My current music discoveries, including submissions to the blog, are on overload, which is hardly a bad thing, but it may prevent me from writing about songs that I like that stand out a little less than those that do appear in this weekly report. This week I’ve got 10 songs, with 6 in the spotlight, including two from this past weekend’s highly enjoyable EuroVision contest.
Among the features in the Report, you can check out my pick of the week, along with one from the host of “Top 40 Timeline”, “Big Daddy” Russ Horton, plus Hunter Wilbur’s “Bop of the Week”. “The Musicman” James Rogers has his Classic Five pop hits feature, featuring songs from 1975. What was I listening to 20 years ago in the early days of the BILLCS Top 30? You’ll find out below as I flash back to my chart from 2003 – so hard to believe what was number one!
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: Click the photo above the artist’s name and song title to hear the song or watch the video.
LOUIS PAX, “The Road Back”
Hailing from Malmō, Sweden, pop/rock trio Louis Pax return with their own take on 80’s inspired songs with the longing of “The Road Back”. Last year, Louis Pax soared right to #1 on the BILLCS Top 30 with the irresistible pop confection “Bad Things”, which also placed #5 on my year end list, and was followed by a few additional singles, including “Ophelia” which reached #9 on my chart. “The Road Back” has the band back in tight form with a song about finding your way back to love again after a relationship ended where the other person felt love was “synthetic”. Singer/guitarist Oscar Reingsdahl’s gentle and earnest vocal style continues to score big time, and even though the band draws from a myriad of influences, the sound of Louis Pax is refreshing and commands your attention. Louis Pax’s EP In Case I Don’t See Ya (Part 1) arrives on June 1.
BENSON BOONE, “Coffee Cake”
Like his previous BILLCS Top 30 chart entries “In The Stars” (which got to #2) and “Before You”, Washington singer/songwriter Benson Boone continues to be a young balladeer of the moment with a number of similarly touching songs on his new EP Pulse. But with uptempo songs like “Coffee Cake”, he showcases more of his other pop side. “Coffee Cake” immediately stands out for its wonderful lyricism which transports you to the various scenes of the song as you can visualize it unfolding. It’s about someone longing for love or companionship but not yet prepared to make his move, preferring to have fleeting company at the local diner while he people-watches. As a good songwriter does, Benson lets you get into his head so he can get into yours, and by doing so lets you know that at some point or another we’ve all those scenes where he takes you in “Coffee Cake”.
I try to keep up with Frankmusik’s aggressive current one song per month schedule, since his releases are of impeccable quality and document the work of an incredibly talented indie artist who continues to take the time to please his many fans. “Doreen” is certainly one of his better releases, a vibrant electronic pop release with a driving rhythm and a top notch vocal. When songs like “Doreen” leap out from your speakers amidst a lot of other new music, then you know it’s a keeper. Like “Remains” and “The Half Moon Came Up In The Sky”, “Doreen” ranks right up there with some of Frankmusik’s best music from the 2010-2014 era.
FRANCESCO YATES, “Chanel”
Toronto’s Francesco Yates has quickly released a third consecutive single, another punchy rocker called “Chanel”. This one’s a steamier release that includes some lines that are song title pop culture references (“that don’t impress me much” and “livin’ la vida loca” for two). It’s accompanied by a video that showcases Francesco and some young lovelies flirting and teasing before the camera, which is obviously all intended to be leading up to … something (that we don’t get to see of course). As might be expected, there are a few raucous Francesco Yates screams and some dandy guitar riffing. With previous splendid songs like “Jimi” and “Thunderbomb”, I’d recommend not sleeping on whatever album or EP release that Francesco has in the cards for us soon.
GUSTAPH, “Because Of You”
REMO FORRER, “Watergun”
This year’s EuroVision song contest yielded a number of entertaining performances and some very good song choices, even though, to me, going into it open-minded, the winner ended up obvious – one of my current favourite songs, “Tattoo” by Loreen. Two completely different songs that I was drawn to have held my attention through repeated listens, and they are the 90’s dance-flavoured “Because of You” by Belgium’s Gustaph, and “Watergun” and its touching call for peace and unity by Switzerland’s Remo Forrer.
“Because of You” is a new queer dance anthem whose roots are in the C+C Music Factory and Crystal Waters releases of the 90’s. It’s all about the freedom to love whoever you want, and Gustaph showed off his fine voice and magnetic stage presence on the EuroVision stage. “Because of You” is deserving of international exposure because of its timely lyrics and because Gustaph is simply meant to be performing in front of a wider audience.
“Watergun” is a softer, poignant anti-war song that will resonate with any listener, thanks to the powerful and versatile tones of 21 year old Remo Forrer. Remo previously won the Voice of Switzerland contest in 2020, and clearly has innate talents that led him to EuroVision. I think the more playful and dramatic competition was a little too fierce for “Watergun”, but like Rosa Linn’s “Snap”, which became a worldwide smash after finishing 20th at last year’s contest, if the public hears something they enjoy, then it will take hold of it and run with it. Thanks to Remo’s beautiful performance, “Watergun” is well-deserving of international exposure.
