It’s “10/10” #14!: @brightlightx2 & @caveboymusic @weareApolloLTD #Calvo @egzodmusic @HVNNIBVL @KidBloomusa @KiNGMALAmusic @Pawl_official & #Discrete @SteveVoidmusic #KaiStevens & @EmilyMcsings

It’s 10/10 – Edition 14!! 

This is the first 10/10 post since June.

In 10/10,  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.  Songs by Yello and Jazz Mino that were featured in edition #13 are currently moving up on my personal chart 🙂

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. 

  • BRIGHT LIGHT BRIGHT LIGHT and CAVEBOY, “It’s Alright, It’s OK”

“It’s Alright, It’s OK” is the fourth preview from Bright Light Bright Light’s upcoming fourth album called Fun City. This time collaborating with the noted all-women Canadian trio Caveboy, the song is a reassurance for anyone who is having trouble with their identity that everything will work out in the end if you just be yourself. It’s another joyous delight from NYC-based Wales-born Rod Thomas, more of a pop/house workout like the initial single “This Was My House”, full of great synth work and vocals that truly compliment each other. “It’s Alright, It’s OK” is also available on an EP chock full of remixes.

  • APOLLO LTD, “Patient”

The Nashville duo of Jordan and Adam produced one of my favourite albums of 2019 called Out Of Sight, which demonstrated a range of different styles, from ballads to anthems. Apollo LTD are back with “Patient”, more anthem-styled power pop as a plea to the singer’s partner to help him be patient to get through whatever troubles are ailing him. It’s a logical successor to songs from Out Of Sight like “On The Way Up 2.0” which dazzle your ears with seamless production and vocals. Why a major label has not yet snatched up Apollo LTD for their roster is a mystery. The duo consistently provides well-written, quality songs that deserve radio exposure. Check out the new lyric video for “Patient” above.

  • HVNNIBVL, “Worth It”

Now based out of Los Angeles, Buffalo NY singer/songwriter HVNNIBVL quickly follows up his cheery slice-of-life single “Who’s Gotcha” with “Worth It”. Like “Who’s Gotcha”, “Worth It” sends positive vibes in your direction, particularly aimed at people with depression or anxiety whose condition constantly makes them ask themselves if they are good enough. Everyone has their moments in life, so it’s time to step out and shine. “Worth It” is self-produced and showcases HVNNIBVL’s great voice to the max. Sometimes the synth effects are too razzle dazzle to me for this kind of song, and less can often be more. But “Worth It” will certainly move HVNNIBVL more steps forward and I’ll happily be listening for the next one.

  • KID BLOOM, “Blood Sugar”

The L.A.-based singer/songwriter follows up “Wounded/Surrounded” (featured in my 13th “10/10” blog post) with “Blood Sugar”, which is also the title of his recently released EP. After a long relationship, thoughts and feelings always linger, and in Kid Bloom’s take, it’s like being inside your blood. So he sings about emotional entrapment set to a bass synth rhythm which pulsates like whatever is stuck inside his head. His invested vocal and an arrangement that shakes the mix loose of its dark trappings from time to time all make “Blood Sugar” a captivating listen.

  • CALVO, “Broke In Amsterdam”

German producer/DJ Calvo’s latest single “Broke In Amsterdam” has caught my ear with its shiny production that creates a delightful pop/dance confection. Co-written with the always amazing Daniel Volpe, “Broke” is a happy slice-of-life story reminiscing about younger days where life seemed more carefree. It’s just the kind of tonic we need to help us continue to get through these strange times. Calvo has numerous listeners in Europe, who have brought his song stream tally into the 50 million range. Perhaps “Broke In Amsterdam” will expand that audience further into North America.

  • EGZOD, “Ride The Wave”

“Ride The Wave” continues the evolution of Florida-based electronic dance producer EGZOD, about whom I’ve written several times since he arrived on the scene in 2016. More than around 20 million streams later, EGZOD – otherwise known as Carlos Carvalho-Martins – can shift flawlessly between the heaviest trap/dub step and much lighter fare, the latter applying to “Ride The Wave”, which I would call ‘mid-summer beach pop’. The spry uncredited female vocal is appealing and distinct, while EGZOD weaves more harmonies into this song than usual. “Ride The Wave” has some bold singalong moments and washes down as easy as gliding into shore from one of those waves. Watch for EGZOD’s new EP The Revolution next month!

