Tuned-On! Top 30 #338 – October 25/10

Two weeks fly by and suddenly it’s time for another personal chart!   The beauty of “Love Part II” by Bright Light Bright Light captures #1 for a 4th chart (8th week), and it looks like the fast rising Penguin Prison remix of “Resurrection” by Australia’s The Temper Trap will challenge in two weeks.  It’s amazing sometimes what a remix will do for a song.  Some people will prefer the original with its rock edges but this particular remix takes the song’s theme and turns it into a retro 70’s disco celebration.  Listen to it here before you grab the free download from my chart page.  I am also checking out Penguin Prison in concert on Monday evening, so I hope to have an update for you in the week about the show!

Elouise’s “Pretender” stays at #2, just as this effortlessly talented singer is about to drop her second EP, Stardust Memories, which features covers of ABBA’s “The Winner Takes It All”, and the standards “You’ll Never Walk Alone” and “Stardust”.  The three track E.P will be released digitally through iTunes (USA and European stores) and Amazon MP3 on the 15th of November with the physical luxury digi-pak’s release following in the week of the 24th of November.  You can see and hear her live rendition of Charlie Chaplin’s “Smile” below.

Jamiroquai’s official single of “White Knuckle Ride” is available on iTunes Canada but the “Love Sensation”-inspired remix by Penguin Prison is what sends the song to #6 on my chart this week.  Right behind it is the best dance instrumental I’ve heard it years, “Never Look Back” by Russ Chimes.  The Midnight Club EP from which it comes will be available on November 1 at selected digital stores.  The official artwork is below.

Christian TV is another new artist who has captured my interest.  It’s taken a while but the extremely fun “When She Turns 18” breaks into my Top 10 at last.  His mixtape “Who The Fuck Is Christian TV” arrives on Hallowe’en, and he has a new video that is stirring some controversy called “Let’s Just Fuck”. Watch it here and you be the judge… Does the song push the envelope too far, or is it not worth worrying about?  For me, it’s just not as strong a song as “Turns 18” but I’ll look forward to the mixtape.

My new theme song of positivity, “Glow” by Richard Barone, climbs to #13 as Richard announces more tour dates in New Jersey as well as England and Wales.  The rest of last week’s debuts, by Sweet Thing with “Change of Seasons”, Far East Movement – “Like A G6” has hooked me with all of its singalong lyrics and attitude, and is the first Billboard #1 to hit my chart in a while – and Andrea Lewis with the energetic “Voodoo” all make decent inroads, and Miss Lewis has one of our five debuts this week as well!

First up, as “Friction” leaves my Top 10, we have the latest from Adam Tyler called “Operation” at #24.  This song is pretty different from Adam’s more high energy efforts relying on a swaying rhythm that reminds me of Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus”.  And song of the lyrics here are really creative and delivered very well.  Download it for free with you provide your email address right here .

Next, at #25, is the third entry from the Flamingo CD by Brandon Flowers, but it’s one that I referenced two weeks ago as being only available on the Deluxe version.  The pensive and haunting “Jacksonville” alone makes it worthwhile for you to buy the Deluxe edition.  Hear it right here . As I listen to the CD more, I keep hearing more and more Neil Young influence too.


Then the third debut is indeed from Andrea Lewis’ 54321 album, which I’ve been enjoying since its release two weeks ago.  It’s a well-rounded release which showcases Andrea’s diverse voice, which conquers on tracks like “Voodoo”, the hard-edged “She”, the highly emotional “Linda”, and the mellow duet that lands at #26.  “Talk To Me” has a 1960’s vibe to it that is enhanced by the guest vocal by Simon Curtis.  It seems like the boy can’t stay away from my chart – last week was his first time off the chart since last November!  Bravo to all involved – Andrea Lewis’ 54321 should be on your 2010 playlist, and why not?  You can download it for free right here .

Next up, after a five year absence, it’s a return to my chart for Robbie Williams.  One of his best songs in years appears on his new compilation In And Out Of Consciousness: Greatest Hits 1990-2010.  It’s a ballad called “Heart and I” and Robbie’s excellent, classic delivery makes it remind me of an old Neil Diamond song, not a bad thing!  It debuts at #27.  The last time Robbie appeared in these parts was with 2005’s “Tripping”, which I still play a lot and find to be terribly underrated.

