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Kill Paris – Red Lights (Madnap remix)

Madnap’s approach to electronic music comes with an organic bent that’s hard to quantify but has been on full display with tracks like last year’s “Honey”. His sound feels so honest and personal rather than over-processed to the point of a disconnect; it’s subtle and stunning as seen on his brand new remix. Taking on “Red Lights” by Kill Paris, he transitions the groovy, upbeat original into a dreamy downtempo cut whose passionate display is felt through sultry verses and a dense, dynamic drop of a hook. There’s so many little touches like the tempo switch during the second drop that make this remix exciting to dive into with each and every listen.

The track’s sound feels like the sonic equivalent of a night drive through a neon-lit city where the individual moments blur together because the experience overwhelms the senses. It’s affecting and sticks with you long after the car shifts to park, your head hits the bed, and daylight creeps back in. I’m compelled to go on a drive with Madnap’s “Red Lights” remix playing and allow sensory overload to take hold.

Lonely Benson – Lonely Benson

Lonely Benson is an absolute fucking virtuoso and his debut album makes that crystal clear. It’s scattered with hints of nostalgia that touch specific parts of the soul (my Neon Indian chillwave phase and perpetual ’80s fandom are both satisfied), yet he simultaneously delivers a new experience that teases out fresh thoughts and feelings. The carefree tropical vibes that are spread throughout the record are so tantalizing and make for the perfect soundtrack as it begins to push upwards of 100 degrees on this side of the country.

The album’s last single is my favorite cut in particular. It’s titled “Let It Go” and it’s driven by buzzy synths layered in a way that grounds the song while simultaneously giving it a dynamic touch. The hook is a perfect culmination as all the moving electronic parts strike together in harmony while his singing feels like another symbiotic layer rather than a detached lead. It’s modern new wave excellence and I can’t get enough. My other immediate recommendations are “Location” and “Let Me Know”, but you can’t go wrong with any track on this album. Kick back on the beach, press play, and let it sweep you away.

Disco Fries – U Make Me (feat. Raquel Castro)

Disco Fries have carved out a feel-good niche whose common thread runs through all of their tunes. Their newest continues that trend as they team up with vocalist Raquel Castro for a perfect release to mark the beginning of spring. It’s a kaleidoscopic cut that reflects all the saturated colors of its single artwork with bouncy percussion and soaring synths, all of which are methodically strung together with care. For a duo that’s been releasing music at a steady clip for almost a decade, their work still manages to sound natural and ultimately fresh.

They’re living the dream of keeping things interesting after years of output. I have so much respect for longevity in a career and it’s something I’m committed to maintaining. When people ask me what my end goal is, I always tell them it’s to be with the group of guys I work with today, admiring the fruits of our labor and taking on new roles that are the natural evolution of today’s work; I want to continue shattering ceilings and ascend further. Disco Fries have tracks from the past couple years with millions of streams but have continued to break further into the collective consciousness of the dance music industry and lap themselves with accomplishments that look to propel them onward and upward. That’s a trajectory I can get behind.

Molly Moore – No Stress

No stress…I wish I was experiencing that sensation right now. Life has thrown some interesting curveballs lately, all of which has culminated in notable anxiety, but I’m working through it with tools at my disposal. I’ve practiced meditation, written about my thoughts, and attempted to maintain daily contact with a spiritual force higher than myself. It’s impossible to deal with these feelings purely through thought since that becomes a cyclical process where I’m having dialogue with the source of my problems. Thus, I look outward and reach my hand toward the universe with confidence that its infinite resources and knowledge will offer peace and tranquility.

Molly Moore makes relaxation sound wonderfully simple on “No Stress” through summery sounds and wise lyricism as she declares “we don’t need to overthink it.” The celebratory horns and light guitars make for a perfect backdrop that’s so easy to get lost within. This track provides a nice contrast to the downtempo nature of “Tough Love” and in turn shows off Moore’s versatility as an artist. On a day where I’m trying to remain centered through all means possible, “No Stress” will undoubtedly be on repeat.

warner case – thereforeyou

It’s guaranteed to be a good day when new warner case comes through my emails, so it seems like a promising Thursday is in store. This new one called “thereforeyou” is a total ear worm, yet it’s so lowkey and understated at the same time. It has such a nice groove that hits all the right pockets and the guitar from Youngr totally sweetens the deal. I also appreciate hearing warner case’s vocals without any effects; I loved the deep approach on “upsidown” but this one feels way more personal from top to bottom…it’s better suited for dimly lit bedrooms and balconies looking over cities at night instead of dance floors.

It has me thinking about some of my favorite quiet nighttime memories. One of them was looking out from my friend’s New York City apartment and seeing all the old, beautiful architecture towering over busy streets. Another was watching the twinkling lights of Los Angeles at night from my apartment years ago with headphones in, totally appreciating the moment from a mindful and present standpoint. Thinking back on it, “thereforeyou” really would have been a nice addition to that soundtrack…hopefully there’s more chances to make similar moments soon.

