Check out my posts about 12 new songs below, along with picks of the week from online radio buddies “Big Daddy” Russ Horton and Hunter Wilbur, and myself. “The Musicman” James Rogers takes his Classic Five to the 80’s, and I look back at #1’s on the BILLCS Top 30 from this week over the previous 23 years, from Rufus Wainwright through to Justin Timberlake through to Karen Harding.
The BILLCS New Music Report is a work-in-progress and I welcome your suggestions so feel free to contact me @billcs on Twitter @thebillcs on Instagram or @BILLCSMusicProjects on Facebook.
SHAWN MOLKO, “I Will Wait”
There’s a new Shawn from Canada in town, and Toronto’s Shawn Molko has a voice that you won’t soon forget. Witness his new single “I Will Wait” – he has the gorgeous finesse of a Michael Bublé or Matt Dusk, but in a higher key with a light falsetto, so it’s no wonder that a cappella group Pentatonix has caught their attention – he could be a crooner like either gents, or stand alongside someone like Sam Smith. It also helps that “I Will Wait” is a beautiful piano-led song with a classic structure. Shawn recently sang the national anthems at Madison Square Garden for a Rangers/Flames game and stunned the arena. So if we’re just at the start for Shawn Molko, then I’m here for what’s next. Pop radio is playing similar new male vocalists like JVKE and Stephen Sanchez, and so would be missing out by not adding “I Will Wait”.
SHAWN DESMAN, “Maniac”
There’s another Shawn in Canada making an auspicious return. Toronto’s Shawn Desman is one of Canada’s most successful domestic pop stories of the 2000’s, yet despite often R&B-inflected pop smashes like “Get Ready” (reaching #5 on the BILLCS Top 30), “Shook”, “Nobody Does It Like You” and “Electric”, has not released any new solo material since 2015 when his record label deal ended. After taking some time to raise a family, he came back recently as one half of electronic production duo Radioclub with a couple of recent singles. But the soulful dance/pop of “Maniac” should put him back in the fore, with a solid vocal and production as well as some nice choppy guitar riffs that help it stand out. Fans who saw him perform at Drake’s OVO fest in Toronto gave Shawn a warm welcome back, so following it up with a strong single like “Maniac” – which has just landed in Canada’s Top 40 at radio – completely makes sense.
ZAC POOR, “Ghost Boy”
It’s been a while since I’ve heard or written about L.A.-based singer/songwriter Zac Poor, but over the years he’s been busiest as a songwriter as part of tunes recorded by the likes of Tori Kelly, Backstreet Boys, Nick Jonas, and many others. His new solo release “Ghost Boy” is one that strikes all the feels as the protagonist relates recalling younger versions of himself. And while some memories are painful, “Ghost Boy” will always be a part of him through good and bad, including one of the worst – discrimination. As usual, it’s beautifully sung, and set to a contrasting carefree, danceable rhythm, but the poignant narrative is what hits the home run.
CRAIG DAVID and MUNI LONG, “Obvious”
British R&B/pop singer/songwriter Craig David has released a new album in his 22 year chart career called – well, 22! “Obvious”, which is included in the album, is a more pop companion to his classic “7 Days” than his other recent releases, and it features Tik Tok breakthrough artist Muni Long, who leaves a potent vocal stamp on this song that you’ll remember. Craig sounds as smooth as ever and “Obvious” is refreshing and fluid ear candy.
LILLY WOOD & THE PRICK, “You Want My Money (Quieres Mi Plata)”
You will remember the French duo Lilly Wood & The Prick, comprising Israel-born vocalist Nili Hadida and guitarist Benjamin Cotto from their inescapable 2014 worldwide smash, the Robin Schulz remix of “Prayer In C”. Last year, the pair released their first album in 7 years called Most Anything, which included the initial English-language version of “You Want My Money” (below). Now re-recorded in Spanish as “Quieres Mi Plata” (above), the song will capture Latin music fans as well as appeal to those of you who enjoy another talented electronic duo, Sofi Tukker. I’m enjoying both versions of the song with its chugga-chugga house rhythm and edgy vocal, so pick your favourite!
AASH MEHTA, “I Just Wanna Love You”
Following up his personal and atmospheric electronic pop album The Moments In-Between, Chicago producer Aash Mehta dishes out some contemporary house this time with “I Just Wanna Love You”. It’s also a successor to one of my faves from last year, the deep house rave-up “Back To You” (reaching #5 on the BILLCS Top 30). What the song might lack in terms of lyrical punch is completely compensated by on-point production, which stirs up the vibe a bit before reprising the drive of its melodic hook.
LOST BOY, “Ready2Go”
It’s been a while since I wrote about Bay Area multi-talent Lost Boy. Otherwise known as Dillon Deskin and now based in L.A., “Ready2Go” is a strong release waiting to be discovered, and caught my attention with its vibrant vocal and playful production. Lost Boy seems to be headed more in a pop direction than in past, and I think the cheery flavours in this song will draw in fans of Justin Bieber and Shawn Mendes, while the rich backdrop will continue to appeal to Zedd or Alesso enthusiasts.
AFROJACK presents NLW x PHLEGMATIC DOGS, “Get It”
Afrojack steps away from the melodic dance that gave him one of his biggest hits last year with David Guetta with “Hero”, and back into the bass house realm with a new banger called “Get It”. And this one is strictly for the clubs and festivals, once again under the name “Afrojack presents NLW”. With its irresistible rhythm and deadpan vocal, plus additional production by Russian duo Phlegmatic Dogs, “Get It” is sure to please Afrojack’s hardcore house fans.
