Mr. Lava's Trash Music Compendium

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

(April 2007)         

I've always been a nerd, but now I'm ordering sci-fi novels featuring hot chicks with (ray) guns on the cover. Which means I'm no longer just a nerd; I'm a bona-fide geek. Coke-bottle glasses, acne, and two hundred pounds of extra fat are in the mail.

Club Spice - Cutie Chaser (Morning Mix)
Back in the day, my favorite song on Dance Dance Revolution DDR Max was Club Spice's "Cutie Chaser," because it was catchy and easy for this uncoordinated pigeon to dance to.

Lokan - Que Idea! (High Mix Maxi)

It's been a long time since I heard an Italo dance song that kicked my ass, but here at last it is: Lokan's "Que Idea! (High Mix Maxi)." Check out the exclamation mark in the title—always a good sign. A sproingy two-note keyboard riff, a catchy bassline, and women chanting in various languages (including Janet Jackson delivering that "Gimme a beat!" line) fills it all out. A must-download.

MC Lan and Jeans Team - Keine Melodien
Back in 2000 Jeans Team teamed up with MC Lan to create the sexiest Berliner dance song ever: "Keine Melodien." It grinds, it grooves, and at three minutes in length it doesn't overstay its welcome.

Adrian Eftimie and Auda - Desire (Radio Edit)
Adrian Eftimie and Auda have had great success in Romania with "Desire (Radio Edit)," a fine electro pop dish flavored with a pinch of Benassi and a dash of Soft Cell's "Tainted Love."

Beat System - Fresh (Radio Mix)
I've got yer tru-trash here: Beat System's "Fresh (Radio Mix)." It's another one of those old disco/funk/80's tunes given the Euro make-over (it includes an original rap, a female vocalist, and a sampled chunk of the original tune's chorus—in this case Kool and the Gang's "Fresh" [kissed by Anita Ward's "bell" and a rip-off of the female vocal in Candyman's "Knockin' Boots"]). Tracks like these may be "cheesy," but dammit, at a party they just never fail.

Lilu - I Know It's Your Time
Speaking of tru trash, here's a question for only the most hardcore of Euro devotees: Whatever happened to Lilu? You know? The one who sang "Little Girl"? Got an Eiffel 65 remix? Glad you asked. If this is the same Italo Lilu, and it would be quite surprising if it weren't, she's recently kicked out a beautiful tune called "I Know It's Your Time" that harkens back to the golden era of nu Italo disco. As with the best Italian dance music, it straddles the line between dancefloor motivator and heartbreaker. I'm dancing with tears in my eyes!

Dero featuring Leee John - Illusion (Dero's South American Vocal Mix)
Don't know who Dero is, but his "Illusion (Dero's South American Vocal Mix)" is basically just a long techno build-up to a catchy 1980's soul song called "Just an Illusion." The original tune, by Imagination (who sound to my Yank ears like a British answer to Kool and the Gang), featured a fellow named Leee John who reportedly rerecorded his silky vocals for Dero's effort. Unfortunately for Dero, this track really only makes you want to snag the original tune. And last I checked, it's not available on iTunes—much to the chagrin of Imagination fans. So, for the time being, Dero's "Illusion" might just have to do. It's on

Starting Rock feat. Diva Avari - Don't Go
More updatings: Starting Rock has tackled the old Yaz(zoo) classic "Don't Go," with surprisingly decent results. I miss the odd synth bursts from the original, but what's here is fierce and fun. Hey! I just noticed that it features the same "HUWAA!" found in Bacon Popper's "Free"! I've got my eye on you, Starting Rock...

Phil Fulnder - The Final (The Captain Future Theme)
Phil Fuldner's output under his own name has been pretty spartan, but he's had a hand in many different recording projects, each of them solid. "The Final" jumps from riff to riff with impressively high levels of ADD. That may be because it's derived from theme music from a German language dubbed version of a Japanese anime TV series. In other words, something to eat sugary cereals to on a Saturday morning.

