It’s 10/10 #17: @NuelaCharles, @Kislawmusic & @wallflowerperry, #Anzano & @RobbieRosenlive, @CrashAdamsmusic, @Prizmofficial, @KenBauersweden, @Febmusic & @Lexie_official, #Dega, @TommyNewport & @EARTHGANG, and @DJChrisDamas

My 10/10 feature returns with edition #17.  I can’t believe it’s been six months since I wrote the last one.  But the time has come where very good songs for consideration for this blog are overwhelming the weaker ones, so I want to make sure the good ones get their due.  And as usual, the choices are a global cornucopia of releases.

For those not familiar with10/10,  I write about 10 hot and fresh songs in no particular order, for your kind consideration and attention.

I continue to write individual blog posts about certain songs.  That does not mean that songs in the 10/10 lists are any less than those featured individually, and they are not listed in any particular order.  

Writing 10/10 posts means I can cover more songs in one shot.  So you get to learn about more new music that I hear but don’t always get a chance to write about. 

  • NUELA CHARLES, “Space”

Singer/songwriter Nuela Charles has been prominent in her native Canada, conquering the Adult Contemporary genre with Juno Awards nominations three years in a row for that category.  “Space” is a welcome change of pace for her, showcasing her effortless classic R&B-influenced voice with a sassy and funky backdrop. While “Space” was written as a response to the pandemic, it’s clear that we all need space from each other, even those closest to it. “Space” sails away with that idea and Nuela flourishes in this setting.

  • KISLAW and VICTOR PERRY, “Slip Away”

NYC singer/songwriter Victor Perry continues to be one of the most prolific independent performers, releasing new music every week where possible and showcasing it with different collaborators.  “Slip Away” is a unique partnership with new Africa-born French producer Kislaw, who embraces a sophisticated backdrop where you’ll hear the underutilized flute among other sounds.  And a funky edge allows Victor’s brilliant vocal – which reminds me of when either Michael or Janet Jackson are at their most playful – to lilt through the story and soar in the ad libs too.  Released by Bonfire Records, this one is very deserving of a follow up soon.

  • ANZANO and ROBBIE ROSEN, “Waves”

Like Victor Perry, “American Idol” Top 16 contestant Robbie Rosen is on a mission to release music every week right now (yes, it’s no surprise with similar ideals that the two collaborate as well).  Robbie’s recent songs and performances are so consistently strong it’s hard to pick out what are the strongest ones.  “Waves” finds Robbie working with Belgian producer Anzano for a chipper-sounding song that recognizes when you’ve lost a friend or partner to a better relationship or situation (“forever you’ll be one with the waves”).  It’s a quick mix of classic pop and bright, friendly electropop that goes down easily.

  • CRASH ADAMS, “Symphony”

Your friendly neighbourhood Toronto pop/rock duo Crash Adams are back with another song to make you think while putting a smile on your face. “Symphony” is about that instant state of attraction when all of the vibes and conversation just seem oh so right.  It’s another tight production with a winning vocal, and another cool video (above) to boot.  Crash Adams continue to release quality songs, and their talent and flair for spot-on visuals will take them far.

  • THE PRIZM, “Darkness Is A Friend”

“Darkness Is A Friend” is the centerpiece song of L.A.-based producer The Prizm’s latest album New Beginnings.  In fact the album is a third chapter to a complex story, but focuses on new beginnings for anyone who’s experienced recent hard times, whether they be through relationships, the pandemic, and more.  The uplifting melody and vocal will help you realize that there is a way out of the darkness if you embrace it and move on.  The album is a significant progressive stretch when looking back on last year’s catchy electronic dance single “I Don’t Wanna Go Home” (with ARTFCAL), but The Prizm (Gabriel Garcia) is taking his time to create stories and atmosphere that will have a deeper effect on the listener.

  • KEN BAUER, “Free”

Sweden’s Ken Bauer is hardly a new name to the electronic dance music scene, releasing regular music since 2016.  Though he’s had support from big names like David Guetta, Sam Feldt, and Nicky Romero, all it takes is one song that could open more doors internationally.  “Free” has that potential, with complex synths surrounding a basic but infectious hook.  The uncredited vocal helps the song soar, and “Free” would go over very well indeed at festivals.

  • FEB & LEXIE, “Last Night A DJ Saved My Life”

Though it’s a far cry from the funky classic grooves of the 1982 Indeep classic, Italian producer Feb and British vocalist Lexie spin “Last Night A DJ Saved My Life” into a slick Eurohouse track.  Lexie’s alluring vocal makes it perfectly pronounced that she’s moved on and looking for someone else who won’t break her heart.  Feb’s production captures the essence of the song, making it a fitting surprise that works well.

