When we mentioned "Quicksand" by La Roux, we referred to them as an electropop duo. With the release of "Bulletproof," I think its more fair to call them a synthpop duo as it sounds like a modern day Human League/Vince Clark/Flock of Seagulls track. No matter what you call them, they've created one of the most brilliant pop records of the year which debuted at #1 on the UK pop chart. The video is incredibly eye catching - almost like a modern day Swatch commercial art that was directed by Piet Mondrian. For the US, label Cherrytree has wisely enlisted Dave Aude and Morgan Page for some incredibly strong club remixes.
Taken directly from the electronica A&R playbook, when a dance act is ready for mainstream crossover success - enlist the talents of a mainstream vocalist. The Canadian duo MSTRKRFT (say it like Mastercraft-they removed the vowels,) have been touring relentlessly with a combination live show and dj set. Their fusion of rock and electronic sounds have gained a following in the hipster scene with original productions as well as remixes for Justice, Crystal Method and Yeah Yeah Yeahs. I am guessing that John liked their remix of his track "Greenlight" and signed on for vocal duties for this 80s feeling synthpopy followup to thier party anthem "Bounce." Watch out for remixes by Laidback Luke, Wawa and Joachim Garraud on dancefloors everywhere.
Since the stellar Hook N Sling and Tommyboy mixes of 2006's "He Doesn't Love You", Australian singer Sarah McLeod has changed from the frontwoman of former rock group The Superjesus to the forefront of a new wave of Australian dance. With her grungy voice, she provides a welcome counterpoint to the typical silky-smooth vocals of most female-fronted dance tracks. Leading with "White Horse" and now following with "Tell Your Story Walking", McLeod's sophomore solo album, rumored for a 2010 release, is highly anticipated around these parts. While the Still & Havoc mixes are making the digital rounds, we stumbled upon this little gem of a radio mix by Denzel Park and think it knocks Still & Havoc *out* of the park.
"Never Gonna Give In" is such a great empowerment record. The energetic remixes by Riffs & Rays and Almighty are hands-in-the-air girl twirls (as Dean Ferguson would say) with big singalong choruses and the kind of hooks that would normally be quarantined to rainbow-friendly venues. Imagine my surprise when first playing the record for a dancefloor that a straight bartender and two straight girls came running up to ask what the song was. Subsequent plays have quickly made it a primetime dancefloor favorite.
"Hands up, shoot you down" exclaims Luciana over this new energetic electro-house jam from the Bodyrox crew. While you can definitely tell its a Bodyrox tune with their nearly trademark sound, the flavor of old rave a la Calvertron is clearly in effect as an influence, a continuation of their development from "Brave New World." With the massive amount of records flooding the market each week, this is the first tune of 2010 which grabs the DJ, shakes him by the ears and screams "Play Me!" Hands up, yes indeed.
"Split Enz" is kind of amazing, imagine the offspring of Uncanny Alliance and Lady Gaga making flowing futuristic over a hiphouse beat. Comparing relationships to hair is always an interesting writer's convention, whether you are washing the man right out of your hair or going back to your roots. With Chris Rock's documentary Bad Hair fresh in the collective consciousness, "Split Enz" seems even more timely. Already danceable in its original mix, a cute electro mix by the Perry Twins really toughens it up for the club. The video, well, it is as colorful and energetic as Miss FoxxJazzell is herself.
The Frenchmen behind "Baby Baby Baby," return with what seems like a response track. This time sung in English, rather than a song about a girl who wants everything, the vocals are about hedonists spoken over a rocking electro beat. Like the previous single, the video seems to be the main focus. The clip answers the question "What would you do if you only had 8 days left to live?" The hedonistic journey takes them to New York, Los Angeles and Las Vegas on a drunken, drug fueled binge full of sex, skating and tattoos. Granted it is not a bad way to end your life (or spend $30,000 dollars), I do wonder if dolls qualify for protection from child abuse. This video (and song) is definitely Not Safe For Work.
Who knew that Estonia was such a hot breeding ground for eurodance pop? Coming from the country that spawned N-Euro and Kerli, pop tart Hannah, best known in the US for her single "Blinded," previews her seventh album with this delicious confection "Keeping Score." Similar to the recent Gathania gem "Blame It On You," it sounds like it could have come from the legendary Stock Aitken Waterman Hit Factory - and that's a good thing. A catchy pop song with subtle hooks in the original version, "Keeping Score" is pumped for the clubs with solid remixes by Bimbo Jones, Digital Dog and Riffs & Rays. It's definitaly a sign of a good source material that but all three remixes are quite good
Leave it to the Swedes to unleash another incredible pop singer/songwriter on us. "Hurtful" has been bubbling around as a Coldplay-ish pop rock since 2008. I first heard the song on a demo and knew it would be back again. The DC Breaks mix, which is actual more drum and bass sound, was the first remix I heard recently and I was blown away by how incredible Erik's vocals and lyrics resonated with the more aggressive electronic production. The Roqwell & ISancho mix goes a bit more progressive while the Wideboys mix is the commercial electro sound that we all know and love. "Hurtful" is such a strong song that it will work in any genre.