#BILLCSTop30 #579, January 20/20

Older favourites depart to make room for five new songs in this edition of my bi-weekly personal chart.  For those new to reading about my chart, there are very few rules, it’s just a list of my current favourites, stylized after the radio charts of yore.  The only rule is that songs that reach 10 appearances (20 weeks) depart the chart – unless they are rising up the chart, which has only happened once (with Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep”, which had an 11 appearance run).

Two veteran electronic dance acts vie for #1 in two weeks.  For now, “Shivohum” by Tritonal and Henry Dark (above) grabs #1 for a second appearance.  It’s a mellow dance song with a chanting chorus sung in Sanskrit that’s set to a fantastic deep house rhythm, which you will undoubtedly hear at upcoming music festivals.  Moving up 3-2 is the moody but riveting latest release by R3HAB in collaboration with Jungleboi and a stellar vocal by Zayn bringing life to the devil or demon persona in “Flames”

Look who has three songs in the Top 10 – it’s Harry Styles!  Former #1 “Lights Up” is now at #3, while “Adore You” (above) and “Watermelon Sugar” (below) both continue to climb to #7 and #10 respectively.  The last time this happened was back in July 2011, when Simon Curtis was in the Top 10 with “Flesh”, “Superhero”, and “The Puppet Who Gave Himself Strings”.

L.A.-based Canadian singer/songwriter Peter Foldy keeps busy between film-making, photography, and music.  “Toxic World” climbs 8-5 and is starting to receive airplay on some Canadian radio stations thanks to its warm and timely message.  Peter tells me he is working on more new music which we may hear by spring or early summer!

The only other new entry to the Top 10 besides “Watermelon Sugar” is Florida singer/songwriter John.k’s slice of life song “if we never met”, which rises 12-9.  

The Weeknd has an album forthcoming – he’s just not saying what it is or when just yet.  In the meantime, the 80’s retro-tastic “Blinding Lights” advances 18-11.

The Fastest Riser on the chart belongs to “Ain’t Deep Enough” where a classic deep house vibe will grab you underneath the sterling vocal by Jared Lee, courtesy of Chicago duo Autograf.  “Ain’t Deep Enough” climbs 20-12.

“Storm” continues to ride the Top 10 of American dance charts, yet for some reason hasn’t followed up Famba’s Canadian radio hits in his own country (the producer recently relocated from Halifax to Toronto too).  Featuring a vocal by fellow Canadian Kyra Mastro, “Storm” moves up 21-14.

Ekali’s new album A World Away will be dropping soon while the producer teases with previews on social media.  In the meantime, the Vancouver-born Nathan Shaw collaborates with his buddy Illenium for “Hard To Say Goodbye”, featuring the voice of Chloe Angelides, which climbs 23-17.  “Hard” will also appear on A World Away.

“Starlight” continues to be off to a great start for Germany’s ZEROBADDAYS and U.S. singer/songwriter Victor Perry, and rises 26-19.

While she awaits the birth of child #2, England’s Jessie Ware is releasing some of the best songs of her career, with R&B flavours that only seem to get captured by the best British women singers – Dusty Springfield, Lisa Stansfield, Beverley Knight, Corinne Bailey Rae, and Mica Paris to name a few.  “Mirage (Don’t Stop)” follows up last year’s “Overtime” and “Adore You” – it might be the best of the bunch and bows at #23.  It’s her 7th appearance on this chart, which started with a featured vocal on an alternate version of Miguel’s “Adorn” in 2013.

The next two entries are guaranteed to shake the snow off those winter boots and get you dancing.  Veterans Chocolate Puma and Firebeatz (who I saw perform in Miami last year) join forces for a fantastic house track, “Soul Fifty” (above) at #24.  NYC-based, Montreal-born A-Trak is on a real roll with releases on his Fools Gold label.  Essentially a double “A” sided single with “What Can I Do” (featuring Loods), “Blaze” (below) is the epitomy of slick house and features Friend Within.  “Blaze” arrives at #25.

To date, Vancouver production duo Young Bombs have only appeared on this chart as remixers, including with a #1 for Connor Phillips with “Lost” in 2016.  The lads had a Canadian radio hit and US dance hit last year with “Starry Eyes” after signing with Astralwerks.  Their latest single “Better Day” (#27) offers brightness and positivity in the bleaker months of winter, and brings us another dynamic vocal by Aloe Blacc, still on the chart with Hellberg’s “Punching In The Dark” at #20.

