The Drop: Your Guide To New Music Friday Featuring Baio & Bien


The Drop: Alma & Dej Loaf

Your guide to New Music Friday featuring bangers from Alma and Dej Loaf.

Fridays can be overwhelming for pop fans. Every week you’re bombarded with a glut of new music, which can lead to ear candy falling through the cracks. I’m hoping to circumvent that tragic scenario with The Drop — a cheat sheet (of sorts) to get you through New Music Friday. By now, you’ve probably heard Marina and the Diamonds & Clean Bandit’s surprise collaboration “Disconnect” and possibly checked out Jacob Sartorius and Blackbear’s surprisingly good “Hit Me Back.” But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Let’s start with a serotonin-raising bop courtesy of Fitz and the Tantrums. The LA-based band are releasing a deluxe edition of their 2016 self-titled LP with a new track called “Fool” and the retro-tinged, summery anthem that lodges in your brain with the same ruthlessness as “Handclap.” If you need another shot of sunny pop to brighten your day, Baio’s “Out Of Tune” is the song for you. Warm and lovingly DIY, the Vampire Weekend bassist is carving out a niche as purveyor of weird and wonderful tunes.

Next up is Flosstradamus. The producer (now solo) is best-known for his bone-rattling bangers, but he heads in a different direction on “How You Gon’ Do That?” Featuring Cara Salimando, the track veers towards pop on the massive chorus, but the dense, multi-layered production gives keeps it left of center. Speaking of which, Sheppard’s “Edge Of The Night” is the strangest song I’ve heard all week. It starts off as a fairly standard retro synth-pop anthem, but goes sideways with a demented spoken interlude. I don’t know if I love it or hate it, but I’ve played it twice in a row.

Sheppard isn’t the only Aussie act in The Drop this week. I’m pretty sure I include a Meg Mac song second week, but I can’t help it if every song on her debut LP is magnificent. Anyway, “Don’t Need Permission” is another soulful groove that evokes another time and place. Across the Tasman, Gin Wigmore makes a welcome return with “Hallow Fate.” The Kiwi singer/songwriter always delivers raw, emotionally bruising pop/rock and this is no exception. It’s so great to hear that raspy voice again.

Let’s move on to a pair of cute remixes. Niall Horan has been one of 2017’s biggest revelations for me, coming out of nowhere to become One Direction’s most convincing solo artist. “Slow Hands” doesn’t need a remix, but French duo Basic Tape approach the track with affectation, artfully implementing a drop without erasing any of its charm. Grey works similar magic on The End Of The World’s “One More Night.” The Japanese group is trying to break into the US market with this bop and they could have a shot.

Looking for something a little quieter? Colombian-born, Brooklyn-based duo Salt Cathedral charms with “Always There When I Need You,” a gentle and unassuming, world music-infused ditty that is guaranteed to put a smile on your face. From the sweet vocal to the dreamy production, everything about this is relaxing. NYLO’s “Time Changes Everything” requires more brain power due to the subject matter (mental health and self-love), but the alt-R&B production washes over you like a warm shower. This gets exponentially better with each listen.

If you really want to close your eyes and check out, Toyko’s “Beautiful” is the song for you. The LA-based duo could never be accused of false advertising because this sleepy electro-anthem lives up to its title. Intricate and deceptively catchy, this is an essential addition to any chill-out playlist. The same goes for Bien’s “Stars Across The Sky.” The Nashville trio continue to make airy, intergalactic pop of the highest caliber. Listen to the gorgeous dream-pop anthem in my playlist below.

What are you into this week? Let us know below, or by hitting us up on Facebook and Twitter!

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Someone tried redesigning Ableton Live, and he’s getting lots of attention

Ableton Live’s dominance over a lot of workflows is unparalleled. But the software itself is looking long in the tooth. There are clearly some features long in coming, and despite some updates, the UI is still largely unchanged since the software’s debut over a decade and a half ago. That’s good in some ways, but it means the software can be clunky on modern displays and in certain use cases.

It says something about the love for the software that UI/UX designer Nenad Milosevic would create a deep redesign project, spec, just for the heck of it.

