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Listen Now: Lincoln Jesser 'In My Dreams' featuring Yuna

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After producing hard-hitting club tracks and experimenting with bouncy indie pop, Lincoln Jesser is gradually developing a distinct voice of his own that truly makes him stand out from the rest of the emerging pop pack. The multi-talented Los Angeles-based writer, singer and producer provides us with a bit more sonic detail about what's to come next with the release of "In My Dreams" that is taken from his forthcoming new EP.

Jesser's freshly-unveiled "In My Dreams" is a special track for many different reasons including that it's a reunion with Malaysian pop sensation Yuna who is featured on the song. Jesser toured with Yuna last year to promote her debut album, plus he produced "Here Comes The Sun," a track performed by Yuna that is included on the Savages movie soundtrack.

Yuna's delicate vocals are a perfect fit for the sweet and gentle production stylings of "In My Dreams." Ruled by woozy synths, a hooky guitar loop and a grooving, laidback rhythm section, the song is a slice of finely-cut, sparkly disco pop that you can file right alongside records from Phoenix and Two Door Cinema Club. Highly-recommended. Watch this space for more Lincoln Jesser updates soon.

March 6, 2013 | Permalink

Album Review: Dirty South 'Speed Of Life'

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 By Steve Siegel 

Without a doubt one of the most anticipated LP releases of the year, Dirty South's long-in-the-making "Speed Of Life" is a strong collection of electronic dance songs that successfully straddles the line between the club and the home. The Australian producer has worked for nearly a decade to get to this point, steadily climbing up the charts through the years with bangers like his remix for Chris Lake's "Changes," "Phazing," and of course, his collaboration with Axwell on "Sweet Disposition."  

As EDM has exploded in America over the past two years, Dirty South (born Dragan Roganović) has assaulted the American dance charts with his collaborations with Thomas Gold ("Alive" and "Eyes Wide Open"), "Walking Alone," and of course, his collaboration with Alesso on "City of Dreams."  Now, on "Speed Of Life," the Aussie house producer treats his longtime fans (and definitely some new ones) to his expertly crafted melodic commercial house songs, as well as q few gems that display that something-in-the-water Aussie affinity for yearning electro-pop.

"Speed of Life" opens with the gorgeous "Gods" featuring Reuben Haze. For the first several minutes of the track, Dirty South takes the listener through an instrumental journey of detuned sawtooth leads and anthemic synth stabs.  For the last minute of the track, Haze’s ethereal vocals are whipped in and around the track with a heavy dose of reverb, setting the stage for the dramatic onslaught of dance tracks to come.

Guitar features heavily on several songs on "Speed of Life," which is a particular thrill to this reviewer. We get our first taste of Dirty South's preference for guitar with the excellent "Until The End" ft. Joe Gil. "Until The End" follows the familiar big-room trance stab formula but adds a twist with some guitar arpeggios that sound ready-made for the closing set of Ultra Music Festival. With America’s ever growing fascination with dance music, "Until The End" sounds like a potential cross over single for the future.

There’s also several low-tempo cuts on the album that show off the producer’s diverse production skills. "Sunrise" slows the tempo down and adds some heavily filtered guitar to create a dreamy electro-pop sonic landscape. Cheekily, Dirty South also gives us a corresponding track called "Sunset" that is built around a dissonant piano riff endlessly looped.  Taken together, these tracks demonstrate the classic Empire of the Sun dreamwave Aussie sound, something that many try to copy, but few can recreate as well as Dragan does here. 

With its mixture of both big room house sounds and downtempo electronica, Dirty South's "Speed of Life" is a worthy addition to the canon of EDM albums. It’s difficult to pull of an album of four-to-the-floor material, but Dragan does exactly that here, and with stunning results.

(Thanks to Steven Siegel for contributing this post. Raised in Detroit and currently based in London, Steven is a massive dance music fan and a budding DJ/producer. You reach Steve and listen to his own productions on SoundCloud.)

March 5, 2013 | Permalink

Hot New Pop Alert: Listen to Janet Leon "Heartstrings" (from Melodifestivalen)

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After participating in Sweden's famed Melodifestivalen as a performer in 2004 and 2005, Frederik Kempe decided to focus exclusively on penning songs for the annual song contest as a songwriter. Since then, the talented Swede has become the go-to Melodifestivalen hitmaker who has written over 20 songs that have been performed on the show. Three of his songs won and moved on to the Eurovision Song Contest including his tunes for Eric Saade ("Popular"), Charlotte Perrelli ("Hero") and Malena Ernman ("La Voix"). 

