Germany’s @_ANIQO is back with a sparse-sounding, hopeful release “Wonderland”

ANIQO, “Wonderland”

Her songs can be mysterious and brooding, or bright and hopeful, as we get to know the many facets of Berlin-based singer/songwriter/filmmaker ANIQO (aka Anita Goβ), this time through the new single “Wonderland”.  Following in a similar vein to a previous release, “LoveLife”, “Wonderland” is about love holding us together through everything, even at the darkest times.  Its sparse arrangement, only featuring piano, harmonica and vocal, is taut and compelling, and as usual ANIQO can weave us through a lengthy song without it ever seeming so long.  It was preceded over a year ago by a video release, above, which shows ANIQO’s ongoing artistry in that field.  I’ve written about the music of ANIQO for over four years now, and those songs will eventually lead to her debut album called Birth, which is now slated for this year.

Published in: on May 2, 2021 at 9:49 pm  Leave a Comment  
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#BILLCSTop30 #612, April 26/21

The vast amount of great music being released in 2021 is reflected on my chart. Songs can remain on the chart for a maximum of 10 appearances (20 weeks), but lately there have been less songs than usual which attain that feat.  The fast pace frequently means 3, 4 or 5 debuts every two weeks, and this chart is no exception to that.  So enjoy some of these favourites while they stick around!

“No More Looking Back” by Idris Elba and Inner City featuring the fierce voice of Steffanie Christi’an becomes the 6th song to reach #1 in the four months of this year.  90’s flavoured house is back big time thanks to the presence, after 30 years, of legends like Kevin Saunderson and his rebooted Inner City project.  We need more of this!

He wowed us with a splendid online festival, capped by his own affecting performance.  The festival is “Secret Sky” and the performer is Porter Robinson, whose second album after seven years (not counting his Grammy-nominated Virtual Self project) called Nurture was released on Friday.  From that album, “Look At The Sky” (above) becomes his second Top 5 on this chart, after last year’s #1 “Get Your Wish” (also included in the album).  Also check out the amazing track “Blossom”, below.

Victor Perry’s gentle ballad “Stories” (above) rises 6-5, in collaboration with German producers Cal1 and L’essay.  I included Victor’s recent song “Slip Away” (with French producer Kislaw), but also check out his latest release with another French producer, KHEMIS called “Until You Call My Name” (below).

New to the Top 10 is the reigning party track called “Friday” by British producer Riton, who revived 90’s dance smash “Push The Feeling On” by Nightcrawlers as the basis for the song.  It climbs 11-7.

Moving up 9-8 is NYC singer/songwriter Reigen’s pensive song for late at night in a quiet place, “blue”.  It’s Reigen’s second highest placement on the chart, next only to “Come Back To Me” which reached #2.

Also new to the Top 10 is “When I Lost You”, the deep house banger from Norway’s Dunisco and NYC’s Robbie Rosen, which climbs 12-9.  It’s the first Top 10 for both artists on my chart.

“Every Minute” is the latest release by Sweden’s Eric Saade, which came second in this year’s Melodifestivalen contest.  It climbs 13-10, becoming Eric’s 8th Top 10 on my chart, and his first since 2015’s “Sting” (#4).

Victor Perry’s soaring voice is the star of “Myself In You”, his collaboration with Italy’s Lordnox, and it makes short work of the chart, climbing 17-12.

The Fastest Riser on the chart is from the producer whose “Not Watching Anymore” slips from #1 to #2.  It’s L.A.’s Mahalo, whose rollicking “Got That Love” soars 23-15.

Independent Irish pop-rock artist Four Nights continues his rise up the chart with the infectious “Want You Always” moving 19-16.

You can now find Peter Wilson and Sean Smith’s duet on the Robert Miles classic “One And One” (25-19) on release as a single, including two delightful and very extended remixes by Matt Pop (above) and Pete Hammond.

France’s 2 Thunders climbs 26-20 with their thoughtful deep house track “Shine A Light”, featuring L.A.-based vocalist OMZ.

Sometimes it takes a remix to either give a song new life or to present an alternate vision of the the track.  Such is the case with the Dzeko remix of Tyler Shaw’s “When You’re Home”, which in its darker but affecting remix rises 27-21.

Occasionally the big hits will land on this chart, too.  And that’s what’s happened with “Leave The Door Open” by Silk Sonic, aka Bruno Mars and Anderson.Paak, which arrives as the Highest Debut at #23.  It may be surprising to know that this is Bruno’s first appearance on this chart, and it’s also the first for Anderson.Paak too.  It all started with this year’s Grammy Awards performance; watch for it to lead the way with nominations in 2022!

