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Hitimpulse – Cover Girls (ft. Bibi Bourelly)

Excuse the hyperbole, but Hitimpulse’s newest just might be one of my favorite pop tracks of 2017. Assisted by a rising star in Bibi Bourelly, “Cover Girls” is a fine-tuned track that avoids the pitfalls of overdoing its electronic influences (see: almost every future-bass pop track this year) and instead gradually builds out from a chilling buzz with distant echoes into cyclical, synth-infused swagger. Continuing to prove itself a foil to most pop tunes, it drops out into a minimalist bridge that finds Bourelly’s gorgeous vocal musings of “Boys only love cover girls though, don’t they?” amidst distance echoes that eventually give way to a stunning chorus.

Led by a battlecry of a lead synth and a low-end taking influence from modern hip-hop, Bourelly outright flourishes atop an instrumental that’s undoubtedly the most fitting production for her vocals to date. As for Hitimpulse, they continue to display their knack for pop creations by ensuring the hook doesn’t overstay its welcome. In the duration of one song, I’m convinced that they could be the next big production force in pop and electronic music. Did I mention “Cover Girls” comes equipped with a surreal music video that takes its sound to the next level? Peep that below.

Blondie – Heart Of Glass (Auxil’s Flip)

There are some legacy acts that aren’t visible everywhere you go like Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd who are printed on every other shirt and poster you see, but they’re beloved to listeners and critics and musicians (will this be Carly Rae Jepsen in the future!? hmm…). In my eyes though, Blondie is one of those acts. They might not have their faces on every piece of wholesale memorabilia on Hollywood Boulevard, but they put out five acclaimed albums in a row during their heyday and still have fans and critics excited for a new album in 2017. And that all goes without mentioning their status as producers’ favorite source of inspiration for remixes!

I feel like there’s a couple Blondie remixes a year that gain traction which makes sense considering Debbie Harry’s vocals transcend time and space. That being said, a new production duo named Auxil just might have the best Blondie remix I’ve ever heard. It’s a deep house flip that blends with Harry’s vocals perfectly, especially on the bridge…that swell of synthesizers and her sampled vocals is downright euphoric! I don’t know where exactly this song takes me to mentally, but it’s a place I want to visit again and again with Auxil’s flip on repeat.

Brasstracks – Those Who Know

This new one from Brasstracks couldn’t have arrived at a better time. As the summer heat quickly begins to recede from its peak last week, “Those Who Know” is tailor-made for driving with the windows down and soaking up some of the best weather of the year in Los Angeles. Last night I drove through a winding canyon with a cool breeze flowing through my car, and looking back, the only thing that could’ve made that drive better would be this single as its soundtrack…now that I think about it, having a lovely lady in the passenger’s seat might’ve been a nice addition too, so I guess that’s two things!

That being said, it’s dope to hear a single be so infectious without popping out in ways that listeners have come to expect from the first taste of a new project. There’s so much replay value here and so many layers to digest with each successive listen from an act that’s made their name through a fresh, nuanced approach to electronic music. Just as much as I look forward to hearing this during my next drive, I’m excited to don a pair of headphones and dig into the subtleties of “Those Who Know” while waiting for Brasstracks’ next release.

LOKI – Lovin’ U (feat. Avedo)

Hats off to Epicure – for a label only established last year, they’ve just taken a step that signals a knack for curation to rival the best of electronic music’s rising boutique collectives. That notion comes to fruition on LOKI and Avedo’s new collaboration “LOVIN’ U”, an impeccable dive into synth-soaked romantics with sleek production stylings and a soulful vocal performance to match (not to mention what’s one of my favorite pieces of album artwork in recent memory). It’s a thorough, well-rounded release that serves as a prime example of a precise vision being executed by an organic, impassioned group of creatives.

A quick aside: I’m a cynic when it comes to technology in the context of capitalism – so often it ranges from coercively reinforcing systematic standards to downright exploitation. That leaves me worried about the increasingly centralized power of multi-national gatekeepers like Spotify over the distribution of music, but then I remember the innovation of artists and industry players as they push boundaries in the present that will lead to new avenues of delivering their music to listeners in new forms and fashions we’ve yet to consider. A recently realized label like Epicure that’s beginning to establish a recognizable identity and vision beyond a traditional label structure gives me hope for the future.

Super Duper – Never Gets Old (Feat. Remmi)

A lot of things get old throughout life, but if you direct your energy toward things you genuinely love then it’s much less likely to happen on drastic scales. You can’t just throw all of your energy into your passion without taking care of the base levels of your life, though. It’s great to be truly invested in something, but it’s not healthy to obsess over it until you’re burnt out and wondering how to even begin to recapture the spark that you had in the first place. There’s many ways to go about grounding yourself, but I’ve found a mixture of meditation to calm my thoughts, exercise to energize my body, and journaling to latch myself into the present moment gives me the groundwork I need to go out and chase my dreams.

It might sound less exciting than just going all out 24/7, but in the end it makes everything so much more sustainable and rewarding, much like this joint from Super Duper! Whether it’s the quirky piano to kick the track off or REMMI’s gorgeous pop vocals twirling along, you can hear the happiness flowing through Super Duper’s production and REMMI’s performance…it’s the kind of happiness that can’t be conjured by snapping your fingers, and it’s a happiness that’s evenly spread throughout the song rather than having huge pop hooks and throwaway verses in between. Most importantly, “Never Gets Old” is a song that I can’t get enough of!

