Birthday! How was it and how did you celebrate?
Thanks, it was amazing, we went out in London on the Saturday night, and spent the next day at home with my family in Bristol recovering. I went to Glastonbury with my family too that was fun.
Exciting times at the moment for the band, you must be proud?
Very proud, it’s been 2 years now since bootcamp on the X Factor which is just mad to think how far we’ve come since. We’re really proud of this album because its more us, at the beginning we’d come off the back of the X Factor and we loved it and it was very much like a rollercoaster. But, after that we spent some time to sit down and gather our thoughts and really think about what we wanted to do with the second album.
What was the first record you ever bought?
Mine was actually ‘Round Round’ by the Sugababes, followed by ‘One Step Closer’ by S Club Juniors. I told my brother I wrote that song, he was quite young so he believed me…
When you were writing the album what other music were you listening to and getting inspiration from?
We all have really different music tastes, and that’s one of the things that’s made this album quite strong along with the writing sessions. We could all sit there and chip in with different things that we love.
Is the new single ‘Tonight’ a good first track to showcase the album?
Definitely, we chose the song based on the fact we all love it – we were in LA, driving around in a Jeep and we had all the single choices on our phones, ‘Tonight’ came on last and it just felt right with the windows down, the sun shining, and us just having fun.
Are you looking forward to performing the new songs live?
We really wanted this album to sound up, anthemic and real – we always use the word organic when we’re in interviews because its just real music. It’s really fun to perform songs that are big and energetic.
What do you think makes a good live show?
On one hand I’d say big production and loads of loud music and lights, but on the other hand if Ed Sheeran can make 80,000 people at Wembley happy with just him and a guitar… it’s hard to choose between the big shows and the intimate shows but I’d say for ‘Tonight’ Wembley stadium is the one.
If for a day you could be in another band, who would it be?
I’d have to choose a band like Nirvana. I grew up listening to Nirvana, it would be so cool to be in a band like that. The video for Teen Spirit looks like the ultimate party.
Talk to me about the video for Tonight, it looked like so much to make.
We just wanted to have a video that was pure fun, it was basically a houseparty with some of our real friends in it. We wanted to give fans an insight into what a Union J party is like.
Talk to me about the fans, what kind of things do they do?
They’re really really loyal, and they have been since day one. We’ve had a lot of time out between the first and second album and we were worried if people were going to stick with us, but they have and not one of them has let us down.
If you were going to welcome a 5th member into the band, who would it be?
Ooh I don’t know, we need a blonde member… Tom Odell could be cool!
If you weren’t in a boyband what would you be doing?
That’s one of the things we think about a lot. You have to pinch yourself a lot doing this, we’re living the dream. I would have just graduated from university, I did Graphic Design and throughout college I always wanted to open up my own graphic design company. I designed the Union J logo which was fun and we’re all very much involved in the art side of it, all 4 of us love it.
The boys from Union J also told us what music they’ve been listening to most recently. Listen to their Hosted By station by clicking below: