September 19, 2014

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Novaspace - There For Me

This is the latest single from the Swedish producer and DJ. It is an uplifting, euphoric big room Electro/House track. The song is carried by a gorgeous female vocal hook, reminiscent of last Summer's crossover hit "Take Me Home" by Cash Cash. This is underground enough for the clubs, however, it has crossover appeal. This is smash hit waiting to happen.

Listen to the preview here:

Check out Novaspace on Facebook

Grade: A

September 16, 2014

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Joi Cardwell - The Art Of Being

Joi's brand of Soulful House music with thoughtful, inspirational lyrics is always welcome. She has released a handful of singles here and there in between albums. The Art Of Being is the singer-songwriter's first album in nearly 3 years. It contains a few of the singles that were released separately. This is her strongest album to date. Every single one of the songs is beautifully produced by many of the heavy hitters of clubland. All of the songs have a melodic sound that is distinctly classic but also sounds current. Joi's vocals are amazing! There are a couple of revisits to her earlier singles "Jump For Joi" and "You Gonna Make Me Love Somebody Else" as well. Every one of the songs is great so it is hard to choose the best ones, but "Confusion", "Return To Love", "Je T'Adore", "Shot Through The Heart", and "Lucky Charm" really stood out. All of the songs could work as singles. With the recent shift towards early 90s House sounds, this record arrives at just the right time.

1. Lucky Charm (Quentin Harris Production)
2. Return to Love (Director's Cut Mix)
3. Confusion (NovoGain Production)
4. Love Somebody Else (Maceo Plex & John Dasilva Mix)
5. Shot Through the Heart
6. Indian Giver
7. I Just Wanna (Kraak & Smaak)
8. Sweet Sadness (Mlle Lucy Mix)
9. Je T'adore (Life+ Mix)
10. Feels Like Heaven
11. Music Saved My Life (Maurice Joshua Mix)
12. Jump 4 Joi (Mike Cruz Radio Mix)
13. Jump 4 Joi (J Zuart Remix)

Purchase the album here (iTunes) and here (Juno) [Juno has it in lossless DJ friendly/collector format]

Grade: A+
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Annie Lennox - I Put A Spell On You

The first single from the singer's new covers album Nostalgia is her take on Screamin' Jay Hawkins' "I Put A Spell On You." The hypnotic production is faithful to the original but updated slightly. The song takes on a more dramatic, almost sinister tone. This recording of it makes it sound like it could be the opening theme of a James Bond movie. Annie's vocal performance is full and rich. She has always excelled on using the darker parts of her voice. This is a fresh and exciting cover.

Listen to a clip and purchase on iTunes here

Grade: A

September 12, 2014

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Kiesza - No Enemiesz

This is the new single from the Canadian singer-songwriter's debut album Sound Of Woman due out on October 21. This is in a similar style as previous singles, though this one is far more bass-driven, and is quite the room shaker. Her uplifting vocals remain the focus. The hook and chorus are super memorable. This is easily her strongest single to date.

Listen to the song here (YouTube)

Grade: A
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Nick Jonas - Jealous

Nick was a formerly a member of the teen group The Jonas Brothers with his brothers Joe and Kevin. They recently went their separate ways. He recently showcased his new, mature musical direction with "Chains" a few weeks back. "Jealous" is a groovy R&B/Electro-pop track. One could compare the style of the song to that of Miguel's recent material. Nick's falsetto-laden vocals are a joy to listen to. The song has already begun to gain traction on radio just a week after its release. This has serious crossover potential and will be a multiformat smash.

Listen to the song here (YouTube)

Grade: A

September 4, 2014

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Sam Smith - Stay With Me (Mark Picchiotti remixes)

The haunting ballad by the English singer-songwriter has topped the charts in nearly all parts of the world. The song has struck an emotional chord with many due to the relatable lyrics and the genuine vocal performance by Sam. There have been dozens of bootleg remixes which just did not mesh that well with the sentimental vibe of the song, however, the legendary Mark Picchiotti stepped up to the plate and produced some unorthodox Chic-inspired remixes which work perfectly. The Disco/R&B-styled remixes are at a lower tempo. The song is less melancholy in this arrangement.

