Monday Music: Alex H, Elephante, Virtual Riot, Fred V & Graffix, Jarreau Vandal

yIL8RKR
This week is off to a rough start, so hug your loved ones, and sink into Monday’s new music. Got some choice uplifting cuts from the best in the business for you.

Kaskade’s not an easy guy to remix, but every once and a while someone manages to knock it out of the park. Alex H is a Zimbabwean producer who made it to Manchester, where he’s pushing out some of the smoothest, positivity-infusing tunes that I’ve heard in months. His remix glides along for nine minutes, a sonic odyssey that never clashes with Kaskade’s vocals. It freshly uses the original elements in a way that would find a home among many of NYC’s rooftop DJ events. I hope to hear it at a couple before fall.

Elephante has successfully transformed from Soundcloud superstart to emerging headline contender. After a string of dope remixes and originals, he’s taken the next step, remixing his own ish. This is a somewhat advanced move, usually only attempted by Daft Punk tier artists, but considering his success at reworking Closer, I can’t wait to see him drop live sets using an Elephant-infused pyramid. It’s a heavier electro remix than anything he’s done for a while, but it works perfectly. After hearing this track, I really want to see Elephante & TheFatRat tour together, because this could be the birth of a new style of electro-pop that could take LA by storm. This is top down, driving up the Cali coast music, so hop to it.

Virtual Riot has been a source of quality on the heavier side of electro, dubstep and almost-chip for years, but I have to say, I’m really digging this shift. The FutureLectro debuted by This Song Is Sick (Big Ups to Rishty) is an expertly executed example of the sweet spot forward looking production, anthem vibes and broken beat syncopated rhythmic work can be. The stuttering vocals compliment the bass perfectly, so rock this at high volume.

Fred V & Graffix continue to amaze me. While producing some of the best drum & bass found anywhere in the world, their new album shows a breadth of talent that even us die hard fans didn’t anticipate. Can someone classify this tune for me? Is it Pop & Bass? Indie DB? I don’t know how to label this, except as triumphant, euphoric and hopeful for a better tomorrow. Given the events of the weekend, it’s more needed than ever.

My girl numichuu made sure I didn’t miss this deep cut, and I’m so glad she’s keeping an eye out and yelling into the internet about dope tunes like this. Jarreau Vandal has an exceptional sense when it comes to understated deep house. It’s a subtle, funkily crafted tune with a lot of inventive tonality and sample use. Mr. Vandal is on my “to watch” list for 2016, and numichuu needs to be on your TL.

Monday Music: SWRVN, Cruel Youth, Robokid, Jon Bellion & PrototypeRaptor!

36 - 27a8uK3Spring is in full swing! To celebrate, here’s another 5 tunes you can bomp. Hope you got some time in the sun this weekend. If not, consider it added to your “to do” list for the week.
SWRVN & Razz teamed up for this punchy, uptempo festival-friendly jam. This is one of those modern, EDM-infused hits that might make the oldsters in your crew cringe, but for the rest of you exhausted from Coachella, enjoy the energy!

Cruel Youth returns after her explosive debut in Mr. Watson. The new track is uptempo, less opiate related, and almost whimsical at times. Hopefully this means our protagonist is feeling better and we’ve got some sunny EP tracks to look forward to. Deeply compelling vocals anchor this sound splendidly, so enjoy it with some white wine walking through the park.

Moving Castle speeds towards the horizon, bringing some of the best forward-looking tunes around to us. Robokid pushes the ball up hill with this shimmering Future Bass tune. Inventive synth work, indie vibes, and just a drop of auto-tune attached to the vocals leads to a great hit that will most certainly perk up your afternoon.
Jon Bellion came out of nowhere with this single last week, but I assume this has Spotify Discover or Apple Music hit written all over it. This indietronica has some of the best lyrics I’ve heard in months. “There’s bones in my closet but you hang stuff anyway” is perfect for the NYC dating life if I’ve ever heard one.

This last one slaps folks, with PrototypeRaptor proving once again why he needs to be taken seriously. If you’re not into throbbing electro, bordering on dubstep, steer clear. But if you’re looking for something pounding & exceptionally well produced, I got you. I want to hear the Flying Batter Zone from Sonic & Knuckles re-done in this style, because it goes hard.