If Nenad’s redesign demonstrates anything, it may be to prove just how hard a redesign is. But the results are nothing if not interesting, even if you wouldn’t necessarily want to replace Ableton Live with this UI. Especially compelling, Nenad did extensive polling to determine what features mattered and how they would look. So the results have some ideas in them, and reflect a bit of what the Ableton user base imagines they’d like a future version of the software to look like.

nndmlsvc_-_small-browser-session-view-fx-racks2x

Personally, I really like the colors, and would love someone to implement a skin of this. (It’s not a skin yet. Anyone?)

And yeah, the similarity to Bitwig Studio is unmistakable.

This is a telling line, too: “I didn’t blindly follow what Live users said in surveys I conducted. Because 1. what users assume they need do not necessarily align with what they really need. 2. I didn’t conduct usability testing to see what actually needs fixing and how users behave.”

But even if it’s not practical to expect anything of this project, I think UI buffs will find it entertaining, and Nenad did a lot of lovely work. It also speaks to the appetite for a new generation of Ableton Live software that this story has been all over the Web.

Check it out, along with other design goodies:

http://nenadmilosevic.co/ableton-live-redesign/
live-view-less-densefull

I will meanwhile wait for the real thing, as I don’t necessarily see anything here I’d want to use, personally. A new skin would be cool, though.

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BLACKPINK Returns With Shimmery Synth-Pop Gem “As If It’s Your Last”


East Beat: NCT 127 & Perfume

Your guide to the week’s best Asian pop songs featuring NCT 127 and Perfume.

BLACKPINK returns today (June 22) with a sizzling bop called “As If It’s Your Last.” The track finds the quartet in a lighter, brighter mood than previous offerings, but that’s all part of the plan. “We will be making a comeback with a track that has a different genre than the ones we’ve done in the past,” Jisoo revealed in an interview. “It’s a track that fits well with the summer atmosphere and brings out our lively charms. If our previous songs had a more ‘black’ color to them, then this song has more of a ‘pink’ color vibe.”

From the shimmery synth-pop production to the soaring chorus, it’s hard to disagree with that assessment. The change in direction has also been warmly embraced by international fans with the track reaching number one in 18 countries and cracking the top 30 on US iTunes. The neon-drenched, choreography-filled video is also a smash, racking up more than 8 million views in less than 12 hours. BLACKPINK is really coming into their own visually, presenting different color schemes, outfits and set pieces. Watch the leading ladies of YG Entertainment strut their stuff up top.

Do you love the song? Let us know below, or by hitting us up on Facebook and Twitter!

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Should Have Been Bigger: Selena Gomez & The Scene’s “Hit The Lights”


Flashback: Christina's 'Your Body'

In a perfect world, Christina Aguilera’s ‘Your Body’ would have been #1 for weeks.

In this franchise, we look back on songs that deserved a little more love and attention.

Selena Gomez & The Scene were on a roll in 2011/2012, landing mega-hits with “Who Says” and enduring karaoke classic “Love You Like A Love Song.” When it came to rolling out the third single from When The Sun Goes Down, “Hit The Lights” seemed like a safe bet. A bright and bubbly synth-pop anthem about seizing the moment, the track was destined for chart glory. Instead, it missed the Billboard Hot 100 entirely — the diva’s first and only single to suffer this fate — and was cruelly left off her greatest hits LP, For You.

Well, it’s time for justice to be served! “Hit The Lights” is uplifting teen-pop at its finest and most certainly didn’t deserve to flop. In fact, Selena’s underrated gem delivers important life lessons without skimping on a catchy chorus or perky synths. “It’s the plane you wanna catch to Vegas, things you swear you’ll do before you die,” the “Bad Liar” songstress warns dramatically. “It’s the city of love that waits for you, but you’re to damn scared to fly.” Her advice? “Hit the lights, let the music move you, lose yourself tonight.”

Despite the fact that it failed to dent the Billboard Hot 100, “Hit The Lights” still managed to sell platinum. The video clip, which featured Selena swimming in a sea of pink balloons and partying with friends in a pumpkin patch (the early ’10s were wild), was also something of a delight that has racked up 148 million YouTube views. Revisit the pop star’s lost bop below.

Is this song underrated? Let us know below, or by hitting us up on Facebook and Twitter!

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Inside the transformational AV duo of Paula Temple and Jem the Misfit

Paula Temple and Jem the Misfit are working on the latest iteration of a project about transformation. It melts and fragments, crystallizes and forms, from its rich palette of hybridized techno and ambient textures, sonic and visual alike.

And now, it’s set to be involved in some way in transformation beyond just the confines of a single performance – as a statement about what society might do differently and how artists can contribute. With NODE Forum in Frankfurt am Main, Germany at the end of the month, the duo will premiere Nonagon II, a sequel to their stunning 2014 AV show in Amsterdam’s retina-popping EYE cinema (as one of the real highlights of that year’s Amsterdam Dance Event). They’re looking to extend a profound but sadly, rarely-seen collaboration into updated structures while engaging NODE’s activist theme, “Designing Hope.”

That makes for a perfect time for CDM to join the two together – Paul Temple, the techno legend (R&S Records) known for her brutal produtions, and Jem the Misfit, one of the top practitioners of live visual performance.

For reference, here’s a look at the previous iteration, though we’re keen to see the new evolution:

Jem the Misfit (aka Jemma Woolmore), left, with Paula Temple, right.

Jem the Misfit (aka Jemma Woolmore), left, with Paula Temple, right.

CDM: First, I think from an AV standpoint, it’s really significant that you’re together on stage. Obviously that sends a message to the audience, but what does it mean for playing together? Are you communicating there – even if just by your presence?

Jem: Paula and I work closely together before and during the show. Being on stage physical is really important for timing and connection in the performance; we give each other verbal cues, but also react with our body language. We also work closely together before the show, practicing and discussing the ideas and flow of the performance. It is also important that we are both onstage to highlight that this is a collaboration between two artist working together to build the show.

Jemma, it feels like what you’re doing is really cinematic, but it also breaks up that rectangle (with geometries, etc.). What’s your approach to the screen here? Of course, in the first version, you were in an actual cinema – where might this go in future?

Jem: Breaking the regular rectangle of the screen is something I try to achieve in all my performances. With the Nonagon show, I have a clear geometric language built around the nine-sided nonagon form and I construct abstract forms using MadMapper to translate the visuals through these geometries. As you say, the Nonagon show is highly cinematic and was originally designed for a cinema context for our show at The Eye in Amsterdam. For Nonagon II at NODE, I am using a little less of the Nonagon geometries and instead moving from these fixed, tight geometries, eventually breaking their borders and allowing the visuals to flow across the screen as the show develops. I am also interested in putting emphasis on light intensity and color to influence mood in this version of the show. In future iterations I could envisage this leading to more development in using lighting as well as video and bringing the geometries off the main screen and out into 3D space.

paula

Paula, this is a different sound world than a lot of people know from you. Is there a connection to the techno productions they may know better? Does that impact the approach to timbre, to rhythm?

Paula: I think it is the same sound world, just not as strictly dance floor-aimed. But I know what you mean, it even surprises me how people who follow my music easily recognizes my style in my more experimental live sets. It is one reason why I prefer to perform the experimental sets at festivals such as UNSOUND or INTONAL or the NONAGON II AV at NODE; the crowd knows my music more like an emotional expression and can therefore connect to the music beyond a released piece of music. There’s still recognizable elements, like from my track called Deathvox. When I’m producing I never consciously think about timbre or rhythm — that way of thinking is too detached. I’m feeling emotionally, I’m opening my sensory gating channels, connecting feelings into electronic sound without thinking too technically, and therefore being deeply immersed in that state to give a translation of those emotions through sound. People who really like my music seem to be tuned into that state too.

https://soundcloud.com/paulatemple/deathvox-deathvox-ep [embedding not allowed here]

Can you tell us a bit about the sound world here? What are its sources; how was it produced?

Paula: The sources to me are the thoughts and feeling that develop into these pieces. Lately, they have come from reflecting on social injustices happening and dystopian dreams, or even falling asleep to movies and waking up at a scary moment!

For example, one track has a working title called “Earth,” where I would have a recurring dream where everything green — plants, trees, vegetables — turns black and dies within seconds, and Earth is so hurt, so angry at what we humans have done, that Earth asks the Sun for help and asks the Sun to eat Earth. I remember at the time of making “Earth,” I was trying to watch the movie Melancholia and as always, I fall asleep and then I’m waking up as the movie ends, still half asleep, wondering what’s happening!

