K.Flay - "We Hate Everyone" (NSFW) - Courtesy of K Flay
Combining electronic production and two degrees from Stanford, female rapper K.Flay (Kristine Flaherty) brings a distinctive flow and unique high-brow lyrical presence to the world of hip hop. I mean, how many rappers quail at the sight of a hair in their Thai food? Releasing her material in spurts and EPs, K.Flay is slowly but surely building her name among Facebook fans and Youtube watchers. This new single from her latest EP, Eyes Shut, is called "We Hate Everyone". It's sort of like Robyn's "Don't F***ing Tell Me What To Do", K.Flay going down the list of things she hates over a low rumbling bass and stuttered beats. And if that isn't enough for you, the video for "We Hate Everyone" is nothing short of genius, when a puppet from a kid's show swaps places with K and wreaks havoc, before the puppets of his world crack a plot to switch them back. Pure colorful fun for a rather anti-social track. Now if we could just get the right remix for this...
Video - Youtube
Ferry Corsten ft Ben Hague - "Ain't No Stoppin" - Courtesy of Ultra
"Ain't No Stoppin" a good thing, and Ferry Corsten has that with this new single from his fourth studio album, WKND. As a lead single from the album, it's important to hit hard and leave a memorable imprint in people's minds. With "Ain't No Stoppin", the aggression is heavy, chugging bass synths supporting the growled vocals of Ben Hague. The duo's collaborative effort yields an incredibly catchy and moving dance floor stomper, but if the original is a little too neo-trance for your likings (I'm looking at you, dubsteppers), don't fret. Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano provide an electro-happy remix that is sure to get some folks stomping. Meanwhile, Cliff Coenrad's "repimp" of the track brings it into dub territory, giving more focus to the instrumental of the original than Hague's voice. Both are valid and entertaining versions of Ferry's original, but take a spin through them and find your favorite. "Ain't No Stoppin" is the kind of lead single we can get behind, and for a full review of Ferry's WKND, head here.
Video - Youtube
Gabry Ponte + Djs From Mars + Bellani & Spada - "Que Pasa" (NSFW) - Courtesy of Dance and Love
With so many collaborations in dance music, the contributions of each party are usually clear cut. The DJ/Producer makes the beats and the vocalist writes the lyrics and melody. When there are three producers involved, dividing up the duties might be more of a challenge, but with the quirky and fun novelty (and Not Safe for Work) dancepop single "Que Pasa," I think it's quite easy to determine who did what. The most obvious is the woodwind instrumental line which is quite reminiscent of the production of "The Riddle," which means it was probably Gabry Ponte's work. The international/ethnic rhythms are obviously the work of Bellani & Spada. If you don't believe me, listen to their tracks with Crystal Waters and Tasita D'Mour. This leaves the punchy and bouncy production and comedic vocal line, which couldn't point to the pranksters DJs from Mars more if you tried. Combine the three with a uniquely "hands-on" viral video ready for explosion on the net, and you've got a fun pop chant that could work as a novelty record in commercial record. Since "Loca People" became so massive, isn't "Que Pasa" the next obvious step?
Video - Youtube
Afrojack & Shermanology - "Can't Stop Me" - Courtesy of Robbins / Spinnin
I still stand by the assertion that Afrojack was robbed of a Grammy nomination for his last US single "Take Over Control" with Eva Simons. Granted, he won the previous year for Best Remixed Record for his work with David Guetta on Madonna's "Revolver," but still. For "Can't Stop Me," Afrojack teamed up with Shermanology, the soulful sibling trio who sing, produce and DJ in their own right. The song is less aggressive than the previous yet builds energy by blending the Swedish House Mafia-ish big room sound that's popular now with a touch of electro and a bit of soul. When I first heard the club version, it hit me as a WTF track - first with the strange intro and then the drop down to absolute silence for six seconds before it starts building back up. While it may not have the crossover radio success of "Take Over Control" (which just barely missed the top 40 pop chart) or "Give Me Everything" (his chart-topping single with Pitbull, Ne-Yo and Nayer), "Can't Stop Me" is definitely a club smash that will be heard all over Miami during Winter Music Conference.