Justin Caruso – More Than A Stranger (feat. Cappa & Ryan Hicari)

I’m a sucker for a good vocal duet and that’s the centerpiece of Justin Caruso’s new single. Featuring Cappa and Ryan Hicari, the two provide beautiful and melodic performances that intertwine with one another like holding hands with someone you love. It also fits the songs theme of becoming more than a stranger as you can hear the two progressively becoming closer until their vocals overlap. Speaking of vocals, I’m equally a sucker for the vocal effects on Hicari’s voice at choice moments. It reminds me of my favorite ’80s vocalist like Phil Collins who’d add robotic effects that work as an emotional extension to give their work even more layers.

Of course, I’m also a massive fan of the production Caruso has done here. It’s super nuanced and seeping with serious pathos that sets the stage for all of the above. It really does well to flesh out the concept of realizing a stranger will be essential to your life, whether it’s a future friend or significant other. It’s a beautiful moment that’s hard to quantify but we’ve all felt it at one point or another. Here’s to embracing what the universe puts in front of you and going with the flow!

KHAI – For You

I often use music to soothe the soul every Monday as I ease into the week; it squashes any anxieties I may have about the days ahead and grants a base level of positivity for me to build upon. KHAI’s “For You” is a wonderful addition to that soundtrack as the single is a slice of sultry, atmospheric bliss that puts me in zone difficult to describe. I’ve spun it on repeat since it entered my inbox this morning and it makes everything around me seem in place, and in turn, puts me at peace.

The view overlooking the hills here in Los Angeles is gorgeous with the overcast skies draped atop them like a blanket. The palm trees are bent at perfect angles aside the roadways where cars move in tune. KHAI’s vocals bring forth much of these observations in particular. His harmonies are mesmerizing as they build upon one another toward the skies, all the while a hazy instrumental atmosphere unfolds below. It’s impossible to keep “For You” on as background noise as it utterly envelops the senses…I might need to turn it off if I’m going to get any work done today.

JUICY – Cast A Spell

I expected moody indie-pop from the opening moments of Cast A Spell, but after a mellow introduction, was greeted by playfully powerful bars from the duo that deliver female empowerment with an edge. There’s something wonderfully seething how they casually bounce around lines that taunt men for underwhelming genitals and hold their sexuality above the subject’s head as they declare “we won’t turn you on once again, this is the time to pay your dues to the women.” Not only is the lyrical content top notch, but the synergy between the duo is wonderfully natural as they trade back and forth before reaching harmonic perfection on the hook.

Their sonic versatility continues throughout the record as they deliver hazy r&b and sassy downtempo pop that’s all equally impactful. My personal favorite cut is “For Hands On Ass”, a nuanced cut with ominous production, simmering vocals, and a chorus that’s impossible to shake. It’s a track that points toward potential for their music to become an essential part of the conversation when it comes to artists that are pushing sonic and topical boundaries. I look forward to spending more time with this record and hearing whatever JUICY concocts next.

BoTalks – Weekend (ft. Laura Marano)

It’s almost the weekend in Los Angeles and it couldn’t be a more picture perfect day. The sun is shining, the temperature is nice and warm, and work is close to completion. There’s so many options for what do – maybe hit the beach, maybe go cruise through the hills, maybe go on a hike…who knows? The possibilities are endless in a city like this and no matter what activity I choose there’s going to be good vibes aplenty. Too many choices for fun? That’s a damn good problem to have if you ask me!

It’s also essential that this weekend has good company and good music. BoTalks’ new single that’s fittingly called “Weekend” is a perfect edition to the soundtrack I’ll be working on since it has a seriously carefree atmosphere. It’s one of those joints that you say fuck it and let loose to while surrounded by friends. I’m very ready to go ahead and experience that in just a few hours! Let’s go!

TOKiMONSTA – I Wish I Could (feat. Selah Sue) [Sofi Tukker Remix]

TOKiMONSTA was one of the first artists that got me into the more delicate, nuanced side of electronic music as her record Midnight Menu soundtracked a lot of late nights during my early high school days alongside classics like DJ Shadow’s Endtroducing….. Thus, it’s been a pleasure to see her receive widespread acclaim on Lune Rouge, an album that’s almost certainly her crowning achievement to date, over the past year.

I’m equally excited about the fact that TOKiMONSTA tapped Sofi Tukker for an “I Wish I Could” remix – it’s a serious collision of worlds as one of my favorite new acts takes on an artist paramount to my music taste’s development. The music lives up to the hype and then some as Sofi Tukker flips the track into an absolute banger of a house outing with a deep groove perfect for Selah Sue’s soulful vocal performance. It makes me wonder what would come from an outright collaboration between the critical darling and sync sensations – hopefully the universe wills that into action.