When producing, I am working in Ableton Live, with customized drum devices I’ve developed in the last 3 years and jamming on my [Dave Smith Instruments] Oberheim OB-6 or a virtual instrument like Tension [in Ableton Suite].

You’ve changed the music here for this edition, I know. What’s new in this version?

Paula: We’ve decided to keep the remix I made for Fink in the show as the lyrics literally relate to hope, not giving up. Plus there are new pieces relating to what Jem has also been inspired by lately, such as corporate made environmental or socioeconomic regressions and aggression, Entanglement or the Angela Davies book Freedom is Constant Struggle.

Jemma, how did you work on the visual material; how was it influenced by that music? I know there was some shooting of stuff melting, but … how did that come about; where was the design intention on your side and how did you collaborate together on that?

Jem: For the original Nonagon show, Paula and I developed the music and visuals in tandem, based around a common structure that included working in 9 parts and using 9 specific actions (such as distort, reverse, stretch etc) to apply visually or musically. This lead me to find ways of manipulating form both in virtual space but also using real forms, as you say, building and melting geometric objects and capturing this in time-lapse. So visually, Nonagon was about applying these specific actions to geometries and moving through a exploration of form, in connection with Paula also manipulating her sound in similar ways.

In Nonagon II, the focus has shifted from purely formal aims to more specific thematic ideas. When NODE approached me about performing at the festival, their theme ‘Designing Hope’ really caught me as a challenge, and I knew Paula would also be interested in tackling this theme. When I contacted Paula about NODE, we both agreed that we should shift the focus in Nonagon to try and address this idea of designing or generating hope through our performance – hence creating Nonagon II.

Our approach to the theme is that there can be no hope without action. So as well as Paula’s action to donate her fee to the charity Women in Exile, the new trajectory for Nonagon II is to move from a place of fear through to an empowering place of action. Through the show we transition from simplification to complexity, individuality to multiplicity, fear to action.

nonagon-ii_image1

nonagon-ii-planning-01

Visually, I am signifying this (again) through geometries that develop from simple shapes into complex systems, falling, melting and merging along the way, using color and light intensity to transform the emotional impact throughout the show.

Interestingly, in the time since we last worked together – which is over a year – Paula and I have found that our ideas and development in our work have followed similar processes and align in many areas. We have both independently decided to use the term ‘entanglement,’ this idea that everything is linked and that over-simplification of systems, ignoring their relationship to one another is incredibly dangerous – for instance, the supposed self-maintaining economic system championed by neo-liberalism, ignoring its entangled relationship with climate and natural resource systems. We also have both read Angela Davis book ‘Freedom is a constant struggle,’ which also talks about building connections across political movements and the importance of moving outside narrowly-defined communities and working together.

Also, the idea of acknowledging fragility in the balance of all our systems and having some humility in regard to our place in this universe has been important for both our practices.jemmisfit

Can you each describe a bit your live rig onstage? Now, presumably we’re meant to be watching the screen, not you two, but is it important for you to be able to make this a live improvisation?

For the visual set up, I am running Resolume [VJ/visual performance tool/media server] and MadMapper software, and using the Xone:K2 MIDI controller from Allen & Heath. There is no pre-programmed timeline in any of this setup, so it is all improvised. Paula and I like to practice the performance several times so that we have worked through the flow and impact of specific points in the show, but we are able to improvise fully making each performance unique.

Paula: My set up is simple — Ableton Live, Push 2 controller and Allen & Heath K2 controller. I care more about the music working succinctly with Jem’s visuals to encourage the audience to feel, to reflect within or get a sense taking some kind of positive action, than about making it a live improvisation.

01

“Designing Hope” is the theme of this year’s NODE. Paula, I understand you donated your fee – what’s your intention as far as doing something socially active, with this project, or with other projects?

Paula: Considering the theme ‘Designing Hope’ came the simple question to reflect on, who needs hope the most right now? Then looking at who locally is giving hope and I learned about Women in Exile, a non profit organization founded in 2002 by refugee women who work closely with refugee women in and around Brandenburg and Berlin.