  • KAI STEVENS and EMILY McNALLY, “Hero”

As Summer-themed tunes ride out the last sunsets of the next month, the arrival of a softer song or two for Autumn is always becoming the new season. Kai Stevens is a 17 year old producer and multi-instrumentalist from NYC who has emerged over the last year with songs that keep getting better and better. While this release is nowhere in the league of big productions by Illenium or other similar artists, “Hero” strikes the emotional chords that you would find in the progressive ‘sad boi’ electronica sub-genre. It’s sung by another young New Yorker, Emily McNally, whose graceful and delicate voice is compelling and convincing amid the bigger synth breaks within. “Hero” is a promising song most deserving of electronic dance music fans’ attention.

  • FETS, FORMAL CHICKEN & STEVE VOID, “Pushing On”

Don’t let the billing fool you – I think that “Pushing On” is entirely a Steve Void production. The talented young Dutchman has produced quite a variety of house and dance/pop releases on his Strange Fruits label over the past few years, and he has even opened his own restaurant! While he’s been mainly dabbling in covers of late, “Pushing On” is a brisk, deep house update of a more obscure 2014 track by Germany’s Oliver $ & Jimi Jules. It’s slick and goes down easy, with pitched-down vocals giving it qualities you’d normally find in a soulful UK house track.

  • PAWL & DISCRETE, “Type Like That”

“Type Like That” is a snappy, tautly-produced house single in a partnership between two Swedish producers, Pawl and Discrete. In tandem with direct support from LoudKult Records owner Lucas Estrada, with whom he has also recorded, Pawl’s music has acquired over 20 million streams across platforms since he emerged five years ago. Discrete is newer to the genre, having released an EP and a few singles thus far. But the guys have released one super-catchy, sultry song in “Type Like That”, which is a good bookend with last year’s release by Revelries and Oktavian called “Don’t Think Twice”. The song-writing here is spot on, calling out a long line of so-and-so’s who all behave the same, hence “you’re just a type like that”. This one will stick with you with repeated listens, so don’t say you weren’t warned!

  • KiNG MALA, “sugarblind”

KiNG MALA is the moniker for L.A.-based singer/songwriter Areli Castro, and her music will appeal to fans of Ashe, Bishop Briggs and Maty Noyes. It’s complex alt.rock with a tough exterior (“Mala” means ‘bad bitch’ in Spanish, hence “King Bad Bitch”), underneath which you will find infectious hooks and melodies that will take older fans back to the time of heyday of Kate Bush and Siouxsie Sioux. KiNG MALA is relatively new on the scene, with “sugarblind” her third single release and most streamed one to date. Great talent takes time to develop, so she is definitely one to watch in the coming years, and alt.rock radio should welcome her unique style.

It’s 10/10 #13: @Yello_band @KidBloomusa @EbonyroseBuckle #DeanRobert @Jazz_Mino @Airportsmusic @Toniiamusic @Boye_Sigvardt & H. Kenneth @KenFleet @SC_Undercover @Mindchatter

It’s 10/10 – Edition 13!! 

A second 10/10 post in June to close out the month brings you a lot of unique music that requires your full attention in order to win your appreciation.  We cover the globe with songs from Germany, England, Ireland, Australia, Denmark, Switzerland and the U.S. with a dashes of mystery and fun!

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. 

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. 

  • YELLO, “Waba Duba”

The Swiss maestros that are Yello can orchestrate the best complex electronic nonsense even into their late 60’s and early 70’s, and have returned with their first release in three years called “Waba Duba” from their upcoming album Point.   “Waba Duba” recalls some of their best work of the 80’s, such as “The Race” or “Goldrush”.  Don’t try to confound yourself by trying to figure out if there is any plot to the song.  Instead enjoy the always-bizarre vocal and the layers of synths and samples that make some of the most unique sounds you will hear in pop music.  “Waba Duba” is loads of fun, destined to annoy the heck out of you like “Oh Yeah” did all those years ago while you groove to the beats.

  • KID BLOOM, “Wounded/Surrounded”

“Wounded/Surrounded” is an anthemic-sounding, atmospheric new melodic electronica release from L.A. singer/songwriter Kid Bloom.  The song takes you on a journey through a sea of emotions, wrought by the singer’s captivating voice.  When he sings without effects it sparkles and sometimes sounds like Frankmusik; at other points the song is awash in synths and vocal manipulation and because of it you can feel the bewilderment.  Alternately dreamy and thought-provoking, “Wounded/Surrounded” is an ear-grabber and well-worth your attention.

