Denver’s @Illeniummusic continues to make huge strides this time with @JonBellion in the heartwrenching and reassuring “Good Things Fall Apart”

ILLENIUM and JON BELLION, “Good Things Fall Apart”

It’s one of the most memorable lyrics I’ve heard all year:

When coming to terms with a broken heart I guess that sometimes good things fall apart‘. 

It marks another in the series of top notch releases from Denver’s Illenium (Nick Miller), that hopefully will end up on his next album.  “Good Things Fall Apart” is is both heartwrenching and reassuring, successfully marrying progressive electronica and emotional pop, and NYC’s Jon Bellion was an ideal choice for collaborator in both co-writing and singing the song.  While Illenium continues to slay festival audiences wherever he plays, and “Good Things Fall Apart” I’m sure is stopping crowds in their tracks, Jon Bellion is about to embark on a world tour, crossing US, Europe, the UK, and Australia beginning in June, following the release of his second album Glory Sound Prep, last Fall.  Watch for “Good Things Fall Apart” to keep making waves at pop radio, a worthy follow up for Jon to his Top 20 hit “All Time Low”, and a fabulous introduction to Illenium for pop audiences.  Check out the lyric video above.

L.A.-based producer @SteveJamesdj returns, singing and orchestral, with “fall for you”

 

  • STEVE JAMES, “fall for you”

It’s been about two years since 20 year old L.A.-based, Pennsylvania bred producer Steve James took a bit of a break from releasing his own songs.  This was after arriving as a 15 year old remixer (remember his slinky, ear-catching one for ZHU’s “Faded”?)and having a fast rise to some Grammy-nominated success with the title song from Justin Bieber’s Purpose album.  Certainly working on that project has rubbed off with his new single for Casablanca/Republic, “fall for you”.  I see this one as a grower – it’s Steve’s first song featuring his own vocal, which he’s definitely been working on, and it lends a lot of natural charm to the song.  In the past he’s been a bit of an enigma, but here we find Steve’s also a musician, as you will see in the video above for the ‘orchestral’ instrumental version of “fall for you”, stripped from its electronics to showcase Steve’s piano work as accompanied by violins and cello.  It’s a beauty for sure, and now many sides of Steve James are becoming demystified, with much more to come.

Published in: on May 20, 2019 at 11:43 pm  Leave a Comment  

Spotlighting my favourite from #Eurovision, “She Got Me” by Switzerland’s @Haenni_Luca

LUCA HÄNNI, “She Got Me”

“She Got Me” by Switzerland’s Luca Hänni may not have won Eurovision – it did come in at an impressive fourth place – but it has all of the pop prowess to be a worldwide hit.  It’s a crowd pleaser that begs participation (‘she got me dirty dancing’) and a dance floor strutter.  Luca’s infectious stage presence at Eurovision definitely rubs off on you easily, and the video above shows he definitely has some great dance moves.  Very rarely do winners and other songs from Eurovision endure but “She Got Me” is definitely worth savouring.

Published in: on May 20, 2019 at 11:43 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Toronto’s @NikkisWives offers imaginative new single “Real Girl”

NIKKI’S WIVES, “Real Girl”

Toronto trio Nikki’s Wives continue with singles to preview their next EP or album with “Real Girl”.  It’s about the public’s perception of women in music or the arts in general, often forgetting about the real person underneath the persona.  The song is pretty theatrical and definitely away from the band’s harder, edgy sound.  It was appropriately showcased at the concert I saw in April with some on stage play, as you will see from my second photo below.  Nikki’s Wives is a band that offers bold new music with tight instrumentation, a top notch singer, and great interplay among the band of Nikki, Dylan and Nate.  As they continue to break out, 2019 is your year to get to know Nikki’s Wives 🙂

 

Published in: on May 20, 2019 at 11:43 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Germany’s @BlindedHearts brings a contemporary take on “Just The Two Of Us” in another collaboration with Sweden’s @LouiseCSmusic

BLINDED HEARTS and LOUISE CS, “Just The Two Of Us”

After a number of highly listenable and danceable recent releases, it was a pleasant surprise to find Germany’s Blinded Hearts (aka Andi Jelitsch) pairing once again with Sweden’s Louise CS for their take on “Just The Two Of Us”, the 1981 Grover Washington Jr./Bill Withers hit.  You’ll recall their collaboration on “Brand New”, some emotional electronica from about a year ago, and taking on “Just The Two Of Us” sounds, well, very comfortable.  Louise’s sultry vocal with a hint of a rasp suits the song well, and the song’s transformation into a downtempo deep house track will work well on the dance floor.  Considering the last time “Just The Two Of Us” was reworked into a hit – by Will Smith – this rendition by Blinded Hearts and Louise CS is satisfying and refreshing.

