Mr. Lava's Trash Music Compendium

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

(October 2009)

Thanks to gocealice for allowing me to use and modify the photograph used on the right. :-)

I am working hard on the sequel to Eurotrash DJ Set 30. I spend about an hour or two each evening on it, which is all I can spare. (I just spent another three hours preparing this little music update, so you see how fast the time goes. It's already almost 1 AM!). Anyway, Set 31 felt like it was in crisis mode last night, but suddenly I had a breakthrough. The recording process will begin this week! :-D

Click on the music notes to hear song samples.

Mistakemistake - Witness

I don't know much about Serbian music because I haven't found a top 40 chart featuring Serbian acts on it. Under those circumstances the best place to turn to is YouTube. That's where I found a video of Mistakemistake performing a terrific live version of Videosex's classic "Sivi dan." Their original material, of an electro-lounge variety, is strong, too, and can also be enjoyed on YouTube. You can purchase their album off of Juno downloads. So! Buy their album, and then ask yourself: "What other Eurotreasures might be hiding in Serbia?"

Rippi - Heraxos

Sexy Armenian chick delivers a Eurasian interpretation of R&B. Lots of audio ear candy and a big chorus.

Irma Libohova - Kur bjen fyelli ciftelia

Albania lies geographically in a sweet spot for ethnic Balkan music. Turbo-folk infiltrates (some might say pollutes) the ethnic sounds in the north, and as you head south through FYR Macedonia into Greece you encounter somewhat familiar-sounding stuff. But the best Albanian pop sounds mysterious, raw, and wild, like the rugged terrain of the country itself. Here's a good example of that. Judging from context of the live video for this, it may be a cover of a tune from 1966.

Robbie Williams - Bodies

After the electro-noodlings of Rudebox and the hookless Intensive Care, Robbie has returned to the sort of music that made him a pop legend in the first place. Here's your solid, mid-tempo beat, soaring strings, and a massive chorus. It's the best thing he's done since "Feel." It's flying high on the European pop charts. Hopefully, success will permanently squelch any desire on his part to participate in any Take That reunion tours. Because "Bodies" is awesome, whereas every song ever recorded by Take That is like a fart on a slow-moving elevator.

Dizzee Rascal feat. Chrome - Holiday

Here's some sunshine as the weather turns gray. Dizzee raps on top of fat keyboard chords, and songwriter/producer Calvin Harris introduces additional sounds that were acceptable in the 80s. Girl group The Saturdays were offered this incredibly catchy song originally--and they turned it down (in what may be the biggest lost opportunity of 2009). But Dizzee handles things excellently himself.

Cash & Bloom [Cash Candy and Lilja Bloom] - Three Ladies

Cash Candy, perhaps better known as Parov Stelar (who produces "Hotel Costes" sorta stuff), offers an ornate dance tune under this alternate nom de plume.

Agnieszka Chylińska - Nie Mogę Cię Zapomnieć

Poland, like much of central Europe's countries, is a rock 'n' roll nation, a place where old bands live out their final days (this week's case in point is Alice in Chains, whose new single debuted on the Polish charts and, as far as I can tell, hasn't surfaced anywhere else). So it's startling to hear a lush, synth pop dance song from that country and to hear it done so well. Smooth, sensual stuff from a woman who has spent a decade and a half in the music business (and was once a judge on "Poland's Got Talent").

Angie B [Angie Be] - Soundwaves (Radio Edit)

Arguably the catchiest tru trash tune of this month (or the last few) goes to this track, which I found charting in France back in early September.

Deadmau5 (feat. Rob Swire) - Ghosts 'n' Stuff

Deadmau5 adds some radio-friendly vocals to an earlier spooky single to good effect. Perfect for your Halloween trash party.

Polly Scattergood - Please Don't Touch (Golden Filter Remix)

For over four minutes you're kinda wondering if this slow and sexy thing is going to work out. And then, oh yes. Ohhhhhh yesssssss!!!!!!!

Pixie Lott - Boys and Girls

Pixie Lott and the Legs of Pixie Lott star in the videos of this rising star. Her "Mama Do" was a big hit in many European countries, but "Boys and Girls" is catchier. Seems to combine the tasteful 60s swing of Duffy with the tasteless tru-trash spirit.

