UK singer/songwriter @KarenHarding unleashes pulsating house track “Undo My Heart” with @DigiFarmAnimals

Karen Harding x Digital Farm Animals - Undo My Heart

KAREN HARDING and DIGITAL FARM ANIMALS, “Undo My Heart”

Since her breakthrough in 2015 with the UK Top 10 smash “Say Something”, London-based singer/songwriter Karen Harding has worked with some of the best of today’s producers and hitmakers, including (coincidentally) Joel Corry and MNEK (separately), Tom Ferry, Todd Terry, Blonde, and even Giorgio Moroder for 2016’s “Good For Me”.  The powerhouse vocalist, who cites Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey among her biggest influences, has unleashed “Undo My Heart” (video below) in partnership with the well-respected Digital Farm Animals (aka Nick Gale), known for his work with Shaun Frank, Dragonette, Alan Walker, Noah Cyrus, and R3HAB among others.  “Undo My Heart” is by all rights a song from the heart that simply should not miss.  Karen’s majestic vocal is carried by a riveting deep house production that could cross over to pop in the same way that “Head & Heart”.  Don’t miss (out on) this one!  It’s also available in a zippy remix by GotSome, below.

UK electronic singer and producer @TiggyHawke returns with the big bass beats of “Electric Sun”

TIGGY HAWKE, “Electric Sun”

I wrote about “For What It’s Worth”, Tiggy Hawke’s most recent single and collaboration with producers Sondr, back in the Spring, and it has since become her most-streamed song, clocking in at just under 4 million on Spotify alone.  The North Londoner’s unique style, sometimes reminiscent of an Ellie Goulding, takes a bit of time to nestle inside your head.  And with “Electric Sun” she moves away from a more lyrical electronic bent to one that’s heavy – and very welcome so – on the big bass beats.  Yes, “Electric Sun” is a punchy dance floor filler that one might associate with a Nora En Pure set in Ibiza, and will sound great in a large audience setting once those events resume.  With “Electric Sun”, Tiggy Hawke shows both her diversity in the dance music genre and her ability to take a risk that is already paying off in spades in the form of hundreds of thousands of streams within weeks of its release.

Published in: on July 14, 2020 at 9:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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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!

It’s 10/10 #10: featuring @jessemccartney @wallflowerperry @francescoyates @FLouisemusic @Slavesofficial @Saxity @ErenAB @PhenixRedmusic @TepNomusic @Proxxxy

It’s 10/10 – Edition 10!!

I’ll be completely upfront – there is far too much music being released right now that I enjoy and can write about. 

My playlist of new songs ‘for review’ every week ranges sometimes from 60-90, not including submissions of EP’s and albums.  I’m totally loving all of the variety and selection.  I don’t enjoy not being able to write about everything I hear that I like.  So the blog posts for now are coming to you with a lot of scrutiny.  Another ’10/10′ feature will follow in the week too!

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. An example is “All On You” by Nashville electronic producer Super Duper, which just flew into my Top 10 this past week at #6.

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. 

  • JESSE McCARTNEY, “Yours”

Rumoured to be part of the returning disguised celebrities in “TheMasked Singer” (USA) season three, Jesse McCartney is also back with his first new single in two years with the somewhat revealing indie release, “Yours”.  Recently engaged himself, this song publicly offers Jesse to his fiancée, warts and all.  It also puts listeners on notice that there is a whole other side to the lives of our celebrity faves that we never see.  In any case, “Yours” is an enjoyably honest release, with Jesse’s voice often drifting into falsetto, emphasizing the soulfulness that often appears in his songs.  It’s the start of a new project after the one that started with “Better With You” (which got to #6 on my chart in 2018) was shelved. So in 2020 we have lots more from Jesse to which we can look forward!

  • VICTOR PERRY & CAL1, “Missing”

Originally recorded as a sparse but effortless piano-and-vocal version of the Everything But The Girl classic in late 2016, NYC-based pop/R&B singer Victor Perry revives “Missing” in an atmospheric production that has little to do with the 90’s original except with the popular refrain.  He teams up with German producer Cal1 to flesh out the rendition into a unique take that I could hear in a placement at key points on a TV episode or in a movie.  And with some meltworthy high notes once again being a major selling point, “Missing” (along with current single “Lost Boy”) will help us all get through to a new Victor Perry EP, coming very soon!