Published in: on May 20, 2019 at 11:43 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Flower” is enchanting, sexy, soulful pop from Dallas’ @JohnnyStimson

JOHNNY STIMSON, “Flower”

I first got to know the voice of Dallas, TX native Johnny Stimson when he surfaced on Kat Krazy’s dance track “Run Run”, which got to #6 on my personal chart a few years back.  The Elton John protégé who has toured with the likes of Tori Kelly has this time self-released “Flower”, an enchanting, sexy, soulful slice of indie pop that should not go unnoticed.  It’s a delicate tribute to someone special that Johnny wrote, produced and mixed.  You can easily put “Flower” side-by-side next to anything recent by L.A.’s Axel Mansoor, about whom I’ve written much in these blog pages.   “Flower” is ideal for inclusion in a Sunday set of quiet, acoustic songs that will make you smile.

Published in: on May 20, 2019 at 11:43 pm  Leave a Comment  
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#BILLCSTop30 #561 – May 13/19

A few impressive moves fuel the new chart, as well as four debuts and a new #1!

So what’s up top now?

Why it’s “White Lies” by UK/German production duo M-22.  It’s one of my favourite songs of the year so far, using early 90’s house (specifically Inner City’s “Good Life”) as a reference point.  I also found out through her Twitter account that the song is sung (uncredited) and co-written by British vocalist A*M*E.  You know her from the Grammy-nominated UK #1 “Need U” with Duke Dumont and through this blog from her vocal in Monsieur Adi’s “What’s Going On” (which peaked at #2 on this chart), a 2013 rework of Soul II Soul’s “Back To Life”.

Almost hand-in-hand with “White Lies” in terms of a fun and upbeat dance tune is “Good Things” by Cedric Gervais and Just Kiddin featuring vocalist Kyan, which advances 4-2 in its disco edit.  

Italy’s Mark Mendy moves up 7-6 with “Black Gasoline” with vocals by Australia’s Beamish Brothers, and now available in some additional remixes by Provi and farfetch’d.

New to the Top 10 is another dance bop to accompany the top two songs.  It’s “Enlighten Me”, an even brisker house number, from The Netherlands’ DubVision and SYZZ.  It climbs 13-8.

France’s KRONO lands in the Top 10 up 12-9 with “Perfect Strangers” and a great vocal from PIOTR.

The fastest riser on the chart soars 24-10.  It’s “Love Me Less” by MAX and Quinn XCII from MAX’s upcoming album House of Divine.  Watch out for some surprise pop-up concerts from MAX, maybe in a city near you!

Another impressive move this week is from “Wild” by Final DJs and Bright Light Bright Light, which rises 21-13.  And to give you a taste of something else, Final DJs recently remixed Queen’s 1984 hit “Radio GaGa” (below), taking away some of the heavier synths in favour of more of a pop flavour which suits the song nicely.  It’s a free download too – just press the “BUY” button for your digital copy!

Also on the move is “Do You Mean”, the latest by The Chainsmokers and featuring Ty Dolla $ign and Canadian singer bülow.  It moves up 22-16.

A second French producer appears on the chart for the first time and that is Kidswaste with his melodic and danceable “Sleeping Pills”.  Featuring vocalist KOLE, the song moves up 27-21.

The highest debut belongs to a familiar name to this chart – L.A.’s Mako.  Otherwise known as Alex Seaver, “Coyote” is one of his more progressive solo offerings, but boy is it an intriguing one, capped with some solid upper registry singing that makes it so memorable.  “Coyote” bows at #23.  Mako’s most recent chart entry here was a big one – he got to #1 in early 2018 with “Breathe”.

Although he’s new to the Canadian radio scene with his recent Top 10 hit “Wish You Well”, Halifax’s Famba appeared on my chart in late 2016 with his groovy Armada release “Right Here Right Now” (that throwback is below), which got to #2 on the chart.  Famba’s back with some delectable new dance pop in the form of “Swear To God” which debuts at #27.

