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Bleach Baby – This Is For You

Want to hear a groovy house tune that sounds tailor-made for festival mainstages? Look no further than “This Is For You”. It’s apparently the debut release from a project with no information around it other than backing from Armada Deep, but who needs context beyond the music? I can already see an Ultra crowd bouncing up and down in unison, fireworks going off and flame columns shooting up into the night sky, absorbed by the sounds and not concerned with the magician behind the curtain.

It’s hard to feel alone while listening to a song whose ethos is so obviously communal in nature. You can feel the passion of electronic music coursing through the veins of “This Is For You” with each and every passing second, like PLUR is encoded in its sonic DNA. The days of making kandi and sweating it out on the dance-floor before hugging it out with all my friends during high school are coming back to me! “This Is For You” is obviously a song crafted with love and honesty in mind which simply can’t be faked or conjured up, so I’ll be revisiting this one soon.

Jai Wolf – Indian Summer (Kasbo Remix)

It’s a hell of a task to remix a song near and dear to over 45,000,000 listeners, much less being the only artist to deliver an official remix after the seminal electronic cut dropped two years ago. That being said I can’t imagine anyone better to do the job than Kasbo – he’s a young talent whose work is able to exist in the EDM space while maintaining artistic substance. Rather than feeling like tracks prepared to be readily added to club mixes with maximalist drops, he delivers songs that are crafted with care that makes each and every second important.

His “Indian Summer” remix continues that trend by creating just over four minutes of pure unadulterated bliss. It feels like the soundtrack to a vital moment in someone’s life as they reach a beautiful peak much like the mountains on the album artwork. Even on a normal work day like today it improves my mood and makes me feel like I’m participating in the greater good of a harmonious world. This is a track I’m gonna be listening to again…and again…and again…

Pablo Nouvelle feat. Lulu James – Wired

I’m always down for a visceral house tune that winds through atmospheric, dance-floor driven bliss. Pablo Nouvelle’s newest is just that as it conjures images of sparse strobe lights piercing a dense fog hanging over the sweaty masses of a club. Each person present contributes their interpretation of the song’s rhythm to a greater collective of bodies moving in unison to the beat. It’s a no brainer for Armada to back a track that checks off all the boxes of an essential house offering: a smoky vocal topline, pitch perfect percussion, and an exquisite blend of ethereal synth touches sprinkled throughout a gritty synth at center stage.

Excuse me while I continue to rave about “Wired”, but it’s seriously a song that reminds me of why I have a genuine passion for house music. There’s no other genre that can make me move in my seat on command and immediately welcome its part human, part machine embrace. I can get lost in the music for hours at a time, where eight minute extended cuts feel like mere moments in a state of extended bliss. I have a playlist for those occasions, a playlist that “Wired” is now a part of.

Saukrates – Season 2

Saukrates, Soxx, Big Soxx – he’s a man of many names, and with that, comes many talents. Behind the mic and boards alike, the forefather of Toronto hip-hop defined the sound of a region with the rejection of major labels and a blast from the underground (read: The Underground Tapes). Upon claiming his rightful throne, he quietly aligned his heir apparent via the introduction of Drake to OB OBrien – the pop and rap landscape hasn’t been the same since those two connected, and with that, the waves of Saukrates’ influence can be felt across decades.

That being said, I’ll try to not minimize Saukrates’ talents to so few words as I digest his newest creation: Season 2. The man is a storyteller who weaves tales of romance and heartbreak (“Fever”), pride and probity (“Jays Fitted”), all into a potent mixture of bars and wonderfully sung vocals. He’s adept with each word he spits, turning lines into pure poetry with vivid imagery attached to each and every syllable: “You think your bitch is bad, my lady such a sweet disaster.” As always, Soxx also has a finger on the pulse of old heads and new heads alike as he taps Kardinall Offishall and SonReal respectively for a set of hometown features that make the record feel like a true Toronto celebration.

On Season 2, the golden era of hip-hop, past present and future, is alive and well. Big ups to Big Soxx.

AWAY – Honest To Gød (feat. Charity)

Lowly Palace has a knack for singling out producers with exponential potential, one of the most obvious being AWAY. I’ve been obsessed with his debut single “Sleepwalker”, a production that grinds introspective melodies from London Thor into dust with a contorted synth of a hook. His follow-up, “Honest To Gød”, is a fitting follow-up that dives into the depths of sonic pathos as Charity’s vocals swirl through a minimalist haze before she declares “I’m addicted to the pain.” On cue, the song collapses into a glitchy, effects-soaked bottom.

