Mr. Lava's Trash Music Compendium

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

VOLUME 68
(February 2009)         


Photos taken in Paris, Valentine's Day weekend 2009. Courtesy of Secam.

Helena Paparizou - Pirotexnimata
2008

A strange offering from the Greek chanteuse. Somewhat silly Eurodancy ideas (like that tweaked voice saying "If you want to party") are contradicted by a moody chord progression and a pensive vocal delivery. In the end, a haunting and unorthodox effort well worth sniffing out.

Kurtis Mantronik feat. Kelly Marie Smith - I Can't Wait
2008

Decent reworking of the Nu Shooz '80s bubblegum hit manages to preserve many of the likeable retro elements of the original while updating things for the modern dancefloor. Mantronik is entitled to screw around with 80s songs; he was putting out his first record at the same time the original of this tune was released.

Taio Cruz - I Can Be (Digital Dog Club Mix)
2008

It's a by-the-numbers club mix, but since the original was so good to start with, why mess with a good thing?

Deadmau5 feat MC Flipside - Hi Friend! (Vocal Mix)
2008

This screwy tune is probably the most listenable thing to come from the much-lauded Canadian artist.

Private - My Secret Lover (Hampenberg Remix)
2007

What's Hampenberg been up to since serving us the legendary "Ducktoy" back in 2001? Well, they offered a mundane remix of Katy Perry's "Hot 'n' Cold," for one thing. So direct your ears instead to their remix of Private's "My Secret Lover." The original version is slow and slinky (and the glossy video is delightfully none-more-Eurotrash). Hampenberg give it a shot of adrenaline—not to mention more than the requisite number of pitched-up vocal samples.

Ivory - Ghostbusters (Steve N King Remix)
2008

As you might imagine, here is a revamping of the Ghostbusters theme, with added motivational rap and those once ubiquitous Bob Sinclar-style tribal house rhythms (which sound ssssoooo 2007 now, don't they?). This is the sort of garbage we embrace with open arms here at "EorE?" It interests me that "Ghostbusters" has been such a perennielly popular song to cover by European artists (e.g., The Rasmus, plus a host of trashier, one-off dance groups which you can look up for yourself on discogs.com).

Fish & Chips - Queen Of Persia (Nicola Fasano and Steve Forest Mix)
2008

A catchy ethnic vocal sample in an unorthodox time signature dominates this slammin' piece of kitsch orientalism. The hook is either snagged from or shares the same source as the opening of Arash's "Tike Tike."

Tito Puente Jr. and the Latin Rhythm Orchestra feat. India - Oye Como Va (Bassmonkeys Remix)
2008

His dad was the original king of bongo bong, and his son has followed in his footsteps. Tito Puente Jr. had a big hit with "Oye Como Va" back in the 1990s. Now there is a crop of 2008 remixes, and the Bassmonkeys version is probably the trashiest. Which is the highest compliment we pay here at "EorE" :-)

Juan Magan & Marco Rodriguez - Bora Bora
2008

A 2008 answer to Samim's "Heater," with a catchy accordion sample, motivational Spanish-language spoken word, and tropical beats that would have felt right at home alongside the Latin-trash tunes of 2001 and 2002.

Kick - Fest hos mig
2008

While the United States ponders a Swedish approach to averting a banking crisis, why not feast your ears on a feel-good pop tune sung by a couple of Swedish teenage girls? The lyrics make mention of YouTube, thus grounding the song firmly in today's pop cultural environment. Several dance mixes, some of the Basshunter variety, are available, but the original version grooves the best. What's up with Swedes and their love of sugary reggae pop (e.g., Ace of Bass)? Are the winters so cold and dark there that they need tunes like these to make it to spring time?

Ithaka Maria - Confession (Viani DJ Club Mix)
2008

The Estonian pop singer's original 2007 version is a charming piece of pop with an excellent vocal performance from Ms. Ithaka. The remix preserves all the best elements of the original, but toughens up the beats and adds the requisite dancefloor gloss. Happily goes more down a disco route than the electro one that seems to inform every other remix these days. I'm getting tired of the electro, dudes.

DJ Tatana - Free
2006

Swiss DJ Tatana has had a long and respectable career in dance music. "Free" is a housy dancefloor anthem with diva vocals on top. Video, following two teddy bears in love on an especially eventful day, is worth a glance.

DJ Ella - Shine Like a Superstar
2008

Latvia deserves your support these days, as their government just collapsed under the weight of the economic crisis. Latvian recording artist DJ Ella came to prominence in television singing competitions. "Shine Like a Superstar" is about as inspirational and hooky a Eurodance tune as one could possibly craft. Video features the Latvian women's basketball team—you go, girls! Remixes, including one from trashtastic Bassmonkeys, are on their way.

Jason Rooney - Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground) (Alex Gaudino Remix)
2008

After a rare misfire with his awkward "I Love Rock and Roll" cover (done with Jason Rooney), Alex Gaudino makes things right again with his remix of Mr. Rooney's "Shake Your Body." Somebody repeatedly advises you to shake your body down to the ground, a suggestion easily followed when the galloping beats, pumping brass (who knew brass could "pump"?), and epic synth blasts pound the discotheque around you into rubble.

Hannaliisa Uusma (HU?) - Sa meeldid mulle
2008

Personal pick for top tune in this compendium goes to this gorgeous drum & bass pop song from what might be the coolest Estonian group. Singer Hannaliisa Uusma, who probably sets a record for most double letters in a name, was trained as a jazz vocalist, but the group she is working with has pushed things deep into the more electronic genres. Live, they look something like an Estonian Stereolab/Ladytron, but they've definitely got their own thing going on. I hope to visit Estonia sometime this year. Seeing this group perform is high on my to-do list.

