2022 is almost at an end, but I still have eight more songs for you to check out below, all but one independently released. And that’s the way it goes in my blog posts – I always root for the talented underdogs.
Work now begins on my year end Top 100 of 2022, which I will begin counting down on Twitter next Thursday (December 29) through to Saturday (December 31). Like last year, I’m also preparing an online radio show of the Top 30 from the list, which will air first on Radio GTA and then on Mix88.ca on New Year’s Eve.
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 has ears on songs from 1969 this week with his Classic Five pop hits feature. Plus I include my Top 5’s from the BILLCS Top 30 from the last 5, 10, 15 and 20 years.
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.
Merry Christmas and happy holidays!
WAITING FOR SMITH, “Heal”
Amsterdam-based British singer/songwriter Waiting For Smith follows up the delightful “Skylight Dawn” with “Heal”, which prompts frank conversations about mental health and wellness, as depicted in its unique video. The singer, whose real name is Harry Lloyd, uses his experiences with meditation and related philosophy as a result of spending a year in hospital after breaking his back a skiing accident. While the topic may seem heavy, his execution of “Heal” as a song is a much lighter affair, a touching and well-sung treatise about new beginnings and a renewed sense of purpose. It’s culled from his recent EP Trying Not To Try.
ROSKAMALA, GREENWICHE, “Kiss Me Amnesia”
“Kiss Me Amnesia” is a compelling and moody new slice of alt.pop from Thai artist and producer Roskamala, who left a successful career as an actress and TV host in order to pursue her love of music full-time. For “Kiss Me Amnesia”, she has enlisted the vocals of new male singer Greenwiche, whose expressive tone gives an affecting side to the song. The lyrics revolve around reconciling with the past in order to successfully move on to new relationships, which is also illustrated in the above video, though its ending provokes some questions. “Kiss Me Amnesia” is a strong debut single for Roskamala and I think we’ll be hearing much more from her.
TWO FRIENDS, BILLY LOCKETT, “Hate Me”
“Hate Me” is an impressive ballad given a lift by the Two Friends treatment, as they did earlier this year with their sentimental Top 5 dance radio hit with John.k, “Wish You Were Here”. This time though, the music adds future bass touches to anchor a song about trying to strengthen a relationship when something gets called into question. Its affecting vocal is by British singer/songwriter Billy Lockett, whose voice achingly wants the relationship badly enough that “Hate Me” becomes uplifting in the end. To me it’s kind of a bookend for The Chainsmokers’ “Everybody Hates Me” and will fit like a glove in Two Friends’ live sets.
TheFatRat, NEFFEX, “Back One Day (Outro Song)”
German producer TheFatRat continues to maintain his status as one of the most popular creators on You Tube and in the gaming world, thanks to his ability to lift copyright restrictions on his music, which allows it to be used freely across platforms. “Back One Day” is a post-victory song where you can imagine characters in a movie or video game celebrating their successes and looking forward to the next adventure. It’s actually a vocal version of TheFatRat’s song “Xenogenesis (Outro Song)” for which he enlisted another popular You Tube creator, NEFFEX, whose early 2000’s alt.rock styled voice alternately provides conviction and urgency to the song. Despite its immediate connection to You Tube and gaming, “Back One Day” is a versatile, energetic song that stands stalwartly on its own, and I can see DJ’s and producers playing it at festivals and other concerts.
ZOE SKY JORDAN, “Just Fine”
“Just Fine” is a solid mix of rock and folk that might be best heard in live performance – and I wrote this review before I knew about the above video. Zoe Sky Jordan is not a new name on the pop scene, a US-based Toronto-born singer/songwriter whose parents, Marc Jordan and Amy Sky, are two highly respected Canadian musicians that saw some domestic success in the 70’s and 80’s and continue performing today. “Just Fine” has a dreamy alt.pop vibe that will appeal to fans of Lana Del Rey, Lorde, and Mitski, and draws attention with a fantastic guitar solo and a memorable chorus that repeats, “I always live up to the hype, never crack under pressure”. “Just Fine” pulls you in with repeated listens and is from Zoe’s upcoming album.
BENJAMIN RUSSELL, ROB STUART, “Yell” (Rob Stuart’s club mix)
Canadian singer/songwriter/producer and electronic dance artist Benjamin Russell has a new album on the way early next year called Something In F Minor, which is his debut release in collaboration with fellow musician Rob Stuart. It has already been preceded by a few singles, out of which Rob’s club mix of “Yell” caught my attention lately. This is a lively, raw, cathartic electronic release reminiscent of 80’s new wave and post new wave artists like early Depeche Mode, John Foxx, Shriekback, and early Underworld. Of course who better to translate those inspirations than someone such as Benjamin, who was there and recorded one of my favourite Canadian synth pop songs of its day, “Miracle” (long out of print, check it out below). “Yell” is a real ear-grabber that commands your attention, and it comes in a variety of mixes in EP form, so just let yourself go and dance…..
SID SETH, “Caffeine High”
“Caffeine High” is a short and breezy slice of pop from India-born, NYC-based singer/songwriter Sid Seth. Like with previous single “Simple Yet True” (which I reviewed a while back), Sid writes straight-forward, generally upbeat songs that speak genuinely and many listeners will relate. When you’ve had a great day or have met someone special, then you live that rush of a “Caffeine High”. But the actual backstory of this song is about Sid’s initial experiences living in NYC, which he describes as “the heart-attack life. The lows are crazy and so are the highs.”
DUB ZOO, “Confusion”
I never knew that psychedelic dubstep from Australia was a thing until I learned about the music of Dub Zoo, which has been been going strong in Oz since 2016. Dub Zoo is a collective of revolving members and vocalists which mixes dark, deep fare with lighter songs. “Confusion” is one of the former, and will certainly evoke fond memories of early UB40, The Specials, and Massive Attack. Lizzie O’Keefe’s compelling voice leads the way and “Confusion” will leave fans of dubstep mighty content, while offering a breath of fresh air to new listeners. It’s culled from Dub Zoo’s new album Strange Times.
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.
“Black Mascara” by Greyson Chance from his album Palladium
“BIG DADDY” RUSS HORTON’S PICK OF THE WEEK
“Girlfriend” by North Carolina singer/songwriter Hemlocke Springs
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.
Saudi Arabian singer/songwriter Kali-B with “What I Mean”
“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. In a 1969 kinda mood this week…
THE BILLCS TOP 30 – 5-10-15-20…
The Top 5 songs from the BILLCS Top 30 5, 10, 15, and 20 years ago…
- Pineapple Skies – Miguel
- Flags – Shoffy featuring Yuna
- Sky Walker – Miguel featuring Travis Scott
- Need Your Heart – Latchmere
- Crazy (Tiësto’s Big Room Mix) – Dzeko
- Parachute – Matthew Koma
- Don’t You Worry Child – Swedish House Mafia featuring John Martin
- Yeah Yeah – Willy Moon
- Between The Raindrops – Lifehouse featuring Natasha Bedingfield
- Music Makes You Lose Control – Carlos Nóbrega
- How To Build A Time Machine – Darren Hayes
- Papercut – Roz Bell
- Don’t Stop The Music – Rihanna
- Me, Myself & (I) – Darren Hayes
- Calabria – Enur f/ Natasja
- Serve The Ego (Gabriel & Dresden remix) – Jewel
- James Dean (I Wanna Know) – Daniel Bedingfield
- Disease – Matchbox Twenty
- The Sound Of Violence – Cassius featuring Steve Edwards
- Something – Lasgo