Also big in Canadian radio is “Figure It Out”, the iHeart Radio contest winner by Toronto duo Flight School and featuring L.A.-based vocalist CVBZ.  It arrives at #28, a first time entry for Flight School, but CVBZ previously got to #2 with the Sean Turk remix of “Be Like You” in 2017.  He also did vocals for Cheat Codes in “Feels Great” and for NOTD in the recent “Start It Over”.

The fourth debut is for Washington DC based producer Manila Killa with “Atypical” featuring singer GiGi at #29.  Take a close look at its video above featuring a wonderfully inspiring lyrical dance routine, Manila Killa among the dancers too!

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 🙂

 

 

It’s 10/10 #03: New songs from @JayB1rdmusic and @DanniCarra, @Prizmofficial, @NickHagelin and @itsPaxton, @DaveWinnel, @JanosBAndersson, @thisisMokita, @iamNickPeters and @JamieGreymusic, @weareGODAMN, @Aadysimusic, and @iamAxelM

10/10 #03

10/10 (or tenoutoften) is this blog’s new feature where I write about 10 hot and fresh songs in no particular order, for your kind consideration and attention.

I continue to write individual blog posts about certain songs.  That does not mean that songs in the 10/10 lists are any less than those featured individually. 

Writing 10/10 features means I can cover more songs in one shot .  So you get to learn about more new music that I hear but don’t always get a chance to write about. 

tenoutoften

tenoutoften 03

  • JAY BIRD and DANNI CARRA, “Let You Down” (free download)

“Let You Down” marks a personal best for SoCal producer/remixer Jay Bird.  It’s one of those songs where every aspect has been carefully crafted, balanced, and executed.  With a beautiful melody and danceable rhythm that doesn’t bow to any particular dance sub-genre, “Let You Down” is a warm and inviting story about being dedicated to a special someone.  It also marks another collaboration with singer Danni Carra (check out my blog post about “The Reason”, which was released earlier this year).  “Let You Down” is a generous free download – get it while you can at the link above.

  • PRIZM, “The Prizm”

L.A. based producer Prizm returns after a bit of a break to showcase his melodic side after a few harder edged tracks last year.  “The Prizm” has an uplifting, anthemic quality about it at times, and veers into softer, emotional EDM about half way through before the beats return and lead to a quiet ending.  The song reminds me, production-wise, of others that have come from Sweden in the past few years, using a pitched up vocal to carry it through.  The result is a creative and diverse release that should serve as a springboard for Prizm.  

  • NICK HAGELIN and PXTN, “Good Time”

“Good Time” is a breezy Latin-infused song meant for mid-evenings as the sun is setting.  It comes from always charming Atlanta-based singer/songwriter and ballet dancer Nick Hagelin, about whom I’ve written for many years, including long before his Top 10 finish in Season 10 of “The Voice”.  Taking time to balance raising a young family and maintain his professional dancing while recording and writing songs, “Good Time” marks Nick’s first release in about two years with a nice change of pace, still sounding fresh and improvised at times.  Here he brings along his buddy from “The Voice”, fellow Top 10 finisher Paxton Ingram (here billed simply as PXTN), which adds an in sync energy to the song.  Here’s to more new music from Nick Hagelin!

  • DAVE WINNEL, “Ksamil”

Dave Winnel is an Australian producer/remixer who divides his time between Sydney and The Netherlands, thanks to his work with Armin van Buuren and many others associated with the Armada label.  Only recently starting to release his own material, a four song EP called Lily Of The Valley (The Journey) has arrived from Dave.  Amid some imaginative, more progressive songs comes “Ksamil”, which has a different presence from the other songs.  “Ksamil” is small beach-side village in Albania in which Dave wrote it.  In contrast to some percolating synths, it’s got relaxing and gentle elements that make it perfect for an outdoor festival on a sunny day.  Play this one back-to-back with Tez Cadey’s “Logic” and create your own mini-voyage.

  • JANOS, “Zero”

Janos is a Norway-based Swedish singer, songwriter and musician who has been releasing music for most of this decade, receiving some attention at home and in England.  “Zero” is danceable alternative pop-rock with an outside-of-the-box approach to songwriting.  I’m really not too sure what the song is actually all about but there’s an affable vocal, tight instrumentation and production, as well as a carefree feel that, despite Janos’ European origins, reminds me most of 90’s American bands like Third Eye Blind or The Rembrandts.

