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 2011)

Springtime in Croatia; photos by myself.

Click on the music notes to hear song samples.

Storm is Right - Sirens (Landfall) feat. Stormae

Sounds like a fusion of shoegazer music, electronica, and those lo-fi 7" vinyl indie-UK records I used to listen to. Miraculously, all these elements coalesce into a convincing whole. Storm is Right's entire A1077 album is worth a listen.

Mistakemistake + Small Town Girls - Human Disco

The talented Serbian band gets their 80s on with some good, ear-tickling synth runs. This track reminded me of a group that both Mistakemistake and I share a fondness for—Videosex, one of the cleverest and most talented of the Yugoslav bands of the 1980s (check out "Ana" as a point of comparison).

Digitalism - Blitz (Original Version)

Hard to imagine that at the time of this writing it's been over half a decade since Hamburg's Digitalism were tapped as one of the potential heirs to Daft Punk's legacy. Here is a mesmerizing bit of bouncy instrumental electro-etherealism. Thanks, Luc for alerting me to it!

Style - Love Killer

Sounds an awful lot like something their fellow Swedes Roxette would kick out, but considering that Style have been around in one form or another since the mid-1980s, perhaps they are entitled.

Lolita - Joli Garçon (Barelylegal Remix)

Upholds a long and proud tradition of Eurodum-dum dance music—as pure and basic a "Euro" song as you could ever hope for.

Frida Gold - Zeig Mir Wie Du Tanzt (Radio Edit) ("Show Me How You Dance")

Catchy pop-dance tune from a German singer. The German charts, laden by ponderous rap and bland pop rock, could use more beaty slinkiness like this, actually.

The Palms - Plump Round (Stereo Palma Mix)

Swirling gipsy fiddles and that vocal sample used to most famous effect in Felix's "Don't You Want Me (Hooj Mix)" converge. Let's hora!

De-Phazz - The Mambo Craze

A classic from a time when mambo/tropi-trash was everywhere (e.g., Shaft's "Mucho Mambo," Lou Bega's "Mambo No. 5," Liza da Costa's "Banana Coco"—sweet nostalgia!). (The fad was probably a pop echo of the easy-listening and bossa nova jazz-sampling tunes of the mid-90s electronic underground, plus an added dash of late-90s Fatboy Slim perkiness.) The perfect soundtrack wherever drinks are served in coconut shells.

Keri Hilson - Lose Control/Let Me Down (feat. Nelly)

Beautiful R&B song that, despite its American pedigree, will probably do more business in Europe than in the United States. It's oddly reassuring how a decade later Nelly sounds exactly the same, and how refreshing to hear him and Keri doing their thing without any auto-tuning.

O-Bee - All Around the World (feat. Genevieve Jackson)

I championed the Norwegian rapper A-Lee in Volume 85; now it's Norwegian rapper O-Bee I praise in Volume 86. Did these guys consult one another about their rap names? Is it an EU stipulation that all Norwegian rapper names end in a double-E? May I put in a request for "I-Vee"?

Ben Stereomode - Fantasy World (Original Mix)

Hypnotic little bit of electronic goodness.

Desaparecidos - La Noche (Lanfranchi & Farina Remix)

This Italian group has been at it for a couple of years, but they never quite hit the nail on the head with their previous releases (their "Fiesta Loca," for example, while engaging, also seemed like just another footnote to the "Calabria" story). But this breezy piece of dance fluff exhibits the finer qualities of all good dance trash, and singer Giulia Boscolo's vocals pack a mighty punch (Ms. Boscolo is also known as "Miss Julia"). The music may be bouncy, and even exhilarating, but Wikipedia reports that the name "'Desaparecidos' means literally 'the ones who disappeared' in Spanish and Portuguese, and is a reference to people who were arrested by various South American military governments and then vanished without a trace." Heavy stuff!

Umek & Phntm - Freaks on the Floor (Original Mix)

The cycling notes remind me of those in the Amanda Lear-sampling trash classic "Go Down" by the House Keepers. A basic but effective dancefloor stomper.

Edward Maya feat. Vika Jigulina - Desert Rain

Romanian dance music too often holds back, preferring to be pretty and gentle when it could be gorgeous and bombastic. I presume this is a deliberate choice on the part of the producers, and it seems to have been a good one, since Edward Maya and other Romanian dance artists enjoyed big international success last year. So having expressed my clearly inconsequential opinion, I'll now say that for some reason I like "Desert Rain" much more than I did Maya's smash hit "Stereo Love." Of course, one's preference is all contingent on which backing music sample you prefer to listen to. Here it's (I think) a gaida (a type of Balkan bagpipe) that is providing the melody, which sounds much more lively than "Stereo Love's" accordions—though (once again) the sleepy vocals threaten to drop Ambien on the proceedings.

Jennifer Lopez feat. Pitbull - On the Floor (CCW Club Mix)

One of the most extraordinary indicators of the influence of Edward Maya's "Stereo Love" can be heard in Jennifer Lopez's "On the Floor," which clearly drew inspiration from the former. (In fact, I wondered if Lopez's tune sampled from a Romanian source [the accordion part reminds me of the one in Akcent's "Love Stoned"], but the liner notes suggest that this particular accordion melody was composed and recorded specifically for the Lopez song.) Somehow, Pitbull's presence doesn't manage to ruin it, but man, what a hack he is. "On the Floor's" masterstroke is its anthemic "la-la-la" chorus. Freed from the constraints of language, you can be sure crowds of people are roaring along to it from Lisbon to Constanţa every weekend. You will be hearing this one for years to come. Incidentally, how many people does it take to write a pop dance song these days? According to "On the Floor's" liner notes: eight. In pop music, everything is done by committee.

