As we’re halfway through the calendar year, it’s time for some music stats and records that I know you’re just dying to hear …. ‘Uptown Funk’ continues to dominate, with a total figure of 1.93 million sales worldwide, while Hozier’s ‘Take me to Church’ and OMI’s ‘Cheerleader’ were also high sellers and came in second and third places respectively. Rihanna on the other hand, has become the best-selling digital artist of all time, surpassing the 100 digital singles award mark. The best selling album of the year so far goes to Sam Smith for his album ‘The lonely Hour’, beating off competition from Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift. We’re only six months in and a lot can change over the next six months.
After 63 years, NME announced plans to become a free weekly music magazine, while the Official Chart has moved to Fridays with Greg James, to coincide with the new release day for singles. There’s been so many great new singles unveiled this month from Disclosure’s collaboration with Sam Smith on ‘Omen’, Eric Prydz’s incredible ‘Opus‘, to Pharrell’s ‘Freedom’, which coincided with the Apple’s streaming service, Beats 1. Speaking of Apple’s new streaming service, Dr Dre has secured a new show on Beats 1 called ‘The Pharmacy’, and is also set to release his first solo album in nearly 16 years. Other albums set for release over the next few months include Chvrches ‘Every Open Eye’ (Sept 25), John Newman’s ‘Revolve’ (Oct 16) , Rudimental’s ‘We Are The Generation’ (Sept 18) and Disclosure’s ‘Caracal’ (Sept 25) featuring a whole host of guest artists such as Lorde, The Weeknd, Sam Smith, Gregory Porter and Kwabs, to name a few. In streaming news, more people in the UK are streaming music online, with reports reaching over 500 million. Eager to cash in on the online music streaming service, Amazon have announced plans for Amazon Prime Music to rival Spotify. Speaking of Spotify, Prince has followed taylor Swift and removed all his music from the streaming service. There’s been plenty of music beef the past month, starting with Taylor Swift vs Nicki Minaj, which prompted Ed Sheeran to jokingly stir trouble with Bruno Mars. What wasn’t a joking matter however, was the spat between Meek Mill and Drake, where Mill accused Drake of not writing his own lyrics. Queue a diss track from Drake and plenty of online coverage, and you’ve got yourself one nasty fight.
Following his successful set at Glastonbury Festival, Lionel Richie achieved his first number one album in over 23 years! Fans were still reeling from his classic performance, that ‘Lionel Richie & The Commodores’ jumped 103 places, fighting off competition from Florence + The Machine. Later that month, The Chemical Brothers claimed their sixth number one album with ‘Born in the Echoes‘, making them the only dance act to achieve 6 number one studio albuns. The MTV VMA’s were announced with Taylor Swift leading the pack with 9 nominations, closely followed by Sheeran with 6 and Beyonce, Lamar and Ronson with 5. Are we running out of music ideas? French DJ David Guetta, has only gone and remixed well known nursery rhyme ‘If You’re Happy And You Know It’, while Avicii took on a more well known dance classic and reworked Faithless’ ‘Insomnia’. Australian DJ duo Mashd N Kutcher have started a new craze at gigs, where they troll the audience with Spandaau Ballet’s ‘True’ just at the pivotal drop.
Festival Season was well under way with festivals such as Lovebox, Latitude, Lollapalooza, Longitude (All the L’s), EDC, Secret Garden Party, Melt!, T in the Park, Open’er and Wireless, to name but a few. Now in August, we can look forward to V Festival, Creamfields, Electric Picnic, Reading & Leeds, SW4 and Notting Hill Carnival. In the meantime, check out my favourites from July:
1)Alessia Cara – Here (Lucian Remix)
Rising NYC producer Lucian, puts his spin on Allessia Cara’s ‘Here’. Lucian takes Cara’s airy vocals and infuses them with some weight, courtesy of some viby horns, trap snare rolls and a swelling bassline that drives the track along. Top that off with some glitchy style effects in production and Lucian certainly delivers on all levels. Previous collaborations for Lucian include Remmi and M. Maggie. An exciting producer on the rise, so grab yourself this free download now.
2) Rudimental – I Will for Love ft Will Heard
Festival favourites, Rudimental, unveiled their new single ‘I Will For Love’ Ft Will Heard. You might remember Heard’s vocals from Klangkarussell’s ‘Sonnentanz (Sun Don’t Shine)’. Heard once again lends his infectious, soulful vocals to deliver yet another euphoric and uplifting DnB single. Having premiered as Annie Mac’s Hottest Record, Rudimental also took part in Radio 1’s Ibiza20 celebrations on San Antonio’s sunset strip. Their new album ‘’We The Generation‘, features a whole host of guest artists including the late Bobby Womack, Lianna La Havas and Foy Vance. ‘We The Generation’ is set for release September 18th, while ‘I Will For Love’ is available now. Full dates for their ‘We The Generation’ World Tour can be found here and you can also catch them at Fusion Festival in Birmingham.
