Monthly Archives: September 2010

Miami Horror – Illumination LP

I still remember the day in the summer of ’08 when a friend from college called me up and said I had to check out a group called  “Miami Horror.”  That was around the time I began developing the addiction to Aussie electro, from which I still suffer from today- nobody tells you the Bag Raiders are a gateway band. Years passed, seasons changed, dutch house got too popular and finally Miami Horror released their debut LP, Illumination. Appropriately, this album has its roots in bedroom studio sessions dating back not months, but years. For those of us who wondered why we hadn’t heard much more than hit singles like ‘Make you Mine’ and ‘Don’t Be on With Her,’ we now have our answer. From the sound of things, Melbourne’s favorite indie-electro, super-luminaries have been saving up gems for quite a while.

Miami Horror’s founding member, Benjamin Plant, began innovating in the now burgeoning nu-disco genre after losing interest in the repetitious and formulaic production styles dominating club music. Adding three additional members, Miami Horror took on a richer sound, fusing progressive and psychedelic influences into one mellifluous concoction. Their sound took Australia’s disco pop scene by storm. Benjamin’s unyielding emphasis on live instrumentals and experimental synth work gives Miami Horror something that just can’t be said of their Aussie contemporaries like The Presets or Cut Copy.

It’s not often that I discuss the visual components of a given song; seeing sounds is typically reserved for Pharrell and people at Phish concerts. Miami Horror however pays close attention to the kinds of images they conjure. Embedded in every song is the understanding that music can be an experience that transcends the purely sonic. Even the name Miami Horror was chosen for it’s colorful imagery and the mirrored effect created by each words’ repetition of certain letters- a bit like what Shakespeare did with Macbeth and Macduff. Where my English majors at? Anyway, I think you might profit from considering this album as an all around sensory experience.

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Miami Horror – I Look To You (Ft. Kimbra)

My favorite song on the album is ‘I Look To You’ featuring Australian singer Kimbra. I have to admit I had never heard of her, but in all honesty, her vocals don’t just make the song, they make the album. Kimbra’s voice is pure sex- breathy, entrancing, delicate. Her voice reminds me of the kind you’d hear on a Thievery Corporation track. This track is to nu-disco as ‘Lebanese Blond’ was to afro-lounge. Instrumentally, it has all the catchy dance energy without all the sample heavy disco house nausea.  ‘I Look To You’ sounds like it was made to play in the background of some smoke filled lounge as two strangers meet one another’s gaze through a crowd of dancing patrons. This is a scenario that’s very common for me so it’s good to finally have the soundtrack.

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Miami Horror – Summer Sun

“In the summer sun I can’t reveal. We go on and on…”

‘Summer Sun’ is a prime example of the sort of attention to detail that is ever present in Miami Horror’s productions. There is nothing lazy about this. Having this many instrumental tracks harmonizing with such remarkable subtly is something that it seems fewer and fewer producers have the prowess or attention span to mix anymore. Beneath it all is not only a commitment to crafting a new sound, but a catchy one as well. Try listening to this just once.


Today I bring you the mystical wonders of producer StardonE. Where he comes from? No one knows… It was a few weeks ago that we received a string of curious emails from StardonE, and as always, persistence paid off as I couldn’t help but check out the tracks from this eager producer. When that happens, it’s hit or miss… sometimes it’s great, sometimes not so much. But listening to StardonE, I was instantly excited and have been listening to his (at least I’m presuming it’s a dude) tracks. Here’s one to lead it off…

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StardonE – Love Fighter

The song starts off with a pretty simple drum pattern layered over an unassuming bassline that makes me feel like I’m about to grab my lead pipe and head into battle in Streets of Rage. But then everything changes as a delicate arpeggio slowly trickles into the song. I love songs that surprise us. The arpeggio slowly builds up into some outer space pads ringing out at :30 seconds into the song, and you start to wonder, where is this song going? And my favorite part of the song, shortly after that, when you think those notes are about to ring out for eight bars, with a complete buildup going into whatever it’s going into, but instead it catches you by surprise and it all drops in 4 bars later. I love when those drums hit at :38.

