Kaytranada – 99.9%

Kaytranada has been one of the main staples of my iPod. I have been a fan since his remix of Janet Jackson’s If. Other than that, I have always anticipated his numerous Boiler Room sets to check what he has been up to so I can download and include his new stuff in my playlists.

He launched his album 99.9% just a few days ago, and I strongly believe it’s actually one of the best dance releases for the month. The perfect blend of house, hip hop, R&B, soul, funk, and electro in his songs just makes his album very easy to like and listen to. His collaboration with diverse musicians like Vic Mensa, AlunaGeorge, Craig David, Badbadnotgood, Little Dragon, and Anderson .Paak (my breakout artist for 2016) just shows what he’s capable of doing. He can be both diverse and approachable at the same time, synthesizing so many  genres in one album without alienating current and new listeners.

Personally, the ultimate standout would be You’re the One feat. The Internet’s Syd. The song is just plain sexy and sultry, it’s something you’d want to dance to on a lazy Sunday morning in your pajamas.

99.9% is is a electro-discotheque masterpiece – it’s something anyone would totally listen to anytime of the day. I’d recommend buying his album as all tracks will definitely end up in any classic dance playlists this year. I’m giving this album 🔥🔥🔥🔥.

Follow Kaytra on Songkick to know where his next gigs will be.

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Lenno – Good Thing (EP)

I’ve been waiting for this release since I first heard one of his singles “Fever” (which, btw, I reviewed here last year). And I must say, this 15-minute long EP is worth putting on loop all day. Lenno has this knack of using classic nu-wave/discotheque beats, bass lines, and synths you’d normally hear from classic 80s and 90s tracks. For someone who’s only in his early 20s, he’s making songs that our parents can tolerate listening to.

All tracks are standouts, it’s so hard to choose just one. The whole vibe of his album is everything I’m looking for in an electropop/synthpop song. You’d find yourself including his songs in your springtime/summertime beachparty playlists.

For more of Lenno, check out his Soundcloud, like his Facebook page, and follow him on Songkick to get updates on where he’ll be playing live next.

HONNE’s Over Lover (EP)

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London-based Andy and James, better known as HONNE, surely made one straight-up sexy EP with Over Lover. Andy’s effortlessly soulful vocals amplified with subtly groovy synths were perfectly blended to exude that sensual and seductive sound. The whole record was obviously well-thought of – all the songs sounded so cohesive and it was consistent with the sound HONNE is known for. I would recommend playing this record during those rainy nights with your special one.

The Shortlist Standout

You can pre-order their EP ‘Over Lover’ here, and check out the latest news about the band in their here.

Last Dinosaurs’ Wellness

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It’s been three years since Brisbane-based Last Dinosaurs released their stellar debut LP In a Million Years, an album which I believe was able to perfectly marry dream pop and indie rock in order to capture a wider set of music audience. This was followed up just recently with the release of their more mature-sounding album, Wellness.

What’s good about this album is that the band was able to stick to the sound they are known for – upbeat, disco-sounding riffs that will make any listener both sing and dance to their songs. The album was well-made and thought of, won’t deny them that. There are a lot of promising tracks like ‘Evie’, ‘Apollo’, and ‘Purist’ as they sounded like the tracks in In a Million Years.  The instrumentals are impeccably made with its dancey guitar lines and catchy synths, partnered with Sean Caskey’s dreamy vocals. However, the whole vibe of this record seemed forced and flat. Unlike the first album, transitions to the next songs were not as smooth, and the tracks sounded disconnected to each other. Most of the songs were also forgettable as they all sounded the same. One would only be able to appreciate the album better if they listened to it more than once, with each time more intently and focused than the last one.

Wellness was a sophomore semi-slump. There was so much potential in this album because of the great attention to detail they put in each song. Unfortunately, they dwelled too much on the technicalities with the intention to sound more mature that they complete forgot the fun Last Dinosaurs essence that their audience fell in love with. It was easy to cherry-pick favorites and skip unmemorable ones, leaving them at the losing side of the spectrum. What’s good though is that they focused more on their song writing this time, making the album emotionally honest and closer to the listener. I’m looking forward to how these songs will be played live, and hopefully, they will be able to make it more exciting than the album-listening experience. It was hard to follow up In A Million Years. Hopefully, Last Dinosaurs will be able to learn so many lessons from this release; at least they would know exactly how to turn around future records, and that is by focusing more on their signature sound which will always be the first point of contact of the listeners to their material.

Shortlist Standout:

Groove Armada’s Little Black Book (Disc 1)

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Andy Cato and Tom Findlay, better known as the duo Groove Armada, just recently launched the first instalment of their Little Black Book series album under the UK Label Moda Black. Being considered as one of the veterans in the dance music scene was very evident in this album as they were able to stick to the sound they are more known for – steady, synth-laden house music backed up by groovy basslines that kind of reminds you of a Night at the Roxbury. Despite the proliferation of many other dance music artists in the biz, they have clearly set themselves apart by having this distinct 90s rave/disco-inspired and (thank God for this) bass drop-free sound, which eventually produces nothing but top quality house music that’s very easy on anyone’s musical palate.

The 80-minute musical journey offered by the first disc includes 7 new tracks and other Groove Armada’s original music and remixes from the past years. Clear standout tracks were Push, Soho Disco, Alright, and Rescue Me. What I like most about this album would be the clean and smooth transitions in between songs. I’m a sucker for this kind of thing as it highly encourages non-stop dancing from the listener’s part. It was very obvious that the tracks were well-made and thought of, with the first half mostly having that chill dance/discotheque vibe, purposefully done to build up to the album climax. Post-Alright, you will notice that the tracks are mostly bass-heavy, intertwining in soulful vocal samples, which is the success formula of the Groove Armada dance equation.

Check out bit.ly/GALittleBlackBook to download a new Groove Armada track ‘Get On The Floor (Fabric Edit)’, or you can also go to their Facebook page and website for more news about the dance duo.