Denver’s @Illeniummusic continues to make huge strides this time with @JonBellion in the heartwrenching and reassuring “Good Things Fall Apart”

ILLENIUM and JON BELLION, “Good Things Fall Apart”

It’s one of the most memorable lyrics I’ve heard all year:

When coming to terms with a broken heart I guess that sometimes good things fall apart‘. 

It marks another in the series of top notch releases from Denver’s Illenium (Nick Miller), that hopefully will end up on his next album.  “Good Things Fall Apart” is is both heartwrenching and reassuring, successfully marrying progressive electronica and emotional pop, and NYC’s Jon Bellion was an ideal choice for collaborator in both co-writing and singing the song.  While Illenium continues to slay festival audiences wherever he plays, and “Good Things Fall Apart” I’m sure is stopping crowds in their tracks, Jon Bellion is about to embark on a world tour, crossing US, Europe, the UK, and Australia beginning in June, following the release of his second album Glory Sound Prep, last Fall.  Watch for “Good Things Fall Apart” to keep making waves at pop radio, a worthy follow up for Jon to his Top 20 hit “All Time Low”, and a fabulous introduction to Illenium for pop audiences.  Check out the lyric video above.

Weekend Dance Roundup Part 2: @DubVisionmusic & @SYZZmusic @PLSandTYbased & @GANZgvnz & #Nevve @TheHim & @Lootemusic @iamAlanWalker, @SabrinaAnnLynn, and @Farrukoofficial @Ekalimusic & @L-1788 @ArminvanBuuren & @BonnieMcKee @SultanShepard & #CarlaMonroe @Goldroom @Robokidmusic @Kremerkmusic

Following up yesterday’s Part 1, here’s the second part of my Weekend Dance Music Roundup, I’m featuring 10 more new dance music releases, in no particular order, some of whom are by performers you may see at Miami Music Week.

  • Dutch brothers DubVision and fellow Dutch production duo SYZZ positively sparkle with the high energy of “Enlighten Me”.  This is a zesty 2:37 dance track that will have you chanting the urgent chorus and feeling great afterwards.  It’s one of DubVision’s very best tracks and the partnership with Syzz is well worth repeating.  A festival fist pumper for sure.

During Miami Music Week, DubVision play at Firebeatz and Friends on Tuesday March 26 and at Ultra Music Festival on Saturday March 31.

  • One of my favourite songs last year was the Morgan Page extended mix of PLS&TY’s “Down For Me”.  The Florida producer returns in collaboration with Dutchman Ganz for “Motives”.  The song starts off rather unassumingly but gradually builds to a feverishly emotional state by the minute mark, thanks to the signature voice of go-to dance music singer Nevve.  This is one of her best and most committed vocals that rides the sometimes hard-hitting future bass production later in the song.  Sway away and enjoy!
  • Norway’s Alan Walker has crafted something totally unexpected with “On My Way”.  Harkening back to three years ago when “Faded” astounded everyone, Alan employs the sharp voice of star-on-the-rise Sabrina Carpenter (currently in the Billboard club chart Top 10 with “Sue Me”) for a song that’s totally suited to her.  It begins with R&B flavour that you might associate with Rihanna, then drifts off to the islands with a vocal break from Puerto Rico’s Farruko.  By the end you’ll feel like you’ve been on a bit of an adventure so check it out!
  • Also with tropical flavours but with a more relaxed, summery vibe is “Tell Your Friends”, the latest from blog favourites The Him.  Steven and J have brought aboard American duo Loote for effortless give ‘n take vocals which make the song simply breeze by with its appealing synth-peppered bounce.

The Him plays Spinnin’ Sessions at Spinnin’ Hotel on Wednesday March 27 and Klingande’s Playground Pool Party on Sunday March 31 during Miami Music Week.

