L.A.-based dance producer @JerinJamesmusic returns with top notch orchestral electronic music with “Dance Again”

JERIN JAMES and SILKE, “Dance Again”

Last year, one of the real ear-openers which made a winning slow burn with me was “Birds and Bees”, the debut single by L.A.-based electronic dance producer Jerin James, which peaked at #7 on my personal chart. Although he’s released a few singles in-between, such as “You”, “Dance Again” is the logical follow up to “Birds and Bees”, being another gorgeous take on orchestral electronic dance music in the style of an Argentine Tango.  It’s complimented immensely by an elegant but powerful vocal by Silke, in a bolder setting than “Birds and Bees”.  But it all works like a charm and should be Jerin’s most successful release to date. An entire EP of this style would be most welcome!

Published in: on February 20, 2021 at 10:19 pm  Leave a Comment  
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L.A.’s AxelMansoor @iamaxelm sings his truth (and that of many others) in “kids can be so stupid” featuring @Abhi_theNomad

AXEL MANSOOR and ABHI THE NOMAD, “kids can be so stupid”

Readers of this blog know that the songs of Axel Mansoor have been a regular presence in these pages since 2017.  He’s been nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award, appeared on NBC’s “Songland”, and now, is the APP icon (below) for the latest social media sensation, the by invitation-only Clubhouse!  Truth can be cutting but it can also soothe the minds of those who have their own variation of it, so if you want a hush to go over a room of people, then play “kids can be so stupid”.

To get directly to the point, it’s about being bullied at school as a child, and how those memories still play in our thoughts years and years later.  The song is a relatable, totally understandable recollection, while in the back of my mind I can always think of my own parents talking with the parents of some of those kids. And they were the adults who supported their children’s bullying activities, creating immediate bad blood between families in the neighbourhood because of the attitude “it’s not my kid, it’s your kid”, despite the bullying often being about being short, fat, effeminate, brown, black, Asian, and so on. If you didn’t fit their mold, you were not only different, you were not welcome either. Even as time passes, the bullying continues… and guess what, those kid bullies grow up to be adult bullies too, who some of us have had the unfortunate experience of working with. 

Axel’s simple and heartfelt way with words and melody, and the compelling rap from Austin’s Abhi The Nomad, are what make “kids can be so stupid” work so well. 

So adults, don’t let your babies grow up to be bullies.

Be sure to watch for Axel Mansoor on the Clubhouse APP for the regular session called “The Lullaby Club”.

L.A. singer/songwriter @Emelinemusic takes control of the end of a relationship in “6 foot deep”

EMELINE, “6 foot deep”

The thought of knowing that a relationship is over puts dread into most people’s minds. L.A.-based alt.rock singer/songwriter Emeline has other ideas though, in her latest release “6 foot deep”.  Through her own songs and initiatives as well as that of side project GARZA, Emeline brings forward messages of hope and empowerment.  “6 foot deep” is about realizing a relationship is dead before your partner does. You know all of the signs and reasons, but s/he likely does not.  It’s powerfully enacted in the entertaining video, in which Emeline dons various personas where she is in control of her own destiny, whether the absent partner understands or not – when you’re “6 foot deep” its time to move on before you suffocate. The song is well-executed and compelling, and I would pitch to fans of Halsey, Lorde, and Hayley Williams, who are most likely to embrace the free-flowing music of Emeline.

Published in: on February 18, 2021 at 10:11 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Head Over Heels” is a pop delight from Russia-born L.A.-based multi-talent @CooperPhillip1

COOPER PHILLIP, “Head Over Heels”

“Head Over Heels” is a 90’s inspired R&B-flavoured straight up pop confection, courtesy of Russia-born, L.A.-based multi-talent Cooper Phillip. It the song has that seamless vibe that is at the root of a good bop, it’s because Cooper’s talent comes from her pre-teen years and being raised by a family of classical musicians. Her main influence, somewhat surprisingly, is Ella Fitzgerald, and she eventually enrolled at the prestigious Moscow State Classical Academy where she studied classical piano, music theory, harp, jazz, blues, ballet and voice.  She left Russia at age 17 and ended up in L.A. after accepting a life-altering gig. The video has a flirty and fun premise to accentuate the song’s empowering lyrics about seizing the moment when you want to make a go at romance, even if you screw up a bit and have to backtrack.  “Head Over Heels” is a delight and be sure to put Cooper Phillip on your pop radar.

Published in: on February 10, 2021 at 10:40 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Meet L.A.-based singer/songwriter Elise Go @nihaoelise with the punchy pop of “Undefined (Don’t Call Me)”

ELISE GO, “Undefined (Don’t Call Me)”

With its bright melodies and punchy lyrics and vocal, “Undefined (Don’t Call Me)” by San Francisco-born, L.A.-based Elise Go will not only catch your attention, but it will stay with you long after you listen.  Elise is a cum laude Berklee College of Music graduate (having won a songwriting scholarship to study there), a veteran of several professional vocal competitions as a teenager, and, most recently, was cast as Princess Pop on NBC’s “I Can See Your Voice”. 

“Undefined” is a blunt, anthemic middle-finger salute to the behaviours in vague social media relationships.  Elise says, “I wrote this song of my frustration in being in a situation like this and because I was gaslit in my experience, music was the safest place for me to voice how I felt”.

