Soul-tinged, intense new pop/dance from Copenhagen’s @FabianMazur “Settle”, with L.A. singer/songwriter @ZacPoor

FABIAN MAZUR and ZAC POOR, “Settle”

Copenhagen’s Fabian Mazur, very well known in Europe these past 8 years, opts for more pop/dance/soul flavours with “Settle”, a release for The Music Elk.  It’s an intense, deliberately-paced dance song featuring the welcome return of L.A. singer/songwriter Zac Poor, who I’ve written about several times in these pages.  Zac sings and co-wrote the song.  His vocal has a gritty, soulful quality here that usually doesn’t appear on European dance songs, thereby making it seem like something hailing from the UK when it’s not.  And I have definitely missed hearing his power and range!  In fact, “Settle” recalls the soulful dance of 90’s groups like Stereo MC’s but wrapped up with a lot of contemporary finesse.  Fabian definitely knows how to swing a few hooks, and the electronic elements of the song keep it brewing steadily.  “Settle” may not be instantly memorable by title but chances are you’ll be adding it to a playlist or three of your own.

Published in: on December 14, 2018 at 12:35 am  Leave a Comment  
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Tough aftermath: “Closure” is a special release for @SteveVoidmusic with vocalist Andy Marsh

STEVE VOID and ANDY MARSH, “Closure”

“Closure” marks the 100th release for Dutch producer Steve Void’s Strange Fruits label.  And that’s a fast steady pace of 100 releases too which have definitely caught the eyes and ears of the dance music part of the music biz.  “Closure” quite honestly is one of Steve’s own best releases.  It’s a great song about how relationships end and some people need closure before they can move on, which often does not happen at all.  The production has a grooving synth bass line and Andy Marsh’s vocal convincingly puts you in that moment that you might not ever want to be in.  But “Closure” let’s you wrap it all up and dance away your own troubles in the process.

Published in: on December 14, 2018 at 12:35 am  Leave a Comment  
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“These Hands” by England’s @CoreyLayzell is not your typical pop/dance love song

COREY LAYZELL, “These Hands”

The first thing that will strike you about “These Hands” by Essex-born singer Corey Layzell is his voice.  Think of everyone who might have stood out because they didn’t sound like anyone else.  Corey reminds me of MNEK without soulful power but with a lot of pop potential in a Bastille kind of way.  “These Hands” is about fighting for love, and it’s set to an engaging and complimentary pop/dance synth track.  It’s no wonder that Sia is a vocal influence for Corey.  “These Hands” is everything that you enjoy about pop music that’s unmistakably unconventional and dance music is the perfect genre to host it.  I’m predicting we’ll be hearing much, much more from Corey Layzell very soon!

Published in: on December 14, 2018 at 12:35 am  Leave a Comment  
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“Majesty” is a royally potent blend of hip hop and EDM as remixed by France’s @CloZeemusic by Montreal-based producer @Apashe_music and Canadian rapper @afroWasiu

APASHE and WASIU, “Majesty” (CloZee remix)

“Majesty” gets a heavy-duty epic trap-influenced official remix by French producer CloZee, who has seen herself play festivals on the same bill as the likes of Jean-Michel Jarre.  She lends a lot of spirit to the creative release from Montreal-based producer Apashe and Canadian rapper Wasiu.  You might think of the word ‘anthemic’ when you first hear the remix, but a title like “Majesty” deserves more than that and CloZee delivers it big time.  She’s got a great record to work with as Wasiu delivers a candid rap that is full of fire without being over the top.  “Majesty” is a hard-hitting fist-pumper that requires repeated listening.

Published in: on December 14, 2018 at 12:35 am  Leave a Comment  
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#BILLCSTop30 #550 – December 10/18

The Top 10 of this edition of the chart is a dancin’ fool’s dream, just chock full of classic house, disco, trap, and of course what would be more likely labelled as pop/dance. But there are many soulful and hip hip influences embedded, along with the presence of a singer normally associated with the country genre.

The Top 10

  • Odesza’s “Loyal” crushes it again at the top, with a feverishly paced song that just makes your heart race and leaves you with an incredible rush at the end. How many other songs could do that this year?

  • The presence of A-Trak and Todd Terry in “DJ’s Gotta Dance More” (3-2) is an inspired collaboration which honours classic house and helps to make that style of dance music even better, by inspiring those who play it!
  • Mercer’s 70’s flavoured house of “Fireworks” (above) races 7-3 to join the dance festivities as he releases another new single called “Boss” (below).
  • PatrickReza’s taut remix of Illenium and Annika Wells’ “Crawl Outta Love” soars 10-5 to give presence to this fine song.
  • These are hardly the last “Days Of Disco” but Canadian duo Botnek definitely have catchy business happening with this song which moves up 8-7.
  • Soulful UK singer/songwriter Sam Dickinson scores his third Top 10 here with “Wild Sun”, which in its Handbag House radio edit should by all rights be played in any club, anywhere that has great taste!  It climbs 13-9.

  • Of course it’s The Chainsmokers who paired with country singer Kelsea Ballerini for another treat for us this year with “This Feeling” rising 12-10.

Movin’ On Up

  • From a great go-to EP called Tough Love, Bright Light Bright Light’s “How I Feel” climbs 19-13.
  • If there’s such a thing as alt.soul.pop then singer Victor Perry and producer Ficci may have coined it in their project called Labrose with “Gravity”, up 20-15.

  • The good-natured vibes of San Holo’s “Brighter Days” definitely creep under your skin and stay there thanks to a totally in sync vocal by Bipolar Sunshine.  The song is from San’s release called Album1 and moves up 21-17.
  • Possibly the tightest and most irresistible song on the chart at only 2:28 is “In My Arms” by L.A.-based producer Mahalo in partnership with newcomer Le:Blanc.  It’s the fastest riser on the chart, soaring 26-18.
  • Illenium entry #2, “God Damnit” as written and sung by Call Me Karizma, wastes no time landing in the Top 20, up 24-19.

4 Debuts

  • As “All For You” exits the chart, Years & Years maintain a presence, this time courtesy of UK producer Jax Jones on “Play” at #24.  “Play” is featured on Jax’s compilation EP called Snacks.
  • Another disco-tastic track to grace the chart is “Mister Love”, by Luxembourg-born producer White Chocolate, which arrives at #25.
  • And as the long-lasting “Infinitum” leaves the chart, so “Naked” by Revelries featuring Romanian vocalist Jeoko arrives to take its place.  The exotic song, tapping into Revelries Emerati roots, lands at #26 out of the gate.

  • More Chainsmokers anyone?  Yes, please!  The guys know when to let loose and show their progressive side, and “Siren”, featuring Aazar is a shining example.  “Siren” debuts at #27.

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 🙂

 

A wicked keyboard melody fuels “Paradigm” by @JayHardway

JAY HARDWAY, “Paradigm”

Dutch producer Jay Hardway is pretty consistent with a steady stream of dance floor and festival favourites to draw from in his repertoire.  Add up high on that list, his latest instrumental “Paradigm”.  I’m not sure if it’s intended, but there’s an incredible late 70s/early 80’s vibe about the song, and it rests in the keyboard hook.  While I can definitely hear a classical melody at its core, I immediately think of some of the instrumental work in Giorgio Moroder’s seminal “From Here To Eternity” as well as some of the synth lushness that’s identified with European hits like FR David’s “Words”. And while I might be totally wrong about all of that, dance music fans will still be hanging on that synth hook while the song shifts into lower gear and then revs back up, similar to what you’ll hear that worked so well in recent songs by Arty and Martin Garrix.  In any case, “Paradigm” is a winner that will sound fabulous through monstrous festival speakers.

Published in: on December 3, 2018 at 11:39 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Nashville’s @SpazzCardigan’s “DOIDOIT” is jaunty, playful, slice-of-life

SPAZZ CARDIGAN, “DOIDOIT”

Multi-instrumentalist Spazz Cardigan is back with a playful slice-of-life called “DOIDOIT”, following this past Spring’s whimsical “Episode”.  While being entertained by its jaunty keyboard work – Spazz is a classically trained pianist –  and other live instruments, “DOIDOIT” will definitely have you thinking throughout the song about why things are the way they are, and why you’re the way you are.  Its sly humour that reminds me of the Jason Mraz of old while being channeled through a deft arrangement that would please Charlie Puth fans.  But “DOIDOIT” is really about getting through all of those questions to figure out that all Spazz wants is to be in love – many of you will no doubt relate!  The anthemic finale of the song will leave you wound up with a smile on your face.  Don’t underestimate the talented Spazz Cardigan, who will sing and write and play his way to many successes to come.

Published in: on December 3, 2018 at 11:39 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Whispers” is a softer Eurohouse delight from France’s Martin Vallée and US singer/songwriter Victor Perry @perksofbeingvic

MARTIN VALLÉE & VICTOR PERRY, “Whispers”

Following up their bouncy take on Stevie Wonder’s “Uptight” last Spring, French producer Martin Vallée and US pop/soul singer/songwriter Victor Perry have once again joined forces for “Whispers”.  With this song, they head straight into a softer Eurohouse mix that’s best suited either early on in the evening or later at night.  There’s an interesting song structure here, with a subtle introduction, that’s followed by the hook within its first minute.  This allows Victor to then wax his eloquent voice over the crux of the story, remembering the whispers of a past lover.  Queue the hook again and the song bobs its way playfully until it’s time to get closer again… “Whispers” is definitely a pleasing choice atypical of its genre and my compliments to the artists for taking some chances with a gentler shade of house music.

Published in: on December 3, 2018 at 11:39 pm  Leave a Comment  
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French producer #Maone has an inspiring bass house track in “Never Break Me”

MAONE, “Never Break Me”

While the bass house bounce and rhythm are key in French producer Maone’s “Never Break Me”, its encouraging story is also an emotional draw for music lovers.  The steadfast, confident vocal by an uncredited female singer is a call to anyone going through a tough time about not cracking under whatever pressure is at source.  It makes a fine basis to help dance away any troubles you might have, and know there’s something better waiting.  Maone slams home those bass pulses set to a fast-paced house rhythm, and “Never Break Me” becomes a memorable and inspirational release.

Published in: on December 3, 2018 at 11:39 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Remember” is a touching and hopeful song in the face of adversity by British singer/songwriter @JulesRendell

JULES RENDELL, “Remember” (live performance)

This past Spring, I introduced you to British singer/songwriter Jules Rendell and her song “The Return” from her album I M A G I N E.  A great way to showcase songs is through live performance, and Jules does this, with just her piano and voice, in a concert rendition of “Remember” from the same album.  And with a powerful and passionate voice, that is all that a song like “Remember” needs – simple isn’t always easy to do but it is sometimes what works best.  It’s a hopeful song about remembering the loving and caring words that friends and family say when facing some sort of adversity, and in particular when mental health is the source, when people may not knowingly take the words to heart.  That’s all there is to say – just check out the video above and find out why.

Published in: on December 1, 2018 at 10:17 pm  Leave a Comment  
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