Several great new dance music tracks are front and centre in the spotlight in my posts about 13 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 throws it back to the 70’s in his Classic Five. Plus I recap the top five songs from the BILLCS Top 30 from this week 5, 10, 15 and 20 years ago.
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.
DARIN, “What’s The Point”
It’s very rare indeed for me to be writing about an artist two weeks in a row, but Sweden’s Darin has released the rock-flavoured “What’s The Point” quickly after the recent “Satisfaction”. What’s different here is that “What’s The Point” is a cover of a fondly remembered 2010 hit in Sweden by the duo Johnossi. Darin’s vocal is enhanced by some harmonies and other effects which compliment the energy level in the production. Darin takes “What’s The Point” to another level with a blazing interpretation that suits the song’s lyrics and message.
FAMBA and GLASGOW KI$$, “No Sleep”
It’s great to hear Toronto-based dance producer Famba settling back into the club-oriented style that got him on the map in the first place. “No Sleep” is a simmering hot pot of deep house featuring newcomer GLASGOW KI$$ that blows up in all the right places. If you hear this one at 3 a.m. in a club then you can certainly call “No Sleep” your new late night club anthem. It’s definitely one of Famba’s best recent releases and is the follow up to “Forever”.
LENA LEON, “Spiral”
NYC’s Lena Leon is a popular go-to vocalist for electronic dance music songs, but she’s also been releasing her own music alongside those successes. After adding a brilliant vocal to Mahalo and Milkwish’s “Careless” (which reached #3 on the BILLCS Top 30) earlier this year, “Spiral” is breaking out at dance music radio, a smooth deep house track co-written and with production by those talented guys, The Disco Fries. But it’s Lena’s vocal that’s the star of the show, and when you hear “Spiral” alongside a lot of samey-sounding dance music it is simply unmistakable.
AFROJACK and JAMES ARTHUR, “Lose You”
Following up the recent fun deep house track “Hit It” and his current dance radio hit “Day N Night”, Afrojack is unstoppable with “Lose You”, featuring British singer/songwriter James Arthur. And James’ vocal certainly suits the electronic dance genre, with “Lose You” a quick but intense track that benefits from a really rich, masterful Afrojack production. “Lose You” should have no trouble following up “Day N Night” at dance radio.
THE SHAPESHIFTERS with RAMONA RENEA and FIORIOUS, “Slippery People”
Veteran UK dance producer The Shapeshifters (aka Simon Marlin) – best known for his 2004 UK #1 “Lola’s Theme” (which also reached #1 on the BILLCS Top 30) – returns with his take on Talking Heads’ “Slippery People”, originally from the Heads’ 1983 album Speaking In Tongues, from their new album Let Loose. But to me, this version is less about the Talking Heads’ original and more about the amazing 1984 cover by The Staple Singers. It’s a feast for your ears with powerful and soulful vocals by Ramona Renea and Fiorious burning brightly next to Mavis and Pops Staples, and the loaded arrangement featuring strings and horns makes it all the more dynamic. Don’t sleep on this one!
TELYKAST and FRANCIS KAREL, “Better Now”
L.A.-based production trio TELYKast have had a great year, which started off with the dance radio #1 “Unbreakable” (which also reached #1 on the BILLCS Top 30) and almost ends with another one, as “Body To Body” finds its way to the top of the national dance radio charts this week. “Better Now” is another compelling track that is more of an urgent-sounding anthem than usual. That’s thanks to the potent voice of Indonesian singer Francis Karel, who is quickly finding his way into the John Martin-Clinton Kane-Jared Lee graduate school of go-to dance music vocalists. The energy level is guaranteed to soar on the dance floor or at a festival when the DJ spins “Better Now”.
ALMA FAYE BROOKS and LOUIS TOTEDA & THE HIGH STEPPIN’ ORCHESTRA
“Dreams Don’t Only Happen At Christmas” and “Con Te Partirò (Time To Say Goodbye)”
This “double A sided” single marks a sparkling return to recorded music for 70’s Montreal-based, Texas-born disco singer Alma Faye Brooks, who has a small repertoire of songs adorned by club DJ’s years later, which includes her modest Canadian radio hit “Stop I Don’t Need No Sympathy” and dance club hit “It’s Over”. Over time, Alma Faye’s voice has gotten bigger and more powerful which adds a lot of charm to her joyous, self-penned “Dreams Don’t Only Happen At Christmas” (above), and allows her to create a splendid cover of “Con Te Partirò” (below), popularized as a duet in the UK by Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman, reaching #2 there in 1997, and then two years later as a #1 dance smash by Donna Summer. Alma Faye puts her own spin on the song which holds its own against Donna’s version, thanks to production by Louis Toteda (former leader of Nightlife Unlimited) and the legendary John Luongo, on whose JLM label these songs are released. “Dreams” will definitely brighten up your holiday playlist, while “Con Te Partirò” is waiting to shake up clubgoers once again on the dance floor.