  • DEGA, “Bad Burn”

Italy’s Dega brings us some dreamy, trance-soaked Europop with “Bad Burn”.  The song effectively mixes in thoughtful vocals, an underlying and very catchy melody, and a build up to a swell drop for cohesive results.  “Bad Burn” is definitely one of those songs where you might not know the artist, but the song solidly stands steadfast on its own and has festival anthem potential.

  • TOMMY NEWPORT and EARTHGANG, “Stargazer”

“Stargazer” is a cool slice of alternative rock that’s laced with hip hop that is out to challenge listeners while sublimely drawing them in with its warm hook.  At only 20 years old, Manchester-born singer/guitarist Tommy Newport has already acquired fans through not only his music, but appearances on TV and internet shows as well as movies.  His voice has a soulful undercurrent beneath a weary, journeyman kind of approach.  His collaborators on “Stargazer” are recent Grammy Awards nominees for Best R&B Song, Atlanta’s EARTHGANG, who continue to show why hip hop and soul are so welcome in an alternative rock-oriented release, and how much more pliable the genre walls need to become.  

  • CHRISTOPHER DAMAS, “Tekila”

Get that big plate of nachos ready because some “Tekila” is about to infiltrate the mix!  It’s a tidy and spicy song that should easily fit into sets next to “Despacito” and “Mi Gente”, but there is a twist.  The “k” in “Tekila” might give it away, but it’s brought to you by veteran Russian electronic dance producer Christopher Damas, which continues to prove that the boundaries within dance music itself are extremely limited.  My only gripe about “Tekila” is that it’s way too short at only 2:10, making it a bit of a novelty. It flies by so quickly that listeners will be begging to know what that “Tekila” song is!

“The Reason” is sophisticated deep house from Atlanta’s @we_are_Halogen featuring vocalist/co-writer @KelliLeighuk

HALOGEN and KELLI-LEIGH, “The Reason”

It’s been awhile since we’ve heard from Atlanta producers Halogen, but they’ve returned quite strong with the sophisticated deep house of “The Reason”.  Halogen was in an unexpected conundrum of sorts when their song “U Got That” unexpectedly went viral and has now acquired over 100 million streams.  “The Reason” steps quite far away from the bass house and deep vocal of “U Got That” in favour of a song tailored for the nightlife.  Vocalist Kelli-Leigh (who also co-wrote the song) has sang on tour with Adele and featured on two UK #1 hits, the Grammy-nominated “I Got U” by Duke Dumont, and “I Wanna Feel” by Second City.  Her effortless vocal carries the song and will have your mind on dancing in the clouds rather than whatever it is you might currently be doing.  “The Reason” is a strong dance record that should bring in big returns for both artists.

Inventive “Frequencies” pairs Montreal’s @OfficialBTSM with @ATLiensofficial

BLACK TIGER SEX MACHINE x ATLiens, “Frequencies”

I’ve got to give Montreal’s BTSM and Atlanta’s ATLiens lots of credit for combining forces and releasing the highly creative “Frequencies”.  You never lose interest in what’s happening within the song even from what sounds like an inauspicious start.  It takes its time to build, and it’s well worth the wait getting through some nifty effects, beats and chanting before one of those essential head-banging drops kicks in.  The rest of “Frequencies” is total progressive dubstep gravy, hardly making the song seem like it’s been 4:10 in length when it ends.  This style of music is slightly outside of my wheelhouse so it’s guaranteed to please fans of both acts and dubstep/electronic dance wizardry.

Atlanta’s @Popeska saves his best one for the end of 2019 with “Like This”

POPESKA, “Like This”

While I’ve been somewhat critical of his latest ‘comeback’ songs, Atlanta house producer Popeska’s “Like This” is easily his best release of the year.  It’s carried by an engaging uncredited female vocal, a chorus that could easily become a sing-a-long, and a synth hook that will have heads bobbing on the dance floor.  When I’m not writing about songs I love outright, I’m always looking for potential.  Popeska has the pedigree from the early part of the decade, which needed to be translated into music that will last beyond 2019.  “Like This” is even quite radio friendly, with a big, effortless sound that will pull in listeners, and will appeal to fans of Zedd, Kygo and Kaskade.

Atlanta’s @Popeska goes for simple, positive vibes with “Got It All”

POPESKA, “Got It All”

After taking an extended break, Ralf Popescu is back not only solo as Popeska, but branched out in a duo called Vedado, whose debut single called “Messing Around” I wrote about not long ago.  But solo-wise, Popeska keeps his dance/pop a touch on the progressive side with “Got It All”.  It’s one of those songs out of which the golden light just pours bountifully, and therefore one that will keep dance club goers glued to the music and the dance floor.  It’s extremely straight-forward with a pitched-up vocal that will grow on you.  “Got It All” maybe could have been about 30 seconds shorter, but the other part of me now wants an amped up extended remix.  Anyway, with songs like “Got It All”, Popeska isn’t going anywhere except to build on his repertoire… so his story continues!

