Music for the Masses
by DJ Ron Slomowicz
A roundup of great house, electro, indie dance, trop house, trance, drum & bass, electro and progressive tracks.
Kungs ft Jamie N Commons - Don’t You Know [HOUSE OF BARCLAY]
Following up the massive international hit “This Girl” was a big challenge, but rising French producer Kings was up to it. “Don’t You Know” captures a similar laid-back summer groove but switches the hook from a horn line to a bluesy guitar strumming away. Jamie N. Commons’ gravelly, soulful voice also adds to the blues and classic soul feel. What keeps the song uplifting wth a chilled vibe is the light and airy production that makes it a beach soundtrack rather than something you would hear at some dark speakeasy. The hybrid of different genres gives a fresh taste to the avalanche of trop house we’ve been hearing all summer.
FTampa ft Amanda Wilson - Stay - [SPINNIN]
There was a time in the 1980s when all the hair and heavy metal bands would release saccharine love songs with the hopes of having a radio smash. The parallel to this are all the EDM guys who unleash banger after banger and then release a sweet pop song that seems to come out of nowhere. When you listen to tracks by Brazilian producer FTampa like Slammer, Slap, and Strike It Up, there is a signature and creative, aggressive sound made for big festivals. Teaming with the brilliant British chanteuse Amanda Wilson, they’ve constructed a full-on pop vocal dance song complete with a full verse and chorus. The guitar-led verses that would normally lead to trop pop actually build up to a Chromeo-esque funky electro groove. “Stay” is clearly made for radio and commercial dance floors, which is not a bad thing. It shows that there is more to Ftampa than you might expect and it will be interesting to watch how his production style change as festival vibe transforms. If you are digging this trend of EDM guys making pretty pop songs, be sure to check out Yellow Claw’s “Invitation” and the Martin Garrix vs Bebe Rexha collab “In the Name of Love.”
Bart Claessen - T.I.N.A. - [MAINSTAGE]
If you are going to make a banger, do something different and creative that stands out. That is just what Dutch producer Bart Claessen has been doing with his flow of recent tracks - “Donk,” “Wolf Dance,” and “Showtime.” They are all a bit off-kilter with unique elements that no one else is really using in the same way. For “TINA,” Bart goes completely off his rocker- bringing in Tron noises, hard glitch, broken beats, aggressive horns, dark and dreamy soundscapes, and dubstep beats into this hardcore festive banger. While we could make the assumption that the vocal sample and title spelled out - “There is No Alternative” is a reference to Margaret Thatcher policies of global capitalism, that really doesn’t make sense, especially in this post-Brexit world. TINA seems more like the blueprint for survival in this soundalike EDM DJ world. There is no alternative to being unique and doing something creative, and that is exactly what Bart is doing.
Jameson Thieves - Alterspace (Rest) - [DIM MAK]
Every other week, Steve Aoki’s label Dim Mak releases a new track in their New Noise series as a free download on Soundcloud. Although mostly on the hard tip, the tracks span the genres from electro to trap to g-house and everything in between. “Alterspace” is a fresh take on bass house, mixing it up with old school booty bass beats and scratching noises while bringing in modern electro and gitch sounds. The soulful male vocals in the dropouts add a nice contrast yet keep the flow going nicely. This truly is new noise; Jameson Thieves’ track sounds like nothing else out there.
Stooshe - Let It Go - [TRILOGY]
The first time I heard “Let it Go,” I was trying to figure out which pop group was singing on the new Sigma track. Come to find out that it is actually a new single by British pop trio Stooshe, the ones who captured our love with “Black Hearts,” “Love Me,” and a cover of “Waterfalls” just a few years back. “Let It Go” is a pure uplifting inspirational pop/love song with pretty verses and a full-on old school drum and bass chorus. The energy is kind of insane in a pleasantly discordant kind of way. For some reason, this song seems to have gotten lost in the Little Mix / Fifth Harmony dominated world and hasn’t captured the attention it deserves.
Chris.I.Am ft JulS - Deeper Love - [TOKABEATZ]
Speaking of songs that have slipped through the cracks, “Deeper Love” is one of the best vocal house records of the year. The song is so subtle and chill that it probably won’t grab you the first time you hear it. Although it’s labeled as deep house, it feels more like retro piano house from the 90s, or something that Steve "Silk" Hurley would have made for a pop artist. What makes the song really special are the lyrics about getting past your boundaries to truly love someone. Listen closely and the lyrics take a tone you rarely hear in a dance record.
"I want to break my rules, my own revolution
I want to lose myself, in you Come on take my hand when I begin to trust you
Let our feelings flow"
Maybe it’s because I have been listening to all these TED talks and podcasts about how disconnected and lonely we have become as people living online, but the idea of leaving that behind to share feelings with that one special person sounds magical. A line in the chorus, “that’s why I can’t without you,” summarizes this aching for true connection using modern slang in an emotional way. Spend some time with this song “Deeper Love,” preferably with some you want to truly bond with.
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