#BILLCSTop30 #565 – July 8/19

There’s a lot happening on the new chart.  And it’s a bit of a strange week, because most of the debuts from two weeks ago don’t move up very much, except one, which is the Fastest Riser on the chart.  That’s because a number of long-term favourites are still very much in play up near the top of the chart, and they’ve created a bit of a roadblock which will ease over the next month.  But two classic singers reappear on the chart along with a strong independent release on the rise.

Not about to let go of #1 anytime soon is “Good Things Fall Apart”, the definitive slice of emotional electronica which seems to have increased in popularity this year, by Illenium and singer/songwriter Jon Bellion.  

Nashville’s Mokita has a song about reconciling his feelings for a past relationship called “Kiss And Tell” (above) that advances to #3, which is where his previous song “London” peaked a couple of months ago.  And he’s followed up “Kiss And Tell” with a gentle new electronic pop song called “ICLYA”, which stands for “I Can’t Love You Anymore” (below).

Canadian producer Famba has his second solid radio hit locally with “Swear To God”, and it becomes his second Top 10 song on this chart, moving 11-6.  “Right Here Right Now” got to #2 back in late 2016.

A number of veteran dance producers are releasing some of the best music of their careers this year, and Australia’s Timmy Trumpet is one of them.  The compelling “World At Our Feet” (above) climbs 13-7.  Check our Danny Avila’s spot-on remix below.

Another producer making his Top 10 debut on the chart is France’s Kidswaste, with vocalist KOLE, with the slight melodies of “Sleeping Pills” climbing 12-10.

The next song is definitely competing with other strong songs from Mark Ronson’s Late Night Feelings album, including songs featuring Lykki Li and Camila Cabello.  But it’s “Don’t Leave Me Lonely”, featuring the stunning YEBBA, which takes hold of this chart and moves up 17-11.

Manila Killa recently announced another leg of his 1993 tour, which will actually stop this time in Toronto at the Velvet Underground in October 🙂  In the meantime “Atypical” (featuring GiGi) climbs up a few more notches 16-13.

Breaking through all six of the new entries from two weeks ago to become the Fastest Riser is “Monday Blues”, the super cool house track from L.A.’s Eric Sharp and vocalist Zhao.  It soars 25-18.

Also making a big move is “Even In Confusion” by Italy’s Eric Zava and DJ Mirko B featuring singer Daniel Gorash, rising 28-23.  Mirko previously appeared on the chart at the top of 2017 with “#Bomber” (#17) with Beatmarthz.

The Highest Debut at a stellar #16 is “Higher Love”, the cover of the 1986 #1 hit by Steve Winwood as recorded by Norway’s Kygo, who was given the opportunity of working with archive tapes from the estate of Whitney Houston to bring her classic voice, circa 1990, to a new audience.  It’s a timely release for its message; Arista Records wouldn’t include it in the I’m Your Baby Tonight album at the time because they wanted her to get away from recording cover versions, and the original was still fairly fresh at the time.  But bravo to Kygo and those on the estate who trusted him to represent the singer well – which he does perfectly 🙂  Strangely, it’s Kygo’s first appearance on this chart.  Last year’s “Remind Me To Forget” with Miguel should have charted but I didn’t hear it till well after it peaked.  Whitney only appeared three times on the chart in her lifetime, with “It’s Not Right But It’s Okay” and “My Love Is Your Love” (both #9) in 1999, and the underrated duet with Enrique Iglesias, “Could I Have This Kiss Forever” (#15), in 2000.

After reaching #5 on this chart late last year with “Wild Sun”, UK singer/songwriter Sam Dickinson is back with the hearfelt “All We Are” at #26.  This one is receiving regular BBC radio play and hopefully its audience will grow with each spin.  Like with “Higher Love”, the message is extremely timely.  It’s from Sam’s new EP From The Glass House Part 2.  “All We Are”, like “Wild Sun”, is also available on an EP of a variety of remixes for your dancing pleasure.

The third debut is from a performer who last appeared on this chart in 2003, which to date has been her only appearance.  That’s Celine Dion, whose new song “Flying On My Own”, is nothing short of inspiring and bows at #29.  Her previous entry on the chart?  Her cover of Cyndi Lauper’s “I Drove All Night”, which in its Hex Hector remix version reached #16. Watch the live performance of “Flying On My Own” above.

View the full BILLCS Top 30 right here!  Click on the hyperlink on the song titles to hear the songs or watch the videos!