3) Lianna La Havas – What You Don’t Do (Grades Remix)
London based producer Grades, has delivered a new remix of Lianna La Havas ‘What You Don’t Do’. Grades works his magic yet again, dispersing elements of funk, garage, house and soul throughout. Grades cleverly intertwines the vocal between the retro sounding synths and chiptune inspired elements. Upcoming dates for Grades include Boardmasters Festival in Cornwall
4) Tazer x Tink – Wet Dollars (Original, Redlight and Tazer VIP remix)
Chicago based rapper Tink and UK producer Tazer have collaborated on their new single ‘Wet Dollar’. The infectious beats and stylings from Tazer mixed with Tinks effortless flow and groove, delivers a collaboration that just oozes creativity and imagination. With Tink being referred to as the new Aaliyah, be sure to keep an eye out for her debut album ‘ThinkTink’ due later in September. Redlight and Tazer have taken the single a step further with their own remixes. Tazer’s VIP remix goes in a bit deeper than the original with a driving bassline that just hooks you right in, while Redlight infuses his unbeatable deep house house vibes with looped vocals throughout. Upcoming dates for Tazer include Sheffield Foundry in September, while Redlight is set to perform at Bestival.
5) Fekky ft Skepta – Way Too Much
Grime MC Fekky has enlisted Skepta for his new Splurgeboys produced single ‘Way Too Much’. Having previously worked together on ‘Still Sittin’ Here’, the Grime duo compliment each other’s styles with Skepta owning the hook and jumping on one of the verses, while Fekky’s flow anchors the track along with the simple, yet infectious beats. ‘Way Too Much’ is taken from Fekky’s forthcoming album ‘El Clasico’. Upcoming dates for Fekky include Reading & Leeds and Grime Live, while Skepta is set to appear at Bestival and Ceremony Festival.
6) Nero – Two Minds
‘Two Minds’ is the latest track from electronic trio Nero and follows previous singles ‘Satisfy’, ‘Dark Skies’ and ‘The Thrill’. While we’ve come to expect their trademark gritty synths, broken beats and thunderous bass, ‘Two Minds’ takes on a surprising and slightly tamer direction with a bit of future-house. Alana’s efford vocals remain on point throughout. Having debuted as Annie Mac’s Hottest Record, various remixes have started to surface, including dnb producer Dimension and Nero themselves with their Nero ’92 Minds Remix Their highly anticipated new album ‘Between II Worlds’ is set for release August 28th via MTA Records and serves as the follow up to their 2011 debut ‘Welcome Reality’. Pre-order now and receive 3 free tracks. Upcoming dates for nero include Sziget and V Festival.
7) Lion Babe – Impossible
Lion Babe duo, Jillian Hervey and Lucas Goodman, unveiled their latest single ‘Impossible’. The track serves as the follow up to the Pharrell assisted ‘Wonder Woman’, gaining them some well earned attention. ‘Impossible’ delivers a retro, uptempo spin on r&b, mixed with Jillian’s vibrant vocals and Goodman’s infectious production stylings. The NY duo have also been announced as one of the artist collaborations on Disclosure’s new album ‘Caracal’ on their track ‘Hourglass’. ‘Impossible’ is available for release now via Polydor Records. Upcoming dates for Lion Babe include Bestival with a headline performance at Heaven in November.
8) Chvrches – Leave A Trace
Chvrches unveiled their lead single ‘Leave A Trace’ from their forthcoming second album ‘Every Open Eye’. While their debut album ‘The Bones Of What You Believe In’ delivered a string of hits from ‘The Mother We Share’, ‘Gun’ and ‘Recover’, ‘Leave a Trace’ is the first new material to surface from their highly anticipated second album. The Glasgow based trio consistently deliver infectious melodies and dark synth pop textures, while Lauren’s piercing vocals give the middle finger to previous relationships and heartbreaks. Having self produced by the album themselves, ‘Every Open Eye’ is set for release September 25th via Glassnote, while ‘Leave A Trace’ is available now. Upcoming dates for Chvrches include V Festival, Electric Picnic and Alexandra Palace.
9) Lay Z ft JME and Frisco – That’s What I’m On
Lay Z has premiered his new single ‘That’s What I’m On’, featuring his BBK Brothers JME and Frisco. Produced by the UK’s most influential grime producer, Teddy Music, the MC’s take turns jumping on the verse , adding their own unique spin and flavour, throwing back to a real old school grime vibe. Mix that with one one catchy hook and some sinister and dramatic sounding beats , and it’s a win-win situation.
10) Duke Dumont – Ocean Drive
Duke Dumont unveiled details of his new EP Series ‘Blasé Boys Club Part 1’. The first single to be taken from this is ‘Ocean Drive’; an 80s disco-pop track, with heavy synths and plenty of bass guitar. While ‘Ocean Drive’ is more mellow than previous chart toppers such as ‘Won’t Look Back’ and ‘Need You’, it nevertheless features some catchy hooks from legendary house vocalist Robert Owens. Dumont commented: “I’ve been thinking of adapting the release format from a traditional album for a while. The Blasé Boys Club series will be my outlet for music which would have previously been considered songs for my albums. Rather than the old format of the LP, the new way allows me the freedom to bring music to people quicker , and more regularly.” The 4-track EP ,is set for release Oct 2 via Virgin EMI. Upcoming dates for Dumont include V Festival, Creamfields and The Warehouse Project, before embarking on a full live tour
11) Max Jury – Great American Novel
Time to slow the pace don’t a bit. Introducing 22 year old American singer/songwriter Max Jury, who just unveiled his new single ‘Great American Novel’. The single serves as the follow up to last years ‘Something In The Air’ and ‘All I Want’ EP’s and showcases Jury’s effortless vocal and melodic songwriting skill. The ballad offers simple piano accompaniment, while the stirring strings provide real depth and emotion. Having recently supported Rufus Wainwright on tour, upcoming dates include The Roundhouse in October. Expect a debut album later this year but for now, ‘American Novel‘ is available now via Marathon Records.
12) Denney – Lower Frequency (Shiba San Remix)
French DJ and producer Shiba San, unveiled his latest remix of Denney’s ‘Low Frequency’. Arguably one of the biggest underground hits of the year from Denney, Shiba San’s deep house vibes infuses the track with rumbling basslines and infectious looped hooks, reminding us to ‘feel the bass’. Shiba’s heavy remix and wobbly basslines builds and builds to deliver one exceptional dance floor filler. Upcoming UK dates for Shiba San include The Warehouse Project with MK and Groove Armada.
13) Riva Starr – The loft ft Dajae
Italian DJ and producer, Riva Starr, unveiled his new single ‘The Loft’ ft Dajae. Having previously collaborated with Fatboy Slim on ‘Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat’, Starr once again works his magic on ‘The Loft’, serving up another house classic filled with soul. With it’s infectious vocal hook ‘there’s no party like a house party’, Starr reinvigorates house with it’s funky basslines and looping melodies. The three track ‘Loft’ EP is available July 13 on Cajual Records and also features Cajmere (Green Velvet). Upcoming dates for Starr include Rooftop R2 in Marseilles, France.
14) Etherwood – Light My Way ft Eva Lazarus
Lincoln DJ and producer Etherwood, unveiled his third single ‘Light My Way Home’, taken from his highly anticipated second album, ‘Blue Leaves’. ‘Light My Way’ features the stunning, emotive vocals from Dub Mafia’s Eva Lazarus, that soar effortlessly above Etherwoods stirring beats and exhilerating melodies. ‘Light My Way’ serves up a captivating drum ’n’ bass classic. With plenty of support from Netsky, Sub Focus and TC , as well as plenty of airtime across Radio 1 and 1Xtra, Etherwood is an exciting, rising artist in the drum n bass scene. ‘Blue Leaves‘ is set for release Sept 4 via Medschool Records.
15) Eats Everything ft Tyga VS Audion – Dancing (Again!)
Eats Everything aka Daniel Pearce, has reworked Tyga vs Audion’s ‘Dancing (Again!)’. The already infectious single, takes a darker turn, with its techno infusions and electro grooves throughout. Like Tiga’s ‘Bugatti’, ‘Dancing’ serves up an infectious hook that you won’t be able to get out of your head for a long while. ’Dancing’ is set for released via Disclosure’s Method White; the new club-focused division of their Method Records and follows previous releases from Jonas Rathsman and MJ Cole. Upcoming dates for Eats Everything include Creamfields and The Warehouse Project.
Check out the full playlist below, with over 1 hour for your listening pleasure: