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Friday, November 21, 2014

Vinsten - Keep That Dream Alive


"Once alone, I could never know"

In a world where it seems less and less likely that we're going to get another album from Sweden's brilliant Sound Of Arrows, I'll settle for anything that sounds remotely familiar. Vinsten are well known for their single Luckiest Girl, which was transformed into something quite epic via a remix my producer extraordinaire Bassflow. They've kept with that template and gone dancey with this new single, and I couldn't be happier. I hope that the plan is to keep with this sound, because it really suits them. The production especially is a highlight. It has that surging, dramatic backbeat that I loved so much throughout Sound Of Arrows' Voyage album. It's kind of a dream-like, spacey sound.



(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. Buy the single here. Follow me on twitter and facebook.

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Ola - This Could Be Paradise


"All I see is rainbow tears"

At the beginning of the year, I was almost certain that Ola Svensson's latest album would end up to be my favorite of the year. Turns out that won't be the case. That doesn't mean the album isn't amazing... it just hasn't had the staying power with me personally that I'd expected it to. I'm not even sure why that is, except maybe that the singles are so perfect that they overshadow most everything else around them. That said, it's still awesome that Ola's released a new track. It might only be available in Russia right now (which is interesting because the lyrics seem to be a rallying cry for gay rights), but the edgy dance sound fits in perfectly with the album and will certainly be added to the tracklist on my ipod. This Could Be Paradise is the kind of easy, effortlessly cool dance/club track that Swedish artists seem to be able to compose in their sleep. I can't get enough of this kind of stuff. And best of all, it's inspiring me to give that album another spin after months of gathering dust.



(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. Buy the single here. Follow me on twitter and facebook.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Ola Salo - Vi Va Dom


Finally! It took four attempts, but Ola Salo has created the type of cover song that I'd been waiting for during his stint on Sweden's Så mycket bättre. And honestly, the reason I like it is because it basically sounds like something he would've performed with the Ark. Vi Va Dom is a track originally performed by off-kilter electro artist Familjen. The original's already pretty damn good, but Ola's given it that glam rock pomp that he's legendary for and turned it into a total anthem. This is what I hope, hope, hope his inevitable solo album will sound like, but I'm preparing myself for something much more subdued. Seriously, though, who can resist that hook with the background vocals and epic guitars? Even the vocal production and arrangement, that I've been complaining about when it comes to Salo's more recent work, is on point. More of this, please. Yeah, I'm one of those annoying fans that never wants the guy to change. When you've already captured perfection with the Ark, there's really only no where else to go beside what's been proven awesome.



(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. Buy the single here. Follow me on twitter and facebook.

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Monday, November 17, 2014

Wang Rong Rollin - Chick Chick


I'm not usually all that interested in stupid novelty "viral" songs, and especially not ones with animal noises (ie: What The Fox Say), but this is my kind of crazy. I often associate China with music that's honestly kind of bland when compared to other Asian countries. This is anything but bland. I'm not going to say much more. Either you've seen this piece of ridiculous perfection already or you need to watch it now. Give it two viewings at least. Let it sink in...

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Friday, November 14, 2014

Roy Kim - Home


Let's pause today for a gorgeous ballad. Now, when it comes to music, I'm a performance guy. I'm not a fan of the "sittin' in a chair, strumming a guitar" kind of artist. In these instances, it takes a very special voice or special song to keep my attention. Roy Kim is that voice and Home is that song. Not only is this a ballad, but it's a ballad in another language. Honestly, I used to be scared of this combination. But music is a universal language, and you get everything you need from this based on performance and feel alone. Let's say it again: Roy Kim has an AMAZING voice. It's incredibly soothing and evocative and full of emotion. The tone just stops you in your tracks. The song itself is quite sad, though ultimately celebrates the power of coming home to the person or people you love. Without getting too cheesy, it's perfect for this time of year. And one more time... that freaking voice!!! Seriously. It's going to soundtrack my entire winter.



(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. Buy the album here. Follow me on twitter and facebook.

