Mr. Lava's Trash Music Compendium

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

(September 2011)

As warm memories of summer give way to the gloom of autumn, I offer these photos taken in a cemetery near Iasi, Romania.

Click on the music notes to hear song samples.

The 2 Bears - Bear Hug

If you think this song is already ridiculous, be sure to check out the wonderful video.

Kooky vs. Pat Fulgoni - Giving Up on Love (Hillberg Electrohouse Remix)

I met DJ, producer, and record label manager Hillberg at a Mistakemistake gig in Belgrade in 2010; nowadays we exchange pointed observations about Trackshittaz. So, it's a pleasure for me to immerse you in the screwy genius of his filthy electro-fied remix of this very fine single from his Envloop label.

Flo Rida [feat. Etta James] - Good Feeling

Sometimes I berate artists for the laziness of their sampling, but here's an example of a sample that works. If you listen to the original Etta James tune "Something's Got a Hold On Me," you appreciate how far from the original context Flo Rida takes the vocal, while simultaneously making it feel right at home in the very different context in which he drops it. On the other hand, he probably got the idea of using the Etta James sample in the first place from Avicii's "Levels," which also uses it.

Kus - Formule X

This would have sounded comfortable a decade or so ago alongside the work of Sarina Paris, Ann Lee, or K3. In other words, 3.5 minutes of sugar, with a toe-tapping synth run after the choruses and the utterly unnecessary key change for the final chorus. Thanks, Luc, for introducing me to this musical insulin.

Michael Burian and Victoria - Secret

Central Europe has a good number of talented house producers, incuding Stereo Palma out of Hungary and Michael Burian, who hails from the Czech Republic. Here is a goosebump-good house track, a late night rumination on the dysfunctional world of love in the discotheque.

Andrew Spencer - I'm Always Here (Baywatch Theme) (2-4 Grooves Remix)

It's as dumb as you could hope. Oddly enough, only a few weeks after it hit the Euro club charts, Dirty Impact & Royal XTC, who (like Mr. Spencer) have a history of revamping old pop songs, put out their own version of the "Baywatch" theme, which charted in Hasselhoff-friendly Austria, suggesting once again either incredible coordination between these dance remakers or a well-honed and rapid response rate for ripping off other people's concepts (see also the myriad dance versions of Vaya Con Dios's "Nah Neh Nah").

Eichensohn & Davenstedt - FFF (Original Extended Version)

Learn filthy German from this bubbly electro tune.

David Guetta and Afrojack - Lunar

David Guetta and Lady Gaga have this in common: 2010 was the year they ascended to worship-worthiness, and 2011 marked The Great Backlash. Mr. Guetta lately seems more focused on collecting the biggest names in American R&B than he is on coming up with the sorts of hooks that made "Love is Gone" so pleasurable. So, it's nice to hear him kicking out a banging instrumental, assisted by the always capable Afrojack. But the Guetta Backlash continues even here, with accusations that "Lunar" steals its best ideas from Daft Punk's "Derezzed." Guetta's probably crying all the way to the bank, but, yeah, not a good year artistically for him.

Aimi - Power of Goodbye (Extended Version)

You'd think with that distinctive title that this could only be a cover of Madonna's "The Power of Good-Bye." Remarkably, it isn't. It's as if Aimi and company were sitting around listening to the Ray of Light album and said, "Hey! 'Power of Good-Bye.' Great title! We should write our own totally different song called 'Power of Goodbye'!" So what we get is a flavorful, English-language Romanian pop dance tune that, with its lush synth hooks, reminds me of the sort of stuff I heard a decade ago on Romanian radio. This is a welcome thing.

Berto Mene - Los Brujos (Loko Remix)

A nice little tribal house intermission with surreally cycling chants and banging percussion.

Jeremy Hills - Let the Love In (Original Extended)

One of the great mysterious of the last decade is the non-availability of French dance tracks in the United States. French pop seems to exist in a protective bubble; many of my fave tracks from that country, like Naty's "Toi mon toit" (2004) and Les Jumo's "Zoomer" (2009) either take years to surface or never appear in the iTunes store at all (happily, I see the Naty track can now be snagged). Here's another fine, somewhat spooky little pop house tune that you can't buy in the United States. I remember, way back when I took French language classes, how proud the French were of La Francophonie. So, why aren't these great tunes available everywhere?

DJ Tatana - Free (Radio Mix)

A perfect packet of sunshine for the dancefloor. Video, featuring teddy bears having various misadventures, reminds me of the excellent novel The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse, which you should read right now.

