The OXD Mirror is a weekly music column brought to you by the boys of OCCUPY THE DISCO (OXD), a New York City based collective created by three music lovers, Ru Bhatt, Josh Appelbaum, and Tadeu Magalhães, who want to share their love for disco, house and dance music with the world.
As this is my last post of 2012, I want to showcase my top 10 favorite songs, including both remixes and original tracks. In addition to providing streaming links you can also download them as part of my Ru-Mix 2012 podcast, available here.
10. Disclosure - Latch (feat Sam Smith)
While Disclosure's remix of Jessie Ware's 'Running' initially caught my ear, this band of brothers truly impressed me with their original song, 'Latch.' The UK-based duo latches on to you using newcomer Sam Smith's full-bodied R&B vocals and skipping electronic beats to tell the tale of deliriously falling in love.
9. Van She - Jamaica (Plastic Plates Remix)
The steel drums and enchanting falsettos of Van She's 'Jamaica' are supplemented by Plastic Plates' signature squeaky beat, bringing the loungey original song straight to the dancefloor and making it my personal 'song of the summer.'
8. Jessica 6 - 'Prisoner of Love (EL!OT's 1987 Mix)
With this remix, EL!0T has crafted an effusive "totally 80's" production that perfectly complements the rich vocals provided by former Hercules & Love Affair collaborators Nomi Ruiz & Antony Hegarty. It's no surprise that Nomi prefers this remix to the original and actually performs this version when on tour.
The OXD Mirror is a weekly music column brought to you by the boys of OCCUPY THE DISCO (OXD), a New York City based movement created by three music lovers, Ru Bhatt, Josh Appelbaum, and Tadeu Magalhães, who want to share their love for disco, house and dance music with the world.
Youngblood Hawke: 'We Come Running (RAC Mix)'
Sometimes the best musical formula comes from an organic
meeting of minds between friends, which is how the L.A.-based band Youngblood Hawke came
about. Two former members of Iglu and
Hartly continued working together after thge band disbanded and eventually 3 other friends joined on over
time to form this highly-buzzworthy band.
Their first self-titled EP was just released featuring the first single,
the standout track 'We Come Running.' The band pulls out all of the stops on this freshman effort, including
childrens’ choirs, upbeat guitars and addictive dance beats reminiscent of
MGMT. RAC (Remix Artist Collective) puts
a nice spin on the song, playing up the dramatic pauses and the kids chorus in
Good Night Keaton: 'Next to Mexico (Mighty Mouse Remix)'
Aaron Shanahan got his start with the critically-acclaimed
electronic band Miami Horror, playing drums for the band for the past four years. Amidst recording and touring, he realized his
passion for dance music and production, and created his own side project,
Good Night Keaton. Though he’s been busy
with making mixtapes and remixing other artists' work, 'Next to Mexico' is his
second original track release. Acclaimed
DJ and producer Mighty Mouse adds a more uptempo pacing to the song, giving the
once breezy song a harder, club-ready feel.
Sam Sparro: 'Shades of Grey (Plastic Plates Remix)'
I’ve been a big fan of openly gay artist Sam Sparro since
his 2008 self-titled album, which many know from the massive hit 'Black and
Gold.' The Australian-born, L.A.-bred
singer has a talent for creating dreamy and moody songs that showcase his
soulful voice. He released Return
to Paradise this past year after teasing us with his
first single 'Happiness' some months back.
Though ‘Shades of Grey’ is one of the more morose tracks from the new
album, Felix Bloxsom, also known as Plastic Plates, has remixed the track with
slick beats to make it dancefloor-ready. Bloxsom has a knack for turning slower tracks like Adele’s 'Set Fire To The Rain' and Sia’s 'Cloud' into sophisticated unique dance songs, and he succeeds again with Sparro's 'Shades of Grey.' Interestingly enough, Sparro and Bloxsom went to the same primary school and their grandfathers both played in a jazz band together; Bloxsom also supported Sparro's last tour on the drums.
The boys of OXD are excited to see Sparro live in New York
City on Friday November 30th along with one of our favorite disco
acts, Jessica 6. Come join us next week
at Webster Hall – details can be found here.