This year, Kempe collaborated with Anton Hård af Segerstad on "Heartstrings" that was performed by pop newcomer Janet Leon who was formerly a member of girlgroup Play (managed by Matthew Knowles). Segerstad is a young, up and coming dance-pop producer who we alerted you about earlier when we wrote about Goldfinger & Script, one of his newest production projects signed to Uniform Beat, Sweden's premier independent dance label. 

Kempe knows like no other how to serve up great Swedish pop that's ruled by an irresistible melody and a bittersweet sentiment. "I've been writing songs since I was a child and the songs I write come very naturally to me," he says in an interview with German TV. "I'm inspired by things that happen in my own life and I try to really put my heart into my writing; whether it's a ballad or an uptempo pop song. I think that is why the songs have worked so well. I really like to fill them up with good ideas and good fun."

The combination of Kempe's knack for melody with Segerstad's soundboard savvy on "Heartstrings" has resulted in massively delicious pop tune. The song is a potent slice of immaculately-produced Euro-pop with a glorious, sunburst chorus that neatly spotlights Janet Leon's larger than life vocals. It's quite frankly a tune that I'm sure Christina Aguilera would salivate over to record. Janet Leon is currently in the studio to record her new album together with GRAMMY-nominated Jörgen Elofsson (Kelly Clarkson, Britney Spears).(Click here to learn more about Janet Leon.)

March 5, 2013 | Permalink

New: Watch The Good Natured Cover The Mammas & The Pappas 'Monday, Monday' from 'March Mondays' EP [Exclusive]

The Good Natured gives us plenty to be excited about with a new single around the corner and a debut album in the making. To stir enthusiasm for the upcoming release of "5-HT" and to show us their punkier side, the group of Sarah McIntosh, Hamish McIntosh and George Hinton stepped into their garage to record a very special "March Mondays" EP. This forthcoming digital release features four Monday-themed covers that the band will unveil on each Monday of this month. If you're feeling a little reluctant to start your work week after an epic weekend, The Good Natured will make you think twice and stomp your week into high gear with this gritty "Monday, Monday" cover. (If you enjoy this cover make sure to look for other Monday-themed covers on select blogs in the next few weeks, and also check out the group's cover of "Wicked Games" by The Weeknd.) 

March 4, 2013 | Permalink

Exclusive: JD Davis 'Can't Stop Love' (Produced by Joachim Garraud)

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Pioneering French DJ/producer Joachim Garraud has played an instrumental role in bringing European dance music to the top of the global pop charts through his work with David Guetta on many of his productions. Hit tracks like "Love Is Gone" and "World Is Mine" helped define Guetta's signature sound and ultimately laid the foundation for his take-over of America a couple of years later. But there's more. Garraud was also a driving force behind tracks like "Love At First Sight," "Come Into My World" (Kylie Minogue), "Crush (1980 Me)" (Darren Hayes), "Feelings Gone" (Basement Jaxx) and many other memorable dance-pop hits.

Following his early chart success, Garraud has continued working on his own artist material while serving up remixes for other people. He recently embarked on a brand-new adventure with Space Invader Music, his own music label that will serve as an exciting new platform for him to launch new music and develop new artists. One of the first tracks to be released on Space Invader is Garraud's reunion with JD Davis on "Can't Stop Love." The two earlier worked together on "The World Is Mine" that is included on David Guetta's 2004 "Guetta Blaster."

Gaurraud tells me he was thrilled to work with JD Davis again when the opportunity presented itself. "This is an exciting adventure to work again together after the success we had with "The World Is Mine,'" he says. "JD is a great singer but also has an amazing stage/performance presence. We've been friends for a long time and being back in the studio together was a lot of fun."

The new "Can't Stop Love" is a signature Garraud tune with his smooth, uplifting pop melody and hard-driving dancefloor qualities. "The song comes with the idea of merging a great voice singing a love chorus with a hard electro drop," Garraud tells me. "I love the contrast between these two universes."

Garraud pioneered the French dance-pop scene and paved the way for many others to follow, and his recent move to Los Angeles has provided a new creative spark to continue his work in exciting new directions. "Working everyday in my recording studio here at Paramount Recording Studios in Hollywood is like a dream," he smiles. "There is so much talent around me, it's crazy how the standards are so high. On the top of that, having a sunny day everyday of your life makes you writing and producing some happy songs like 'Can't Stop Love.''

Listen to JD Davis "Can't Stop Love" exclusively in the player below.

March 1, 2013 | Permalink