B-Side Weekly

This page contains the entire collection of articles I have written for “B-Side Weekly,” a column penned for Relentless Beats that focuses on lesser known album tracks, unsuccessful singles, bonus tracks, and rare remixes from the wild world of EDM. “B-Side Weekly” ran from 03/03/16 to 08/27/16, and spotlit lesser known and well-known artists alike.

______________________________________________________

B-Side Weekly: NPC – “Bojack Horseman Theme (Cover)”

What to say about Bojack Horseman? Now that’s a polar show that sets people apart; Some of us love it because of Will Arnett’s ability as an actor to accurately portray mental illness, while some don’t understand the eccentricities enough on  deeper level. Bojack’s Theme Song has somewhat become synonymous with the program even though it is only featured in the intro by being instrumentally bawdy, and containing incredibly jazzy chaos.

Out of the depths of the interwebz emerges another DJ who maybe understands the Bojack Theme like the rest of us do: although Patrick and Ralph Carney made a track that was indeed cinematic, it’s odd baritone sax element as well as the simple melody mixed with tones set in a minor key to improve the foreboding factor. Bojack’s original theme portrays emotions of sadness, mania, the “fear of missing out,” and it exemplifies these points when you are watching the opening theme. Seeing the outfits of Bojack change, but as you see him “dragged” through a montage in different outfits and settings like theDisney‘s It’s A Small World ride, his eyes devoid of any feeling remain the same.

A Soundcloud DJ by the name of NPC , with only 463 followers, is making splashes on this piece right now by offering us one of the more finer BoJack’s Theme remixes. While most of them are somewhat underdeveloped on terms of artistry (save but one runner up), NPC’s remix of Bojack’s Theme sets the tone similar to an 8-bit video game, and transfers the emoting, the sax solos, and most of the original elements into the electronic world. What makes the mix even more interesting, is he takes some of the more stronger sax parts, and tries to mimic them almost note for note.

NPC – Bojack Horseman Theme 

What truly adds to the foreboding sense of the remix, is NPC’s use of some kind of reverb that highlights the back-melody before the first crescendo kicks in. From what was originally a completely electronic-free song, NPC managed to keep all the more important physically instrumental sections, like the drum back beat, but give it a “Prince” touch that would make him sob tears of joy in his grave. NPC’s Bojack remix is a bonafied example of what an alternate title sequence could be in the television show, and not only tackled the section that is featured in the 30-second opening, but the entire track as it was originally recorded.

While the next season of BoJack Horseman only releases its seasons yearly, tune into this fresh beat and see the TV show through a different lens while you wait for the new season. Crack open a beer, put your shades on, and think of all the people you alienated with your behavior, just like Bojack would!

Connect With NPC: Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud

Connect With Patrick Carney: Facebook | Twitter

Sources: Deadline, TV Insider, Filma

Originally published for Relentless Beats on 08/27/16

________________________________________________________

B-Side Weekly: Arty AKA Alpha 9 – “Come Home”

Alter egos are widespread in the giant black void that are the collection of DJs that make up the community. Be it because of some sort of ego issue, or a genuine want to expand a brand without destroying the brand of yonder, alter egos, nicknames, or alternate personas. One of the DJs of the moment who you might not of known had an alter ego from 2009-2010 (maybe more in the future), is our good friend Arty. While you may not recognize immediately the name “Alpha 9,” this was actually a side-project that was spearheaded by the latter for Ferry Corsten’s label, Flashover Records.

Alpha 9 – Come Home (Original Mix)

Although at B-Side Weekly, we love to show off our sleuthing skills and give you some obscure facts about the artists we feature, there is oddly very little information about the background of Alpha 9. While some publications have attributed his alter-ego to making fantastic trance tracks, the alias truly hasn’t produced as much material as Arty has. Alpha 9 only produced two tracks since 2009, and one of those goes under the guise of “Come Home” (sorry, Bliss).

On Alpha 9’s latter track, Come Home, we hear the familiar synths of a good trance song start to fade in and take shape. Almost like someone tapping the keys of a keyboard, all trance fans know that classic buildup that leads to the body of the song. On terms of story, and although it only displays very small hints of tiny vocal tracks layered beneath the “beef” of the track. Alpha 9 is definitely holding back the drops in favor of more house-tastic trance production values. Come Home, although definitely containing recognizeable patterns from Arty’s original catalog, contains an entirely different persona on what may seem like at first, a simple name change.

What we can hope for at the moment is that Alpha 9 is going to have more material, but we can console ourselves with the fact that Arty is still making some pretty sick tunes in the studio as we speak. Tune into Alpha 9, and impress all your friends with a name they probably don’t know yet!

Don’t miss Arty at Decadence Arizona this NYE!

Connect With Arty: Facebook | Official Website | Twitter | Soundcloud
Sources: Raver Rafting

Originally published for Relentless Beats on 08/13/16

____________________________________________________

B-Side Weekly: Charles Murdoch Feat. Oscar Key Sung – “Privacy”

For the likes of B-Side Weekly, we haven’t covered more ambient material recently in favor of the droptastic yield this summer has given us in recent times. Charles Murdoch, who performed a pulsing set at the Flume show in Phoenix on 09/27 at Comerica Theatre, has been throwing ambient tunes at us that capture just as much raw emotion in the videos as does in the instrumentals. Today’s surgical/musical examination will be accredited to Murdoch’s “Privacy,” with vocals from Oscar Key Sung. Although the music contains a very muted and musical tone, the music video presents the struggle of femininity and masculinity at its core, and the true fragility of those concepts. Much of Charles Murdoch’s music, as well as this video, translates emotion through pure instrumental, without relying on lyrics on a 24/7 basis.

Charles Murdoch Ft. Oscar Key Sung – Privacy 

By showing the fragility of social constructs we have made ourselves as humans, the chill synths that rise up and down gently like waves throughout the track highlight a different kind of music. While at every turn we are bombarded with the newest, most creative drop out there, Charles Murdoch lists his expertise by going straight to the most primal mode of music. “Privacy” is a track that throws all courtesy out the window by giving you a track that not only pairs the light coos of Oscar with Murdoch’s chill vibes, but is creating a revitalized ambient movement that has only been seen in recent times.

Take a good listen of Charles Murdoch and Oscar Key Sung’s “Privacy,” and get a hint at how he brought the house down when he opened for Flume. Although the show may be over, Charles Murdoch has quite enough moxy to satisfy those ambient, trance-like yearnings you sometimes get before or after a show. While Charles Murdoch may be an opener today, he has one of the best musical shots of being the headliner tomorrow.

Connect With Charles Murdoch: Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud

Connect With Oscar Key Sung: Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud

Originally published for Relentless Beats on 08/06/16

______________________________________________________

B-Side Weekly: Nosaj Thing Featuring Chance the Rapper & Maceo Haymes – “Cold Stares”

From the depths of Relentless Beats territory rises again from the ashes — the column only known as B-Side Weekly is finally emerging from the absence of two weeks, and my God, is it good to be back. What have you missed in the world of the underground, obscure, and lack of pretension? Lots; but wait, there’s more! If you read this edition now, you’ll get a 95% guarantee that I will actually meet my deadlines and publish another edition next week, without getting absorbed in the trenches of my day job at a local Greek restaurant! Gasp, now that is quite the deal, eh folks?

