“Black & Blue” shows a softer side of Lost Frequencies (@LFrequencies) with the help of singer/songwriter @thisisMokita

LOST FREQUENCIES and MOKITA, “Black & Blue”

I definitely didn’t see this coming.  You never know who is connecting with who in this busy music biz.  Belgium’s Lost Frequencies (Felix De Laet) is back after his wonderful single earlier in the year with Flynn called “Recognise” (and its gazillion remixes) to preview his upcoming album Alive And Feeling Fine with “Black & Blue”.  It’s definitely a softer offering for the producer who somehow has paired with a current fave of mine, Nashville singer/songwriter Mokita – first R3HAB and now Lost Frequencies!  Mokita’s delicate vocal glides over the acoustic guitar and its soulful melody.  These guys make it sound so easy together!  “Black & Blue” should definitely be pitched to pop and dance radio stations as a sophisticated-sounding release that goes down so easily.

Published in: on October 3, 2019 at 10:35 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Nashville R&B/pop singer @RLumRmusic is on the bubble with major label release “Cold”

R.LUM.R., “Cold”

A lot has happened since last October when I first wrote about R&B/pop singer/songwriter R.LUM.R.  He signed to Island Records, has had millions of plays on Spotify, has been written up in Rolling Stone, is being booked for festivals… yeah the kind of stuff to which most performers look forward.  And his debut album Surfacing is out on October 4/19.  It’s been preceded by the single “Cold”, the story of when romance simply dies in a relationship, in this case reassuring that it’s nobody’s fault.  R.LUM.R.’s voice is equally effective when it’s quiet or soaring, and “Cold” offers both.  It’s for those who like their R&B with alternative flavours, and could do well on open-minded radio stations who like to play newer talent before other stations.  “Cold” is very convincing and would likely be best heard live in a small club setting.

Published in: on September 19, 2019 at 10:33 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Ghost” is about celebrating the ones you loved from Nashville-based electronic producer @BuiltByTitan” with vocalist @JoeKirkmusic

BUILT BY TITAN and JOE KIRK, “Ghost”

You’ll recall a compelling action-based trilogy of videos a few years back of songs by electronic music producer and keyboardist Built By Titan called “The Awakening Journey”.  Born in the Philippines but based in Nashville, Built By Titan (aka Fred Williams) has worked with the likes of The Jonas Brothers, Backstreet Boys, and Adam Lambert, and has a devoted online following.  The last song of that trilogy was “Dangerous”, co-written and sung by Jesse McCartney, my favourite of the three.  This time Built By Titan offers a more emotional slice of electronic dance music that would go hand-in-hand with songs by Illenium and Odesza called “Ghost”.  The song and video – with its intriguing Indigenous family storyline – are about loss, but also the celebration of life.  You may recall a contestant from “The Voice”, also from Nashville, about 5 years ago named Joe Kirk, an underdog favourite of mine who was cut way too early from the show.  “Ghost” gives him a huge opportunity to show the power and confidence in his voice years after the show, and it’s a glorious performance that totally makes the record.  “Ghost” is therefore a delightful and unexpected surprise that is worthy of both dance radio airplay and dance club play.

Published in: on August 17, 2019 at 10:32 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Out Of Love” (with @AC15music and @theSamuelKnight) and “Love Like This” (with @Svrcinasongs) are two top notch dance releases from @KoniOfficial

KONI & AC15 and SAM KNIGHT, “Out Of Love”

KONI and SVRCINA, “Love Like This”

It’s always a treat to keep up with the latest in high quality independent dance music releases from German producer and guitarist Koni, whether his solo projects or those of his other production group Saxity.  Every release from Koni sounds fresh and is almost always undertaken with a variety of collaborations that span around the world.

“Out Of Love” is emotional dance pop that wouldn’t sound out of place on pop radio, even next to, perhaps, the latest by Midnight Kids and Jared Lee called “Those Were The Days”.  “Out Of Love” pairs Koni with new Dominican Republic producer AC15 and the singer is Sam Knight, a Minneapolis born talent-on-the-rise.  The result is a tightly woven and affecting song deserving of your attention, which you can hear above.

Equally of note is “Love Like This”, more of a deep house effort, this time featuring Nashville vocalist Svrcina (sur-cee-na).  Her fine, consistent vocal is offset by a potent tropical-flavoured deep house rhythm that slows down with a change up to a more celebratory, carnival kind of vibe, before the key beats return.  Check it out at the above link.

