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!

It’s a double play for England’s @KarenHarding: Singing on banger “Let’s Get Together” with @IllyandBarri, and co-writing “No One Knows” with @HenriPFR and @Fambamusic with vocal by @CastelliChiiara

ILLYUS & BARRIENTOS x KAREN HARDING, “Let’s Get Together”

HENRI PFR & FAMBA and CHIARA CASTELLI, “No One Knows”

Following the Top US Dance Radio and worldwide success of “Undo My Heart” (currently #1 on my personal chart), England’s Karen Harding continues with personal bests in 2020 as both vocalist and songwriter.  

“Let’s Get Together”, in collaboration with Scottish production duo Illyus and Barrientos, is another deep house banger hot on the heels of “Undo My Heart”, a smoking and very natural follow up.  Whether intentionally or not, it draws a lot from old school disco and classic dance vocalists like Kristine W.  The production is lush and full of shiny effects which fortunately take second place next to Karen’s gorgeous vocal.

Karen co-wrote “No One Knows” with Belgium’s Henri PFR and Canada’s Famba (about whom you have read much in these pages).  It’s an intriguing mid-tempo deep house club track with a classic song structure and a compelling vocal by Swiss singer and You Tube/Instagram star Chiara Castelli.  The song benefits from a number of hard stops and seamless vocalizing by Chiara to keep it moving along briskly.

“Black & Blue” shows a softer side of Lost Frequencies (@LFrequencies) with the help of singer/songwriter @thisisMokita

LOST FREQUENCIES and MOKITA, “Black & Blue”

I definitely didn’t see this coming.  You never know who is connecting with who in this busy music biz.  Belgium’s Lost Frequencies (Felix De Laet) is back after his wonderful single earlier in the year with Flynn called “Recognise” (and its gazillion remixes) to preview his upcoming album Alive And Feeling Fine with “Black & Blue”.  It’s definitely a softer offering for the producer who somehow has paired with a current fave of mine, Nashville singer/songwriter Mokita – first R3HAB and now Lost Frequencies!  Mokita’s delicate vocal glides over the acoustic guitar and its soulful melody.  These guys make it sound so easy together!  “Black & Blue” should definitely be pitched to pop and dance radio stations as a sophisticated-sounding release that goes down so easily.

Published in: on October 3, 2019 at 10:35 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Truth Never Lies” brings together Lost Frequencies @LFrequencies with a warm and urgent vocal by @AloeBlacc

LOST FREQUENCIES and ALOE BLACC, “Truth Never Lies”

Following up the more pop-oriented and anthemic “Recognize” featuring Flynn (currently #9 on my personal chart) is Belgium’s Lost Frequencies with “Truth Never Lies”.  The song gets deep down and personal with a warm and urgent vocal from Aloe Blacc, who you heard recently on Avicii’s “SOS”.  Because of this “Truth Never Lies” draws you in within its first 30 seconds and keeps your breath bated as the rest of the story unfolds.  It’s a solid dance song too that will make you sway and clap along.  But I think it’s the bluesy anchor that Lost Frequencies provides to compliment Aloe Blacc’s tones and range that makes “Truth Never Lies” instantly memorable.

Published in: on June 23, 2019 at 9:10 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Ukrainian producer @Saganmusic pairs with Belgium’s @RobertFalcon for fun and fast-paced “Gravity”

SAGAN & ROBERT FALCON, “Gravity”

“Gravity” is tidy EDM-pop from the diverse pairing of Ukraine’s Sagan with Belgian producer Robert Falcon.  It’s familiar pitched-up vocal ends up taking a much-needed second place to the buoyant fun rhythm and the quick pace of the song.  “Gravity” hardly lets up and makes the most of every second in its 3:23 running time.  Both producers have a flair for tight production amid a fun setting, so it’s hard to go wrong with “Gravity”.

Published in: on December 1, 2018 at 10:17 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Belgium’s @TaskaBlack is one to watch with “Sandpaper” featuring @Ayellemusic

TASKA BLACK featuring AYELLE, “Sandpaper”

From the first few vocal notes of “Sandpaper”, you know that you’re in for something special courtesy of Belgian producer on-the-bubble Taska Black.  It features promising vocalist Ayelle – you heard her recently on “Desensitize” by OPVS, and she has more appearances coming soon.  Ayelle’s compelling and often breathy vocal is often the star of the song, but you have to give major props for Taska Black’s layered production which includes some heavy rock guitar elements.  The lyrics have a disconnected approach though I assume it’s about taking away the rough edges of a relationship on the wane.  All in all, “Sandpaper” is a peculiar but attractive mix of emotional dance music, awaiting your playlist add at the Spotify link above.

Published in: on January 19, 2018 at 9:36 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Clever and sunny “In The Mood” scores for Belgian producers @HenriPFR and @RomeoBlanco featuring Canada’s @beingVeronica

HENRI PFR & ROMEO BLANCO featuring VERONICA, “In The Mood”

“In The Mood” combines many winning elements to make a sunny pop and dance hit for the winter month.  It comes together courtesy of Belgium’s Henri PFR and Romeo Blanco featuring a delightful vocal by Canadian Family Channel favourite Veronica.  It’s already a Top 30 chart hit in Belgium (Sony is behind it there), with Canada (where it’s an independent release) not far behind with lots of initial pop radio support thanks to Veronica’s presence as well as having Canadian songwriters.  The video for “In The Mood” is also both sly and enjoyable and well worth a watch at the link above.  I think you’ll be hearing “In The Mood” a lot over the next several months.  Some dance remixes would also enhance its staying power!

Published in: on January 3, 2018 at 8:36 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Unmistakeably Hit Worthy: @Boycodemusic Brings Us “It’s A Mistake”

boycode

BOYCODE, “It’s A Mistake”

“It’s A Mistake” is one of those sheer delights that tries to be nothing but a great pop song with complimentary vocals courtesy of Belgium quartet Boycode (aka Lennert, Mattias, Greg, and Timmy).  So there is no pretense here, no added blue-eyed soul, no rap or beat boxing to distract you, just fine vocals, beautiful lyrics, and low-key instrumentation that lets the former features rule.  It’s the best single yet from the promising quartet.  Don’t let the understated beginning of the song sway you – “It’s A Mistake” really soars after the minute mark and all of the guys get their chances to impress.   I’m so glad the song itself has risen to see the light of day after a gorgeous rendition (which I wrote about) was created earlier in the decade – and then much to my horror, was prevented from release!  Fortunately for them, Boycode gets it all for the win 🙂

Published in: on December 11, 2014 at 11:45 pm  Leave a Comment  
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