Feel Good Pop & Electronica: Vincent Did It aka Frankmusik, Herve, Scissor Sisters, Cascada,Theophilus London, and more…

With my recent Canadian Music Week and other rock ‘n roll distractions lately, you may have thought that electronica/dance was taking a backseat with me – with that having been said I think Eric Saade would think otherwise since his rocking electronic song of the same name is up top of my chart.  So the next few weeks will turn primarily back to one of my favourite genres, especially with the upcoming release of what will be the electronica soundtrack of the summer, This Beat Is Poptronik Volume 1 – more on that next week!  So on to catching up with some songs I’ve been listening to for the last while…

Vincent Did It, The SOPA Opera EP

Frankmusik, aka Vincent Frank, or recently Vincent Did It, constantly delivers great music to us.  Throughout the past few months, he’s shared the songs “Dynamo”, “Somebody”, “So You’re Alive”, and “Notice Me” with us in various renditions and formats to start off his new era in music.  But it looks like the plan was always to share the songs as a complete package, hence we now have The SOPA Opera EP, which Vince has made available for free download for us on his revamped FreeFrankmusik site.  These are the sort of songs that major record labels should be killing themselves over:  Engaging, creative, playful, and positive dance/electronica with all kinds of variations, including a rap by Jay White in “Somebody” and Vince’s gal Quigley carrying most of the gorgeous vocals in “Notice Me”.  Plus there are remixes of “Dynamo” and “So You’re Alive” by the likes of Digiraatii, Leisure Council, and Hervé (which is just as enjoyable as Vince’s own mixes).  Get it while you can!!

Hervé “Better Than A BMX”

Speaking of Hervé, aka British producer Joshua Harvey, his own release of Pick Me Up Sort Me Out Calm Me Down is due in May, and to precede that album have a listen to “Better Than A BMX” below.  You’ll find a similarly effects-laden and uplifting feel to the songs of Frankmusik here – and isn’t it so appropriate that the guest vocalist on the song is none other than one Vincent Frank.  Sounds like an engine getting ready to revvvvv….

Scissor Sisters “Only The Horses”

Finally!  After the misfire that was “Shady Love” earlier this year, Scissor Sisters have returned to supurb form with their upcoming single “Only The Horses”, from their album Magic Hour due later this year.  It was a darned shame that engaging songs from 2010’s Night Work kind of came and went, but if the rest of the songs from Magic Hour are anything like “Only The Horses”, it will be an album that resonates throughout the rest of the year.  “Only The Horses” is specifically designed to fill the dance floor but will probably translate to pop radio play as well.  Jake Shears has never sounded so good.  This may be the group’s best single to date, it’s so very refreshing.  Listen below.

Cascada “Summer Of Love”

Lest I be the one who thought he’d be writing about the German trio whose massive pop/dance hits of “Everytime We Touch” (2007) and “Evacuate The Dancefloor” (2009) quickly bored me.  But “Summer Of Love” is just one of those irresistible confections that draws you in whether or not you know who the performer is.  “Summer Of Love” is a joyous and anthemic pleasure.  Listen below and purchase it on iTunes if it’s available to you (the song is not available in Canada yet).

Theophilus London “Lightning” (Jeffrey Jerusalem remix)

Brooklyn rapper Theophilus London proves once again why his diverse music finds an audience everywhere with a sly Jeffrey Jerusalem remix of “Lightning”, originally from last year’s album Timez Are Weird These Days.  Rarely does R&B/rap sound so comfortable in an electronic setting, and the mid-90s vibe that Jerusalem pulls (I hear sound effects from Chemical Brothers’ “Setting Sun” in there) will fill the bill for a late night club crunch.  Listen and download it for free at the link below.

Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs “Tapes & Money”

I wrote about T.E.E.D. last Fall, when I introduced you to their free download of the sublime “Dream On”.  The duo continues to build its reputation as a force to be reckoned with in the electronica world with “Tapes & Money”, which dances to its own trippy club tune to make a difference to your ears and feet when enjoying your nightlife.  Think of T.E.E.D. as the disembodied offspring of 80s electro outfits like Yazoo and Blancmange.  I wanna say there’s a sample within – a cover of The Trammps’ “Feet Don’t Fail Me Now”?  Listen below.

And if you think you’ve heard all that the boy band world of pop will offer us in 2012 in the forms of One Direction and The Wanted, well be sure to hold that thought, for there will be much, much more.

Lawson “When She Was Mine”

The four British lads of Lawson are going to make you think twice with their equally tight hit-bound melodic pop/rock of “When She Was Mine”, from their forthcoming album.  These guys have the goods as I previously wrote about last year when they did a most pleasant and striking acoustic version of Lady GaGa’s “Marry The Night”.  And unlike other boy bands, Lawson up the ante by not being a strictly vocal band.  While the official single release isn’t due till end of May, you can listen to the song below.

