I don’t have any editorials, news or wise words to share. After having the flu this week, I empathize with career writers though, as they get older, when they become sick or unmotivated, and how to get back on track after that. All I can say is “keep on keeping on”…
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 has more notable 80’s pop this week with his Classic Five pop hits feature.
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.
REMINDER: Be sure to click on the photos above the song titles and artists’ names to hear the songs or watch the videos.
THE BOY FROM THE SOUTH, “Amazing-Man”
Pedro Balaña Perez may just be the European counterpart to Jason Mraz. With an indie-folk background and less than a dozen releases under his belt as The Boy From The South, including the recent, humorous single “Stereotypes”, the Barcelona talent has got a new big favourite in my book with the upbeat pop of “Amazing-Man”. The song coincides with Jason’s return to pop with “I Feel Like Dancing”, but style is where the similarity ends. “Amazing-Man” is jaunty pop with a gentle, downright appealing vocal that makes you want to find out more about this guy. Part of Pedro’s deft songwriting is using a variety of comparisons – such as even to “the bassist of Level 42” 🙂 – while still keeping “Amazing-Man” inside his happy mystique. The circus-themed video above is a winner, and my guess is that the more you play “Amazing-Man” like I did, the more you’ll want to keep hearing it, making it a unique bright spot for any playlist.
WIN & WOO, PENNYWILD, “What I Got”
“What I Got” is a sassy slice of techno house from Chicago dance music mainstays Win & Woo and L.A.-based multi-talent PENNYWILD. The song slips and slides in all the right directions, a bit of a welcome changeup for Nick Winholt and Austin Woo, who have been regular visitors to this blog over the years with a variety of gems like “Break Me Down”, “Here U R” and “Sleepwalking”. PENNYWILD takes that edgy techno groove and runs with it with a noteworthy, attention-grabbing vocal, with her style a great fit for Win & Woo’s electronic prowess. Check out the video above, directed by PENNYWILD, which is well-choreographed and has some throwback Britney Spears vibes.
KINGA, “Something’s Gotta Give”
Toronto-based pop/dance singer Kinga follows up his return to the performing side of the biz with last year’s re-take on “Sexy Boy” with the bright and effervescent “Something’s Gotta Give”. The song does a great job of distracting you away from your daily toils thanks to Kinga’s playful vocal, which drives a rhythm fueled by some high end synth work. The 80’s pop flavour, which recalls songs by the likes of George Michael/Wham!, Thompson Twins, Information Society, Berlin and other prominent names of that decade, gives an added bounce and dimension to a fine song. “Something’s Gotta Give” is brisk fun and a real pick-me-up.
HALEINE, ELEPHANTE, “Hollow”
“Hollow” is an interesting meeting place for two electronic artists who have largely had different directions. Haleine (Cape Code-born Kelly Sweet) has spent most of the last decade as both a solo vocalist (last year’s album, Heavenly) and collaborator in the progressive and trance genres, working with notable producers like Seven Lions, Andrew Rayel, William Black, Aly & Fila, and Gareth Emery. In the same time frame, Elephante (L.A.-based Tim Wu) has released two solo albums and an EP, whose songs veer often to pop/dance with some experimentalism, also collaborating with such vocalists as Mako, Anjulie, Nevve, and Brandyn Burnette. So “Hollow” is both a co-write and co-production along with Canadian Matthew Steeper that veers in the direction that Illenium and Odesza have helped set for edgier electronic pop. It’s a beautifully arranged and sung feast for the emotions, and meant to be played at festivals or stadiums, featuring some future bass elements that don’t go over the top. “Hollow” is a welcome partnership for Haleine and Elephante that should be repeated.
TYLER GARRETT, “Slowly Drowning”
L.A.-based singer/songwriter Tyler Garrett’s latest single, “Slowly Drowning”, is progressive electronic pop that tackles subjects like mutual trust and making the right decisions. Surrounded by an inventive production starting off with off-kilter-sounding synths that set the stage for an uncharacteristic story where love is the ultimate solution, “Slowly Drowning” builds with Tyler’s urgently expressive vocal which culminates with the plea in a relationship at a stasis, “can we both survive?”. “Slowly Drowning” is a busy, topical song that suits the darker side of electronic pop.
MR! MOURAY, “Pretty In Ink”
If you think “Pretty In Ink” bears resemblance to its similarly titled 80’s new wave track “Pretty In Pink” by The Psychedelic Furs, it ends at the nicely busy guitar work. “Pretty In Ink” is a more whimsical, melodic song in the vein of fellow Canadians Sloan or The Northern Pikes by Toronto quartet Mr! Mouray. Like previous single “Cats Can’t Fly”, “Pretty In Ink” comes from their album full of similarly amusing titles, “What’s The Stouray?”. While not as immediately catchy as “Cats Can’t Fly”, “Pretty In Ink” features good vocals by Simon Bedford-James and focuses on what the band of veterans does best – no nonsense pop/rock showcasing a myriad of influences.
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 25 times/week on online radio stations around the world.
“Sacrifice” by Kx5 (Kaskade and Deadmau5) and Sofi Tukker
“BIG DADDY” RUSS HORTON’S PICK OF THE WEEK
“Big Daddy” Russ Horton is host of the “Top 40 Timeline” radio show and the owner of online stations Radio GTA, Halton Hills Radio Online, & FM108.ca.
Big Daddy enjoys his country songs so check out Shane Profitt with “How It Oughta Be”.
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.
“Vitamin Sea” by Owl City from his upcoming album Coco Moon.
“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.
John Lennon – (Just Like) Starting Over
Lionel Richie – Truly
Men At Work – Down Under
Toni Basil – Mickey
Joan Jett & The Blackhearts – I Love Rock ‘N Roll
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