  • A new and potent instrumental is brought to you courtesy of Mexican producers Kremerk called “Nowhere”.  Premiered recently by Nicky Romero, “Nowhere” doesn’t hold back any punches with its lively synths and creative, progressive production which sometimes recalls Afrojack.  Its relentless pace doesn’t give up for a second of its 2:46 length.
  • It’s been out for about a month, but “Ruin” by the one-of-a-kind collaboration of Ekali and 1788-L delivers in just about every way possible.  Highly inventive and drawing heavily from trap and dubstep, “Ruin” is one song that will neither tire you out with an overabundance of effects, nor will you tire of its frequent changes of pace.  There’s a beautiful, underlying melody amid the experimentation, and these guys just make it all sound even more fascinating as the song progresses.  While it might not be for everyone, “Ruin” should become a centerpiece in sets by both performers.

1788-L plays no less than four events during Miami Music Week on Thursday March 28 (twice, including Brownies & Lemonade Miami), Friday March 29 and Saturday March 30.

  • From his recent 8 song release RK1, Boston’s Robokid has a real grower with “Everything Around You”.  Co-produced by the enigmatic Kid Froopy – you’ll remember 2017’s “Drive Slow” – “Everything Around You” happily marries early-to-mid 2000’s alt.influences of bands like Blink 182 and All-American Rejects with simmering electronics and a taut vocal arrangement that helps make the chorus so memorable.  
  • L.A.’s Goldroom offers up a different kind of slice of life with “Cocaine Girl”.  Its lazy west coast vibe is the perfect foil for a story in which the subjects just seem content to live a dreamy, carefree life.  Its uncomplicated-sounding synth arrangement recalls 80’s Depeche Mode and there are some nice acoustic guitar touches as well.  
  • After dazzling us recently with their instrumental “American Beauty” (based up on the score of the movie of the same name), Sultan + Shepard continue but this time with a solid house banger in “Deeper”.  It packs even more of a wallop thanks to the presence of the killer voice of Carla Monroe – she of MK’s “17” fame.  “Deeper” has the potential to be yet another huge club smash for my Canadian brethren.

Sultan + Shepard play Mixmash Takeover on Thursday March 28 and Armada Invites Miami on Saturday March 30 during Miami Music Week.

  • And what would this year’s Miami Music Week be without a new song from the master who is Armin van Buuren?  Departing from the anthemic humour of “Blah Blah Blah”, Armin brings a delightful song full of longing, powered by the voice of none other than “American Girl” herself, Bonnie McKee.  You wouldn’t expect Bonnie in this setting and Armin weaves some intense synths and beats around her gracious presence.  Armin has a long history with me, going back to 2003’s haunting “Yet Another Day”, and 16 years later continues to deliver the heat amid many talented contemporaries. 

Armin van Buuren plays Ultra Music Festival on Saturday March 30 and Sunday March 31.

 

 

Weekend Dance Music Roundup Part 1: @CedricGervais vs @weareJustKiddin @GilGlazemusic @Habstrakt @LFrequencies @thisisMokita @Rozallab @ChemBros @Egzodmusic @YoungBombs

Miami Music Week is upon us again, and I’m happy to be arriving Wednesday March 27 and then leaving in the morning of Sunday March 31.  I’ll miss the closing festivities at the various clubs – I’m not going to Ultra – but there will be lots to keep me busy, along with the beach and the sunshine!

As a predecessor to the events, in Part 1 of my Weekend Dance Music Roundup, I’m featuring 10 new dance music releases, in no particular order, some of whom are by performers you may see at MMW.

  • One of the biggest recent highlights for me is Cedric Gervais vs Just Kiddin’s “Good Things” (featuring Kyan) in both its regular and Disco Edit.  “Good Things” has everything going for it – gorgeous pop elements for those who still listen to radio with a bass house drop at the minute mark that shakes things up, as the song progresses into a pop/house anthem.  I’m hoping for big things for this song!

Cedric Gervais performs at Ultra Music Festival on Saturday March 30.