  • MOKITA, “Til I Don’t”

Current blog favourite Nashville-based singer/songwriter Mokita continues his sturdy roll of top notch songs with “Til I Don’t”, following “All Into Nothing” (with R3HAB), “London”, and “Kiss And Tell”.  “Til I Don’t” is a quickie at only 2:07 and perhaps his slightest of the four, but it’s tightly crammed with words from Mokita’s always interesting perspective on relationships.

  • NICK PETERS and JAMIE GREY, “Where Did You Go”

18 year old French producer Nick Peters has released a few consistent singles of his own since 2016, while providing remixes for others such as Major Lazer.  Regular blog readers know how much I enjoyed his 2017 collaboration with Frank Pierce and Scott Vega (now known collectively as Juscova) called “No Love In Brooklyn” (#4 on my personal chart).  “Where Did You Go” is top drawer and benefits from anchored deep house beats and rhythms, and a memorable, soulful vocal from British singer Jamie Grey.  The radio edit alters the pace slightly, so go for either version, focused on the beat or the lyricism, as you see fit.

  • GODAMN, “Kickers”

Although they were previously known under other names in the dance music scene, GODAMN is a Swiss production duo who have been getting support from the best in the biz since they emerged under this name in 2017.  Their latest, “Kickers”, is a fun bass house production that would highlight any club DJ’s set and trigger instant reaction from lovers of this sub-genre.  GODAMN have a clever, bouncy club hit in the making with “Kickers” so lend an ear for it this Spring and Summer.

  • AADYSI, “Don’t Need You”

Taking its cue seemingly from both techno-styled trap and science fiction movie themes, NYC producer Aadysi is back with “Don’t Need You”.  Featuring Aadysi’s own vocal, the song starts off with some punchy beats, but slows down into a trap-influenced rhythm which morphs into some unexpected and smartly made progressive synth pop.  “Don’t Need You” then circles back to its heavier edges before a soothing, spacey ending.  It’s a stylish electronic kiss off to a past relationship that’s well worth your attention.

  • AXEL MANSOOR, “Busy”

L.A.-based singer/songwriter Axel Mansoor continues his consistent string of releases with “Busy”.  Ever the interested observer in relationship, Axel provides a convincing story to ensure that you do not forego who and what are right in front of you every day.  A midtempo beat and some well-placed synth work carries a lilting acoustic guitar melody that will make you clap or tap along.  “Busy” is indie pop that goes down easy while providing honest food for thought.

“Atypical” is slick lyrical house from @ManilaKilla’s 1993 EP – and check out its inspiring video

MANILA KILLA featuring GIGI, “Atypical”

I really enjoy finding out more about an artist as they grow with each release.  And such is the case with Washington DC-based producer Manila Killa’s recent 1993 EP and the song “Atypical” featuring vocalist GiGi.  It’s a rousing house track that is taken to the next level by its inspiring video.  For it’s here we find that our Chris Gavino is a former dancer, and choreographers The DayOne Project have blessed “Atypical” with an on-point lyrical dance routine that flows beautifully to the song.  It’s great to see Manila Killa making his own spot-on moves with the rest of the dancers.  My own daughter danced competitively from ages 6 to 14 so I’m only too familiar with all of the work and effort that is involved after witnessing countless competitions during those years.  Check out the video for “Atypical” above and let it stir that inner inspiration in you.

“Grateful” is a winning reggae/hip hop/R&B preview of the upcoming album by @EMAN8

EMAN8, “Grateful”

When Brandyn Burnette announced last year that he would be recording solo as EMAN8 going forward, we knew that he was definitely going to spread his wings stylistically.  To date, singles such as “Amen” and “Inspired” have seen the L.A.-based singer/songwriter go back to his St. Louis blues and soul roots without losing any pop elements.  “Grateful” is possibly the best preview yet of EMAN8’s upcoming album.  It’s a song that simply makes you smile, drenched mainly in Bob Marley and Jimmy Cliff reggae rhythms which connect with the soul and hip hop inspiration that have been integral parts of Brandyn’s previous releases.  One thing we have all learned from his music is that EMAN8 wears his feelings on his skin – what you see is always what you get.  “Grateful” is perfect soul food for feel-good sunny days where we can chill and enjoy and be thankful for one other.

Published in: on May 5, 2019 at 5:04 pm  Leave a Comment  
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