Listen to the remix here: (it is also available as a free download if you 'Like' Mark's Facebook page)

Grade: A+
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Lenny Kravitz - The Chamber

This is the lead single from his new album Strut which will be coming out on September 23. The single was released several months back, however, the music video was a released today. The song is a throwback to the sounds of the 80s but within a modern context. The main guitar riff and programming bear a striking, unintentional resemblance to that of Stevie Nicks' classic "Edge Of Seventeen". It's classic Lenny from the hook to the lyrical style, and of course, his always strong vocal performance.  The song is quite the grower.

Watch the racy cinematic music video: NSFW

Grade: A

August 27, 2014

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Tony Moran & Deep Influence feat. Jason Walker - Ball Of Confusion

This was previewed several weeks back and it was quietly released yesterday. This song is indeed a partial cover of the classic by The Temptations. Jason Walker puts his own spin on it with his signature falsetto style. He sounds fantastic. The peak hour production by Tony Moran and Deep Influence is fierce and uplifting. The song works best in its longer form with the additional vocals whereas the radio edit just feels like it's over too soon. The dub is basically the instrumental of the longer version with a handful of vocals. The beatapella is just the vocals and the drums. This is a strong release overall.

Purchase the single here (iTunes)

Grade: A

August 18, 2014

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Amy Grant - In Motion (The Remixes)

The Christian/Pop artist's highly anticipated remix album was released today. It was announced late last year that this was in the works. A handful of some of her biggest hits were selected for this collection and they were remixed by an A-list team of remixers. Every remix is produced in an uplifting style that maintains the emotional and spiritual message of the original songs. Some of the songs will take some getting used to with the club-oriented productions. This is another rare case where every remix is well-produced and suits the songs. The remixes of "Say Once More", "You're Not Alone", "Better Than A Hallelujah", and "Stay For Awhile" (both of them) are outstanding, though every remix is excellent. The only downside of this collection is that 90% of the main tracks are radio edits and not full length or mixshow length.

01. That's What Love Is For (Chris Cox Radio Edit) (3:12)
02. Stay For Awhile (Tony Moran Radio Mix) (4:08)
03. You're Not Alone (Guy Scheiman Radio Edit) (3:46)
04. Every Heartbeat (Moto Blanco Radio Edit) (3:24)
05. Better Than A Hallelujah (Mark Picchiotti Gospel Radio Edit) (3:47)
06. Find A Way (Ralphi Rosario Big Room Radio Edit) (3:37)
07. Baby Baby (Dave Aude Radio Edit) (3:57)
08. Say Once More (Hex Hector Radio Edit) (3:32)
09. Out In The Open (7th Heaven Radio Edit) (4:04)
10. Stay For Awhile (Tony Moran Destination Mixshow Edit) (6:45)
11. Mega Mix (DJ Andy 7th Heaven Medley) (8:49)

-The album can be purchased in physical formats including CD and vinyl on Amazon
-The album can be purchased digitally on Amazon and iTunes

Grade: A+

August 11, 2014

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Amber Dirks - One Last Time

This is the latest single from the Dance diva and the subject is one final intimate encounter before the relationship comes to an end. This relatable subject is handled in a tasteful manner. The main QUBIQ versions are big room-oriented, however, they could fit into mainstream sets as well. Griffin White and The Popstar's remixes are full blown peak hour stormers. The latter is harder while the former is synthier. All of the mixes are great.

-Watch the music video set to the QUBIQ radio edit here (YouTube)
-Purchase the digital EP here (iTunes)

Grade: A
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Jared Jones feat.Tascha Johnson - Get Up! (It's The Weekend)

Just released is an essential, feel-good song that will make you want to dance this weekend. It features the soulful vocals of Tascha Johnson and the mainstream yet big room production by Jared Jones. The main version's style recalls that of the Soul Seekerz, except it is a bit harder. Additional remixes are by Jadin Recks, Jared Jones, Jeff Morena, Matt Moss, Naked Highway, Oliver Watts, Sean Niles, and Sudad G. Jadin Recks delivers a techy-tribal mix with lots of cool vocal effects. Jared Jones' remix is in line with MK's classic production style that has recently been revived. Jeff Morena's electro mix is totally twisted with all its loops and manipulations. Matt Moss provides a softer, Deep House treatment. Naked Highway delivers the usual 80's leaning electro mix which is lots of fun. Oliver Watts' bass driven tribal mix will be perfect for peak hour. Sean Niles' Dance/Hip Hop fusion recalls early 90s Booty House with Freestyle elements. Sudad G's mix closes out the package in a hard yet Deep House style. All versions of the song are top notch with Jared Jones' remix being the best of the bunch along with the Naked Highway one.