The final debut belongs to one of the acts to watch that has debuted online this year.  Bim’s Scatterheart album is well worth checking out, and after “Head Over Heels” has peaked at #3, I’ve delved deeper into the album, with the beautiful “Ready To Love” bowing at #29 this week.

View the full chart using the link to the right under ***BILL’S PERSONAL CHART*** or simply click right here …  Enjoy!


Tuned-On! Top 30 #337 – October 11/10

“Love Part II” by Bright Light Bright Light continues its reign at the top of my chart as we slide into October.  Unfortunately those of us outside of the UK cannot yet purchase a download of the track and if you want a hard copy of the CD single it’s a $12.99 purchase through Amazon plus shipping.  Hopefully PopJustice HiFi and Virgin Records will rectify this soon.  You can however grab a free Louis LaRoche remix – but it’s less satisfying than the original minus almost all of the lyrics.

The Top 5 changes about as Elouise’s gorgeous “Pretender” claims the runner up spot, and then in sharp contrast, Ryan Star’s rockin’ “Start A Fire” climbs to #3.  Other upward movement in the Top 10 comes courtesy of Saint Motel’s “Dear Dictator”, “Get Outta My Way” by Kylie Minogue (which really should be igniting outside of dance clubs), as well as new arrivals from Russ Chimes’ “Never Look Back” and, as “A New Word To Say” leaves the chart, Bright Light Bright Light’s CD single flip side “Cry At Films”.

It looks like a Penguin Prison Fall for remixes!  The vibrant redux of “White Knuckle Ride” by Jamiroquai soars to #12, while that intensely disco flavoured remix of  “Resurrection” by Australia’s The Temper Trap stands to be noticed at a high #18 debut this week.  Elsewhere, Christian TV’s fun-and-full-of-attitude “When She Turns 18” continues to climb, as do “Dance In The Dark” by Lady GaGa, 100 Akres & Roz Bell’s new singalong “Breakup Anthem”, and Jackanory & The Ball’s pop/rap/jazz of “Audio Precision”.

At the top of this page you’ll see the charming video of “Glow” by Richard Barone, which is the fastest riser on the chart this week, up from 27-19.  I love the refreshing simplicity of this song, which makes it a bit anomolous in these times, but really at times you get more from a song when it’s stripped down.  Richard’s 10/10/10 CD release show for Glow is in NYC at Le Poisson Rouge.

Also on this day 10/10/10 on release online is Andrea Lewis’ 54321!  Her punchy first single “Voodoo” slams onto the chart at #24.  Be sure to watch for all of the details about 54321 right here.  Also debuting this week is “Change of Seasons” by Canadians Sweet Thing, as discussed last week in my blog, as well as a song that I would call a guilty pleasure of mine.  I don’t know how far up the chart it will go but “Like A G6” by Far East Movement gets cranked in the car whenever it comes on.  I shouldn’t really like it because of all of the autotune and sonic tricks I’ve heard before, but somehow the entire package works, kitchen sink and all.

You may notice that almost half of my chart consists of relatively new artists, and to be honest, I didn’t know about almost half of those artists a year ago!  I’m absolutely loving the online connection to all of this great music, it makes the songs on pop radio pale in comparison.

View the full chart using the link to the right under ***BILL’S PERSONAL CHART*** or simply click right here…  Enjoy!

Follow-ups on Brandon Flowers and Richard Barone Albums + Some Fall Popervesence!

Flamingo by Brandon Flowers

Flamingo is turning out to be an uncharacteristic favourite of mine right now.  It’s a good thing I didn’t write about it a few weeks ago because my appreciation of the songs wouldn’t have sunk in.  That it’s not like a Killers album is putting off some fans.

This is really all about Brandon, and he said in a recent interview I saw on TV that he had the final say on the album tracks.  Because it’s a genuine and lower key effort that focuses on some specific themes and influences that you’ve already read about elsewhere, some very good and more Killers-oriented songs got shoved off the regular release of Flamingo and onto the deluxe version, which makes the latter very well worth buying.

For every song you might expect there is one that’s a surprise, but none of it is candy so hard and sweet that you’ll crack your teeth.  The first two singles, “Crossfire” and “Swallow It”, are so different from each other that you can appreciate each – the earnest empathy of “Crossfire”, and the Lou Reed low notes that give “Swallow It” some knowing sarcasm.   A Killers like crowd-pleaser such as “Was It Something I Said” meets quirky alt.country of “On The Floor”.  In your face imagery of “Magdalena” and “Welcome To Fabulous Las Vegas” meets simple pop of “Only The Young”.  And so on.

