Toronto’s @iamDabinLee and Nashville’s @thisisMokita team up for lovely sweeping anthem “Drown”

DABIN & MOKITA, “Drown”

Even on paper, pop and electronic music fans seeing the names Dabin and Mokita in the same song know that something good has been in the works.  “Drown” is a definite winner, and happily, not a cover of the recent Martin Garrix song of the same name.  This one is an original sweeping electronic anthem about being there for your significant other no matter what.  Dabin’s ongoing association with Illenium and his core team has undoubtedly helped give him much deeper roots as a producer. He knows how to bring the mood down to touch those raw emotional nerves, and then before it gets too deep, he brings you out of it with a magnificent build up.  “Drown” also contains one of Mokita’s best vocals to date, with his voice soaring like on no other song that I’ve heard by him.  “Drown” should become a staple at EDM festivals once they are back in swing.

Published in: on May 6, 2021 at 9:22 pm  Leave a Comment  
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NYC’s @GATTUSO_music and Sweden’s @VioletDaysband join forces for dance radio friendly “Save Me”

GATTÜSO and VIOLET DAYS, “Save Me”

After coming off a highly successful 2020 with “Bring That Back” (with vocalist Nadia Gattas and fellow producers Asketa & Natan Chaim) and a remix of Petey Martin & Lauren Daigle’s “Come Back Home”, GATTÜSO returns with possibly his most dance radio-friendly release to date, “Save Me”, co-written with Swedish vocalist Violet Days and others.  It’s also GATTÜSO’s second release for Ultra Records.  The flow between GATTÜSO and Violet Days is pretty seamless.  His production lets you get lost in the committed lyrics, which sing about the protagonist getting too deep into a relationship that isn’t working, hoping that the other person will see the light, but then boldly having to make the decision to save herself from needless pain before it gets worse.  The heavy subject matter is offset by a brisk uptempo melody that is a partner to the protagonist’s salvation.  Violet Days is more often known as songwriter Lina Hansson, but you’ve heard her memorable voice gracing her own solo hits (“Your Girl”) as well as those of others (Shaun Frank’s “Addicted”).  “Save Me” brings us a wonderful collaboration that is worth repeating.

Published in: on May 6, 2021 at 9:22 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Las Vegas neo-soul singer/songwriter @Sabrielmusic is back with old school sound of “Fox In The Henhouse”

SABRIEL, “Fox In The Henhouse”

Despite the common imagery of cheating in its title, “Fox In The Henhouse” by Las Vegas singer/songwriter Sabriel (pronounced shä brē el) is anything but ordinary.  I would like to place the music of Sabriel alongside that of Jessie Ware, who has bundled up disco and British R&B into a tightly woven, accessible package in her latest releases.  Sabriel’s music takes queues from the softer side of that genre, as well as the ballads of Janet Jackson, with even older school Nina Simone and Billie Holliday influences very apparent.  Her sultry voice is versatile, never getting tied down in a particular part of that voice within the song to make it seem one-note.  “Fox In The Henhouse” has a strong message about recognizing warning signs in relationships, but it goes down as easily on your stereo as it would in an intimate supper club.  After I enjoyed her previous release “Love Again” immensely, Sabriel continues to prove that she is a talent to watch and grow.

Published in: on May 6, 2021 at 9:21 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Boston’s @GillianHeidi returns with heartfelt and relatable “waves”

GILLIAN HEIDI, “waves”

With every release that I hear from Gillian Heidi, I hear growth, whether it’s in her vocal or songwriting.  In “waves”, it’s a little of both, a really tight and well-rounded song that ponders the pressures of becoming an adult, often feeling overwhelmed and in this case underneath the waves of life.  Her sound is similar to a lot of pop-folk artists coming out of England.  However with being in America, it seems more apt to compare her to Billie Eilish and Olivia Rodrigo and the like, though she’s probably right in the middle of it all.  “waves” will make you hang on every word and Gillian’s sweet vocal leaves a long, savoury aftertaste.

Published in: on May 6, 2021 at 9:21 pm  Leave a Comment  
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L.A.-based multi-instrumentalist @iamJMSN returns with carefree and soulful “Rolling Stone”

JMSN, “Rolling Stone”

Ahead of what will be his 13th album in 10 years (including one instrumental release and two “chopped not slopped” reworks) titled Heals Me, it’s great to hear L.A.-based (but Detroit-bred) multi-instrumentalist JMSN (aka Christian Berishaj) back in form with his first studio release in three years called “Rolling Stone”.  It’s also a throwback to his earlier music, to me less complex and more engaging than his more recent work.   “Rolling Stone” at its essence is carefree, compelling and soulful.  Quietly dynamic, JMSN sounds great and I can picture “Rolling Stone” as the opening song on his upcoming tour.  Having seen his live show back in 2013 and written about him many times (hit the search button on my blog page), he’s an engaging and unpredictable performer, so there is no time like the present to join the JMSN train.

