Love Power from Armand Deluxe & SIRPAUL and Casey Stratton, Plus 3 Terrific Covers

A lot of thoughts came to my mind this week with the USA supreme court ruling concerning the magical and often elusive thing that is LOVE.  Almost every person has their own definition of what it means to them, and how they behave in loving others and being loved by them.  Too many people however allow labels and hatred to get in the way, when it’s really so easy to substitute kindness, peace and happiness in order to move forward.

Two songs also happened to truly resonate with me this week because of this, and while they have significantly different styles, the basis of each song is general enough to be far-reaching.

ARMAND DELUXE featuring SIRPAUL, “One Love”

“One Love” is one beauty of a summer dance anthem by producer/remixer/DJ Armand Deluxe and veteran NYC dance performer SIRPAUL.  It really doesn’t say anything new – “one heart, one mind, one love”, asking us to stand up and join hands, and so forth.  But these two artists get the message across with a joyful, positive and enthusiastic approach that simply makes you stop what you’re doing to get up and dance and celebrate love.  “One Love” is worthy of worldwide attention and I’m hoping the two can create a video for the song.  In tandem with this, Armand has started a Facebook page called The Global Love Project, where people can post their own stories.  It’s an interesting idea and we’ll see where it goes.  “One Love” and The Global Love Project can only do the world some good!!

CASEY STRATTON, “Love Is Love”

Prolific and very reliable Michigan-based singer Casey Stratton recently dropped his latest album Sea Into Sky.  And as I was listening to the album this week, before any of the activity in the US started to come to a head, the second song on the album “Love Is Love” struck me perhaps as Casey’s best song in a while.  It immediately stays in your head with its quiet and lyrical start which builds to a powerful and emotional crescendo after the three minute mark.  Fans of Loreena McKennitt, Kate Bush, Tori Amos and others should flock to this, but for others like me Casey has written simple yet powerful lyrics that have arrived with fortuitous timing.  As always, Casey’s elegant voice and musicianship is striking, making “Love Is Love” one complete package you need to hear that will warm your heart, soul and mind.  You can buy “Love Is Love” and Sea Into Sky through Casey’s store.

Three splendid cover versions have caught my attention recently by some familiar names you know well from this blog 🙂

NICK, “Get Lucky”

It’s getting closer to that time when a single from Nick Hagelin’s upcoming Streamline/Interscope album is due for release.  So with his cover of Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky”, we have a more produced effort but boy does it ever pack a punch.  I love the song as is (currently #2 on my chart), but I love this version too!!  Nick’s vocals positively rule this song, he changes up the approach with a gentle and sexy vocal that allows his falsetto to seep in.  The guys look like they are having a blast, and I hope Nick’s album can show off a lot of these qualities that you often don’t find in major label releases.

ADAM TYLER, “The A Team”

Given all of the You Tube versions of Ed Sheeran’s worldwide hit, you’d think that one more might just get caught in the blur.  But it doesn’t.  LA-based singer Adam Tyler, currently on my chart with his EDM hit “Fade Into The Light”, strips the song down to basics as he has done before with other covers like “Torn” and ‘Turning Tables”, and sings a brilliantly heartfelt rendition that breaks loose the numbness after hearing the original so many times now.  This bodes well for our Adam as he strides forward to create a follow up of originals to his winning 2011 album Shattered Ice.

MATTHEW KOMA, “Clarity”

Now that Zedd & Foxes’ original of “Clarity” looks like it will crack the Pop Top 10, it’s highly appropriate for Zedd’s pal Matthew Koma (who sang on the #1 dance hit of 2012 “Spectrum”) to interpret his friend’s huge hit.  This is an acoustic version recorded live at the Cherrytree House where Matthew does not strive to copy Foxes’ vocal range and instead adapts the song beautifully to his lower register.

