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ALYX ANDER & REDONDO and MARIA Z, “Casually”

Miami’s Alyx Ander isn’t as crazy-prolific as many of his counterparts, but when he drops a track, the fine quality is all in the listening, and of course, dancing!  Thus a production with Dutch duo Redondo allows another team up with singer Maria Z, yielding, “Casually”, a follow up to last year’s captivating “Wake Up For The Night”.  Stylistically, “Casually” is a real throwback to classic 90’s house while staying slick and contemporary to vie with the best of today’s house music.  The theme here is a breezy instant love story and the playful vibe of “Casually” aims to please anyone who listens and feels compelled to dance – and it works quite well indeed.

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AXEL MANSOOR, “Father Time” (free DL)

Taking a deliberate stance away from what you might expect to hear on the radio or in a night club, L.A.-based singer/songwriter Axel Mansoor returns with the gentle and acoustic folk-pop of “Father Time”.  While I do have my own children in their teens and twenties, it is too hard for my generation to put itself into their shoes, so instead we offer advice and experience, while they, like Axel in song, observe and tell us all about their lives.  These days time goes fast at any stage of life you’re in – ask my very healthy 80+ parents – so it’s important to consciously put on the brakes and enjoy and celebrate it whenever you can.  “Father Time” is an important reminder that he is always around us and not to take time for granted.  Like with his other songs that you know from reading this blog – “Wasted My Love”, “Out Of My Head”, “Talk To Me” – Axel has a unique songwriting approach which sometimes works best, just like with “Father Time”, stripped down to his vocal and guitar.  Download “Father Time” for free while you can at the link above.

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SEAN TURK, “Villains” (free DL)

NYC’s Sean Turk is on a roll with his original hip hop, gradually becoming a hybrid with his trademark bedroom bass house style, with songs like his latest, “Villains”.  No need to go into many details about the typically lusty song itself, when a fresh kind of balance is achieved. Sean focuses more on a tidier production and less emphasis on uber-fly lyrics, making “Villains” is a pleasant progression for those who enjoy soulful, house-inspired hip hop with plenty of bounce.  Download it for free at the link above while it’s still available.

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SEX WHALES & HI I’M GHOST and CLUDA, “Journey” (free DL)

It starts off sounding like what might be a classic medieval tale similar to songs by progressive art-rockers of our past.  And while “Journey” unfolds with an elegant Amy Lee-ish vocal by Slovenia’s Cluda, it segues neatly into a crunchy dubstep backdrop courtesy of the production team of Israel-born Sex Whales and L.A. duo Hi I’m Ghost.  Dubstep and EDM fans in general will be more than pleased with the mix of hard and busy rhythms with a lovely pop vocal.  It’s a production blend often featured in the hard rock or metalcore genres.  Sex Whales and Hi I’m Ghost rev it up and bring it back down appropriately for an interesting, sometimes intoxicating release.  Get your taste of this inspiring “Journey” for free at the link above.

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BLINDED HEARTS and CAMMIE ROBINSON, “Rather Be”

No, it’s not a cover of the smash Clean Bandit song from a few years ago, but I think “Rather Be” by Germany’s Blinded Hearts featuring UK singer Cammie Robinson has instant appeal for pop and dance music fans alike.  Blinded Hearts is on a roll.  Every song he releases seems to be catchier and more appealing, and having the distinct voice of Cammie capture the many joyous sentiments to which anyone can relate is such a big bonus.  “Rather Be” is indie pop at its finest, with plenty of opportunity to watch couples sway on the dance floor to it as well.  Some remixes might draw out more firepower for clubs, but “Rather Be” is a song to soak in for everything it has to offer and more.

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MADISON MARS, “Back The Funk”

Summer’s almost here for those of us in North America, and I can visualize dance clubs jumping all over “Back The Funk”, the latest by rising Estonian producer/DJ Madison Mars.  Its intense production is an immediate draw to dance music lovers, and it contains all of the familiar bells and whistles (almost literally haha) to make you want to hear it many times over.  It’s kind of nonsensical overall but that becomes awfully secondary next to booming future bass and production that is primed for a party atmosphere.  At 2:54 “Back The Funk” is a bit tidy but perhaps some creative remixers with the same party-hardy bent will accentuate the proceedings.  Add “Back The Funk” to your Massive Beats playlist using the Spotify link above.

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PATAWAWA, “Lie”

Beth, Rory and Sam comprise UK trio Patawawa, who impressed earlier this year with the grand retro-disco vibes of “Patagonia” from their EP Bedroom.  They’ve followed up the EP with an appearance in Cookie Records’ Crispy Groove Compilation EP with “Lie”.  This song draws perhaps more on inspiration from Parliament-Funkadelic and Rick James than CHIC this time, with its deep bass synths creating a deliciously contagious funky rhythm.  The trio has everything going for it to stand out in the busy dance music scene, but I think would benefit of better-rounded production to make their music pop even more.  But, no lie, “Lie” is a heckuva lot of fun and should attract more fans to Patawawa’s diverse sounds.  Add “Lie” to your “It Is Time To Get Funky” playlist using the Spotify link below.

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KULTUR, “Off To Get Lost”

“Off To Get Lost” is an ideal song to end off an evening of clubbing, where you might head off into the night, with or without others, to wander among the darkness and light, and gear up for that 24 hour diner breakfast that awaits.  I can’t say that French duo Kultur (more members of the Slow Hours collective) really offer anything new here, taking a lot of cues from progressive electronic and ambient music that might go back to the early 80’s.  But “Off To Get Lost” is a very well produced instrumental indeed with trippy vocal effects and melody that will draw out some positive and emotional reactions.  Check out “Off To Get Lost” at the link above.

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ALEX PRESTON, Get It Started (EP)

You’ll recall how impressed I was recently by Alex Preston’s retooling of Marvin Gaye’s classic rendition of “Heard It Through The Grapevine” into a contemporary house track.  It’s followed up by an EP of house originals, Get It Started, and the Australian producer/DJ is game for setting the tone to your party on the right note.  Take it to the clubs, and a couple of these songs would sound massive.  The EP gets better as it goes along – the title song is the weakest, but good for kicking things off; “That’s How I Feel” impresses with some fine guitar work; “Around” features a soulful vocal sample that seems awfully familiar, and will have club goers lip-syncing to its sassy chorus; but best of all is “Take It Easy”, an excellent feel-good song for a Friday night to get your weekend going full tilt, again with some fun sampled dialogue to give the song its theme, and some horns that make it memorable (not sure if I’m hearing a Pigbag sample or not in this one).  Alex is clearly very talented at what he does, definitely one to follow, recalling at times an Aussie veteran who I’ve written about and respect greatly named Late Nite Tuff Guy.  Check out the EP at the link above but it’s “Take It Easy” that comes highly recommended most out of all of the songs.

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KHAMSIN and MOONZz, “My Way”

Following up his powerful recent single “Second Guess” is French producer Khamsin with “My Way”.  It’s as equally catchy as “Second Guess”, anchored by the determined attitude in the vocal by rising L.A. singer MOONZz.  The punchy backdrop of drums and percussion gives “My Way” a resolute and tribal sensibility, fusing with its equally interesting story.  Khamsin once again offers tight production that is as pop-friendly as it is for dance club audiences.  Enjoy all the drama – “My Way” is a well-crafted package with lots to offer.  Khamsin is part of the electronic collective Slow Hours (also featuring Kidswaste and Rusty Hook among others) that is overdue for some music of its own!

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