The fifth debut belongs to Canadian duo Homestead with “Lifeline” at #28 from their debut EP Beacon.  The duo of Liam DeBoer and Joël have been collaborating for years, withJoël first appearing on this chart in 2016 with the fantastic storytelling of “You Fucked Up” (#12).  “Lifeline” is much edgier musically, featuring standout guitar work and Joël’s fiery vocal style alongside a danceable rhythm.

A reminder that the music from my chart and blog are featured regularly on the new online radio station Radio GTA. You can hear their Big 20 on Wednesday evenings with ‘The Musicman’ James Rogers and listen for songs from the chart too 🙂 Scroll down the station’s main page to listen to lots of variety from across the decades!  I’m the new music consultant for the station so you can expect even more in 2020 🙂  You can start by joining our new interactive Facebook group too!!

View the full BILLCS Top 30 right here!  Click on the hyperlink on the song titles to hear the songs or watch the videos!

Listen to the BILLCS Top 30 Songs on Spotify! Click on this link to take you there, and follow me on Spotify: BILLCS Top 30 Songs

Check out and ‘like’ the BILLCS Music Projects Facebook page 🙂

 

L.A.-based producer @Whethanmusic shows massive growth on “Stay Forever” with STRFKR @Starfucker

WHETHAN and STRFKR, “Stay Forever”

To say that “Stay Forever” doesn’t sound like anything that Whethan has offered to date is a bit of an understatement.  The 20 year-old Chicago-born, L.A.-based producer opted not to tour last year to address personal issues and record his upcoming album, probably a very wise move.  “Stay Forever” brings us an alt.rock flavoured sound to the electronic backdrop like some past releases, but the aim is a progressive edge that stands out from the rest.  Other producers like PLS&TY, Pluko and Robotaki also have made this conscious decision with results in unique music that provokes your senses and isn’t always about big synths and beats.  Whethan is paired up with veteran Portland, Oregon trio STRFKR here and their collaboration is seamless and complementary.  The full album should be a treat, and Whethan is returning to touring, but in more biteable chunks, which I’m sure will expand closer to the time of the album’s release.  

Published in: on January 18, 2020 at 6:23 pm  Leave a Comment  
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L.A.’s @meuBrando is back and we’re hearing double – his own “Look Into My Eyes” and @DonDiablo’s “Congratulations”

BRANDO, “Look Into My Eyes”

DON DIABLO and BRANDO, “Congratulations”

You likely first heard L.A. singer Brando’s voice on Loud Luxury’s “Body”, which grew into a massive worldwide pop and dance hit two years ago.  He’s off to a great start this year with two fine new songs, his own “Look Into My Eyes” (above) and one that will become a staple for  Don Diablo fans, “Congratulations” (below).  “Look Into My Eyes” should find its way to pop radio thanks to its interpolation of the hook and chorus of Charles & Eddie’s huge 1992 pop hit “Would I Lie To You”.  But Brando’s top notch, warm vocal connects you to the new lyrics that surround it, and the song stands alone as a result.  “Congratulations” is a snappy rave-up that you’ll undoubtedly hear at clubs and festivals throughout the winter, so remember who is singing it!  As a world renown Dutch producer and songwriter, Don Diablo has the great knack of bringing in partner performers who meld with his music and Brando is no exception.

Is “Bump This” a catch phrase of the winter? Listen to the contagious new hip hop song from @MichaelMedrano @JakeGermain_ and @Michete

MICHAEL MEDRANO, JAKE GERMAIN & MICHETE, “Bump This”

I’m not one to normally feature a song that’s basically about partying and taking drugs, and I’m no hip hop expert BUT the chorus, beat and rhythm made me do it 😛  I remembered L.A.’s Michael Medrano from his heartfelt collaboration with Steve Grand a few years ago called “Heal”, but I certainly didn’t expect the underground pop/hip hop of “Bump This”.  It’s positively contagious in a very retro way – think early 2000’s Dr. Dre or Lil Jon, or even 90’s Snoop Dogg, with a dash of what was once known as ‘whisper rap’.  Michael is joined in this salute to hedonism by two hip hop performers, Chicago’s Jake Germain and Seattle’s Michete.  The production is appropriately minimalist and all three performers acquit themselves well.  But it’s that beat and rhythm and that chorus, “bump this if you wanna get wild”, that will bring the listeners and make it blow up.  A video is much needed!!

