“Remember” is late night, romantic deep house from England’s @DFUXofficial with @PershardOwens

DFUX and PERSHARD OWENS, “Remember”

If you like your deep house luscious and romantic at a percolating 126 bpm, then “Remember” is for you.  It’s brought to us by rising British production duo DFUX (George and Joss) and features the rich and powerful tones of Georgia-based singer Pershard Owens.  According to DFUX, the song started out as something totally different and more jazzy, and once they had Pershard’s voice for the record, almost everything changed and the song was essentially rewritten.  Indeed, like commanding voices such as Gregory Foster on Disclosure’s “Holding On” or Mike Yung’s recent vocal for Martin Garrix on “Dreamer”, Pershard’s tones are what make the song most memorable, against a solid, swinging rhythm that will get you up out of your seat.  DFUX have more projects in the work this year, so watch out for regular music from them!

dfux 1

Published in: on January 5, 2019 at 10:11 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Reflective and enlightening, “The Reason” is the latest by SoCal’s @JayB1rdmusic with singer @DanniCarra

JAY BIRD and DANNI CARRA, “The Reason”

With every release from talented Southern Californian producer Jay Bird, I hear measured growth in quality and production, which is helping to complete the framework more than with his releases from early last year.  “The Reason” is a lovely, reflective and enlightening song which inspires you to act on those inexplicable moments in life that compel you to make change, even if just to find out to which things that change might lead.  Jay enlisted the fine vocals of Danni Carra, whose tones alternately represent the gentle, thoughtful side of the story, as well as the exhilarating and exciting part.  “The Reason” is a delightful package as a whole – sway to it on the dance floor, or find a secluded space outdoors somewhere just to stare at the stars or city lights (like the artwork above) and dream away.

Published in: on January 5, 2019 at 10:11 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“We’ll Be Okay” brings a soulful, quiet pause to relationships, courtesy of ZEROBADDAYS @ZBDmusic and Victor Perry @perksofbeingvic

ZEROBADDAYS and VICTOR PERRY, “We’ll Be Okay”

I’ll end my 2018 blog posts with a gentle song that inauspiciously revives a ‘quiet storm’ R&B sound that is missing in today’s music market, in favour of songs being ‘chill’ just for the sake of it.  “We’ll Be Okay” is brought to you by Germany’s ZEROBADDAYS – usually known as one half of the production duo Saxity or remixer Stan Sax – and NYC-based pop/soul singer/songwriter Victor Perry.  Victor’s voice here is positively and convincingly angelic – you hang on his voice to wait to hear what he’ll sing about next – and ZEROBADDAYS’ sax melody throughout is delightfully sublime.  “We’ll Be Okay” allows you to think about those times during a relationship when a simple pause is needed to reflect, and more often than not everything will be just fine in the end.  “We’ll Be Okay” also signals the need for more similarly thoughtful and positive songs that can be reassuring and hopeful in a world that often takes an awful lot for granted.  Well done, gents (and more, please)!

Published in: on December 31, 2018 at 2:14 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Nicki French (@nickifrenchie) flourishes in the 80’s inspiration of empowering “On Your Marks, Get Set, Go Away”

NICKI FRENCH, “On Your Marks, Get Set, Go Away”

Last year Nicki French sang about how she would toss a guy out of a dance club and leave her “Teardrops On The Disco Floor”.  This year it’s ready – steady – go away!  The singer best known for her high energy 90’s cover smash of “Total Eclipse Of The Heart” takes matters into her own hands and empowers all of us to do the same in “On Your Marks, Get Set, Go Away”.  Like “Teardrops”, “On Your Marks” is a dance floor delight, taking a huge lot of 80’s inspiration and translating it for today’s dance clubs.  30 years ago, a song like “On Your Marks” would be sung by Kylie Minogue and fit snugly into the Stock-Aitken-Waterman music factory of the day.  While the song is fluid enough and does not let up, it is an homage to that era, and just for fun, a remixer or two (I’m humbly suggesting Matt Pop 😉 ) perhaps could take that idea and run with it even more…  Otherwise, listeners and club goers, face those relationship demons and just make ’em go away!!

