10/10 #12!: @RufusWainwright @FrancescoYates #TheBeamishBrothers @Gillian_music @Vampaofficial @KarlWolfs & @iamJuliusWilson J-Mi of @JMiandMidiD @DJDezza @FLouisemusic @Bellsavvy

It’s 10/10 – Edition 12!!

When you don’t write a blog post for two weeks, then the new music accumulates, so I’m glad I have this feature which helps me continue to bring you some new songs you might not otherwise hear.

In 10/10 (or tenoutoften) ,  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.  The song residing at #1 on my current chart, “You’ll Be OK” by Gareth Emery, was featured in a 10/10 blog post back in March.

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.

  • RUFUS WAINWRIGHT, “You Ain’t Big”

Before I continue, you have to know that I’ve been a huge fan of Juno Award-winning Canadian singer/songwriter Rufus Wainwright since his debut self-titled album was released in 1998.  I’ve seen him perform 6 or 7 times, but not now for many years.  “You Ain’t Big” is the title song from his new EP, his first new pop music since 2012’s album Out Of The Game, after forays into opera and Shakespeare as well as a live album.  It’s a return to the carefree, whimsical songwriting of his earlier career.  To me he’s also in his finest pop voice since 2007’s Release The Stars.  “You Ain’t Big” is the standout, and though no song on the EP disappoints, also check out “Trouble In Paradise” and “Peaceful Afternoon”.

  • FRANCESCO YATES, “Bad Decisions”

My fellow Canadian Francesco Yates is back with another great new song that taps into the punchy R&B-flavoured pop that gave him his start with  jams like “Better To Be Loved”.  To me, “Bad Decisions” is his best one since the early days, it just brims with energy and devil-may-care lyrics about getting into some specific trouble with a special someone.  Like with “Superbad”, Francesco teases us with a short video, with more to come.  Check out this dynamic release with video and full song above.  Canadian radio stations definitely needs to jump on it.

  • THE BEAMISH BROTHERS, “Nature”

Rising and talented siblings from Queensland, Australia, the Beamish Brothers have released their first 2020 single in style with “Nature”.  Ben and Jeremy have been well established as regular voices on several dance tracks over the past couple of years, and started to release their own music last year with the alt.pop EP Brutalism.  “Nature” had the bonus of being featured as a runner-up in February in Eurovision Australia Decides.  It draws from numerous styles which will appeal as much to fans of Paul Simon as it would fans of Years & Years.  The brothers’ seamless vocal interplay is a big draw, and is punctuated by rich and soulful, memorably choir-like bursts of the title.  “Nature” is a classic lesson in the way to make DIY music work wonders.  

  • GILLIAN, “high”

Boston teen pop singer/songwriter Gillian has an unconventional winner with “high”. The song’s protagonist has a major crush on someone who cannot reciprocate the attraction because his priority is to get high. It’s a frustrating scenario when you discover that someone is not who they say they are until you see their true colours, and hope for the best for the protagonist at the end. Gillian’s vocal style is proudly unique, stemming from a long line of singers with similar styles – Jill Sobule, Joan Osborne, Regina Spektor are some names that come to mind. “high” is a strong song with deft execution that makes it memorable.

  • VAMPA, “Dark Matter”

“Dark Matter” is the title song from the recent EP by relative newcomer, the Chicago-based bass music producer VAMPA, whose heavy and melodic style could easily fit alongside releases by Rezz, Kai Wachi, Zed’s Dead, and Wooli.  “Dark Matter” instantly slams with the best of them and I think it’s her flair for melody and ear-popping synth effects that will get listeners’ attention.  VAMPA’s vocal narrative at the beginning also nicely sets up what’s to come and flows into the rest of the song with ease.  

  • KARL WOLF and JULIUS WILSON, “City Of Lies”

It’s been a slice since Karl Wolf was all over the radio in Canada with his huge cover of Toto’s “Africa” and other songs such as two with Kardinal Offishall, “Ghetto Love” and “Amateur At Love”. You may not know though that he was a co-writer of bülow’s debut “Not A Love Song”, among his many other songwriting credits.  He’s back with an infectious, retro R&B flavoured dance pop song called “City Of Lies”.  It features the striking voice of Halifax-born (of Jamaican and Bajan heritage) Julius Wilson, whose diverse vocal fits snugly into the hybrid electronic pop mix of the song.  The video above offers a glowing backdrop of Toronto which makes us pine for the nightlife that is currently missing from our lives.  “City Of Lies” is from Karl’s forthcoming album Night Of The Wolf.