Next up at #25 is another first time appearance on this chart for L.A.-based dance producer Gryffin.  I’m playing the Cat Dealers remix of “I Want Love” a whole lot.  The combined talents allow “I Want Love” to be taken to the next level by Brazilian brothers Cat Dealers, who are among the worldwide favourite DJ’s for good reason.  I’ve seen both Gryffin and Cat Dealers in virtual festivals this year and they both give their audiences exactly what they want.

The third debut at #27 is the chart debut for Knoxville, Tennessee based 2017 winner of “The Voice”, Chris Blue, with his infectious and adventurous independent release called “Moon”.

NEW!! Planet Radio Canada has returned to the interwebs with ‘The Musicman’ James Rogers and his “3D Variety Show” each week for three hours of great music as well as a few features.  Listen to my New Music Pick of the Week (usually featuring a song on the chart) in the second hour of the show.  Tomorrow, the show will also spotlight none other than Elton John!  Planet Radio Canada’s “3D Variety Show” is simulcast on http://www.classichits.ca and http://www.radiogta.ca from 6 to 9 pm EST.

The music from this chart and blog are also featured regularly on the online radio station Radio GTA. You can hear their Big 20 on Wednesday evenings, also 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 🙂  You can start by joining Radio GTA’s 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 🙂

It’s 10/10 #17: @NuelaCharles, @Kislawmusic & @wallflowerperry, #Anzano & @RobbieRosenlive, @CrashAdamsmusic, @Prizmofficial, @KenBauersweden, @Febmusic & @Lexie_official, #Dega, @TommyNewport & @EARTHGANG, and @DJChrisDamas

My 10/10 feature returns with edition #17.  I can’t believe it’s been six months since I wrote the last one.  But the time has come where very good songs for consideration for this blog are overwhelming the weaker ones, so I want to make sure the good ones get their due.  And as usual, the choices are a global cornucopia of releases.

For those not familiar with10/10,  I write about 10 hot and fresh songs in no particular order, for your kind consideration and attention.

I continue to write individual blog posts about certain songs.  That does not mean that songs in the 10/10 lists are any less than those featured individually, and they are not listed in any particular order.  

Writing 10/10 posts means I can cover more songs in one shot.  So you get to learn about more new music that I hear but don’t always get a chance to write about. 

  • NUELA CHARLES, “Space”

Singer/songwriter Nuela Charles has been prominent in her native Canada, conquering the Adult Contemporary genre with Juno Awards nominations three years in a row for that category.  “Space” is a welcome change of pace for her, showcasing her effortless classic R&B-influenced voice with a sassy and funky backdrop. While “Space” was written as a response to the pandemic, it’s clear that we all need space from each other, even those closest to it. “Space” sails away with that idea and Nuela flourishes in this setting.

  • KISLAW and VICTOR PERRY, “Slip Away”

NYC singer/songwriter Victor Perry continues to be one of the most prolific independent performers, releasing new music every week where possible and showcasing it with different collaborators.  “Slip Away” is a unique partnership with new Africa-born French producer Kislaw, who embraces a sophisticated backdrop where you’ll hear the underutilized flute among other sounds.  And a funky edge allows Victor’s brilliant vocal – which reminds me of when either Michael or Janet Jackson are at their most playful – to lilt through the story and soar in the ad libs too.  Released by Bonfire Records, this one is very deserving of a follow up soon.

  • ANZANO and ROBBIE ROSEN, “Waves”

Like Victor Perry, “American Idol” Top 16 contestant Robbie Rosen is on a mission to release music every week right now (yes, it’s no surprise with similar ideals that the two collaborate as well).  Robbie’s recent songs and performances are so consistently strong it’s hard to pick out what are the strongest ones.  “Waves” finds Robbie working with Belgian producer Anzano for a chipper-sounding song that recognizes when you’ve lost a friend or partner to a better relationship or situation (“forever you’ll be one with the waves”).  It’s a quick mix of classic pop and bright, friendly electropop that goes down easily.

  • CRASH ADAMS, “Symphony”

Your friendly neighbourhood Toronto pop/rock duo Crash Adams are back with another song to make you think while putting a smile on your face. “Symphony” is about that instant state of attraction when all of the vibes and conversation just seem oh so right.  It’s another tight production with a winning vocal, and another cool video (above) to boot.  Crash Adams continue to release quality songs, and their talent and flair for spot-on visuals will take them far.

  • THE PRIZM, “Darkness Is A Friend”

“Darkness Is A Friend” is the centerpiece song of L.A.-based producer The Prizm’s latest album New Beginnings.  In fact the album is a third chapter to a complex story, but focuses on new beginnings for anyone who’s experienced recent hard times, whether they be through relationships, the pandemic, and more.  The uplifting melody and vocal will help you realize that there is a way out of the darkness if you embrace it and move on.  The album is a significant progressive stretch when looking back on last year’s catchy electronic dance single “I Don’t Wanna Go Home” (with ARTFCAL), but The Prizm (Gabriel Garcia) is taking his time to create stories and atmosphere that will have a deeper effect on the listener.