It Boys! featuring Jeffree Star and Lacey Schwimmer, “Burnin’ Up”

Just looking at the featured performers made me want to listen to this song.  But before I get to that, I’ll introduce you to It Boys!, a five piece band from L.A. consisting of Matt, Tommy, Jeff, Judah, and Duck (he’s the drummer).  The band jumps a few steps to the left of the boy band scene that is more reminiscent of the Fall Out Boy/Panic At The Disco rivalry of a few years back.  Nonetheless they’ve toured recently with the likes of Breathe Carolina and released “Guys Don’t Like Me” for free (which you can get from their website).  But the highly entertaining video for “Burnin’ Up” has captivated me 🙂 if not so much the song itself.  It’s well-directed, contains great “Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World” kind of effects, features some sultry verses from Dancing With The Stars/So You Think You Can Dance fave Lacey Schwimmer, and a most well-placed interlude from on-the-bubble celeb Jeffree Star.  Watch below – and be sure to stay for the ending!  It Boys! look to have enough of the goods to make heads turn.  You can get this on iTunes.

Autumn Popervescence

We’re a month away from Winter, but Autumn Popervescence is still upon us!  And leading the highlights in advance of the new album due on November 30 is Eric Saade.  The 21 year old Swede has Saade Volume Two on deck and the wonderful folks at Scandipop are previewing songs from the album as they did with Volume One.  My initial favourites from the first album shifted once I heard the whole record, which is one of the very best of 2011.  So Volume Two has a high benchmark in front of it, but the songs are written mainly by the same team (Jason Gill/J-Son/Robin Fredriksson and Eric himself) which makes them seem like natural progressions from Volume One, particularly something like “Explosive Love”.  I’m hoping the domestic success of the killer “Hotter Than Fire” (featuring Dev) will morph into an international release for Eric.  Pop this good should not be divided by borders and record contracts!!  Listen to the previews on Scandipop right here.

Next up, British singer Gary Go dazzled us in 2009 with “Wonderful”, a song that anyone should listen to if they’re feeling down about themselves.  Then we heard from him again this past Spring as vocalist on Benny Benassi’s “Cinema”, a bit of a change of pace for Gary with the song being an out-and-out dance hit.  Now he’s about to release his new ‘soundtrack’ NWOTF, and to preview that record we have a re-invented version of “Cinema” featuring Carina Round that’s worth hearing because it’s so different from the Benassi version.  Download it for free with an email subscription right here.

I love me some house music that’s progressive and makes you think about what its creators might do next.  So if you like folks like Azari & III and Hot Chip, you should get to know Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, who have already remixed for the likes of Lady GaGa (“Marry The Night”).  The British duo are finding quite a lot of favour in their home country and have released the infectious “Dream On”, which you can get for a free download with subscription right here.

DJ Tatana (or Tatana Sterba) has been making vibrant dance music for a number of years now, and I know her best from her collaboration with Jael on “Always On My Mind” from 2004.  The Switzerland-based Tatana is back with an absolutely slamming and trance-y new song featuring Cherrytree Records’ own Natalia Kills called “You Can’t Get In My Head (If You Can’t Get In My Bed)”.  Watch out for the dubstep-oriented breakdown – best one I’ve heard since “Wicked Baby” by Ro Danishei & Simon Curtis!  Listen below.

New York hip hop trio The Corp Cartel has been making its presence known in its home town with the group’s Latin hip hop stylistics and performances.  One of the trio, Tana, has released a promising solo effort called “Live In The Past”.  The song benefits from a beautifully sweet featured vocal by fellow New York singer Baiyu, about whom I blogged about this past summer.  Listen to the song below and download it for free.

And now we arrive at the holiday season, with three new Christmas songs to whet your palate.

The Little Belter herself, Elouise, has upped the ante with one of the songs from her new EP on iTunes called Santa’s Little Belter.  I previewed her rendition of “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” last week.  Getting away from traditional songs, Elouise and her team looked back to the disco era for a song written by the late Paul Jabara (he won an Oscar for “Last Dance” by Donna Summer) called “Dear Santa (Bring Me A Man For Christmas)”.  So get on your dancing shoes and mix it in with “I Will Survive” and “It’s Raining Men” and your party guests will have a blast guaranteed.  Listen to the radio edit below – an extended version is available on the EP too.

UK R&B/Pop singer Pierre Lewis is working hard to bring you some more new music for full album release in 2012.  In the interim, he’s released a heart-warming holiday balled called “Main Street” that makes you feel good in all the right places.  Get it on iTunes and listen below.

Toronto’s Roz Bell has released some of the most interesting and ear-catching songs in recent years.  It all started with “Yesterday Man” and “Papercut” from his 2008 album The First Sunbeams, which was followed in 2009 by “Heart Attack” from his album October. His collaboration with 100 Akres on the intensely soulful “Pink Cadillac” to me is his best work to date and was the first free download song to reach #1 on my personal chart in 2009.  Roz is writing, writing, writing, and I’m sure we’ll see the fruits from his efforts in 2012.  This past week, he dropped a cheerful Christmas song that is spot on with its simplicity.  Download “Happy Holidays To You” for free right here and listen below.