Swedish Dance Duo Nause Unveils New Pop Single 'Head Over Heels' [Review]


While on the topic of superb Swedish pop with the announcement of Robyn's new music today, it's a perfect time to also highlight Swedish DJ/production outfit Nause who return with a new single as well. Hause is the duo of childhood friends Jacob Criborn and Leonard Schejawho who first hit the scene in 2011 when they scored big with "Made Of" that was a massive, platinum-selling hit in Sweden.

The success of "Made Of" was followed by "Hungry Hearts" in 2012 that shot straight to number one on the Swedish pop chart. Since then, the two have continued to release a few more chart-topping singles in Sweden plus remixes for people like Afrojack, Tiesto, Britney Spears and Kaskade.

In the Swedish TV documentary series Heartbeats, Jacob and Leonard talk at length about the importance of going back to their roots and crafting big room house music after scoring big radio hits. Now, almost two years later, that experimentation with the club music that first brought them together has refreshed their artistic mojo and has led to another pop-savvy tune that will without a doubt appeal far beyond Sweden's borders.

Last week, Nause unveiled their new single "Head Over Heels" that features the vocals of Kurt Nilson. It's a fine slice of hyper-melodic dance pop that you can file right next to tracks by Avicii, Sebastian Ingrosso, Axwell, Alesso and many other of Nause's Swedish contemporaries who have made a lasting mark on the international dance and pop scene. No U.S. release date for "Head Over Heels" has been scheduled yet.

April 14, 2014 | Permalink

Full Details: Röyksopp & Robyn Release 'Do It Again' Mini Album on May 26


Finally. This the news we've been waiting for. Pop desperately needs Robyn to return and our wish will come true when the Swedish pop pixie returns next month with a new single and EP (that a press release refers to as a "mini album"). The new music is the result of her teaming with Norwegian pop maestros Röyksopp. Together they will release  the Do It Again mini album via Cherrytree Records/Interscope on May 26, 2014. "Do It Again" is the first single and will be released on April 28. The single serves as an introduction to a new Röyksopp album to be released later this year.

The new music is released in conjunction with the very highly anticipated Do It Again tour with Röyksopp and Robyn kicks off this summer in Spain at the Sonar Festival on June 13 and hits the US with stops including the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles on June 29 and at Pier 97 in NYC on August 20. 

To get us mentally and physically prepared for their big pop summer take-over, Röyksopp and Robyn unveil a clip from Monument, the first track on the mini album. It goes like this:

From this brief listen, "Monument" is exactly the sound and vibe we were hoping and expecting from a Robyn and Röyksopp collaboration. The song's "grandeur and grace is as distinctive as it is moving" and was the first song where they wrote lyrics together. A defining moment on the mini album in the shape of a near ten-minute long anthem, which was inspired by a sculpture from artist Juliana Cerqueira Leite, which gave Robyn a "physical experience of what it's like to define yourself or stand for something or figure out who you are."

In a press release, Röyksopp talks a little bit more about their point of view for their new music. "This 5 track mini-album is the accumulation and embodiment of the synergy between Robyn and ourselves. We've intended this to be a diverse yet cohesive and thought through musical venture; it's meant to be an expression where pop and art reign side by side."

The press release also describes that Röyksopp and Robyn were inspired by each other's company and compelled to create something they had never done before, building on the brief moments when they had come together in the past. Having worked together on "The Girl and the Robot," which appeared on Röyksopp’s Junior album in 2009 and "None Of Dem" on Robyn’s Body Talk Pt. 1 in 2010, the Do It Again mini album sees the two artists doing just that. 

Röyksopp adds, "This doesn't sound like Röyksopp featuring Robyn or Robyn produced by Röyksopp, it's just something else entirely. The word 'collaboration' has never before been more justified in the world of music!"

Robyn (who is styled immaculately in the new promo photography) also comments on the new music. "Svein and Torbjörn and I started working on new music in the beginning of 2013, I´ve been going back and forth to Bergen to record and write with the boys up until recently. Collaborating with S & T is something I enjoy very much. In the beginning we just knew we wanted to do something together and then it started to feel more like a band thing than songs for a Röyksopp or Robyn album so we´re releasing this music together as a band you could say."

Check out a few more blurbs from this morning's announcement to get yourself prepared for the onslaught of new pop:

Redbullet  "Do It Again" is the first single taken from the mini album and is an "accidental pop song" written after a night out together in Bergen. The effervescent, effortlessly uplifting electro-pop tune started out as a rave-inspired throwback.

Redbullet   Do It Again mini album covers big thumping house with the club-ready “Sayit”, which features a near duet between Robyn and what sounds like an aroused robot.

Redbullet  On the other end of the spectrum there is the closing "Inside The Idle Hour Club," which utilizes Robyn's vocal discreetly to create a pensive, slowly evolving soundscape that's worth diving into headlong.

Redbullet  Offcial Do It Again tracklisting: 1) "Monument" 2) "Sayit" 3) "Do It Again" 4) "Every Little Thing" 5) Inside The Idle Hour Club"

April 14, 2014 | Permalink

A Few Words about Why Kaskade's Redux Deserves to be Its Own Genre


Kaskade is heading out on the road for a second series of his popular Redux show that he launched last year to commemorate the tenth anniversary of his 2003 LP It's You, It's Me. Given the unique sound and success of Redux, it may be time to formally establish Redux as its own genre. Think of it a new sub-genre of house that mashes breezy chill-out and potent deep house with a hefty dose of melody. 

