Are you ready for another 10/10 feature, so soon after the last one a week and a half ago?
In 10/10 (or tenoutoften) , 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. In fact my recent #1 “Shivohum” by Tritonal & Henry Dark, was included in a previous 10/10, and others are currently on my personal chart too.
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.
- BRIGHT LIGHT BRIGHT LIGHT, “This Was My House” (original and Monsieur Adi remix)
Many of us have been waiting for our fix of new music from Wales-born, NYC-based Bright Light Bright Light (Rod Thomas). He’s been a fixture in my blog and on my chart for the last 10 years, and consistently brings us beautifully sung songs with every release.
“This Was My House” (above) is from his forthcoming album Fun City, and in the song BLx2 wears some key influences proudly. Musically, this one is all about early fun and vibrant 90’s dance pop – songs by Madonna, Mariah, CeCe Peniston, Robin S., to name a few. Lyrically, it’s another astute observation about the demise of a relationship where “it’s cold outside but I can brave the weather” before returning to his house, “a place that I was not supposed to fear” – and I can totally relate to it.
Heartbreak always sounds great on the dance floor and BLx2 – along with Madonna’s noted, fabulous backup vocalists Niki Haris (herself also featured prominently on pop and dance hits by Natural Selection (“Do Anything”), Snap! (“Exterminate!”), and The Perry Twins’ “Bad Bad Boy”) and Donna DeLory (Madonna even sang back up and co-produced her 1993 dance hit “Just A Dream”!) – moves on to the after party in full force. Also, a big welcome back to producer Monsieur Adi, who lends his sophisticated sheen to the ultra-club-friendly remix (below).
- SIRPAUL, “Out Of Our Minds”
NYC-based singer/songwriter/producer SIRPAUL has been away from the dance music scene for much too long, with his last album release in 2016. So it’s wonderful to hear a return that is as chipper and feel good as “Out Of Our Minds”. His distinct vocal simply speaks for itself, and the 80’s-flavoured melody and beats are refreshing. Long-time fans may miss the sexy and sensual side of SIRPAUL that has been showcased so well on previous releases, but “Out Of Our Minds” is a charming, welcome, and noteworthy reboot.
- BIICLA and MODENESS, “Deeper”
Dark and moody, “Deeper” by Russian electronic producer Biicla and vocalist MODENESS uses some interesting methods to draw you in. The hook is in the synth melody, and usually these kind of repetitive hooks can grate on me. But because Biicla showcases it and then pulls it back and reworks it as kind of a musical underpadding that soaks it up and lets the song evolve. MODENESS has a kind of gritty, guy-next-door quality with his singing, which helps make “Deeper” a song to remember.
- nodisco., “Moonlight In My Bedroom”
Hailing from my city of Toronto is another promising DIY talent who calls himself nodisco. with one of a few of his recent single releases, “Moonlight In My Bedroom”. The song is set when the singer reads a breakup note in the setting of the title. It’s a wistful, retrospective song and nodisco. has a soulful, Charlie Puth-like voice which is instantly appealing. He also knows his way around a pop song and with its clever hook, “Moonlight In My Bedroom” more than sustains its three and a half minutes.
- TAFARI ANTHONY, “Centerfold”
Another Torontonian, R&B singer Tafari Anthony (his first name is pronounced “ta-far-eye”), joins that city’s flourishing cadre of soulful talents – think The Weeknd, Daniel Caesar, Jessie Reyez, Alessia Cara – with his rich and expressive voice. “Centerfold” is a no holds barred call-out to the gal who shows her true colours while feeling that she should always be the centre of attention. Tafari’s voice compares to a Seal-meets-Terence Trent D’Arby likeness, with many influences obviously from other, longtime classic performers. With Michael Bublé praising him and performances with singers like MAX in his repertoire, Tafari Anthony has the makings of a breakout happening, and “Centerfold” is a worthy song to help make that happen.
Alice Triskel is a new singer from Barcelona who is out to slay the electronic dance music genre with her powerful and compelling songs. She’s released several singles during the last year or so, and her voice has the command of a Florence Welch and the lustre of a Kristine W. Sometimes the songs go a bit over the top with aggressive production, but “Conquer”, released late last year, offers probably the best balance. Its interesting story helps show off Alice’s range, and the production breaks away from the vocal showcase with some lovely melodic breaks and flourishes. With her obvious talents, Alice Triskel should be able to navigate her way through the busy electronic music scene with songs that easily make you stop in your tracks.
“Slippery” is a fanciful slice of romantic pop from Florida-based singer/songwriter/ producer AEORO. I’ve already written about her exploring gentle pop (“Crushing On You”) and being a bit of a rocker chick (“Babe’s A Rockstar”). And while she explores to find her best brand among all of the different DIY styles, what will always draw you back to her music is that voice. Dress it up however you like, but her pitch-perfect tones and resonance always shine through the song itself. Add AEORO’s fun, free-spirited personality to the talents and the potential here is endless. “Slippery” is a warm, welcome hug waiting just for you.
- SISTEK and TUDOR, “No Fair Game”
Love may as well be a battlefield when the rules keep changing. Such is the basis of “No Fair Game” by Chilean producer Sistek with newcomer vocalist Tudor. “No Fair Game” is a solid electronic alt.pop release that tells it like it is – buddy, you’re f**cked if you crawl back to that person – when you’ve been burned one too many times. Tudor’s knowing vocal sings that truth while Sistek lays an uncomplicated melody underneath that will have you swaying.
- SHADES and JUSTIN KIM, “IDK”
Sometimes in relationships there are circumstances where you just shake your head and don’t know what to say, and usually feel badly for it. In this case that means ‘I don’t know’, stylized as “IDK” by NYC producers SHADES and new vocalist Justin Kim, from the duo’s new album Carousel. It’s a change of pace for SHADES, who are returning with original music after a number of notable remixes a few years back for songs by The Chainsmokers, XYLØ, Grace Vanderwaal and others, and they spice up the song with some interesting synths and effects. “IDK” is brooding electronic alt.pop that puts a lot of focus on Justin’s vocal as you wonder if the subject really does know what to say or not, which leads to a bit of an unexpected but satisfying conclusion.
Tonner is a new singer/songwriter currently based in Orlando, Florida. “Criminal” is a well-written slice of softer alt.rock, all about when you find out that your special someone is not who she says she is. In this case, Tonner calls her out in the first minute of the song, and the rest of it reconciles what’s going on as the singer will have to move on without her. Tonner mixes it up, gradually inflicting more emotion into his otherwise warm vocal, and there’s a slick, jazzy guitar playing the notes of sweet heartbreak along the way.