WINGTIP, BRE KENNEDY, “Down (Exit Song)”
“Down (Exit Song)” is a surprising change of pace for Brooklyn-based producer/DJ Wingtip (aka Nick Perloff-Giles), who usually records electronic pop. It’s a charming and unconventional acoustic duet with Nashville-based singer/songwriter Bre Kennedy which documents a relationship … well sort of … between a couple who don’t really know what they want from each other. There seem to be too many obstacles in the way so perhaps the resolution is to “break your heart over breakfast”. The vocals and melody are instantly memorable, so “Down (Exit Song)” is well worth adding to your favourite alternative pop playlist.
Halifax producer/DJ Cloverdale returns with a simmering and bold slice of techno-house called “Lifted”. This is an ideal track for club DJ’s to spin at the height of a busy evening and will be sure to keep dancers on the floor. It’s all about the rhythm and the beat under flashing lights and lasers, with some sliced-and-diced repeated female vocals creating additional intensity. Cloverdale has tailor-made “Lifted” for clubs, and his fellow producers and DJ’s should not hesitate to add this one into their mixes.
One thing that electronic and dance music lovers may not realize is that when producers create a full length instrumental track, there is usually a back story behind it. Last month I introduced you to perhaps the most accessible track of Belgian producer AMNES’ new EP Nur called “stamina” featuring L.A. singer artemis orion. The rest of the tracks on Nur are indeed instrumental, but the pervading themes throughout the EP as a back story are reflecting, rebuilding and re-energizing. AMNES apparently spent a long time not interacting with others, and Nur ultimately is about perseverance and being ready to put on your A-game. “Otaku” was previously released as a single and is a future bass-inspired progressive house track which club DJ’s would enjoy when bridging a set between mid-tempo and faster mixes. AMNES is one of the most creative new producers on the scene, which you can also hear in his recent remix of San Holo’s “Don’t Look Down”.
HONEY GENTRY, “Under Taurus”
“Under Taurus” is an electronic pop ballad about growing into adulthood and developing your own ideals and path, instead of choosing to follow what others want you to do. Honey Gentry is a new UK-based singer/songwriter with an EP, Different Water, arriving on May 23. “Under Taurus” is quiet, deliberate and ambitious – its middle section may be a touch too slow – and Honey’s pristine, angelic voice provides an interesting contrast to her song in similar ways to Lana Del Rey and Tori Amos in their songs. So “Under Taurus” is clearly directed at the thinkers among us, particularly those who prefer to act on their thoughts regardless of what others may think, say or do.
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.
With its infectious (if borrowed) hook, “Finally” by Jonas Blue featuring RANI is a whole lotta fun!
“BIG DADDY” RUSS HORTON’S PICK OF THE WEEK
“Big Daddy” Russ Horton is the host of the “Top 40 Timeline” radio program and owner of online stations Radio GTA, Halton Hills Radio Online, & FM108.ca.
“Called To Hear Your Voice” by Jesse Clegg, the son of the late and legendary Johnny Clegg
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.
“Soldier, Poet, King” is a contemporary folk/pop tale by NYC’s Vinny Marchi
“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.
Doobie Brothers – Black Water
LaBelle – Lady Marmalade
Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds – Fallin’ In Love
David Bowie – Fame
Silver Convention – Fly Robin Fly
BILLCS Top 30 FLASHBACK CHART – 2003
In this chart, you’ll see that I charted Mis-Teeq’s “Scandalous” a year before its North American release. Such were the days before You Tube and streaming! You can see where all the songs peaked and how many charts they appeared on in the BILLCS Top 30 Archive.
08 01 BRING ME TO LIFE Evanescence featuring Paul McCoy
03 02 CLOCKS Coldplay
01 03 THE REMEDY (I WON’T WORRY) Jason Mraz
NEW 04 YET ANOTHER DAY Armin van Buuren featuring Ray Wilson
05 05 GATES OF MIND Sterbinszky & Tranzident featuring Jewls
02 06 AT THE END iio
06 07 ROCK YOUR BODY Justin Timberlake
23 08 DUST.WAV Perpetuous Dreamer [aka Armin van Buuren]
10 09 DREAMS DJ Icey
11 10 MUNDIAN TO BACH KE (Beware of the Boys) Panjabi MC
04 11 JUST THE WAY I’M FEELING Feeder
15 12 SCANDALOUS Mis-Teeq
18 13 GET BUSY Sean Paul
07 14 GIVE YOU LOVE Original 3
29 15 MAKE LUV Room 5 featuring Oliver Cheatham
19 16 LOSING GRIP Avril Lavigne
17 17 AMERICAN LIFE (Felix Da Housecat remix) Madonna
21 18 PEACEKEEPER Fleetwood Mac
22 19 HEAVEN Live
09 20 VENUS (MEANT TO BE YOUR LOVER) Cor Fijneman featuring Jan Johnston
NEW 21 IN DA CLUB Beyoncé
28 22 LIKE A STONE Audioslave
13 23 BEAUTIFUL Snoop Dogg featuring Pharrell Williams and Uncle Charlie Wilson
NEW 24 WHERE IS THE LOVE Black Eyed Peas featuring Justin Timberlake
14 25 BREATHE (remixes) Blu Cantrell featuring Sean Paul
12 26 I DON’T WANNA STOP ATB
NEW 27 PUMP IT UP Joe Budden
NEW 28 BLINDED (WHEN I SEE YOU) Third Eye Blind
20 29 AM I ON YOUR MIND Oxygen featuring Andrea Britton
NEW 30 MR. BARTENDER (IT’S SO EASY) Sugar Ray
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