Published in: on May 2, 2021 at 9:50 pm  Leave a Comment  
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L.A.-based duo @OYLSdotnet help destigmatize mental illness through “Netflix (Your Product Is Too Good)”

OYLS, “Netflix (Your Product Is Too Good)”

Like a few other artists who reflect on these difficult pandemic times, new L.A.-based duo OYLS focus on the state of our mental health with “Netflix (Your Product Is Too Good)”.  The video for the song, starring actor Danny Trejo, has the protagonist staying up late binging on Netflix shows while he vulnerably contemplates his own sanity.  With lockdowns still in force in much of the world, we know how this feels as the days blur into each other, and we develop a complacent routine that could have an impact on many of us in the long run.  The vocal for this alt.pop song is totally soaked in the quieter side of Prince’s “Purple Rain” era and the song is an unexpected earworm whose title is never mentioned.  “Netflix” is OYLS’ third in a series of eight episodes which form a “pop opera” which will be released throughout 2021.

Listen to the raucous and politically-charged @BobSeger cover “2+2=?” by Spokane, WA’s @iamHEwas

HEwas, “2+2=?”

It reminds me of that Mel Gibson movie, “Forever Young”, in which he is a pilot who is cryogenically frozen in 1939 and wakes up in 1992. The latest Cosmic Wire release by new Spokane, Washington performer HEwas is a cover of Bob Seger’s “2+2=?”, originally released on Seger’s Ramblin’ Gamblin Man album in 1968.  Despite today’s technology, it’s like the song has taken an intentional step forward in time as recorded by HEwas. Written as a protest song against sending young people off to the Vietnam War, it’s politically charged message is still extremely relevant today.  The sound is unkempt raw rock ‘n roll, a nice tip of the hat to Seger’s original, the kind that you’d hear and dance to in a dive bar.  Knowing that it’s all about the song and message, HEwas’ vocal blends seamlessly into the mix.  Produced by BLAZAR, about whose own song “Enough” I recently wrote, “2+2=?” is an interesting and appropriate tonic for college and alternative rock stations.

Published in: on May 2, 2021 at 9:49 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Germany’s @_ANIQO is back with a sparse-sounding, hopeful release “Wonderland”

ANIQO, “Wonderland”

Her songs can be mysterious and brooding, or bright and hopeful, as we get to know the many facets of Berlin-based singer/songwriter/filmmaker ANIQO (aka Anita Goβ), this time through the new single “Wonderland”.  Following in a similar vein to a previous release, “LoveLife”, “Wonderland” is about love holding us together through everything, even at the darkest times.  Its sparse arrangement, only featuring piano, harmonica and vocal, is taut and compelling, and as usual ANIQO can weave us through a lengthy song without it ever seeming so long.  It was preceded over a year ago by a video release, above, which shows ANIQO’s ongoing artistry in that field.  I’ve written about the music of ANIQO for over four years now, and those songs will eventually lead to her debut album called Birth, which is now slated for this year.

Published in: on May 2, 2021 at 9:49 pm  Leave a Comment  
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#BILLCSTop30 #612, April 26/21

The vast amount of great music being released in 2021 is reflected on my chart. Songs can remain on the chart for a maximum of 10 appearances (20 weeks), but lately there have been less songs than usual which attain that feat.  The fast pace frequently means 3, 4 or 5 debuts every two weeks, and this chart is no exception to that.  So enjoy some of these favourites while they stick around!

“No More Looking Back” by Idris Elba and Inner City featuring the fierce voice of Steffanie Christi’an becomes the 6th song to reach #1 in the four months of this year.  90’s flavoured house is back big time thanks to the presence, after 30 years, of legends like Kevin Saunderson and his rebooted Inner City project.  We need more of this!

He wowed us with a splendid online festival, capped by his own affecting performance.  The festival is “Secret Sky” and the performer is Porter Robinson, whose second album after seven years (not counting his Grammy-nominated Virtual Self project) called Nurture was released on Friday.  From that album, “Look At The Sky” (above) becomes his second Top 5 on this chart, after last year’s #1 “Get Your Wish” (also included in the album).  Also check out the amazing track “Blossom”, below.

Victor Perry’s gentle ballad “Stories” (above) rises 6-5, in collaboration with German producers Cal1 and L’essay.  I included Victor’s recent song “Slip Away” (with French producer Kislaw), but also check out his latest release with another French producer, KHEMIS called “Until You Call My Name” (below).

New to the Top 10 is the reigning party track called “Friday” by British producer Riton, who revived 90’s dance smash “Push The Feeling On” by Nightcrawlers as the basis for the song.  It climbs 11-7.