  • EBONY BUCKLE, “Ghost”

Ebony Buckle is a London-based singer/songwriter originally hailing from Australia.  She has a stunning, controlled, theatrical voice which immediately recalls Kate Bush and Imogen Heap.  And her pristine vocal puts all the right human touches in “Ghost”, a pop song that could have otherwise been a difficult listen.  It’s a true story about being physically apart for two years from husband (and co-writer) Nick due to visa issues.  And that is simply heartbreaking, a separation that could have been irreparable.  Instead, they wrote “Ghost” over Skype, turning their story into song so that anyone else in an unfortunate state of separation can relate and heal.  Be sure to give “Ghost” your complete attention.  It would also be perfect as set to a lyrical dance routine.

  • DEAN ROBERT, “Get Up”

It’s strange that even before I read up about Dean Robert, the other voice that came to mind when you hear “Get Up” is The Script’s Danny O’Donoghue.  For Dean also hails from Ireland and even opened for The Script when he was part of a band.  Now Berlin-based, “Get Up” is bright, energetic dance second release for the singer that will win you over. Dean’s voice may be a little bit too manipulated in the production at times but there’s a great melody afoot in “Get Up” and it moves along briskly and enthusiastically.

  • JAZZ MINO, “Like A Drunk Girl”

UK singer/songwriter Jazz Mino releases music that needs to be heard by more of you who enjoy interesting pop with idiosyncratic perspectives.  Her latest single, “Like A Drunk Girl”, is more about standing up for yourself and making your own decisions to do what you want than meets the ear.  The title is actually negative imagery for what other people might say to put you down, so you cave in and do what they say.  Jazz Mino’s always affable nature really shines through in this song which sings from both experience and the heart.  Check out the lyric video above.

  • AIRPORTS, “U Feel It 2”

You never know these days if an artist is a band or a singer judging by the names in use.  “U Feel It 2” is a delightful slice of romantic pop from Australian singer Airports (aka Aaron Lee).  It’s definitely a mood-setter with a subtler boy-next-door vocal that shies away from what would be called “boy band pop”.  The production focuses on the song’s lovely melody and there is definitely radio play potential here.  Check out what alternative video ideas occur above when Airports’ original plans were scuttled by COVID-19.

  • TONIIA and SUNNIE WILLIAMS, “Only Human”

Blending hip hop and trap flavours with electronics, German producer Toniia has released “Only Human”.  It features the strong and sultry voice of Sunnie Williams, whose vocal is the drawing power for “Only Human” for its first minute, before the beats kick in.  After that, the song is a sea of many moods with some big drops and synths that command “Only Human” until its finish.  It’s a fast listen at 2:49 with many sounds and qualities to perk up your ears.  Watch the lyric video above.

  • BOYE & SIGVARDT and H. KENNETH, “Party Sucks”

Don’t let the title fool you – “Party Sucks” is actually a dark slice of deep house music from Danish producers Boye & Sigvardt and Nashville’s H. Kenneth that will appeal to fans of recent work by Mahalo among others.  The classic house rhythm is the key with pitched-down vocals that make it perfect for a late night set.  And it’s cool that Boye & Sigvardt and H. Kenneth never get stuck in one style or groove, collaborating with UK producers Sondr,  creating diverse music that shows they would rather be innovators than producing the next wannabe house anthem.  

  • SC.UNDERCOVER, “Morals”

“Morals” is a standout song because it sounds like nothing else out there.  Brought to you by UK producer/songwriter/vocalist SC.Undercover, the song fuses pop and R&B flavours with drum ‘n bass vibes, making for a fast-paced ride.  At its core, the song is about finding love after making mistakes and experiencing significant regret.  The warm, uncredited female vocal is offset by SC.Undercover’s own vocals. At one point, he provides a gentle rap, and at other times hits upper register harmony vocals which remain fascinating and noticeable in the background, forming the song’s hook.  “Morals” is unconventional pop/dance music at its most listenable.

  • MINDCHATTER, “Language”

Mindchatter is a NYC-based producer of mystery who doesn’t identify him/herself in any of his Twitter, Facebook or Soundcloud bios.  “Language” is an intricate, somewhat experimental sounding song that’s intriguing because it seems to borrow from late 90’s Everything But The Girl and Roísin Murphy at their most daring, fusing it with other more contemporary sounds you might associate with label-mate ZHU.  “Language” is not for everyone but you have to admit it is one very cool, well-produced song, accompanied by quite a different visualization, above.