Surfs up! And summery Pop continues to glisten over the waves AND the airwaves with new releases from Carly Rae Jepsen, Owl City and Austin Mahone. This week we’ve also got the latest from Florence & The Machine, former X Factor diva Tora and the terrific NYC band you need to know: Nick Blaemire & The Hustle.
“Good Time” – Owl City & Carly Rae Jepsen
& “Say Something” – Austin Mahone
Summer radio hits keeps bombarding us like brilliant bursts of late June sunlight, especially from the squeaky clean teeny bopper set. Out of the blue comes “Good Time, “ an unexpectedly shimmering confection from Owl City that perfectly captures the essence of the season. Frontman Adam Young has wisely enlisted current “Call Me Maybe” golden girl Carly Rae Jepsen, who adds some sonic color to Young’s otherwise monotone vocals. But the upbeat production indeed lives up to its name – including punctuations from an enthusiastic kids chorus right out of High School Musical – and this one will have you jumping around living rooms, sand dunes and dance clubs. Meanwhile, Austin Mahone is a 16 year-old who’s often compared to Justin Bieber. He actually has a boy band aesthetic closer in sound to One Direction . This is especially evident on his current “Say Something,” which features a timely reference to 4th of July fireworks. Both “Good Time” and “Say Something” cry out to be blasted over the speakers of a cruising convertible and they perfectly bookend the likes of “That’s What Makes You Beautiful.”
“Complete” – Nick Blaemire & The Hustle
Nick Blaemire & The Hustle is a 9-member, NYC-based outfit with a sound that’s both fresh and refreshing. Cheekily self-described as being “born out of the suburban living room record players of the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s,” I’d say they have most in common with the early 70s catalog of Chicago, but with a modern twist. Gloriously so. Frontman Nick Blaemire is also a talented Broadway performer, having just wrapped up a run in the recent revival of Godspell. He writes all the band’s material and has a great geek chic vibe going on, making the band’s hashtag #NerdSoul the perfect fit. The Hustle released a jamming self-titled 6-track EP earlier this year. Perfectly arranged by orchestrator and general musical wunderkind Jesse Vargas (also the group’s keyboardist), the record utilizes a perfect blend of…wait for it…actual instruments. Yes, those are real horns and winds you’re hearing! Now comes their first remix with the track “Complete,” with the honors done by Will Post. Given their real musical abilities, The Hustle also cries out to be heard live and their next NYC-area show is at Rockwood Music Hall on July 9. Check them out!
“Guns & Roses” – Tora
You may recall 2011 X-Factor contestant Tora Woloshin’s rendition of the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back” that wowed the judges to the point that Simon Cowell personally took her under his wing. Ultimately, he couldn’t figure out what to do with her, and she didn’t finish that race. But now comes her terrific debut single, “Guns & Roses.” A great dance/pop tune, the song very briefly and cleverly incorporates hints of a guitar riff reminiscent of the G&R stomper “Sweet Child ‘O Mine.” We also love the Riddler Remix, which kicks things up a notch.
“Spectrum” – Florence & The Machine
While revered for their first two albums, single-wise, indie band Florence & The Machine hasn’t yet duplicated the runaway success of their massive 2009 hit “Dog Days Are Over.” Indeed, you may be surprised to find out that their sophomore LP Ceremonials is about to launch its 5th single. The previous 4 didn’t make so much as a dent on the charts, but things could and should change with “Spectrum.” The gothic/gospel-tinged number that has Ms. Welch wailing the repeated plea “Say My Name!” is a perfect fit for club divadom. And the whole thing’s been given a sensational mix by Calvin Harris, who impressively avoids a rehash of what’s become his typical go-to sound. Our fingers crossed on this one.
BPM BITS: The latest release from Eurodance outfit Cascada is a repurposing of Corona’s 1993 dance hit “The Rhythm of the Night.” Lead singer Natalie Horler sings the original refrain paired with new rap verses…Mixes are out for Gossip’s “Move In The Right Direction.” The original stands on its own, but we’re liking the Seamus Haji mix…In advance of the Chicago tryout of her forthcoming Broadway musical adaptation of the film Kinky Boots, Cyndi Lauper has released the song “Sex Is In The Heel.” It’s available for free download at the show’s official website www.kinkybootsthemusical.com … For Big Room music fans, Chicago DJ Topher Jones has a killer Electro House cut “Drop The Brohammer” featuring some intense builds and hysterical use of the dudelicious title phrase…Among the many moody (some downright dour) remixes of Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know” is the winking “Miami Nights 1984 Remix” in an homage to such 80s computer pop as “Axel F.”
NEWS: The July edition of my monthly dance party “Get Your Mess On!” takes place next Thursday, July 5 at Pieces (8 Christopher Street). A return to Summer Thursdays, the night is paired with the weekly Beer Pong/Post Office party hosted by Dominic Sheahan-Stahl. So come on down for beats, beer and notes from boys! 8PM-2AM.
Kiki fever continues on this week’s TOP 20 DANCE CHART as Scissor Sisters spend a second week at #1 Kylie hangs on to #2 while Rihanna inches into the #3 spot with her eyes on the prize. The Whitney/Rihanna mash-up vaults up into the Top 10 while debuts from Tora and Florence and The Machine round out the Top 20.
1) Let’s Have A Kiki (Original & DJ Nita Mixes) – Scissor Sisters (1) *
2) Timebomb – Kylie Minogue (2) *
3) Birthday Cake (John Michael’s Bootleg) – Rihanna feat. Chris Brown (4)
4) Euphoria (Original & Wawa Mixes) – Loreen (5)
5) Turn Up The Radio (Original, Leo Zoren & Marco V Mixes) – Madonna (8)
6) Don’t Wake Me Up (Benny Benassi Mix) – Chris Brown (7)
7) Dance Again (Extended Remix) – Jennifer Lopez feat. Pitbull (6) *
8) We Found Somebody To Dance With – Rihanna vs. Whitney Houston (16)
9) Goin’ In (Extended & Gustavo Scorpio Mixes) – Jennifer Lopez feat. Flo Rida (9)
10) Scream – Usher (11)
11) I Don’t Like You – Eva Simons (15)
12) Wide Awake (Kaskade Mix) – Katy Perry (14)
13) Call Me Maybe (Original & DJ Reidiculous Mixes) – Carly Rae Jepsen (10) *
14) Hit And Run (Wideboys Mix)– Breathe Carolina (17)
15) Put Your Graffiti On Me (Original & Moto Blanco Mixes) – Kat Graham (3) *
16) Girl Gone Wild (Justin Cognito & Dave Aude Mixes) – Madonna (13) *
17) Dark Side (Ean Sugarman & Timofey Mix) – Kelly Clarkson (18)
18) Now Or Never (Jason Nevins Mix) – Outasight (19)
19) Guns & Roses (Original & Riddler Mixes) – Tora (DEBUT)
20) Spectrum (Calvin Harris Remix) – Florence & The Machine (DEBUT)
*Indicates current/former #1s