Residence Deejays feat. Frissco - Sexy Love

Back in August I wrote a column for Balkan Insight describing my disenchantment with the amount of English used by today's Romanian pop groups. I also barely disguised my general displeasure with the blippity minimal dance that has dominated the market these last couple of years. But this tune, which is pretty representative of the trend, somehow tickles my fancy. Maybe it's that fat synth run that pops up throughout. Maybe it's the line-up of cute girls in the video.

King Kudoro - Il faut danser

Perfect dancefloor monster combines tribal stomping, shouted French vocals, and a crazy accordion sample. Did you get that? If not, then I offer it in reverse with additional punctuation: Sample accordian crazy! A and vocals French shouted! Stomping tribal! Combines monster dancefloor! Perfect!

Mange Schmidt - Ledig

Mr. Schmidt is a Swedish rapper whose latest single sounds like it's been built around the piano from Fleetwood Mac's "Hold Me." Catchy stuff.

Get Far - The Radio (Get Far and Paolo Sandrini Extended Mix)

"Get Far" is a play on artist Mario Fargetta's name. Fargetta has been a staple of Italo dance for at least a decade now, and this song captures everything great about the Italian dance sound from that time period. Italy seems to have lost that scent since the mid 2000s; hopefully this tune will help nudge that country back on track.

Niki - Tea Et Minna Nyyd Võid

I championed Niki's laid-back Zhanna Friske (Жанна Фриске) cover a couple months back, but there were some surprisingly tough, pounding trash tunes off of her debut album as well, including this soaring number which comes with sinister gunshot sounds. Like "Sa oled see kes jääb," this is also a beefed-up cover of a Russian pop dance song; the song getting the boom-boom facelift here is Вирус - Ты меня не ищи (Virus - "Ty menya ne ischi," from 2000).

Antonia aus Tirol - 1000 Träume weit (Tornerò)

For some reason two versions of this song came out in the summer of 2009. The first was Antonia aus Tirol's; the second came from "Deutschland sucht den Superstar" contestant Anna-Maria Zimmermann. Ladies! This is like the Mickie Kraus/Scooter rivalry I wrote about last month! Anyway. Both versions are good, but I'll give Antonia the trophy. Hers came out first, she's paid her dues, and I really do prefer her interpretation. Plus, the live performance video on YouTube is an amazing testimony to the power of a song.

(November 2009)

Thanks to mutlusuzluk for allowing me to use and modify the photograph used on the right. :-)

There will probably be one more compendium before I leave for Europe in January. This has put me in a reflective mood. It amazes me how good music keeps getting made, and it saddens me to think of all the fantastic songs I will never get to hear after I am dead and gone. If there is a heaven, there had better be a discothèque there! Then again, who says I'm going to heaven?

Click on the music notes to hear song samples.

David Garrett - Smooth Criminal

More dum-dum classical lite for your mom and dad comes by way of David Garrett, a German violinist who has kicked out this gawk-worthy cover of Michael Jackson's "Smooth Criminal."

Urban Symphony - Päikese poole

Urban Symphony, who look like a deviantART emotional photomanipulation come to life, also have a yen for strings; most of the band members play stringed instruments. They represented Estonia at Eurovision this year and finished in the top 10. This pretty follow-up single is even better than that entry.

Birgit Õigemeel - Moonduja (Pikk Version)

One of the best pop songs of the year has a strange time-signature, icy synth stabs, and ethereal vocals weaving around chunky R&B beats. This is wonderfully spooky stuff; the perfect song to have float out of your radio at three in the morning. From an Estonian Idol winner, no less.

Daddy Yankee - Grito Mundial

Time for some Ameri-trash that's bound to make a big splash on the continent. This track, the opening shot fired from Daddy Yankee's forthcoming album, is a massive party song catapulted by Mr. Yankee's fiery delivery alongside some pumping brass. It blows his legendary "Gasolina" out of the water. It was turned down as the official track for the 2010 FIFA World Cup because playing it would have reduced every stadium to rubble.