  • KEN BAUER, “Free”

Sweden’s Ken Bauer is hardly a new name to the electronic dance music scene, releasing regular music since 2016.  Though he’s had support from big names like David Guetta, Sam Feldt, and Nicky Romero, all it takes is one song that could open more doors internationally.  “Free” has that potential, with complex synths surrounding a basic but infectious hook.  The uncredited vocal helps the song soar, and “Free” would go over very well indeed at festivals.

  • FEB & LEXIE, “Last Night A DJ Saved My Life”

Though it’s a far cry from the funky classic grooves of the 1982 Indeep classic, Italian producer Feb and British vocalist Lexie spin “Last Night A DJ Saved My Life” into a slick Eurohouse track.  Lexie’s alluring vocal makes it perfectly pronounced that she’s moved on and looking for someone else who won’t break her heart.  Feb’s production captures the essence of the song, making it a fitting surprise that works well.

  • DEGA, “Bad Burn”

Italy’s Dega brings us some dreamy, trance-soaked Europop with “Bad Burn”.  The song effectively mixes in thoughtful vocals, an underlying and very catchy melody, and a build up to a swell drop for cohesive results.  “Bad Burn” is definitely one of those songs where you might not know the artist, but the song solidly stands steadfast on its own and has festival anthem potential.

  • TOMMY NEWPORT and EARTHGANG, “Stargazer”

“Stargazer” is a cool slice of alternative rock that’s laced with hip hop that is out to challenge listeners while sublimely drawing them in with its warm hook.  At only 20 years old, Manchester-born singer/guitarist Tommy Newport has already acquired fans through not only his music, but appearances on TV and internet shows as well as movies.  His voice has a soulful undercurrent beneath a weary, journeyman kind of approach.  His collaborators on “Stargazer” are recent Grammy Awards nominees for Best R&B Song, Atlanta’s EARTHGANG, who continue to show why hip hop and soul are so welcome in an alternative rock-oriented release, and how much more pliable the genre walls need to become.  

  • CHRISTOPHER DAMAS, “Tekila”

Get that big plate of nachos ready because some “Tekila” is about to infiltrate the mix!  It’s a tidy and spicy song that should easily fit into sets next to “Despacito” and “Mi Gente”, but there is a twist.  The “k” in “Tekila” might give it away, but it’s brought to you by veteran Russian electronic dance producer Christopher Damas, which continues to prove that the boundaries within dance music itself are extremely limited.  My only gripe about “Tekila” is that it’s way too short at only 2:10, making it a bit of a novelty. It flies by so quickly that listeners will be begging to know what that “Tekila” song is!

L.A.-based electronic dance producer @BobbyNourmand is back with the highly atmospheric “SANTO” featuring vocalist/co-writer Jessica Zese

BOBBY NOURMAND and JESSICA ZESE, “SANTO”

Aside from one single release last year, it’s been a while since the infectious grooves of Bobby Nourmand have graced our ears.  After a series of highly infectious singles in 2017-18, he’s back with a change of pace on the more progressive “SANTO”, which features new Canadian vocalist/songwriter Jessica Zese.  I’m not quite sure what it’s all about, but “SANTO” is one of those slices of atmospheric electronica that takes you by the ear and leads you deep into the night.  Jessica’s lovely voice is interwoven with the music and ambiance, and becomes the song’s siren of sorts.  “SANTO” is out of the ordinary and designed to make you ask about it, and I’ll look forward to more of Bobby’s latest artistry as it evolves.  The above version is the radio edit; “SANTO” is a 2-song single that also includes an even longer “edit” – perhaps we’ll hear the full version at some point!

Malaysian-American pop band Beat The System @BTSystemBand returns with the satisfying “Chasing The High”

BEAT THE SYSTEM, “Chasing The High”

We last heard from Malaysian-NYC band Beat The System when they released their full length album Journey in 2019, largely a compilation of previous singles which rounded out another phase of the band, who have been making music since 2005.  Taking some time off to focus on their sound, the group returns with “Chasing The High”.  There are nothing but good vibes in this song, where you can relish chasing your dreams and reaching that special ‘high’ in your life.  With the addition of new vocalist, 2020 “American Idol” contestant Shannon Gibbons, the sound of Beat The System is lighter, brighter and tighter, with some airy synths playing a key role in the song’s hook.  The rest of Beat The System continues to be guitarist Stewart Sellan, his brother drummer Gerald Sellan, and composer Adrian Puan.