Audio - Youtube
Iiris - "Weirdo" - Courtesy of EMI
After a ringing endorsement from fellow Estonian Kerli, we decided to check out Iiris and her debut track "Melyse". We were pleasantly surprised by the girl's grasp of quirky, dark pop, combining equal elements of aforementioned Kerli and Icelandic reigning Queen of weird, Bjork. On her follow up track, Iiris delivers a solid slice of...pure 90's pop. The beat is much slower than today's mainstream, and the song writing focuses more on big lyrical hooks. There's even an electric guitar break down! Of course, she can't get away from what's hot right now completely with just the slightest dubstep chug towards the end. The result, while not on par with "Melyse", is strong and entertaining. We kinda can't wait for her March 28th debut album release.
Audio - Youtube
Dave Aude ft Lena Katina - "Never Forget" - Courtesy of Audacious
Dave Aude's style is pretty noticeable. His beats and synths are apparent in the majority of his mixes, and yet they still seem enjoyable in each production. Here with "Never Forget", he teams up with former t.A.T.u singer Lena Katina. Together they create a great dance track, Aude's signature style pairing well with Katina's honeyed voice. What makes this intriguing is that "Never Forget" is truly a remixed version presented by Aude. The track is originally a rock/pop track released by Katina in 2011, which is why Aude's video plays like a remix video. Still, can we complain? A great song gets a fresh resurgence, along with additional mixes by Jeremy Word, Loud Manners, and Sharooz, all available to listen to through Dave's soundcloud.
Video - Youtube
Kaskade ft Skylar Grey - "Room For Happiness (Fire & ICE versions)" - Courtesy of Ultra
It's no shock to see upcoming singer Skylar Grey's contribution to Kaskade's stellar double-sided album Fire & Ice get released. The track is one of the best of the bunch, both in the upbeat dance version and symphonic beatless version. And Kaskade has provided videos for both, although really it's the same footage dragged out from 4 minutes in the Fire version to 5 minutes for the Ice version. The timeless songwriting incorporated in "Room For Happiness" is what makes the track work so well, the melody working in both formats. And really it allows for Skylar's breathy vocals to shine through, giving a sparkle to the music. "Room For Happiness" is definitely a track to watch out for, and if you haven't gotten your hands on Fire & Ice yet, maybe this will convince you.
Fire Version Video - Youtube
Ice Version Video - Youtube
Laidback Luke ft Wynter Gordon - "Speak Up" - Courtesy of Big Beat
This combination is electric! Laidback Luke's "Speak Up" is a tech-house romp in the best possible way. And thanks to Wynter for hopping on the track and giving us some words to sing along with. She does a great job at a vocal delivery that doesn't sound typical or generic. "Speak Up" is the kind of dance number that will have phones in the air, the blue of Shazam showing proudly. People will want to know this track, so we are doing our job and alerting you to it. While the original version will be more than sufficient to pack your floors, expect a slew of mixes to slake your thirst for this track if Laidback Luke's production doesn't do it for you.
Audio Preview - Youtube
Gosteffects - "Slave to the Sweat" - Courtesy of Afterlife
Man, is tech-house coming back or something? 90's influences abound on "Slave to the Sweat", Gosteffects amping up the energy with a Basement Jaxx-esque production. Think "Make Me Sweat" and a couple tracks off of Rooty, and you'll get where I'm going with this. Still, this makes "Slave to the Sweat" an exciting release, especially considering the sheer amount of comments already present on their soundcloud. There are some mixes available to, if you want a different vibe with your sweat. Rule of Eight turns up the bass on their aggressive mix, contrasting the indielectronica sound of Disrupt the Scene's mix which reminds of Tiga's "You Gonna Want Me". Housquare's mix is the closest to the original but takes the energy up just one notch, sealing off a rather delicious assembly of interpretations. Enjoy.
Redlight - "Get Out My Head" - Courtesy of MTA Records
You'll usually know within the first 30-45 seconds whether a song has the "it" factor that makes it pop. "Get Out My Head", a mish mash of comparisons available from Ms. Dynamite, Katy B, Magnetic Man, 90's dance, and a little Rihanna, has "it". Redlight makes you MOVE with this track, and by the end you're just wishing it could be a little longer. But that's what remixes are for, yes? We did some searching and found the Abstract & Logic mix, which slows down the original, stretches it out to a club-friendly 6 minutes, and chugs it up with some dubstep elements. Tasty.