If the song sounds fresh and driven, it’s because live instruments were used in its making. Taking its cue from a wicked bassline, you’ll hear an entire horn section, which gives the song a soulful, Broadway-like lift.  Elise’s vocal is crisp and on-point, making “Undefined” a sassy, memorable winner.

The singer has also launched an Instagram campaign with a hotline where fans can even call in and talk about their relationship woes! @nihaoelise on Instagram for details.

Published in: on February 6, 2021 at 11:03 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Check out “Sugar”, the catchy, teasing pop/dance release from Dance Yourself Clean @DYCtonight and Michael Medrano @stachepapi

DANCE YOURSELF CLEAN x MICHAEL MEDRANO, “Sugar”

“Sugar” sparkles like all of the glitz and glamour we imagine when we think of the warm fantasyland that is Los Angeles.  It’s a fun, teasing pop confection brought to you by Seattle producers Dance Yourself Clean and SoCal vocalist/songwriter Michael Medrano.  We’ve heard Michael move from style to style pretty effortlessly over the past few years, and “Sugar” is a winner that would be played in clubs if they were open. The production draws from 70’s disco flavours and Michael’s falsetto gives it a huge lift. 

Published in: on January 29, 2021 at 10:14 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Be Somebody” is the new uplifting anthem from @DillonFrancis featuring Australian singer @EvieIrie

DILLON FRANCIS and EVIE IRIE, “Be Somebody”

If you’re looking for an uplifting anthem of encouragement, then listen no further to “Be Somebody” by L.A.-based superstar producer Dillon Francis featuring the voice of young Australian singer/songwriter Evie Irie.  Released on his own IDGAFOS label through Casablanca/Republic, and already breaking out at US dance radio, “Be Somebody” gets right down to business with a brisk rhythm that makes its short two-and-a-half minute length go even faster.  Evie Irie’s down-to-earth vocal sounds like a blend of Billie Eilish-meets-Dua Lipa, and makes you do a double-take in a ‘where have I heard her’ before kind of moment.  “Be Somebody” has a lot of innate charm and Dillon’s slick style makes it all seamless.  I prefer its “VIP” mix, but there’s a slightly pitched up one by Moodshift, as well as a busier transformation by XIE for you to check out in the EP below where you can appreciate it in all of its variations.

“B4U” offers a glimpse of another side of L.A.-based performer @KINGMALAmusic

KING MALA, “B4U”

I’ve written a few times this past year about L.A.-based singer/songwriter KING MALA, who I’ve described as having a tough exterior and aggressive alt.rock style (“KING MALA” means “bad bitch” in Spanish).  “B4U” sheds some new light on that persona, and it’s culled from her recent EP Gemini, whose title offers somewhat of a giveaway (and being a Gemini myself, I know a lot about it!).  “B4U” is softer in vocal approach – kind of Suzanne Vega meets Amy Winehouse at times – but doesn’t hesitate to make deliberate choices in harsher words that create some vivid imagery, which delivers a song that is both vulnerable and unapologetic.  KING MALA’s unconventional, thought-provoking approach is something to continue to watch in 2021.

Published in: on December 28, 2020 at 10:09 pm  Leave a Comment  
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L.A.’s Brandyn Burnette @EMAN8 is riding a cool R&B/hip hop groove with “Airplane Mode”

BRANDYN BURNETTE, “Airplane Mode”

“Airplane Mode” is the title track from the recent four-song EP by L.A.-based singer/songwriter Brandyn Burnette. As faithful readers of this blog already know, Brandyn records both under his own name and under EMAN8 – in fact he also almost concurrently released a bluesy, more hip-hop flavoured album under that moniker called Heaven On A Cloudy Day.  “Airplane Mode” is more pop-oriented R&B, and I’m glad Brandyn has found that he can flesh out what he loves to do successfully under both identities.  Like previous single “Rolling Papers”, also featured in the EP, this is the most fun Brandyn has sounded in quite some time.  His verses couldn’t be better and always take you places you don’t expect, as he balances light-heartedness with some pointed messaging too.  While “Airplane Mode” is the highlight of the EP, I also have to give props to “Luh U” for being so direct about relationships being a two-way street. But do make sure you spin all four songs, which play together like a top-notch mixtape.

Published in: on December 17, 2020 at 11:24 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Check out the soothing electronic pop/dance style of L.A.’s @thisisRobTirea with “Deaf and Stellar”

ROB TIREA, “Deaf and Stellar”

L.A.’s Rob Tirea is a rising songwriter and producer who has recently also taken on vocal duties for his releases, after a number of previous songs with other vocalists – notably Jeremy Beamish of Australia’s The Beamish Brothers – or producers – I wrote about his work with Emirati producers Revelries on “Blue” last year.  And like “Blue”, “Deaf and Stellar” is another fine slice of left-of-centre electronic dance/pop.  The song seems rather cryptic at times, with its unusual song title, but what I get out of it is a positive spin on life after a relationship has ended.  Rob has an easy going tenor voice and the melody is soothing to accompany its earnest lyrics.  “Deaf and Stellar” won’t resonate with you immediately, and I don’t think that’s its intention either, so do stick with it.

Published in: on December 6, 2020 at 11:16 pm  Leave a Comment  
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