10 seems to be the magic number for all the new music that can fit into the BILLCS New Music Report every week for you. I guess that I’ve essentially revamped my previous “10/10” feature into a weekly report of the best new songs that I’ve heard in the last few weeks, some of which you’ll be seeing on my personal chart, the BILLCS Top 30, soon too.
You can also read about my pick of the week, along with picks from online radio buddies “Big Daddy” Russ Horton and Hunter Wilbur. “The Musicman” James Rogers dips back into the 60’s this week with his Classic Five pop hits feature. Plus I include my current BILLCS Top 30 #1 song and the Fastest Riser on the chart.
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.
As regular readers of the blog know, I just can’t get enough of the recent releases from Swedish pop star Darin. He’s followed up the single release of “What’s The Point” with a five song EP, My Purple Clouds, which not only includes previous singles “Can’t Stay Away”, “Superstar” and “Satisfaction” (which is currently rising up the BILLCS Top 30), but two new tracks, “Give You Up” and “Memories”. Both are solid, but “Memories” gets the edge for me because it evokes thoughts of great pop singles of the past, and how much of today’s contemporary music is veering away from classic songs structures and arrangements. “Memories” is particularly 80s/90s inspired, and I love how Darin’s variety of producers are shaping his already excellent voice for his 2020’s era.
BENSON BOONE, “Before You”
2022 has brought us numerous songs from young new talents from Instagram or Tik Tok who show off their softer side quite well – including Stephen Sanchez, JVKE (both currently with songs on my chart), and Washington’s Benson Boone. Following up the 20 year old’s EP Walk Me Home, which includes the still-gorgeous “In The Stars” (which reached #2 on the BILLCS Top 30 earlier this year), Benson brings us the romantic “Before You”. The song’s about stopping time and basking in the moment with that special someone, and trying to remember what life was like before you met. Benson’s passionate performance (check out his live performance above) makes “Before You” extra special and a cut way above the average ballad.
TASBA is a new electronic dance producer from Denver (aka Tanya Barrera), who can shift seamlessly within sub-genres. A while back I wrote about her debut release, the deeply personal instrumental trance track “Inner Child”, and she returns with the energetic deep house of “Now”. As she told me about the song, visualize if you will “two lovers facing difficulties with expressing their love for each other. So close, yet so far to connecting and letting each other know they feel the same.” “Now” is a lengthy late night house track that will set the mood for your club soirée. With high calibre releases like “Now” (in both radio and extended mixes), we can look forward to much more from TASBA in ’23.
RIVER TIBER, “Not Just Anyone”
Toronto’s River Tiber has been my go-to alternative pop artist during the last decade who never fails to come up with songs that are totally out of the ordinary, and occasionally catches the ear of someone like Drake, who sampled River Tiber’s “No Talk” on one of his albums. River Tiber (aka Tommy Paxton-Beesley) recently dropped his third album Dreaming Eyes (his first indie album is out of print and not on steaming services), which is chock full of such a myriad of influences that it would be hard to name even a handful and sound knowledgeable. He draws upon classical, pop, rock, jazz and avant-garde sounds that alternately challenge and soothe the listener. “Not Just Anyone” is a particularly jazz-inflected track that features a good use of his voice against a backdrop of a fast-paced linear-sounding melody. Much of the album is awash in sounds from different instruments – such as harp, if I’m hearing right – and melodies evocative of other pre-rock eras. Previous singles “Sent From Above” and “Hypnotized” are included. The ultimate test for “Not Just Anyone” and other songs from Dreaming Eyes will be to hear them performed live – the last time I saw River Tiber perform in concert was in 2016.
N i G H T S, “Boyband”
Right away, I want to tell you that “Boyband” isn’t a new release for the prolific Philadelphia-based electronic pop/R&B duo N i G H T S. But it is one that I seem to have missed, though judging by its streaming numbers, it’s one of their most popular releases to date. “Boyband” has resurfaced in these blog pages because of a new video for what has turned out to be a rather timeless-sounding song. As the two members of N i G H T S continue gradually to reveal themselves from the shadows in it, the video for “Boyband” is also provocative for its minimal black and white style that captures both a cool vibe and attitude that’s a perfect match for the song, which is heavier in hip hop flavours than usual for the guys. So it was a good call to drop this video to reignite interest in “Boyband” four years after its original release, because if it caught my attention then others will also enjoy.