New Atlanta pop/electronic duo Vedado, featuring returning producer @Popeska, do it their way with “Messing Around”

VEDADO, “Messing Around”

Vedado is Atlanta duo Ralf Popescu – aka electronic producer Popeska, making a return to the music scene after a lengthy absence – and Matt Petters, two friends who first started writing together 5 years ago, and are now committing music to recording with their debut single “Messing Around”.  It’s got a tight pop/rock sound thanks to the surprising ample presence of electric guitar, which carries the song’s melody all the way through, and lets synths and other instruments play second fiddle to flesh it all out.  To be honest I’m not sure what the song is all about and yeah, perhaps the guys aren’t 100% on the mark with the vocal.  But it’s an infectious song that definitely gives you what Vedado hoped – a fun, light-hearted, collaborative vibe. And who could knock them for that?

Australia’s @YvngJalapeno reinvents “Not At All” by @Jayceeoh @StaffordBros and @Waka_Flocka_F

https://soundcloud.com/yvngjalapeno/jayceeoh-stafford-brothers-not-at-all-feat-waka-flocka-flame-yvng-jalapeno-remix-1

JAYCEEOH, STAFFORD BROTHERS and WAKA FLOCKA FLAME, “Not At All” (Yvng Jalapeño remix)

Australian producer Yvng Jalapeño goes all out to impress this time with his reinvention of “Not At All” by veteran producers and fellow Aussies the Stafford Brothers and L.A.’s Jayceeoh, along with Atlanta rapper Waka Flocka Flame.  He takes a pretty slamming hip hop/electro track and turns it inside out and sideways.  Oh the song still goes really hard but in a Matrix kind of way 🙂 it’s kind of like anti-gravity trap and dubstep rolled all into one.  Waka Flocka Flame’s potent vocal in the original is now used as a startling and haunting effect.  “Not At All” is a busy track and not for everyone.  I have heard remixes before by Jvng Jalapeño but this one truly brings it and is meant to be played really loud.  Club DJ’s who want to keep their audience guessing will have fun with this one.  “Not At All” is also available in three other remixes should you wish to compare.

It’s 10/10 #03: New songs from @JayB1rdmusic and @DanniCarra, @Prizmofficial, @NickHagelin and @itsPaxton, @DaveWinnel, @JanosBAndersson, @thisisMokita, @iamNickPeters and @JamieGreymusic, @weareGODAMN, @Aadysimusic, and @iamAxelM

10/10 #03

10/10 (or tenoutoften) is this blog’s new feature where I write about 10 hot and fresh songs in no particular order, for your kind consideration and attention.

I continue to write individual blog posts about certain songs.  That does not mean that songs in the 10/10 lists are any less than those featured individually. 

Writing 10/10 features means I can cover more songs in one shot .  So you get to learn about more new music that I hear but don’t always get a chance to write about. 

tenoutoften

tenoutoften 03

  • JAY BIRD and DANNI CARRA, “Let You Down” (free download)

“Let You Down” marks a personal best for SoCal producer/remixer Jay Bird.  It’s one of those songs where every aspect has been carefully crafted, balanced, and executed.  With a beautiful melody and danceable rhythm that doesn’t bow to any particular dance sub-genre, “Let You Down” is a warm and inviting story about being dedicated to a special someone.  It also marks another collaboration with singer Danni Carra (check out my blog post about “The Reason”, which was released earlier this year).  “Let You Down” is a generous free download – get it while you can at the link above.

https://soundcloud.com/prizmmusicofficial/the-prizm

  • PRIZM, “The Prizm”

L.A. based producer Prizm returns after a bit of a break to showcase his melodic side after a few harder edged tracks last year.  “The Prizm” has an uplifting, anthemic quality about it at times, and veers into softer, emotional EDM about half way through before the beats return and lead to a quiet ending.  The song reminds me, production-wise, of others that have come from Sweden in the past few years, using a pitched up vocal to carry it through.  The result is a creative and diverse release that should serve as a springboard for Prizm.  

  • NICK HAGELIN and PXTN, “Good Time”

“Good Time” is a breezy Latin-infused song meant for mid-evenings as the sun is setting.  It comes from always charming Atlanta-based singer/songwriter and ballet dancer Nick Hagelin, about whom I’ve written for many years, including long before his Top 10 finish in Season 10 of “The Voice”.  Taking time to balance raising a young family and maintain his professional dancing while recording and writing songs, “Good Time” marks Nick’s first release in about two years with a nice change of pace, still sounding fresh and improvised at times.  Here he brings along his buddy from “The Voice”, fellow Top 10 finisher Paxton Ingram (here billed simply as PXTN), which adds an in sync energy to the song.  Here’s to more new music from Nick Hagelin!