-Purchase the digital single here (iTunes)

Grade: A
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LeAnn Rimes - Dance Like You Don't Give A...Greatest Hits Remixes

The Country star has had a string of chart hits throughout her nearly 2 decade career. A number of her singles were remixed for the clubs and she had success on the Club Play chart. An album consisting of both previously unreleased and released mixes was released last week. It is completely unmixed and features remixes of some of her biggest hits as well as a few other selected singles that didn't quite get the attention they deserved. Every single one of these remixes is melodic and is a good match for the original song. The highlights include the remixes of "Gasoline And Matches", "You've Ruined Me", "Can't Fight The Moonlight", "I Need You", "How Do I Live", "Strong", "Nothin' Better To Do", and "Headphones." This is an outstanding collection of remixes.

01. Gasoline And Matches (Dave Aude Remix)
02. What I Cannot Change (Kaskade Remix)
03. Crazy Women (7th Heaven Remix)
04. I Need You (Digital Dog Remix)
05. Help Me Make It Through The Night (Fear Of Tigers Remix)
06. Spitfire (Fagault and Marina Remix)
07. Can't Fight The Moonlight (Alias Remix)
08. You've Ruined Me (Dave Aude Remix)
09. How Do I Live (Cahill Remix)
10. Strong (Cicada Remix)
11. Nothin' Better To Do (Soul Seekerz Remix)
12. Headphones (Headspinners Remix)
13. Grace (LeAnn Rimes and The Crystal Method)

Purchase the remix album on iTunes here

Grade: A
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Tim Rex - Relentless (The Serving Ovahness 2K14 Mixes)

Originally released in 1998, the instrumental tribal track based on a repeated horn riff first got noticed by clubbers and DJs when Junior Vasquez would play it at Twilo. Elements of this track went on to be incorporated in many remixes by Junior and others. The song was re-imagined in 2005 as "Relentless (Was It Just A Game)" with singer Veronica providing vocals (of "Someone To Hold", "Let Me Go...Release Me", and "I'm In Love" fame). The original mixes which only released on vinyl were given a new digital release last month. Newcomer Serving Ovahness has given the song 2 hot and fresh remixes which retain the soul of the original but also update it slightly. The main version is darker and in line with the original while the Deeper one lives up to its name. Both are extremely well done.

Purchase the new 2K14 mixes by Serving Ovahness here (Beatport)

Grade: A

July 30, 2014

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Isabel Rose - Reflections (Remixes)

It's really tough to categorize the singer as she has embodied the styles of so many legends who have come before her. There is a certain theatricality and fabulosity she projects which recalls greats such as Barbra Streisand, Bette Midler, and Liza Minnelli. Her current release is a cover of the song made famous by The Supremes. It was also the theme song to the show China Beach. This serves as the lead single from her upcoming album Trouble In Paradise. This cover is faithful to the original, however, it has a slightly more modern arrangement. The retro sound of it is perfect. Isabel's vocals are exquisite. There are some club remixes by Frankie Knuckles with Eric Kupper (as Director's Cut). These mixes are believed to be the final mixes Frankie worked on before he unexpectedly passed away on March 31. The duo deliver a lush, classic sounding production straight out of the early 90s, complementing the rich vocals.

-The remix video can be viewed here. (HuffingtonPost)
-Purchase the remix here (Amazon)

Grade: A
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Cedric Gervais feat Coco - Through The Night

French producer/DJ Cedric Gervais became a household name last year when an edit of his remix of Lana Del Rey's "Summertime Sadness" became a top 10 hit in the U.S., and nearly everywhere else. He had been known in clubland previously for his distinct Electro-flavored sound. The new single has a slight Country/Western flavor a la Avicii's smash "Wake Me Up!" fused with 90s handbag House. There are additional remixes by Chris Lake, CID, and Mednas. Chris Lake's noisier EDM production only keeps some of the original elements while making it edgier. CID's mix is best suited for the big room floors as is the Mednas one. The original ends up being the best of the bunch.

-Watch the music video here (YouTube)
-Purchase the song here (iTunes)

Grade: A
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