Canadian rock all stars #BondsOfMara kick ass with debut single “Lights Out”

BONDS OF MARA, “Lights Out”

With loads of talent stemming from My Darkest Days, Smashing Satellites, I Mother Earth, finger eleven and Default, Bonds Of Mara is ready to put good old Canadian rock and roll back on the map with “Lights Out”.  The singer is Brian Byrne, on guitar and vocals we have Sal Costa, Dave Benedict is on bass, and Rich Beddoe is the drummer, and when they all came together there was so much synergy that it was enough to kickstart a new, if unexpected, collaboration.  “Lights Out” doesn’t offer much that’s new but it offers solid contemporary rock and roll by performers who know how to do it right.  You’ll remember Brian Byrne’s ragged, inspired vocals from I Mother Earth’s 90’s hit “Summertime In The Void”, and guitarist supreme Sal Costa from My Darkest Days and Smashing Satellites is back from a long break to weave his magic.  “Lights Out” has got the goods, and Canadian rock radio is already all over it, so if you like your rock hard but melodic then Bonds Of Mara is for you.

Bonds Of Mara plays Lee’s Palace in Toronto on Thursday July 25.

Published in: on July 5, 2019 at 10:34 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Ukrainian dance ensemble @Kazakyofficial returns with compelling strutter “Push”

KAZAKY featuring GASPAR, “Push”

After calling it quits about 4 years ago, Ukrainian dance ensemble Kazaky is back with “Push”.  It’s a compelling strutter, perfect for transitioning into the wee hours in clubs, and is accompanied by the requisite video with yet again amazing choreography which they were doing long before BTS.  You know you’re in for a treat when those heels emerge, and the video takes a not unexpectedly darker turn.  Kazaky is now a quintet, with focus on original member Artur Gaspar in “Push”.  The song is extremely catchy and memorable, reminding me of Malcolm McLaren’s “Deep In Vogue” somewhat in attitude and approach, and will appeal to those who enjoy Madonna’s more seductive works (Kazaky made an appearance in Madonna’s “Girl Gone Wild” some years back).  Club DJ’s should definitely get behind this winner and its eye-popping, extremely well-directed choreography which you can witness in the video up top.

Published in: on July 5, 2019 at 10:34 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Ain’t Got You” is shiny summery dance pop from @SteveVoidmusic and UK vocalist @Louisa

STEVE VOID and LOUISA, “Ain’t Got You”

Following up the amazing “Closure” from earlier this year (which got to #1 on my personal chart), Dutch producer Steve Void returns with “Ain’t Got You”.  It’s a shiny, summery slice of dance pop, and to sing it he’s brought along British vocalist Louisa, the Ex Factor winner from a few years back who has since scored hits with Clean Bandit, Olly Murs and 2 Chainz among others.  It’s bright pop with tropical synth flavours that simply spells out sunshine and fun at the beach.  Louisa’s vocal shimmers and exudes the love and desire of the story.  So chalk up another winner for Steve Void and his Strange Fruits team!

Published in: on July 5, 2019 at 10:34 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Italy’s @djPromiseLand and @GLDN take you on a whirl with techno-influenced “Blow Ya Mind”

PROMISE LAND x GLDN, “Blow Ya Mind”

“Blow Ya Mind” takes you on a trip back to the early 90’s when The KLF were all the rage with their techno-fused dance music.  It’s not what you would expect today coming out of Italy with noted producers Promise Land and GLDN, but it’s a lot of fun and will work exceptionally well in clubs whose audiences enjoy songs with retro appeal.  With a cool vocal patter matched with wonky sounding synths “Blow Ya Mind” will keep you wound up well after its effective and brief middle pause.  Promise Land and GLDN definitely create an abundance of fresh vibes out of this techno inspiration, something I think we’ll hear more of from other producers.

Published in: on July 5, 2019 at 10:34 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Sweden’s @DimitriVangelis and @Wymanofficial go big and majestic with Toronto’s @Dzekoofficial in “The King”

DIMITRI VANGELIS & WYMAN and DZEKO, “The King”

“The King” is definitely an intriguing instrumental release that will go a long way at festivals.  Swedish duo Dimitri Vangelis and Wyman truly go big and majestic with this one in partnership with my fellow Torontonian, the Juno Award-nominated Dzeko (whose set I got to see back in March in Miami).  “The King” could easily be a set opener, with its sweeping start which leads into a minute and a half of solid A+ trance… and then it comes to a halt, taking its well-paced time to build up again after 40 seconds or so.  If this wasn’t done so right, the audience could easily bail on the song, but one could visualize some kind of royal making his or her pointed and quiet walk, only to raise his/her hands to let the proceedings recommence.  And so, let the crowd go wild for the rest of the song’s 3:29.  “The King” is one unique song for the electronic dance music world so be prepared to hear it all summer and into the winter festival months.

Denmark’s @TobyGreendj heats up the summer with fun banger “Smoke”

TOBY GREEN, “Smoke”

In the same vein as Don Diablo and CiD’s “Fever” comes “Smoke” by Danish producer Toby Green.  It’s a fast, fun progressive future house song that will definitely turn heads with its pauses punctuated by one word “okay”.  The repeated, trappy melody line is infectious and this is the kind of songs that keep patrons up dancing in a club.  Definitely one to listen for both in clubs and at festivals.  Toby Green continues to leave his mark in the competitive electronic music world with songs like “Smoke”.  Okay – out.