This week’s contribution comes from Nosaj Thing, the catchy DJ/Producer moniker that has produced a slew of E.P.s, tracks, and albums that combine EDM with — my favorite — some sick verses from the world of Hip Hop. This week, Nosaj Thing brought together the famed Chance the Rapper (who’s had a fanbase bubbling under the mainstream as well), in a very ambient and trancelike soul track that is very out of sync with the mainstream. Beginning the track with a rough male vocal pasted over a very light set of percussion gives us a very different vibe at RB than we are usually used to.

Nosaj Thing – Cold Stares ft. Chance The Rapper & Maceo Haymes 

What really separates this track from the current status quo are the vocal deliveries brought forth by Maceo Haymes gives it a very poetic yet urban vibe that we truly haven’t experienced in the world of everything electronic. Although Hip Hop and Rap come from places that resemble a strong recognition of poetry, EDM has never been about lyrics. Although this track doesn’t contain heavy drops, or crazy synths, Nosaj Thing is bringing a revolution forward to the genre of EDM: using the “less-is-more” approach by combining his love of all things ambient and for the sake of chill, “Cold Stares,” along with the contributions of Chance the Rapper, bring a new calculated poeticism to the genre.

Nosaj Thing – IOIO

Although past tracks like “Fog” off of his first 2009 album, Drift, contain more melodic overtones, “Cold Stares” reconciles itself with Nosaj Thing’s past by including the same sense of melody, but including it more in the syncopation of lyrics and the backbeat opposed to putting it in the forefront. If you’re looking for some sick lyrics mixed with an ambient vibe you haven’t heard on your stereo for a hella long time, check out Nosaj Thing, Chance the Rapper, and Maceo Haymes’ Cold Stares. Why not “Fk a Genre” while you’re at it and catch Nosaj with Mija and a slew of other non-conformists at The Pressroom on November 23rd, 2016?

Connect With Nosaj Thing: Facebook | Official Website | Twitter | Soundcloud

Connect With Chance The Rapper: Facebook | Official Website | Twitter | Soundcloud

Connect With Maceo Haymes of The O’My’s: Soundcloud | Twitter

Originally published for Relentless Beats on 09/22/16

________________________________________________________

B-Side Weekly: Deadmau5 – “Not Exactly”

With his brand-new stage design as well as releasing continuous and consistent work from the year of 2002 all the way to present, Deadmau5 has a strange place in our carefully constructed social world of dance music. In a world of constant change, Joel Thomas Zimmerman has somehow kept his head above the waves and produced music that not only changes with the industry, but evolves his artistry. After his 2006 track, “Faxing Berlin,” came along an obscure gem that was the first single to be released in the year of 2007: “Not Exactly.” Unlike the more trance-house crossover of the bonafide hit, “Strobe,” Not Exactly stamps its identity into our minds by bridging the gap between those gritty techno sounds of the late 90s and early 00s, while showing us what the future could be. Without getting too sappy over the changes in the industry, “Not Exactly,” is one of the few songs to come out during the transition from “underground” to “mainstream” of the EDM world, and properly bridges the genre gap that only shares an equivalent feeling with Calvin Harris’s “Stillness In Time.”

deadmau5 – Not Exactly

Just like the track mentioned above, it truly isn’t the quality of the Deadmau5 track that states its glory: the potential that reflects the eventual growth of DeadMau5’s career documents the historical growth of the mainstream form of EDM we know today, even as an umbrella term. “Not Exactly” has a simple elegance that displays the evolution of his genre, yet also represents the quirky production value we have come to expect out of his unique brand of house. “Not Exactly” would not find chart success, but would pave the way for his “Strobelight Seduction” collaboration with Kaskade in 2008 that would reward him with a “gold” certification in album sales and produce the collaborative single, “Move For Me.

Just like we mentioned in the last few issues of B-Side Weekly, don’t listen to Deadmau5’s “Not Exactly” for another mainstream house-smash, but instead appreciate it for how far the genre has come. While Deadmau5 may be past the era of more simplistic, techno-infused beats, “Not Exactly” is a historical testament to a genre that would gain mainstream attention in only a short amount of time; did you notice we didn’t even mention the old buzzword of yonder, “dubstep?” Yeah, Deadmau5 couldn’t even be bothered in 2007 to follow trends, and neither should you.

Connect With Deadmau5: Facebook | Official Website | Twitter | Soundcloud

Originally published for Relentless Beats on 08/18/16

______________________________________________________

B-Side Weekly: Delta Heavy – “Space Time”

Delta Heavy is a Dubstep-influenced British duo that has been quiet in terms of mainstream outreach but have produced critically-acclaimed sets of singles and their first full-length debut in 2016. In 2010, Ben Hall and Simon James faced their earlier tribulations of building their name as well as getting the chance to produce on a label. This landmark year in EDM also marked their entrance into RAM Records, a noteworthy drum + bass label that produced a set of two singles released under the joint-title, “Space Time / Take The Stairs.” While we cannot deny that 2016 has also been a flagship year for these two dynamic individuals, it is hard to fathom that only six years ago, Delta Heavy were still developing their mix of drum + bass with Dubstep. The set of tracks, specifically the 5-minute long “Space Time,” was a marker in their discography which attracted the attention of music mavens and those with a musical ear.

Delta Heavy – Space Time

“Space Time” is a track which performs the duties of three genres, containing a strong melodic structure in adherence to lighter principles of house, and still managing to cram in your daily serving of Dubstep along with drum + bass. The rising and falling chord structure lines up perfectly against the polar synths which make it more than a simple dance tune. At the time of its release, it did have a nontypical “harder” sound that would find itself more welcome in the present than the past. Delta Heavy as a group have had the habit of quietly producing sounds that are adherent to their genre, but definitely have a refined avant-garde styling that gives it credibility.

It is worth noting that “Space Time” has a polished quality that seems almost surprising paired with the fact that they were still developing their brand. Then again, with the presence of the tracks being produced on a larger label influenced the ability of what they could produce at the time. If you are looking for a track that has just enough melodic rough synth to beef up the track mixed with a knowledge of sophisticated percussion,  Delta Heavy’s big-time debut single has what you need.

Connect with Delta Heavy: Facebook | Official Website | Twitter | Soundcloud

Originally published for Relentless Beats on 08/04/16

________________________________________________________

B-Side Weekly: Disclosure Featuring Mary J. Blige – “F For You”

Urban Dictionary describes Handbag House / Diva House as “a type of House music. Handbag house consists of the obligatory disco diva lyrics, simple four-on-the-floor TR-909 kick drums, hi-hats on the upbeats, Basic synth stabs in a minor key, and sometimes a snare on beats two and four.” Although this description would probably only raise the eyebrows of the producers in the room, Handbag House / Diva House is a genre eerily similar to what gave us some of the best tunes from yesteryear, and the birth of modern house in the late 80s all the way to the 90s. With the simple synth patterns as well as basic backbeats, it’s almost easy to forget the genre that started in the gay community of San Francisco, the Big Apple, among other metropolises like London who witnessed the birth of this forgotten genre.