 
VOLUME 69
(February 2009)         


DanaKitten on top of the world, somewhere in Romania, December 2008. Courtesy of Constantin and DanaKitten.

Maarten Hercules - Red Sun Landing (Original Mix)
2008

Wildchild records, the same label that gave us the astonishingly beautiful Nucvise tune "Wild Cherry Tree" (championed on Volume 65) offers this epic Euro-trancer. Booming, yet strangely serene. Wildchild is definitely a label to keep an eye on.

Verona - Za všechno muže cas
2008

It's a Eurodance cover of a 1980s Czech song orginally performed by Lenka Filipova. Airy, beaty, catchy; it works.

Ian Oliver feat. Eastenders - Vino Vino
2008

Perhaps best known for "Bucovina," last spring Mr. Oliver offered brassier Balkan beats in the form of "Vino Vino." According to a variety of posters under one YouTube video, the sounds here are either Bulgarian, Serbian, Romanian, or Turkish. This cultural confusion indicates something of even greater importance: the tune can tear up a party in any language.

Disco Cell - Das Boot (Club Mix)
2008

A British and a French submarine collided this month, so we might as well contemplate movies about people stuck in submersibles. There have been a few Eurotrash takes on the stirring theme music from the much-lauded 1980s German film Das Boot; here is (probably) the latest. By-the-numbers, but since the original music is so strong it's sort of hard to fuck it up.

Platnum - Love Shy (Thinking About You) (Radio Edit)
2008

Three minutes of UK pop garage with all the energy of 30 cups of coffee.

Miami Calling feat. Gram'ma Funk - Poppin' My Peas (Originial Club Mix)
2008

This ode to something Michael Phelps and 41% of other Americans have experimented with sounds like just the sort of thing Fatboy Slim would have dabbled with back in the mid-90s. I wanna take a puff right now!

Cidinho E Doca - Rap das armas (Lucana Club Mix) [with optional "Paprika"]
2008

Currently heating up dancefloors in the Netherlands are remixes of Cidinho & Doca's "Rap das armas," a bouncy song originally released by the duo in the early 1990s now updated for today's dancefloors. The song's revivial has been accompanied by the rise of a complimentary piece of Dutch-language tru trash called "Paprika (Parapapa)" by DJ Maurice and Boldheadz. If you're looking for a good dance song, get the Cidinho E Doca remix I mention above. But, if you're a true scholar of trash, get the dreadful DJ Maurice pres. Boldheadz song as well. Incidentally, despite the global economic meltdown, the Dutch must still have plenty of disposable income to put a song like "Paprika" into their top 40.

Roger Sanchez feat. Terri B - Bang That Box (Laidback Luke Remix)
2008

Laidback Luke remixes often rank as my favorites on any single he has a hand in; here's another example. He has a predilection for a big room sound plus a fondness for weird little sonic garnishes that add a welcome dose of the surreal to whatever he tackles. Both Roger Sanchez and Laidback Luke have ridden through the 90s into the present day with no signs of slowing down.

Wiesel & Captain Koma - Falling Up
2008

Americans cognizant in 1989 and 1990 will remember a television commercial for "Life Alert," an emergency dispatch service for senior citizens, wherein a pathetic, elderly lady sprawled on the floor exclaimed, "I've fallen! And I can't get up!" Unintended hilarity of commercial turned it into a cultural phenomenon. Nearly 20 years later it lives on as a sample in this tune. Wiesel & Captain Koma's "Die Polizei (Blatta Inesha Remix)" is also worth checking out. The duo seem to have a talent for crafting irreverent yet genuinely sonically interesting tunes.

Basic Element feat. D-Flex - Touch You Right Now (Radio Edit)
2008

The jolliest song in this compilation is this mercilessly upbeat, divo-driven tune that's already completely excellent before the cockney-accented rapper arrives on the scene like a 'roid abusing baseball player and smashes the ball out of the park. Going...going...gone!

2 Max's - Fable 2008 (Electro Mix)
2008

Many hail Robert Miles's "Fable" as a classic, but an interesting fact about this song is that it is actually a dull piece of doo-doo. So this particular revamping, a pounding electro dancefloor monster with catchy chords, will no doubt upset Miles's fans. Which is fine. Because this is way better than the original.

Bellatrax feat. Sophia May - I Can't Help Myself (Sunfreakz Radio Edit)
2008

When I first heard this on a car stereo in Bucharest last November I thought to myself, "This sounds like a rip-off of Sunfreakz's "Counting Down the Days." I was amused to find out later that this was, in fact, a Sunfreakz remix. This is another one of those instances where, although the extended version is essential for DJ'ing, I feel the radio edit is really all you need.

Cherryland - Loomulik Blondiin
2007

And here is my final Estonian recommendation for this month. It is an ebullient tune from a female pop duo that sounds like the Baltic compliment to O-zone's "Dragostea din tei." Interesting fact: Estonia recently was determined to be the least-religious country in the world. Happy songs like these show that the people there aren't all that troubled by their lack of faith.

Dan Stone and Phil Young - Summer Tide (Rozza Remix)
2008

The original version of this instrumental epic trance song flirts dangerously with being merely pretty (tinkling pianos, sighing synths), but Rozza's remix unleashes some tough audio fireworks that are as dazzling to the ear as they are motivating for the feet.

Jakatta - So Lonely
2001

Mysterious little number from Dave Lee, man of a thousand dance music alias, built around a sample from an obscure early 80s group called Monsoon. Another example of the rewards for digging deep into your record crate.

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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