In their activities, Women in Exile visit the refugee camps in Brandenburg to offer proactive support to refugee women from the perspective of those affected, to exchange information on what is going on and to gather information on the needs of women living in the camps. They organize seminars and workshops for refugee women in different topics on how to improve their difficult living situation and develop perspectives to fight for their rights in the asylum procedure and to defend themselves against sexualized/physical violence, discrimination and exclusion. They present the current issues, such as the hopelessness of deportation, to different organization nationwide in order to bring awareness to refugee women issues to the society. They give an incredible amount of energy and support to women whose world have turned upside down. Donating a fee is the least we could do. We hope, with our best intentions, is to invite others at the event to think about who are we designing hope for.

[Ed.: I’m familiar with this organization, too – you can find more or contact them directly:]

https://www.women-in-exile.net/
info[at]women-in-exile.net

What does it mean to be involved with NODE here, and with this community? (Realizing neither of us is a VVVV user, Jemma, but of course there’s more than that! Curious if that’s meaningful to you to be able to soak up some of that side of this, too.)

Jem: I think we are both excited about being involved at NODE this year and interacting with a community that is working at the intersection of technology and art as well as pushing ideas around how art/tech crossover can be used to inspire communities outside of art+tech. This is where I see our performance fitting even if we are not specifically using VVVV. Personally, I am looking forward to a few extra days at the festival and exploring the possibilities of VVVV, as well as meeting at the VVVV community and exploring possible crossovers in our work.

https://nodeforum.org/ | https://17.nodeforum.org/

https://17.nodeforum.org/events/nonagon-jem-the-misfit-paula-temple/

http://jemthemisfit.com/

http://paulatemple.com/

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Katy Perry’s “Swish Swish” Gets A Country Club Martini Crew Remix


Katy Perry's 'Witness': Album Review

Katy Perry boldly explores club sub-genres on her banger-heavy new album.

I really don’t know what’s going on with “Swish Swish.” The track looked set to become the next breakout hit from Witness when it sparked a firestorm of controversy and debuted at number 46 on the Billboard Hot 100, but things have gone a little quiet since then. Katy Perry initially confirmed that the song was about Taylor Swift on Carpool Karaoke (“She started it, and it’s time for her to finish it”), but has since back-peddled somewhat, saying the song was inspired by bullies in general.

The ongoing debate is a public relations minefield, which is probably why the video is nowhere to be seen. It will be a shame if Katy quietly moves on to the next single, because the meme-spawning anthem is an undeniable bop. Anyway, given that an official remix package may never arrive, Country Club Martini Crew’s (real name Lucas Fantinel) unofficial overhaul is doubly exciting. The Brazilian DJ deftly removes Nicki Minaj’s cameo, focussing instead on the chorus and Katy’s shade-throwing verses. Listen to the club-friendly remix below.

Do you love the remix? Let us know below, or by hitting us up on Facebook and Twitter!

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Hanson Calls Justin Bieber’s Music “Chlamydia Of The Ear”


Justin Bieber & Luis Fonsi's "Despacito"

Justin Bieber jumps on the remix of Luis Fonsi’s chart-conquering “Despacito.”

Sounds like Hanson has been vaccinated against Bieber Fever. The band of brothers responsible for the 90’s banger “MMMbop” got catty when talking about Justin Bieber and the state of modern music during a recent interview. The teen heartthrobs were invited to play a game of Whose Song is it Anyway, a simple game that turned shady when the brothers had to identify music that has topped the charts since the first (and last) time they did in 1997. When asked to identify this week’s chart-topper “Despacito,” they delivered a cutting critique of the featured crooner. “Can I just say I’m glad I didn’t know what that was,” one of the brothers said after failing to identify the Bieb’s feature on Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s smash hit.

“I prefer not to get any venereal diseases so whenever Justin Bieber gets near me or near my ears… it’s just ear infections, they’re terrible,” they said. Since they were in Australia, the conversation inevitably turned to koalas, who are apparently carriers of the chlamydia virus. This led to the group’s official diagnosis. Listening to Justin Bieber results in “chlamydia of the ear.” Ironic coming from a group of one hit wonders who have struggled to regain relevancy since the end of the ’90s.

The brother’s diss comes off as a bit of a cheap attempt to stir up some controversy for their Australian tour. Justin has yet to deign the former boy band worthy of a response. Guess he’s too busy enjoying his latest tenure at the top of the charts and cooking up hits for his upcoming LP. He may not know the lyrics to his latest hit, but at least he remembers what it feels like to be on top. Check out the rest of Hanson’s interview here.