One of the reasons we tend to forget its influences, is how smoothly it meshed into the public consciousness after the “schism” of dance music in the 90s. One of the reasons why we have so many sub-genres and so many angry faces of fans when articles like to use “EDM” as a specific term, is the growth of technology during that time and also a revitalized focus in dance that gave way long ago in the 80s to hair metal and rock and roll. I have given many examples in my articles of disco permeating the mainstream after its death, but the rise of house subgenres reflected the itching for more creativity in the dance world after disco became status quo monotony.

As a gay man myself, it is easy to forget the contributions from my elders that have come in recent years, be it in culture, or music. The landscape of what has become “the gay community” has stretched beyond gay bars and secret meetings, but has permeated much of our mainstream. A friend even brought up of how colloquials like “slay,” “fierce,” and even certain artists who have made careers out of strong gay followings have made their careers into the mainstream. As we know, once a proper noun hits the mainstream, that usually signifies the death of said-trend, which could explain the integration of Handbag House / Diva House.

Disclosure – F For You ft. Mary J. Blige

This brings us to 2014, with Disclosure, an artist who still profits off of Diva House elements and makes a pretty damned good argument for it; “F For You” with the great modern soul sensation, Mary J. Blige. F For You combines all the classic elements of what made early house and Handbag House a common name within the community: featuring strong, pure, and unapologetic vocals from a modern soul singer, and while the simplicity of the song can be a turn-off to some more modern fans of “progressive” house, the video boasts a strength of simplicity that speaks louder than most complicated measures. This kind of music would find any home behind a modern soundboard at your local club, but what makes this an important contribution is Disclosure’s close following to the genre.
Finally, the inclusion of Mary J. Blige mixed with Disclosure’s modern sensibilities make the genre not only modernized, but avoids the stereotypical concept while still staying true to the brand of the product. We all know early and even modern house lyrics can have cheesy lines — lets face it, sometimes dance music isn’t always about the lyrical output, but instead the composition of the song speaks louder. Check out the 2014 release of Disclosure and Mary J. Blige’s “F For You,” and bring back the good old days!

Connect With Disclosure: Facebook | Official Website | Twitter | Soundcloud

Connect With Mary J. Blige: Facebook | Official Website | Twitter | Soundcloud

Sources: Deep House Amsterdam

Originally published for Relentless Beats on 07/21/16

_________________________________________________________

B-Side Weekly: “So Free” – Shine 2009 Feat. Paula Abdul

In this week’s edition of B-Side Weekly, we ask the question of what would an Indie downtempo electropop band have any connection to a pop star of yonder? The band in question is our friend’s from the “Eurozone” as they call it — Shine 2009; the pop star in question? Well, our friendly and flighty friend from American Idol seasons one to five: pop star Paula Abdul. Every week in the column, I always try to add a bit of exposition to the artist so people who actually read this won’t guffaw at it and wonder what I’m talking about, but what about a song that has almost little to no information about the collaboration other than, happened.

That is a fact: according to Wikipedia, there was a 2011 collaboration between Shine 2009, who represents a synth-pop style that draws influences from the early 80s precursors to synthy tunes, and pop star Paula Abdul appearing nowhere in the music video, but contributing light coos and backup vocals that round out the song and give it a more contemporary sound. In one of the few articles you can find about the song upon it’s release, Rich Thane of the blog, The Line Of Best Fit insinuates that Paula possessed connections related to their label, Cascine, as well as being a genuine fan of the band. Aside from a few fan reviews here and there, PaulaAbdul.net (the apparently foremost source for everything Paula Abdul, you know, if you need something like that) gives a more detailed tale of Paula Abdul sharing a brief relationship with the founder of Cascine, Jeff Bratton, and eventually was approached by Sami Suovo, one of the band members to record some vocals to lay down on the track.

Shine 2009 – So Free (Feat. Paula Abdul)

As luck would have it, sometimes asking a pop star who hasn’t produced as much material as she did in the past can sometimes be fruitful: Paula gladly accepted their offer after listening to the track (definitely jiving with it because of its older influences and heavy rhythm), mailed in the vocals from Los Angeles to her friends in Finland. While the source of the story comes from a fansite, we can surmise that this is the most legitimate tale we can attribute to the track. Upon first Google search, one will only find a collection of dated music reviews from the year it was released, and with little pitter-patter after that. While PaulaAbdul.net is a fansite, I feel that you can’t be picky on terms of relevant information when it comes to artists that have taken a more relaxed approach in recent years to their original careers. Yes, Paula is busy with….. — whatever Paula is doing right now, but it is understandable that her dedication to her original craft of music and dance isn’t as strong as it once was.

What can be said about “So Free” as a musical effort, is that it possesses all the right Acid Jazz elements of yonder but combining modern music sensibilities. Even Shine 2009’smusic video (which sadly does not feature Paula breaking out her best moves) reflects a cool funky collaboration that doesn’t try to make Abdul relevant, but instead plays on her best elements as she takes a quick tour through the track. While this isn’t a club thumper or a bass blaster, “So Free” represents an era in synth music that could easily fit in with the past as well as sounding contemporary to this era. You may be like me, and be slightly disappointed that you can’t hear her vocals that well, or that she doesn’t feature a verse in the main melody, but that small inclusion of Paula is what makes the song.

2011 was also an interesting year for Paula, as, in the last few years, she had released a few comeback singles that gained a good following, but sadly did not result in a new album. Although Paula Abdul may not be as involved in the music scene as she once was, “So Free” is a brilliant example of post-90s Paula giving it her best shot after the vocal lessons and training she received to get her pop-star title back. “So Free” with Shine 2009 and Paula Abdul combine perfectly in harmony, and never poses the question, “what has she been doing,” but instead makes us want to beg and ask her, “what have you been doing and why aren’t you doing more of this?!”

Connect With Shine 2009: Facebook | Official Website | Twitter | Soundcloud

Connect With Paula Abdul: Facebook | Official Website | Twitter

Sources: The Line Of Best Fit, PaulaAbdul.net Official Fansite

Originally published for Relentless Beats on 07/07/16

___________________________________________

B-Side Weekly: “Shockwave” – Noisestorm

This week’s edition of B-Side Weekly will be tipping our hat to a relatively more recent artist, opposed to an EDM juggernaut. Regardless of marketing differences and popularity, the artist known as Noisestorm has a short discography, but has dabbled in drum + bass, Dubstep, and Glitch Hop, refining his song at a rapid pace that shows an intelligence not found in many young producers/DJs. But fear not, for Noisestorm has proved himself to be one of the few  gifted young prodigies that are developing their sense of style and brand at a pace that can be hard to keep up with.

With the backing of independent record label from Canada, Monstercat, Noisestorm was given the resources to make damned good music. Of course, many would say, if given the choice, why not pick “Leaving Now,” his most recent single? Well, if we went down this route, it wouldn’t exactly be called “B-Side Weekly.” Journalistic snark aside, 2011’s “Shockwave,” was uploaded on November 26, 2010 onto Youtube and marked the beginning of what would be his journey into a long relationship with a booming industry crying for innovation.