  • DAVE WINNEL, “Ksamil”

Dave Winnel is an Australian producer/remixer who divides his time between Sydney and The Netherlands, thanks to his work with Armin van Buuren and many others associated with the Armada label.  Only recently starting to release his own material, a four song EP called Lily Of The Valley (The Journey) has arrived from Dave.  Amid some imaginative, more progressive songs comes “Ksamil”, which has a different presence from the other songs.  “Ksamil” is small beach-side village in Albania in which Dave wrote it.  In contrast to some percolating synths, it’s got relaxing and gentle elements that make it perfect for an outdoor festival on a sunny day.  Play this one back-to-back with Tez Cadey’s “Logic” and create your own mini-voyage.

  • JANOS, “Zero”

Janos is a Norway-based Swedish singer, songwriter and musician who has been releasing music for most of this decade, receiving some attention at home and in England.  “Zero” is danceable alternative pop-rock with an outside-of-the-box approach to songwriting.  I’m really not too sure what the song is actually all about but there’s an affable vocal, tight instrumentation and production, as well as a carefree feel that, despite Janos’ European origins, reminds me most of 90’s American bands like Third Eye Blind or The Rembrandts.

  • MOKITA, “Til I Don’t”

Current blog favourite Nashville-based singer/songwriter Mokita continues his sturdy roll of top notch songs with “Til I Don’t”, following “All Into Nothing” (with R3HAB), “London”, and “Kiss And Tell”.  “Til I Don’t” is a quickie at only 2:07 and perhaps his slightest of the four, but it’s tightly crammed with words from Mokita’s always interesting perspective on relationships.

  • NICK PETERS and JAMIE GREY, “Where Did You Go”

18 year old French producer Nick Peters has released a few consistent singles of his own since 2016, while providing remixes for others such as Major Lazer.  Regular blog readers know how much I enjoyed his 2017 collaboration with Frank Pierce and Scott Vega (now known collectively as Juscova) called “No Love In Brooklyn” (#4 on my personal chart).  “Where Did You Go” is top drawer and benefits from anchored deep house beats and rhythms, and a memorable, soulful vocal from British singer Jamie Grey.  The radio edit alters the pace slightly, so go for either version, focused on the beat or the lyricism, as you see fit.

  • GODAMN, “Kickers”

Although they were previously known under other names in the dance music scene, GODAMN is a Swiss production duo who have been getting support from the best in the biz since they emerged under this name in 2017.  Their latest, “Kickers”, is a fun bass house production that would highlight any club DJ’s set and trigger instant reaction from lovers of this sub-genre.  GODAMN have a clever, bouncy club hit in the making with “Kickers” so lend an ear for it this Spring and Summer.

  • AADYSI, “Don’t Need You”

Taking its cue seemingly from both techno-styled trap and science fiction movie themes, NYC producer Aadysi is back with “Don’t Need You”.  Featuring Aadysi’s own vocal, the song starts off with some punchy beats, but slows down into a trap-influenced rhythm which morphs into some unexpected and smartly made progressive synth pop.  “Don’t Need You” then circles back to its heavier edges before a soothing, spacey ending.  It’s a stylish electronic kiss off to a past relationship that’s well worth your attention.

  • AXEL MANSOOR, “Busy”

L.A.-based singer/songwriter Axel Mansoor continues his consistent string of releases with “Busy”.  Ever the interested observer in relationship, Axel provides a convincing story to ensure that you do not forego who and what are right in front of you every day.  A midtempo beat and some well-placed synth work carries a lilting acoustic guitar melody that will make you clap or tap along.  “Busy” is indie pop that goes down easy while providing honest food for thought.

Stylish and classy, Victor Perry (@perksofbeingvic) is going places with songs like “Rainbows”

VICTOR PERRY, “Rainbows”

From the first few bars of “Rainbows”, you just know that you are going to hear something special, and this time it comes from new Atlanta-based R&B/pop singer/songwriter Victor Perry.  Though there’s not a bad song at all on his EP 4 A.M. Nostalgia, the record really is all about his inspiring voice, and a sweet style that recalls singers like Toni Braxton and Smokey Robinson.  “Rainbows” probably has the most committed vocal to the sad story where there are still glorious rainbows ‘without colouring’.  Victor has brilliant control and resonance like Mikky Ekko and Alex Newell (when he’s not belting out powerhouse dance tunes).  This is all going to take him very far and 4 A.M. Nostalgia is a fine start.  You can pick it up on iTunes.