Didn't Ke$ha just do this day-glo make-up thing? In any case, this seems a video and track you'll either love or hate depending on your past relationship with dance music.
Writes Sparro: "I wanted to something purely artists before the album's release as a tribute to artists I loved arists like Masters at Work, Black Box, Maurice Fulton, and Todd Terry. The song is a tribute to the house music I grew up with. It's the first time I've released a single where I'm not the featured vocalist."
Robbie Daw presents a weekly pop music update here on Towleroad! Robbie runs his own site called Chart Rigger.
Jay-Z headlined England's famed Glastonbury festival on Saturday, a controversial move given the rock-heavy bill the event usually touts. Perhaps no one was more vocal about their disdain for Hova as headliner than Noel Gallagher of Oasis: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it. If you start to break it then people aren't going to go. I'm sorry, but Jay-Z? No chance."
In turn, the rapper and music mogul clearly wowed the crowd with his opening song choice: a cover of "Wonderwall."
On a bit more tame note -- well, lately, at least -- George Michael brought his 25 Live tour to The Forum in Los Angeles on Wednesday. It was the first time he's played L.A. since 1988.
Just before the final encore, in which he performed "Freedom '90," Michael was surprised by Bo Derek, who walked on stage to give him a birthday cake as his band played "Happy Birthday." The London-born singer is 45.
Word on the street has it that Norwegian pop blondie Annie, of "Chewing Gum" fame, has got a new EP out. Towleroad vehemently looks down upon illegal filesharing, but something tells me that if you typed in "Annie" and "EP" into a search engine, you might be taking the first step to finding out more information on this bit of noise.
This Delicate Film We've Made, a live concert DVD containing the last night of Darren Hayes' 2007 tour, will be released from his own Powdered Sugar Productions on July 22.
Creole Lady Marmalade! All three original members of seminal '70s funk-glam trio LaBelle are set to reunite for their first album together since 1976. The group will also perform this Saturday during the Essence Festival -- where else -- down in ol' New Orleans.
London's Madame Tussauds Wax Museum will unveil a statue of Amy Winehouse later this year: "We are really pleased to be creating Amy; she is a real icon in mondern British music, a continual award winner and an internationally recognized star widely requested by our guests.
So imagine if a bunch of Alanis Morissette fans got together online and did karaoke to try to win free concert tickets...
Did you know you can now purchase Converse sneakers from Nordstrom with writing from Kurt Cobain's journals on them? This seems like something to get up in arms over, but if Courtney Love says it's ok, then... Oh, well. Whatever. Nevermind.
Aerosmith's Steven Tyler finally admits he checked into rehab to recover from more than just foot surgery: "I don't know about (guitarist) Joe (Perry) but I was off and running and I didn't like the me that was me. This was a month ago, so I just put the brakes on and checked into detox and just pulled the plug on all of it."
TODAY'S NEW RELEASES:
Where The Light Is, a live CD/DVD from John Mayer recorded at Los Angeles' Nokia Theater.
High School Musical star Vanessa Hudgens' second solo effort, Identified.
R.E.M.'s iTunes-only set, Live: From London.
Love To Make Music To, from L.A.-based electronica producer Daedelus.
New singles from The Faint ("The Geeks Were Right"), LL Cool J ("Baby") and Lee Ann Womack ("Last Call").
Guilt, a new EP from Sheffield indie band The Long Blondes.
Robbie Daw presents a weekly pop music update here on Towleroad! Robbie runs his own site called Chart Rigger.
Cyndi Lauper shot the video for her next single, "Into The Nightlife," at New York's Splash nightclub on Tuesday last week, and there was an open call for extras. Did anyone make it?
"Into The Nightlife" is one of the tracks on Cyndi's new album Bring Ya To The Brink which she flew to Sweden to work on, this one being with the Murlyn production team's Peer Åström (who also co-wrote and co-produced Brink's "Echo"). While in Sweden, Lauper also worked with Andreas Kleerup (on "Lay Me Down"), who crafted Robyn's international hit "With Every Heartbeat," and Axwell ("Rain On Me").