  • Strong in the melodic pop/dance department is US-based, Switzerland-born Gil Glaze with two recent releases.  Both “How We Do” (above) and “Young Forever” (below, featuring vocalist Annabel Turner) make smooth transitions from pop to potential club bangers with memorable celebratory feel good vibes.  Either of these songs could be a big ticket for Gil, who has been known more for remixes and festival appearances than his own originals.
  • I’ve been absolutely loving the most recent records by Nashville’s Mokita, whose songs like the more pop-oriented “London” (#10 on my chart) will find permanent places on your playlists.  “Kiss And Tell” is a more high energy, urgent plea to an absent lover that will provoke big reactions on the dance floor, with some quieter moments to allow for some on-scene romance if it’s in the cards.  “Kiss And Tell” is one beautiful record and I’m glad Armada is digressing from its usual harder core dance flavours to bring this to us.

  • What can one say about the groundbreaking Grammy-winning legends that are The Chemical Brothers?  They had me sold back 23 years ago with the off-centre, clever electronics of “Setting Sun”.  They return with the entertaining “We’ve Got To Try” which prominently samples a 70’s R&B song called “I’ve Got To Find Away” by The Hallelujah Chorus.  Another standout song for big moments at clubs and festivals. Oh and there’s a Daft Punk-inspired video that features a new EDM mascot 😛
  • Rising US producer Habstrakt has a fine new diverse release called “All Night”.  Surprisingly European in flavour, “All Night” has plenty of big bounce and classic house elements in which you can easily get lost.  

Habstrakt plays Ultra Music Festival on Friday March 29, as well as three other events, including Ghastly Presents Ritual on Wednesday March 27 at The Hangar.

  • Newly minted with the Astralwerks label, long time fave remixers from Vancouver, Young Bombs, have released their first original single, the uplifting “Starry Eyes”.  It’s entirely different from anything else out there and will stand out and grab your ears from any direction.  “Starry Eyes” is as much about the engaging female vocal chorus as it is about the swirling electronics that provide the dizzying backdrop.  Put those cell phones and lighters in the air and light up the skies until sundown.  Well done Tristan and Martin!  Check out the humorous lyric video above.

Young Bombs performs at the Ultra Music Festival on Sunday March 31.

  • Still relatively new to the music scene is Miami-based, France-born Egzod (aka Carlos Carvalho Martins, using a variation of the French word ‘exode’, meaning ‘exodus’) shifts gears slightly towards pop with “Better With You”.  Fans of Egzod’s more progressive stylings won’t be disappointed as the producer keeps his synths and mix well to the left, but the uncredited female vocal here is a worthy attraction and the melody is strong.

Egzod plays Centro Wynwood on Tuesday March 26.

  • After having three Billboard dance club play chart #1’s in the 90’s which includes the classic “Everybody’s Free (To Feel Good)”, Zambia-born UK-based singer Rozalla rebooted her career in 2015 with the Top 5 “If You Say It Again” and the equally worthy collaboration with House Of Virus, “The Shadows Of The Moon”.  It all continues with “Turn On The Light”, especially in its zesty Mr. Root Oh So Chic 12″ remix, which could enliven any house music set.  Current dance music continues to embrace its much-loved veterans and when a record is so strong like “Turn On The Light” then it’s worthy of much attention.
  • One of the most popular producer/DJ’s worldwide is Belgium’s Lost Frequencies, aka Felix De Laet.  Arriving just in time to bring the heat to MMW is “Recognise” featuring the positively stellar voice of Flynn.  You’ll be singing the chorus to this one long after the song’s over.  There’s a vibrant, percussive backdrop to “Recognise” that accentuates the tropical vibes along with some delightful acoustic guitar riffing.

Lost Frequencies plays the Ultra Music Festival on Sunday March 31.

“Gone My Way” by @MorganPage and @PexLmusic brings a decade of dance full circle

MORGAN PAGE and PEX L, “Gone My Way”

Progressive house producer Morgan Page continues to be on fire with his latest release “Gone My Way”, this time paired with Spain’s Pex L, for Armada, which comes out racing on the heels of his remix of worldwide pop hit “Sweet But Psycho” by Ava Max.  “Gone My Way” happily brings a decade of different dance music styles together in one song, from the infectious basslines of progressive house from earlier on, to more sophisticated, futuristic bounce of 2019 and beyond.  A well-chosen but uncredited female vocal also figures prominently in the vibe of “Gone My Way”.  This one has the potential to be one of Morgan’s bigger records, and you can catch the producer in action at Miami Music Week in the Armada Invites Miami showcase on Saturday March 30.