Beyond the sounds of “Honest To Gød”, I find myself considering the line “I’m addicted to the pain.” I like to think of myself as someone who pursues happiness on all fronts, but there are times where I experience moments of pain that I allow to slowly spread across my day until I wallow in them. I don’t think it’s masochism by any stretch, but I subconsciously find something enthralling about melodrama, like a music video character staring out a rainy window. There are days like today where I start off strong, but a fleeting moment of sadness turns into an evening of unnecessary introspection. I think I’ll give “Honest To Gød” one more listen before I snap out of it.

I, Us & We – Ceremonies

Listening to Ceremonies is the first interaction I’ve had with I, Us & We’s music, but it certainly won’t be the last. Their sound brings a whole new meaning to atmospheric as each track feels like a wholly engrossing world of its own. Lead single “Tryst” immediately grabbed my attention as the vocal melodies remind me of Cynic’s essential Traced In Air (funny how an indie-electro cut can have similarities with a metal masterpiece), but I was successively pulled into their sonic world more and more with each track.

The artwork is fitting for Ceremonies, its futuristic imagery echoing the album’s forward-thinking ethos. Are the figures on the cover statues? Are they alive? Are they human? Are they something else entirely? I found myself thinking about that while listening to the record. Maybe it’s a mixture of all of the above, just like I, Us & We mix elements of indie stylings of the organic nature with electronic elements of the technological realm.

Joselyn – Savior

Don’t need to be my savior…I need encouragement and assistance from those around me, but I know that no one person will be my savior. It’s an incremental process that requires communal love and support reciprocated among people, but most importantly, growth within. That doesn’t mean I’ve never seen someone or something as my savior though…I’ve tried to make a romantic interest the solution to my problems or use something to fix my problems, but at the end of the day there’s not an end all be all when it comes to solutions.

Joselyn gets that on her brand new single “Savior”. It’s a seriously empowering anthem that’s all about independence from others and finding confidence that comes purely from within. The way she vocalizes lines like “No more running from the way I know it has to be, I don’t need your drug” adds a whole new level of empowerment to the song as she sounds so poised – you can hear the ethos she preaches coming through every line she sings. It’s a phenomenal package from an artist overflowing with talent that’s just waiting to inspire audiences abound.

PLVTINUM – London’s Calling

A work friend remarked the other day that they wouldn’t expect me to be wearing a Madonna shirt – it makes since considering I’m a bearded 6’2″ guy who usually rocks metal merch, but it’s also hilarious considering I have Duran Duran’s Rio artwork permanently etched into my skin and a playlist ranging from Fergie to Lindsay Lohan in my regular rotation. I love the classics, but I also love listening out for who’s leading the pack when it comes to modern pop sounds.

Thus, consider me stoked that a friend sent over this brand new track from PLVTINUM. It’s an absolute earworm of a single that leans toward subtle touches of pop mastery (such as a sonic piece of the hook already present in the verses) which are thrilling to see coming from an independent artist. I saw a chart the other day that rates songs based on whether they’re bangers or jams and how far up the bop scale they are. If I had to rate “London’s Calling”, I’m thinking it leans heavily toward the jam side of the spectrum with serious bop potential. Time to add this bop to my playlist and spin it on repeat.

EMBRZ – Doubt House

I’m not sure what genre “Doubt House” falls under, but I do know it’s contemporary electronic music at its finest. The synthesizers and percussion are intricately woven, the vocals are affecting, the overall atmosphere a heady all-encompassing haze. It’s a natural step forward for EMBRZ, a producer who I’ve watched grow from promising raw talent to adept electronic producer.

Shifting to a personal note, I used to have a full-blown doubt house built in my mind. Anxiety prevented me from comfortably talking in front of groups, being satisfied with my work, or being satisfied with the person I am. It’s taken years, but there’s significantly less times that I’m not confident in myself or my output. I know the value I bring to my friends and family, I know the value I bring to my office, and I know the value I bring to myself. I have a internal conception that has replaced my doubt house as it slowly crumbles away.

WITHOUT – Love Liike This (feat. Essie)

WITHOUT’s newest conjures up images of brisk ocean breeze on a slightly cloudy day where the sun shines through. The tropical synths complete a groove that warrants a carefree sway back, forth, back and forth (rest in peace Aaliyah). With winter almost upon us, it’s a welcomed dive into the ocean depths with a smile on your face. My thoughts are scattered, but like any visceral experience, there’s no linearity – instead, I’m just riding the sonic waves.

On the flip-side, there’s something equally ethereal about the overcast skies that hang over LA today. It’s perfect for a lazy Sunday spent inside, alternating between watching football and movies, daydreaming about the week ahead. I’m a hot blooded person by nature, so this cold is right up my alley. When daydreams drift off toward the coast, though, “Love Liike This” is the soundtrack I need.