New Album Drop from Mondo Grosso

Mondo Grosso is Italian for big world and is the stage name of Japanese DJ and record producer Shinichi Osawa. Crafting a variety of EDM flavours over the years – acid jazz, house, etc. – the sound on his newly released album, Reborn Again and Always Starting New, is an excursion off the beaten path to more creative concoctions. Grosso is regarded as one of the country’s best DJs. The new album, his first under the Mondo Grosso moniker, is selling well in the land of the red sun, in the iTunes Top 5, with a couple of tracks that are particularly popular: “Labyrinth” featuring the vocal talents of Hikari Mitsushima and “Planet Tantra” featuring Aska (Asuka) Saito of girl group Nogizaka46. We have embedded the MV for the former below.

Someday We’ll Know FAKY

It’s time to talk J-Pop. The world’s second largest music market is seeing a number of new artists release some delicious tracks. Akina (California), Anna (New Zealand), Lil’ Fang (Tokyo), and Mikako (Fukuoka) are all-girl group FAKY. Around since only 2013 and releasing a debut album the following year, the girls recently dropped a smoking hot EDM track called “Someday We’ll Know” off new EP Unwrapped. The MV, embedded below,  is interesting as it starts off at night and bright daytime hits halfway through. FAKY is good at incorporating international styles of music into J-Pop making for a culturally rich sound.

Marija Wants to Dance Like Nobody’s Watching

Marija is a new singer from Serbia who gained fame from beauty, fashion, and lifestyle tips and videos posted on her YouTube channel which gained 280,000+ followers. Her Instagram has 430,000+. “Dance Like Nobody’s Watching” is her formal debut single and in only two days has racked up over 700,000 views. The song is upbeat and fun and will get you dancing in no time. Have a look and listen below.

Kiesza Welcomed by the Bakermat

Dutch DJ/producer Bakermat is best known for 2013’s “One Day” a huge hit across Europe. The track featured audio clips of speeches by U.S. activist Martin Luther King Jr. Bakermat dabbles in dance pop with his new single “Don’t Want You Back” which features Canadian singer Kiesza. The latter scored a #1 hit in the UK, Netherlands, and Belgium with “Hideaway”. The new track has quite a nice music video. We embed it below.

France’s Alma a Hit with “Requiem”

The last couple of years have seen the French charts dominated by Anglo pop songs and Franco autotuned rap; good Franco pop songs are harder to come by. One artist who has saved 2017 is newcomer Alma from Lyon. She represented France in the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest with the song “Requiem” which became a Top 5 hit in her homeland. Apparently, she is tetralingual speaking French, English, Italian, and Portuguese. She has lived in Brazil, Italy, and Belgium. Alma’s debut album Ma peau aime was released on May 5, 2017. Enjoy the music video for “Requiem” below.

The Return of Psy

It’s been a while since we’ve heard from Gangnam Style horsie dancer Psy, but he’s back. If there was ever anyone in the world who could put a big smile on your face, the South Korean rapper is the man. Psy has released brand new album Psy 8th 4×2=8 and treated us with two super fun music videos, for tracks “I Luv It” (find a cameo by the pen pineapple guy) and “New Face”. Musically, “I Luv It” is a little more of a retro dance, while “New Face” is unmistakably Psy. The music video for the latter is beautifully shot and a pure blast. We embed both videos below.

MLTR, Phoebe Yang, and Eternal Love

Danish soft rock group Michael Learns to Rock which performs in English has had a dramatic career filled with many ups and downs. Of all the places in the world, the band became massive superstars in a most unexpected but most populated region—eastern Asia. The band came up with the name in keeping with phrases common at the time (1988), Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Johnny Hates Jazz, etc. MLTR is considered the most popular international act of all time in China. The group recently reworked a song from a Korean TV drama called Healer and featured Chinese singer Phoebe Yang. The song is bilingual, sung in English and Chinese, and MLTR has released a gorgeous music video (shot in China) which we embed below. The song is called “Eternal Love”. Enjoy.

Paramore Talks Hard Times

United States band Paramore has shed its punk proclivities for a funkier sound on “Hard Times” lead single off upcoming fifth studio album After Laughter. The music video is a nifty one, and we’ve embedded it below. Paramore scored a Top 10 hit in its homeland thanks to “Ain’t It Fun” from the last album. The band comes from the U.S. State of Tennessee.

US New Wave a Hit Thanks to Future Islands

Recently released The Far Field is proving to be a hit album for United States’ new wave band Future Islands. According to iTunes, it is Top 20 in both the US and UK and Top 10 in Canada! New wave has often done better in Canada than the United States with songs like “Let’s Go” by The Cars and “Rock Lobster” by the B’52s, both American bands, charting much better in the land of the maple leaf. Future Islands’ ability to capture the new wave sound is not just in the instrumentation but the singing style which masters the measured theatrics and pitch down bending techniques used by such acts as Simple Minds (UK), Sniff ‘n’ the Tears (UK), The Cars (US), and The Spoons (Canada). While millennials and boomers may be able to get into this, the Future Islands band is considered a breath of fresh air for Gen X-ers, and it helps too that Blondie’s Debbie Harry is featured on a track. Below is video for track “Ran”.

A Win for Canada’s The Strumbellas

Canada recently held its flagship music awards gala, the JUNOs. Of all the big Canadian names in music recently, The Weeknd, Drake, Justin Bieber, Shawn Mendes, and Alessia Cara, it was folk-pop group The Strumbellas who won the Single of the Year award for hit “Spirits”. The song charted internationally, most notably in a number of European nations. In Canada itself, it was certified platinum. The “Spirits” music video, filled with colourful costumes, has amassed an impressive 40 million views. We embed it below but be forewarned, it is so catchy it just might get stuck in your head. But maybe that’s a good thing.