  • J-MI, “On Our Own”

“On Our Own” is a most pleasant and refreshing surprise. Sherbrooke, Quebec-based producer J-Mi, forever active on the gamer circuit, returns to pop music with her take on the 1989 Bobby Brown classic from “Ghostbusters 2”. Strangely and somewhat out of sync with these times, its production (by J-Mi with long-time collaborator Midi-D aka Dave Phaneuf) remains glued to the new jack swing vibes of the original. While that may leave you scratching your head, the results are charming and brimming with enthusiasm (with J-Mi being an ultimate “Ghostbusters fan). J-Mi has put loads of effort over the past few years into honing her vocals, and the results are flattering. Unabashedly bold, the aim of “On Our Own” is to leave you smiling and it is completely on point with that.

  • DEZZA and MIKE SCHMID, “Carry Me”

“Carry Me” is sophisticated, emotional house music for your soul and feet, brought to you by Halifax producer Dezza, and co-writer and veteran vocalist Mike Schmid, who has performed in concert with the likes of The Chainsmokers, Troye Sivan and Miley Cyrus.  Dezza has been releasing music consistently for the last few years as either a producer or remixer, with much success in Europe in the company of the likes of Armin van Buuren.  “Carry Me” stands out as a pensive house track with elegant synths that support Mike’s soothing voice.  While atypical, “Carry Me” will win you over with a few listens.

  • FRANCESCA LOUISE, “Ride The Waters”

I’m bringing you another song by British pop/folk singer Francesca Louise after I first wrote about her a month ago.  Her voice is a breath of fresh air, with its own unique spin on pop music, which in “Ride The Waters” recalls the confidence of a Christine McVie or Sheryl Crow, while retaining her own sound.  In fact the song is about being successful on your own terms and directs an empowering message towards young women.  So this is not dreary folk music from another era.  “Ride The Waters” is spirited and engaging and deserving of your attention.

  • BELLSAVVY, “Queen Of My Mind”

Bellsavvy is a new voice to get to know, and she hails from London but was raised in Brazil.  The daughter of a pop star in Brazil, Bellsavvy follows mom’s lead after a modelling career with the potent “Queen Of My Mind”.  It’s an ode to self-realization after the singer herself faced mental health issues.  With production from David Lei Brandt, who worked with Lady Gaga, there will be the inevitable Gaga comparisons, which are completely justified.  Bellsavvy has a well-honed, stunning tone in her vocal, and “Queen of My Mind” will also appeal to fans of Kiesza, Charli XCX, and Madonna.  “Queen Of My Mind” is a striking debut indeed!

Dance producer @Whethanmusic scores a personal best with clever rocker “All In My Head” featuring Toronto’s @grandson

WHETHAN and GRANDSON, “All In My Head”

Boy, Ethan Snoreck had a few aces up his sleeve when he took a break from touring last year to concentrate on music.  Taking a few risks by pulling in alternative rock influences for his most recent single “Stay Forever” (with STRFKR), they worked so well that Whethan brought in Toronto’s Juno Awards-nominated grandson to co-write and provide the vocal for “All In My Head”.  And quite honestly, Whethan’s production plays a bit of a second fiddle to the insanely unique and memorable vocal that grandson (aka Jordan Benjamin) provides, sounding at times like a hybrid offspring of The Beastie Boys.  While the overall focus ends up on grandson, Whethan keeps the song moving at a frenetic pace with some herky-jerky pit stops along the way.   It’s a dizzy mix of guitars, synths and drums that seem to take a number of cues from early 80’s new wave at times.  “All In My Head” is a personal best for Whethan, and knowing that he can instantly return to electronic dance that has attracted enough of the likes of Dua Lipa, Tom Morello, Louis The Child, and The Knocks to work with him already at 20 years old is just impressive all on its own. 

