You'd have thought August would be a pretty dead month for pop releases, but that really hasn't been the case. It turns out it's one of the best. Clearly, more and more artists are using the eventless summer months to test out new sounds on the web and ready themselves for Autumn.

Or 'Fall', in Mario's case. The 'Let Me Love You' singer has always been overshadowed by the rather more commercially successful Chris Brown and Usher and, let's be honest, the 8,000 YouTube views of new single 'Fatal Distraction' don't exactly suggest things are changing any time soon. But what a tune we have on our hands. Hitting one skyscraping note after another, over a slinking beat and Sade-kinda keys, this is 'Climax' part two: mainstream R&B getting trendy all over again. Expect a release on RCA Records soon-ish.


According to iTunes, I've played the new Chela song 47 times in the past three days, so it's only fair I give my new Aussie obsession a shout out next. Essentially, 'Romanticise', her new release on Kitsuné, is the gooeyist, loveliest little slice of electro-pop I've had the pleasure of devouring this year so far.

It's very simple, lyrics and music wise, but it all just seems to work. And the video is just as great, all 80s paint splashes, fuzzy backgrounds and naff dance moves (sorry Chela). Warning: this song will be sung by teenage girls in front of mirrors.


One of the best live shows I've seen this summer was Swedish newcomer at Cambridgeshire's Secret Garden Party: visceral, inventive scandipop. Building on what's come before in the shape of singles 'Pilgrim' and 'Waste of Time', she uploaded mind-blowing newbie 'XXX 88' to Soundcloud last week and it's everything we've come to expect and more.

With Diplo's unique production stamp, the whole is bigger, brasher and more DJ set-friendly, certainly auguring well for radio play and maybe even an eventual chart position. Oh yeah, and if you're wondering how to pronounce her name, the vowel sound is like the 'oo' in 'foot'.


Sometimes, in that inevitable gape of nothingness also known as every minute Katy B delays the release of her comeback record, I find myself having to find second-bests. Since 'On A Mission', there's been a good lot of mediocre imitators and bandwagon-jumpers creating pop/UK Funky hybrids, but Funkystepz aren't included. They're bona fide experts (since 2008) and new single 'Bring Me Back', featuring glorious vocals from Lauren Mason, is primed for starting parties. I'm definitely booking these guys for university events.


We should end with something fun. And that something fun is lanky Belgian singer Stromae, a phenomenon all over Europe at the minute. And he's a craze for all the right reasons. His latest song, 'Papaoutai' (an idiosyncratic spelling of 'Papa, où t'es?', lit. 'Dad, where are you?'), is a heartwarming Euro-pop banger about the role of the father and dad-kid relations.

It's been number one in 17 countries so far and racked up nearing 40 million views on YouTube, which is quite something for a French language song. Naturally, it got next to no coverage in the British media.