New Zealand’s Lorde Has the Green Light

Singapore’s Stefanie Sun had a big hit called “Green Light” a while back, but now it’s time for another one. New Zealand’s Lorde uses the title in a song she wrote with Jack Antonoff and Joel Little, and it heralds her upcoming second album, Melodrama. Lorde, whose real name is … are you ready … Ella Marija Lani Yelich-O’Connor, became an international phenomenon with her song “Royals” in 2013 when she was just 16 years old. New Zealand is not known for its recording artists but has had some success here and there over the years. “How Bizarre” was a big global hit for the country’s OMC in the mid-1990s. Lorde grew up in Auckland’s suburb of Devonport. We have embedded the MV for “Green Light” below.

Katy Perry Doesn’t Like Being Chained to the Rhythm

As far as Twitter followers go, Katy Perry of the United States is the world’s most popular recording artist. After a contemporary Christian album under her birth name Katy Hudson was released in 2001, she hooked up with top producers Glen Ballard, Dr. Luke, and Max Martin to go mainstream. “I Kissed a Girl” launched her to superstardom in 2008, and she has been on a roll ever since.

Katy’s latest single is “Chained to the Rhythm”, co-authored by the aforementioned Max Martin of Sweden and Sia of Australia. It debuted in the Top 10 official charts of the U.S., U.K., Canada, and Australia, most successful in Canada at #3. Katy released the music video today which is done in a 1950s futuristic theme and explores the conformity concept used in science fiction stories like A Wrinkle in Time. The song features a reggae vocal snippet from Bob Marley’s son Skip. The MV, embedded below, surpassed 6 million views in its first day of release.

10 Million Views in a Day for K-Pop’s Twice

Formed during reality TV show Sixteen, 9-member girl group Twice is hot, hot, hot! The K-Pop stars just released debut full-length album Twicecoaster: Lane 2 following a number of extended plays. The LP’s opening track is “Knock Knock”. The music video, out for only 1 day, is already past the 10 million views milestone and received a feature in U.S. Billboard magazine. Interestingly, not all the girls are from South Korea; it is more international. Members Nayeon, Jeongyeon, Jihyo, Dahyun, and Chaeyoung were born in South Korea. Momo and Sana were born in Japan. Mina was born in the U.S. and grew up in Japan. Tzuyu was born on the island of Taiwan. Momo is the main dancer of the group, while Jihyo is the lead singer. “Knock Knock” MV embedded below. Who’s there? Think Twice.

Finland’s Haloo Helsinki! Talks Highway of Madness

It’s time to talk about Finland, the land of Nokia and sauna culture. Forming in 2006, Haloo Helsinki! has become one of the most successful rock bands in the country. In 2013, the group became the first Finnish artist to have four consecutive singles reach number one. The group recently debuted on the charts at #2 with “Hulluuden Highway” which translates roughly to Highway of Madness or Insanity. We have embedded the music video below.

Celebrating Chinese New Year 2017—Year of the Rooster

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To celebrate Chinese New Year, we are presenting a few classic Chinese songs and tying them in with a few aspects of Chinese culture. We don’t want to overwhelm you, so we’ll just do three. There are thousands of classics. This is just a granule.

Red Bean, Faye Wong

More than 4600 years ago, violent conflicts broke out in northern China. One day, a herder was pressed to go into battle. With great reluctance, he left his wife and children. The wife spent every day looking for the return of her husband. She leaned on a large tree on a high mountain, scanning the horizon for any sign of him. Her husband never returned. Because of her deep love, the woman wept under the big tree. As time passed, her tears turned to blood, and as these tears dropped to the ground they hardened and became red beans. The red beans sprouted and eventually a forest of big trees grew at the site where the wife had expressed her devotion and love. The legend of this love story grew and the people started calling the fruit of this tree love beans. Red beans have a a strong foundation of meaning in Chinese culture. Red beans often come in a heart shape. These love beans are similar in colour to that of blood and can be stored for a very long time without rotting, or fading in colour. Red beans symbolize love and fidelity.

Born in Beijing and relocating to Hong Kong, Wang Fei, or Faye Wong is one of the biggest superstars of all-time. In fact, her song “Hong Dou” or “Red Bean” is considered the third biggest of all time (after Teresa Deng’s “The Moon Represents My Heart” and Jacky Cheung’s “Goodbye Kiss”). Apparently, it stayed at #1 on the karaoke charts for 18 months straight back in the day. It has a subtle melody that may require a few listens before getting into its groove. But once you do, you’ll be hooked for life.

The Common Jasmin Orange, Jay Zhou

The common jasmin orange is a plant with white flowers and vermillion berries. The Chinese term for it is Qi Li Xiang. Taking the characters individually, they mean seven-mile fragrance. The idea is that it is so fragrant, you can smell it from seven miles away. Jay Zhou, from the island of Taiwan, uses it as a metaphor, that the love between a couple is so intense, they can smell its fragrance even if seven miles apart.

Firework, Gigi Leung

Chinese New Year wouldn’t be the same without an array of fireworks. Lots and lots and lots of fireworks. The nation that discovered gunpowder, making and setting off fireworks are the country’s speciality. They say the Inuit have many words for snow and the Arabs for sand. The Chinese have many for the different types of fireworks based on their effects. We have rough English words to describe them as well. Hong Kong’s Gigi Leung composed the song “Hua Huo” which is the type that rains down a shower of sparks. Of course, it is used in the song as a metaphor. One of the most beautiful songs ever recorded in any language.