Röyksopp - Tricky Tricky

I checked out Röyksopp's live show in Atlanta a few weeks back and was reminded of just how good a tune this was (they used it as an effective show closer). The studio version features the vocal talents of The Knife's Karin Dreijer Andersson. A more free-form, instrumental reworking of the tune appears on Röyksopp's latest album Senior as "Tricky Two."

(May 2011)

An action-packed Eurotrash compendium deserves an action-packed cover! Cat on a shelf from Cluj-Napoca, Romania; cat on a path from Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Click on the music notes to hear song samples.

A.R.D.I. - Space (Six Senses Remix)

Instrumental trance tune for your Ibiza getaway. Make your hand into a dolphin and enjoy!

Afrojack - Doing it Right (Original Mix)

Afrojack has been enjoying big success across Europe with "Take Over Control," but this mesmerizing tune, with its "Strings of Life"-style orchestral punches, is even more entertaining.

Benny Benassi - House Music

More old skool-inspired dance music, with the ferocious "House Music," which delivers the zany attitude that is sorely missing from Mr. Benassi's more commercially successful recent R&B collaborations. I guess the latter pay the bills so that he can go on making tunes like this.

EWR - The New Style (Matt Edwards Mix)

The "new style" sounds a lot like the old style, as in the 1991 hardcore techno style. Any old skool afficionado will be playing a free-association game with the sounds in this tune. Ssssoooo...maybe a bit of Rebel MC & Tenor Fly's "Wickedest Sound" crossed with Human Resource's "Dominator"?

Diskoteka Avariya - Otcy / Дискотека Авария - Отцы

With a new Beastie Boys album out, I am reminded of Russia's Beastie-esque Diskoteka Avariya, who deliver the funk and the fun in this bouncy track. Includes rapping children; awwww, how adorable! After listening to tons of Russian pop, and not taking much of a shine to most of it, I am beginning to feel that these guys are exceptionally talented.

Erika Jayne - One Hot Pleasure (Ralph Rosario Club Mix)

Erika was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia—Erika! Did you come to any of my "Eurotrash or Eurotreasure?" parties? Video for the original version of the tune features yet another Ke$ha-inspired portrait of man-hungry chicks going out for a night of drinking, dancing, hell-raising, and fucking; are these women for real? Why don't they pounce on me when I'm out? Oh wait, yeah, if I ever did run into girls like these I'd flee. They're scary, man! Original song shamelessly rips off Lil' Louis and the World's "French Kiss" with its signature slowed-down orgasm moment. Ralph has been making house music long enough to recognize that that was an act of sacrilege, and so he turns in a beaty, Latin-spiced remix free of that plundered element, the highlights of which are Erika's "Bay-bay-bay-bay-bay-bay-bay-bay-bay-bay-BANG!" parts.

Timoteij - Kom

Second Timoteij tune I've featured here, with the catchy Swedish girl group offering something that sounds like Atomic Kitten crossed with Viking metal.

Ivana Banfić - Ti si bolji

Classic "Cro-dance" from Ivana, who is always photographed flaunting her impressive boobs. Released in the midst of the Croatian War of Independence, which proves that even during war the beat goes on.

Jelena Karleusa - Insomnia

Here is a Bollywood song, "Dance pe chance," covered by a Serbian turbo-folk singer. This is not unusual; there is a strong Bollywood/ethno-techno (be it Serbian turbo-folk, Bulgarian chalga, or Romanian manele) connection in the Balkans.

Zanfina Ismajli (with Vllezerit Krasniqi) - Rrushja e lales

Continuing our survey of Balkan music new and older, catchy ethnic music samples and nice back-and-forth between the male and female vocals elevate this Albanian pop tune sung by a fetching young woman and an older man, the latter of whom I must suppose has had a venerable past in the Albanian music industry in order to be featured here.

Madam Piano - Bonito Remix

After the previous tunes, you might be hungry for something a little "classier" sounding in your Balkan beats. Here is Madam Piano's smooth, jazzy house sound, which came out of Serbia. 1999 is my best stab at picking the date for this remix; the original arrived back in 1996.

Dash Berlin - Disarm Yourself (Dash Berlin 4 AM Dub Mix)

The original tune is an OK vocal trance number, but apparently Dash Berlin was in an aggressive mood during the recording of that, because here is a dark re-interpretation which (fortunately) doesn't sound much like the original. Reminds me of a somewhat more booming version of Mark Knight et al's "Arena." Both vocal and dub versions of the 4AM Mix are outselling the original on iTunes.

Daft Punk - The Grid (The Crystal Method remix)

Odds are that your electronic music friends raved about Daft Punk's Tron: Legacy soundtrack, which, when you heard it for yourself, didn't sound terribly exciting. Well, here's the dumb remix you and I have both been waiting for, courtesy of those "you gotta love 'em" Vegas strip-club DJs The Crystal Method, who recycle their fail-proof "Busy Child" blueprint, but deliver an even bigger symphonic sucker punch for the finale.

Benny Benassi - House Music (SonicC Remix)

Screwy interpretation of the already bonkers song. Acciieed!!!!

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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