Sweets of the Week – August Long Weekend Edition

August 4th, 2012

Posted by Scott Willats

 

And here we go. Y’all getting sick of me talking about festivals? Well sorry, but tuff f***ing luck. Because this weekend Toronto the place in the world to be for EDM. Or any kind of music, actually.

Sure, Montreal has Osheaga happening, which promises to be nuts in its own right But Toronto is bringing the heavy, what with VELD and HARD both going down this weekend.

What’s HARD, you ask? Just a little gathering featuring the likes of M83, Buraka Som Sistema, Austra … oh, and Justice. Sorry, let me rephrase that: JUSTICE!!!! The French icons make their looooooooooooooong-awaited return to Canada in style. Fort York is a special place to be this weekend.

And then there’s VELD, the brainchild of Canada’s own EMD titan, Deadmau5. Check out this lineup: Avicii, Kill the Noise, Mord Fustang, Bassnectar, Cosmic Gate and soooooo many others are busy tearing Toronto’s Downsview Park a new one. Rain is in the forecast for Sunday, but it’s gonna get real messy long before that. Canada, this is our weekend!

And with that, it’s on to …. THE SWEETS!


This will get your weekend going just right. A free download that hits the spot.

Of Monsters & Men – Little Talks (The Knocks Remix): LISTEN TO IT HERE


In anticipation of Saturday’s main event: 5omething brand new from the Mau5.

Deadmau5 – There Might Be Coffee: LISTEN TO IT HERE


The second installment of Fools Gold‘s Clubhouse compilation series is just as heavy as the first. No point trying to pick a favourite: here’s the whole thing, amigos. Did I mention it’s FREE?!?

Fool’s Gold – Clubhouse Vol. 2: LISTEN TO IT HERE


I got news for you: this isn’t house.

Dream – This Isn’t House EP: LISTEN TO IT HERE


Big room time!

Zedd feat. Matthew Koma – Spectrum (3LAU Remix): LISTEN TO IT HERE


Eddie Thoneick & Norman Doray – Celsius (Original Mix): LISTEN TO IT HERE


How can you not love Montreal’s Adventure Club? OK, maybe the sound is becoming just a tad predictable. But that in no way means it’s played out. And the fact that it’s free is an added attraction.

Adventure Club – Retro City: LISTEN TO IT HERE


Brand new Sound Remedy!

Ellie Goulding – Hanging On (Sound Remedy Remix): LISTEN TO IT HERE 


So glad the full version of this is finally out. This is special.


VISUAL SWEETS


Already a huge fan of Dan Black, but this is trippy. I love it.


Nobody’s quite doing it like Calvin Harris right now. Anybody else thinking it’s time for him to do an album with Example?


August 10th. The Hoxton. You will find me there.


Justice flashback!


… and that’s it, kiddos. Be safe this weekend (but not too safe) and make sure you rep bpm:tv a llllllll weekend long!


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Enjoy The Silence

August 3rd, 2012

Posted by Scott Willats

Continuing with a look at some new videos, I have a treat for the trance addicts: a new one from Dennis Sheperd. This talented German has been busy these past five years establishing himself as a headliner, and  his newest track — featuring vocals from Molly Bancroft — shows exactly what he’s capable of: a satisfyingly rhythmic collection of keys, melodies and just enough bass to keep that smile on your face.

The video starts off a little awkward (check out the dancers in the background!), but the strength of the song really makes this one worth putting on repeat. You’ll be able to buy it on Beatport on August 13.

Enjoy. And stay tuned for the Sweets of the Week!


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Skrillex @ Tomorrowland

August 1st, 2012

Posted by Scott Willats

At a time of year when festivals come and go like the subway, an artist really has to stand out to draw huge crowds during one of these events. Your set list, of course, is always going to be the main attraction — but a little originality in your stage presentation can go a long way.

Few events offer a more unusual or original platform than the Tomorrowland festival in Belgium, which just wrapped its 2012 edition. Going to Tomorrowland is like falling down Alice in Wonderland’s rabbit hole and landing in the middle of Woodstock. Inaugurated in 2005, this fest is as much about the stage and the environment as the artists who perform. Words really don’t do it justice, which is why I’ve dug deep to find a live set worth watching.