Who are you siding with this time around? Let us know below, or by hitting us up on Facebook and Twitter!

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Katy Perry’s Demo Of Britney Spears’ “Passenger” Is Here & It’s Magnificent


Katy Perry's 'Witness': Album Review

Katy Perry boldly explores club sub-genres on her banger-heavy new album.

Here’s a special treat. Katy Perry’s demo of “Passenger,” a song that later graced Britney Spears’ Britney Jean LP, has finally surfaced and it’s magnificent. The track always sounded somewhat out of place on Brit’s much-maligned album for the simple fact that it has more to say about the human condition that bops like “Work Bitch,” “Tik Tik Boom” and “It Should Be Easy.” Produced by Diplo and co-written by Katy and Sia, the mid-tempo bop is about letting go and letting the universe, God or a loved one (depending on your standpoint) take the wheel.

Surprisingly, there isn’t a lot of different between the demo and the finished version — at least, lyrically. Katy’s version sounds less robotic and organic, but that could have more to do with it being a work in progress. It also sounds more alive, vulnerable and hopeful. Having heard Katy’s demo, it’s odd that “Passenger” didn’t end up Prism. The track would have fit into the second half of the album perfectly. Anyway listen to Katy’s version and compare it with the finished product below.

Katy’s version:

Britney’s version:

Which version do you prefer? Let us know below, or by hitting us up on Facebook and Twitter!

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East Beat: Your Guide To Asia’s Best Pop Songs Feat. NCT 127 & Perfume


East Beat: G-Dragon & Cosmic Girls

Your guide to the week’s best Asian pop songs featuring G-Dragon & Cosmic Girls.

The world of pop music moves fast, especially for those who enjoy the sounds of the East and the West. Keeping up with the Hot 100 is hard enough, let alone knowing what’s going on in Japan and the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it K-Pop scene. To help you stay on top of Asia’s hottest pop music, I’ve put together East Beat — a handy guide to the best K-Pop and J-Pop (and beyond!) songs of the week.

Experimental boy band NCT just dropped one of the year’s best releases with their third EP, Cherry Bomb. The title track is a strange mix of brooding outsider hip-hop and K-Pop, but for those looking for something more commercial there’s the pulsating house track “Summer 127.”

Girls Next Door released one of the week’s most surprising releases with the lush electronica of “Deep Blue Eyes.” The project group is made up of members from various K-Pop groups, including Lovelyz and Red Velvet, who are currently starring together on a reality show about girl group members writing and starring in their own K-drama.

The legendary T-ara also returned with a new album, What’s My Name. The title track is a solid slice of catchy dance-pop, but one of the album’s major standouts is member Qri’s solo track “Diamonds.” With its brooding bassline and chilled swagger, it sounds more like something a hipster Pitchfork pop star would release than a glossy K-Pop diva.

Japan’s Perfume add a tropical twist to their trademark techno-pop sound with “Everyday.” The track is being used to promote a new Panasonic washing machine, which explains the clean and pristine look of the music video.

Last but not least, Chinese-American songstress Rose Liu lends her heavenly vocals to rapper MC Han’s new future bass single “Be Alright.” The San Francisco-born beauty shot to stardom a few years ago on a number of reality TV singing competitions, including The Voice China, and is now busy forging her own music career.

What are you into this week? Let us know below, or by hitting us up on Facebook and Twitter!

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The Drop: Your Guide To New Music Friday Featuring Alma & Dej Loaf


The Drop: Allie X & Starley

Your guide to New Music Friday featuring pop divas Allie X and Starley.

Fridays can be overwhelming for pop fans. Every week you’re bombarded with a glut of new music, which can lead to ear candy falling through the cracks. I’m hoping to circumvent that tragic scenario with The Drop — a cheat sheet (of sorts) to get you through New Music Friday. By now, you’ve probably heard Rihanna sizzle on DJ Khaled’s “Wild Thoughts” and possibly checked out Katy Perry’s slinky turn on Calvin Harris’ “Feels.” Oh, and then there’s Shania Twain’s perky comeback single, “Life’s About To Get Good.” But that’s still just the tip of the pop iceberg.