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Thursday, November 13, 2014

I See Monstas - Evolution


"I won't regret a single breath I take"

Usually, I try to post only new music, but I can't be everywhere at once so there are always going to be some songs that I miss out on. This track, Evolution by UK group I See Monstas, is one of those gems. It came out last year, but it's just too good not to spotlight today. This song is just massive. Overwhelmingly massive. The group has a great new single out now that I could've posted instead, but I can't get over how tremendous the hook on this one is. Both dubstep and drum and bass are genres that I struggle with a bit. When done well, they can be breathtakingly awesome. Unfortunately, they're also both very overused. Evolution gets everything right. If you need a jolt of energy in your day, fire this up. You'll be on your feet once that chorus kicks in.



(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. Buy the EP here. Follow me on twitter and facebook.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

One Direction - Where Do Broken Hearts Go


"It took me some time, but I figured out"

I haven't died! Sorry for the extended break. I had a day of speaking engagements and then some fun dental surgery (luckily in that order), but I'm back now with plenty to post. We'll start today with a track from the new One Direction album. I've been a great admirer of the 80's power-pop sound these guys have been working with, but not as big of a fan of the more folksy leanings they've been developing as of late. So it's no surprise that my biggest standout from the standard edition of the album is the 80's anthem, Where Do Broken Hearts Go. Honestly, I would've liked to have seen this be the lead single. It's very much the sonic successor to Best Song Ever. It has those surging guitars and Bon Jovi-esque, shout-along hooks that I go crazy for. As for the album as a whole, I'm enjoying it but not as much as their past work. Now, it did take a few listens (and a drastic track reshuffling) until I loved Midnight Memories, so this might be the same situation. I hope there are some massive standouts on the deluxe edition. I don't need more ballads.

Where Do Broken Hearts Go by One Direction on Grooveshark

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. Preorder the album here. Follow me on twitter and facebook.

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Friday, November 07, 2014

Walk The Moon - Shut Up And Dance


"This moment is my destiny"

I've been so plugged into the international music scene of late that I haven't had my finger on the pulse of U.S. based music. This song by Walk The Moon completely passed me by until I heard it on the radio today. I've heard this band's name before but I don't remember where. I certainly hadn't given them a listen, but now I'm excited to peruse their back catalog. Shut Up And Dance is the exact kind of power-pop/rock track that I adore without hesitation. The moment that driving beat and crunchy, rifftastic guitar comes in, I'm in heaven. This song actually reminds me of something that could've been on My First Band's Corazon album earlier this year. It's an old school rocker... catchy from the word "go" and never letting up in energy. The album's out in a few weeks. If it's anything like this, we're in for a late year surprise of the best kind.



(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. Buy the single here. Follow me on twitter and facebook.

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Thursday, November 06, 2014

Stig - Roy Orbison


Okay, this is kind of a random song today, but as I've been enjoying more and more Finnish music, I'm always browsing through Finland's itunes page for new tracks. This morning I just happened to run across this song, Roy Orbison, by oddball artist Stig. At first glance, I thought Stig was a lot older than he is, and was surprised to find out that he's only five years older than me. He's definitely got that weirdo Tobias-from-Arrested-Development vibe going on. The music, on the other hand, is divine. The synth alone is so cool, but the hook is also indelible from the first listen. The entire thing is smooth and polished and just easy as hell to enjoy. I find it funny that his wikipedia page lists his genres as hip hop, R&B, rap, country, and folk. This isn't any of those. Maybe a tiny bit hip-hop, but not really. I'm excited to explore the other things he's released.



(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. Buy the single here. Follow me on twitter and facebook.

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Tuesday, November 04, 2014

DGNA - Rilla Go!


When it comes to music, I'm incredibly visual. That might sound strange when talking about an art form that is auditory by nature, but more and more I'm finding that visuals--from stage costumes to music videos to album covers and fonts--play a very important role in how I discover and enjoy new music. It was the visual that first drew me to DGNA's new song. In the realm of k-pop, DGNA are a small fish that I wasn't very familiar with prior to Rilla Go. But, I love a jungle/tribal theme (no idea why, to be honest) and when I saw the teaser to this video, with its campy jungle-wear, I was instantly curious. It turns out that the track itself is worthy of that curiosity, from its guitar-strumming verses to the explosive chorus. I'd like to see these guys gain popularity fast, because this is easily one of my most underrated K-Pop tracks of the year.



(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. Buy the EP here. Follow me on twitter and facebook.