Skrillex is one of the most hotly debated artists on this site, and with good reason. But one thing is undeniable: he puts on a good show. Check out his set at Tomorrowland: it really gives you a fantastic sense of the environment. Epic!


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RBC Royal Bank Bluesfest – Day 12 Report

July 29th, 2012

Posted by Caelin Meredith

And so the last day of the RBC Royal Bank Bluesfest in Ottawa arrived. And after Saturday’s epic blowout, Sunday felt like it might be a slower day. But what should have been a bittersweet coda turned into quite the party. After these two weekends of EDM, and almost two full weeks of rock, pop, hip hop, blues and dubstep, the fest went out with a bang.

Ottawa’s BKRK (a.k.a. Paul Burke) got the late-afternoon crowd warmed up with punchy beats. Seemed as though a lot of people were still riding the high from the previous night’s Skrillex show.

Next up:  Vancouver’s Felix Cartal. Did I mention what an amazing job DNA did programming the Electro Stage with a great mix of local, Canadian and international artists?

Cartal got the crowd jumping with remixes of Fedde Le Grand, Autoerotique and Laidback Luke.

Over on the Claridge Stage (the second main stage), Toronto’s The Weeknd performed. You couldn’t fail to be impressed by the number of fans who turned out, and who clearly knew the music by heart.

Considering rarely he performs, and his widely-reported reluctance to sign with a major label, it was interesting to observe his fan base: teenage girls, with a load of twentysomething guys. Curious, but it all worked.

Back to the Electro Stage for the final night — and it ended with Ultra Records star Wolfgang Gartner (a.k.a. Joey Youngman) delivering a crazy electro house set. Massive bangers and hit after hot hit. Here’s our boy Felix Cartal taking in the mayhem.

So the two Sunday nights at Bluesfest ended up being among the craziest and busiest of the festival. The tunes were the largest on these two nights: first with Chromeo on the opening weekend, and then Gartner wrapping it up on the final night. Kids losing their shit until the bitter end, until the last song was played out,

So long, Ottawa. I’ll miss the way you guys gave it your all for every act !


Check out Caelin Meredith’s site PUSH > PLAY.

RBC Royal Bank Bluesfest – Day 11 Report

July 29th, 2012

Posted by Caelin Meredith

Almost at the of the RBC Royal Bank Bluesfest, and for EDM fans in Ottawa this was to be their day. Strategically, the Electro Stage showcased hip-hop as the Full Flex Express took over the Main Stage.

An homage to the legendary 1970 Festival Express tour that sent Janis Joplin, The Grateful Dead and The Band rolling across Canada by rail, the Full Flex Express packed Skrillex, Diplo, Grimes and Pretty Lights aboard a specially outfitted Via Rail train to party their way from from Toronto to Vancouver.

The set started at 6 pm with Diplo playing in 34-degree heat to about 10,000 people. He was in a chatty mood, continuously introducing his tracks on the mic and joking, “I heard Ottawa was harder than Toronto — but I had no idea how much harder!” This latter met with screams and cheers.

He dropped AC/DC to a thoroughly crazed reaction — no surprise, given, as I’ve mentioned before, Ottawa’s classic rock roots. Plus “Roxanne” by The Police with a deep Moombahton flow. The other huge anthem: “Rack City” remixed in various flavours.

Diplo felt so at home here he spent the last minutes of his set crowd-surfing, holding the mic and chatting. DJs jumping into crowd: is there any lingering doubt they’ve become our new rock stars? Nobody can touch them right now (figuratively speaking).

Meanwhile, over on the Electro Stage, Tyga was in the process of sending Ottawa’s hip-hop lovers ballistic.

I honestly had no idea that the local “heads” were so f**king nuts for the Cash Money/southern ballers style. But they lost it from the moment he hit the stage. He slammed it non-stop, and I had to duck side-stage as soon I heard the first few bars of “Rack City” — I could feel they were gearing up to lose their shit.

Elsewhere, Skrillex’s fans were busy getting ready to freak out the f**k out.

Pretty Lights was next up on the Main stage, as the crowd continued to swell. His set was orchestral and massive, punctuated with tunes like this one: “I Know The Truth.”

And finally, the main event! Skirllex brought a larger and more elaborate show than he had the previous night in Toronto. The backstage was closed due to all the pyrotechnics, lasers and whatnot, which meant no photography. So I had to sneak these …

This was a full-fledged rock concert ordeal, on a par with or bigger than what any of the week’s other main stage headliners had delivered — and the record crowd of 30,000 freaked to every minute of it.

… and FINALLY, an after party!

With the train set to depart at 2:30 am, getting to the party felt a little rushed, but once everyone got to Ritual Nightclub and settled in, the only issue I could foresee was getting all the artists to leave on time.

After Koan Sound (who are also on the train) played a dubsteppy set (including ragga jungle licks like “Special Dedication”), it was down to the Don. Skrillex, having just performed a full-on concert, played another few hours at this intimate club venue.

And the crowd was right there with him, partying on just as hard.

He gave it everything he had, sweating profusely and never letting up — even taking the photographer’s camera and snapping pics of himself with the crowd. Steadfast and dedicated, he is without question the hardest-working DJ out there right now.

And with that, the Full Flex Express left Ottawa as quickly as it had come, leaving a trail of wondrous disaster in its wake.


Check out Caelin Meredith’s site PUSH > PLAY.

RBC Royal Bank Bluesfest – Day 10 Report

July 28th, 2012

Posted by Caelin Meredith

After going dark for a few days the Electro Stage came alive for the final weekend of the RBC Royal Bank Bluesfest in Ottawa. And if you’ve been reading the recaps so far, you’ll know that the fest is definitely due for a name change, what with a lineup that includes headliners like Skrillex and metalheads Mastodon. Although perhaps distantly blues-inspired in some former lifetime, neither heavy metal nor dubstep could really be said to fit on the same bill as Howlin’ Wolf.

Toronto-based Grantdtheft was first up on the decks this Friday night. As a self-styled DJ/VJ, his forté is integrating video with his audio mixes. I thought he was doing this all in real time, and he assured me later that he was — but the real work lies in the gruelling studio process of synching video to audio. Once that’s uploaded (see “days of work”), then he mixes live as per usual.

Mad skills and loveable tunes that had the crowd singing along; hip-hop and reggae anthems and hooks like no other DJ  had summoned all week. And maybe a few guilty pleasures rolled up in there as well.

A festival generally means fewer rules than a club gig, more freedom and less pressure to bring the latest and greatest. You get to play in more of a relaxed, party atmosphere. So maybe the reason I ended up hearing the remix of “Fading Like A Flower” twice in one week!

Then … it was time for Drop The Lime.

LISTEN TO DROP THE LIME ON SOUNDCLOUD

The last time I’d seen him was with Major Lazer in Toronto at Sound Academy, and this was definitely one of the sets I was looking forward to most: he seems to plays all my favourite jams, with tight technical mixes.

A natural-born musician, he also took an opportunity to chat engagingly with the crowd. Definitely one of the house -ier sets of the week, it got the ladies onto the dance floor — and the guys quickly followed suit.

Red Bull + fire extinguisher = the perfect metaphor for his set. Pulsating rhythms and beats that grip the heart. Beautiful and classic vocals co-existing peacefully with dirty, grimy bass lines to whine your waist.

Here, the boys chill offstage and catch up. These festivals give you a chance to see old friends and get to know new ones.

A-Trak, the evening’s headliner, turned in an absolutely mental set, drawing a crowd even larger than Tommy Lee and Aero’s or Paul Oakenfold’s — no small feat.

A ton of Montrealers made the two-hour drive and placed themselves strategically in the crowd to cheering with fierce Canadian pride for their hometown hero — a onetime DMC champ who has toured with the likes of Kanye West.

A-Trak’s quiet demeanour offstage belies his onstage persona: the “Big Bad Wolf.” Can you guess, by the way, which track was the banger of the night? Here’s a hint.

No question, this was the perfect way to gear up the Electro Stage for the final weekend of the festival.


Check out Caelin Meredith’s site PUSH > PLAY.

 

Saturday’s Sweets

July 28th, 2012

Posted by Scott Willats

    

Another week, another amazing show. If you’re in Ontario’s capital today, I urge you to head over to Yonge and Dundas Square, where the Mad Decent Block Party is raging even as we speak. Local heroes Zeds Dead will be wrapping things up later tonight, and I predict they’ll be shaking the concrete in such a manner as to have the walls of the nearby Eaton Center clinging on for dear life. It’s an extravaganza, amigos – and it’s FREE!!!  Say no more.

Speaking of Zeds Dead, we start this week’s Sweets with the brand new EP the duo dropped earlier this week — a collaboration with Omar LinX and, as you’d expect, a classic. Elsewhere, Montreal duo Botnek have a heavy-duty remix on their hands and Alvin Risk takes Fun.‘s “We are Young,” plus a few other goodies. Onward!


THE SWEETS

Zeds Dead and Omar LinX – The Living Dead EP: LISTEN TO IT HERE


Fun. Ft. Janelle Monae – We Are Young – Alvin Risk Remixes: LISTEN TO IT HERE


Savage Skulls – Lorimer (Botnek Remix): LISTEN TO IT HERE


Borgore – Decisions (Cedric Gervais Remix): LISTEN TO IT HERE


THIS. IS. EPIC!!!!!!!!!

Van She – Jamaica (Riva Starr Cut): LISTEN TO IT HERE


Style Of Eye – Devour: LISTEN TO IT HERE


will.i.am feat. Eva Simons – This Is Love (Sidney Samson Remix): LISTEN TO IT HERE


Eddie Thoneick & Norman Doray – Celsius: LISTEN TO IT HERE



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Identity Festival – Recap

July 24th, 2012

Posted by Scott Willats

I know what you’re thinking: “Why do I want to read a review of Identity Festival in Toronto last weekend when I haven’t even seen the bpm Spotlight episodes on Digital Dreams or Full Flex Express yet?” I completely understand how you feel — but with so many amazing shows happening this summer I feel like I need to give you feedback on ‘em while the experience is still fresh.

And fresh it was. Identity had a lot to live up to. Between the monumental scale of Digital Dreams and the all-star lineup of Full Flex — and factoring in the absence of tour headliner Wolfgang Gartner from the Toronto bill — Identity came into the picture as something of an underdog.

Still, Identity did have one secret weapon up its sleeve: Eric Prydz, who hasn’t played in Canada for more than a decade, was slated to close out the night — and for many people, that was more than enough on its own.

Interviewing Eric Prydz at Identity proved to be one of the highlights of my young career, and to discover how humble and down-to-earth he seems was inspiring and encouraging. As for his performance on stage well, no surprise there: it was the best of the night.

Praise should also go to Le Castle Vania, who threw down a wicked set for a crowd that didn’t seem as familiar with him as one might have expected. This guy does not make bad songs. And while he sticks pretty close to the North American brand of electro house, the young man from Atlanta has mad skills when it comes to mixing and making music. His remix of Kaskade’s “Turn it Down” (a favourite among all the songs I’ve blogged) sent the place mental. Madeon‘s set was incredible as well. He was well and truly representing, and you could see why the young Frenchman’s star has shot so high so fast.

My personal favorite set: Showtek. These guys are crazy. I’m not really a hardstyle fan, but they converted me. They’re an awesome bunch, both as artists and as people — but when the mic is on and the tables are turning, they morph into animals. I know hardstyle has its loyal fans, and I’m sure the genre gained a lot of new ones besides myself on Saturday. Can’t wait for you to see the footage our cameraman Middy captured. Epic!

So that’s the summer’s tally so far: Digital Dreams, Full Flex, Identity – all successes. Next up is the Mad Decent Block Party, which should make it four for four. This one’s free so be sure to get your ass down to Toronto’s Yonge & Dundas Square on Saturday July 28. Headlining: hometown heroes Zeds Dead! See you there.



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Sweets Of The Week – Identity Festival Edition

July 20th, 2012

Posted by Scott Willats

Here we go again. Back to Echo Beach — this time to see a man who hasn’t traveled to Toronto … scratch that, Canada … no, wait, scratch that, North America … in 12 years. Eric Prydz is headling the Identity Festival in Toronto on Saturday, and I am amped.