I like to think that I can tell where a producer is from by listening to their tracks (something Evan mentioned in a previous post), though I can’t say whether I’m always right. As you can tell by StardonE’s Myspace, they’re from Antarctica, which is pretty sweet. Do you think some antarctic scientists brought their MacBook Pro’s and some MIDI keyboards down with them on their latest expedition and started a dreamwave band? I actually have a pretty good idea where StardonE is reallllly from (though my initial guess was wrong), and I will say it’s not Antarctica. Where do you guys think they’re from?

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StardonE – Space Romance

Listening to ‘Space Romance’ makes me feel like I’m walking through a crowded neon city, really buzzed and hanging on for dear life. The sky is dark behind the neon skyline and the air is cool as I wade through all the commotion around me. The reverb washes over me when I hear this song… so simple, but it captures a great spirit of intoxication.

There were 2 little hints in there pointing towards where I think StardonE calls home. It seems like a great place to visit and have a good time, so hopefully I make it there someday.

And as always, here’s one to leave you off with.

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StardonE – CT

Enjoy guys, and let’s solve this mystery!

Russ Chimes – Midnight Club EP

I’m elated to announce the upcoming release of Russ Chimes’ Midnight Club EP. It will be out “very soon” (according to Chimes’ website), though he began releasing all the tracks on it with accompanying music videos starting back in August. It’s one of the best dance releases of the year so far, but we expected nothing less. Chimes has been on the Binary radar since 2008, when he first caught our attention as part of the Valerie Collective. Valerie is a group of producers and musicians based out of Nice, France which includes some Binary favorites including Chimes himself, Anoraak, the Outrunners and College. Chimes was one of the first artists (along with the rest of Valerie) to embrace the synth-heavy melodic dance music that we love so much. With his upcoming debut EP it looks as though he is set to achieve the widespread success we had always predicted and hoped for.

When asked about his artistic process in an interview with the online magazine esper in 2009, Chimes said, “Above the desk in my studio there’s a picture of an 80’s Porsche 911. When I’m writing I always think, ‘Would this track sound good while I’m driving that car?’ And that’s how I audition every track that I make!”

This approach to song writing is evident in Chimes’ Midnight Club EP. The EP is equally suited for a club or a coupe, which is no easy feat in dance music. There’s enough pounding bass and driving kick to make all the songs on this albums club hits, yet enough technical prowess and emotion in the music to allow for that introspective trance state one tends to reach on long night drives. Two of the tracks—’Tetre Rouge’ and ‘Targa’—are even named after racing cars, which is a further testament to Chimes’ vision of a synthesis between the club and the open road, and music that retains poignancy in either setting.

Chimes’ Midnight Club EP is practically flawless. Chimes’ work is not only consistently impeccable, but more notably he always seems to be one step ahead of his contemporaries in terms of creativity, sense of melody and utilization of subtle musical tension. With his new EP he’s taken the nu-disco-house-hybrid trend and pointed it in the direction it should be going: flawless production, driving beats and most importantly a complete lack of kitsch. I have been frustrated recently with a huge outpouring of disco music that is, to say the least, overwhelmingly campy (here’s looking at you Barbara Streisand). Exaggerated mouse-like voices, completely outdated equipment and hooks clearly recycled from the 70’s are fine every now and again, but what I am really looking for is disco for the new millennium. This is it. The Midnight Club EP could and should be a blueprint for any other producer looking to create an emotive and relatable record consolidating club music with everyday listenability.

As if the music itself weren’t enough, Chimes employed a holistic approach to the marketing of this EP. He released three music videos/short films—one for each song—in succession, about a week apart each time. The films tell the story of young lovers and a horrible betrayal. I myself was left basically scraping my keyboard for more while waiting for the new video each week.  Although I love the videos, it could be said that the aforementioned “campiness” associated with modern disco music manifests itself somewhat in these films. Admittedly, they are a bit over the top. However I can’t fault Chimes for that because, as previously stated, the music itself has so much integrity that Chimes should be allowed a little wiggle room in terms of having fun with his release. What’s notable too is that they capitalize on the emotive nature of the tracks by providing the listener with a story. Take heed critics: Dance music can have meaning too, it’s not all just fun and games.

