Mr. Lava's Trash Music Compendium

Another round-up of the best, the worst, and the most intriguing trash of the past and present.

(Feb. 2004)

While you were at the bar . . .

Ana Flora feat. B-Fonic - Cores (Alex Natale and Fluid Deluxe Remix)
Ana Flora's "Cores (Alex Natale and Fluid Deluxe Remix)" (featuring B-Fonic—whew! giving credit to everyone sure takes a lot out of this reviewer!) is one part Latin swing, two parts tribal, and three parts capybara speaking in tongues.

David Guetta - Just a Little More Love (Wally Lopez Remix)
The Wally Lopez mix of David Guetta's "Just a Little More Love" has emerged as the Euro-definitive one. Lopez's mix transforms the housy original into something chunkier and trancier.

DJs from Mars - Non dormo piu (DJ Ventafridda Extended Dub)
Our first hard-hitting Italo tune of 2004 is DJs from Mars's "Non dormo piu (DJ Ventafridda Extended Dub)." Proof again that a female speaking Italian coupled with massive synth blasts cannot go wrong. From the Bliss Corporation label, which specializes in this sort of stuff.

Bad Boyz DJ Team - For Your Love
As in that last Hobbit flick, bits of genius shine through in Bad Boyz DJ Team's kind-of cover of the catchy Italo-disco tune "For Your Love." And, as in that last Hobbit flick, there's an awful lot of aimless wandering around. Bits of Culture Beat's "Mr. Vain" surface now and then, some big synth riffs enter from another place altogether, and a big filtered pop chorus snagged from the original Alberto One tune makes two appearances. Transitions consist of the sounds of record needles violently swiped off of turntables—in other words, there are no transitions. Who cares? Just focus on the parts you like and tune out the ones you don't. Just as you did with that last Hobbit flick.

Alma - La Trompeta
Alma's "La Trompeta," which recently troubled the Italian charts, is this month's generic Latin Eurodance tune. Alma plays it safe, but sometimes that's enough. Picture a coked-up Spanish motivational speaker shouting on top of a mariachi band and you've pretty much got the idea.

Moony - Dove (I'll Be Loving You)
Italian singer Moony's "Dove (I'll Be Loving You)" is a feel-good summery pop house tune with a particularly strong Eurovibe to it (it sounds like the more mature sister of Milky's "Just the Way You Are"). It was originally released in 2002, and has taken that long to grow on me, but I have finally woken up and smelled the caffè.

O-Zone - Dragostea din tei
The catchy Eiffel-65ish "Dragostea din tei" comes to us by way of O-Zone. Douglas Wolk has written the definitive history of the "Dragostea..." phenomenon, so no need for me to comment further here.

Belushi - Put Your Hands in the Air (Uhh Ohh!)
People sometimes ask me why I walk around with my hands raised over my head. It is because I listen to so many songs that admonish me to "put your hands in the air." The latest song bosting that title is this ferocious tune from Belushi, and it is better known by its admirers as the "uh-OHHHHHHHHH" song.

Kid-Q - Save Me (Original Mix)
Kid-Q returns! "Save Me (Original Mix)" sounds like Yello meets Blondie. One for platform shoes, sweeping arm gestures, and shining disco balls.

Kai Tracid - Conscious
Kai Tracid has failed to reach me since his 2001 hit "Too Many Times." His latest, "Conscious," almost reaches the heights of that old classic (and seems to continue his anti-drug lyrical motif). Its only handicap is the sometimes awkward spoken English parts. It's unfortunate to this grammarian that the song builds up to our female narrator exclaiming, "I should have lived life much more conscious." How can Kai Tracid live with himself when he promotes improper English language usage? Perhaps because he knows that the synth hooks in this number are so massive that we will be entertained anyway.

Divine Inspiration - The Way
I picked on Divine Inspiration's "The Way" in my blog many months ago, mostly because it was a good song that really needed another melody to take it a notch higher. Now I have shifted my position. It's all right and the chick singer is cute, so give it a whirl.

