“Never Love You Again” is solid dance pop from the surprise pairing of @CheatCodesmusic, @LittleBigTown and @BrynChristopher

CHEAT CODES, LITTLE BIG TOWN and BRYN CHRISTOPHER, “Never Love You Again”

It may look like a big question mark on paper, but there’s no denying that “Never Love You Again” is a solid dance pop release that has hit potential all over it.  L.A. based trio Cheat Codes have come such a long way in the five years that I’ve known of their music (and seeing them open for Matoma), supporting The Chainsmokers on tour, recording with Demi Lovato, and recently scoring a dance radio hit with Tinashe with “Lean On Me”.  Add the talents of multi-award winning Nashville country quartet Little Big Town and British go-to dance music voice and pop/R&B singer Bryn Christopher, and you think that too many ingredients might spoil the proverbial musical broth.  But they don’t – all of the voices blend seamlessly and lift what might otherwise seem like a routine leave-you-with-no-regrets song to much greater heights.  Kudos to all and radio programmers need to make note of this one especially when collecting listener opinions about it.

Toronto’s @iamDabinLee and Nashville’s @thisisMokita team up for lovely sweeping anthem “Drown”

DABIN & MOKITA, “Drown”

Even on paper, pop and electronic music fans seeing the names Dabin and Mokita in the same song know that something good has been in the works.  “Drown” is a definite winner, and happily, not a cover of the recent Martin Garrix song of the same name.  This one is an original sweeping electronic anthem about being there for your significant other no matter what.  Dabin’s ongoing association with Illenium and his core team has undoubtedly helped give him much deeper roots as a producer. He knows how to bring the mood down to touch those raw emotional nerves, and then before it gets too deep, he brings you out of it with a magnificent build up.  “Drown” also contains one of Mokita’s best vocals to date, with his voice soaring like on no other song that I’ve heard by him.  “Drown” should become a staple at EDM festivals once they are back in swing.

Published in: on May 6, 2021 at 9:22 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Virginia’s @officialLZRD and Nashville’s @SamTinnesz aim for a pop-dance classic with “When We Love”

LZRD and SAM TINNESZ, “When We Love”

When you first hear “When We Love”, your initial reaction will be one of familiarity, but the good kind, based on classic pop-dance song structure.  So undoubtedly Virginia producer LZRD and vocalist Sam Tinnesz are out to turn heads with “When We Love”.  And it works just fine – the production is very European-oriented, with retro vibes from 10 years ago in particular, and Sam’s voice soaring with the best of them.  Although LZRD has been releasing songs, and especially remixes (for names like Kygo and 3LAU, no biggie 😉 ), over the past few years, I know him from a throwback fave from 2016 that I still play a lot called “Take Me Apart” (which reached #5 on my chart). While I’m not familiar by name with Sam Tinnesz, judging by his credits, we probably all are, with numerous TV placements on dozens of shows, previous credits working with the likes of Super Duper, Yacht Money, and Built By Titan, and one song approaching 100 million streams.  “When We Love” is magnetic and enjoyable, and you’ll want to keep spinning this one.

Published in: on March 9, 2021 at 10:40 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Nashville’s @thisisMokita returns acoustically with “sleepwalking” featuring Mike Kinsella of @mybandOwen

MOKITA and MIKE KINSELLA, “sleepwalking”

As you may have read numerous times in this blog over the last few years, Mokita (aka John-Luke Carter) is a singer/songwriter/producer from Nashville who uses songwriting to help figure out things that he has observed or encountered.  His latest single, “sleepwalking”, is an acoustic collaboration with Mike Kinsella of the veteran alt.rock groups American Football and Owen.  While you can hear tinges of country and folk styles in this one, it’s actually well-done acoustic and lyrical pop.  “sleepwalking” is about being on one side of a relationship where you know you are just passing through.  The other party knows it too, but you’re waiting for that person to snap you out of it, which isn’t going to happen, so self-realization invariably must take hold.  Mokita echoes performers like Jackson Browne and The Eagles in his vocal in “sleepwalking”, which helps make what could be a heady subject sound very refreshing.