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Russ Chimes – Targa

Targa is the last song on the EP and the first single. It features vocals by Cass Lowe, who proclaims, “I’ve tried to fight, I’ve tried to hide it, but I want you tonight. I’m gonna bite the bullet, I’ll chase the night with you,” over a pounding beat, glittering synths and signature Chimes keyboard work. Keeping the driving theme in mind, ‘Targa’ is equally suited for both a pleasure cruise with friends as well as a can’t-breathe-can’t-sleep-gotta-drive attitude. The song contains an intensity and drama that allows it to serve as the impetus for your most pressing night conquests, yet is upbeat and optimistic enough to be a soundtrack for your jaunt on the town. And don’t forget the club. As Lowe repeats “we’ll be dancing all night,” you can almost see the dancefloor packed with beautiful people just waiting to be privy to a night that you will want to last forever.

Ginger Ninja – Sunshine (Eumig & Chinon Remix)

Ginger Ninja and Eumig & Chinon come to us from Denmark with a lovely song that I’ve had on repeat since being introduced to it. Ginger Ninja is a four piece poppy indie-rock band signed to a deal on Sony Records, and Eumig & Chinon is Christian Kastbjerg, a french house producer on Coy Boy Records that started his current project back in 2008. To be honest, I don’t know a whole hell of a lot about Denmark, but if this wonderful track is any indication of the Danish spirit, I need to visit real soon.

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Ginger Ninja – Sunshine (Eumig & Chinon Remix)

‘Sunshine’ is just a super happy song, and this Eumig & Chinon remix amplifies that happy feeling and makes it a bit more dancey. The light, twangy guitar and vocals pair quite nicely with the electro punch that this remix adds. Soaring synths and the occasional sounds of chirping birds (awesome!) add a mystical element to the song that gives me that fantastic, uplifitng feeling. Kastbjerg puts a really nice spin on the original. Both start out pretty much the same, but after 5 seconds the remix goes into a sunny club jam while the original take a more indie rock path. I think this remix would go over real well in any beach-side club.

“There’s a fear making noise in the back of your head, but there’s no need to be afraid crawl back in my bed”

“Get in line for the sunshine”

Ginger Ninja reminds me a lot of some of the other indie electronic dance groups like Pony Pony Run Run and Jump Jump Dance Dance… a playful sound with catchy tunes that make you feel all warm and fuzzy. To get a better feel for how the original compares to this remix, here’s the video for the original track.

Eumig & Chinon did a great job on this remix, and he has some other choice work over on his soundcloud page that I suggest checking out. ‘Sunshine’ comes off of Ginger Ninja’s debut album Wicked Map, which is also very good and worth picking up.

Young Empires – French Horn Rebellion’s This Moment + Glory of the Night

Recent blog sweethearts Young Empires are making the rounds again with their remix of French Horn Rebellion’s ‘This Moment.’ We first wrote about the Toronto natives a month ago here because their track ‘White Doves’ is exceptionally great indie, pop-rock (if I have to box it somewhere). All of the trio’s demos sound clean, crisp and well produced–their myspace is almost a flawless EP. Matthew Vlahovich, Robert Aaron Ellingson and Jake Palahnuk make honest, home grown tunes that sound fresh and innocent and make it easy for electronic fans to branch into a little more indie-rock.

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French Horn Rebellion – This Moment (Young Empires Remix)

I might be a little late on this one, in blogger time, as it has already been scooped up by others like Tracasseur and Off the Radar, but I couldn’t resist. Young Empires exchanges FHR’s funky, disco beat to make a more sensual, yet rhythmic remix. What immediately catches my interest and my heart are the soft, gentle keys and the shooting laser synths–I’m hooked from second one. The light, steady drums accentuate the female vocals and forge a path leading to the bass drop at 1:07. It is the perfect compliment to the already ear pleasing chord progression in the keys. Touche to the Empires for being able to remix the unparalleled FHR and making a version I like just the same, if not more, shhhh!

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Young Empires – Glory Of The Night

Let’s get to an original from the trio and this demo is definitely a favorite. Starting off old school with some R&B-esque beats before the smooth piano build, this song just feels like a dream. The effortless guitar sneaks in at 1:14 as the perfect precursor to the subtle hook at 1:32 that carries you for a full minute. The ending drops you, just like that feeling when you wake up from an amazing dream to see it was not real and that you were really just dreaming.

“Every other night I see your smile, every other night I feel your touch…”

“In my dreams I see you standing there, standing right in front of me…”

‘Glory Of The Night’ is a musical mirror of our dream sequences and I think it’s pretty brilliant. You fall asleep and enter your dream world where everything is as it should be, getting better and better with every split second, or hour in actual time. And just as you think it can’t get any more perfect your ideal world is popped like a bubble and you are suddenly awake. I love the fact that anything is possible in your dreams… you can be anything you want, you can be with anyone, you can see someone you lost. The lyrics are all about the true “glory of the night”–no limits, just 8 (or well 6 if you are like me) uninterrupted hours of happiness.

Good Morning Good Night (GMGN)

Good Morning Good Night

GMGN, or Good Morning Good Night, is Ben Adams and Michael Neirinckx (+ VJ Kyle Del Bonis for live shows), a DJ/Producer duo/trio from Boston. We’ve talked about them here on the blog before, and are happy to be back with a couple stellar remixes from the east coast dreamwavers. They bring a colorful clash of filtered disco house and soft, ambient tunes to our ears, and to what I hope is a vibrant Boston dance music scene. These remixes today show both their energetic//funky and light//filtered sides. Both are very well executed, and it’s pretty exciting to see these guys continuing to produce great stuff. One remix throws you into a funktastic carnival of uplifting emotions, while the other is a magical underwater dream full of seahorses and mermaids. GMGN makes you fall in love in the morning, and get loved up at night.

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Kamei – Falling In Love (GMGN Remix)

First is GMGN’s remix of ‘Falling In Love’ by Brazil’s Kamei. To me this is definitely the GM (Good Morning) side of these guys. It’s just a really fun and colorful jam all together. The vocals are real nice and no time is wasted making you want to jump up and do The Carlton. The smooth guitar, funky bass, build-ups and break-downs all come together to create an atmosphere of happiness. Throw this on Monday morning and you’ll be ready to take on the week with relentless enthusiasm.

This song makes me want to head out to an amusement park and ride every ride… with this tune in my headphones, naturally. Universal Studios, Disneyland, Six Flags, LA County Fair, or even the Santa Monica Pier — here I come! It’s about falling in love, which tends to refer to people, but I interpret this as any kind of love. Love for fun, the beach, smiling, friends… just love in general for the good things in life. Doesn’t have to be complicated. And this song isn’t. It’s too clean to be complicated. As it chugs along you can just feel the lighthearted sensations that came over you as a kid, playing meaningless games that were all about enjoying yourself and the people around you.

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Korallreven – Loved Up (GMGN Remix)

Next is their remix of ‘Loved Up’ by Korallreven, the Swedish pop group on Acéphale Records. Beautiful is the best way I can describe this. I feel like I’m on a different planet listening to it. This would be the GN (Good Night) side of the spectrum. Play this in bed with some headphones on and you’ll be transported to a magical deep sea pipe dream.

If you’ve ever been scuba diving or even snorkeling… this could be the perfect theme song the next time you go. Being under water is like being in a different world — mystical and full of surprises, like what the hell is going to be around the next coral reef or plant? This song fits that image perfectly. It’s so mellow and soothing, with the soft guitar, vocals, and filtered underwater feeling surrounding you. The vocals just hang out in the background, offering a vision of Ariel (my boyhood cartoon crush) swimming by, along with the fish and sea turtles. I was snorkeling in Costa Rica years ago, mindlessly humming the theme song to “The Life Aquatic,” and was probably underwater for 20+ minutes before coming up to see everyone staring at me. They’d been listening as my snorkel amplified the tune across the waters surface. Next time, I imagine it will be this remix.

So there you have it… a funky dance floor burner and a dreamy, euphoric delight. Both crisp and lovely. GMGN has some other quality remixes and originals worth scoping out on their soundcloud page. Our boy TKAR just relocated to Boston, and it’s nice to think that there is a vibrant dance culture thriving in the city. Keep it going guys!

Something A La Mode – 5 AM

Chanel super models walking down the runway and 5am fantasy parties in St. Tropez. This is what comes to mind when I listen to Something A La Mode. The French duo is definitely “a la mode” — violinist Thomas Roussel and cellist Yannick Grandjean have both been master musicians since childhood, and have always had visions of creating and experimenting with sounds that influence their lives. Soon to realize a distant project, Something A la Mode was brought to reality in 2006. The collaboration of fashion, electro-synths, and strings give Something A La Mode their unique yet classic French sound that dives into runways and dance floors throughout the world. Not everyone can say they are lined up with high fashion models and genius designers in their first release.