Clock - Holding on 4U (Visa Radio Mix)
Growing up in America, I heard of Snap!, Culture Beat, and Captain Hollywood Project, but I had no idea at the time that there were about a million other acts that adhered to the same strict Eurodance formula of a rapper paired with a diva. Clock were one such group, and their "Holding on 4U (Visa Radio Mix)" offers the piano runs, headache-inducing beats, and synth stabs you'd expect in any great classic Eurodance tune—plus an appealing melodic wistfulness to temper it all.

Millennium - Day After Day (millennium Edit)
The verses of Millennium's "Day After Day (Millennium Edit)" sound an awful lot like Sash!'s "Together Again"—and I'm not talking just about the melody, but the lyrical sentiments as well. The choruses seem to plunder from Sylver's "Forever in Love" and T42's "Find Time." But hey, a good cook can't just invent new ingredients for every dish, right?

Commercial Club Crew - Digger's Song (The 2 Jays Booty Remix)
Commercial Club Crew's "Digger's Song (The 2 Jays Booty Remix)" blends happy trance, hardcore, "Satisfaction" style vocals, and buzzing keyboards into something that sounds, well, pretty damn awesome.

DJ Sy - Connect Your Step
If you're one of the approximately 20 people on earth who are in the market for a great compilation of full-length, unmixed versions of 2000-era happy hardcore, look no further than Dreamscape Hardcore 2001, a four CD set featuring a mind-blowing array of tunes, including the best tracks from my personal faves, Brisk & and Trixxy. The compilation also introduced me to several other little gems, like DJ Sy's "Connect Your Step", which brings a cheerfully bubbling 303 into the picture.

Paul Mendez and Zero 3 - Break of Dawn (Original Mix)
Paul Mendez and Zero 3's "Break of Dawn (Original Mix) goes not-so-boldly where some trance tracks have gone before, but it pushes its own buttons along the way. It's emotional, sweeping instrumental trance the way it was always meant to sound. It's on

A Tension - Angels
A Tension's 1996 offering "Angels" seems to owe a small debt to N-Trance's "Set You Free," as both are piano-driven hardcorish tunes featuring a similar melody. In fact, I just played the two on top of each other and found that large sections are almost in tune. Like Jurassic Park II, this will entertain you, but when it's over you'll forget all about it. Not much of a recommendation, I know, but hey, that's the reality of Eurodance. You have to learn sooner or later. Good night, space cadets!

(May 2007)         

Sonic Syndicate - Soul Splinter
Eurovision was held in Finland this May, due to last year's competition having been won by Finnish metalists Lordi. Scandinavia has long had a celebrated love affair with death metal, and among the brightest hopes in that genre are Sonic Syndicate, whose "Soul Splinter" demonstrates the traditional ferocity of the genre while adding contemporary flourishes, including a surreal keyboard bit rambling along in the background. Band also features a cute chick bassist which, while a superficial thing to note, nonetheless never hurts to have in your arsenal. A new album from the group has just come out in Sweden.

Charlotte Gainsbourg - The Songs That We Sing
Charlotte Gainsbourg, daughter of the legendary Serge and respected actress, released a strong solo album in the last year. "The Songs That We Sing" is a mesmerizing mix of swirling strings; melodic bells; and mournful, clever lyrics sung perfectly by Ms. Gainsbourg. Tres bien!

Paula - Der Schnelle Tag
This spritely little number, from the same album that gave us the excellent "Als es Passierte," could easily have been a single in its own right. Bleepy electro pop, driving beats, cooked up and served Berlin-style.

Class - Ocean in a Desert
This Romanian track features breakbeats, male vocals on the verses, and an ethereal female vocal on the choruses—with some wicked vocal processing to boot. Mesmerizingly strange, dark, and beautiful, as the best Romanian electronic pop often is. One of my favorite tracks of 2007.