Otpetye Moshenniki - Lubi Menya Lubi

1990s Russian boy band offers super-catchy way-smoov pop tune.

(September 2011)

Click on the music notes to hear song samples.

Yer Man - Rave Resurrection (Downtempo Radio Edit)

The tempo may be "down," but the music is uplifting stuff. Another track from the consistently talented Aaron McClelland working under another of his many guises.

The Shoes - Time to Dance

Any song that features cheerleader chants gets my seal of approval.

The Angry Kids featuring Nick Kershaw - Wouldn't It Be Good

Nothing very angry about these kids; maybe they've enrolled in an anger-management course since calling themselves that. Here, in the tradition of the great Andrew Spencer and Dirty Impact (see above), they take a 1984 Nick Kershaw pop hit, add some boom-boom, and regurgitate it to eager trashers like you and me.

Alessandro Viale feat. Vaanya Diva - Sweet Little Thing (A. Viale, DJ Ross & Paul Sander Mix)

Italy continues to produce smooth, graceful house tunes like this one, which boast a melodic and romantic quality not usually found in such supply in other countries' output. Mr. Viale has appeared in a number of terrific bands championed on these pages in the past, including Paps N Skar and Souvenir D'Italie, so he knows a thing or two about crafting great tunes like this.

JOOP - Stronger

Storming instrumental electro house number with huge hooks.

Sohn des Volkes - Berlin City Girl

A pleasant pop song about a Berlin City Girl. Don't know what more one could say about this, really, except that those Berlin girls in the music video are pretty foxy.

Caroline Cross feat. Deliman - Get it On (Hands Up) (Children Edit)

Dum-dum pop dance tune with a massive sing-along hook (sorta reminiscent of the horns in Bellini's immortal "Samba de Janiero"). The "Children Edit" adds a boisterous backing chorus, which makes it a bit more fun than the original (in the same way the "Chant Mix" of Zombie Nation's "Kernkraft 400" smokes the original chantless version). If you ever have a choice between booming chorus and no booming chorus, go with the chorus. "Serbia, Turkey, Slovenia..." Deliman chants--nice to hear some of the less often represented Euro community voices getting a shout out, there.

Swiss American Federation feat. Nichole Alden - Live So Free (Club Mix)

Pop house salad served with a side of darkness.

Sak Noel - Loca People (Original Mix)

Winner of "Song of the Summer: 2011." It topped at least half a dozen European charts and landed in the top 10s on many others. Like many such mega-club hits (e.g., "Barbra Streisand"), it's a bit slight, but the important thing is that it rides on a couple of good ideas, including Spanish language exhortations (Mr. Noel hails from Spain) and some amusing profanity. It's so popular that, failing at the time to have had an official UK release, a sound-alike version charted in the UK instead (the Brits get their bona fide Sak Noel version delivered on 25 September).

Molella & Supafly Inc. - X-Rated (Molella & Jerma Original Mix)

Soaring, life-affirming anthem from Italian producers who have proven awfully good at making these (Molella gave us the wonderful "Paradise" with Alessia D'Andrea a few months back, and Jerma has done several cool things alongside Alex Gaudino). Not sure how a song called "X-Rated" can sound so moving, but there's something about the delivery of the lines, "You were looking good/How God made you," that proves quite affecting.

Gender-Benders - Disco Parade (Club Mix)

With a name like "Gender-Benders" I expected a big ol' gay dancefloor anthem. "All right, Gender Benders," I said as I wearily clicked the YouTube link, "I'm ready for all your 'Thank you, babies.'" Instead, I found myself unexpectedly transported to the Highland games, eating haggis and hurling logs while serenaded by bagpipes and a drumline. Fucking awesome tune.

Vocalettes - Love the 40s (Floorfiller Love Track)

Charting in Sweden, a tru-trash medley of 40s hits apparently sung by three young women (I'm getting that from the cover of the release; can't find anything about this group online, nor a video at the time of this writing). Interestingly, described on the Napster web site as "easy-listening." Seems that while swing experiences relative ups and downs in popularity, it has never gone totally out of style (consider Christina Aguilera's saucy 2007 single "Candyman"). "Hip-hip!"

DJ Fresh & Sigma - Lassitude

Not sure why I sat on this drum 'n' bass charmer for so long. Maybe I liked DJ Fresh's "Gold Dust" just a little bit more. So, when I finally got back around to "Lassitude," it gave me a right good whipping for having neglected it. In fact, I'd say I was thoroughly caned!

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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