It's that time of year again. The clocks go forward and the days get longer. More light, more joy. There's nothing like a thematic soundtrack to go with along with the dusky blue sky and later sunsets. That's why we've put together a bunch of house tracks loaded with summer goodness, from classics by Kerri Chandler and Cajmere to newer jams by the likes of Bella Boo, JT Donaldson and Eris Drew.
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Armand Van Helden 'Flowerz' feat. Roland Clark
A cut as fresh as the flowers vocalist Roland Clark is singing about. The mighty success of Armand Van Helden's 'U Don't Know Me' takes away the attention from the rest of the tracks on his 1999 album '2 Future 4 U', but 'Flowerz' really is one of those vocal house gems that make it feel like the sun's beating down on you, whatever the weather. It's packed with a bass bounce to put a spring in your step and playful delicate riffs appear for the track's nowhere-near-too-long 9-plus minutes. Clark's repetitive cries of "flowers" are enough to brighten anyone's day.
Agua Re 'Holy Dance - Large Sound Mix'
Any Italo house tune could've featured in here, but the Large Sound Mix of Agua Re's 'Holy Dance' gets the nod. In line with the genre's fruitiness, Agua Re's 1992 release is a ripe dancefloor jam for when the sun's coming up. Glorious pads levitate throughout, accompanied by enlightening twinkles and thumping bass kicks for an energising, lip-licking house dream. Young Marco introduced it to new-gen ravers on his 'Welcome To Paradise (Italian Dream House 89-93)' compilation. Well worth checking out, too, for some sunshine anthems.
Blaze 'Lovelee Dae'
A quick glimpse of the track title gives you an idea of what this tune's all about. Given a new lease of life thanks to a Bicep edit in 2017, Blaze's 'Lovelee Dae' is the definition of music made to uplift. "It's a lovely day, and the sun is shining," go the lyrics, perfect for a singalong session, but equally perfect for flicking the switch of a bad mood to a high-spirited one. Keep smiling.
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Kerri Chandler 'My Paradise' (Paradise 6:23 Mix)
Kerri's just a master of feel-good house tracks, ones that go deep, hit that sweet spot and give you that overriding feeling of joy. 'My Paradise' drips in funk and soul, making it one helluva elegant house track. Paradise seems far away right now, but maybe this will bring it a little bit closer.
Shanti Celeste 'Days Like This'
A silky house beamer from Shanti Celeste. Released on Idle Hands in 2014, it's trademark Shanti with all the elements of a top house roller: tsst, tsst, tsst, tsst, tsst percussion, rumbling bass bumps and a desirable vocal that floats all the way through, saying how 'days like this never end'. A fave of Bicep, too, who gave it a spin at Love International a few years back.
Eris Drew 'Transcendental Access Point'
Euphoric vibes are no chore for Eris Drew. Her releases and mixes have nostalgia flowing through them as she flits between house, breakbeats, acid and electro. 'Transcendental Access Point' is over six minutes of sheer fun, with uplifting synths bringing the euphoria and fidgety keys making it nigh on impossible to sit still while this one's coming through the speakers.
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Omar S 'Day'
Omar-S is the man for those house tracks oozing with style and swagger. 'Day' is a like a beam of sunlight, with a cheeky vocal sample of The Supremes' 'Come See About Me' on loop. Somehow he's made their lyrics '...that you're never ever gonna return' sound like a sentence ending with '...brighter day'. We ain't complaining.
Cinthie 'Ada Lovelace'
Beste Modus head Cinthie comes through with a disco-house rocket with 'Ada Lovelace'. Horns, warped synths and epic strings all combine to make one of those tunes that makes you connect with your mate in absolute rave harmony when you hear it out.
JT Donaldson 'Stay Inside' feat. Liv.e
Fitting at this time that the lyrics to this go "I wanna go and party, baby, but you wanna stay inside". Unfortunately we've all gotta stay inside right now, but there's nothing to say you can't throw a one-person party inside your own four walls. This cheeky vocal house cut from JT Donaldson, featuring vocalist Liv.e, is just the one for that, a jam for singing along and shake a leg to. Staying inside ain't so bad with this one in the isolation playlist.
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Shaun Escoffrey 'Days Like This' (Spinna & Ticklah Mix)
Voices don't come much smoother than British r'n'b and soul singer Shaun Escoffery. His oozes with class - the kinda vocals you wanna hear on a slow Sunday morning mooching around in the kitchen. The sun is the subject of his 2001 tune 'Days Like This', with vocals of 'I love the sun' and 'I love days like this', and that theme of joy is only widened with DJ Spinna and Ticklah's remix. Subtle, but with enough oomph to kick you into gear and move your feet. Just listen to those sleazy keys, too.
Bella Boo 'Keep Me Warm'
If you're not familiar with Studio Barnhus - the Swedish label ran by Kornél Kovács, Axel Boman and Petter Nordkvist - releases by Bella Boo would be the perfect starting point for a label that deals with fun-time house and disco, the kind to soundtrack carefree rave playgrounds. Bella's 'Keep Me Warm' is a languid take on house, all hazy and blissed out with a looped vocal sample from 1987 jam 'Keep It Warm' by Voices In The Dark. More for those chilled sundown sessions rather than peak-blaze raves.
Cajmere 'Brighter Days' feat. Dajae (Louie's Masters At Work Mix)
The words 'brighter days' may as well be the slogan for the clocks going forward, and Cajmere's 1992 classic 'Brighter Days' is well in for a shout of being the anthem. Dajae's belting vocals are somewhat of a motivational alarm clock, snapping you into gear and lighting up your day instantly. Brighter days are ahead, indeed.
DJ Kemit 'Digital Love' feat. Carl McIntosh (Kai Alcé remix)
You know it's gonna be a vibe if New York producer Kai Alcé is involved. A specialist in sumptuous house and a remix master, Kai's remix of DJ Kemit and Carl McIntosh's 2012 track is a sweet fusion of jazz, house and soul flavours. It was originally released on 'Sound Signature presents: These Songs That Should've Been Out On Wax By Now - Part Two' in 2016, but got a standalone release on Theo Parrish's label last year, leading to radio plays by the likes of Amsterdam selector Carista. So smooth.
Regularfantasy 'Chill 4 A Minute'
If you're into Shanti Celeste's 'Days Like This' that's included earlier in this list, Regularfantasy's 'Chill 4 A Minute' is likely to tickle your house senses in a similar vein. Sensual vocals croon atop a mischievously wavy bassline and pads swoon, conjuring up images of sun-reflecting crystal clear waters and tongue-fizzing Aperol Spritz. If dusty house is your thing, Regularfantasy's got a stack of it.
Dave Turner is Mixmag's Commercial Content Editor, follow him on Twitter