Published in: on November 20, 2020 at 9:51 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Nashville’s @thisisMokita is back with more straight up slice-of-life songwriting with “Ready Yet”

MOKITA, “Ready Yet”

Mokita is a prolific singer/songwriter from Nashville who has been coming into his own with his releases over the last few years. It culminated in a collaboration with R3HAB called “All Into Nothing”, which has acquired over $25 million streams. His originals “London” and “Inside Out” were two of my faves last year, and several singles have been released since his EP 4201. “Ready Yet” is the latest, which might remind listeners a lot of songs by Lauv, though the two have quite different styles. This one’s about not being ready for a relationship, something we don’t hear about often in songs. It’s solid, breezy pop that goes down easy.

Published in: on October 18, 2020 at 10:18 pm  Leave a Comment  
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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.

Nashville’s @ChazCardigan’s earthy anthem about not living a lie is “Middle Of The Road”

CHAZ CARDIGAN, “Middle Of The Road”

The music of Chaz Cardigan often contains themes about self-struggle and trying to do what’s best for oneself. “Middle Of The Road” is a winning, rocking, danceable hymn dedicated to not living a lie. It’s got hard-hitting, almost lush 80’s-styled production that gets interrupted by Chaz’s everyday-guy sing-speaking, a refreshing pause when he’s not belting out the lyrics with vocal precision. Chaz is definitely on a roll with the great music he’s been releasing this year, which has resulted in a modest radio hit (“Not OK!!”). His last release “Everything’s Wrong” is an independent release that in a silly faux pas should have been released by his label, just as they’ve done with “Middle Of The Road”. The future’s looking bright for Chaz Cardigan, shades or no shades.

Published in: on August 23, 2020 at 10:42 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Meet Nashville singer/songwriter @Savannah_Conley with striking but sombre “Never Want To Be In Love”

SAVANNAH CONLEY, “Never Want To Be In Love”

When the relationship is gone and nothing is left but ashes, many of us can relate to Savannah Conley’s “Never Want To Be In Love”.  This emerging singer/songwriter from Nashville has a lot of energetic rock and roll moments in this song that sometimes recall Dusty Springfield and Kate Bush, but with more than a dash of Paramore and No Doubt in the mix as well.  Her songwriting wastes no time cutting to the chase, with a powerful vocal set against restrained and refined production.  Hearing a singer like Savannah makes me wonder what she would sound like in a classic Phil Spector/Wall of Sound setting.  “Never Want To Be In Love” hits you in the emotional gut but is memorable for the sum of all of its parts.

Published in: on August 8, 2020 at 8:38 pm  Leave a Comment  
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According to singer/songwriter @ChazCardigan, you’re still fine even if “Everything’s Wrong”

CHAZ CARDIGAN, “Everything’s Wrong”

After previously releasing a full-length album and his recent major label EP Vulnerabilia, Nashville’s Chaz Cardigan is back with an indie single follow-up called “Everything’s Wrong”.  This is one that really should have been part of Vulnerabilia.  The song is a cousin to Chaz’s alt.rock radio hit “Not OK!” using similar reverse psychology in its lyrics versus its title.  So just because “Everything’s Wrong” doesn’t mean that you can’t be just fine and dandy, thank you.  There’s more to life than what goes on around you; be creative and shake those ideas out to make things happen!  The song has another very direct and powerful vocal from Chaz which sounds at times like The Killers’ Brandon Flowers and at others like Keane’s Tom Chaplin.  “Everything’s Wrong” is pretty entertaining if you’re listening to Chaz’s music for the first time, and if you enjoyed “Not OK!” then this one will resonate with you too.  Check out the video above.

Published in: on July 31, 2020 at 9:36 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Nashville’s @thisisMokita sings about being completely smitten in “Bad”

MOKITA, “Bad”

After many fine songs in 2019 – two of which, “Kiss And Tell” and “London” reached #3 on my chart and ended up in my Top 20 of the year – Nashville’s Mokita returns with the lighter, whimsical “Bad”.  The singer/songwriter is completely smitten in this song, and he doesn’t care if the object of his affection is “Bad” for him or not, he’ll just have to deal with that and get through it.  You kind of hope it will all work out for him in the end, but most of us know that a one-way crush isn’t going to go anywhere.  Perhaps that’s why the song has a danceable, airy, slice-of-life kind of electronic rhythm that makes it quite enjoyable in just under 3 minutes.

Published in: on July 2, 2020 at 8:16 pm  Leave a Comment  
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