  • FRANCESCO YATES, “Superbad”

It’s hard to believe it’s been over 5 years since “Better To Be Loved” became a huge radio hit in Canada.  My fellow Scarborough native Francesco Yates has all the chops to make that happen again, and I’m confident it will!  After a few softer previous releases, “Superbad” is a party and a half!  There are Justin Timberlake influences throughout and a climactic soulful scream that will compel you to take notice.  Francesco has also been taking advantage of these times and performing and chatting online on various platforms.  “Superbad” is definitely a positive new chapter for him. Check out the short video preview of a short film of “Superbad” above.

  • FRANCESCA LOUISE, “Out Of Sight (Out Of Mind)”

London singer/songwriter Francesca Louise is a new voice to get to know well with “Out Of Sight (Out Of Mind)”.  She cites classic singers like Carole King and Joni Mitchell as influences, but she has a soulful edge that neither of them have that will work to her advantage.  In fact it puts her potentially in the same league as someone like blog fave and Grammy winner YEBBA.  The song is also a reminiscence of someone who is in fact “not out of mind”.  “Out Of Sight” starts off rather unassuming but by the end you are sold on Francesca, who looks to be a unique new talent for whom to keep a watch out. 

  • SLAVES, “Talk To A Friend”

“Talk To A Friend” is the latest single by American rock quintet Slaves.  The band has dedicated following that was nearly fractured by the departure of their lead singer last year, who was replaced with a rather unlikely voice – that of Matt McAndrew, who you know as a memorable second place finisher on “The Voice” about 5 years ago.  And while the aftermath of “The Voice” attempted to shape Matt into more of a pop-flavoured vocalist, he is perfectly at home with harder rock.  In fact his effortless voice, along with some blistering dual guitars and propulsive drum work, totally anchors “Talk To A Friend”.  Fans of Linkin Park, Billy Talent, Chris Cornell, and 3 Doors Down will have a blast with the music of Slaves. 

  • SAXITY, “Complicated”

The German production duo Saxity are back with another foot-stomping, toe-tapping, sax-laden release called “Complicated”.  Not to be confused with Avril Lavigne’s 2002 hit, this one is about one person in a relationship being the ‘complicated’ one, while the other wants more to keep figuring her out.  And a good time can be had doing so on the dancefloor where tropical-tinged rhythms and synths flesh it all out.

  • EREN AB, “Beauty Lies With You”

New York-based producer Eren AB’s “Beauty Lies With You” marks the return of the Tipsy label which has some more fine new electronic dance and pop music on its way.  Direct, well-made and catchy, “Beauty Lies With You” also has a comforting and positive message for all.  The arrangement is lined with subtle synths and some ear-tugging percussive sounds, with a friendly uncredited male vocal weaving the storyline.

  • PHENIX RED, “Bad News”

With one album under her belt was well as songwriting credits with the likes of Jadakiss and Cassidy, Nashville-based singer/songwriter (and recording studio owner) Phenix Red is poised to break out with stylish and memorable songs like “Bad News”.  Taking bits and pieces of influences that might be from Christina Aguilera, Pink, Ariana Grande, Kate Bush and others, and Phenix Red fuses them together into a darker brand of her own. Alt.rock and college radio stations would take to “Bad News” instantly, and I highly recommend the song to anyone who likes to push their boundaries on a daily basis.  There’s definitely a lot more than meets the eyes with Phenix Red!  Check out the imaginative video, which she directed and edited, above.

  • TEP NO, “Sippin’ On Feelings”

“Sippin’ On Feelings” is a gentle, summer-flavoured, radio-friendly new song by Canadian producer and remixer Tep No.  Not much is known about Tep No.   He has acquired a huge following through breaking into the industry at the same time as streaming sites.  Tep No has also opened for the likes of San Holo and The Chainsmokers, and has been signed to Ultra Music for a few years, but like others, is looking for a big breakthrough song.  “Sippin’ On Feelings” has a warm, uncredited guy-next-door vocal that helps give it some noteworthy charm.

  • PROXY, “Nervous”

Russian producer Proxy is well-known to lovers of more hardcore dance/electronic styles, which generally stray outside of my wheelhouse.  “Nervous” is pretty heavy-hitting, but once clubland reviews, I think we’ll find excerpts of the song added in the mix at peak points in an evening.  Its entire vocal is a sample of a woman swearing… the rest is left to your imagination until you listen!  There’s a lot of impressive synth work throughout; I keep hearing classic Yellow Magic Orchestra or Ryuichi Sakamoto in my head.

