Music for the Masses
by DJ Ron Slomowicz
A roundup of great electro, indie dance, deep house, disco house and progressive tracks.
Jarreau Vandal - Small Talk - [HEAR THIS]
It’s easy to hear why everyone is talking about Jarreau Vandal. “Small Talk” starts off as piano house with a catchy vocal flow and gradually morphs into jazz and trap. The way it transitions is so smooth and unexpected that you really won’t believe what your listening to. Listening to his Soundcloud page, it’s clear that not only is his production exceptional, but so is his musical taste and curation We can safely predict that there will be a Sia collaboration coming before the end of the summer.
Mike Taylor - Body High - [ROSTRUM]
A musician’s vibe comes from their roots. Listening to “Body High,” you can instantly tell that Mike Taylor is from Philadelphia. This soulful, r&b-flavored dance-pop song is not only a perfect summer party song but influenced by classic Philly soul. Is that instrumentation from MFSB? Maybe not, but the players surely grew up listening to them. Already a great dance record in its original version, remixes by Reid Stefan, Norman Spray, and Gladius transform the superior vocal performance for any club floor. If his voice sounds familiar, you might remember it from last year’s “Summerthing” by Calvin Harris, oops, I mean Afrojack.
Axel Knox - All Night - [POPROX]
When you think of Irish DJs, who comes to mind? Peter Luts, Fergie, John O Callaghan, Lee Dagger? Add Axel Knox to that list. You might not know him yet, but from the sounds of “All Night,” he is one to watch. Mixing classic piano house and orchestral strings (possibly “of life”) with the de rigeur future house sounds, he has constructed a sound that is familiar yet fresh, with a distinctive signature sound that elevates him from others. Granted, the vocal production could use a bit of polishing, but you can clearly hear where he is going and realize that club kids will be worshipping him in the very near future.
Sharam ft Anouseh - Same - [YOSHITOSHI]
You never know what to expect from a Sharam record as they never sound the same. Yeah, bad pun, but it’s true. If you put his new track in a mix with “The One,” “PATT,” and “Tripi,” there really isn’t a strong similarity, aside from pristine production. For “Same,” Sharam follows the Alex Metric playbook and goes back to his roots in electronic music. Rather than stripping things down to the barebones, he meshes classic synth-pop and Italodisco with a hint of modern influences. While it sounds like it could be a lost hit from Vince Clarke, it also sounds like it could be a song from Empire of the Sun’s last album. As the first taste from his forthcoming “A Warehouse" album, we can expect to hear a deeper exploration of his musical influences along with an update of a Eurythmics song that is thankfully not “Sweet Dreams.”
Maison & Dragen ft Michael Rice - I Won’t Stumble Back - [ROBBINS]
From busker to X Factor, Michael Rice’s vocal power makes him quite special. On the rock-tinged electropop jam “I Won’t Stumble Back,” he accesses both the pain of a failed relationship and the strength and resolve to move on. It probably started as a guitar-based indie-rock song, but in the hands of Finnish duo Marcus Maison & Will Dragen, it is transformed into a banging singalong club jam that will sound great on the radio as well. A quite empowering record, it also makes a great goodbye to send to someone who just broke your heart.
Esquire & Petch ft Sian Evans - Losing My Mind - [MWR]
As I’ve been listening to “Losing My Mind” endlessly the past week and trying to figure out the best way to write about it, I happened upon a ratchet TV show explaining the secret to make up being the blending of highlights and shadows. Sian Evans, singer of Kosheen, has such a distinctly dark and deep voice that she can command the focus on even the most aggressive drum and bass track. British/Aussie duo Esquire & Petch’s dirty yet disco house production highlights both the soft prettiness and the dark haunting feel of her lyrics. Whoever teamed these artists together must have had a vision of what was too come and knew it would be sheer brilliance. “Losing My Mind” is one of those rare tracks that both the coolest underground and campiest commercial DJs will embrace. And that’s not even counting the cute kitty astronaut artwork.
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