CRISTÓVAM, “Ferris Wheel”
An award-winning star in his native Portugal, singer/songwriter Cristóvam brings you “Ferris Wheel” from his new album Songs On A Wire. It’s a provocative slice of folk-flavoured alt.pop that covets looking after your own problems before you try and help someone who has perhaps even more complex matters at hand. With a voice that’s a hybrid of Bob Dylan and Paul Simon, and simple but crisp production and some nifty guitar work, the lyrics in “Ferris Wheel” aren’t judgmental and choose to guide rather than criticize. Let’s hope anyone having some difficulties will recognize and enjoy Cristóvam’s intrinsic perspective, while many others will have no problem connecting with it.
BROOKS, VLUARR, and JAY MASON, “Sober”
There’s a lot of European dance music that receives so much success at home that it often doesn’t get as much notice or praise outside of Europe. Brooks is a talented Dutch producer who is a protégé of Martin Garrix who has recorded numerous singles with his superstar buddy such as “Byte” (reaching #5 on the BILLCS Top 30) among Brooks’ earliest releases. Teaming up this time with two newer Dutch artists, producer/DJ/cellist Vluarr and vocalist Jay Mason, “Sober” is a punchy and gritty slice of deep house which is recognizably Brooks from its bounce, but spearheads other elements such as Vluarr’s supurb cello work. Jay Mason has released a few fistfuls of singles these last two years and has an earthy, compelling voice for a convincing delivery in “Sober”.
Utah-based alt.rock quartet Roseburg follow up their debut 2020 album Righteous Punk with a straight forward ode to life, love and having a purpose called “Alice”. The group deliberately stripped back their rocking sound for “Alice”, which is a more pop-oriented song that singer/guitarist Zack Knell wrote when he was 16. The production incorporates some winning harmonies alongside a tight arrangement. The band are originally from Roseburg, Oregon and can continue to happily represent the proud name of that town. Fans of early 2000’s alt.rock will be the first to love it, and you can watch for social media stars Dylan Jordan and Summer McKeen in the video for “Alice” above.
KINGA, “Sexy Boy” (Champain remix)
In the music biz, everything that’s been done before can be reinvented, remixed and rebooted into something that can fit into whatever is contemporary today. “Sexy Boy” has a timeless, easy-going electronic pop mystique that can fit into the fun and flirty part of dance music that is giving artists like L.A.’s Michael Medrano and even Sweden’s Darin a niche that was begun long ago by Brits Boy George, Marilyn, Pet Shop Boys, and Dead Or Alive. So what’s new to you, isn’t to me – Canada’s KINGA originally released long out of print indie “Sexy Boy” back in 1989 (you can listen to it at the link below), when it obtained a modicum of success on TV’s Much Music as well as some adventurous pop and college radio stations, which gave the androgenous KINGA a chance to shine in local performances. The fast-paced synthpop Champain remix of “Sexy Boy” brings him back with an alluring, smoother Boy George-ish vocal that sounds fresh all over again.
BILL’S NEW MUSIC PICK OF THE WEEK
My New Music Pick of the Week is a 5-7 minute radio segment that airs more than 20 times/week on online radio stations around the world.
“Yours” by Conan Gray from his album Superache
BIG DADDY” RUSS HORTON’S PICK OF THE WEEK
“Red and Gold” by new Manchester rockers Gathering Of Strangers
HUNTER J. WILBUR’S PICK OF THE WEEK
Hunter J. Wilbur is the host of the online radio shows “Modern Hype” and “Addictive Energy” which can be heard on several online stations including Classic Hits Canada.
“What You Got” by Oryon featuring Woodz
“THE MUSICMAN” JAMES ROGERS’ CLASSIC FIVE
“The Musicman” James Rogers is the owner and host of The 3D Variety Show heard Tuesdays on Planet Radio Canada. The Classic Five is “pop music 101” of the post-Beatles era – classics you need to know! Each title is linked to a Spotify stream of the song.
23 YEARS OF BILLCS TOP 30 #1’s
Songs that rocked my personal chart at this time during the last 23 years.
“Pink Cadillac”, in 2009, was the first song available as a free download to top my chart.
1998 APRIL FOOLS Rufus Wainwright
1999 THE FUTURE OF THE FUTURE (STAY GOLD) Everything But The Girl with Deep Dish
2000 TWISTED TENDERNESS Electronic
2001 BLACK BLACK HEART David Usher
2002 JAMES DEAN (I WANNA KNOW) Daniel Bedingfield
2003 SUPERFABULOUS BT featuring Rose McGowan
2004 THEY MIGHT SAY Mitchell Hunter
2005 PRETTY VEGAS INXS
2006 FUTURE SEX/LOVE SOUND Justin Timberlake
2007 APOLOGIZE Timbaland featuring One Republic
2008 RELAPSE Jesse McCartney
2009 PINK CADILLAC 100 Akres featuring Roz Bell
2010 RESURRECTION (Penguin Prison remix) The Temper Trap
2011 NO I.D. Frankmusik featuring Colette Carr
2012 MUSIC MAKES YOU LOSE CONTROL Carlos Nobrega
2013 ADORN Miguel (also featuring Jessie Ware)
2014 SMILE Mikky Ekko
2015 LET YOU GO River Tiber
2016 NATIVE SON PREQUEL (Jenaux remix) Gramatik featuring Leo Napier
2017 PERFECT Mahalo featuring Cat Lewis
2018 PHANTOM OF THE DANCE FLOOR Kiesza featuring Philippe Roy
2019 DREAMER Throttle
2020 UNDO MY HEART Karen Harding x Digital Farm Animals
2021 SANCTUARY Howen & Robbie Rosen