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Monday, November 03, 2014

Julia Vero - How Does It Feel


"I will go on"

I have scandipop to thank for this one. The moment they said that this song sounded like Roxette in their prime, I knew that I had to give it a listen. And luckily, the description turned out to be quite apt. The chorus of this moody, 90's-esque midtempo is pure Roxette circa the Crash! Boom! Bang! era. It's a sound that I didn't even realized I'd missed until I heard this. Just proper, emotive songwriting without a gimmick. Julia Vera hails from Sweden and has released some other stuff before this, but How Does It Feel is the type of song that simply shouts "breakthrough single." I'm really hoping it happens for her. I am 1000% onboard with this 90's resurgence.



(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. Buy the single here. Follow me on twitter and facebook.

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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Topp Dogg - Annie


I am absolutely in love with this song right now. I feel like we're at the beginning of a New Jack Swing resurgence right now, at least in the East. Topp Dogg are a 13-piece (!) boy group from Korea and this is a special single celebrating their one year anniversary (Annie = Anniversary). It's a total 90's throwback with brilliant production and is definitely my new favorite track from the guys. The slick video is inventive and addicting, and highlights the song's fantastic beat with a perfectly matched dance. But, of course, the best thing about this song is its undeniable New Jack Swing influence. It's a genre that's very specific, but one of my favorites. Having grown up adoring Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814, it's a sound attached to great musical memories for me. There's an undeniable complexity to the production that ironically feels a hundred times more fresh than most of today's music, even though this is obviously a homage. Can't wait to see where these guys go next.



(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. Buy their music here.)

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Jedward - Ferocious


"I'm setting free my inner wolf"

It might be hard to believe, but Jedward are now on their fourth album. Let's rewind a bit. Back in 2009, Jedward were the joke act on the sixth season of the X-Factor. They couldn't sing, they looked ridiculous, and yet still managed to be insanely entertaining. In fact, they were way more interesting and fun to watch than any act on this year's X-Factor. And ironically, they'll most likely end up to be more successful and long-lasting than any act from this year or last. It really all comes down to the twins' love for pop music and hard work. Yeah, they're not "singers," but when produced well, that's not a huge issue. They've worked with some great collaborators in the past, but now they're writing their own material and it seems that they've got an ear for melody. The verses, in particular, to new single Ferocious are great. The chorus can get a bit irritating in its repetition, but all in all it's a surprisingly solid dance track.



(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. Buy the single here. Follow me on twitter and facebook.

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Monday, October 27, 2014

Ola Salo - Trouble


"I know that I should've known better"

Another season of Sweden's amazing Så Mycket Bättre has started. I was particularly excited about this one because Ola Salo, lead singer of now-defunct band The Ark, was participating. It's no secret that the Ark were, and are, my favorite band of all time. That said, I'm not sure what has happened to Ola's vocals since the band broke up. It may be the production techniques he's using now or maybe just a new singing style, but for the past few years I've found his vocal production to border on shrill--something I would've never said during the Ark's heyday. It's a bit of a pity, because those shrill bits keep Trouble (the song he covered on 80's singer Orup's day of broadcast) from being a total homerun. It's still an awesome slice of old-school glam, because pretty much everything Ola touches turns to awesome, but I feel like it could've been even better if he'd covered it about 8-10 years ago with his band. Still, it's a blast for a fan like me to see Ola participate in this series and I can't wait to hear the music he releases in the coming weeks.



(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. Buy the EP here. Follow me on twitter and facebook.

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Friday, October 24, 2014

Halloween Junky Orchestra - Halloween Party

Not going to say much today except that it's time to lose nearly eight minutes of your life to Halloween grandeur! The big day may still be a week away, but I know that I, for one, need to up my spook factor. Despite being released a few years ago, I just discovered this amazing Japanese Halloween track from the awesomely titled collaboration project Halloween Junky Orchestra. The video is pretty hypnotic and addicting, despite not changing much throughout its running time. The song itself is a wonderfully oddball mix of English, Japanese, carnival, hard rock and theatricality. You'll have a hard time pulling yourself away.