Noisestorm – Shockwave (Drum and Bass)

“Shockwave,” although it is an early work of a then-unknown artist, features rainbows of synth that are punctuated by rapid familiar beats and a riff in the melody backed by a growling bass that relates the cool strums of an electric guitar. Comparing it to “Leaving Now” would almost be difficult, for although they sit in a similar genre, “Shockwave” possessed many musical elements that reminisce a different time at a genre that was just starting to get commercial coverage. “Shockwave” is a testament to the days of yonder, but still could hold in a modern set as a throwback. The genre has expanded in such a short time that it is impressive his work moved at such a rapid pace on terms of production.

Noisestorm may be one of the younger DJs/production wizards at the lunch table, but don’t size him up for small: some of his beats could kick your ass.

Connect With Noisestorm: Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud
Sources: MonsterCat Wiki, Urban Dictionary

Originally published on 06/30/16 for Relentless Beats

_____________________________________________________________

B-Side Weekly: “Skirt” – Kylie Minogue

Kylie Minogue, better known as the “Australian” Madonna / Queen of Pop, truly hasn’t had a resurgence in the United States since her single from 2002, “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head.” Aside from that number one pop hit, Minogue’s brand of Euro-pop and working with the hottest European house producers still hasn’t provided Minogue with another hit, outside of her popularity with the gay community in the United States, which has attributed to her success in the club scene. 2013 was a roller-coaster of a year: fresh off of her last album, Aphrodite, she not only made an effort to tour to the United Statesonce, but twice, even though her capital would count it as a loss since she would be playing small theatres, opposed to arenas and stadiums;

And out of the ashes of the picky United States comes the Australian Phoenix, for in 2013, the banger produced by Chris Elliot, by the name of Skirt was released exclusively on Beatport. Skirt was a milestone for Minogue, for although she had participated in the dance world, Skirt contained elements of dubstep, house, and sweet drops that our Ms. Kylie had not yet incorporated into her music. Although the mainstream ignored any effort she tried to make, Skirt rose to the position of number one on the Billboard US Dance Club Song charts to number one, cementing her into the dance world with more and more synth heads giving her a chance.

While Skirt did face a successful release for a promotional single, no video was released, and Minogue happened to be pretty quiet leading up to the release of her Kiss Me Once album. None the less, Skirt stands the test of time due to its production style being spearheaded by a non-American producer, who unbiasedly combined the “campy” aspects of her musical brand with an American club sound that is relevant to the world of EDM and dance music in general. If released as the lead single and not a promo, Skirt might have actually survived in a competitive climate, but it is well-known that when an artist finds their market, sometimes it is not always necessary to invest in an unsteady audience that might not consider you their favorite.

If you’re looking for a track that satisfies your need for hard drops, yet provide high powered synths comparable to Western European house, tune into Kylie Minogue’s Skirt, because dance music is always a little better when its a bit more campy.

Connect With Kylie Minogue: Facebook | Official Website | Twitter | Soundcloud
Sources: Billboard

Originally published on 06/16/16 for Relentless Beats

 

__________________________________________________________

B-Side Weekly: Sia – “Taken For Granted (M.V.P. Remix)”

Sia is not an unfamiliar name to the world of music, let alone EDM and dance; most of her early work focused on melancholy hooks and a heavy emphasis on her music with less on her image. The latter focus on her image has even come to the point that, at the height of her fame, she is still relatively reclusive to the public light by obscuring her face with outfits. If you ask some old school fans, you might even get some anecdotes about her friendly stage banter and former tours before she started writing for the likes of Christina Aguilera, Rihanna, and Adele. Writing music has given Sia an outlet for not only her work projected on other artists, but has allowed her to develop her own sound in the process, and refining who she is as a singer/songwriter. Yes, although Sia might not have as strong roots in EDM as she has in trip-hop, and alt. pop, there are few hardcore Sia fans who remember her debut pop album, Healing Is Difficult.

Released in 2001, Healing Is Difficult came in a pivotal time for newcomer Sia Furler, after already playing in the band, Crisp, but also coming out of a release from 1997, a 100% Trip-Hop 90s effort called OnlySee. OnlySee had local success, while Healing is Difficult spawned a #10 peak single on the UK Singles Chart for the lead single, “Taken For Granted.” Long before the days of the catchy alt. pop We Are Born, or the orchestral chords found on Some People Have Real Problems, there was only the budget-quality video made for Taken For Granted, along with a long lost remix that was rereleased when Furler started to break into the mainstream with her ballad works on 2008’s Bionic, an unsuccessful Christina Aguilera album.

Taken For Granted (MVP Remix)

The MVP Remix of Taken For Granted almost has little historical context to where it was commissioned or where it possibly came from. Unlike some of the other recognized names on the album’s “deluxe” re-release, the MVP Remix was brought together by production group, “M.V.P.,” comprised of B-Legit, E40, and D-Shot, all of hip-hop rap and production fame. You would never expect a group of rappers bringing a hybrid trip-hop-dance effort to the table, but somehow they pulled it together pretty damned well. I almost had to double take the information I was taking in on the only website I could find information on it (the very gracious “WhoSampled” website for cheaters like me).

As a song itself, there is no doubt that Taken For Granted has a typical 90s dance backbeat for the time. Although it follows many trends that would be considered reflective of the past, the track innovates with its random quirks and high frequencies that enter the measure at almost just the right time. This interesting off-timing, as well as morphing the melody yet retaining the vocals, gives the track just enough juice it needs to play it at a party. It is no question that some of your friends might scratch their head at your selection, but the end-rap near the conclusion of the song comes almost out of thin air, yet does nothing to ruin the integrity of the song. It might be a “blink and you miss it” moment, but it is an interesting mash-up with a pre-mainstream pop Sia Furler.

Connect With Sia: Facebook | Official Website | Twitter | Soundcloud

Sources: The Barton Quandary

Originally published on 06/02/16 for Relentless Beats

______________________________________________________________

B-Side Weekly: “Go!” – M83 Featuring Mai Lan

In this week’s edition of B-Side Weekly, we are going to tackle a track from an album that is probably going to be our most recent track covered. As some of you readers may know, there was an article posted a few moons ago on the release of M83’s Junk album on RB(written by yours truly), which dropped on April 8th, 2016. Although being a little shy of a month old, M83’s “Junk” has already seen three singles that have faced release, with not as much fanfare surrounding it as the famous MTV “theme song,” Midnight City. None the less, the album has reached a level of critical acclaim, with my own point of view of the album hardly containing any filler.

M83 – Go! Feat Mai Lan (Audio)

Focusing on the second track of the album, “Go!” features possibly one of the most cross-genre production approaches to the song in the current climate of anything remotely electronic. Featuring vocals from on-again-off-again French vocalist, Mai Lin, the vocals are almost a side-note to what can be called an instrumentalist’s approach to anything electronic. While the piece does have its fair share of synth-love, every chorus is times with Mai Lin counting down from the number eight, that makes a listeners blood pump expecting a sick drop. Although the sick drop is never truly delivered in traditional form, M83 breaks out into this symphony mix of synths that mimic the back-melody of a strings section.