Published in: on March 13, 2019 at 10:49 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Record Roundup: @dawncalltwitt @subsetsmusic @ayellemusic @snowmassmusic @monamoua @odesza @chetporter @keyrouzmusic @henripurnell @beticalmusic @sikdope

While I haven’t been writing as of late for one reason or another, including being away for a week, you can bet that I have kept listening to submissions I’ve received and other songs that have caught my attention.  Some songs will get their own blog posts but here are six that are definitely worth your attention 🙂 :

Ahhh those vocals, that atmosphere!

DAWNCALL & SUBSETS and AYELLE, “Ghost”

“Ghost” covers a lot of bases, pairing relative newcomers Israel’s Dawncall with the UK’s Subsets to create an attentive, eerie, seductive song that showcases UK singer Ayelle’s crisp and captivating vocal, recalling her recent work with Taska Black.  It’s definitely one for club DJ’s to offer up after a big, loud set heading into the wee hours.

SNOWMASS and MONA MOUA, “Wait For Me”

Everyone’s favourite Chicago snowman/producer returns with a similarly progressive track to his previous release “Crossfire”, also featuring the unique voice of Mona Moua.  It’s a taut and always interesting production that goes really big and then equally quiet at times, always keeping your ears peeled for something unexpected.

All about the remix

ODESZA and WYNNE & MANSIONAIR, “Line Of Sight” (Chet Porter remix)

Hey if my fellow Torontonian Chet Porter is going to resurface with something new – even if it’s not his own song – then why not make it with a glowing official remix of “Line Of Sight” from Odesza’s Grammy-nominated A Moment Apart.  As always, for this fan favourite, Chet zeroes in on the melody and transforms its hook from anthemic trap to electronic synth bliss that soars for miles…

HENRI PURNELL and PARULA, “Mama Say” (Anthony Keyrouz remix)

Lebanese producer Anthony Keyrouz adds some magic to “Mama Say”, a fine pop song in its own right by German producer Henri Purnell featuring vocalist Parula.  He pitches down the vocal a bit and adds a percolating rhythm and Latin-sounding guitar work to conjure up images of the sunny Mediterranean countryside, taking the song in a slightly different but most welcome European folk-infused direction.

Who needs words anyway?

BETICAL, “Strangers”

French producers Betical bring a lot of intrigue to the fore with “Strangers”.  With a heavy, dark atmosphere laid out with future bass rhythms, “Strangers” is perfect for late night spins with lots of flashing lights which will augment the echoing vocals that are appropriately layered deeper into the mix.

SIKDOPE, “Rave”

From the Moe Shalazi stables comes Polish producer Sikdope with “Rave”.  It’s a bouncing, fun, progressive tip of the hat to all fans of raves and their music.  Play this one for a huge crowd and it’s guaranteed to make everyone respond, so it has future festival fave written all over it.  

Sweden’s @weareBROHUG offer more pop-friendly, hip hop/R&B-influenced “Be Somebody”

BROHUG, “Be Somebody” (single and club mix)

It’s a real departure from their usual heavier EDM sound, but Swedish trio Brohug return with the more pop-friendly “Be Somebody”.  Although many songs with that title have surfaced of late, “Be Somebody” draws on hip hop and R&B influences with an uncredited female vocal for a song that could be come one of Brohug’s festival favourites in either its single or club mixes. The single mix (above) has a surprising breakdown that fits in quite well, whereas the shorter club mix (below) focuses less on vocal verses and hip hop flavours in favour of deeper, progressive house rhythms and anthemic focus on its title.  Both versions of the song have their positives, but if you think Brohug were all about a specific sound and style then consider yourself proven wrong by “Be Somebody”. 