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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Epik High - Born Hater (ft. Beenzino, Verbal Jint, B.I., Mino & Bobby)


A new release from YG Entertainment is always something to celebrate. And even though rap group Epik High are not among my more favorite artists on the company's roster, I was surprised at how much I fell in love with their pre-release single, Born Hater. It helps that the track features a small army of guest rappers. Of the bunch, Ikon's B.I. and Bobby completely steal the show. B.I. offers the track's only real hook, which appears a scant two times in the five minutes. It's so catchy and awesome, though, that you wait for it each time. Other than that, this track is all about the beat. It's a beat so instantly amazing that you can't help but fall in love with the rap verse after rap verse that accompanies it -- even if you can't understand 95% of it. (Though if you really want to know, the gist of it is these guys slamming their internet haters). I wish there was more uptempo stuff like this on the album, but I'm definitely happy settling for this unexpected October highlight. I'll leave the video here, since I think it's pretty memorable and innovative.



(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. Buy the album here. Follow me on twitter and facebook.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Red Velvet - Be Natural (ft. Taeyong)


Despite being a child of the 80's, when it comes down to it I'm really a music lover of the 90's. It seems strange now, since music is such a huge part of my life, but I was really a late bloomer when it came to discovering pop music. My discovery just happened to coincide with the soul/hip-hop/r&b boom of the mid to late 90's. I wouldn't consider it my favorite genre now, but these types of songs are certainly a pillar to my music appreciation. Because of this, I love that the smooth 90's sound is coming back. This new single by Korean girl group Red Velvet is actually a cover of of a track by 90's Korean girl group S.E.S. The production is pure I Get Lonely-era Janet Jackson, and the vocals and flow are sooooo smooth and funky. Even better, the track is paired with a hypnotic video that captures the whole essence of the era beautifully. I love this.



(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. Buy the single here. Follow me on twitter and facebook.

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Billy Idol - Save Me Now


"I don't wanna wait for your love"

Billy Idol's new album is out tomorrow in the States. It's half excellent, half boring, so I'll probably end up whittling it down to a solid EP. Luckily, the songs that are great (ie: the uptempos and maybe one or two ballads) are AMAZING. Now, I'd consider myself a big Billy Idol fan from the 80's, but songs like Save Me Now are even more suited to my taste. I love glossy, propulsive rock. I've heard some people call this new album "overproduced," which is a word I can't stand because to me what they're really saying is that someone took the time to polish the tracks until they're as professional and impressive as they can be. Idol's voice drips with charisma throughout, and the hooks are gargantuan. Save Me Now deserves to be a massive hit, though of course it won't be. We just don't get music like this very often anymore. It's a real treat. I mean... that chorus!!

Save Me Now by Billy Idol on Grooveshark

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. Buy the album here. Follow me on twitter and facebook.

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Akdong Musician - Time And Fallen Leaves


I am not nearly as filled with October/Halloween spirit as I'd like to be. I don't know what it is, but this year I just feel like the season is passing my by and I need to get on that real quick. Luckily, I've got Akdong Musician and their new autumnal single, Time and Fallen Leaves to help me out. The duo previously ushered in spring with their brilliant 200%. This song has a totally different vibe. It's gentle, moody and takes its time to build to a crescendo. In fact, it's not even a real duet until almost halfway through. The sibling duo are incredibly popular in Korea right now, and rightfully so. There's just something about their voices, songwriting and image that is incredibly refreshing. This is not the usual music I go for, but I am totally smitten with these guys. Eat something pumpkin-flavored, grab a hot drink, and relax to this beauty.



(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. Buy the single here. Follow me on twitter and facebook.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Dami Im - Living Dangerously


"So tell the fear to fear me"

Let's talk about Dami Im and her astonishingly powerful voice. It's on full display in this track from her upcoming album (out Friday). It's the kind of voice that forces you to stop whatever you're doing and pay attention. Even better than that, Living Dangerously confirms that she's still walking down the wonderful lane of dance pop. I love soaring vocals over intense dance beats. This song is very dramatic and loud. It doesn't have many quiet bits, which could be a bad thing if the lyrics weren't delivered with such passion and fire. This is the Dami Im I fell in love with on X-Factor. I grew to adore Super Love and thought Gladiator was alright, but I think this is the first time an original song has allowed Dami to really let it rip. More of this, please! I'm not sure if this'll end up being the next single or not, but it should be.



(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. Preorder the album here. Follow me on twitter and facebook.

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