A.J. SMITH, “Naughty”
“Naughty” is about as different a Christmas song that you can get, and it’s brought to you by Nashville-based rising multi-talent A.J. Smith. And different here means joyous, festive and jingling bells, but it also means some suggestive holiday fun for grown-ups. A.J.’s voice really soars, his wordsmithing will make you smile, and as usual his production is impeccable, so when making your holiday playlists, start some new traditions with “Naughty”.
VASSY, BINGO PLAYERS, THE DISCO FRIES, “Pieces”
“Pieces” is a bouncy and vibrant slice of classic 90’s flavoured deep house brought to you by an amazing mix of dance music talent: Australian singer/songwriter VASSY, who has had 7 Billboard dance/club play chart #1’s to date; The Netherlands’ Bingo Players, known for the UK #1 “Get Up (Rattle)”; and NYC’s The Disco Fries, regulars in this blog who have previously collaborated with Bingo Players (on 2020’s “Forever Love”) but also got to #1 on the Billboard dance/club play chart with VASSY a few years ago with “Concrete Heart”. “Pieces” is everything that you could expect and more to keep those party vibes grooving along, and is currently in the Top 30 and rising up North American national dance radio charts.
ST. HUMAIN “Pillow”
Australia-based singer/songwriter St. Humain continues to dazzle with his relatable stories which are beautifully sung and often set to zesty pop electronic backdrops. “Pillow” finds the protagonist’s head wanting to ease into a relationship while his heart urges him to jump. It’s that in-between stage when we usually find that the relationship isn’t going to happen for one reason or another, and it ends up being the stuff that keeps us up late at night. You can pick and choose your favourite with “Pillow” or previous consistently fine releases “Memento”, “Tastes Like You” and “Sick Sad Love Song”, all or any of which are apt to be included on St. Humain’s upcoming EP Metadramatic.
MOD SUN, CHARLOTTE SANDS, “SEXOXO”
Minnesota-based singer/songwriter Mod Sun has released his 4th single from his upcoming album God Save The Teen called “SEXOXO”, which also follows up his collaboration with dance producers Two Friends on “Timebomb” (which recently peaked at #9 on the BILLCS Top 30). This is a fun-loving song that celebrates exploring a new relationship and all the feelings that go hand-in-hand with that – which might have a little to do with his own life with fiancée Avril Lavigne. Featuring impressive L.A. singer/songwriter Charlotte Sands – who you know from social media through her song “Dress” and her duet with Brandyn Burnette, “Everything” (which reached #7 on the BILLCS Top 30 about a year ago) – the pair definitely are in sync on “SEXOXO” and their chemistry makes the song stand out. Mod Sun keeps turning new pages with his music, leaps and bounds beyond his early pop punk/hip hop days, and I’ll look forward to hearing more on the album.
XANA, “bet you’ll get off on this”
As its title implies, “bet you’ll get off on this” is about boldly stating your authentic self, laying everything bare so that others can choose to stick with you or move on, with no regrets. Canadian pop singer/songwriter Xana has a flair for waxing poetic directly, and eloquently at that. This mainly acoustic release with minimal production, supported by acoustic guitar and strings, is an ideal showcase for this song. Fans of singers like Jewel, Brandi Carlile or Ingrid Michaelson will enjoy the music of Xana.
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.
It’s a banger! “Goin’ Down” by electronic dance producers DLMT & Party Shirt
“BIG DADDY” RUSS HORTON’S PICK OF THE WEEK
“Big Daddy” Russ Horton is the owner of online stations Radio GTA, Halton Hills Radio Online, & FM108.ca.
“Can’t Stop Us Now” by Mr. Worldwide himself Pitbull, this time with Country singer Zac Brown
HUNTER J. WILBUR’S PICK OF THE WEEK
Hunter J. Wilbur is the host of the online radio shows “Modern Hype” and “Addictive Energy” (currently on hiatus until January) which can be heard on several online stations including Classic Hits Canada.
18 year old Canadian singer/songwriter Aja with “Fireflies”
“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.
Aretha Franklin – Respect
Otis Redding – (Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay
Tommy Roe – Dizzy
Troggs – Wild Thing
Marvin Gaye – I Heard It Through The Grapevine
BILLCS Top 30 #1 SONG
“Yours” by Conan Gray
BILLCS Top30 FASTEST RISER
“Satisfaction” by Darin (26-14)