Monday Music: Ed Thomas, Free-N-Losh, Black Tiger Sex Machine, Strife II & Kidnap Kid

null
Welcome to February! New Monday, same dope offering! Let’s get right into it!

Can’t say I’ve heard of EdThomas before, but the UK seems to be able to do no wrong these days. The moody vocal driven soulful delight impresses, but never overperforms.
Free n Losh are not your run of the mill production outfit. Hailing from Toronto, the syncopated, low-key track pushes into a melancholy indietronica crooner. These neo-soul & indietronica entries get better by the month. Great work from a group I’d only heard whispers about on the internets.

Kidnap Kid is one of those rare, precious artists that you are forever changed after listening to. His most recent release, Birds That Fly, is the first release on his new label of the same name. The smooth UK house vibe is perfectly produced. The ebb & flow of the energy allows for an alternating intensity that is so difficult to do well. Jamie XX & Submotion Orchestra are two of the only other artists I can think of that hang in this tier of understated dopeness.
If you were at Black Tiger Sex Machine‘s Webster Hall appearance this Friday, you probably got a better performance of this track than most. But even just the studio version is exquisite. The heavy electrostep is definitely not my usual cup of tea, but BTSM go out of their way to produce their way into excellence. The breakdown almost feels chippy, while the build is transcendent & crisp to the point of being progressive. The drop is grinding electro that I’ve not heard in months. Great work, and watch out, Black Tiger Sex Machine is going to take the 2016 festival season by storm. You’ll see.

Rounding out this week’s post is the new EP from Strife II. Strife II is one of my most favorite artists, so every time anything new from him gets released, I absolutely have to mention it. He’s my favorite liquid drum & bass producer by far. He pairs with a bunch of dope talent on the EP, featuring Identified & vocals from Rachel Jones. The trio of tracks feature his signature euphoric and symphonic vibe. The classical meets liquid meets euphoria is a feel I think the rest of the planet needs way more of. Only Truth has an almost-Rameses B thing going on, and Collide is an exceptional example of how smooth, rounded & flowing liquid can be. Infinity Saws, a clear inside joke to his own style of production, finishes out wonderful release on Subsphere Records.

Monday Music: Mickey Kojak, Mochipet, OLWIK, Jerome Blaze & Houses in Motion!

New year, new tunes! For this first Monday Music of 2016, I added a Bonus EP from a cool indie label from Melbourne. Lots of good stuff this week, and if you’re hungry for more, don’t forget to check out my 2015 Gems playlist on Soundcloud for my favorite sleeper tracks of the last year.

This Mickey Kojak came out of nowhere but hit me like a ton of bricks. The uptempo, nu  house vibe hits the ground running and doesn’t stop. The drop at 1:10 is a wobbly delight that I didn’t anticipate. It’s got an electric disco groove that is super danceable and the vocals keep the energy from barreling out of control. Lots to like from this upstart from Sydney native.

Mochipet has done some great work, so I gave this mashup time to breathe before passing judgment. You should do so as well. It’s a murky, almost sullen reworking, bringing the best elements of both Tool & Kendrick Lamar to prominence. Inventive and well executed, it’s a breath of fresh air considering how chock full of pop and house mash ups tend to be. Free as well, so what’s not to like?

I’ve talked about OLWIK before, and you better get used to it, because you’re going to be hearing a lot more from him. His progressive wings continue to grow, and this track soars because of it. He’s walking a very fine line between progressive and pop, which is a huge step forward. This kind of sound is going to continue to be crucial to the integration between the EDM & pop/commercial markets, even with the final collapse of Big Room in 2015. The light, airy & bubbly sound that OWLIK absolutely nails with this is where it’s going, and he’ll be at the front of the pack.

Jerome Blazé is a name I’m hoping gets a lot of attention in 2016. The track and some of his earlier work have a very Porter Robinson feel to them, and that’s as a huge fan. It’s high praise, but I think if Jerome stays the course, in a year or so, he’ll be making waves at festivals way above what he’s doing now. The build up is well-executed, and the crescendo into major chords awash in synthy keyboard work is excellent. It’s a positive tune that should get signed to a label as soon as possible.