That is not to say that Mai Lin’s contribution has no use, for every time she sets up the chorus backed with elements you would expect from a run-of-the-mill DJ set, the production tears away every notion introducing the chorus with a sick guitar that gives your car the vibe of a block party. Finally, in the very last countdown, we are treated to a rarity: a full-length, high powered electric guitar solo placed at the resolution of the number brings that musical high to a crescendo as Mai Lin’s vocals come to a clarified solo peak for less than a second.

“Go!” is a song that mixes every best riff you have ever heard in a series of strange twists and turns that blow your expectations away for an artist in the realm of EDM. Regardless if “Midnight City” was your TV-soundtrack, check out “Go!” and “Junk” while it’s still fresh!

Connect With M83: Facebook | Official Website | Twitter | Soundcloud

Connect With Mai Lan: Facebook | Twitter

Sources: New York Times

Originally published on 05/12/16 for Relentless Beats

________________________________________________

B-Side Weekly: Dave Audé Featuring Jessica Sutta – “Gonna Get U”

If we asked if you could name any Pussycat Doll (aside from the obvious choice of Nicole Scherzinger), could you heroically step up to the plate? Would it be easier if we simply requested that you give us the simple number of girls that happened to be in the band? If not, we at B-Side Weekly understand. I mean, while they have had their share of pop hits like “Buttons” and “Don’t Cha,” that is about the extent of the public’s last memory of when they did something as a group effort. Not to mention that girl-group maven Robin Antin and Nicole herself have shamelessly admitted their effort into making Nicole the showboat of the group, and also a response to her fellow members’ discontent; a topic of celebrity drama from the years of old have all but settled in a climate that isn’t as forgiving to girl groups as it once was. In a musical environment that once celebrated the girl group as a form of female empowerment with every member functioning with a different musical or “message,” it is only with proper genre ebbs and flows that we are seeing a paradigm shift away from the classic format of what the girl group once was, a homogenous collection of empowering women (or otherwise) representing a certain style, brand, or attitude, while transforming into the American want for strong female soloists like Adele, Ellie Goulding, and many more into that “brand” or “attitude” represented by one empowered female, instead of needing a full group to relay whatever message they want to relay.

Gonna Get U – David Audé Featuring Jessica Sutta

With the scene being set, what is to make of the solo members of girl groups who haven’t had an easy time adjusting to their own homogeneous popularity after going solo? There is no question that there is a history of popular solo acts created out of girl groups, but there is always the unanswered aftermath of the artists who didn’t have their big break as a recognized solo act, and have instead relegated a lower profile since the demise of their respective group. Jessica Sutta has had her career ups and downs since the end of the Pussycat Dolls, and while her other “Dolls” in music have been relegating a more traditional pop route, Sutta has been attaching herself to big DJ names since around the times of 2006-2007, showing her love for the world of dance and anything with a beat. Although only gaining a small following with the continually trying release of her debut album and mixtape (finally seeing a release in 2016), Sutta has bobbed her head in and out of the dance world, collaborating with names like Cedric Gervais, Paul Van Dyk, Xenia Ghali, and a slew of hype singles that tried to find that shining beacon onto the dance charts. In 2015, the times were indeed on the up and up for Jessica Sutta, as the wheel of collaborations gracefully landed on the lap of Dave Audé, American house maven that’s been making splashes in the pop scene and house scene since the early 2000s. “I’m Gonna Get U” came onto the radio like a breath of fresh air with a retro blend into the world of house; although originally a 90s track by Bizzare Inc, Dave and Jessica revisit this track with spirit and bravado, breathing soul and meaning into a song and genre that many naysayers claim is “soulless” in itself.

Hearing her soulful belts mixed with a technique that knows exactly where to go without pushing her voice too far, you can only wonder why Nicole was the popular one in PCD. This did achieve success on the dance charts reaching #1 in 2015, but failed to make any strong cultural impact that would put Jessica Sutta in the 2016 dance spotlight. David Audé’s take on this dance classic, along with the hit feature of Jessica Sutta, should teach you a lesson of why you should keep an eye on the low profile artists, even when you don’t think anything is going on. Definitely put this track on for a spin if you’re looking for something with a classic approach to its production, but features soulful, yet smooth vanilla vocals from a pop vocalist you’ve probably never heard of in a soloist setting.

Connect With David Audé: Facebook | Official Website | Twitter

Connect With Jessica Sutta: Facebook |  Twitter

Originally published on 05/05/16 for Relentless Beats 

____________________________________________________________

B-Side Weekly: Prince – “Xtraloveable”

On April 21st, 2016 around 10 am, Prince Rogers Nelson, or the artist formerly known as “Prince,” lost his life to what is officially being listed as “complications” from the flu. We, at Relentless Beats and B-Side Weekly would like to take this week’s issue to commemorate his contribution to being a virtuoso of rock’n’roll, a shrewd artist, and a man who turned slick synths into a mathematical equation.

While Prince hasn’t dabbled has heavy into the EDM-world, his recent dance-tracks have reflected the current climate in dance that is starting to revert to funky sounds and classic throwbacks. Not only has Prince focused his energies on making his music as intellectually diverse as possible while sticking to his offbeat sound, he has also helped shaped the careers of the artists under his wing and label. “Hit and Run: Phase II,” released in 2015, and of this moment, is acknowledged as his last full-length studio effort.

1035x1035-phase2-600x600.jpg

Rolling Stone has stated that the work “adds up to his most consistently engaging album in years, blending in echoes of the ghosts of Prince past (à la “Sexy MF” and “Come”) while still sounding refreshingly modern,” a sentiment truly makes his last full-length effort a swan-song of sorts.

B-Side Weekly will be paying special attention to an album track off of the aforementioned album, a re-worked album/solo version of “Xtraloveable.” “Xtraloveable” is one of the aforementioned reworked tracks that Prince dedicated himself to in the studio while preparing this album. Originally written for Vanity 6 in 1982, and after being scrapped and living in obscurity, the demo was then reworked as a “hype” single with rapper Andy Allo in 2011, to promote his “Welcome 2 Canada Tour.” The 80s-demo-turned-album track album has little to no sign of its origin, with a good healthy mix of modern Prince production that gave it the update it needs. Although the rap verse may be absent from the album version, almost little quality is lost since there is nothing wrong with a good solo-Prince track.

Prince – Extraloveable (1982 Demo)

What makes this track special is the fact that Prince has obviously kept a close ear on the mainstream and dance; upon listening to his newer work, you possibly could expect the opposite with his own tight grasp on his music rights. While this album can be found on Itunes, almost all of his work is released exclusively through his own privatized methods. “Xtraloveable” has that tinge of funk that Bruno Mars and Daft Punk have played around with in the past few years, yet separates itself by cutting out the pop-nonsense and keeping that synth-y funk riffs we have come to know and (most of the time) love, when did right.

