SONG OF THE DAY: Rene Ablaze & Jacinta – “Secret 2k13” (Clokx Remix)

So I was walking down Collins Avenue on South Beach during the Winter Music Conference, enjoying the different DJs playing in every hotel lobby. As I was walking by the Dorset a track caught my attention, so I went in to see who the DJ was and it was the singer Jacinta – now known as DJ LoveFreq.   She was rocking Abelton with an Akai APC-40, seamlessly blending tracks and singing on top of them.  I asked her if she would ever consider doing a remix of “Can’t Keep It a Secret” – one of my all-time favorite songs, an uplifting personal growth anthem about helping someone find their truth.  On its original release, it was embraced by many in the LGBT community as a coming out song.  She said it was funny I would ask that and to listen to her next song.  Then she played a new mix by Clokx that was recently released on Redux records.  Gone are the tribal beats of the original, replaced with a smoothed-out progressive energy feel and hints of stadium and electro.  Hearing her sing live over the track was an extra special treat and will definitely stand out as one of my highlights of WMC 2013.  And yes, as soon as I got back to my hotel room, I rushed onto Beatport to buy the remix for my next DJ set!

Image Courtesy of Redux.

TOP TEN LISTS: Valentine’s Day Songs 2012

Some special songs to help celebrate Valentine’s day with the one you love.. instead of a dozen roses, here’s a top 10 of love songs you can dance to..

1. Cosmic Gate ft Emma Hewitt – “Be Your Sound”

I was talking to a friend the other day about the recent rerelease of Utah Saint’s “What Can You Do For Me.” The original version sampled Annie Lennox and conversation turned to their massive hit “Something Good” which sampled Kate Bush. We wondered what it would sound like if Kate Bush was making electronic records today? “Be Your Song” by Cosmic Gate and Emma Hewitt might just be the answer. “In a world gone silent, I’ll be your sound” sung by Emma in her ethereal yet powerful voice over the thumping track with the gorgeous breakdown is just about magical. If you haven’t listened to Cosmic Gate’s album Wake Your Mind, you don’t know what you’re missing.

2. Bitrocka ft Sushi “Give Me the Love”

Don’t you hate it when you hear a melody and it gets stuck in your head? Something that is so addicting that you have to keep going back to listen to it again and again? For this wonderful aural version of crack cocaine, check out Bitrocka’s debut single “Give Me the Love.” You might know Bitrocka from his remixes of Kylie Minogue, Freemasons, and Sugababes though Sushi is a newcomer to the scene (not the Sushy who sang Ben DJ’s “Me and Myself” and DAB’s “Grease.”) “Give Me the Love” is straight-up pop dance with elements of progressive and a few samples that sounds strikingly familiar (is that a touch of Michelle Williams “We Break the Dawn” that I hear?) The key change in the second part of the verse (:16 – :34) is what blows my mind – I feel like looping it over and over again. We wrote about this track back in May and it has finally been picked up by the wise people at 925 Music. New mixes from Miss Nine, Oxford Hustlers and Proluctors should expand the buzz started by the tastemakers at Gaydar radio who were the first to tip the hot track. Watch out for this one..

3. Chris Willis – “Too Much In Love”

“Are You Gonna Go My Way”? Wait, this is Chris Willis, yanking the intro from the classic Kravitz song as the strongest aspect of his new track, “Too Much In Love”. Willis’ voice is almost a staple in male-fronted house music and this rock aspect to his style is quite a stylistic and welcome shift from the smoother stuff he was doing with Guetta. Of course, the last time Willis paired up with Guetta got him major airplay on the radio with “Gettin’ Over”, so don’t knock it if it works. But “Too Much In Love” has that welcome familiarity to it that comes with sampling a classic, and Kravitz should be flattered that his timeless classic is sampled in such an engaging way.

4. Kyven – “Higher Love”

Kyven dives into fun with “Higher Love”. This man has been working nonstop to release a deluge of entertaining material. Previously Kyven has worked with Serge Devant on the tracks “Part of Me” and “Surround U”, but “Higher Love” definitely lifts from those depths to embrace something more upbeat, friendlier, that lets the singer really lift his voice. “Higher Love” is what it is, an effervescent and entertaining foray into the kind of summer pop that makes mainstream crossover look easy. He may be a little late for summer, but Kyven’s voice and beats should last well into winter on dance radio. So keep your ears tuned, “Higher Love” is aiming for higher exposure and worthy of your attention.

