“Teen Wolf” star @TylerPosey releases infectious single and video “Past Life”

TYLER POSEY, “Past Life”

Tyler Posey has always been in and around the pop music circle thanks to his starring role in TV’s “Teen Wolf”, which had a significant run from 2011-2017, and of which yours truly was a fan particularly of seasons 4-6 (hell I only have the box set). The good-natured California-born star turned his attention to music a few years ago, which so far has resulted in two albums, and his new single “Past Life” is from his second album which is titled Drugs.  With a collaboration that includes Blink-182’s Travis Barker (who is everywhere these days), there’s no question that the sound of “Past Life” evokes Blink’s peak era from 18-20 years ago. Tyler has an infectious voice, the song is exceptionally produced by John Feldmann, and will appeal to those whose listening veers towards music by Korn, Sum 41, Green Day, and newcomer jxdn (also a Barker protégé).  “Past Life” is perfectly suited for alt.rock radio, so don’t be surprised if you hear it there soon.

Published in: on September 17, 2021 at 9:53 pm  Leave a Comment  
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California quartet @ToadWetSprocket release first new music since 2013 with “Hold On” from the album “Starting Now”

TOAD THE WET SPROCKET, “Hold On”

Time has been very kind to California alt.rockers Toad The Wet Sprocket, who first came to prominence in the early 90’s with breakthrough hit “All I Want” and others such as “Fall Down” and “Walk On The Ocean”.  In fact, I saw them perform in Toronto in 1990 before all of those songs existed when they opened for Michael Penn. Their new album Starting Now is the first since 2013’s New Constellation and only their second album in 24 years. While they did break up for a while, they started performing together in 2004 off and on till the mid-2010’s.  Three out of four original members remain, with Glen Phillips’ ageless voice still quite recognizable. Toad hasn’t really changed their style – artisan rockers with edge and emotion, similar to Lifehouse, Counting Crows, and Tonic – which is part of their success, picking up every time almost where they left off. “Hold On” is sturdy, perceptive rock encouraging the listener to “hold on to what matters” despite everything else going on in the world.

Published in: on September 2, 2021 at 9:21 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Here’s another from @CheatCodesmusic as they team up with Swedish star @ToveStyrke and @TravisBarker for “All Things $ Can Do”

CHEAT CODES, TRAVIS BARKER and TOVE STYRKE, “All Things $ Can Do”

Quickly following up their collaboration with Little Big Town and Bryn Christopher on “Never Love You Again” is another radio-friendly earworm from the trio Cheat Codes called “All Things $ Can Do”. And this song is another collaboration too, marking a return of Swedish singer Tove Styrke after three years (she has a new solo single too called “Mood Swings”), and featuring Blink 182’s Travis Barker, who also co-produced the song and has been popping up on other people’s songs while shepherding new artists such as teen sensation jxdn.  Long an alternative pop fave, Tove’s vocal would sound great next to singers like Zara Larsson, Sigrid or Astrid S. on the radio, the production is smooth and tidy, and the song certainly spells out a truth for a lot of listeners.  “All Things $ Can Do” (co-written by Canada’s bülow, too!) doesn’t get lost in the shuffle which is good news for Cheat Codes as their songs veer away from the more electronic dance pop of a few years ago.

California pop singer @KaceyFifield returns with poignant “Ghost” with South Korea’s Little Rain, and synth-washed @AlessVanco remix of “Confused”

KACEY FIFIELD and LITTLE RAIN, “Ghost”

KACEY FIFIELD, “Confused” (Aless Vanco remix)

Through her ongoing work with singer/songwriter/producer Robbie Rosen, California’s Kacey Fifield is finding a nice niche with genuine-sounding alternative electronic pop that will appeal wholeheartedly to teens and young adults.  Her most recent release, “Ghost” finds her teamed up with South Korean producer Little Rain, who has demonstrated his flair for beautiful synth melodies, such as in “Moonlight” (with vocalist/songwriter Devyn Rush). It’s a delightful pairing as Little Rain taps into the emotion of “Ghost” that allows the song to shine without being maudlin. Kacey’s down-to-earth vocal is appealing and will touch those young folks who can relate to the feelings expressed in this post-relationship story.  

I previously wrote about Kacey’s Spring solo release “Confused”, which gets an engaging lift from Belgian producer Aless Vanco and makes the familiar sentiments of Kacey’s song sparkle with the addition of synth flourishes in all the right places.  It’s easy to bury a vocal under effects but Aless Vanco capably balances the vocal, melodies and rhythm, and his remix helps to accentuate all of the fine features about the singer and her song.

Electronic dance producer @iamtheElephante is back with the rock flavours of “Holy Ghosts”

ELEPHANTE, “Holy Ghosts”

I’ve written about the music of Southern California-based producer Elephante many times in the last several years, and watched an evolution from a talented remixer and producer, into a vocalist and musician who continues to carve out his own lane.  While he hasn’t released much music over the last two years, we have been fortunate to see Elephante (aka Tim Wu) perform in a number of online concerts this past year or so, where he continues to show his confidence as a DJ/producer who is also now a singer and guitarist. “Holy Ghosts” follows up singles “High Water”, “Diamond Days” (on which he introduced his voice), and “Chameleon” (with Mako) right where they left off, with alternative rock flavours and melodies that have moved away from the bigger synth sounds of earlier releases. While the synths are cleverly restrained, the live instrument elements add a more personal richness to “Holy Ghosts”, which is about someone trying to escape his past phantoms/demons while seeking comfort and love from a special someone. I expect these singles are leading up to a third full album, which will undoubtedly be quite a different Elephante experience from his past releases.