If you want to go out right with Prince, “Xtraloveable” could truly be one of Prince’s finest numbers, and reflects the untimeliness of his death that cut short at least another decade of artistry. The said-album track is a fantastic example of a notoriously and musically tight-lipped artist showing that they can stay true to their iconic sound and display their mastery of instruments without selling their soul in the process. Unfortunately, at this time, there is no current link to the track which can only be found through Apple Music / Itunes, for as you know, the man himself was a stickler for his own music. Regardless, get your hands on this track, pour one out for your homie, and make it “Purple Rain” all over the place.

Connect With Prince:  Official Website

Sources: Consequence Of Sound, Rolling StoneCNN

Originally published on 04/22/16 for Relentless Beats

___________________________________________________________

B-Side Weekly: Benny Benassi Featuring Kelis, apl.de.ap, and Jean-Baptiste – “Spaceship”

In this week’s edition of B-Side Weekly, we are going sin and give you readers a tune that ended up being a lead single on 2011’s “Electroman,” a modern staple in the wild world of Benny Benassi. While Benny Benassi has gained modern fame by remixing the greats like Madonna, Calvin Harris, Tiesto, and a few one-hit-wonders/00s pop sensations (Jordin Sparks or Kelis anyone?), his appearance and importance in music stems from the quality of plastic club-bumping synths, and having little discrimination with the type of artists he chooses to either remix or work with. With this impact, Benny Benassi is continuing his career with a high-level of U.K. dance-music fame. On terms of chart success, Benassi can take no bragging rights due to his work mostly facing release in Western Europe, but this hasn’t stopped him from sending reverbs of his across-the-pond popularity to internet-scouring American EDM fans who have taken a liking to his house-infused and flang-y brand of progressive house.

Benny Benassi – Spaceship ft. Kelis, apl.de.ap, Jean-Baptiste

“Spaceship,” the lead single off of “Electroman,” boasts a classic 00s “rapper heavy” collaboration of Kelis (of “Milkshake” popularity), apl.de.ap (of Black Eyed Peas), and producer Jean Baptiste (providing a little mantra at the end of the last few bars). See a pattern here? Chances are you probably haven’t seen the name “Kelis” outside of the word, “Milkshake,” or even apl.de.ap, who is frequently overshadowed by his two other bandmates, Fergie and will.i.am. “Spaceship” upon first glance could be considered a career revitalization of sorts, as Benassi attempts to put one former mainstream artist and one artist who is apart of a mainstream act together to act as a “star vehicle,” of sorts. Most who have listened to Benassi’s self-produced tunes have realized that although he isn’t the pinnacle of his genre for creativity, his consistency on putting out both danceable pop-infused reflections of the time show he can adapt to the current setting of music. “Spaceship” may reek of 2010 sensibilities, but brings out the best from both of its two featured artists: Kelis coos a sweet melody over the softer synths in the refrain while apl.de.ap delivers a soft-spoken rap that almost resembles the style of his bandmate, will.i.am. On terms of vocals, aside from delivering a very random chant Jean-Baptiste doesn’t deliver much aesthetically to the track as you would expect,  but this song marks one of his more prevalent featured vocals aside from his usual position as a producer.

In light of its production, Benny Benassi gives us a familiar recipe of fluffy synths that scream the word, “progressive house,” and it is no question that he feels comfortable with this label. As stated above, the production is nothing flashy, but he works with the creativity he possesses to provide club-friendly hits with an Italian twinge that surprisingly hasn’t impacted American radio in this musical climate. None the less, “Spaceship” only reached #18 on the UK Dance Charts, which hardly left an impact on the public’s memory. “Spaceship” is a great little tune to pull out when you want to show off to your friends that you actually know what happened to Kelis after the boys came to her yard, and what happened to the Black Eyed Peas rapper after Fergie got pregnant and dipped out.

Connect With Benny Benassi: Facebook | Official Website | Twitter | Soundcloud

Connect With Kelis: Facebook | Official Website | Twitter | Soundcloud

Connect With Apl.De.Ap: Facebook | Official Website | Twitter

Connect With Jean-Baptiste: Twitter

Sources: Music VF

Originally published on 04/15/16 for Relentless Beats

______________________________________________________

B-Side Weekly: “Stillness In Time” – Calvin Harris

The journey of an old-timer in the EDM world who has achieved some level of success is one that is difficult to measure. While EDM has made its splash in the current decade by sewing itself into the fabric of pop music, there was a time when you couldn’t even imagine the possibility of a song you heard on the pop radio stations having anything resembling a drop. As mentioned, this decade has featured a slew of old-timers, and newcomers alike, that are bursting onto the scene with sounds the mainstream has not yet heard.

la-evolucin-de-calvin-harris-body-image-1441659504

With an artist as established as Calvin Harris, it’s very easy to get swept up in only seeing his music that has reached massive success in this renaissance of EDM; what fans sometimes forget, is that with many of these insanely talented artists who have reached the “pantheon of Gods,” there had to be a grueling amount of work in both their style and career to get them to this point. The year of 2008 did bring about the massive genre-turned-buzzword “dubstep,” but before these sounds came to the attention of the non-dance-genre-listening public, these DJs and soundcrafters that have seen the ebbs and flow of the industry that shaped the sounds that we hear today, had to start somewhere.

It is no joke that the name Calvin Harris sends chills down a lot of our spines; the past aside, Calvin Harris has developed his artistry into a massive brand that has turned his entire persona into one that reflects him as one of the “poster children” of his genre. If you went into your street and gave out legitimately free and authentic Calvin Harris tickets to the public, it wouldn’t be just the folks who you see at raves and respective events; his collaborations with pop artists has almost achieved similar success comparative to the rise of hip-hop artists and “bonafide” rappers collaborating with pop and R+B singers alike.

Before there was “How Deep Is Your Love,” “Let’s Go,” and even artists like Ellie Goulding, there was a peculiar 2007 track called “Stillness In Time.” 1990s Brit-music mavens might recognize the track and title as a cover originating from Jamiroquai, an acid-jazz and certifiably British funk band that released the track on their second album, The Return Of The Space Cowboy (no relation to the other popular artist under the same moniker). Calvin Harris’s “Stillness In Time” ended up being released on a relatively obscure compilation entitled Radio 1 Established 1967; essentially a really hock effort of bringing together rising artists to cover older and culturally relevant hits of the past, while also celebrating the then-40th anniversary of Radio 1. Calvin Harris’s version of “Stillness In Time” can almost get lost in the tracklisting with more globally popular songs like Elton John’s “Your Song,” or “Don’t Get Me Wrong” by The Pretenders.

Calvin Harris – Stillness In Time

“Stillness In Time” features an intro comprised almost completely of jazzy dated synths combined with very European influences that pre-date his American popularity. While many might have the opinion of calling this “eurotrash,” it is important to remember that the vitalization of the EDM industry resulted in heavier experimentation, and the introduction to new technology that wasn’t around in 2007. The year also marks the cusp of his 2007 June release of his very first album, and his presence on this compilation is understandable, as I assume Harris was looking for as much exposure as possible. What makes listening to the non-album non-single compilation track incredibly, is not the search for intricate production that we constantly scour the internet for, but the “of the moment” sound that mixes his then-more European house sensibilities into Acid Jazz, a genre that has suffered a more than unfortunate fate. Listening to a track like “Stillness In Time” take us back in time, but also remind us of Daft Punk’s more recent venture into jazzy 70s elements that disappeared, and for good reason.