Published in: on June 30, 2019 at 11:01 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Boston’s @AlmostOwenmusic rocks out with “One Lucky Man”

ALMOST OWEN, “One Lucky Man”

In early May, I introduced you to Boston’s Almost Owen through a delightful acoustic indie bedroom production.  He’s followed that up with a full blown alt.rock effort called “One Lucky Man”.  He’s got a great voice and like with many classic rockers, he can sing a lot of powerful, meaningful lyrics and draw the audience into his story without worrying that he’s actually singing too much.  The song has a straight-forward arrangement with a steady rhythm that steers it quickly through three and a half minutes without it seeming even as such.  Definitely keep your ears open for Almost Owen – he’s a sharp songwriter who knows what his listeners want to hear, and delivers a great message with “One Lucky Man” in the process.

Published in: on June 30, 2019 at 11:01 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Feels Like Summer” is a bright pop song with R&B influences from UK singer/songwriter @SamuelJackmusic

SAMUEL JACK, “Feels Like Summer”

It seems easy enough to think that a song called “Feels Like Summer” might be a simple, straight-forward pop song about fun in the summer.  But UK singer/songwriter Samuel Jack was raised partially in Johannesburg, South Africa, and his interest in music was sparked by Paul Simon’s Graceland.  So I’m confident there is a myriad of influences brewing inside, which leads to Samuel’s rich, R&B-inspired vocal that gives “Feels Like Summer” extra depth.  The song itself is reflective, looking back on a teen romance that brings back the summer setting all over again, even when it isn’t even summer.  All too many of us can relate to those feelings, which is why “Feels Like Summer” is a charming winner and Samuel is a singer to watch.  If you like music by Hozier and Passenger then add Samuel Jack into the mix.

Published in: on June 30, 2019 at 11:01 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Lilting, compelling “Overwhelm” by @Bridesmen (aka @itsKenton) encourages us to confront and embrace our feelings

BRIDESMEN, “Overwhelm”

It’s not an easy sell at first listen, by “Overwhelm” by L.A.-based electronic artist Bridesmen is a beautiful song that encourages us all to confront and embrace our feelings.  With a slant on mental health and well-being, the song is supported by a compelling and lovely lyrical dance video for you to check out above.  Bridesmen is the recording name for Kenton Chen, who some of you may know from TV’s “Sing Off” a number of years back, when he put together an impromptu acapella group that sang in the finale.  Kenton’s career has been mainly focused on jazz and acapella, so Bridesmen offers another avenue for him to raise awareness about a variety of issues as well as his own barriers he has faced as a Gay Asian American.  “Overwhelm” has a classic song structure that allows it to be both affecting and relateable.  You can hear vocal and songwriting styles of artists like Joni Mitchell and Carole King in the story, as well both classical and modern influences in the music which perhaps reminds me of tauter songs by electronic artists such as ZHU or Odesza.

Published in: on June 30, 2019 at 11:01 pm  Leave a Comment  
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#BILLCSTop30 #564 – June 24/19

There’s lots of change afoot on the new chart.  The lower rung gets cleaned out and replaced with six debuts which have loads of top-of-the-chart potential!  And speaking of the top, a new #1 has taken over from a bunch of strong favourites, which will all have difficulty leaving the Top 10 any time soon.

The new #1 is also the fastest riser on the chart, something that doesn’t happen often!  And it belongs to Illenium and Jon Bellion with the stunning “Good Things Fall Apart”, soaring 9 to 1.  During the last week, Illenium announced a North American tour and I’m happy to be attending in Toronto on September 28 🙂

M-22, Cedric Gervais and DubVision & SYZZ all slip down as a result of “Good Things Come  Apart” now ruling the chart, and only Mokita’s “Kiss And Tell” (above) and Lost Frequencies & Flynn’s “Recognise” (below) can also move up within the Top 10, advancing 6-5 and 10-9 respectively.

The progressive electronica of Mako’s “Coyote” rounds out the Top 10 moving 11-10, becoming the singer’s 4th Top 10 on this chart.

With the Top 10 pretty much locked down, songs below can only make limited movement and some will break loose of that in two weeks.  That leaves three of our debuts from two weeks ago to get recognized with bigger jumps.  “Don’t Leave Me Lonely” by Mark Ronson featuring American singer YEBBA (above)climbs 23-17, while Switzerland’s Eurovision entry “She Got Me” by Luca Hänni (below) leaps 25-19 , and the soulful pop of “Where Did You Go” by Nick Peters and Jamie Grey (also below) rises 27-22.

So it’s the debuts that do most of the talking this week.  The highest debut at #23 belongs to the dynamic pairing of Don Diablo and CiD, who I saw dropping this song together in Miami in March, a fun grower called “Fever” (above).  Next at #24 is an album track – and I like saying that because it’s from the first full album by EMAN8 (Brandyn Burnette) also called Emanate.  The song is a nice mix of pop and electronica called “Time” (below) and it’s a standout from the album.  It follows lead off single “Amen” onto the chart, which peaked at #15 earlier this year.  At #25 is a returning pair to the chart, US producers and musicians Eric Sharp and Zhao with the catchy “Monday Blues” (also below).  These guys previously charted together in 2016 with “The Thirst” (#7), and Zhao is also the vocalist on both.

I’m not done just yet!  Like Don Diablo, another veteran appearing on the chart for the first time is Borgeous, who arrives with vocalist RUNAGROUND with “Better Anyway” (above) at #26.  Then there’s a delicious slice of melodic deep house courtesy of Italy’s Eric Zava and DJ Mirko B at #28 with “Even In Confusion” (below) featuring the vocals of newcomer Daniel Gorash.  The final debut is yet another entry from the prolific Mahalo this time with Poland’s Milkwish for some more dark deep house “Alone Again” (also below) at #30.  Mahalo and MŌZ are also at #27 with “Go Ahead”, which recently peaked at #4.

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

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