Video - Youtube
Abstract & Logic Mix (Audion) - Youtube
Erick Morillo & Eddie Thoneick ft Skin - "If This Ain't Love" - Courtesy of Subliminal
Ok is it just me or does Skin really look like Grace Jones in this video, if she had Lady Gaga's stylist? Her voice, light and vulnerable, layered over Morillo and Thoneick's 90's infused dance production, sounds both genuine and far from typical. And it gives the words she's singing far more import. The video is odd, but neat, and has really nothing to do with the song content, where Skin threatens to stop believing in love if she's not already in it. It's an understandable sentiment, because hey, if you swear up and down that you're in love and you're not? Well, where else to go? Maybe that's why people make dance music about heartbreak. Regardless, "If This Ain't Love" is a unique and fantastic offering, so play it and play it loud! If you enjoy song, you should dig up Skin's best known vocal performance, the club classic "Brazen (Weep)" by Skunk Anansie.
Video - Video
Sleigh Bells - "Comeback Kid" - Courtesy of Mom + Pop
"Comeback Kid" may be a logical next step for Brooklyn's noise pop duo Sleigh Bells. Listen to the track and you'll hear everything that made them lovable on their last album, Treats. But "Comeback Kid", the first single to their brand new album Reign of Terror, seems to have something else. It's like someone took one of those injectors for pastry filling and threw a bunch of pop sensibility into the track. The result, something like a chocolate eclair made from an aggressive sound wave and that fat free sugar they give to new pop artists, is both wildly aggressive and surprisingly catchy.
Video - Youtube
Cassie - "King of Hearts" - Courtesy of Interscope
Cassie Ventura, the replacement to Ciara who never really took off when it turned out Ciara still had a career, is back with a new track. And her change of direction, stylistically, mirrors Kreesha Turner a bit. Like "Rock Paper Scissors", "King of Hearts" is a bold move in the current musical climate. "King of Hearts" is a dance track, yes, and has a catchy hook, Cassie doing a great job with a subtle delivery. But it's not a typical dance track compared to other huge songs like what Taio Cruz and Chris Brown have been succeeding with. Like Kreesha, Cassie's change of direction seems like a willingness to accept trying something new to stay relevant, but doing it her way instead. It's a great track, let's hope it sticks.
Video - Youtube
CREEP ft Holly Miranda - "Animals" - Courtesy of Creep Intl
Man, this group lives up to their name. They got our attention with "You", the track that showed us Nina Sky like we've never seen them before, reminding us an awful lot of Ladytron. "Animals", with Holly Miranda on vocals, is another down tempo track but chock full of tension and curiosity. Holly Miranda's voice will beg the beats to start thudding, the whole presentation feeling like a lead up to a pulsing dance track. But "Animals" is to club music like a horse is to a car. The video is freaky and intriguing as well, giving "Animals" an overall sensation of wrongness even though it sounds pretty right to us. Whether this gets mixed or not, we think we're kind of glad we heard it.
Video - Youtube
Infected Mushroom - "U R So F***ed" (NSFW) - Courtesy of Dim Mak
In just about every electronic dance music sub genre, tracks often begin to sound the same after a while. Samples, keyboard hooks, beat structures and vocal effects become almost cliche with their predictability. This seems to happens just before a pop singer is brought in to cross the genre over to the mainstream. Though in the world of serious electronic dance music purists there are some who have the sense of humor to poke fun at a genre and really have some fun while doing it. Imagine Weird Al Yankovic doing a dub step track and you got an idea of what the extremely Not Safe For Work "U R So F**ked" by Infected Mushroom sounds like. The Israeli electro/rock production/dj duo have come up with a track that is satiric and brilliant at the same time. It's as if they were sitting in the studio and pieced together every dub step cliche and put on a scratch vocal as a joke. The thing is - it works brilliantly on so many levels. Releasing the song on Valentine's day makes it even better. The again Not Safe For Work video features the stock comedic device of wrestlers underprepared for a fight and they reach a resolution which is both disturbing and comical. Though I am pretty sure this is a novelty single for Infected Mushroom, it has intrigued me to explore the forth coming Army of Mushrooms album.
Video - Youtube