New Pop Alert: Jake Bugg, Bim, Baiyu, Krewella, Parralox featuring Ryan Adamés, Kim Smith, Pip, and Nick

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Jake Bugg “Two Fingers”

Though he’s already had a #1 album in the UK, I’m hoping for big things in North America for 19 year old folk/rock singer Jake Bugg.  He recently performed several showcases at SXSW and his self-titled album will be released here in April.  Ahead of this is a clever lyrics video for “Two Fingers”.  There’s an interesting contrast between the lyrics and the two children in the video, though there is a worthy theme of putting things behind you and moving on to something better that drives the song along.  Jake’s voice stands out in a crowd, his songs are catchy and one-of-a-kind, and I think he should be headlining some club dates in North America during the year.

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Bim “Stop You”

UK duo Bim, one of my 13 Performers To Watch For ’13, continue to be on a roll with the songs that they are releasing in anticipation of a full sophomore album.  The ride hasn’t stopped since last Fall’s Lifelines EP release.  Following their recent astute and different interpretation of Chris de Burgh’s “Lady In Red” comes more gripping and emotional pop that they perform so well with “Stop You”.  Rebecca and Denmark have amazing connection that few other duos possess, which always makes their songs such a treat, even if they sometimes send you on a rollercoaster ride, you come back feeling all the better for it!  “Stop You” will be available as a free download from Bim’s website http://www.bimmusic.com

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Baiyu “Surface”

Another of my 13 Performers to Watch For ’13 is New York chanteuse Baiyu.  She never fails do deliver a quality song, and continues to release something new for free download each month.  “Surface” is aggressive mid-tempo EDM along the lines of the title song of her last mixtape Hunter.  That she continues to mix it up style-wise shows her diversity and desire to appeal beyond a traditional pop audience.  If these top notch recordings continue, they will take Baiyu and her amazing voice to the next level.

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Krewella “Alive” (Pegboard Nerds Remix)

Chicago dance trio Krewella are out to conquer with their latest release as they make their way across North American slaying audiences in concert.  “Alive” is one of the most boisterous rock/EDM songs to come along in 2013 that looks like it will also be a proper pop crossover hit.  The video of this vibrant remix is nothing short of joyful unbridled chaos.  Watch below.

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Parralox featuring Ryan Adamés, “Silent Morning” 

I already wrote about “Silent Morning”, the mid 80s freestyle pop hit by Noel, as covered by Aussie duo Parralox, back in January.  What will now be the official release of the single features handsome L.A. singer Ryan Adamés in a pairing sure to cause intense dancefloor bliss.  In fact you can catch Parralox and Ryan performing in Miami tomorrow night at Twist Sound Beach to launch this sparkling rework.


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Kim Smith “Jealous Out Of My Head” (Midi-D’s Bootleg Mashup)

It’s a brilliant idea – blend New York-based Aussie singer Kim Smith’s pop-savvy “Jealous” with “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head” by fellow Aussie Kylie Minogue.  The Vibe Kings remix is every so deserving of big city club play, but so is this mashup, which will keep heads spinning while feet dance merrily away into the night.

Cue two more inspired cover versions!

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First up, we have season two contestant from The Voice, 20 year old Pip, who has his ear to the radio and provides a beautiful soulful edge to his version of none other than Chris Wallace’s “Remember When (Push Rewind)”.  He and his band mates take a few liberties with some of the choice of instruments they use to support Pip on the song, but the spirit of the song is more than intact.  Good on you, Pip!  Pip’s 6 song EP No Formalities is currently available on iTunes.

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Second, I get to post this the day before the official release of The 20/20 Experience by Justin Timberlake.  There’s no one better suited-and-tied (hence an older pic of him above) to cover “Suit & Tie” than sweet-voiced Nick, in anticipation of his own upcoming project.  I’m actually hoping that JT himself gets to hear this version – even though it sounds a bit rough in spots, Nick’s vocal finesse (including the rap) just nails it and the man himself would be proud of that.