The four bonus tracks of “Jacksonville”, “The Clock Was Tickin'”, “I Came Here To Get Over You”, and “Right Behind You” are four of the top tracks on this record, and really flesh it all out.  I’d love to hear a dance remix of “Jacksonville”, its ominous dark sound is crying out for a mad, crowded dance floor.


Glow by Richard Barone

Glow isn’t just a return to form for singer/songwriter Richard Barone.  It’s a revitalization of his 1990’s chamber pop sound epitomized in 1994’s Clouds Over Eden, but stripped down and written on the fly.

Often sounding like the pop of The Beatles or Crowded House, Glow often basks in bits of experimentation (“Candied Babies”), with contributions from songwriters Jill Sobule (“Odd Girl Out”) and Oscar winner Paul Williams (“Silence Is Our Song”).  And as I mentioned in my last blog, some songs focus on Richard’s long time home of New York City, and the title track radiates exactly what it wants as a result.

Glow is joyous and unusual pop music where less is more on the surface, but indeed you will find a great wealth of spirit and quality within its songs.

Fall Popervescence!!

What would our Fall be without more Adam Tyler from his forthcoming Lullabies for Rattlesnakes release?  “Operation” is very different sounding from the propulsive “Friction” and the funky-via-Sam-Sparro “Over The Top”.  This is electro-pop akin to Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus” with some interesting imagery.  Definitely makes you want to hear more of what we’ll eventually find in the Rattlesnakes project!  Download it right here with an email subscription.  And check out a pic of Adam in London along with the cover artwork for this song at this link from good ol’ Electroqueer .

Toronto’s Andrea Lewis stakes out her own claim in the pop/R&B world with “Voodoo”, a strong and fresh new track from the former Degrassi cast member who also co-starred with our favourite boy robot Simon Curtis in Nickelodeon’s “Spectacular!”.  “Voodoo” fits nicely in the groove currently being honed by the likes of fellow Torontonian Melanie Fiona, and is definitely a throwback to the earlier days of Destiny’s Child’s pop/R&B hybrid.  A very promising release!  Download it right here .

Fall is also time to anticipate more new Penguin Prison!  The talented Mr. Glover is about to release the glitter-ball-infused “Golden Train”, which sounds to be one of the best of the year.  Listen to the radio rip courtesy of Hypetrak right here.  And then there’s this positively outstanding remix of The Temper Trap’s “Resurrection” which appears online for free courtesy of Disco Naïveté right here .  And this track itself is, unexpectedly, one of the stellar songs of 2010!

And more goods from Toronto courtesy of quintet Sweet Thing, whose appropriately titled “Change of Seasons” is one of the catchiest pop songs on Canadian radio right now.  Led by vocalist Owen Carrier, the song is definitely a great calling card for the rest of the world, from their debut self-titled record.  Find out more about the band on MySpace and watch the video for the song below.




Tuned-On! Top 30 #336 – September 27/10

It’s finally on release tomorrow!  “Love Part II” is a glorious homage to 80’s and 90’s electro-pop from Bright Light Bright Light (aka Rod Thomas) and holds strong at #1 for a second chart appearance.  Brandon Flowers’ “Crossfire” and Bim’s “Head Over Heels” hold in the runner-up spots too, but the rest of the Top 10 has been turned inside out and sideways.

Adam Tyler’s “Friction” slides upward to #4 – I’ll be blogging about his newest song “Operation” soon (and you can get it free with a subscription right here)!  “Pretender” by Elouise reaches through a hole in the Top 10 to land at an impressive #5 – it’s one of the best ballads of the year.  Right behind is power in a more rockin’ way as “Start A Fire” by Ryan Star lands at #6.  Then the surprise – quirky ol’ “Dear Dictator”, in a wonderfully warped 70’s disco remix by Sam Sparro, takes LA’s Saint Motel from 16-7!  Bringing up the rear in Top Ten Land are Kylie Minogue’s ever perky “Get Outta My Way” and Chris Mann’s fun take on George Michael’s “I Want Your Sex”.  Tally:  5 Yanks, 4 Brits, and an Aussie!  Aside from Toronto’s Roz Bell, my chart is so lacking my own country’s content!