Two Voices - Splendid Story (Extended Dude Funky Mix)
Mid-tempo, slinky nu Italo disco reworking of Donatella Rettore's "Splendido Splendente" with groovy pianos, Chic-like guitars, sexy female singers, and everything else a dance song ought to offer. Turn down the lights and crank up the disco ball!

Undercover - Baker Street (Edit)
During a semester in Bath in 1992 this song was nightly required listening at the Island Club (as was Smart E's "Sesame's Treat," Felix's "Don't You Want Me?", and the legendary Snap!'s "Rhythm is a Dancer"). So what do we have here? A classic 1970's tune from Scotsman Gerry Rafferty dragged kicking and screaming into 1992. Hmmm. Two levels of nostalgia. Surefire!

Clock - Holding On (Portamento Stylie Mix)
This is confusing; Classic Eurodancers Clock had two similarly-named songs, one which I wrote of in Volume 55 ("Holding On 4 U") and the older "Holding On." "Holding On" clearly was produced before the project's overseers hit upon the idea of the male rapper/female singer combination so familiar to the Eurodance genre; it's basically a few snippets of sampled female vocals and a whole lotta pop techno (some rather martial sounding keyboards leading the way). As such, it sounds delightfully raw, a hybrid between the old school techno sound and the glossy Eurodance future, arguably hitting upon the best of both worlds. Highly recommended.

Groovestylerz - We Are Family (Club Mix)
No Eurotrash compendium would be complete without some dumb updatings of the classic dance tracks of yore. After all, they are guaranteed floor-fillers--it is your Eurotrash duty to stay in touch with these! So, here are Groovestylerz, borrowing from the recent tradition of snagging a chunk of some classic tune's chorus (in this case, the Sister Sledge classic "We Are Family") and chopping it up a whole lot. Sounds exactly as you'd imagine.

TNT - Strada Mea
Ripping up the Romanian airwaves is TNT's "Strada Mea," a mish-mash of traditional Romanian pop stylings, Afro-pop, and, heh-heh-heh, a nice fat chunk of Dire Straits's "Money for Nothing." Unbeatable!

Dub Sweden - Ice in My Fire
The Swedes are the kings of attitude-drenched electro-pop-rock, and "Ice in My Fire," from Dub Sweden, is yet another fine example. Birdwatchers take note: the album cover features iiwiws.

Daisy Dee - Open Sesame (Club Mix)

Rapper-for-hire, former Viva! TV hostess, German soap star, and all-around hottie Daisy Dee tackled Leila K's ragga-infused 1992 ur-Eurodance classic "Open Sesame" in this pulsing, trancy update. This will not fail on any dancefloor.

3rei Sud Est - N-ai crezut in mine

3rei Sud Est have been in it for the long haul; this year marks the 10th anniversary of their debut album. On this track they have turned over the majority of the vocal duties to a female singer, whose chanted "beat-beat don't stop" becomes oddly hypnotizing. Groovy electro pop, Romanian-style.

Bandido - I Drove All Night (Medley with Power of Time) (Club Mix)
This Cyndi Lauper single (penned by Roy Orbison) made relatively little impact in the United States, but has been covered by Celine Dion and this little upstart trance/dance project, Bandido. Bandido's version is my fave; an exhilerating, pumping dance tune that, thanks to its crazy vocal samples and huge keyboard riffs, has "anthem" written all over it.

Nordkamp - Hey You (Oh Lo Le Le Loh)

This track dares Americans to differentiate between a "Lo" and a "Loh". Pure sugar electro pop of the O-Zone/Lucas Prata variety, given an added boost by the female vocals that affectionately rub up against the male ones.

LCD Soundsystem - Tribulations (Tiga's Out of the Trance Closet Mix)

Ameritrash of the finest calibre, a reminder that great lyrics can take the trash sound to the highest emotional levels. Angst on the dancefloor!

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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