Published in: on December 31, 2018 at 2:14 pm  Leave a Comment  
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French producer @ValyMo slams hard with future bass of “Dimension”

VALY MO, “Dimension”

I’ll say it again – there was no shortage of fantastic dance music coming from France in 2018 and I expect it to continue in 2019.  That will allow progressive-minded producers like Valy Mo to acquire an even bigger worldwide following if songs like “Dimension” can help take him there.  Normally, using a relentless and linear vocal sample would drive me crackers, but there’s so much that’s huge that’s going on in “Dimension”.  It slams hard and shakes you up well enough for just shy of three minutes and the vocal ends up being highly complimentary.  “Dimension” is destined for worldwide club and festival play.  The dance music world needs more bass bumpers like this one!

Published in: on December 31, 2018 at 2:14 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Dutch duo @weareFannypack straddle pop and dance flavours with the straight-forward emotion of “Simple”

FANNYPACK, “Simple”

With “Simple”, less is more which allows the Dutch duo Fannypack – Tom Ferro and MC Buju – to focus on vocals and melody that truly work well, with a definite eye on the pop charts.  The song builds beautifully, igniting its story with a knowing vocal, and developing the melody to offer its hook well before the minute mark.  By then, you’re drawn into “Simple” for its duration.  The arrangement is slight and bright, and the vocal conveys a straight-forward emotion that will make you think twice.  “Simple” sounds like a winner to me and remixes might be beneficial for it to make inroads in dance clubs.

Published in: on December 31, 2018 at 2:14 pm  Leave a Comment  
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#BILLCSTop88of2018

As we head into 2019, 2018 set the foundation for dance music to evolve in a big way – to make people want to dance together again, and to create festive, fun music which moves away from a lot of mid-tempo songs over the past few years. 

Unfortunately it may have taken the death of Avicii to realize how much many of us miss the frenetic synths and arpeggios of dance music of the early part of this decade.  It also made many of us look back in time to soak in what dance and disco music of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s brought us, and how it all made us feel great.  

While dance music is the main genre I listen to, there are other pop, alternative, and R&B/soul songs in my year end list.  These are simply my favourites, in an order that could change at any time in the near future, so for now it’s a snapshot in time. 

Songs that were on the BILLCS Top 30 at year’s end appear on this list if they had 4 appearances or more and may appear on next year’s list too if they end up ranking higher than this year. 

You’ll see some of my favourite performers multiple times – The Chainsmokers, The Him, Miguel, and Bobby Nourmand all have three entries – while there are less remixes on the chart than in recent years. 

And a tip of the hat to the many performers that continue to release excellent music on their own, represented here by the UK’s Sam Dickinson and Lostchild, Florida’s Adam Foster, Philadelphia duo NiGHTS, Germany’s Saxity, US sensation-on-the-rise YEBBA, NYC’s Squired, and even Australia-born actor Keiynan Lonsdale.

I’m in the process of entering all of my year end lists from 2009 to present in a Google Docs spreadsheet, and you’ll find these listings with tabs for each year at this link:

https://tinyurl.com/BILLCSTop88of2018

Spotify playlist – listen to all of the songs! 

BILLCS Top 88 of 2018 

88 BIG FISH featuring MIKE GOMES Moves
87 JYYE Somewhere Else
86 CHICO ROSE featuring DJ AFROJACK 2012
85 TWO FRIENDS featuring KEVIN WRITER Just A Kid
84 ROZES & NICKY ROMERO Where Would We Be
83 SQUIRED Peace Out
82 FELIX CARTAL featuring VICTORIA ZARO Worry
81 BTS DNA
80 SAN HOLO featuring BIPOLAR SUNSHINE Brighter Days
79 SAM SMITH featuring YEBBA No Peace
78 REVELRIES featuring THE BEAMISH BOYS Infinitum
77 LABROSE Gravity
76 EKALI & ZHU Blame
75 RYAN SHEPHERD featuring DIRTY HARY Right Now
74 REIGEN Dreams
73 ARIANA GRANDE Breathin
72 MATOMA featuring MAX Lonely
71 YEARS & YEARS Sanctify
70 MIKA It’S My House
69 BOBBY NOURMAND featuring ADAM ENGLE The Sun
68 BRIGHT LIGHT BRIGHT LIGHT How I Feel
67 FRANK PIERCE featuring MILES B. Do Me
66 SHAWN MENDES Lost In Japan
65 TIESTO & DZEKO featuring PREME & POST MALONE Jackie Chan
64 CADEN JESTER featuring BLAKE ROSE Vacant Love
63 BOBBY NOURMAND featuring LAURENT JOHN Prisoner
62 IDEO featuring J. PAULISHED Multiply
61 HELLBERG & LEONA LEWIS Headlights