Published in: on February 16, 2020 at 11:30 pm  Leave a Comment  
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L.A.-based producer @Whethanmusic shows massive growth on “Stay Forever” with STRFKR @Starfucker

WHETHAN and STRFKR, “Stay Forever”

To say that “Stay Forever” doesn’t sound like anything that Whethan has offered to date is a bit of an understatement.  The 20 year-old Chicago-born, L.A.-based producer opted not to tour last year to address personal issues and record his upcoming album, probably a very wise move.  “Stay Forever” brings us an alt.rock flavoured sound to the electronic backdrop like some past releases, but the aim is a progressive edge that stands out from the rest.  Other producers like PLS&TY, Pluko and Robotaki also have made this conscious decision with results in unique music that provokes your senses and isn’t always about big synths and beats.  Whethan is paired up with veteran Portland, Oregon trio STRFKR here and their collaboration is seamless and complementary.  The full album should be a treat, and Whethan is returning to touring, but in more biteable chunks, which I’m sure will expand closer to the time of the album’s release.  

Published in: on January 18, 2020 at 6:23 pm  Comments (1)  
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Is “Bump This” a catch phrase of the winter? Listen to the contagious new hip hop song from @MichaelMedrano @JakeGermain_ and @Michete

MICHAEL MEDRANO, JAKE GERMAIN & MICHETE, “Bump This”

I’m not one to normally feature a song that’s basically about partying and taking drugs, and I’m no hip hop expert BUT the chorus, beat and rhythm made me do it 😛  I remembered L.A.’s Michael Medrano from his heartfelt collaboration with Steve Grand a few years ago called “Heal”, but I certainly didn’t expect the underground pop/hip hop of “Bump This”.  It’s positively contagious in a very retro way – think early 2000’s Dr. Dre or Lil Jon, or even 90’s Snoop Dogg, with a dash of what was once known as ‘whisper rap’.  Michael is joined in this salute to hedonism by two hip hop performers, Chicago’s Jake Germain and Seattle’s Michete.  The production is appropriately minimalist and all three performers acquit themselves well.  But it’s that beat and rhythm and that chorus, “bump this if you wanna get wild”, that will bring the listeners and make it blow up.  A video is much needed!!

Chicago’s @Autografmusic return with slick classic house of “Ain’t Deep Enough” with vocals by @JaredLeemusic

AUTOGRAF and JARED LEE, “Ain’t Deep Enough”

When you think of slick classic house, music from Chicago in the late 80’s and early 90’s comes easily to mind.  Autograf return to follow up their EP Love and Retrograde in this fashion with “Ain’t Deep Enough”.  I’ve seen Autograf perform a few times in Miami.  Now a duo of Mikul and Louis, with a forthcoming album called The Ace Of You,  they certainly deliver in their DJ sets, of which “Ain’t Deep Enough” is going to become a standard highlight.  Contributing immensely to the success of this song is the effortless vocal of L.A.’s Jared Lee, fresh off his fine work with Midnight Kids on “Those Were The Days” (which got to #5 on my personal chart).  The talents all mesh seamlessly and are worth repeating on another couple of songs, if you ask me!  In a great year for Armada, which has released this record, “Ain’t Deep Enough” delivers uncomplicated house music with a lot of class.

Published in: on November 29, 2019 at 10:54 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Chicago’s @WinandWoo will wow you with the haunting deep house of “Here U R” with vocalist Sara Skinner

WIN & WOO and SARA SKINNER, “Here U R”

For so many years, Chicago’s Win & Woo (Austin and Nick) have been releasing consistently great dance music that has afforded them to appear at numerous festivals, including this current weekend’s Lollipalooza.  Their latest release, the haunting “Here U R”, is a positive step in a slick deep house direction that will wow their fans.  Co-written by vocalist Sara Skinner, “Here U R” is a pungent recap of the helplessness you feel when a relationship has gone stagnant.  The songs lyrics do not beat around the bush, and are matched by a dark melody with rich synth work, especially the deep base undercurrent that makes the song even more memorable.  I’m glad that Armada has released “Here U R” as Win & Woo are now due for some next level attention.  Check it out at the link above.

Published in: on August 3, 2019 at 10:35 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Chicago-based producer @AashMehtamusic returns with lovesick “Vodka Soda” featuring Apollo Gray

AASH MEHTA and APOLLO GRAY, “Vodka Soda”

Following the success of last year’s progressive, lush electronic pop album Discover Infinity, Chicago’s Aash Mehta is back with his first 2019 offering, “Vodka Soda”.  It’s a departure from his swooning romantic stories, and this time we find a protagonist (through a captivating vocal by Apollo Gray) so lovesick, perhaps with someone who doesn’t reciprocate, and he doesn’t quite know what to do about it.  So while he might be drowning his sorrow in his drink – or maybe not – “Vodka Soda” is also his metaphor for this particular crush.  Aash’s music really plays to your heart strings for this down-on-his-luck guy, and “Vodka Soda” ends up being a real slice-of-life story, for not only the downhearted, but perhaps for that target of affection who will be on your mind for a long, long time.