46035832_discosucks466

I am not coming out and saying that “Stillness In Time” is one of the most prolific track I have ever heard to this day, because it can feel and sound like quite the opposite. If you press the play button expecting a pop-infused duo mixed with both American and European sensibilities, you won’t find it. Avoid the disappointment by entering the track with an open mind, and viewing the track as a mid-point of some of your favorite sounds that came into being. Journalistic integrity aside, I almost feel bad for the dude being forced to cover an average Acid Jazz hit when he could have showed his chops with a less distinct song and genre.

Connect With Calvin Harris: Facebook | Official Website | Twitter | Soundcloud

Sources: Image Source

Originally published on 04/07/16 for Relentless Beats

_________________________________________________________

B-Side Weekly: Alesso – “Gillionaire”

Usually when writing about any track I’m about to dig into for an issue of B-Side Weekly, I always make an effort to add some historical context so those readers who might not be familiar with a certain artist or genre will feel more comfortable pushing that play button in the middle of the article. In this week’s edition of B-Side Weekly, this artist is a proper noun any reader on the Relentless Beats website or know who we are should recognize, and if you don’t, you better do some homework.

Alessandro Linbad, AKA Alesso, has had one of the warmest receptions as a new artist to his audience. I mean, how could it not feel dreamlike when you’re mentored by Sebastian Ingrosso of Swedish House Mafia at the beginning of your career? Top that off with a highly successful radio hit “Heroes [We Could Be]” with Tove Lo, being asked personally to open for Madonna, the Queen of Pop, and even more success with his debut album,Forever, it could be said that most 24 year-olds couldn’t handle this type of historically quick success with such substance that Alesso has given us. While Forever hasn’t gone platinum and is sometimes referenced as having mixed reviews from critics, Alesso has had the cat in the bag in perfecting the method to staying relevant.

While not every single has been a number one, and his album currently has no certifications referring to sales, his crossover into pop radio and his constant release of material since his DJ debut in 2011 have resulted in Alesso becoming the next industry hot-shot that everyone and their mother wants to book. You might ask yourself, “how could someone this early in their career have any sort of B-Sides or unreleased material?” In honor of Alesso ‘s historically new-found success, we will be paying attention to the banger found on the set of bonus tracks released on the deluxe edition of 2015’s Forever.

Alesso – Gillionaire (Original Mix)

“Gillionaire” is one of those tracks that you might blink and miss it if you never knew there was even a deluxe edition of his debut album. While bonus tracks are usually outtakes from the album sessions of the same album, or even older, “Gillionaire” is an entirely instrumental and very peculiar composition that does not necessarily innovate with any fancy bells and whistles, but serves as that essential track you put on your party playlist that has some kind of beat to make way for the songs you want people to here.

That is not to say “Gillionaire” is of filler quality because that is actually quite opposite the case: “Gillionaire” is a 6 minute party-piece with all the snares, tropical beats, and even a classic piano riff equaled to a deceptive drop that changes the mood to a more ambient turn. As the piece becomes more complicated and expands from the repetitive riffs we heard earlier in the song, the menagerie of instruments harks back to its original riff set by the synths. Ending out with a bouncing backbeat, Gillionaire reminds everyone that although it may not be the Nikola Tesla of EDM and innovating all over the place, our good friend Alesso does a great job settling into his role as Thomas Edison: taking the beats we all know and love, and reminding why we keep the party alive.

Connect With Alesso: Facebook | Official Website | Twitter | Soundcloud

Sources: DNA India“Forever” Rolling Stone Review

Originally published on 03/31/16 for Relentless Beats

________________________________________________________

B-Side Weekly: Iggy Azalea – “Iggy SZN”

Some of you readers might be wondering why Iggy Azalea is topping this week’s edition of B-Side Weekly. While we do feature predominantly artists who are either in the EDM world, or have made contact with it, Ms. Azalea is a special case; though she has worked with the likes of Steve Aoki, and a few other electronic music mavens, her recent bad publicity and the footage of her unintelligible freestyle have overshadowed some of her greater musical moments.

While her actual rapping skills are not going to be brought into discussion, Iggy’s early career has already seen a series of flumes and rockets in the form of hit singles, and not-so-hit singles. Some of those not-so-hit-singles came from a peculiar rerelease called “Reclassified.” The “new” rereleased second album.

The New Classic,” followed en suite with many pop artists in the last decade who have made millions of dollars re-releasing their last efforts with a couple new tracks, usually a few notches above in quality than an okay bonus track.  Sadly, “Rehashified” only spawned two singles (Beg For It, Trouble), which failed to make a serious impact on the charts (with BFI coming in at number ten in the last week). Essentially, while Reclassifieddid have its shining moments, it falls into the beginning of the era when Iggy was starting to receive the bad press she became famous for, and in-result, began her “dark months.”

Upon first listen, you might wonder what the abbreviation stands for, only to be reminded that it is indeed Iggy Season (sorry, Iggy, I mean…SZN). While a predominant hip hop track, the album cut which should be a single launch brags which its lyrics how it is constantly Iggy season, which is a good positive mantra for Ms. Azalea.

Iggy SZN, an album track off of the aforementioned rerelease, is a gem in the dark times of our persevering diva. Coming after Iggy AZN in our timeline, “Azillion” would then be released over Soundcloud on January 8th as her “comeback,” only to have the track ripped apart by fans alike and even her label, who, reportedly would not commission a music video for the song due to the deflating response. Sadly, the fire could not continue, even though she did get some praise for the “Pretty Girls” Britney Spears duet released not long after. With its bumping plastic beat over bright sounds that reminisce current hip-hop beats and featuring some light dance breakdowns, “Iggy SZN” will be that song you play at the party that everyone will love until you utter those fateful words that will make the hatorade flow: Iggy Azalea

Connect With Iggy Azalea: Facebook | Official Website | Twitter | Soundcloud

Sources: Daily Mirror UK, Billboard “Azillion” Music Video Article, Voice “Noisey,” Iggy Azalea Controversy Timeline, Billboard “Azillion” Announcement

Originally published on 03/24/16 for Relentless Beats

_______________________________________________________

B-Side Weekly: Phantogram Featuring Danny Brown & Leo Justi – “Black Out Days (Remix)”

The year of 2014 feels like yesterday, and truly was the best days for Greenwich, NY Electro-rock band Phantogram, and Detroit rapper, Danny Brown. High on the chart topping thunder of their second full length album release, Voices proved enough of its worth to carry on in the alternative charts as well as coming in 11th on the Billboard 200. While their sophomore album did find success with tracks like “Fall in Love” and “Nothing But Trouble, “ “Black Out Days” saw light as the band’s third in line to become a single. Quick to the draw, Phantogram later released a remix featuring a verse from Danny Brown, who harks back to the vibe similar to his tracks with Purity Ring. Incorporating Leo Justi, a Brazilian producer, the essence of the original melody is kept, while multiple percussion elements are added to round out the beat and suit it to Danny Brown’s rap.