60 WHETHAN featuring BROODS Be Like You
59 MADISON MARS Back The Funk
58 SAINT WKND & MAX Survive (PLS&TY Remix)
57 JAMES POOLE Perfectly Me
56 TROYE SIVAN Bloom
55 JESSIE WARE Overtime
54 ADAM FOSTER  Time
53 THE CHAINSMOKERS featuring KELSEA BALLERINI This Feeling
52 THE HIM White Lies
51 SAXITY featuring VICTOR PERRY You Found Me
50 THE KNOCKS featuring METHOD MAN Goodbyes
49 JONAS BLUE featuring JACK & JACK Rise
48 KEIYNAN LONSDALE Preach
47 ROBOTAKI featuring JAMIE FINE & FALCXNE Butterscotch
46 AXEL MANSOOR Talk To Me
45 YEARS & YEARS All For You
44 BOTNEK Days Of Disco
43 WAITWHAT featuring RIELLE Alive
42 JESSE McCARTNEY Better With You
41 MARTIN GARRIX  featuring BONN High On Life
40 PLS&TY Down For Me (Morgan Page Extended Remix)
39 SAM DICKINSON  Wild Sun
38 GROMEE featuring JESPER JENSET One Last Time
37 NORA EN PURE Tears In My Eyes
36 ALYX ANDER & REDONDO featuring MARIA Z Casually
35 NiGHTS Eyes
34 BRANDYN BURNETTE Run
33 SOFI TUKKER Baby I’m A Queen
32 ILLENIUM featuring ANNIKA WELLS Crawl Outta Love (PatrickReza Remix)
31 YEBBA Evergreen

30 LOSTCHILD Blacklist
29 MIGUEL Told You So
28 THE HIM featuring IVY ADARA Everybody Hurts
27 MERCER Fireworks
26 RETROVISION Get Down
25 DAVE EDWARDS featuring MARK ASARI What We’Re Made Of
24 MIGUEL featuring TRAVIS SCOTT Sky Walker
23 GIIANTS Small Talk
22 ARTY Tim
21 DZEKO Crazy (Tiësto’s Big Room Mix)
20 PETER WILSON & SEAN SMITH Verona
19 MK 17
18 TONY MORAN featuring JASON WALKER I’m In Love With You (Victor Dinaire/Bissen Remix)
17 RUFUS DU SOL No Place
16 ROBOTAKI & MANILA KILLA featuring MATTHEW JOHN KURZ I Want You (Spirix Remix)
15 THE CHAINSMOKERS Sick Boy
14 MAKO Breathe
13 BENNY BENASSI & SOFI TUKKER Everybody Needs A Kiss
12 THE CHAINSMOKERS Everybody Hates Me
11 KIESZA featuring PHILIPPE SLY Phantom Of The Dance Floor
10 JAMES BAY Pink Lemonade
09 A-TRAK featuring TODD TERRY DJ’S Gotta Dance More
08 BOBBY NOURMAND Subterranean/Estranged
07 ODESZA Loyal
06 LOUD LUXURY featuring BRANDO Body
05 TROYE SIVAN My My My!
04 DYRISK featuring NIK ERNST Smile
03 MERCER featuring RON CARROLL Satisfy
02 THE HIM featuring PARSON JAMES Broken Love
01 MIGUEL Pineapple Skies