Jean-Jacques Goldman - C'est pas vrai
I was startled to learn that Jean-Jacques Goldman, sometime-writer for Celine Dion, has been a French pop legend for almost one hundred years. I first heard the exceptionally perky (and thumping) "C'est pas vrai" on British Airways' Eurodance channel while en route to Amsterdam last fall. This tune is something most Eurotrashers would probably never think to consider, but it's terrific. C'est vrai!

Star Academy 3 - Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting (Live Version)
Also from France comes Star Academy 3, i.e., the third season of their version of "Idol." The competitors did an enjoyable cover of Elton John's "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting." Despite its much poorer sound quality, I prefer the version taken off the television to the official studio release. It's just a bit more boisterous.

Magic D - Till We Meet Again (Lance Inc. Remix)
Magic D's "Till We Meet Again" (featuring the vocals of Upsynth, who must be a lovely girl having a voice like that), got a startling Lance Inc. remix that blended psychedelic guitar with the old school hardcore elements. I gave this version a bit of a tweak in Soundforge and brought back the rock part at the end, because I think that was far and away the most intersting part of the song. So, a remix that didn't play it safe (good for Lance Inc.!), but could have been a bit bolder (realized by a genius: me).

Thank you and goodnight.

(July 2004)

Now that file-sharing is being effectively shut down all over the U.S. and Europe, uncovering the good stuff is a slower and less efficient process. Records I order take weeks to get to me, shipping costs a ton, the euro was slaughtering the dollar a few months back, and sometimes, after all my travails, I discover that a song was not as good as I had imagined from the 30 second sample I heard. iTunes has not been much of a help, since the European music catalogs are not available to my American credit card. In short, we on this side of the ocean have re-entered the dark ages.

But thanks to recommendations from European friends, patience with aforementioned music orders, and an underground network that includes at least three Eastern European crime syndicates, I have managed to compile another couple of CDs' worth of great tunes.

Lady Ragga - Come and Get It (Ern Y Edit)
Lady Ragga's "Come and Get It (Ern Y Edit)." is an Italo Ragga grinder, which just might make it a new genre of music altogether.

Vanilla Ninja - Tough Enough
Estonian girl group Vanilla Ninja have found big success in Germany. Used to be girl groups were kinda fluffy, bouncy things, but with Girls Aloud and Sugababes we seem to have entered a more raucous era, as evidenced by the Ninjas' storming "Tough Enough," which has a whiff of Falco's "Rock Me Amadeus" to it.

House of Glass - Freakin'
Bini and Martini's House of Glass project pulls off another impossible combination, namely a generous chunk of Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song" married to Gwen Guthrie's "Ain't Nothin' Goin' On But the Rent." The tune is called "Freakin'," but remember to get the Ocean Trax version, as the remix 12", although boasting a far sexier cover, is Led Zeppelin sample-free.

Maryland - Body and Soul
Maryland's "Body and Soul" features funky beats, a slinky female vocal, and goosebump-evoking synth wails. Yet another fine Italo concoction. Get ready for sexy!

Shapeshifters/Shape:UK - Lola's Theme (Main Mix)
Shapeshifters have produced one of the most uplifting retro-disco tracks of the last few years with their amazing "Lola's Theme." The British music press is all over it; actually, the world is all over it. "I'm a different person / turn my world around" is the lyric. Filtered disco strings accentuated by punches of brass whirl round and round your head. You're lookin' good in that polyester, boy. Recommended by my friend Sven, who knows about these sorts of things.

Surama - Donne Moi l'Amour
Surama sings in French and the presence of the accordion on her single is supposed to evoke the mood of that country, but I think she's actually Italian. She also has Monica Bellucci's curves, proudly displayed on the cover of the CD single for her charming "Donne Moi l'Amour (Radio Love)." Goes well with In Grid, or red wine!

Armand Van Helden - Hear My Name
Armand Van Helden's "Hear My Name" is a catchy little ditty with subtle charms. Go with the radio mix, as the extended version is just a little too extended, if you know what I mean.