The singer talked to Newsday about travelling abroad last year to work with the various co-writers and producers: "I wanted to go and experience life there. It really helped me as a writer. It's the first time I've taken a sabbatical to write, taking a sabbatical from being a mom and a wife, from this and that. It was just me, living a different life, having a moment for myself. It was extraordinary to me."
Other collaborators on the record include Basement Jaxx, The Scumfrog, Dragonette and U.S. songwriter, DJ and remixer, Richard Morel. Given the amount of cooks in the kitchen, if you ask me, Brink Ya To The Brink is a very mixed bag that actually works, give or take maybe two tracks. Personally, I keep hitting repeat on "Rain On Me"; you'd half expect to hear it chirping atop some high drama scene with Carrie in Sex And The City were it sill on. Oh well. There's always Grey's Anatomy.
In the meantime, Cyndi Lauper and Co. kick off the True Colors Tour this week. Here's a special message she taped for Towleroad readers about the concerts:
This week's free iTunes single of the week is "Blind" by Hercules And Love Affair, featuring Antony Hegarty of Antony And The Johnsons on vocals. Hercules And Love Affair is basically New York-based DJ Andy Butler's project, which features a rotating line-up of singers. "Blind" cracked the Top 40 in the U.K. earlier this year, and, curiously, Wikipedia notes that Butler "began his musical career at 15, DJing in a Denver leather bar run by a hostess called Chocolate Thunder Pussy." The act is signed to LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy's DFA Records.
Billy Corgan to celebrate the Smashing Pumpkins' (pictured left) 20th anniversary this fall with a handful of U.S. gigs and a collection of the band's early, unreleased recordings: "We're hoping to put out some early demos at the end of this year to start a rolling boxed set. There's an audience out there that wants to hear the fourth show we ever did with the song we only did that one time. Maybe it's only 500 people, but maybe you find a way."
Cansei de Ser Sexy, aka CSS, have added several U.S. dates to their summer tour. The Brazilian five-piece grew in popularity stateside last year after their song "Music Is My Hot, Hot Sex" was used in ads for Apple's iPod Touch.
The Sun claims that Sam Sparro says the following about Madonna in an interview for the June issue of U.K. gay mag, Attitude: "Madonna is wretched at the moment -- absolutely vulgar. Put it away! You're not young and sexy anymore. She went thoughtful and mature for a while, and now she's chucked it away in some desperate attempt at being hot again. It's just a bit vile." Then again, this is The Sun we're talking about...
Despite previously stating that their act won't be doing any new music, singer Damn Albarn and artist Jamie Hewlett, better known as cartoon band Gorillaz, have written theme music for the BBC's coverage of the Summer Olympics: "The idea is you tell the story of Journey to the West in a two-minute sequence. Their treatment will kick-start our coverage in a different, energetic way."
THIS WEEK'S NEW RELEASES:
Usher's fifth album, Here I Stand, featuring guest vocals from Beyonce and Jay-Z.
Lay It Down, a new studio album from Al Green, on which he worked with The Roots' Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson.
Says Sparro: "I've always thought, 'This is me, I'm happy with myself,' and so that's what I'm here to project. So that gay teenagers don't have to get the shit kicked out of them in school and think that they're a horrible person. It's easier to be an 'out' pop star today. Morrissey never came out, and Neil Tennant left it very, very late, whereas Jake Shears was open from the start."
On coming out to his parents: "I thought it was going to be the worst thing in the world and they were never going to talk to me again. I really worried that they were going to disown me. But I should have trusted them a bit more and known that they're better than that. I'm really close to both of my parents, and they're really supportive and they love my boyfriend. I've been with him for two years."
Sparro also looks back on what he describes as a miserable adolescence, documented via tattoos and weird body piercings, as a good thing: "I think all that time being unhappy was a good thing because I learned to rely on myself. I think to love yourself is really important because if you can't love yourself you can't love anybody else."
Watch Sam Sparro's video for his single "Black and Gold", AFTER THE JUMP...