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Hot New Pop Alert: Listen to Alina Devecerski "De E Dark Nu" [Review]

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Even without understanding its Swedish lyrics, the intensity of Alina Devecerski's delivery on "De E Dark Nu" and the song's deeply atmospheric production stylings perfectly convey its moody qualities. "De E Dark Nu" is taken from Devecerski's debut album, entitled "Marathon," that is stirring up a storm among pop lovers in Sweden. The song is the much-anticipated follow up the singer's rave-pop smasher "FlyttaPå Dej that first put her on the radar internationally.

Devecerski started her musical career when she was only 15 years old and joined a girl group when she was still in High School in Stockholm. But a few years later, the young singer decided to leave the group and focus primarily on a career as a songwriter for other artists. "I was never like the lead singer in another band or anything like that," she recently told Vice Magazine in an interview. "I was more like doing back up for friends while writing for other people, and surviving as a singer doing demos and stuff like that to pay the rent."

Things changed when she met up with up and coming pop producer Christoffer Wikberg with whom she bonded over everything pop and electronica. She decided to work with him on tracks for a full-length solo artist album. The result of their teaming was Alina's debut LP "Marathon" that is a collection of pop-forward, electro-edged tunes that will appeal to fans of Robyn and other high-grade Swedish dance pop.

Devecerski explains that her partnership with Wikberg helped her shape a unique sound of her own. "We work together on everything, the melody, lyrics, production, everything we do together," she says. "But I don't play any instruments, I'm like a backseat driver when it comes to production. I sit behind and say, do this do that. We find sounds together."

No English version of her new single "De E Dark Nu" is in the works a this point, but the fact that it's sung in Devecerski native language adds to the mesmerizing and slightly haunting qualities of the song. Dominated by woozy, slightly detuned piano chords and a downbeat groove, Devecerski's vocals lighten up the moody arrangement that culminates into a powerhouse tune that is simply electrifying. (Click here to download Alina Devecerski music on iTunes Sweden.)

October 28, 2012 | Permalink

Album Review: Swedish House Mafia 'Until Now'

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 By Steve Siegel

Yes, ladies and gentleman, our favorite Swedes are back! And although Steven Angello, Sebastian Ingrosso and Axwell may be riding off into the sunset on their final tour, they are leaving their fans with one last parting gift: "Until Now," the follow up to 2010's wildly successful" Until One."

It's been a busy few years for the Swedes, and while 2010's "Until One" primarily served as a greatest hits collection for the threesome up until, quite literally, "One," the new disc predominantly features tracks released within the past two years. While "Until Now" still contains the two biggest hits from "Until One" ("One" & "Miami 2 Ibiza"), it also has a slew of new tracks. Furthermore, following the recent trend in EDM for mashup mania, there are no less than nine mashups on the mix CD, including several cuts with up to three tracks interspersed between them.

"Until Now" is structured almost identically to the group's closing mainstage sets at Ultra Music Festival and EDC, where the trio opted for quick transitions and a consistent supply of bangers to keep the audiences attention. Axwell and company may have cut their teeth on the underground circuit, but with tracks like their anthemic remix of Coldplay's “Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall” and their collaboration with Usher, "Euphoria," the Swedes are firmly in the pop culture spotlight now and the CD setlist reflects that.

The aforementioned "Euphoria" is a particular highlight for me. While most people are more familiar with the other SHM-Usher collab "Numb," the second drop on "Euphoria" might be the best fist-pump inducing :45 seconds of dance music composed in the past year. Another big track featured here is Angello's remix of Pendulum's "The Island." While not a new track by any means, its stripped down arrangement (especially compared to many of the songs on this release) allows the pure massiveness of its snarky, buzzing lead sound to penetrate through the mix, producing an unrelenting period of pure audio bliss.

The second half of the album is particularly strong, featuring several of the best dance music releases in the past year, including SHM's recent #1 U.K. single "Don't You Worry Child" and it's heavenly acoustic guitar breakdown. The mashup of Matisse & Sadko's rework of "Beating Of My Heart" includes the usual acapella of The Temper Trap's "Sweet Disposition" for a maximum goose-bump inducing effect.

Moreover, Axwell's own production masterpiece, “Heart Is King,” is featured with a mashup of Knife Party's "Save The World" remix. "The Professor"—as Axwell is known in dance music circles for his impressive command of audio engineering—has been holding back on his debut album until his SHM days are over and this track sets the stage for what will undoubtedly be one of the most eagerly anticipated debut artist albums of 2013. I mean, how can it not be with this gem sitting in the wings.