Let’s delve a little deeper by examining the week’s essential club features. Norwegian goddess Astrid S lends her icy vocals to Blonde’s “Just For One Night,” creating brittle dance-pop magic. The UK duo already has two top 10 hits to their credit and there’s every chance of this becoming their third. Equally successful is Alma’s euphoric feature on Martin Solveig’s “All Stars.” The bad ass behind “Chasing Highs” and “Dye My Hair” is the perfect foil for the French DJ’s very 2017 twist on disco. Play it loud.

The same applies to Demi Lovato and Jax Jones’ “Instruction.” The pop star, who proved her club chops on Cheat Codes’ “No Promises,” really lets loose on this rowdy, balls-out banger. With a song with Marshmello reportedly on the way, she is on her way to becoming pop’s new club queen. However, she has a way to go before she steals Kylie Minogue’s throne. The legendary diva makes a surprise return this New Music Friday via a feature on Zoot Woman’s (Stuart Price’s side-project) “Still Feels Like The First Time.”

Still thirsty for bops? Icona Pop comes through with “Girls Girls,” a soaring tune written by fellow Swede Tove Lo. Like every song they have released since “I Love It,” this is a club-ready, pop-centric party anthem that really should be blasting out of every radio over the summer. If you like their fiery approach, brace yourself for Sälen’s acerbic “So Rude.” The UK trio don’t believe in biting your tongue as they proved on tracks like “IILWMBF” and “Diseasey,” but this bop includes zingers like “I’ll kill you and get away with it, you don’t deserve to live!” I’m slayed.

Jaira Burns is less aggressive but every bit as honest on “Ugly,” a snapshot of a one-night stand gone horribly wrong. Produced by Cirkut and Billboard, who have crafted hits for Britney Spears, Kesha and The Weeknd, this track has serious pop pedigree. It’s not all doom and gloom this week. Comprised of producer Johnny Hwin and vocalist Brodie Jenkins, Cathedrals deliver a blissful, warm embrace of a pop song with “With You.” Notice how effortlessly it mashes synths and guitars.

The influence of the ’80s hovers over The Drop this week, but some artists take it more seriously than others. UK synth-pop duo Monarchy drag us back to the days of big hair and bigger shoulder pads with “Hula Hoop 8000,” a track that falls somewhere between Pet Shop Boys and Scissor Sisters on the synth-pop spectrum. Parade Of Lights also take their lead from the ’80s, but “Touch” comes at it from a different angle with jaunty synths and jangly guitars. If you like Bleachers and WALK THE MOON, this is the song for you.

How about some hip-hop? It’s not every day you describe a song as a revelation, but that applies to Dej Loaf’s “No Fear.” One listen and I transformed from a casual fan to a stan. Produced by Ricky Reed, this joyful oddity finds the loved-up rapper praising her man and planning the future over a wicked bass-line. The flip side of that scenario is explored on Trina and K. Michelle’s “If It Ain’t Me.” Talk about a match made in R&B/hip-hop heaven. This emotionally devastating bop showcases their very underrated talents.

I guess I should recommended some slow jams, on the off chance you’re not in the mood to twerk or burn down your man’s house. I can’t be the only one with a soft spot for Carla Bruni. The torch singer/former First Lady of France teases her comeback with an effortlessly chic cover of Rolling Stones’ “Miss You.” While we’re on the topic of killer covers, James Gillespie tackles Pink’s “Don’t Let Me Get Me.” The Brit, who went viral with “What You Do” earlier this year, strips it back to basics and turns it into the sad ballad it was always destined to become.

With EDC underway in Las Vegas, it seems fitting to wind things up with Armin Van Buuren’s latest. The Dutch DJ, who has been ruling dance floors since the mid-’90s, teams up with Josh Cumbee for an uplifting anthem called “Sunny Days.” Try not to smile as the curiously-named vocalist declares “sunny days lift me when I’m down, sunny days breaking through the clouds” over waves of Armin’s synths. Listen to the serotonin-lifting banger in my playlist below.

What are you into this week? Let us know below, or by hitting us up on Facebook and Twitter!

The post The Drop: Your Guide To New Music Friday Featuring Alma & Dej Loaf appeared first on idolator.

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