“Circles” is fresh and new from UK teen singer/songwriter @AlfieTempleman

alfietempleman

ALFIE TEMPLEMAN, “Circles”

Call this one my stunning discovery of the weekend.  So I’m in a department store looking at clothes and a unique, chipper voice is drawing me into the infectious rhythm of his song.  It turns out that it’s 16 year old singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Alfie Templeman, who hails from Bedford, England, with “Circles” from his EP Don’t Go Wasting Time.  He fits in somewhat between two other relatively new UK talents I’ve written about, Lostchild and Benedict Cork.  Both are also indie singer/songwriters who have their own styles and can write great songs.  “Circles” is a quick go round at only 2:31 but it grabs you within its first minute with both rock and soulful tinges, and only makes you want to hear more.  So I’ll definitely be checking out the rest of Alfie’s EP and “Circles” (below) may also make you do the same.

Published in: on January 12, 2020 at 11:55 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Australia’s @Parralox gets it oh so right with reverent cover of Propaganda’s 1985 electronic classic “Duel”

PARRALOX, “Duel”

When not creating innovative original music, Australia’s John von Ahlen and his project Parralox can also create cover versions of classics and lesser known songs from the 80’s and 90’s that come within a few steps of the originals.  On Parralox’s latest album Holiday ’19, along with especially faithful covers of The Human League’s hits “Human” (a #1 in 1986) and “Heart Like A Wheel” (Top 30 in 1988), Parralox tackles “Duel”.  It’s much respected (and often thought to be untouchable) electronic classic from 1985 by the German duo Propaganda and their album A Secret Wish, still heralded to this day, and originally released by Trevor Horn’s ZTT label, which also brought us Frankie Goes To Hollywood.  The vocal for the song by Louise Love is spot-on, and John and team keep the utter essence of the song intact, down to the Fairlight synths and harmonies.  There are a few friendly digressions, and hearing “Duel” receive such a delightful update is simply a treat. 

Published in: on January 12, 2020 at 11:55 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Colorado-based producer/DJ Disco Lines has an earworm in store for you with “Alive” with vocals by @LillyCorsi

DISCO LINES and LILLY CORSI, “Alive”

“Alive” is guaranteed to get stuck in your head while your swaying and making your best moves on the dance floor.  It’s brought to you by Colorado-based producer/DJ Disco Lines, who has frequently appeared on the American festival circuit over the past few years.  Accompanied by an unflappable and sultry vocal by Lilly Corsi, you’ll be wanting to add “Alive” to your regular dance workout playlists.  To me it’s about 30 seconds too long but I’d also like to see how some clever remixes might add to the song’s versatile, timeless appeal.

Published in: on January 12, 2020 at 11:55 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Hello” is the first taste of the new progressive electronic project by L.A. producer @Prizmofficial with vocals by @McEwenofficial

THE PRIZM and McEWEN, “Hello”

Last year I previewed some songs by L.A. mystery electronic producer The Prizm which showed a lot of interesting potential while he figured out where this new project was heading.  So I’m now pleased to introduce you to the first single from his upcoming untitled release, which is “Hello”.  It’s a rather uncomplicated first taste of what’s to come, with a straight forward melody which finds its way through some complex synths and heavier beats.  The pitched up, unrecognizable vocal belongs to McEwen, otherwise known as Adam Tyler, a long-time favourite in these blog pages.  The Prizm uses McEwen’s appearance to unlock the door to the rest of his release, which fans of Illenium or Seven Lions will want to hear.  So say “Hello” to The Prizm, with much more to come in 2020.

Published in: on January 12, 2020 at 11:55 pm  Leave a Comment  
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#BILLCSTop30 #578 – January 6, 2020

The new chart is in the end of the year/decade shake down mode, time for old favourites to depart and for new ones to find their way into the chart.  The past few weeks have been relatively quiet new music-wise, given that most people were compiling end of the year/decade lists.  Oh, and if you missed my BILLCS Top 89 of 2019, feel free to check it out as well as other previous years’ lists back to 2009 using the bottom tabs (it’s a Google spreadsheet).  You can also listen to the songs on my Spotify playlist.

