Porter Robinson & Madeon – Shelter

Another track I should have posted awhile ago, but I figured it would turn out to be a much bigger song than it ultimately was. Lately I’ve found quite a few people that I assumed had heard it, and I know would enjoy this track, that had never experienced it. For that reason I’m posting this inevitably good collaboration between young American producer Porter Robinson and young French producer Madeon. Honestly, combining the genius of these two could either produce a fantastic track (although not necessarily mainstream) or something so very obscure that very few could appreciate it. Luckily it was the former.

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Ed Sheeran – Castle On The Hill

I held off for awhile before posting this as it seems almost pointless. I’d be amazed if someone hasn’t heard this song yet as it’s been #1 or #2 in the UK and USA for quite some time, but I have to admit that it gave me a real respect for this songwriter for the first time. I’d of course heard a few solid songs off his last couple albums, but none of them spoke to me like this track did and I think he’s really reached another level of songwriting on this latest album. Forgo the fact that he delayed release to consult Rick Rubin (of countless masterpiece albums fame, seriously, if you don’t know who he is, google his name and prepare to be impressed), I’m giving Ed Sheeran a lot of credit for his new direction. I also love that there is no snare drum. Seriously, name the last popular rock/pop track with no snare drum anywhere in the track…

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Maggie Rogers – Dog Years

The last Maggie Rogers song I posted I enjoy, but I think I like the process in which I found it and how it became known to the public through Pharrell than I actually enjoy the song on it’s own merits. This track is different. I really enjoy this song standing on it’s own. The track ebs and flows, its incredible to really listen for the builds and breaks as they come and go like clockwork through the four and a half minutes of this track. I also love the fact that she filmed it at the camp she attended and subsequently counseled at for 6+ years of her life. There is a nostalgia element to the video that I can appreciate.

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Starley – Call On Me (Ryan Riback Remix)

I always wonder if artists get annoyed when a remix turns out to be more popular than the original. The interesting thing with this track is that it was specifically commissioned along with 5 other remixes as an small remix album to compliment the main release. Turns out though that Ryan Riback pulled out the best parts of the track, added some great house piano, sped it up a bit, enhance the beat, added some synth backing layers and voila! 4 million views on Youtube versus just 46 thousand for the original. Maybe that was the point of the remixes to begin with though: as a backup in case the original doesn’t quite hit the mark.

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Vallis Alps – Fading

I didn’t hear this track until it popped up on Australia’s famous Triple J countdown of the best songs of 2016 and I sure am glad I tuned in. A guy from Seattle and girl from Canberra created an entire album through collaboration, sending parts back and forth to one another for years. This is my favorite by the duo, but the album is quite good as a whole. The layering and vocal edits are exquisite and every time I listen I uncover another synth layer or drum fill that I didn’t catch on the last listen. With so much happening in the background the track never comes across as messy or sonically clogged. Impressive is all I can say.

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One Ok Rock – We Are

While this is a great song off their newest album, the live version of the song performed below really surprised me. I’ve never seen a band integrate their fans into a live performance like these guys did for this song. It’s really incredible to watch. I hope more artists try similar things as I think the result is quite powerful. Enjoy the video!

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Maggie Rogers – Alaska

Maggie Rogers who gained fame online for seriously impressing Pharrell in a NYU guest musical lecture has released the track that got both Pharrell and the online world’s attention. It certainly has character, and the uniqueness that so many heard on the initial video still holds true after some further mixing and mastering. I’ve included the video that brought her fame first, followed by her more recent release of the same track.

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Shapeshifter – Stars

These guys defined the standard for a live drum and bass group with vocals as far back as 2001. I’m honestly amazed that they are still turning out jams. This recent release is not just another generic musical offering for a band that has already established credibility, but a real banger that competes with any of the classics they’ve already released in their 15 years on the scene. These guys show no sign of slowing down and good on them. I hope they keep turning out more tunes like this one for as long as possible. I’m certainly going to keep paying attention.

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Calum Scott – Dancing On My Own (Tiesto Remix)

I feel like Tiesto did very little for this remix, and yet it’s all that was needed to make it perfect. It’s annoying when you hear so little created or added, and yet it’s the perfect touch so I can’t argue with the minimalism. Either way, if you’re outside of Britain you may not know this story. Essentially Calum Scott did his own slower re-work of the Robyn classic as his audition for Britain’s Got Talent (right after his sister was denied) and soon enough had his own release of his version of the song followed by a Tiesto remix which just was the icing on the musical cake. I’ve included his initial Britain’s Got Talent audition as a reference to how this all came about. There really isn’t any doubt that you won’t like the track either, it just works…and it’s even better than the original. Sorry Robyn.

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