Black Out Days (Remix) | Phantogram ft. Danny Brown & Leo Justi

While Phantogram’s Black Out Days stands just as well as its own original track, Danny Brown and Leo Justi add the necessary “beef” to the track that add a more aggressive element. Danny Brown’s rap does incorporate some heartfelt lyrics of hallucinogenic romance, but can sometimes be overshadowed by his rough and bawdy vocal delivery. The Black Out Days remix shouldn’t be a simple promotional release for a single long past, but sadly did not get much coverage aside from being released on Phantogram’s Soundcloud. With its limited release, it did become a temporary fan favorite, but failed to make a significant impact aside from the single using the remix as leverage with its then-success.

Leo Justi’s extra twists and turns added to the percussion elements really make the track shine, while giving it enough organic bass to further itself away from the original track. Next time you’re looking for a sick lick to drop at your next kickback, give this remix a spin and watch your friends have a simultaneous eargasm. Danny Brown always finds his home amongst his EDM-influenced peers, and Phantogram never fails to slay at parties.

Connect with Phantogram: Facebook | Official Website | Twitter | Soundcloud

Connect with Danny Brown: Facebook | Official Website | Twitter | Soundcloud 

Connect with Leo Justi:  Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud

Sources: Phantogram Chart History, Black Out Days (Remix) lyrics, Image Source

Originally published on 03/17/16 for Relentless Beats 

__________________________________________________________

B-Side Weekly: Elton John vs. Pnau – “Sixty”

This week’s edition of B-side weekly will focus on the mix of old and new, as we dedicate this week’s read to an album track from the lesser-known Elton John collaboration with the Australian dance-duo, Pnau. Released in 2012, the compilation went straight to number one on the UK Albums Chart, with many UK publications giving it the praise it deserved.

While Elton John’s music has always appealed to American audiences compared to his European counterparts, aptly named Good Morning To The Night, features eight to thirteen tracks (depending on which version you bought) that combine elements both vocal and instrumental. Stretching from very early in his career all the way to his early 1990s work, Good Morning To The Night blows a gust of fresh air onto his catalog, which can sometimes fade with the times post-1970s. While Elton John is respected by music fans young and old, the sound of this album pays respect to hits, album tracks, and obscure material all pushed into one copy with an updated guise of EDM, keeping the melodies, but introducing new production values.

d2967a77cbaf2dfc337aff55284039d6-640x360-600x338.jpg

One of the more exciting tracks happens to be lucky track thirteen; entitled, “Sixty,” Pnau pays homage to three songs of the same tracks, but entirely different versions. Focusing on a specific track from the 1970 self-title second album, the song features a sample from the album track, one from an American radio performance in 1970, and one recorded years later in Australia, with the Melbourne Symphony in 1983. Interestingly enough, Pnau utilizes three of the most fan-adored versions of the song (post throat-surgery, and pre). What makes this track special, is the fact that you almost hear no Elton at all. While the beautiful piano riff from the radio performance, with its gritty vinyl-quality chords over the modern and fine-tuned percussion and cymbals, it’s impossible to miss some of the live instruments taken from the Melbourne symphony.

Elton John Vs Pnau – Sixty

Ambiance is Pnau’s game, with trance elements that could make any stoner weep in joy. While the track revolves around one simple chord progression featured from “Sixty Years,” Pnau makes no secret of their love of natural sounds. While “organic” may not be the best term to describe the instrumentation, the remix utilizes traditional and orchestral instruments taken straight from the live versions of the song mentioned above (you might even catch a stray audience “whoo” if you listen hard enough).

One object of note is the ending, as the chord sequence progresses from straight piano to some of the other instruments that have been cycled in and out the Elton John Band. “Sixty,” while it definitely might be a turn-off for Baby Boomer EJ fanatics who capped off their music interests thirty years ago, it is a great instrumental tribute produced by a great duo that respects his fans enough to not only focus on something other than the hits, but also staying true to the original vision of the song.

Connect with Pnau: Facebook | Official Website | Twitter | Soundcloud

Connect With Elton John: Facebook | Official Website | Twitter 

Sources: Image SourceThe GuardianElton John Official Chart

Originally published on 03/10/16 for Relentless Beats

______________________________________________________________

B-Side Weekly: Madonna – “What It Feels Like for a Girl” (Above & Beyond Remix)

Welcome to the first edition of B-Side Weekly, where obscure album tracks, hard-to-find-remixes, and juicy bonus tracks are deconstructed and given a torch to light up songs you probably haven’t dug deep enough in an artist’s catalog to hear. Many of you readers out there probably have that one song that you feel never got any proper notice on an album from one of your favorite artists, or possibly a scarily-awesome song you heard in your local target. Yes folks, I am talking about that weird song you try to show your friends but every time you try to expose the greatness of your new drop, they block that fire track like they’re the fire department. While there will be showcases of DJs and artists both old and new, relevant or not, RB’s B-Side Weekly segment would also like to write about artists that you would have no idea crossed into electronic territory (most of the time not without the help of their friendly neighborhood DJ).

maxresdefault-600x338.jpg

Today’s name is not to be thrown around lightly – Madonna is a name that stirs up controversial feelings for many, be it good publicity or bad. Most people under the age of 35 will remark about her irrelevance, while people over 35 seem to have forgotten she had made music after 1999. For anyone who has kept a close eye on pop music and pop culture itself, this is not the case. Madonna is a pop star who has managed to collect animpressive amount of awards and accolades for her work not only in pop music, but also some wary forays into film and other business adventures as well. What can be said about her music, is that the Queen herself has always put an emphasis on dance. While she isn’t a part of the collection of DJs and artists we immediately associate with, Madonna’s early work and production can be attributed to John “Jellybean” Benitez, a DJ and producer popular in the 80s in the genres of house and electrofunk, while also working with Michael Jackson, and Whitney Houston. Throughout the early 00s up until present day, DJs like Diplo, Paul Oakenfold, William Orbit, and Benny Benassi all have either remixed her work or have been responsible with putting material on her album.

Madonna – What It Feels Like For A Girl (Above & Beyond Remix)

The Above and Beyond remix was used for the music video, and managed to even chart higher on the Billboard Club charts than as a radio single. Instead of featuring the lyrics in the body of the song, the remix similarly beginning with the Charlotte Gainsbourg spoken-word intro sampled from the 1993 film, The Cement Garden. With Guy Ritchie at the direction helm, the violent Tarantino-esque shock value seems to have no blood or guts, but is carried into a trance by the thumping synth that is not so bass-y, but features progressive ambient sounds that are both a staple of its time, but extremely innovative. The Above and Beyond remix could as easily fit into today’s department store or sneak in on a slow night at the club. While it does possess a lot of innovation for its time, any song will manage to possess some sort of timestamp of the time it was released.

You should definitely encourage trying this lesser-known club thumper out. For while your friends may make fun of you for listening to a Madonna song, the Queen of Pop hears everything and will act swift with vengeance in the form of a dance routine.

Connect With Above and Beyond: Facebook | Official Website | Twitter | Soundcloud

Connect With Madonna: Facebook | Official Website | Twitter | Soundcloud

Originally published on 03/03/16 for Relentless Beats

Advertisements