Published in: on August 5, 2021 at 11:01 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Get to know the dance vibes of producer #Pillows with her vibrant release “Wasted” in partnership with @JamesMercymusic

PILLOWS and JAMES MERCY, “Wasted”

“Wasted” is a vibrant and fun original slap house track that is ready for the dance parties to begin. It comes from Hungary-born, California-based producer/DJ Pillows and collaborating producer James Mercy.  Pillows (aka Anna Negyesi) caught the attention of Forbes Magazine earlier this year after her electronic cover (again with James Mercy) and video of Hall & Oates “I Can’t Go For That” showcased her as a mystery DJ with a pillow helmet. But like Marshmello, Electric Polar Bears and a few others who have decided to remain “masked”, there is certainly much talent underneath the quirky exterior. “Wasted” doesn’t show off any new tricks but it is a solid deep house release that can compete with the best of them. With or without the gimmick, Pillows is one to watch and any ongoing collaborations with James – who has had his fair share of dance successes like “Fractures” a few years back – should continue to be fruitful.

Published in: on July 7, 2021 at 11:40 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Meet South Korea’s Little Rain with beautiful melodic dance track “Moonlight” featuring “American Idol”‘s Devyn Rush

LITTLE RAIN and DEVYN RUSH, “Moonlight”

I am a sucker for a song with a super melodic structure, especially when it’s grounded with thoughtful lyrics, divine synths, and a catchy vocal like “Moonlight”, the latest release by South Korean producer Little Rain in collaboration with former “American Idol” contestant Devyn Rush.  It’s ear candy of the best kind without giving you an unwelcome sugar high. All of the details in this production give it an elegance that you don’t hear every day in electronic dance pop. Devyn wrote a true feel-good song which her vocal then takes right to heart. “Moonlight” indeed is one of the loveliest songs you will hear this summer, perfect for late night fun on the beach.

Published in: on July 7, 2021 at 11:40 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Dance to this: “Shooting Stars” by @Widemodemusic with singer @KyraGrove10

WIDEMODE and KYRA GROVE, “Shooting Stars”

“Shooting Stars” is a rather unassuming European house track by Italian duo Widemode featuring California-based singer Kyra Grove that really takes hold when the instrumental hook takes hold. If you recall a huge worldwide hit from 2010 called “Stereo Love” by Edward Maya, then that to me is your comparison.  Like “Stereo Love”, “Shooting Stars” has a potent dreamy hook that is likely violin-sounding synthesizers.  It helps draw you into the lyrics, written by the three artists, which has designs on taking you on an adventure in love.  “Shooting Stars” is definitely one of those songs that makes you ask “hey, what is this song?” while you’re dancing the night away.

Published in: on July 4, 2021 at 9:08 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Producer @YungBae pairs up with rapper @Channel_Tres for disco and hip hop flavoured electronica of “Wonder”

YUNG BAE and CHANNEL TRES, “Wonder”

Yung Bae’s recent single with UPSAHL called “Woman On The Moon” had its lens on alternative flavoured pop, and his latest release “Wonder” couldn’t be anything more different.  This time with Compton rapper Channel Tres taking the vocal reins, the Portland, Oregon native has opted for a semi-sung hip hop song that charges right in with disco lights and mirror ball ablaze! I could be wrong but I think there is a sample in there too that helps drive the song with its orchestral melody.  “Wonder” is very well crafted, with interesting lyrics and vocal that don’t come off too heavy.  I guess the best thing to bear in mind with the music of Yung Bae is to expect the unexpected and ride those cool grooves.

Published in: on June 18, 2021 at 11:21 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Acclaimed electronic producer Moby @thelittleidiot returns with new album Reprise featuring reworks of his songs like “Natural Blues” with @GregoryPorter and @AmythystKiah

MOBY featuring GREGORY PORTER and AMYTHYST KIAH, “Natural Blues” (reprise)

Much respected electronic dance producer Moby caps a 30 year music career with a new album called Reprise. It reworks many of his more popular songs such as “We Are All Made Of Stars” and “Go”, and features such diverse talent as Kris Kristofferson, Skylar Grey, and on “Natural Blues”, Grammy Award winning jazz/R&B singer Gregory Porter and Grammy-nominated Americana singer Amythyst Kiah of the group Our Native Daughters. You’ll remember  that the hook of the original 2000 version of “Natural Blues” revolved around a sample of classic Blues singer Vera Hall’s “Trouble So Hard”. And while the sample is included in this new take, the potent voices of Gregory and Amythyst take centre stage in an orchestral setting and truly elevate the song. While I will always appreciate the innovation of the original “Natural Blues” 20 years ago, this new version joins it in kind of a tie as my second favourite Moby song (next to the remix of 1995’s “Every Time You Touch Me”). Congratulations to Moby for taking “Natural Blues” to this unexpected next level.