“With My Homies” is another fun, light-hearted original from @TwoFriendsmusic featuring @JUSCOVA and @JDelaneymusic

TWO FRIENDS featuring JUSCOVA and JAMES DELANEY, “With My Homies”

“With My Homies” is another light-hearted original from L.A.’s Two Friends, following the winning “Just A Kid” from earlier this year as well as the usual bevvy of remixes that keep Eli and Matt out on the road almost all year long.  This time, they’ve brought back the distinct voice of dance music go-to James Delaney (who sang on last year’s “Emily”) and added Buffalo, NY duo JUSCOVA (formerly known as Scott Vega – you know them from last year’s “No Love In Brooklyn” with Nick Peters).  This is salt-of-the-earth, good timey music that works so well in concert as well.  The production on the harmonies really shines through and emphasizes the singalong elements.  With straight-forward synth riffs laced with high end percussion get stuck in your head, and “With My Homies” becomes another Two Friends winner.

Two Friends start their “With My Homies” tour next month, which brings them to Toronto on February 15 at the soon-to-be rebranded and renamed UNIUN Nightclub.

Published in: on December 28, 2018 at 9:44 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Mixing it up with two recent duets with Florida’s @3letterznuk – “I Wonder” with NYC’s @MarcoFoster_, and a reboot of “Fool’s Gold” with @AaronCarter

3LETTERZNUK and MARCO FOSTER, “I Wonder”

AARON CARTER and 3LETTERZNUK, “Fool’s Gold” (remix)

I’m one for connecting the dots with music, and sometimes it takes me to interesting places whether in person or with the songs themselves. 

So I had got word that NYC’s rising and talented singer/songwriter Marco Foster – always on my radar – had a new song out called “I Wonder”.  It offers a sweeter-than-usual vocal by Marco that works in beautiful contrast to a fun rap by Florida’s 3letterznuk, newly signed to Sony.  Both styles come together to make the song really gel memorably. 

And in discovering this winning pairing, I found that 3letterznuk’s re-emergence on an earlier single this past summer latched on to another performer’s own re-branding  – fellow Floridian, Aaron Carter.  “Fool’s Gold” was initially released a few years ago and was included on Aaron’s first album in 16 years (and first as an adult!) called LØVË, released earlier this year.  A remix was an awfully good idea, letting 3letterznuk’s verses flow freely over the beginning of the song, allowing a segue for the lush production and a sincerely restrained and bright vocal by Aaron that has a lot of delightful breathy qualities about it too.  

Both “I Wonder” and the remix of “Fool’s Gold” happen to have 3letterznuk in common, but they’re true 2018 sleepers waiting for you to discover them.

Published in: on December 28, 2018 at 9:44 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Paradise” by @Parralox featuring @MarcellaDetroit is reinvented as a chic deep house track by remixer @EricKupper

PARRALOX featuring MARCELLA DETROIT, “Paradise” (Eric Kupper remix)

Sometimes you can’t just let go of a great song with a fantastic vocal.  Such is the case with Parralox’s “Paradise”, originally a mid-tempo pop/dance track for the Aussie production project featuring the fabulous Marcella Detroit, who most of you know as one half of 90’s duo Shakespear’s Sister (1992’s “Stay”) but has an otherwise storied pop music career.  The song arrived on Parralox’s 2017 album Subculture, but John von Ahlen is wise to make the song into much, much more, this time through release on Energise Recordings.  So almost two years later, we have a package of several remixes, which is led by chart-meister Eric Kupper’s chic deep house remix.  “Paradise” simply sounds like it was intended to be a strutting house thumper like this, with the refrain of “the time has come to let you go” resonating much bolder this time around for dance club goers.  With Eric coming off of yet another Billboard #1 remix of Ariana Grande’s “Breathin”, his remix of “Paradise” spells great things for Parralox and hopefully another opportunity to partner with Marcella on a future track.  Mix this one in with Jessie Ware’s “Overtime”, another of my current favourites, and watch dance floor bliss in motion!

Published in: on December 28, 2018 at 9:44 pm  Leave a Comment  
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