So, let’s get back to the music of 2020!  The year and decade kick off with a brand new #1, and a unique one it is!  Austin production duo Tritonal and Australian producer Henry Dark climb to the top with “Shivohum”.  It’s sung in Sanskrit as an empowering mantra, one that deserves to get crowds reeling at festivals this winter.

Another unconventional song that soars 12-3 this week is “Flames” by R3HAB and Jungleboi featuring a potent vocal by Zayn.  Could it follow “Shivohum” to #1?

L.A. singer/songwriter Brandon Colbein’s emotional gem called “Mad” becomes his second Top 5 hit, following 2016’s #1 “So Bad”, moving up 9-4.

Canadian singer/songwriter Peter Foldy may be a veteran of the music business but his contemporary, danceable fable of today called “Toxic World” fits right in the mix, climbing 11-8.

It should be no surprise to you that the Fastest Riser on the chart is by the performer who just finished three appearances (six weeks) at #1.  It’s Harry Styles of course, from his startlingly good Fine Line album, with “Adore You” making short work of the chart by rising 21-9.

Rounding out the busy Top 10 is the first appearance on the chart for L.A. rockers Awolnation, whose majestic-sounding and danceable release “The Best” moves up 16-10.

Scotland’s Ben Davidson and England’s Sean Smith make a compelling duo as their joint, energetic effort “Dirty Mirrors” (in a Matt Pop edit) climbs 25-19.

“Ain’t Deep Enough” is satiny smooth deep house from Chicago duo Autograf featuring a stellar vocal by Jared Lee, and rises 26-20.

Leading the pair of new songs on the chart at #26 is “Starlight”, the delightful, gentle R&B/pop ballad by Germany’s ZEROBADDAYS and NYC-based singer/songwriter Victor Perry.  After a few releases together, this is their best collaboration to date.  ZEROBADDAYS is one-half of production duo Saxity (aka Mr. Stan Sax) who worked with Victor on the #8 “You Found Me”, which was on the chart exactly two years ago (the second of three chart entries for Saxity).  It’s also Victor’s sixth appearance on the chart overall (which includes his side project Labrose).

The second new entry picks up where former #1 “Dreamer” leaves off, as it departs the chart this week.  Australian producer Throttle continues with songs from his EP Where U Are with the introspective and melodic “Japan” at #27.

A reminder that the music from my chart and blog are featured regularly on the new online radio station Radio GTA. You can hear their Big 20 on Wednesday evenings with ‘The Musicman’ James Rogers and listen for songs from the chart too 🙂 Scroll down the station’s main page to listen to lots of variety from across the decades!  I’m the new music consultant for the station so you can expect even more in 2020 🙂  You can start by joining our new interactive Facebook group too!!

View the full BILLCS Top 30 right here!  Click on the hyperlink on the song titles to hear the songs or watch the videos!

Listen to the BILLCS Top 30 Songs on Spotify! Click on this link to take you there, and follow me on Spotify: BILLCS Top 30 Songs

Check out and ‘like’ the BILLCS Music Projects Facebook page 🙂

 

 

Here’s to “2020” with an R&B-flavoured pop release by NYC’s @GreatGoodFineOK

GREAT GOOD FINE OK, “2020”

“2020” starts off with a silky smooth Jon Sandler vocal, recalling much of their early music which won me over back about six years ago.  Along with keyboard wizard Luke Moellman, Great Good Fine OK has established a career with numerous fine and diverse, mainly danceable original recordings that have found release on Sony and Ultra along with collaborations with the likes of The Knocks and St. Lucia.  “2020” is a slower, warm R&B flavoured song that will be a welcome draw in concert, where Great Good Fine OK becomes a tight four-piece unit, amid their many higher energy songs.  Along with their work as go-to remixers, Great Good Fine OK have set a welcome tone for the year ahead, which I expect is going to be very good to them!

Great Good Fine OK plays The Garrison in Toronto on Saturday January 18

Published in: on January 5, 2020 at 6:48 pm  Leave a Comment  
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