Spring Popervescence 3 featuring Ballroom Remixed

While the rest of Spring and probably all of Summer will likely be dedicated to every move by Lady GaGa, now that’s she reinvented the Concert in Central Park idea – and not undeservedly so – there are still, quite frankly, a lot of other very good records to which we should lend some attention.

Summer for me for these past five years has had considerable time dedicated to TV’s So You Think You Can Dance.  Between SYTYCD and my 10 year old daughter becoming a competitive singer/dancer who does tap, jazz, musical theatre, lyrical, and song and dance, I have become more familiar with many styles of dance than I had ever expected, being someone who always thought disco dancing was the bees’ knees (so I’m aging myself!).  So when My Fizzy Pop dropped news of the Ballroom Remix project, which I blogged about a few weeks back, and all of the performers involved, and choreographer Melanie LaPatin (who has choreographed so many glorious and memorable SYTYCD routines with Tony Meredith) at the helm, I was more than intrigued.

So with the album’s release on iTunes on May 24, comes the unveiling:  This is one hot and well thought out project!  Songs designed for the variety of Ballroom dances melded with upper crust contemporary pop dance by so many of the BlogVerse’s favourite performers along with many new faces, and terrific, talented writers like Charlie Mason, Liam Curry, and Richard Hymas.  While there are always a few songs in a 22 track collection that will take a backseat to the rest, Ballroom Remixed is many songs strong.  

One of those new faces I mentioned is pictured at the top of this page.  He’s 24 year old Detroit native Jerry Reid, who could very well break out wide open with his super-fantastic-fun “Out Without Your Boyfriend” (featuring Ben Waters) as designed for a Jive dance.  This song has the same energy and verve that I associate with the first time I heard the Stray Cats back in 1980/81, and we know what happened with them as well as Brian Setzer’s solo career.  Listen to the song below.

“Out Without Your Boyfriend” by Jerry Reid featuring Ben Waters

Next up is our favourite Boy Robot, Simon Curtis.  Count this song as an in-between-R∆ taste of another side of Simon, the one more reflective in the song “8bit Heart”.  His song on Ballroom Remixed is “The Puppet Who Gave Himself Strings”, and there’s only one word that I keep thinking of to describe it: Adorable.  It has everything that a song should:  Supurb melody, fantastic and identifiable lyrics, and a beauty of a vocal from Simon.  Even if I never knew it was by Simon, it will unassumingly become one of my current favourite songs, along with the very different “Superhero” and surely whatever will be announced as R∆’s next single this coming week.  Listen to “Puppet” below.  It is a keeper!

“The Puppet Who Gave Himself Strings” by Simon Curtis

Next up we have the shorter version of “The Lovers’ Rumba” by UK sensation Elouise, which I blogged about a in Spring Popervescence 2 in its Ricardo Autobahn remixed form.  While I love the remix, the short version zeroes in on showcasing Elouise’s vocals in a dramatic style with which we have not associated her, and it will surely broaden her audience base.  Rising star Kyle Brylin is also aboard with a song that could have turned into another “Boom Boom (Let’s Go Back To My Room)” if some restraint wasn’t shown.  His song is “I’m A Man (Not A Piece Of Meat)” – is not so campy as its title suggests, and more of a companion piece to the seductive current chart favourite of mine “Everything I’m Missing”, albeit much slicker (with female backing vocals too), which just looks so good on Kyle.  

Self-professed New York theatre ‘nerd’ Joshua Desjardins’ ode to Ms LaPatin “Melanie (Doncha Make Her Dance Alone)” is a grower, a playful theatrical (*shock*) track that features Ms Melanie herself, and you can hear it below.  Other uptempo songs of note come from Linda Teodosiu, Neo, Gravitonas, Jeronimo, Romy Low, Lucas Prata, and Tammy Jay & Kally, while some luscious slower songs appear courtesy of Jenny McLaren, Jaime Lovett, and particularly Jill Helena whose “Woman Of The World” builds quietly.

As I said, there’s no shortage of fine music here, so go get on your dancing shoes and get yourself some Ballroom Remixed 🙂

“Melanie (Doncha Make Her Dance Alone)” by Joshua Desjardins featuring Melanie LaPatin and Ben Waters

Penguin Prison “Multi-Millionaire (Aeons remix)”

It’s been a hot second since Penguin Prison’s “Golden Train” graced my chart at #1 for four chart appearances (8 weeks) at the top of the year accompanied by its inspired mashup with Michael Jackson’s “Workin’ Day & Night”.  Since then, the talented Chris Glover and his band have been touring and, last I heard, may have a new record deal in process for Penguin Prison’s full length and long awaited album.  Mr. Glover has been kind enough in the interim to offer fans a taste of a spectacular song I heard back at a PP concert in October called “Multi-Millionaire”.  While I am more-than-eager to hear the finished original song, the Aeons remix offered for free for a limited time only (Facebook login required) is a house-y Prince-worthy affair which continues to infuse Mr. Glover’s love of great music of the recent past with contemporary pop and dance club innovations.  Listen to this remix below.

And we will flash to a stylish pic of the upcoming Eric Saade album before we continue further.  He will be “Popular” worldwide soon indeed 🙂

Gentlemen Hall “How Long Have They Been Watching” (live)

If you’re not from the Boston area, then you, like me, were wondering who the hell Gentlemen Hall were, and how they ended up winning a contest and performing on the Billboard Music Awards last week.  Well the proof is in the pudding with this gritty but totally captivating clip from their Winter tour, which characterizes the sextet to me as All American Rejects meets Duran Duran – like the latter, with its big tight 80’s sound, and like the former with journeyman performance and an engaging lead singer.  Now, I wanna see them in concert!  Gentlemen Hall’s first official single “Blush” is coming soon and you can hear it on their website-in-development.

Kate Bush – Director’s Cut

Lastly, I ask that you give a listen to Kate Bush’s new album Director’s Cut, which is her first release since 2005’s Aerial.  This record reworks songs from her 1989 release The Sensual World as well as her 1993 record The Red Shoes.  Neither of these two albums are among my favourites by her.  I am primarily a fan of Kate’s early music.  I first heard her as a 17 year old listening to a local radio show that decided to dip into the UK charts, and hearing a song like “Wuthering Heights” at that time helped change my musical landscape as I headed into the direction of college radio while I was in university.  Director’s Cut is an elegant, lush, experimental, frustrating, infuriating, and outstanding record in which you can sink your head and not come up for air for hours.  Of specific mention are “Flower Of The Mountain”, which is “The Sensual World” redux complete with original lyrics taken from James Joyce’s “Ulysses” which were not approved at the time, which transforms the song into so much more than the original, as well as “Deeper Understanding” (which will thoroughly entice you), “Moments Of Pleasure”, and of course “This Woman’s Work”.  You can hear the full album right here.