Nashville’s @thisisMokita rounds out new EP “4201” with “More Than Friends”

MOKITA, “More Than Friends”

I became a new fan of Mokita’s gentle, emotional, sometimes electronic pop late last year when I heard his expressive voice in R3HAB’s “All Or Nothing”, though he’s been on the music scene for a number of years as a producer and remixer too.  Successive singles have become true favourites of mine this year, such as “London” and “Kiss And Tell” (which both reached #3 on my personal chart), and have led to create a six song EP “4201”, which includes new single “More Than Friends” (above).  Like with a number of his other songs, Mokita (aka John-Luke Carter) reflects on current or past relationships, wondering what could have been, or what to think further about them, now that they are over.  It’s unique insight where many other songwriters simply don’t go.  And while most of Mokita’s songs are neat and tidy and under 3 minutes long, he has a real flair for weaving genuine stories into that short period of time.  Be sure to check out the full “4201” EP below for a solid taste of what Mokita offers.

Published in: on August 2, 2019 at 8:54 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Call it the new Power Pop: “Out Of Body” is the debut album by Nashville’s @weareApolloLTD

APOLLO LTD, Out Of Body

I must admit I do not listen to full album releases much these days.  But after a couple of promising single releases, you owe it to yourself to check out Nashville duo Apollo LTD’s debut album Out Of Body.  It puts all of their singles and two previous EP’s into one convenient place, and shows how cohesive these songs sound when you listen to them all consecutively. 

Call it today’s Power Pop – incredibly strong melodies that naturally blend pop, rock, and dance genres, featuring multi-layered stories that can apply to anyone.  The tight production has a wall-of-sound effect which gives the music a retro-classic kind of feel.  Jordan Phillips is the vocalist with the affecting tones while Adam Stark handles production but both handle the various instrumentation.  The combined sounds of synths with live instruments also offers a big, full sound on the album.  

I’ve already written about “Misfits”, “On The Way Up”, and the ballad “Heaven (All Around You)”.  The latter song also appears in its more uptempo version, while “On The Way Up” has been re-recorded and seems to emphasize more anthemic dance qualities than the mainstream sound of the original.  “On The Way Up 2.0” (above) is probably my favourite on the album, with “Misfits”, “Supernatural” (also above), “Drive”, and “Tired Of L.A.” all memorable in their own special ways.  

Out Of Body is a consistent effort from Apollo LTD with undeniably fine songwriting and production that sets their songs apart from the rest.

“Inside Out” is more new must-hear pop from @thisisMokita

MOKITA, “Inside Out”

Can Nashville’s Mokita do any wrong with his slew of singles since the start of the year?  Right now, I simply cannot get enough of his songs! Following “London”, “Kiss And Tell” (currently #9 on my personal chart), and the brief taste of “Til I Don’t”, is another thoughtful release in “Inside Out”.  This one goes straight for the same songwriting camp as fans of Lauv might enjoy.  It’s a reflective song about the frustrations of self-doubt when you’re in a relationship and someone could find out how you truly feel.  It’s mainly an acoustic pop adventure where the production emerges at the bridge but does not intrude, and instead reinforces the strong emotions of the song.  With a few more winners like “Inside Out”, Mokita will have enough songs for an incredible album or EP release.  They all need to be packaged together and heard consecutively.  Listen to “Inside Out”, as well as the others I’ve mentioned, and find out why.

Published in: on June 5, 2019 at 9:26 pm  Leave a Comment  
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It’s 10/10 #03: New songs from @JayB1rdmusic and @DanniCarra, @Prizmofficial, @NickHagelin and @itsPaxton, @DaveWinnel, @JanosBAndersson, @thisisMokita, @iamNickPeters and @JamieGreymusic, @weareGODAMN, @Aadysimusic, and @iamAxelM

10/10 #03

10/10 (or tenoutoften) is this blog’s new feature where 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. 

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. 

tenoutoften

tenoutoften 03

  • JAY BIRD and DANNI CARRA, “Let You Down” (free download)

“Let You Down” marks a personal best for SoCal producer/remixer Jay Bird.  It’s one of those songs where every aspect has been carefully crafted, balanced, and executed.  With a beautiful melody and danceable rhythm that doesn’t bow to any particular dance sub-genre, “Let You Down” is a warm and inviting story about being dedicated to a special someone.  It also marks another collaboration with singer Danni Carra (check out my blog post about “The Reason”, which was released earlier this year).  “Let You Down” is a generous free download – get it while you can at the link above.

  • PRIZM, “The Prizm”

L.A. based producer Prizm returns after a bit of a break to showcase his melodic side after a few harder edged tracks last year.  “The Prizm” has an uplifting, anthemic quality about it at times, and veers into softer, emotional EDM about half way through before the beats return and lead to a quiet ending.  The song reminds me, production-wise, of others that have come from Sweden in the past few years, using a pitched up vocal to carry it through.  The result is a creative and diverse release that should serve as a springboard for Prizm.  