Stoney Roads made sure I didn’t miss the “For The Heat” EP, the second issuance from the Houses in Motion label. This fam is super under the radar at the moment, but the EP is a DJ delight. The first tune is a slow simmer, meditative track that would find itself at home in a CityFox or Robot Heart set in a second. The 2nd track is a remix by Sweetland, another Melbourne producer, and as almost a high fashion vibe, blending a quick tempo with some vintage house elements. It’s a clean, clubby tune that deserves some love on this side of the Pacific.

Midweek Music: Viticz, Milwin, Varien, Mr FijiWiji, BLNDSGHT, Dan Thompson & Ron Alperin!

MM VarienProduction from artists all over the world today! Lots of great stuff coming in, so let’s get right to it!

Viticz did something special with this tune. While Electro as a genre has been pretty stagnant over the last couple of years with the Big Room genre wilting, the producer from Singapore has pushed it in a totally needed direction. It’s got a touch of future, a touch of garage, a dash of chip and two scoops of anthem. This is a great effort by Viticz I’d never heard of but will definitely be keeping tabs on in the future.

Jumping from Singapore to Uddevalla, Sweden, Milwin pulls us into that Future House territory with a soothing tune. I have a pretty low tolerance for most Future House, but this one silences the usually annoying throbbass while featuring Blest Jones. This focus on a soulful, blues-oriented vocal line gives the track a more of a melancholic, autumn feel. Surprising, but great work from Sweden & Milwin as always!

Varien & Mr FijiWiji are two of the best knights in the court of Monstercat Castle. They’re production geniuses in their own rights and this collab could not have come at a better time. They can learn a lot from each other as the melodic bass shows. A truly future tune, they’re able to make even a rift of sexy sax work in the context of this chilled out, starry-eyed 4min. Silky, progressive, with just a dollop of euphoric above and bass under it. Really great work gentlemen, can’t wait for the next one & the Monstercat tour.

And now for something completely different.

BLNDSGHT is some wavy shit. Well produced, with some eccentric choices that the Cali producer has ensured almost have no choice but to work together. It’s got this groovy, spacey feel to it. Can’t say it’s dancey, but it manages to be downtempo without being too minimalist or droning. The low end is surprising and it would fit nicely into a side room or fucked up afterparty set.

Finishing out with some great trance. I’m going to make a concerted effort to post at least one trance tune a week, because I think the genre still deserves ears. Some cool stuff happening in it even outside of the juggernaut of quality that is A State of Trance. Coldharbour Recordings is Markus Schulz’s label & it’s been growing on me. Classic trance vibes & deep/energetic modern tunes from artists I’m not familiar with as an American trance family member. Have I ever heard of Dan Thompson & Ron Alperin? Nope, couldn’t pick their music out of a mix if you paid me. They sure can make a good mid-set trance track though. Go swim around in it & I’ll see y’all next week!

Happy Thanksgiving From A Tribe Called Red & Wednesday Addams!

A Tribe Called Red – Burn Your Village To The Ground

This is going to rile some of y’all up, and others may just run and hide when it comes to the content matter & execution in this track. I happen too love these guys. A trio of First Nation producers, going by the name A Tribe Called Red, put this fantastic anthem track out last year to celebrate the holiday. There’s a lot of terrible shit in the history of North America, and our treatment of American Indians & First World Nation people is at the top of that shitpile. While many of us still look back longingly at the Addams Family Values movie, I bet not that many of us remember this dope speech in the middle of the movie. Definitely drop it on whoever is Thumping The Donald today. Happy Gobble Gobble y’all!

Midnight Music: Cazzette vs. Tomyayasu Hotei – Battle Without Honor Or Humanity

Cazzette vs. Tomyayasu Hotei – Battle Without Honor Or HumanityI’m really glad Cazzette has been stepping up in 2015. There’s a lot of great work they’ve done (hit their Soundcloud if this is news), but between the touring, shows & the salvo of sweet bootlegs, they’re skyrocketing. This stupendous electro house remix of one of the most iconic pieces of music from Kill Bill is everything you need to keep slashing through the week. There’s a retro, almost acid vibe on the house, that is totally in line with the original track by the incomparable Tomoyasu Hotei. It’s got Cazzette’s usual sky high level of production so no worries, and it’s even got a drop of Discovery-era Daft Punk in it. I expect great things from these folks & I know they won’t disappoint. It’s out May 29th so get hype and show them some love.  (via the V-man himself, Prince of Fresh New Tracks