Listen to the BILLCS Top 30 Songs on Spotify! Click on this link to take you there, and follow me on Spotify: BILLCS Top 30 Songs

Check out and ‘like’ the BILLCS Music Projects Facebook page 🙂

Call it the new Power Pop: “Out Of Body” is the debut album by Nashville’s @weareApolloLTD

APOLLO LTD, Out Of Body

I must admit I do not listen to full album releases much these days.  But after a couple of promising single releases, you owe it to yourself to check out Nashville duo Apollo LTD’s debut album Out Of Body.  It puts all of their singles and two previous EP’s into one convenient place, and shows how cohesive these songs sound when you listen to them all consecutively. 

Call it today’s Power Pop – incredibly strong melodies that naturally blend pop, rock, and dance genres, featuring multi-layered stories that can apply to anyone.  The tight production has a wall-of-sound effect which gives the music a retro-classic kind of feel.  Jordan Phillips is the vocalist with the affecting tones while Adam Stark handles production but both handle the various instrumentation.  The combined sounds of synths with live instruments also offers a big, full sound on the album.  

I’ve already written about “Misfits”, “On The Way Up”, and the ballad “Heaven (All Around You)”.  The latter song also appears in its more uptempo version, while “On The Way Up” has been re-recorded and seems to emphasize more anthemic dance qualities than the mainstream sound of the original.  “On The Way Up 2.0” (above) is probably my favourite on the album, with “Misfits”, “Supernatural” (also above), “Drive”, and “Tired Of L.A.” all memorable in their own special ways.  

Out Of Body is a consistent effort from Apollo LTD with undeniably fine songwriting and production that sets their songs apart from the rest.

Canadian rock all stars #BondsOfMara kick ass with debut single “Lights Out”

BONDS OF MARA, “Lights Out”

With loads of talent stemming from My Darkest Days, Smashing Satellites, I Mother Earth, finger eleven and Default, Bonds Of Mara is ready to put good old Canadian rock and roll back on the map with “Lights Out”.  The singer is Brian Byrne, on guitar and vocals we have Sal Costa, Dave Benedict is on bass, and Rich Beddoe is the drummer, and when they all came together there was so much synergy that it was enough to kickstart a new, if unexpected, collaboration.  “Lights Out” doesn’t offer much that’s new but it offers solid contemporary rock and roll by performers who know how to do it right.  You’ll remember Brian Byrne’s ragged, inspired vocals from I Mother Earth’s 90’s hit “Summertime In The Void”, and guitarist supreme Sal Costa from My Darkest Days and Smashing Satellites is back from a long break to weave his magic.  “Lights Out” has got the goods, and Canadian rock radio is already all over it, so if you like your rock hard but melodic then Bonds Of Mara is for you.

Bonds Of Mara plays Lee’s Palace in Toronto on Thursday July 25.

Published in: on July 5, 2019 at 10:34 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , ,

Ukrainian dance ensemble @Kazakyofficial returns with compelling strutter “Push”

KAZAKY featuring GASPAR, “Push”

After calling it quits about 4 years ago, Ukrainian dance ensemble Kazaky is back with “Push”.  It’s a compelling strutter, perfect for transitioning into the wee hours in clubs, and is accompanied by the requisite video with yet again amazing choreography which they were doing long before BTS.  You know you’re in for a treat when those heels emerge, and the video takes a not unexpectedly darker turn.  Kazaky is now a quintet, with focus on original member Artur Gaspar in “Push”.  The song is extremely catchy and memorable, reminding me of Malcolm McLaren’s “Deep In Vogue” somewhat in attitude and approach, and will appeal to those who enjoy Madonna’s more seductive works (Kazaky made an appearance in Madonna’s “Girl Gone Wild” some years back).  Club DJ’s should definitely get behind this winner and its eye-popping, extremely well-directed choreography which you can witness in the video up top.

Published in: on July 5, 2019 at 10:34 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

“Ain’t Got You” is shiny summery dance pop from @SteveVoidmusic and UK vocalist @Louisa

STEVE VOID and LOUISA, “Ain’t Got You”

Following up the amazing “Closure” from earlier this year (which got to #1 on my personal chart), Dutch producer Steve Void returns with “Ain’t Got You”.  It’s a shiny, summery slice of dance pop, and to sing it he’s brought along British vocalist Louisa, the Ex Factor winner from a few years back who has since scored hits with Clean Bandit, Olly Murs and 2 Chainz among others.  It’s bright pop with tropical synth flavours that simply spells out sunshine and fun at the beach.  Louisa’s vocal shimmers and exudes the love and desire of the story.  So chalk up another winner for Steve Void and his Strange Fruits team!