When viewed together, "Until Now" and "Until On"e serve as nice bookends for America's first great commercial dance music phase. WhileUntil One served as an introduction to the group itself, "Until Now" can be seen as an introduction to modern dance music now. While many fans discovered the Swedish trio through their first release, hopefully this release will provide further introductions for great artists such as Arty, Matisse & Sadko, Mark Knight, and Third Party. One need only to look at the tracklist to see that Swedish House Mafia are going out on top and perhaps ushering in a new generation of dance music talent with it.

(Review written by London-based guest blogger Steve Siegel. Siegel is a massive dance music fan and a budding DJ/producer. You can reach Steve and listen to his own productions on SoundCloud.)

October 28, 2012 | Permalink

Listen to Lincoln Jesser featuring Kyle 'Silver Haze' [Download MP3]

Long-time readers of this blog may remember that I first introduced you to Lincoln Jesser early in 2011 when he still went by the name of Pace and cranked out party-starting dance jams. Since then, the USC grad has been playing on tour with Malaysian alt-pop sensation Yuna which has fueled his creative instincts and has led to an exciting new direction and sound for the young Los Angeles singer. Check out his brand-new "Silver Haze" featuring rapper Kyle that unveils Jesser's lush new leanings. Lyrics like, "Too damn tired to move fast. I just want to stay here and watch the world," perfectly sum up the sound and spirit of the song. It's an easy, breezy and loungy tune that is perfect for a mellow Sunday or any other day that is in need of some unwinding. (Download MP3)

October 28, 2012 | Permalink

Rising Pop Star Katy Tiz Unveils Debut Single 'Famous' [Listen]

You may remember that I first introduced you to Katy Tiz when I wrote about her track "Fire Fire" earlier this year. One thing led to another, and quickly following that blog post Tiz was signed to Universal Republic, and has been spending time in New York and Los Angeles with a slew of impressive producers to work on music for her forthcoming album. 

The emerging British pop star is currently zig-zagging around the country to visit pop radio stations to promote her debut single, entitled "Famous," that is quickly picking up momentum.

The hit-savvy "Famous" is a massive smash in the making and musically represents exactly what Tiz is all about. It's mightily catchy and totally fun, and comes with cheeky and slightly ironic undertones that define Tiz's confident brand of pop. In a press release, Tiz says about "Famous," "It’s funny because I’m not famous. I take my profession very seriously, but I want to enjoy this experience as much as possible and have fun—whether it lasts two months or 15 years. I’m almost making this song to prove I’m not one of those fake people."

She adds, "I want to be me. I'll never change. The only thing that changes is my address. This music is me. I'm relatively outspoken. I'm not rude, but I believe in saying what you feel. Everything is so clean-cut, and people in the industry are so perfectly formed. That’s not me. I'm slightly messier. You know who I am when you hear this. It’s real." (Watch this space for more Katy Tiz updates.)

October 26, 2012 | Permalink

Far East Movement Talks Inspirations, New Music and Creative Process at ARTIST#TALK with HP and Windows 8

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While Far East Movement's new single "Turn Up The Love" is a top ten hit in countries around the world, the group of Kev Nish, Prohgress, J Spliff and DJ Virman is generating more heat in the U.S and abroad with the release of new music and videos. Last week, they filmed a video for "Change Your Life" (featuring Sidney Samson and Flo Rida) and they also premiered a video for "Little Bird" (featuring Feist) that shows a much more personal side of the group. This week, Far East Movement also unveiled "For All," a brand-new track that was inspired by Obama's Forward Campaign and part of the group's ongoing Rock The Vote effort.

Far East Movement talked in-depth about their current projects and much more at my ARTIST#TALK on the iconic Terminal 5 stage in New York City last night. ARTIST#TALK is a live interview series that I host and produce in very close partnership with HP and Microsoft Windows. Last night's event with Far East Movement was part of a bigger HP initiative to mark the release of Windows 8 today and to showcase some of their new products that include Beats by Dre audio technology. Following my interview with Far East Movement, the group played a high-energy private show that included fan faves, new songs and the very first live performance of "Little Bird."

During the ARTIST#TALK, Far East Movement talked at length about their beginnings as a band, their (musical) inspirations, their extensive charity work, their Asian-American roots and their laser-sharp artistic vision that is best referred to as "Move-mentality." Growing up in downtown Los Angeles, the group has very much been influenced by DJ mash up culture that is ruled by experimentation, and a love for classic hip hop and progressive sounds. Far East Movement applies that same open-minded, all-inclusive sound and spirit to their music. It was a very insightful chat that gave people a very candid look at the story and intelligence behind the hits they are known for.

Videos and more photos of the event will be available soon. In the meantime, I'd like to thank Far East Movement for taking time in their busy schedule to spent time in New York City, all the bloggers and writers that came out to cover the event, HP and Microsoft for their steadfast support of ARTIST#TALK, and the fine folks at Cherrytree Records and Interscope for all of their support and assistance. 

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October 25, 2012 | Permalink