Music for the Masses
by DJ Ron Slomowicz
A roundup of great house, electro, indie dance, trap, and progressive tracks.
Boxed In - Forget - [NETTWERK]
There are many things that are quite appealing about the London quartet Boxed In. Their songs seem to be inspired by a classic clubland hook and then reinvisioned through a 1990 dance lens (a hybrid of Happy Monday’s madchester ‘Pills n Thrills and Beilly Aches’ and Depeche Mode’s ‘Violator.’) The intro of “Forget” feels like a Timo Maas dub (or is is the hook from Camille Jones’ “The Creeps”) built around the repeated lines “If you want to forget, If you want, I’ll let you.” With just those elements it is a compelling song. When the guitars come in ushering a quirky and emotional verse, you realize that Boxed In is a band that needs to be on your radar. Their previous single “Jist” is also built around the hook from a memorable clubland anthem which is reconstructed to fit the band’s fresh vibe. While we anxiously await the release of their new album ‘Melt’ due later this month, feel free to get lost in the trippy visuals they’ve constructed for the music videos.
Cut Snake - Action Burger EP - [WARNER BROS]
Action Burger is the name of a beloved NYC restaurant which features old school arcade games and comic books to entertain while enjoying classic American food. How does this relate to the new EP from Aussie duo with the same name? The tracks have a defined old school 90s vibe harkening back to classic house music that grew out of the American club scene. The roots of “Boom Boom” would have the children at the Garage screaming especially with the male voice narrating the events of the evening. “Noisy” adds a bit of old school minimal techno to the mix. Those tracks are both quite good but it is the title track that will capture the most attention as it brings in a hip house vibe with some creative scratching and a “boy oh boy” vocal sample. By the time, the guy starts reading the menu you will be hungering for a bite and some more fresh hot beats from this playful and quirky duo.
Shift K3y - Nit3 Tales - [COLUMBIA]
Speaking of solid EPs from brilliant house producers, take a listen to “Nit3 Tales” by Shift K3y. Thorough six solid tracks, he moves deftly from downtempo broken beat (“Cut You Off”) and inflections of Miami Bass (“Boom Riddim”) to 2 step garage (“Me & You”) and deep melodic chilled vibes (“Rampage.”) If you prefer the poppier vocal side of Mr K3y (a la his top 5 hit “Touch,”) then “Natural” will rock your world. The jacking house track with playful vocals by KStewart isn’t exactly future nor is it is deep, so let’s just call it quality. The effects are poured on and the bouncey groove can’t be denied. As soon as an extended mixes surface, djs around the world will be rocking “Natural” in my primetime sets.
QUIX - Pokies - [DIM MAK]
It gets to the point where subgenres start to splinter and people just get creative. “Pokies” is trap reimagined as a movie soundtrack. In just under four minutes, you get a full story told to you in interludes. The intro is ambient theme music which builds in intensity and power until it drops into mindnumbingly melodic trap. The intensity goes up and down either mimicking a storyline or an intense drug-fueled high. The middle section with the evil operatic vocals behind chants is punctuated by tribal drum builds that will mess with you, even if you are sober. If that doesn’t get you, then the random barking throughout will definitely have an effect. Unlike anything else you will hear, “Pokies” pushes the limit of electronic music into the WTF (what the fuck) territory of creative. Since it’s a free download, jump over the soundcloud and check it out for yourself.
Showtek - Swipe/Mellow - [SKINK]
It we interpret their track “The Death of EDM” as a radical political statement, then we can joyously celebrate Showtek’s return to hard dance with tracks like “Skitzo” and “Steady Rockin.” So color us confused by their two newest tracks “Swipe” and “Mellow.” “Swipe” is pure commercial edm complete with a trap break for everyone to twerk to. The vocal is a girl talking about swiping left and right. Wow, a Tindr song, how very 2014. Nothing about the track is unique or fresh or very Showtek. Then comes “Mellow” which you could describe as Scooter reworking Olivia Newton John’s “Have You Never Been Mellow.” The funny thing, is that I consider that a compliment. The sped-up-to-helium tempo vocals are cartoonish as if they are mocking the original song and the hard dance beats just bring in the satire. It’s clear that the Showtek brothers are having fun making random tracks and DGAFOS what anyone else thinks. In this supposedly post-EDM world, that actually seems like a really good thing.
KDA ft Tinashe - Just Say - [MINSTRY OF SOUND]
The first time everyone heard “Rumble,” it was on. The anthemic tribal monster grabbed our attention and dominated dance floors for months. The vocal version was rushed out and it topped the pop charts in the UK. How does one follow something so massive? Simple, go back to your roots. “Just Say” vibes with a soulful underground groove. It isn’t as urgent or aggressive as “Rumble,” though you can hear some similarly stuttered beats and reverbed bass. Give “Just Say” a few listens and you will be surprised how quickly it grabs you. “2 On” singer Tinashe contributes a nuanced vocal performance making us imagine her as the 2010 incarnation of Ashanti. Don’t believe us? Check out the sick remixes of her new song “Superlove” by Frank Pole, Ftampa, The Golden Pony and Cutmore.
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