Published in: on July 5, 2019 at 10:34 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Italy’s @djPromiseLand and @GLDN take you on a whirl with techno-influenced “Blow Ya Mind”

PROMISE LAND x GLDN, “Blow Ya Mind”

“Blow Ya Mind” takes you on a trip back to the early 90’s when The KLF were all the rage with their techno-fused dance music.  It’s not what you would expect today coming out of Italy with noted producers Promise Land and GLDN, but it’s a lot of fun and will work exceptionally well in clubs whose audiences enjoy songs with retro appeal.  With a cool vocal patter matched with wonky sounding synths “Blow Ya Mind” will keep you wound up well after its effective and brief middle pause.  Promise Land and GLDN definitely create an abundance of fresh vibes out of this techno inspiration, something I think we’ll hear more of from other producers.

Published in: on July 5, 2019 at 10:34 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Sweden’s @DimitriVangelis and @Wymanofficial go big and majestic with Toronto’s @Dzekoofficial in “The King”

DIMITRI VANGELIS & WYMAN and DZEKO, “The King”

“The King” is definitely an intriguing instrumental release that will go a long way at festivals.  Swedish duo Dimitri Vangelis and Wyman truly go big and majestic with this one in partnership with my fellow Torontonian, the Juno Award-nominated Dzeko (whose set I got to see back in March in Miami).  “The King” could easily be a set opener, with its sweeping start which leads into a minute and a half of solid A+ trance… and then it comes to a halt, taking its well-paced time to build up again after 40 seconds or so.  If this wasn’t done so right, the audience could easily bail on the song, but one could visualize some kind of royal making his or her pointed and quiet walk, only to raise his/her hands to let the proceedings recommence.  And so, let the crowd go wild for the rest of the song’s 3:29.  “The King” is one unique song for the electronic dance music world so be prepared to hear it all summer and into the winter festival months.

Denmark’s @TobyGreendj heats up the summer with fun banger “Smoke”

TOBY GREEN, “Smoke”

In the same vein as Don Diablo and CiD’s “Fever” comes “Smoke” by Danish producer Toby Green.  It’s a fast, fun progressive future house song that will definitely turn heads with its pauses punctuated by one word “okay”.  The repeated, trappy melody line is infectious and this is the kind of songs that keep patrons up dancing in a club.  Definitely one to listen for both in clubs and at festivals.  Toby Green continues to leave his mark in the competitive electronic music world with songs like “Smoke”.  Okay – out.

Published in: on June 30, 2019 at 11:01 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Boston’s @AlmostOwenmusic rocks out with “One Lucky Man”

ALMOST OWEN, “One Lucky Man”

In early May, I introduced you to Boston’s Almost Owen through a delightful acoustic indie bedroom production.  He’s followed that up with a full blown alt.rock effort called “One Lucky Man”.  He’s got a great voice and like with many classic rockers, he can sing a lot of powerful, meaningful lyrics and draw the audience into his story without worrying that he’s actually singing too much.  The song has a straight-forward arrangement with a steady rhythm that steers it quickly through three and a half minutes without it seeming even as such.  Definitely keep your ears open for Almost Owen – he’s a sharp songwriter who knows what his listeners want to hear, and delivers a great message with “One Lucky Man” in the process.

Published in: on June 30, 2019 at 11:01 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , , , ,

“Feels Like Summer” is a bright pop song with R&B influences from UK singer/songwriter @SamuelJackmusic

SAMUEL JACK, “Feels Like Summer”

It seems easy enough to think that a song called “Feels Like Summer” might be a simple, straight-forward pop song about fun in the summer.  But UK singer/songwriter Samuel Jack was raised partially in Johannesburg, South Africa, and his interest in music was sparked by Paul Simon’s Graceland.  So I’m confident there is a myriad of influences brewing inside, which leads to Samuel’s rich, R&B-inspired vocal that gives “Feels Like Summer” extra depth.  The song itself is reflective, looking back on a teen romance that brings back the summer setting all over again, even when it isn’t even summer.  All too many of us can relate to those feelings, which is why “Feels Like Summer” is a charming winner and Samuel is a singer to watch.  If you like music by Hozier and Passenger then add Samuel Jack into the mix.

Published in: on June 30, 2019 at 11:01 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , , ,