#NewMusicFriday: ‘Don’t Tell Me You Love Me’ by Sam Calver (Jack Wins Remix)

As much as a remix can breathe life into a piece of music, it can also cut free the structural restraints of the original. With his take on up-and-coming artist Sam Calver’s Don’t Tell Me You Love Me, Jack Wins creates new ground for a summery hit.

On the original, Calver experiments with the flow of his vocals underneath a slight trap beat. While at times the weaving of lyrics around the relaxed tempo brings with it a creative flair, it does sound rather disjointed and has this rather ‘tight’ sound to it. There’s a sense of the vocals wanting to explore a new rhythm, but the track’s instrumentals are holding Calver back. Cue Dutch DJ Jack Wins spicing things up a bit.

With new backing piano chords moulding around the vocals, there’s much more room for Calver’s voice to take centre stage with a more anthemic edge. From stabs supporting the higher ends of his vocal range, Wins’ traditional club sound in the second verse works well with the lyrics, giving a much grittier feel to Sam’s sound. Through Jack’s creativity, we finally get a track which feels unrestrained and liberated – a feeling which translates well into the minds of listeners when giving this club track a spin.

Jack Wins’ remix of Don’t Tell Me You Love Me is available to listen to now on Spotify and Apple Music.

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#NewMusicFriday: ‘Drink About’ by Seeb feat. Dagny

It’s been nearly three years since the Norwegian DJ trio Seeb shot into the spotlight with their hit remix of I Took A Pill in Ibiza. What followed was a string of collaborations on remixes and original tracks – the group working with the likes of One Republic and Ocean Park Standoff – before last month, the hitmakers finally announced the launch of their debut EP.

Nice to Meet You is out on 20 April, but today saw the release of the first single from the record – Drink About, featuring fellow Norwegian, Dagny.

Once again, Seeb’s traditional, bouncy synths shine through underneath a steady rhythm – a style which has sadly become a bit too repetitive after a lengthy back catalogue from the group, yet still strikes a unique tone with calming piano chords in the verses which make Drink About a more laid-back release.

Although the instrumental backdrop to the track may appear all too familiar, it’s usually the vocal structure of the song which tends to deliver the fresh sound. In this case, Dagny – another artist close to their big music breakthrough.

Like Paloma Faith but without the slight raspiness, the 27-year-old experiments with the flow of lyrics in a playful manner, moving seamlessly between controlled, soft vocals and smooth high notes on this anti-love song.

Packed full of the typical characteristics of a Seeb hit, Drink About easily falls into the uniform structure of the Norwegian group’s previous works, yet somehow also generates a calmer pace unlike remixes such as Lost Boys and Rich Love.

If the lead single is ever demonstrative of the full picture of an EP, then there’s a chance we could see more relaxed tones in addition to club hits when Nice To Meet You is out in two weeks’ time.

#NewMusicFriday: ‘Dirt’ by Emma Blackery

It was no surprise that Emma Blackery’s latest single Dirt was going to be firing some shots at a certain someone. With promotional images seeing her posing with bitter labels, sipping tea and bathing in receipts, the singer-songwriter’s track is packed with sass as radiant as the synths at its heart.

While the music video has the vibrant art style of a Chloe Höwl video, the song itself has clear Taylor Swift vibes with blunt, sly muttering in amongst the vocals. Add this to the nursery rhyme of the key line I’ve got dirt on you and you have a song packed with soft, bubbly instrumentals with sharp, flowing and edgy lyrics.

Sure, Dirt is a clear and stark contrast to the calmer tones of the Magnetised EP (which Blackery described as being about ‘mending’), but with cup and saucer in hand, Emma Blackery is stronger than ever.

Musical Discovery: ‘Where’d U Go’ by Illenium & Said the Sky

It’s quite hard trying to pinpoint when exactly I stumbled across Illenium. In most instances, it’s YouTube channels like MrSuicideSheep and Proximity to whom I owe my thanks for discovering up-and-coming dance artists. Yet, on this occasion, it may have been an announced collaboration by Mako which led to me listening to Illenium’s track with Said the Sky, Where’d U Go.

With no vocals (save for the song title itself), the track is completely instrumental, broken down into the main, stuttering melody and softer, atmospheric backing chords. In the space of just over three minutes, Where’d U Go flits between quieter breaks with subtle drum-and-bass into euphoric, hazy drops.

Interestingly, there’s not always just the main melody to focus on. In the opening, fluttering piano chords are played underneath jittery synth, whilst in the choruses, multiple tunes combine with a steady drum beat to create a busy but vibrant hook of euphoric proportions.

On YouTube, listeners were quick to compare the track to Divinity by the US DJ Porter Robinson. Whilst the stumbling synth is common on both songs, Illenium’s track builds an ethereal tone through loud melodies, as opposed to Robinson’s (primarily) delicate sound in Divinity.

#NewMusicFriday: ‘Lullaby’ by Sigala feat. Paloma Faith

Paloma Faith is no stranger to the dance music genres. Having put her toes in the water on Sigma’s smash hit, Changing, her latest collaboration with Sigala on the track Lullaby sees her venture into the tropical house scene.

Whilst Changing – to be overly critical – could be described as just a faster Paloma single, Sigala (real name Bruce Fielder) is able to bring out the best of the Crybaby singer on this track. With a steady tempo of 120bpm, Lullaby progresses at a pace which isn’t unfamiliar to Faith.

What is different, however, is the more anthemic sound from Paloma – reminiscent of Galantis’ Runaway (U & I) – which we hear in the chorus in the catchy line: Won’t you sing me a sweet lullaby. Although the artist doesn’t shy away from powerful vocals, this collaboration sees a louder, shouty side of Paloma we’ve rarely heard before – wonderfully ironic for a track named Lullaby.

There’s no doubt that Fielder has scored another hit collaboration with this track, but whilst Faith’s vocals are to be commended, Sigala’s instrumental contributions should also be applauded as well.

Unlike previous singles, we hear a unique style of tropical synth on this track. Hit singles like Easy Love, Give Me Your Love or Ain’t Giving Up all have punchy piano stabs at its core, yet Lullaby ditches that entirely for a bubblier, fluttering electronic melody.

Yet, that’s not to say that such a sound hasn’t been hinted at before. The poppy intro to Came Here for Love is perhaps the closest to the feel of this track, which seems to suggest that Sigala is perhaps designing a more uniform style in preparation for his upcoming album (something which has once again been teased by Fielder fairly recently).

Despite what the song’s title may suggest, Sigala and Paloma Faith’s collaboration is a euphoric, feel-good track, kickstarting Fielder’s 2018 and building upon Faith’s recent success with The Architect.

REVIEW: ‘Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life’ by The Wombats

The Wombats have certainly made some changes since their last album in 2015. Whilst the edgy album titles remain (this one being Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life), the rock trio from Liverpool certainly succeeded in making an album which doesn’t “[punch] you in the face every time you listen to it” – pursuing a much more laid-back sound this time around.

Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life sees The Wombat pursue a more laid-back sound, whilst maintaining the traditional and powerful kick from previous works. Photo: The Wombats.

Although, that is not to say that the band have completely ditched the rockier vibes heard on previous tracks like Moving to New York and Let’s Dance to Joy Division. They’re still present on the album – albeit in a slightly new and different (but interesting) way…

Take the opener, Cheetah Tongue, which slowly eases listeners into Beautiful People… with a gritty underlying guitar riff before dropping a loud, punchy drum beat. It’s stripped-back, yet still has that Wombats kick to it we’ve felt before.

That doesn’t stop with the following song, Lemon To A Knife Fight. As the lead single from the album, the group knew it had to offer a glimpse into what the ten-track record had in store. With anthemic vocals in the chorus on top of casual instrumentals, it perfectly balances the driving rock of the old with the chilled vibes of the new. It’s certainly the stand-out track from the album, so if you have to listen to one song from Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life, make it this one.

Then follows the third and final single from the album, Turn – a track with retreating guitar and drums that make it a song focussing more on Matthew Murphy’s vocals than an all-round dance hit. It strikes that perfect balance between full-on rock and a slower, phones-in-the-air type track – an interesting in-between.

Yet, it’s not just the singles where we see such a balance between slower and faster vibes. Over the course of the next seven tracks, we either see the punch come from pulsing drums and guitar (Black FlamingoDip You in Honey and Lethal Combination), or from Murph’s loud lyrics (Out of My Head). Such a switch between the two keeps each track fresh as we progress towards the end of the album.

With that being said, the change-up in style is apparent when one considers the tempo of the tracks. Far from the pace of A Guide to Love, Loss and Desperation, their latest release, Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life plays with a more relaxed rhythm – some tracks hiding the change with colourful beats and melodies, others placing emphasis on it to create a calmer feel.

This leads us to the final track, I Don’t Know Why I Like You but I Do – a track which, for the most part, is in clear contrast to the first three. A simplistic drum beat (with the odd bit of flair here and there) and smooth guitar melodies slow things down for Murph, before a gritty guitar interlude refreshes the feel and makes it a perfect showcase of the two sides of the album.

A refreshing change of style is always a risky, tough and lengthy process for any band to deliver, but with Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life, The Wombats return to turn things down a notch, whilst maintaining the traditional groove fans know and love.

Rating: 4/5

Musical Discovery: ‘FRIENDS’ by Marshmello & Anne-Marie

It’s only three days until the love-fest that is Valentine’s Day, and rather than releasing the typical love song, Marshmello and his latest featured artist Anne-Marie wanted to go down the more anti-romance route with their single, FRIENDS.

Described in the title for the lyric video on YouTube as being the ‘official friendzone anthem’, Anne-Marie’s smooth vocals give the perfect sassy edge to this track for heartbreakers in a style where you can almost sense the smug grin on her face as she sings the lyrics in the recording booth.

Such a vibe isn’t only given off by Anne-Marie, as Marshmello dabbles in a bit of deception. A fluttering and catchy guitar melody creates an intimate, contrasting tone to that of Anne-Marie’s, right before dropping into a dirty trap beat. FRIENDS is a beautiful anti-climax – both instrumentally and vocally – which continues Marshmello’s mellow sound in a fresh, interesting and unexpected way.