Meet London-based Irish folk/pop singer @iamBLANID with the gorgeous “Fool’s Gold”

BLÁNID, “Fool’s Gold”

A few weeks ago, I was fortunate to be in a Zoom meeting, part of which was a demo listening session.  One of the highlights of that was hearing London-based Irish singer/songwriter Blánid for the first time with her recent single “Fool’s Gold”.  After receiving some notoriety for scaling back the 2000’s europop hit “Dragostea Din Tei” as the acoustic “Numa Numa” last year, she has further invested in her soaring voice and superb storytelling skills in “Fool’s Gold”.  If you enjoy Hozier or Sinéad O’Connor, “Fool’s Gold” is tailor-made for you. It has a deliberate pace that would otherwise be difficult to contain if not for the beautiful control and phrasing in Blánid’s voice.  While it’s not for everyone, “Fool’s Gold” will find favour with folk/pop fans, and I think alternative and college radio stations would love it.

Published in: on April 21, 2021 at 9:48 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Enjoy the quiet, soulful heartbreak of “Break Me” by @JustinNozuka from his new EP “then, now and again”

JUSTIN NOZUKA, “Break Me”

After leading the way with the gorgeous R&B/pop duet with England’s Mahalia on “No One But You” and the blissful and subtle “summer night 08”, Toronto’s Justin Nozuka arrives with his first EP since 2018’s album Run To Waters called then, now and again.  Also featuring those songs, the EP includes three new ones, “Miami”, “Rains It Pours”, and the standout to me, “Break Me”,  Justin really doesn’t crack any new ground with “Break Me”, but instead offers what he often does best, especially in concert.  “Break Me” is a quiet, expressive song about heartbreak and loss, passionately sung by Justin recalling earlier songs like “Carried You” or “Oh Momma” with its deep-down soulful root.  Fans will love it and “Break Me” is a great place to start for anyone new to the party too.

Published in: on April 19, 2021 at 8:25 pm  Leave a Comment  
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L.A.-based Canadian singer/songwriter @PeterFoldy returns with summery vibes of “Friend Zone”

PETER FOLDY, “Friend Zone”

Following the insightful and unintentionally predictive pre-pandemic “Toxic World” (which got to #5 on my chart), L.A.-based Torontonian singer/songwriter Peter Foldy returns with “Friend Zone”.  The double Juno Awards nominee has weaved a contemporary tale about being stuck as friends when you want more out of the relationship.  Written by Peter and co-produced once again with panache by Miklos Malek, “Friend Zone” is anchored with a delightful Islands-flavoured lilt in its chorus.  Peter has the natural ability to write and sing in a timeless, classic style which goes down easy.  So while springtime friends may not end up as summer lovers, you can still dance and sway and have a great time with “Friend Zone”.  While he is also a noted filmmaker and screenwriter currently working on multiple projects, you can expect more new music from Peter Foldy later this year.

Published in: on April 19, 2021 at 8:25 pm  Leave a Comment  
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German production duo @Saxity reteam with singer/songwriter @RobbieRosenlive for “The Deeper I Fall”

SAXITY and ROBBIE ROSEN, “The Deeper I Fall”

Germany’s Saxity is on a roll with some fine pop/dance songs like last year’s “Fantasy”, which, along with Victor Perry, featured “American Idol” contestant and singer/songwriter/producer Robbie Rosen.  And the fantastic Robbie – who is everywhere in the pop/dance scene right now – is back in “The Deeper I Fall”.  Like his other collaboration with Dunisco, “When I Lost You”, “The Deeper I Fall” contemplates uncertainty – but in this case falling in love – while set to a contrasting, upbeat arrangement.  It’s hard not to react with a smile when Mr. Stan Sax graces us with a smoldering saxophone hook that helps make the song travel along so quickly, and by the time it’s over you definitely want to hear more.  Thanks to all of this formidable talent, being unsure of what’s next never felt so good in “The Deeper I Fall”.

Published in: on April 19, 2021 at 8:25 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Save Me” is a hot new R&B-rock song from NYC’s @AndyxSuzuki @AndtheMethod

ANDY SUZUKI & THE METHOD, “Save Me”

The last concert I saw before pandemic lockdown included a fun set by NYC’s Andy Suzuki, when he opened for Allen Stone in my city.  The personable singer/songwriter/guitarist and his project The Method return with “Save Me”, their first new music since their third album, 2019’s Alibi.  In “Save Me”, we hear Andy mostly in Prince-ly falsetto mode while the song is anchored in a classic R&B-rock arrangement featuring thundering drums and percussion as well as Andy’s wicked guitar work.  If you enjoy music by Miguel, Anderson.Paak, Allen Stone and others who regularly straddle R&B and rock and turn those genres into one rich melting pot of style, then you can put “Save Me” near the top of your list.  Check out the well-shot supernatural-themed video above which also features The Method’s drummer/percussionist Kozza.

Published in: on April 19, 2021 at 8:25 pm  Leave a Comment  
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