Moving up 9-8 is NYC singer/songwriter Reigen’s pensive song for late at night in a quiet place, “blue”.  It’s Reigen’s second highest placement on the chart, next only to “Come Back To Me” which reached #2.

Also new to the Top 10 is “When I Lost You”, the deep house banger from Norway’s Dunisco and NYC’s Robbie Rosen, which climbs 12-9.  It’s the first Top 10 for both artists on my chart.

“Every Minute” is the latest release by Sweden’s Eric Saade, which came second in this year’s Melodifestivalen contest.  It climbs 13-10, becoming Eric’s 8th Top 10 on my chart, and his first since 2015’s “Sting” (#4).

Victor Perry’s soaring voice is the star of “Myself In You”, his collaboration with Italy’s Lordnox, and it makes short work of the chart, climbing 17-12.

The Fastest Riser on the chart is from the producer whose “Not Watching Anymore” slips from #1 to #2.  It’s L.A.’s Mahalo, whose rollicking “Got That Love” soars 23-15.

Independent Irish pop-rock artist Four Nights continues his rise up the chart with the infectious “Want You Always” moving 19-16.

You can now find Peter Wilson and Sean Smith’s duet on the Robert Miles classic “One And One” (25-19) on release as a single, including two delightful and very extended remixes by Matt Pop (above) and Pete Hammond.

France’s 2 Thunders climbs 26-20 with their thoughtful deep house track “Shine A Light”, featuring L.A.-based vocalist OMZ.

Sometimes it takes a remix to either give a song new life or to present an alternate vision of the the track.  Such is the case with the Dzeko remix of Tyler Shaw’s “When You’re Home”, which in its darker but affecting remix rises 27-21.

Occasionally the big hits will land on this chart, too.  And that’s what’s happened with “Leave The Door Open” by Silk Sonic, aka Bruno Mars and Anderson.Paak, which arrives as the Highest Debut at #23.  It may be surprising to know that this is Bruno’s first appearance on this chart, and it’s also the first for Anderson.Paak too.  It all started with this year’s Grammy Awards performance; watch for it to lead the way with nominations in 2022!

Next up at #25 is another first time appearance on this chart for L.A.-based dance producer Gryffin.  I’m playing the Cat Dealers remix of “I Want Love” a whole lot.  The combined talents allow “I Want Love” to be taken to the next level by Brazilian brothers Cat Dealers, who are among the worldwide favourite DJ’s for good reason.  I’ve seen both Gryffin and Cat Dealers in virtual festivals this year and they both give their audiences exactly what they want.

The third debut at #27 is the chart debut for Knoxville, Tennessee based 2017 winner of “The Voice”, Chris Blue, with his infectious and adventurous independent release called “Moon”.

NEW!! Planet Radio Canada has returned to the interwebs with ‘The Musicman’ James Rogers and his “3D Variety Show” each week for three hours of great music as well as a few features.  Listen to my New Music Pick of the Week (usually featuring a song on the chart) in the second hour of the show.  Tomorrow, the show will also spotlight none other than Elton John!  Planet Radio Canada’s “3D Variety Show” is simulcast on http://www.classichits.ca and http://www.radiogta.ca from 6 to 9 pm EST.

The music from this chart and blog are also featured regularly on the online radio station Radio GTA. You can hear their Big 20 on Wednesday evenings, also with ‘The Musicman’ James Rogers, and listen for songs from the chart too 🙂Scroll down the station’s main page to listen to lots of variety from across the decades!  I’m the new music consultant for the station so you can expect even more 🙂  You can start by joining Radio GTA’s new interactive Facebook group 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 #17: @NuelaCharles, @Kislawmusic & @wallflowerperry, #Anzano & @RobbieRosenlive, @CrashAdamsmusic, @Prizmofficial, @KenBauersweden, @Febmusic & @Lexie_official, #Dega, @TommyNewport & @EARTHGANG, and @DJChrisDamas

My 10/10 feature returns with edition #17.  I can’t believe it’s been six months since I wrote the last one.  But the time has come where very good songs for consideration for this blog are overwhelming the weaker ones, so I want to make sure the good ones get their due.  And as usual, the choices are a global cornucopia of releases.

For those not familiar with10/10,  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, and they are not listed in any particular order.  

Writing 10/10 posts 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. 

  • NUELA CHARLES, “Space”

Singer/songwriter Nuela Charles has been prominent in her native Canada, conquering the Adult Contemporary genre with Juno Awards nominations three years in a row for that category.  “Space” is a welcome change of pace for her, showcasing her effortless classic R&B-influenced voice with a sassy and funky backdrop. While “Space” was written as a response to the pandemic, it’s clear that we all need space from each other, even those closest to it. “Space” sails away with that idea and Nuela flourishes in this setting.

