“Ancients,” Dw Dunphy
Thick production, epic in style, and evocative of the opening credits of a film…These are just a few things that Dw Dunphy’s “Ancients” popped into my mind when I heard this track for the first time today. Now, if you’re a regular reader of Popdose, you know that Dw is an institution here. But what many may not know is that he’s an extremely talented composer and musician. Whenever I hear his instrumental pieces, I wonder why there aren’t film producers knocking on his door and offering him work. He knows his way around a soundboard, writes powerful and atmospheric music, and can mix in a way that pleases (rather than assaults) the ears. “Ancients” is clearly in that mold. Have a listen and you’ll hear what I’m talking about.
“A Lot Like Love,” Bossie
Embedded in the pop sounds of Bossie’s “A Lot Like Love,” is a dark underbelly. Inspired (or maybe influenced) by the way in which our online social connections seem to create more isolation, Bossie layers the song with a kind of retro-’80s vibe featuring lots of synth — which keeps the song from becoming a lament with a dirge-like quality. In the end, Bossie is pretty much an optimist about the authenticity of relationships culled from Likes, Hearts, and smiley emojis.
“Give A Little More,” The Love§trange
There’s a kind of manic urgency to The Love§trange’s music. While “Give A Little More” is a “four on the floor” guitars, drums, and bass lo-fi-ish pop rocker, Karl Strange’s vocals are filtered through a layer of processing that makes this song have a throwback quality to the early new wave bands of the ’80s (not the pop synth stuff, more like the rockers who fused a more traditional rock sound with punk and experimental riffs). “Give A Little More” is the first of a new collection of songs from the band (I featured one of their songs on “Single Play” last year), and it’s clear The Love§trange are pushing themselves in new directions while maintaining a core sound that was front and center on their debut album.
“Let It Burn,” Mavrick
Mavrick’s music finds its inspiration in gospel. Based in Stockholm, Sweden, Mavrick’s “Let It Burn” is a response to the uptick in police shootings of African-American men and boys in the U.S. While the song is very solid in terms of production, composition, and production, the message of the song is, according to Mavrick, a giant f**k you’ to those who abuse their power. You may (or may not) hear that kind of rage in the song, but give it a spin or two and see what happens.
“Anything,” Frank Pole feat. Greyson Chance
A collaboration between Italian DJ Frank Pole and Greyson Chance (the kid who sang Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi” at his school music festival — which got a ton of YouTube views back in 2010). “Anything” showcases Chance’s vocal range — demonstrating that six years can make a world of difference when you’re a child sensation maturing into a young adult star. The song is pure pop — and that’s not a bad thing. But it has the added bonus of layering in some current production effects courtesy of Frank Pole that gives it a freshness in an often sound-alike pop landscape.