Groove Line

Wed. June 18, 2008 12:00 AM
by DJ Plez

Like Swiss Watches
With the calendar precision reminiscent of a Swiss timepiece, the guys over at Centaur are back on the proverbial record store shelves with PARTY GROOVE: GAY DAYS Vol. 5. The "Official CD" for the internationally acclaimed week of celebration known as Gay Days in Orlando, Florida is mixed yet again by the talented DJ Randy Bettis. The 13-track continuous dance mix is a fun, bouncy, energetic affair with an engaging blend of new and old. For the new, there's Paula Abdul's "Dance Like There's No Tomorrow" (which sounds much better on this CD than it ever did when I played it in the DJ booth), Danielle Bollinger's "Surrender Me" and the Lady D. remake of "Bleeding Love" (the song that has catapulted Leona Lewis to superstardom). On the old-school front, Bettis serves up remakes of disco classics "Ride On Time" and "Hot Stuff" as well as a dance version of Mr. Mister's "Broken Wings" by Rivaz featuring Ronin. These songs and their inclusion are definitely "on point" and help make this another solid Centaur effort that will get maximum airplay throughout the summer. [Note: In addition to buying the actual CD at Best Buy or via, the digital download is available on iTunes and at]

Centaur's GayDays Tour with Bettis will be coming to Chicago as part of Nitro at Circuit Night Club on Saturday, June 28. (Event Details)

Mimi Is All The Way Back
Even when she was getting trashed back in the day for "Glitter" and as folks were gleefully writing her professional and artistic obituary, I always maintained that Mariah Carey would come back even stronger and better than ever. I figured talent would ultimately overcome poor career decisions – and a nervous breakdown - and that is exactly what has happened with 2005's multiple-platinum and multiple-Grammy winning THE EMANCIPATION OF MIMI and the recently released chart-topper E=MC2 (Island Records). The 14-track album is a highly stylized and well-produced offering of pop and soulful R&B titles that are sure to delight her many fans. The first single, "Touch My Body," has been in heavy rotation on radio (terrestrial, satellite, and internet) and various video outlets since February while the Craig C Club Remix is one of the best dance tracks to be released in years. Craig C has been producing top-notch remixes of late, but this re-rub of "Touch My Body" is simply outstanding!

A Box Of 64?
Continuing the string of CD releases from some of the biggest musical divas in history, Donna Summer is back with her first studio album of new material in 17 years: CRAYONS (Burgundy Records / Sony BMG). While many may have predicted that Summer would rest on her laurels and deliver something tried, true, familiar, and dated, she instead proves that talent knows no bounds of time and offers up a spectacular effort. CRAYONS is a fresh and modern 12-track CD with "clubby" tracks that ably captures the pop/hip-hop/r&b vibe that's ever present on radio and video. The first single, "I'm A Fire," proved popular throughout clubland during the spring and the recently released "Stamp Your Feet" will undoubtedly become a summer anthem. All in all, CRAYONS is an impressive achievement and proof positive that Summer is still a force to be reckoned with.

Here's a quick rundown of three full-length CDs I think you should seek out.

WHEN YOU KNOW by Dianne Reeves (Blue Note/EMI). I've long been a fan of this very talented jazz vocalist and this new album has her covering a variety of genres with dazzling brilliance. While several pop and R&B divas have recently tackled jazz projects with varying degrees of success, it's nice to have Reeves demonstrate what a true jazz pro can do.

THIRD by Portishead (Mercury/Island). Classified as Electronica Trip-hop by, this inventive and ground-breaking British trio just performed on the main stage at the Coachchella Music Festival, and they are back in our consciousness with their first album in ten years. Definitely not geared for the pop music obsessed or those who like their electronica easily accessible, THIRD is a masterful effort that will reward those with an open and adventuresome musical mind. It may take a few listenings to finally "get it," but your investment in time will be well worth it.

ROBYN by Robyn (Interscope). Remember the huge 1997 international hit "Show Me Love" by Robyn? Well, the Swedish star is back with a fantastically fun CD that has infectious melodies and funky fresh beats. Featuring tracks such as "Who's That Girl" and "Konichiwa Bitches," ROBYN is more than mindless pop; it's a creative and entertaining album that's a must-have.