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Something A La Mode Feat. K. Flay – 5 AM

‘5 AM’ is a prime example of what happens when fashion and music collide. In ‘5 AM’ K. Flay, the west coast native, delivers fun catchy lyrics in the ultimate pop song. The song and lyrics have been stuck in my head since day 1 — “to keep partying until 5am and that tomorrow night i’ll be back again.” Before listening to Something A La Mode, I never noticed how the use of strings can transform electronic music into a whole new genre. Something A La Mode has created a bridge between the music and fashion worlds, and Karl Lagerfield, head designer for Chanel, is even featured in their first single ‘RondoParisiano.’ This talented twosome is really something. Their electro-string sound has tackled the music and fashion worlds alike from runways to night clubs… their music video for ‘5 AM’ shows them head to toe in Jeremy Scott’s 2010 fashions running through the streets of NYC with violins and all.

There is nothing like a French duo to make things right in your life. These guys have conquered two worlds with one purpose — to make you dance and to make you feel like you’re in Paris. Something A La Mode is touring in Europe right now and I will just have to dream in ‘a la mode’ until I can see them live in the states.

Hurts – Better Than Love

I can’t seem to get enough ‘80s synth-pop, but that’s ok because lucky for me it just keeps on coming. The Hurts duo, singer Theo Hutchcraft and synth master Adam Anderson, are the next Manchester gents making quite the splash on US and UK blogs alike. Hurts only got together in 1999, both were previously in other bands, and it’s incredible how far they have come in a year: BBC Sound of 2010-The longlist, an impressive live show circuit including V Festival and Electric Picnic Festival and the release of their debut album Happiness. Hurts has a clean, electronic-pop sound, similar to the way their style jumps out at you like they are straight from a Vogue fashion spread, and their songs are thoughtful and insightful.

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Hurts – Better Than Love

Even though Happiness is only out in the UK right now I did get a listen of the entire album and ‘Better Than Love’ is hands down the best track. It stands alone when compared to the rest because it is fast and optimistic… the majority of the album is heavy, melancholy ballads. In this song Theo’s voice is elegant and driven, singing with a purpose. The vocals come in before any instrumentals and it catches you off guard already creating the “give me more” sensation. The scale jumping synths and underlying tropical drum nuances carry the melody effortlessly. Sentimental ‘80s sounds build into one another until layer by layer they all fold into the prefect sync. The breakdown at 2:25 is a plain awesome guitar rift dropping you right back into the chorus before another killer hook at 2:58.

“you let your body burn like never before and it feels better than love, yea it feels better than love”

“a decade in the dark take a part of a dream, have you forgotten what she looks like
or do you only see what you want to believe”

The songs lyrics really hit deep and I don’t think it matters who you are or where you are in your life. Hurts describes all the songs on the album as being “about the pursuit of happiness, which is often a sad, dramatic but hopeful road.
” I love how down to earth these guys seem and although the album was a little too “epic-esque” for my taste I generally appreciate their journey and yes I am about to say it… Happiness comes from an authentic place.

I had to throw in the video for ‘Wonderful Life’ because this is one of the dramatic tracks I really enjoy from the album. The video is telling a sad story, but I’m feeling the throwback dance moves and synchronized swimming. I love the message because being in my early twenties I find myself getting lost and confused a little too often. Sometimes I can’t help but get caught up questioning what the hell I’m doing and I know that everyone feels that way every once and while. The ticking beat throughout the song reminds me that life is also like a ticking clock and no second should be wasted. It is a wonderful life, an absolutely spectacular life.

Posted by: Kim

Forty Love: Bestrack and Keenhouse Remixes

Housse De Racket’s debut album, Forty Love, dropped in the winter of ’09, but it wasn’t until this past August that I heard the Keenhouse remix of ‘Oh Yeah’ and the Bestrack remix of ‘Synthetiseur.’ When I see posts like this one I don’t need to listen to the songs before I download them. It’s just not in these guys to produce anything other than the sparkling synthy goodness we’ve come to expect from them time and time again. Seriously though, Keenhouse tried to mix out of key once and his computer exploded. It’s a safety issue.