I really don’t know what to expect. We’re talking about one of the pioneers of this genre. Somebody who was bending boundaries in the studio before the term EDM had even been invented. Who was making his mark as a live performer when DJs were still mainly associated with hip-hop acts. Who’d established the pseudonymous Cirez D as a household name well before alter egos became all the rage in dance music. Basically: if you’re in Toronto this Saturday there is only one destination.

And the awesome doesn’t stop with Pryda. Other heavy names featured at Identity include none other than Nero — currently number one on the bpm:tv Hot 20 Dance Chart with their single “Must Be The Feeling.” It’s a while since I’ve seen this UK duo perform, and I’m excited about how their sound has evolved. The latest album, Welcome Reality, has been a massive success, I’m looking forward to this set — not just to see the crowd’s reaction, but to hear their choice of remixes. Should be a performance to remember.

Then there’s Madeon and Le Castle Vania: Both young, both heavy electro — and both awesome. The 18-year-old Frenchman Madeon has built a rep in Europe as something of a prodigy, as been a favorite on BBC Radio 1 for quite a while now. The Atlanta-based Le Castle Vania, meanwhile, is part of the tide of fresh blood from North America blood sweeping across face of the EDM world. Both should be great sets, so be sure to check them out.

And then there’s Excision. Canada, stand up! The dubstep demon from Kelowna, BC will definitely be excited to play such a high-profile fest in his home country. And whenever you get a bass DJ hype to play for you … well, consider your pants soiled. Be prepared to get grimy.

So with all that said, I think it only fair that this week’s Sweets should showcase the artists performing at Identity. Enjoy!


LE CASTLE VANIA

Kaskade – Turn It Down (Le Castle Vania Remix): LISTEN TO IT HERE


Split & Jaxta-Roulette (Le Castle Vania Remix): LISTEN TO IT HERE


MADEON

Madeon – Finale


Pendulum – The Island (Madeon Remix): LISTEN TO IT HERE


EXCISION

Excision & Datsik – A Milli (Remix): LISTEN TO IT HERE


Excision & Downlink – Crowd Control: LISTEN TO IT HERE


NERO

Nero – Innocence: LISTEN TO IT HERE


Nero-Promises: LISTEN TO IT HERE


BINGO PLAYERS

Bingo Players – Chop: LISTEN TO IT HERE


Bingo Players – Mode: LISTEN TO IT HERE


EVA SIMONS

Afrojack Feat. Eva Simons – Take Over Control (Original Mix): LISTEN TO IT HERE



ERIC PRYDZ

Eric Prydz Presents: EPIC Radio 002: LISTEN TO IT HERE


Pryda – Mirage: LISTEN TO IT HERE



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Sweets – Better Late Than Never Edition

July 19th, 2012

Posted by Scott Willats

A very late-breaking edition of Sweets of the Week here, tendered with apologies: what with the jam-packed summer schedule of festivals and events, it can sometimes be tough to get the weekly playlist assembled in time for Friday. But don’t you stress — I will always provide for my homies.

This week we hear a massssssssive new big-room track from Laidback Luke, which has owned my iPod for the past couple of days, plus new stuff from Toronto’s Dzeko and Torres, Riva Starr and Butch Clancy, aaaaaand a sexy, sultry ballad from Ellie Goulding. These taste sooooo good! Have at it, kids!


THE SWEETS

Ellie Goulding – Hanging On feat. Tinie Tempah (Active Child Cover): LISTEN TO IT HERE


Riva Starr feat. Dolamite – Be Your Best (Original Mix): LISTEN TO IT HERE


Chuckie – Who Is Ready To Jump (Dzeko & Torres Toronto Remix): LISTEN TO IT HERE


Animal Kingdom – Strange Attractor (Dzeko & Torres Remix): LISTEN TO IT HERE


ANTHEM!!!

Savoy feat. Heather Bright – We Are The Sun (Laidback Luke Remix): LISTEN TO IT HERE


Butch Clancy – Lonely: LISTEN TO IT HERE


Deadmau5 – Professional Griefers (Original Mix): LISTEN TO IT HERE


Steve Aoki – Wonderland Remixes: LISTEN TO THEM HERE


VISUAL SWEETS



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