  • NICK HAGELIN and PXTN, “Good Time”

“Good Time” is a breezy Latin-infused song meant for mid-evenings as the sun is setting.  It comes from always charming Atlanta-based singer/songwriter and ballet dancer Nick Hagelin, about whom I’ve written for many years, including long before his Top 10 finish in Season 10 of “The Voice”.  Taking time to balance raising a young family and maintain his professional dancing while recording and writing songs, “Good Time” marks Nick’s first release in about two years with a nice change of pace, still sounding fresh and improvised at times.  Here he brings along his buddy from “The Voice”, fellow Top 10 finisher Paxton Ingram (here billed simply as PXTN), which adds an in sync energy to the song.  Here’s to more new music from Nick Hagelin!

  • DAVE WINNEL, “Ksamil”

Dave Winnel is an Australian producer/remixer who divides his time between Sydney and The Netherlands, thanks to his work with Armin van Buuren and many others associated with the Armada label.  Only recently starting to release his own material, a four song EP called Lily Of The Valley (The Journey) has arrived from Dave.  Amid some imaginative, more progressive songs comes “Ksamil”, which has a different presence from the other songs.  “Ksamil” is small beach-side village in Albania in which Dave wrote it.  In contrast to some percolating synths, it’s got relaxing and gentle elements that make it perfect for an outdoor festival on a sunny day.  Play this one back-to-back with Tez Cadey’s “Logic” and create your own mini-voyage.

  • JANOS, “Zero”

Janos is a Norway-based Swedish singer, songwriter and musician who has been releasing music for most of this decade, receiving some attention at home and in England.  “Zero” is danceable alternative pop-rock with an outside-of-the-box approach to songwriting.  I’m really not too sure what the song is actually all about but there’s an affable vocal, tight instrumentation and production, as well as a carefree feel that, despite Janos’ European origins, reminds me most of 90’s American bands like Third Eye Blind or The Rembrandts.

  • MOKITA, “Til I Don’t”

Current blog favourite Nashville-based singer/songwriter Mokita continues his sturdy roll of top notch songs with “Til I Don’t”, following “All Into Nothing” (with R3HAB), “London”, and “Kiss And Tell”.  “Til I Don’t” is a quickie at only 2:07 and perhaps his slightest of the four, but it’s tightly crammed with words from Mokita’s always interesting perspective on relationships.

  • NICK PETERS and JAMIE GREY, “Where Did You Go”

18 year old French producer Nick Peters has released a few consistent singles of his own since 2016, while providing remixes for others such as Major Lazer.  Regular blog readers know how much I enjoyed his 2017 collaboration with Frank Pierce and Scott Vega (now known collectively as Juscova) called “No Love In Brooklyn” (#4 on my personal chart).  “Where Did You Go” is top drawer and benefits from anchored deep house beats and rhythms, and a memorable, soulful vocal from British singer Jamie Grey.  The radio edit alters the pace slightly, so go for either version, focused on the beat or the lyricism, as you see fit.

  • GODAMN, “Kickers”

Although they were previously known under other names in the dance music scene, GODAMN is a Swiss production duo who have been getting support from the best in the biz since they emerged under this name in 2017.  Their latest, “Kickers”, is a fun bass house production that would highlight any club DJ’s set and trigger instant reaction from lovers of this sub-genre.  GODAMN have a clever, bouncy club hit in the making with “Kickers” so lend an ear for it this Spring and Summer.

  • AADYSI, “Don’t Need You”

Taking its cue seemingly from both techno-styled trap and science fiction movie themes, NYC producer Aadysi is back with “Don’t Need You”.  Featuring Aadysi’s own vocal, the song starts off with some punchy beats, but slows down into a trap-influenced rhythm which morphs into some unexpected and smartly made progressive synth pop.  “Don’t Need You” then circles back to its heavier edges before a soothing, spacey ending.  It’s a stylish electronic kiss off to a past relationship that’s well worth your attention.

  • AXEL MANSOOR, “Busy”

L.A.-based singer/songwriter Axel Mansoor continues his consistent string of releases with “Busy”.  Ever the interested observer in relationship, Axel provides a convincing story to ensure that you do not forego who and what are right in front of you every day.  A midtempo beat and some well-placed synth work carries a lilting acoustic guitar melody that will make you clap or tap along.  “Busy” is indie pop that goes down easy while providing honest food for thought.

Nashville duo #ApolloLTD’s “Heaven (All Around You)” is a delightful piano-driven ballad

APOLLO LTD, “Heaven (All Around You)”

A well-known singer/songwriter posted this past week wondering what songs kids would slow dance to these days.  Look no further than Nashville duo Apollo LTD’s “Heaven (All Around You)”.  It’s a gracious but still edgy ballad, with Jordan Phillips’ passionate vocal letting loose, rasp and all, near the end, and Adam Stark working all kinds of magic on the keys.  The lyrics will speak easily to many who enjoy the music of All-American Rejects, All Time Low, or Simple Plan, and there is definitely retro 80s/90s appeal to “Heaven (All Around You)”.  Watch the nicely shot video above for full effect.

Published in: on February 18, 2019 at 5:40 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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