BROHUG play Toronto club Uniun on Friday December 7.

Published in: on November 25, 2018 at 10:46 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Get to know @Kantormusic with hard-hitting, melodic and futuristic “Bodies” with vocalist #Rochee

KANTOR and ROCHEE, “Bodies”

Many of you already know Philadelphia’s Greg Kantor as producer/DJ 5 And A Dime, who I’ve written about before in these blog pages.  He’s put 5 And A Dime into the past and kickstarted a project under his own last name which came to life a few weeks ago in a live performance in NYC.  The new song is “Bodies”, and it’s everything melodic and passionate about hard-hitting futuristic-sounding dance music that you can enjoy.  “Bodies” also features NYC Rochee in a very different setting from when we last heard him (Otto Botté’s spicy Latin-flavoured 2017 release “Rocola De Verano”).  Its complexities are heightened when you watch the live performance of it below.  With obvious inspiration from Dance Dance Revolution, Kantor has created live performance technology he called The Grid, which definitely brings a new dimension to a DJ/producer’s performance.  Check it out below and add “Bodies” to your Meet The Future dance playlist using the Spotify link above.

Published in: on September 9, 2018 at 8:04 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Boom! Big room is back with the bounce of “Loving You” by Italy’s @djPromiseLand

PROMISE LAND, “Loving You”

Veteran Italian production duo Promise Land aren’t as well known in the rest of the world as they are in Europe, despite their noted remix of Swedish House Mafia’s “Don’t You Worry Child” back in the day.  With influences spanning the best of the best of the last two decades, Nazario and Fabio bring us “Loving You”, which highlights a retrotastic big room sound that fuses that anthemic style with an emotional melody.  “Loving You” is geared to be a highlight of not only a high energy club evening but a festival set too.  Promise Land have a lot more coming your way soon and “Loving You” creates an engaging foundation.  Add “Loving You” to your Big Room Is Back playlist using the Spotify link above.

Published in: on September 6, 2018 at 9:05 pm  Leave a Comment  
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UK-styled progressive house from Australia’s Right-O & Rore Groove with “Can’t Think”

RIGHT-O & RORE GROOVE and MIKECITY, “Can’t Think”

“Can’t Think” is an interesting slice of house music that’s a little more on the progressive side, taking you to a few unexpected places courtesy of the collaboration of Australian producers Right-O and Rore Groove with vocals by L.A. singer MikeCity.  What you’ll hear above is a mix that’s ideal for clubs.  While it starts off in familiar pop territory with an inviting vocal from MikeCity, it proceeds to step into a wilder direction instrumentally that really makes the song percolate and helps sustain its 4 minute length before it revisits more of MikeCity’s singing in its last minute.  “Can’t Think” has a lot of undeniable appeal.  I think it also has potential for dance music radio, though I think an edit would be helpful.  But as is, “Can’t Think” is slick and fun, with a lot of extra extra!

Published in: on September 1, 2018 at 3:23 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Watch the haunting, stunning video for “Chess” by @_ANIQO

ANIQO, “Chess”

At the end of last year, I wrote about “New Signs” by German singer/songwriter ANIQO.  She’s followed it up with a haunting, compelling video for “Chess”, also from her upcoming album Birth.  Sounding perhaps most like Sinéad O’Connor with a dash of Björk in this song, “Chess” is a deliberately paced, progressive slice of electronica, also recalling Laurie Anderson’s initial works, which is enhanced greatly by the imaginative visuals in the video.  It’s somewhat reminiscent of the intrigue of changing faces in the classic video for “Cry” by Godley & Creme from back in the 80’s.  Except there’s only one face, or partial face, in the video, and it’s ANIQO.  “Chess” is not for everyone but it’s bold and adventurous to the credit of the singer/songwriter and her video partners.  I would definitely suggest exposure for the video through various competitions such as one I eventually saw at SXSW – potential award calibre material here in my opinion!

Published in: on April 28, 2018 at 11:06 pm  Leave a Comment  
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