  • KISLAW and VICTOR PERRY, “Slip Away”

NYC singer/songwriter Victor Perry continues to be one of the most prolific independent performers, releasing new music every week where possible and showcasing it with different collaborators.  “Slip Away” is a unique partnership with new Africa-born French producer Kislaw, who embraces a sophisticated backdrop where you’ll hear the underutilized flute among other sounds.  And a funky edge allows Victor’s brilliant vocal – which reminds me of when either Michael or Janet Jackson are at their most playful – to lilt through the story and soar in the ad libs too.  Released by Bonfire Records, this one is very deserving of a follow up soon.

  • ANZANO and ROBBIE ROSEN, “Waves”

Like Victor Perry, “American Idol” Top 16 contestant Robbie Rosen is on a mission to release music every week right now (yes, it’s no surprise with similar ideals that the two collaborate as well).  Robbie’s recent songs and performances are so consistently strong it’s hard to pick out what are the strongest ones.  “Waves” finds Robbie working with Belgian producer Anzano for a chipper-sounding song that recognizes when you’ve lost a friend or partner to a better relationship or situation (“forever you’ll be one with the waves”).  It’s a quick mix of classic pop and bright, friendly electropop that goes down easily.

  • CRASH ADAMS, “Symphony”

Your friendly neighbourhood Toronto pop/rock duo Crash Adams are back with another song to make you think while putting a smile on your face. “Symphony” is about that instant state of attraction when all of the vibes and conversation just seem oh so right.  It’s another tight production with a winning vocal, and another cool video (above) to boot.  Crash Adams continue to release quality songs, and their talent and flair for spot-on visuals will take them far.

  • THE PRIZM, “Darkness Is A Friend”

“Darkness Is A Friend” is the centerpiece song of L.A.-based producer The Prizm’s latest album New Beginnings.  In fact the album is a third chapter to a complex story, but focuses on new beginnings for anyone who’s experienced recent hard times, whether they be through relationships, the pandemic, and more.  The uplifting melody and vocal will help you realize that there is a way out of the darkness if you embrace it and move on.  The album is a significant progressive stretch when looking back on last year’s catchy electronic dance single “I Don’t Wanna Go Home” (with ARTFCAL), but The Prizm (Gabriel Garcia) is taking his time to create stories and atmosphere that will have a deeper effect on the listener.

  • KEN BAUER, “Free”

Sweden’s Ken Bauer is hardly a new name to the electronic dance music scene, releasing regular music since 2016.  Though he’s had support from big names like David Guetta, Sam Feldt, and Nicky Romero, all it takes is one song that could open more doors internationally.  “Free” has that potential, with complex synths surrounding a basic but infectious hook.  The uncredited vocal helps the song soar, and “Free” would go over very well indeed at festivals.

  • FEB & LEXIE, “Last Night A DJ Saved My Life”

Though it’s a far cry from the funky classic grooves of the 1982 Indeep classic, Italian producer Feb and British vocalist Lexie spin “Last Night A DJ Saved My Life” into a slick Eurohouse track.  Lexie’s alluring vocal makes it perfectly pronounced that she’s moved on and looking for someone else who won’t break her heart.  Feb’s production captures the essence of the song, making it a fitting surprise that works well.

  • DEGA, “Bad Burn”

Italy’s Dega brings us some dreamy, trance-soaked Europop with “Bad Burn”.  The song effectively mixes in thoughtful vocals, an underlying and very catchy melody, and a build up to a swell drop for cohesive results.  “Bad Burn” is definitely one of those songs where you might not know the artist, but the song solidly stands steadfast on its own and has festival anthem potential.

  • TOMMY NEWPORT and EARTHGANG, “Stargazer”

“Stargazer” is a cool slice of alternative rock that’s laced with hip hop that is out to challenge listeners while sublimely drawing them in with its warm hook.  At only 20 years old, Manchester-born singer/guitarist Tommy Newport has already acquired fans through not only his music, but appearances on TV and internet shows as well as movies.  His voice has a soulful undercurrent beneath a weary, journeyman kind of approach.  His collaborators on “Stargazer” are recent Grammy Awards nominees for Best R&B Song, Atlanta’s EARTHGANG, who continue to show why hip hop and soul are so welcome in an alternative rock-oriented release, and how much more pliable the genre walls need to become.  

  • CHRISTOPHER DAMAS, “Tekila”

Get that big plate of nachos ready because some “Tekila” is about to infiltrate the mix!  It’s a tidy and spicy song that should easily fit into sets next to “Despacito” and “Mi Gente”, but there is a twist.  The “k” in “Tekila” might give it away, but it’s brought to you by veteran Russian electronic dance producer Christopher Damas, which continues to prove that the boundaries within dance music itself are extremely limited.  My only gripe about “Tekila” is that it’s way too short at only 2:10, making it a bit of a novelty. It flies by so quickly that listeners will be begging to know what that “Tekila” song is!