For those of you who don’t know Housse De Racket because your head has been inexplicably buried under a pile of sand (joking), I can assure you — these guys are the real deal. According to the Parisian duo,  Forty Love is “a rock opera about two tennis superstars, winners on court, but losers in love.” How gloriously French is that? And it just so happens to be a fantastic LP. The originals are all dreamy and electro tinged, like Air, but a little heavier.  So if you like these remixes but missed the originals, I highly recommend tracking them down.

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Oh Yeah – Housse De Racket (Keenhouse Remix)

Let’s start with the Keenhouse remix of ‘Oh Yeah.’  When I first heard this track this summer it instantly blew me away. There’s just something about the way all the melodies weave in and out of one another. It’s like a shrine erected to appease the gods of funk. When you think about it, it’s really the perfect compliment to Housse De Racket’s flawless blend of French and English lyrics. Normally I’d say this a great song for doing one thing or another (beach lounging, late night drives, erotic pillow fights), but I honestly can’t imagine any activity that wouldn’t be made better by including this track (dentist visits, DMV meltdowns, and TPS reports included).

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Synthetiseur – Housse De Racket (Bestrack Remix)

I’ve been a huge Bestrack fan for a long time. I truly believe he belongs in the same sentence with living legends DatA, Yuksek, and Justice. To be honest though, this remix is actually kind of a step in a different direction for Bestrack. He usually sounds like the illegitimate child of  producers Kavinsky and Sidechains, but here strikes a calmer chord. I could see this as Worship or maybe even Diamond Cut. I wouldn’t have really known it was Bestrack until about  1:50 into the song. From then on it feels like Nordic rock gods shredding arpeggiated riffs with an equal sense of unbridled nostalgia and emotional strain. The whole thing is incredibly beautiful.

Pink Ganter

Pink Ganter

Time to get a little end-of-summer-emo today with a song that I’ve been listening to a lot the last couple months. This dude Pink Ganter is Markus Ganter, a German producer from Manheim, Germany. Although not much info is available on the lad’s story, he appears to be relatively young and also produces some stuff for a German hip-hop dubstep-y project called MUSO. I much prefer this softer, warmer, pinker side of Mr. Ganter. His remixes are very nice, and this remix of ‘So This Is Goodbye’ by William Fitzsimmons is simply wonderful.

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William Fitzsimmons – So This Is Goodbye (Pink Ganter Remix)

Self described on his soundcloud as “breakup house,” this song is obviously an ode to the end of a relationship… someone is saying goodbye to someone, or something. A sad song, no doubt about it. As the song progresses, it’s as if thoughts are collecting and leading up to the final “goodbye.” The guitar and vocals are sorta foggy and distant to start and then it all ends with a triumphant “goodbye.” An outline of what would likely be weeks or months of thoughts stemming from seeing a lover “in the arms of someone else.” Fitzsimmons’ soft and soothing vocals carry right along with the bassline, and I really feel the pain of the broken hearted. Whether you’ve been there or not, you can feel it in this song — your heart has been ripped out and you feel helplessly lonely. It’s a pretty dark song, but still somehow manages to be uplifting… maybe an optimism in the future’s potential. Whatever it is, I’ve listened to it a lot without feeling super bummed out, so there’s something not entirely depressing going on with the emotions involved here.

“And I’ll miss you like you’re dead, and find a way to grieve you”

“Cause I need to, try and start again”

Although it’s half a year old, this remix is somewhat new to me. I really love finding a great song that’s been around for a while…it’s like finding cash in the laundry or remembering you have leftovers after a drunken night out. The hype is gone and I can appreciate it just for what it is… a beautiful, melodic song that pulls heavy on my heart strings with its lonely, melancholic feeling stemming out of the simplicity. It reminds me a lot of The Postal Service, and I really want to put it on a playlist between Fabian’s ‘Easy’ Dragonette remix & Walter Sobcek’s cover of ‘She’s Gone’ by Hall & Oates. The folk-y and acousitc original of ‘So This Is Goodbye’ is really really good too, but this remix really adds an epic electronic element to the already emo original. In my opinion the Pink Ganter version wins. Really nice work though by the always voluptuously bearded Mr. Fitzsimmons.

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The Knocks – Make It Better (Pink Ganter Remix)

Here’s a bit poppier, more uplifting sound coming from Ganter via The Knocks. It has more of a fun and tropical house vibe, full with whistles and lasers to send you along your way without feeling too blue.

Posted By: Dillon