This week I don’t have any specific opening remarks or editorial, but for those of us who are in the middle of winter, music is a great mood changer, so I encourage you to “think summer” and play or make a playlist of your favourite tunes for a bright summer day!
In addition to the posts about individual songs, you can 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 goes back to the early 70’s this week with his Classic Five pop hits feature. Plus I include the songs that debuted on the BILLCS Top 30 in this week from 2018-2022.
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.
DABIN, KAI WACHI, Lø SPIRIT, “Hollow”
“Hollow” hits you between the ears with a jarring progressive electronic production that is peppered with screams and unbridled emotions. It’s all brought to you by Toronto-born producer Dabin Lee, Idaho producer Kai Wachi, and a new name to watch, Atlanta’s Lø Spirit (aka Josh Landry), who received considerable attention last year with his cover of Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill”. Everything works so well in this record, even though bigger, harsher-sounding songs are not always my thing. The production is like a whirlwind that’s mixed with a lot of wicked future bass elements and considerable finesse. It’s rare that a vocalist can both sing and scream well, but Lø Spirit gives it his all and the producers make him sound amazing. “Hollow” is a real surprise and will appeal to those who like their electronic music with lots of edge.
SHOWTEK, EDAY, “Everybody”
If you want new music that’s guaranteed to lift your spirits, “Everybody” by Dutch veterans and regular Las Vegas club residents Showtek and American vocalist EDAY (aka Haydee Rivera) will do the trick. Blasting out of big speakers, the line “everybody dance for the love of music” hits a home run, and some amusing, brief spoken-word interludes provide some novelty appeal. Showtek pulls it all together to create a happy, infectious vibe that will work well in clubs.
PARTY NAILS, BOY SLIM, “Like U”
“Like U” is a melting pot of pop/dance influences that pervade it from the 80’s through the 2010’s. Think about what would happen if Cyndi Lauper and Carly Rae Jepsen met the Real McCoy and Ace of Base and decided to make a record with some help from Cathy Dennis and Icona Pop. It’s as catchy as all hell, brought to you by L.A.-based singer/songwriter Party Nails (Elana Carroll) and Austin-based queer producer and co-writer Boy Sim (Christopher Sauceda). Party Nails’ playful vocal is the star as she teases out the song with a few dashes of Madonna along the way. Boy Sim’s vocal in the middle helps give it an unexpected European flavour and balance that was prevalent in early 90’s europop. “Like U” is aural glitter that will leave you smiling.
PAUL MANCHIN, “King”
Versatile Canadian singer/songwriter/producer Paul Manchin returns with “King”, an electronic pop release with a provocative video. Actually “King” is a re-release of a 2017 track from Paul’s album Salutations, and its theme about mental illness, giving up and helplessness will certainly resonate more to listeners post-pandemic. Paul’s vocal is alternately gentle and compelling, and his production with Black Jack is executed well, providing difficult subject matter with a vibrant melody. And do take a look at the video, with its many deliberately still scenes eventually allowing you to home in on its character’s plight. “King” is available for purchase on iTunes and will be available on streaming platforms soon.
NATALIE SHAY, “The Edge”
“The Edge” is a poignant song that finds comfort and resolve with its uplifting, danceable melody. British singer Natalie Shay lays all the cards on the table about the end of a close friendship, which makes “The Edge” an honest, cathartic release for her. But it also shows no fear about moving on, and the buoyant rhythm certainly celebrates that. Natalie’s appeal continues to be wide as her voice often straddles pop, rock and country, and despite delicate subject matter, “The Edge” will be an enjoyable, relatable listen for many folks.
SILVERLAND, “There Tonight”
British singer/songwriter/producer Silverland is a promising new talent who has released the electronic pop track “There Tonight”. It’s a short, uplifting song that reminds me of some songs by One Republic or American Authors. It’s got anthemic rock power that would go down well at festivals, and features some Celtic elements that draw from Silverland’s own Irish roots. Sometimes short and sweet works quite well and here Silverland makes the most of it.
ANDY SUZUKI & THE METHOD, “Chainsaw”
“Chainsaw” is a crunchy slice of rock ‘n roll that’s brought to life by NYC-based Andy Suzuki & The Method, which consists of vocalist/guitarist Andy and hand-percussionist Kozza Olatunji-Babumba. It’s the pair’s first new music in two years after both became parents for the first time during that time. The thundering arrangement veers away from their folk-influenced pop/rock sound of their earlier work, and continues in the rock vein of their last album, 2019’s Alibi, which will appeal to fans of Imagine Dragons, Bastille, and The Killers. The chorus of “Chainsaw” is riveting and memorable, and will play over again and again in your head, which is always a good thing.
JAVI, “Bad Habit”
L.A.-based Puerto Rican-American singer Javi is back after his stunning cover of Sade’s “Cherish The Day” (which peaked at #6 on my personal chart last year) with his take on Steve Lacy’s “Bad Habit”, which was a #1 last Fall on my chart. It’s a straight-forward production that shows off Javi’s dynamic voice, as he tackles and accentuates the more soulful elements of the song. I’m always intrigued by covers like this that are sung in a different vocal style without changing any intent of the original, and Javi completely nails it in the Spotify link above.
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 Shapeshifters covers the Talking Heads’ “Slippery People” with vocalists Ramona Renea and Fiorious
“BIG DADDY” RUSS HORTON’S PICK OF THE WEEK
Sofi Tukker scales it back a bit and covers Snow Patrol’s much loved “Chasing Cars”
HUNTER J. WILBUR’S BOP 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.
British singer Chilli Jesson with “Carolina Reaper”
“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.
Elton John – Crocodile Rock (1973)
Mac Davis – Baby Don’t Get Hooked On Me (1972)
B.J. Thomas – Raindrops Are Fallin’ On My Head (1969)
Cher – Gypsys, Tramps And Thieves (1971)
Looking Glass – Brandy (You’re A Fine Girl) (1972)
BILLCS TOP 30 CHART DEBUTS 2018-2022
#10 Darren Hayes – Let’s Try Being In Love
#26 The Chainsmokers – High
#27 Jonas Blue featuring Why Don’t We – Don’t Wake Me Up
#28 Years & Years – Night Call
#29 Gabe James – Gracie
#22 Illenium, Dabin & Lights – Hearts On Fire
#25 Wizzay – Jealous
#26 Armin van Buuren featuring Duncan Laurence – Feel Something
#27 Bobby Harvey & Danny Dearden – Tell Me
#28 Grandson – Dirty
#23 Jessie Ware – Mirage (Don’t Stop)
#24 Chocolate Puma & Firebeatz – Soul Fifty
#25 A-Trak & Friend Within – Blaze
#27 Young Bombs featuring Aloe Blacc – Better Day
#28 Homestead – Lifeline
#20 Revelries & Sam Smyers – Don’t Think Twice
#25 Ava Max – Sweet But Psycho
#26 R3HAB & Mokita – All Into Nothing
#30 Parralox featuring Marcella Detroit – Paradise (Eric Kupper remix)
#16 Troye Sivan – My My My!
#26 Reigen – Dreams
#27 Two Friends featuring Kevin Writer – Just A Kid