MR! MOURAY, “Cats Can’t Fly”
Mr! Mouray is a Toronto-area quartet of veteran rock musicians with a penchant for amusing song and album titles. Led by lead vocalist and guitarist Simon Bedford-James and my good friend, Canadian Pop Music Encyclopedia guru and bassist Jaimie Vernon, “Cats Can’t Fly” is culled from their just-released second album, What’s The Stouray. The song’s about recognizing when a relationship is biting the dust. Despite the downbeat theme, the song has a wicked melodic hook, beautiful keyboard work from another fine friend, Rob Preuss (ex-Spoons, Honeymoon Suite), and stellar harmonies. If you enjoy rock bands like The Wallflowers, Men at Work or Sloan, then “Cats Can’t Fly” is for you. If you buy “Cats Can’t Fly” on Bandcamp, you’ll get another song with it for free. Oh, and about the song title? Canadian music fans will undoubtedly remember the Toronto band Cats Can Fly for their 1986 domestic hit “Flippin’ To The ‘A’ Side”…
STEVEN THAD, “Find My Way”
In his charming lo-fi way, Washington DC area singer/songwriter Steven Thad is consistent with his approach to releasing his original music. Focusing on vocals, story, and harmonies goes a long way and “Find My Way”, from his debut album Love, R&B, is a refreshing winner. It’s about learning and making changes that work for you in order to reach your destiny. In the song, Steven turns a negative into a positive, and hope is something that so many people need to hear in the music they enjoy. “Find My Way” is the highlight of the album, which also features songs I’ve written about, “Goodbye Farewell” and “Do You Remember”, as well as a cover of Destiny’s Child’s “Free”.
TONY ROMERA and BILLY VALENTINE, “Tonight’s The Night”
“Tonight’s The Night” is a classy, feel-good, fast-paced house track that’s brought to you by Lyon, France native and producer Tony Romera. As a big bonus, he’s utilized the slick voice of veteran R&B and jazz singer Billy Valentine, who you know not only from being one half of the Valentine Brothers (they recorded the original version of Simply Red’s “Money$ Too Tight (To Mention)”), but also the familiar voice of so many cover versions that graced TV’s “Sons of Anarchy”. Together, and as they should, they will keep your body moving in some shape or form in “Tonight’s The Night”.
ASHWYN and NATALIE, “Pink Skies”
India-born, USA-based multi-talent Ashwyn returns with a new EP called Skar, which features “Pink Skies”, a crisp and dreamy new pop track. Vocalist Natalie gives “Pink Skies” a really personal sound amid an imaginative setting, with lots of layered harmonies. Adding in some dazzling guitar magic from Ashwyn makes “Pink Skies” that much more memorable. The Skar EP also features Ashwyn’s single from last year, “Feelings of Yesterday”, which is also worth revisiting for its intriguing arrangement and impressive guitar work.
SIERRA BLAX and CHRISTOPHER WATSON, “Control”
If you enjoy your R&B/pop on the mellow side, the music of Sierra Blax on her new EP BRB…I’m Daydreaming is tailored for you. The L.A.-based, Kaua’i born singer/songwriter has a gentle tone which is given an uncomplicated mix to accentuate the authentic rawness in “Control”. The song seems to portray a couple who are totally into each other but want to wrestle away control from the other, at least in the romance department. It’s a duet with Tampa, Florida singer Christopher Watson, who adds a complimentary graceful turn and makes “Control” go down quite easily.
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.
“The Power” by long-time favourite, Matoma
“BIG DADDY” RUSS HORTON’S PICK OF THE WEEK
“Nightshift” covered by Bruce Springsteen from his album of soul covers, Only The Strong Survive
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.
“Nothing I Won’t Do” by NYC dance producer David Solomon and vocalist TMW
“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.
This week it’s all about the 1970’s, and perhaps unintentionally, 1975:
THE BILLCS TOP 30 – 5-10-15-20…
The Top 5 songs from the BILLCS Top 30 5, 10, 15, and 20 years ago…
- Need Your Heart – Latchmere
- Perfect – Mahalo featuring Cat Lewis
- Show Me – Loud Luxury featuring Nikki’s Wives
- No Love In Brooklyn – Nick Peters & Frank Pierce featuring Scott Vega
- Flags – Shoffy featuring Yuna
- Don’t You Worry Child – Swedish House Mafia featuring John Martin
- Music Makes You Lose Control – Carlos Nóbrega
- Spectrum – Zedd featuring Matthew Koma
- Parachute – Matthew Koma
- Anything Could Happen – Ellie Goulding
- Me, Myself & I – Darren Hayes
- Apologize – Timbaland featuring One Republic
- Love Is Gone – David Guetta featuring Chris Willis
- Don’t Stop The Music – Rihanna
- The Fear You Won’t Fall – Joshua Radin
- James Dean (I Wanna Know) – Daniel Bedingfield
- Spin – Lifehouse
- Serve The Ego (Gabriel & Dresden club remix) – Jewel
- Like I Love You – Justin Timberlake
- Shine (Tracy Young radio mix) – Cyndi Lauper