Published in: on April 15, 2019 at 9:35 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Get this Banger, with no mash: It’s “Tea Time” with @WinandWoo

WIN & WOO, “Tea Time” (free DL)

Despite the headline, “Tea Time”, the latest from Chicago’s Win & Woo, has absolutely nothing to do with anything to do with England unless you want to have tea.  But unlike the alternately fanciful or emotional dance pop they’ve released over the last year or so, “Tea Time” is most certainly a Banger (capitalized)!!  It’s a brisk, fun song that’s probably going to be sampled by others to incorporate into festival or radio mixes, but it gets on quite well on its own, thank you.  For the last number of years, Win and Woo have been go-to remixers for many and have grown in their craft.  You can hear the finesse and sophistication in the mix of “Tea Time”, despite the lack of lyrics this time.  So it’s definitely a trade off with its memorable “it’s time for tea” drop, but “Tea Time” serves as a kick off to what looks like a super fun 2019 for Win & Woo!  Get it for free while it lasts at the link above.

Published in: on January 14, 2019 at 11:28 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Chicago’s CHO @seeayCHO returns with the dark intrigue of “Strange World” with @SKYLRsings

CHO and SKYLR, “Strange World”

In his alt.rock peppered second release “Strange World”, Chicago producer CHO basks in the power of dark intrigue in song with themes such as loneliness, but from a young woman’s perspective.  Aggressive and hypnotic rhythms draw you in, immensely supported by the committed vocal from singer and fellow Chicago native SKYLR.  “Strange World” strikes a compelling balance between alt.rock and dance which seemed to have been all but abandoned till recently.  CHO has wisely decided to join a growing path of producers such as Odesza and Illenium who take risks and embrace rich, deep sounds, and the story within “Strange World” is different and dangerous enough to grip you till the end.  

Published in: on November 22, 2018 at 10:56 pm  Comments (1)  
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Smooth electronic rhythms enhance the inviting stories of “Discover Infinity” by @AashMehtamusic

Aash Mehta

AASH MEHTA, Discover Infinity

What does ‘infinity’ mean to you?  Chicago-based producer Aash Mehta may help you out with that question with the songs in his new album Discover Infinity, which is a follow up full release to last year’s EP Stardust. 

Like its predecessor, Discover Infinity focuses on the softer side of electronica that is full of bigger, special moments.  The stories of love, romance and friendship are earnest and appealing to anyone.  There is a fine in-house repertory company of male and female vocals within that offer different perspectives in their songs. 

To me if you like the stories offered by folks like Above & Beyond and the Alan Parsons Project but enjoy the ear-catching quieter melodies of others like Chet Porter and San Holo, then the music of Aash Mehta is for you.  Aash anchors the album with a couple of preceding singles that I wrote about, “Infinite Summers” featuring Lydia Kelly, and “Say Goodnight” featuring the duo of Capelle and Gavin Garris.  Lydia and Capelle appear again in other strong songs “Silver Linings” and “Edge Of What We Know” respectively, and the album is punctuated, like a good, progressive electronica album should be, by a few interesting instrumental interludes. 

With each release, Aash’s songs and music grow stronger, and I think the adventurous choice on the album is “The Call”, featuring singer Andy Sandrick, which has an ages-old, folky flavour to it which meshes well into the electronic genre.  “Running With The Bulls” is a dramatic, eventful instrumental that provides the album’s climax, so to speak.  The album finishes with its most thoughtful song, “Equal”, featuring male vocalist Rence, which is your impetus to do something about discovering your own ‘infinity’.

Head over to Aash’s Facebook page where he fills you in on the backstory of each song in Discover Infinity.  The album is terrific food for thought with silky melodies that you can dance and sway to, and stories that everyone can embrace.  Give a solid listen at the Spotify link below.

Aash Mehta opens up for Elephante on his Glass Mansion tour in Chicago on October 20 at The Bottom Lounge.

 

Published in: on October 4, 2018 at 7:32 pm  Leave a Comment  
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