Purists will likely argue that Kaskade's distinct brand of house music doesn't equal a genre, but that's not the point. I'm arguing that given his passion and pursuit of high-quality house music ever since the start of his career, Kaskade is deserving of the honor of having a genre named after his musical style. Whatever your take on it is, we can all agree that he most certainly has carved out his own unique niche and Redux is a perfect label for it.

Redux has a special meaning for the DJ/ producer given the 10 year anniversary of his breakthrough album. "The inspiration for Redux was simplicity," he writes on his website. "My intention: to play small clubs, and for all who participated to be taken back a decade, when it was all about the music. When the term 'House Music' meant something pure. I wanted to touch base with my foundation, and do it in a way that was intimate."

Like I've said before, what truly strikes me about Kaskade is that in a world that is getting saturated with commercial, run of the mill house music, he has been able to stay true to his own sound. Deeply influenced by the West Coast house sound of the late '90s, the Chicago-born DJ, producer and songwriter carved out his own unique niche by combining lush house grooves with acoustic instrumentation. Most notably on "It's You, It's Me" that truly launched his career as a musical artist.

Kaskade will play new Redux this month and next in cities small and large. In conjunction with the 2014 Redux shows, the DJ will also release a vinyl Redux EP that features some brand-new tracks including his new single "Please Say You Will" featuring Adam Klopp that he unleashed late last week.

He writes on a special website a little bit more about his intent for Redux. "Redux has graduated from being an intention to describing a revolution where our coup d’état is a reversal of time. Redux is an observance of massive sound but restrained lights, married with hedonic amounts of deep and emotive house. When you close your eyes, you’re not missing anything; you’re doing it right. Redux will not be experienced by tens of thousands, but rather, hundreds. You know, like the way we used to do it."

Most of the Redux shows are sold out, but if there's any way you can get your hands on a ticket, make sure you do. It's a show not to be missed if you love the spirit of house music.

April 13, 2014 | Permalink

Hot New Talent Alert: Listen to Wrabel 'Ten Feet Tall' [Original Version]


Pop can use some fresh new voices and Wrabel is one those exciting newcomers to keep your eye on. After writing songs for others (including Adam Lambert and 2AM Club), the Long Island born pop crooner is stepping into the spotlight with the radio-ready "Ten Feet Tall." The track received a fitting make-over by Afrojack who upped the euphoric quality of the original without changing its heartfelt meaning. Afrojack's version of "Ten Feet Tall" featuring Wrabel is the lead single from his forthcoming debut album "Forget The World." The song is gaining momentum and currently climbing up the charts on both sides of the Atlantic.

Written by Wrabel in partnership with Chris Braide, "Ten Feet Tall" is a wonderfully performed love song that perfectly captures that feeling of butterflies when you first fall in love. People everywhere will be able to relate to Wrabel's story about love making you feel so big that you feel that you can accomplish anything. He sings, "Trying so hard not let it show/but you got my feeling like stepping on cars, building and boats/I swear I could touch the sky." 

Wrabel turned to Sherif Higazy, Abdo John Hajj and their Homage Arts production firm in downtown Los Angeles to film a music videos for his original version of "Ten Feet Tall." The result is a video that beautifully brings the message of the song to life. Set in a dark warehouse, the video shows Wrabel performing the song on piano surrounded by a miniature city filled with skyscrapers. While performing the song, all four seasons hit the city with fog and rain pouring down on the construction until the sun breaks through at the end of the song. That moment of sun and serenity bring the song to a peaceful ending just like Wrabel intended.

Wrabel's original production of the song will be featured on his own full-length release plus on the forthcoming installment of NOW That's Music. Look out for more of Wrabel's music that he worked on with producer Jim Eliot, Dan Black and others. Until then, make sure to pick up Afrojack's "Forget The World" when it's available on May 19 via Island Def Jam. (Listen to Afrojack featuring Wrabel "Ten Feet Tall" on Beats Music now.)

April 12, 2014 | Permalink

Review: Pop Newcomer Liz Unveils Video for 'All Them Boys' (And We Love It!)


Liz gives us exactly what we were hoping for in the video for her new single "All Them Boys" that premiered moments ago. The track is a blazing slice of late '90s inspired pop and R&B, and the colorful video for the single goes perfectly along with that.

After being signed to Diplo's Mad Decent last year, this video for "All Them Boys" is Liz's first big look that feels like a kick off to something big. The track was produced Mr. Carmack & Colta (from "Get Fresher" fame) and is taken from the singer's new mixtape.

I shared recently on Facebook that I find pop music a bit stale right now. There's are no major new albums on the release schedule in the next few months. Perry and Gaga are about to head on tour. Miley, Bruno and Justin continue their tour trek around the world. There are no plans for a new Rihanna album anytime soon, and according to reports Madonna is working on ideas for her new record but nothing is on the calendar yet.

This leaves the door wide up open for a new star to emerge on the pop scene. There are few, fresh-faced candidates that may bubble up as the next big thing in the next few months. Liz is one of those newcomers to keep your eye on. Her sound is distinct and her performance is charismatic. With the surge of interest in deep house and other throwback sounds, this is a really great moment to revisit late '90s pop and turn it into something contemporary. Liz does just that. It's perfectly timed.

She tells Interview Magazine, "I grew up on Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis and Max Martin. Anything they've done—I've been like, "Aahhhh!" I've always been a sucker for a great *NSYNC album, you know. I also can't forget Aaliyah, Ashanti, Mya, Craig David... they're some of my favorites. I think a lot of the music from that time period, like, early 2000's, was really overlooked."

She adds, "I think the soul element is missing. People want those catchy melodies back." We couldn't agree more. With pop hitting a bit of a rough patch, artists like Liz can revitalize the world's greatest genre.

April 10, 2014 | Permalink