5. Clokx – “Catch Your Fall”

Dutch producer Clokx, originally known for the dance cover of Coldplay’s “Clocks” (hmm…the naming may be a stretch here…) hit up 2011 hard with the entrancing “Catch Your Fall”. Eurodance with a female singer? Check. But aspects of “Catch Your Fall” sound similar to Divine Inspiration’s “The Way” as well as David Guetta’s “When Love Takes Over”, giving this track the right amount of nostalgic “oomph” to get it some attention. The singer’s voice is steady and clear, tying up this nice little package with a big fat happy dm.a.c seal of approval. Give this a spin in your car, on your Ipod, on your floor…wherever works. It’ll entertain.

6. Mysto & Pizzi ft Jonny Rose – “Where Is Love (Love is Hard to Find)”

An ongoing pursuit of male-fronted club music yields the gem of “Where Is Love”, voiced by the emotional Jonny Rose and created by remix team Mysto & Pizzi. The Coldplay-esque production of “Where Is Love” supports Rose’s voice in a collision of uplifting sounds and thumping beats, suggesting you just go ape-nuts crazy on the dance floor when the track finally breaks. It is always refreshing when a familiar yet periphery name drops a track like “Where Is Love”, forcing you to remember that you don’t need a big name for a big song.

7. Zoe Badwi – “Accidents Happen”

If Zoe Badwi proves only one thing with her newest song, “Accidents Happen”, it’s that the singer has a bag of tricks and she ain’t anywhere close from emptying that thing out. The variety that comes across in her music makes each single a refreshing listen and her voice is engaging and clear. “Accidents Happen” may sound cheesy from a singer that lacks the capabilities of Zoe, her voice hitting spots where it sounds raw and unpolished. The music sounds similar to Wynter Gordon’s “Dirty Talk” enough that a mashup might be hot. Accidents do happen, but in Badwi’s case, it’s all due to careful planning and a damn hot bag of tricks.

8. Marc JB vs Peyton – “Keep Believin'”

What do you get when you cross half of Bimbo Jones with the finest male vocalist in club land? The answer would be the effervescent future club smash “Keep Believin'” by Marc JB vs Peyton. Peyton has an incredibly powerful voice and for this song he manages to use an almost staccato cadence for the verse (similar to Chocolate Puma’s “Always and Forever”) and go completely gospel for chorus. The production is also opposite between a seemingly electro verse contrasted by a hooky piano verse that wouldn’t be out of place on a Loveland or italo classic. Combining all these divergent elements could be a mess left to a less talented (and experienced) musician, but in the expert hands of producer Marc JB (of Bimbo Jones), he elevates the different parts to create what could be an anthemic club classic. Additional remixes by Max Jackson, ku ka chu, and Van Hej are good and will appeal to many djs, but to my ears the original mix is where its at.

9. Penny Foster – “Closer To Love”

Robbins just keeps chugging out the fantastic dance pop songs. Penny Foster gives us “Closer To Love”, doing her best to sound like Sarah McLachlan remixed. The production does remind of the bass growl of some of Gabriel & Dresden/Motorcycle’s work, but some of the other aspects give the track a spacier feel. “Closer To Love” is one of the strongest Robbins releases in recent memory, topping the beauty of Niamh Egan’s “You’re the One” by a landslide. Whatever remixes support this track will hopefully maintain some of the trancier aspects of the track while continuing to push Foster’s gorgeous voice to the forefront. Can’t wait to see this one take over.

10. September – “Resuscitate Me”

While the production on September’s brand new future hit “Resuscitate Me” may be a bit more streamlined than some of her previous tracks, her obvious talents have been generously employed here. The track retains much of the catchy songwriting that September’s songs have been known for, as well as her tender vocals carrying you from beginning to end. And any track that uses the words “I need love CPR” (think JLS – “Beat Again”) is a track that deserves some attention. Mixes by Buzz Junkies and Moto Blanco are something to look forward to. Welcome back, Petra (loving the haircut).