Music for the Masses
by DJ Ron Slomowicz
A roundup of great electro, tech-house, future-house, deep, chill, and vocal tracks.
Audien ft Lady Antebellum - Something Better - [ASTRALWERKS]
EDM production and pop-country songwriting really do work well together. “Something Better” is the inspired collaboration of Audien and Lady Antebellum, melding the almost forlorn yet uplifting lyrics of the country trio with the emotional chords of the funky-grooved electronic production. With both the male and female vocalists singing back and forth, the song is unlike anything else you will hear in a club (or on dance radio). Lady Antebellum are no strangers to the EDM world, with their global hit “Need You Now” having received the remix treatment a few years back. They even performed, with Zedd, a cover of “Beautiful Now” during this year’s CMT awards, bringing the festival spirit with hands in the air and jumping at Bridgestone Arena.
Tchami - After Life (Remixes) - [FFORMAT]
Sometimes the remixes make the record. Maybe that is a bit too harsh. “After Life” is a good track from French house producer Tchami, but even with thought provoking vocals, the future house production was so similar to his previous releases that it seemed expected. Enter a group of varied producers and the dynamic set of remixes breathe new life into the song. DJ Snake & Mercer lead the pack with an energetic mix of breakbeats, big beat, progressive, and trap that will keep you on your feet. Jauz mixes it up with a bit of '90s soul punctuated with trap interludes. San Holo (great name) goes glitchy for a track that could be an upcoming pop ballad from Diplo. Malaa keeps the future house vibe while amping up the bassline. The most leftfield mix comes from Point Point, who goes downtempo and uses cartoon sound effects to animate the mix (excuse the pun). A solid set of mixes, there is something here for just about any DJ out there.
Francis Preve & Jan Van Lier - Feel Good EP - [AUDIOPHILE]
Life is obviously going well for Francis Preve as there is a real sense of joy in his music. Following up the playful “Weeble,” he collaborates with Jan Van Lier for the tech-house drenched ‘Feel Good EP.’ The title track is bouncy, with a funky conga line that stays consistent through the builds and drops. Just when it slows down to silence, it slams back in with a reenergized kick that spikes the groove. Listening to “I’m Free,” I was expecting a Soup Dragons cover, but the only thing the two tracks have in common is a classic '90s house feel in the beat. It’s a little more driving than the first track, with excellent deployment of the vocal sample through the finely-produced tech beats. Medicinne dubs out the track with a deeper groove and an almost hallucinogenic breakdown. A solid techhouse EP, “Feel Good” lives up to the title and would be a fine addition to any DJ’s digital crate who likes it deep.
Don Diablo - On My Mind [SPINNIN]
A future house track based on a disco vocal sample. That concept is so overdone at the moment that it is beyond basic. Leave it to Don Diablo to shake things up for something fresh and unique. “On My Mind” samples a few lines from the Cherrelle / Alexander O’Neal classic “Saturday Love” over electrohouse with hints of disco and funk in the mix. The simulated guitar solo in the drop is brilliant, reminiscent of Don’s older tracks that were heavily rock-influenced. “On My Mind” is a fun floorfiller that will sound just as good in the club as it will on the radio. You just can’t go wrong when you’re playing with this devil.
Feder ft Lyse - Goodbye - [WARNER BROTHERS]
Here’s a truly international song. “Goodbye” was originally released in January, when it hit in Eastern European countries. It worked its way West and topped the charts in France, Belgium, and Switzerland. Are we ready for it in the US? Imagine Robin Schulz and Edward Maya coproducing a Gotye song with a female vocal. The lyrics are beyond raw, to the point of being primal, and directly to the point. It’s a story many of us can tell, but not as eloquently. For club consumption, Stephan Dabruck sped up the tempo and amped the beats while keeping the song basically intact for the dropout to the full vocals. Syn Cole, seemingly inspired by the lyrics “losing control,” builds the track around an insane buildup and the most aggressive and harsh electro he has done to date. When I first heard the track, I thought it was mislabeled as it is a complete 180 from his mix of Nicky Romero’s “Warriors.” Whichever mix you reach for, “Goodbye” is a track will stick in your head for a while to come.
Litchfield - “Sex Drugs and Rock and Roll” - [KALEIDOSPHERE]
Following in the footsteps of Cash Cash, the trio of Litchfield are transitioning from the rock world to the EDM world. Their new track “Sex Drugs and Rock and Roll” is a mash of Green Day and LMFAO - live rock instruments mixed with party electro and pure IDGAF lyrics. It is dirty, filthy, and fun, almost reminiscent of early Beastie Boys. That attitude is broadcast loud and clear with the POV video showing a tattooed and well-breasted THOT becoming the life of the party. Is that enough acronyms in one paragraph?
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