Lui Peng – What To Say

Whether it’s on a macro scale or micro scale, it’s always exciting to watch the growth of an artist in realtime. There’s something so gratifying about tracking their creative energy as it evolves from a raw state into a focused vision that has the potential to make an impact on those who interact with their art. I’m experiencing that exact process with Lui Peng, an artist who I covered just over a month ago via his single “Nocturnal”, a cut where a singer-songwriter ethos and hip-hop sensibilities collided. On his fresh offering “What To Say”, the rising talent delivers a sound that’s simultaneously more infectious and introspective through a new lens.

While there was a slight division between the blend of musical elements on “Nocturnal”, Peng’s newest is a wholly natural blend of electronic and r&b elements that operate as one utterly smooth entity. As Peng croons “You know what to say to me make me feel like it’s real, when I’m feeling love”, the transition from minimal production to a gorgeous surge of percussion and wavy vocal sample just feels right. In the span of a month, Peng has gone from finding his footing as a genre-bending artist to delivering a seamless fusion that feels outright instinctive. Time to sit back and continue enjoying Peng’s inevitable evolution.

Micky Blue – Good Love

Micky Blue’s “Good Love” is a track that’s all about shedding negativity from a fucked up situation and emerging with a smile on your face. It’s easier said than done, but carrying resentments does our bodies and minds no good. There’s only so much mental baggage that can sit in our conscious and unconscious minds before it saps the finite amount of energy we carry until we’re sluggish and paralyzed with anxiety and depressive periods. One way to approach shedding that baggage is to view all situations without a positive or negative lens – rather than being good or bad, they just simply are. You can truly grow from examining a harmful situation in your past when you set aside internal biases and devise a strategy for the future.

Of course this leads to a freeing experience that feels good, and there’s nothing wrong with that. “Good Love” is a perfect example of the triumph you’ll feel once you step away from the past and toward the future, especially when the past wrongs were courtesy of a romantic interest…and while you might not have Micky Blue’s stunning, melodic vocals and ear for a massive hook, you’ll feel just as good! Now get out there, get to examining your life with an objective eye, and let “Good Love” be your soundtrack!

VNCCII – Wasteland

I’m usually not a fan of heavy tracks but this single from a new Australian talent in VNCCII just blew my mind. From the creepy down-pitched vocals to the frantic pace of the synths before the song’s drop, Wasteland is like an industrial science fiction movie came to life as a song, all before it delivers one of the most exciting dubstep(?) drops I’ve ever heard. The transition from the cryptic vocals declaring “unleash the wildebeest” into gnarly bass wobbles is straight up cinematic and would sound perfect pumping out of Shambhala speakers (I’m unfortunately too old for that crowd) or behind a heart-pumping alien chase scene (much better)!

Wasteland now has me thinking about my favorite science fiction movies…the first one I remember seeing was Aliens when it came out in 1986. It had the perfect mix of heart racing action and terror that I didn’t know I wanted so badly as a kid. The Thing was up there for me too…those scares and stressful actions sequences were second to none. Both movies gave me a thrill that I’ve chased ever since, so I’m happy that those same thrills made it into a three minute song for me to get my fix!

DROELOE – A Moment In Time

I know I can be a bit hyperbolic about the music I review (blame it on being passionate about others’ creative endeavors), but here’s a statement I say with the utmost confidence: DROELOE are one of the most unique electronic acts in the game. I had the pleasure of seeing them live alongside San Holo earlier this year, and with all due respect to their bitbird label boss, they were the undisputed highlight of the night. Not only did their original tunes absolutely slay a packed Exchange crowd, but their visual presence was astounding; backed by towering graphics with an indescribable amount of depth as their signature skull circled throughout various landscapes, they provided a hypnotizing experience usually reserved for established industry juggernauts.

Their debut EP, A Moment In Time, takes the creative conception on display at Exchange and channels it into a subdued yet nuanced approach that fleshes out their ever-evolving world of sight and sound. Led by immediately recognizable synthesizers with a warped edge, the five-track release winds through glitchy, ultra-melodic territory where a sense of wonder is the status quo. Just as DROELOE know how to engage with thousands of ravers in a high-energy Los Angeles club, they know how to engage the sole listener at home with headphones on, sinking away into an audible fantasyland that somehow feels like home.

Disco Fries ft. Great Good Fine OK – Moving On

Disco Fries may be moving on, but I need a moment to digest their fresh single’s artwork – is the guy on top of the building squirting ketchup onto the sign or the fries? Is the guy in the window below eating one of the fries? Where the hell did they get human sized fries and where do I get my hands on them?

Now that those important questions are out of the way, let’s talk music. The Disco Fries’ collaboration with Great Good Fine OK is a super interesting take on pop tropes from across decades – there’s a hint of future bass, stabby synths that feel like mid 2000’s EuroTrance, and of course disco flair that’s found in the track’s irresistible groove and vocal swagger alike. “Moving On” succeeds at balancing all of these moving parts by never taking itself too seriously – it’s a breezy, carefree atmosphere where good vibes are abound. When it comes to the Disco Fries’ newest, I’ll take seconds please!