Esmée Denters - Admit It

Esmée Denters, a Dutch singer who came to fame on YouTube and was championed by Justin Timberlake (who does some backing vocals on this track), now seems to be in career free-fall in the United States. "Admit It," the best song she's sung, seems to have failed to secure an American release. Hey, Esmée, America is overrated. Being the next Agnes is plenty good enough!

Natalie Imbruglia - Want

Ms. Imbruglia, who infected the world with the insufferably annoying "Torn" (her evil plan abetted by her supermodel looks), returns a decade later with a—gasp—excellent track. Humorless fans are attempting to justify this stab at Kylie Minogue-ish dance pop by explaining that the singer out of Coldplay helped write this. Don't let them spoil this for you. This is just a glossy, Euro-dum-dum dance song, and you should snag it ASAP.

CJ - Rapfanaat

I have no idea what this Dutch rapper is going on about, on account of my not speaking Dutch. But you don't have to know the language to appreciate the smooth flow of his delivery. Fun stuff.

Dennis Bax - Para papa

It's taken me a very long time to track down this gawk-worthy schlagafication. Mr. Bax tackles Cidinho E Doca's "Rap das armas" (a Dutch hit when remixed earlier this year) and turns it into something the mad-mutha-fuggin' Dutch schlager crowd can get down to.

Michel Cleis - La Mezcla (Copyright Main Mix)

His MySpace page says he is a purveyor of "dub / dub / comedy," which makes him a winner on these pages any day. "La Mezcla" is a trance-tribal tune that marries some sampled Latin lyrics with Andean pan flutes. It gets its hooks in you gently and then, like an angry llama, tosses you around the room like a rag doll.

Memento & Anita Kelsey - Can't Sleep (Radio Edit)

Moody, pretty club track for all the moody, pretty people to get down to.

Mike Candys & Jack Holiday - Push the Feeling On (Christopher S Remix)

Nightcrawlers did the original song back in 1992; Robin S's "Show Me Love" has a very similar quality to it and came out around the same time. Samples from the original tune popped up in Pitbull's massive hit "Hotel Room Service," which probably inspired Mike Candys and Jack Holiday (who had already revamped "Show Me Love") to rethink the original song. The Electro Vectro Remix is getting all the attention, but I'm tired of the electro, so the contrarian in me suggests the more banging Christopher S Remix instead.

Dan Balan - Chica Bomb

Former O-Zoner and Crazy Looper Dan Balan's latest video is rated PG-13 for sexual situations, and the song marks the first time he has managed to craft a tune that is actually seductive as opposed to incredibly irritating. Now I'm interested to see what he does next.

Jean Claude Ades, Lenny Fontana & Tyra - Nite Time (Radio Edit)

Lush Eurodisco reminiscent of the music the Italians used to make back in 2001 before they got boring and copied other countries' music too much. What a glossy, sexy, wonderful thing this is.

Bengü - Kocaman Öpüyorum

This disco stomper is yet another good argument for letting Turkey into the EU.

Jumo Selesao - Zoomer (Club Mix)

French Afro-pop track pays homage to Culture Beat's "Mr. Vain" with the requisite cries of "Aaaiiiggghhhttt!!!!" Obviously cannot fail.

Bob Sinclar - Peace Song

I have long griped about Mr. Sinclar and What He Hath Wrought, which is a thousand reggae-fied house tracks that always feature the following words: "rise," "sun," "together," "peace," "freedom," "love," and "harmony." There should be a magnetic poetry kit for this shit. "Peace Song" is so beholden to this tradition that I got confused when I saw that, long ago, I had picked up a Bob Sinclar song called "Together," and because the new song has a thousand references to "togetherness" it became impossible for me to remember what this latest track was called. "Peace Song" also seems to steal (once again) from estranged former collaborator Thomas Bangalter out of Daft Punk, this time by offering a very "One More Time" bridge. Well, regardless, this is the best thing I've heard from Mr. Sinclar in some time. Having a chorus sing the, well, chorus makes this track a real stand out, and say what you will (and I've said a bit about what I would) it is undeniable that Mr. Sinclar has a special gift for capturing the emotion that is known simply as "happy."

Daan - Icon

"Icon" sounds like something a rockabilly version of Johnny Cash might have released, and Daan the man from Manhay has penned some of the cleverest English language-lyrics heard this year.

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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