 

Outstanding remixes reboot “Tongue Tied” by @mahalo_dj @discokillerz and @EMAN8 and “Naked (With My Headphones On)” by @RatCity and @Kiesza

MAHALO, DISCO KILLERZ and BRANDYN BURNETTE, “Tongue Tied” (Danny Quest and Frank Pole remixes)

RAT CITY and KIESZA, “Naked (With My Headphones On)” (Tungevaad, VIDA and Blinkie remixes)

I’m a firm believer that in some cases official remixes can improve on a good song’s success.  Here we have two cases that clearly support what I believe.

L.A.-based Mahalo is extremely prolific and with a song like “So Cold” becoming such a major dance radio hit last year, it’s important that every release since that one must stand out.  Despite the talent in partnership with Disco Killerz and EMAN8 (billed as Brandyn Burnette), two remixes of “Tongue Tied” actually add more to enhance the original song.  Florida’s Danny Quest pumps up the rhythm with an arrangement that enhances Brandyn’s vocal (above).  And Italy’s Frank Pole lends a Eurohouse vibe that will assuredly draw dancers to the club floor (below).

“Naked (With My Headphones On)” is such a strong song by Norway’s Rat City with my immensely talented fellow Canadian Kiesza singing it, and it has endured through social media since its release last Fall.  A trio of remixes is definitely helping to reboot the song’s infectious appeal.  Norway’s Tungevaad brings a European trance flavour to the proceedings in a shorter, tighter version of the song (above).  London’s Blinkie offers similar sped up trance-y vibes while newcomer ZIDA focuses on Kiesza’s vocal and strengthens the pop appeal of the song (both are below).

If you checked out and loved the originals of “Tongue Tied” and “Naked (With My Headphones On)” then do yourself a favour and listen to the remixes too!

“London” is L.A.’s @MollyMooremusic at her most sultry, soulful, and diverse

MOLLY MOORE, “London”

After a couple of quieter, perhaps more experimental singles, L.A. singer/songwriter Molly Moore has turned her talents towards a sultry, soulful side that we haven’t seen too much with “London”.  I’m sure this song was inspired by a recent trip to that city, and sometimes with new places come new perspectives.  “London” also taps into classic jazz influences that we’ve previously heard, making it a standout release in her growing catalogue of recordings.  If you like Jessie Ware, Dusty Springfield, or Lisa Stansfield, then be sure to add “London” to a similar playlist.  Hint: A 4 or 5 song EP in this style would be more than welcome!!

Published in: on September 28, 2019 at 5:46 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Watch out for new UK singer/songwriter @NatalieShay with “Yesterday”

NATALIE SHAY, “Yesterday”

After winning a slew of recent awards in her native London, which led to a story in Billboard last month, Natalie Shay is more than ready to shine in the worldwide spotlight that a solid song like “Yesterday” might bring for her.  Co-written and recorded with Jonathan Vears, who has worked with the likes of Imagine Dragons, “Yesterday” is richly layered, punchy pop/rock that recounts a relationship that was never meant to be.  Natalie’s style often recalls artists like Alanis Morissette, or perhaps even her own namesake, Natalie Imbruglia – one that will rock right out but still capture a beautifully trained voice with expressive qualities.  “Yesterday” is a worthy introduction to a new talent that we will hear more of throughout the year.

Published in: on February 9, 2019 at 11:02 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“London” will leave you kinda sorta breathless from Nashville’s @thisisMokita

MOKITA, “London”

If you’re not entirely familiar with Nashville vocalist Mokita, the name may be ringing a recent bell or two thanks to his stellar tones on R3HAB’s latest and very memorable “All Into Nothing”, which I wrote about last month.  Mokita’s latest solo work, “London” is a straight-forward travelogue about missing the one you love.  BUT it suddenly leaves you tongue-tied and kinda sorta breathless with a *deep sigh* that should say it all by the 35 second point when Mokita sings acapella “you would die if you knew I was here”.   And after that, there’s no turning back, you’re swept up and transported to London and engaged in a delightful love story that maybe ends a bit too soon.  “London” is delicious but lighter electronic dance pop than usual (and kudos to Armada for going with it), and strangely enough it uses a lot of the same tricks of more hardcore tracks – like pauses that could be otherwise be drops – that make you want more.  “London” could be a dark horse radio-hit-in-waiting to watch.

Published in: on January 14, 2019 at 11:29 pm  Leave a Comment  
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