Royal Gigolos - California Dreaming
Royal Gigolos are not the first trashers to take on "California Dreaming", but their "tek house" interpretation is the best. Borrowing from the Boogie Pimps blueprint (remember last year's excellent "Somebody to Love"?) they drop fat chunks of the Mamas and the Papas classic into a Benassi-style framework. Surefire.

DJs from Mars - Open Sesame (Electroburger Extended)
DJ's from Mars's follow up to their massive "Non dormo piu" is the Middle Eastern sounding "Open Sesame." The Electroburger Extended version rocks the hardest (it's also free of the silly English language exhortations in the original mix). Between the Italians making a Euro-wide hit out of Moldovan group O-Zone's "Dargostea din tei" and stuff like this, Italy seems to be the most Eastern-thinking member of the EU right now.

Nez - Sakin Ha (Techno Mix)
Which brings us to Nez, a hot Turkish chick whose eponymous album goes further down the European discotheque path than does most of the work of her countrymen and women. "Sakin Ha (Techno Mix)" is a monster. It is a cover of Raffaella Carra's classic 70's Italian disco track "A far l'amore comincia tu," but with the added appeal of pounding beats and screaming sirens.

India - Seduce Me Now (Obadam Remix)
I bought Latin legend India's "Seduce Me Now" CD single. After going through about three dozen different mixes (and disliking them all) the Obadam remix came along and delivered that essential Eurodance quality that earns it a mention on these pages. The note she hits during the bridge nearly puts tears in my eyes. Banal lyrics, sure, but muy profundo delivery.

Narcotic Thrust - I Like It
Narcotic Thrust's "I Like It" ripped up dancefloors throughout the UK a few months back. In fact, if you visit the UK right now you can still see weary club owners cleaning up debris and repairing the damage. "Everything that I've worked for was destroyed by Narcotic Thrust!" they sob. Despite the dangers, Atlanta's Compound has also started playing it.

Raggio di Luna & Tuareg - Comanchero (The Final) (Nuturn Remix)
Lest one think Master Blaster covered all the good 80's Italo hits already, Tuareg puts their spin on the catchy "Comanchero" (originally released by Moon Ray, aka Raggio di Luna). It's good that you can't understand the sped up vocals; this homage to Native Americans contains some truly cringe-worthy references to "teepees" "tomahawks," and "squaws." All the mixes are good, but I prefer the Nuturn Remix for its brief snippets of motivational Italian shouts. By the way, the Tuareg are a tribe of Saharan nomads. The men wear veils, but not the women. Just thought you'd like to know.

Phixx - Love Revolution
Take Pet Shop Boys' "Opportunities," toss in a chunk of New Order's "True Faith," season it with some Depeche Mode, then sweeten it with a pinch of Erasure, and you'd get Phixx's "Love Revolution," a perfect example of the disposable Top of the Pops sound the UK teeny-boppers like so much.

Phats & Small - Sun Comes Out (Mutant Disc Club Mix)
Phats and Small's "Sun Comes Out" gets an exhilerating Mutant Disc Club Mix. At the five minute mark some 80's synths fall right out of the sky like summer rain. Beautiful.

The compendiums:

2001 06/07
2001 08
2002 01
2002 01
2002 01/02
2002 04
2002 06
2002 09
2002 10/11
2002 12/2003 01
2003 02
2003 03/04
2003 05/06
2003 06
2003 08
2003 09
2003 10/12
2004 02/07
2004 07/09
2004 11
2004 12
2005 01/03
2005 05/09
2005 09
2005 12
2006 03
2006 06/09
2006 11/12
2007 01/03
2007 04/05
2007 06/07
2007 09/10
2008 01
2008 04/06
2008 06/07
2008 09/12
2009 02
2009 04/06
2009 08/09
2009 10/11
2010 01
2010 02/03
2010 04/07
2010 08/10
2010 11
2011 01/03
2011 04/05
2011 06
2011 09

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