And still more action, just below the Top 10… More Bright Light Bright Light too, always a good thing, Rod’s third appearance with “Cry At Films” (which appears on the “Love Part II” single), which you can also download for free right here.  Then we have Sweden’s Darin, who has already had two Top 5 hits on this chart in 2009 with his duet with Kat Deluna, “Breathing Your Love”, and then “Girl Next Door”.  Now “Lovekiller” makes a bold jump, rising 24-12… North American release, pretty please??

But still, the fastest riser on the chart this week belongs to the highly infectious instrumental dance track “Never Look Back” by Russ Chimes.  Two weeks ago I gave you the link to part two (“Tertre Rouge”) of his video trilogy, which started with “Never Look Back”, and now Russ brings you the conclusion with “Targa” – which has a couple of intriguing ‘aha’ moments to wrap up the story.  It’s all a bit visually busy and has layers of complexity, but they warrant the multiple viewings just to get it all sorted out in your head.  View the video at the top of this page.  Well done!

Amid other respectable chart moves for “When She Turns 18” by Christian TV – which I still think is a hoot whether you’re watching the ‘photocopier’ video or not – and the theatrical “Audio Precision” by newcomers Jackanory & The Ball, you will find four debuts.

Welcome back Jay Kay and Jamiroquai, and whatta way to drive back onto the dancefloor in style than in the limo that is the 70’s flavoured Penguin Prison remix of “White Knuckle Ride”, from Jay’s upcoming album Rock Dust Light Star.  It’s Jamiroquai’s first appearance on my chart since 2002’s “You Give Me Something”, though I did really enjoy the High Times compilation which featured some terrific extended mixes of 90’s hits.  I am hoping for a 2011 tour!

Then courtesy of his CD Flamingo comes Brandon Flowers’ “Swallow It”.  Now when I saw Brandon in concert last month I really did not come away from the show liking this song, but it really is one of the most engaging songs on the album, and it’s also the new single.  I love how Brandon flexes his lower register, giving the song a more modern Lou Reed feel.  And it’s also much more playful than I thought initially.  I’m still wanting to collect my thoughts on Flamingo for a separate blog…

Next up is a track I featured in my blog a few weeks back.  100 Akres and Roz Bell make such a great, creative team, and their latest “Breakup Anthem (We Never Cared)” is absolutely no exception.  It hits the nail on the head about the subject matter and still comes across as being fun and anthemic.

Last but not least, our favourite troubadour king of chamber pop, Richard Barone , is back after many years of recorded absence, despite keeping very active in the music biz.  Richard’s career began in the early 80’s with New Jersey new wave band The Bongos, who released a few well-respected albums, with “Numbers With Wings” still receiving play on alt.rock stations.  Richard began releasing solo albums in the late 80’s with the live ‘Cool Blue Halo’, then triumphing particularly for me with songs like “Native Tongue” and “River To River” from 1990’s Primal Dream, and the title track and “Nobody Knows Me” from 1994’s conceptual, very-Beatles influenced tribute to writer Nicholas Schaffner, Clouds Over Eden”.  As I tipped a few weeks back, Richard is back in solid form – guitar work and strings intact – in his new CD Glow, which is produced by the legendary Tony Visconti.  I’ll write more about Glow in a separate blog, but the title track has definitely gotten under my skin and debuts on the chart.  Having just recently been to New York City, there’s something very special about this song, conceived after a walk through Manhattan, these many years after 9/11.  Last year’s NYC theme was Jay-Z & Alicia Keys’ “Empire State Of Mind”.  For 2010, could it be “Glow”?  It’s certainly how NYC makes me feel after two consecutive visits… thank you Richard.  Here’s a live clip of the song from earlier this year:

I have so much more to blog about and so little time… so stay tuned!!

Tuned-On! Top 30 #335 – September 13/10

It’s somewhat of a no frills blog this week, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t much to chat about or that the chart isn’t any less active…

There’s a new #1 song on top.  And it’s the second time this year, and only the third time since 2007, that a song has debuted at the top.  Rod Thomas and the folks at Popjustice Hi Fi made a good decision to debut Bright Light Bright Light’s “Love Part II” online this summer, followed by the video at the top.  For “Love Part II”, simply put, is one of the most glorious, revelatory songs of 2010.  It has a melody that sings by itself under the vocal, which in turn sings this absolutely fantastic chorus:  Do what you want with me / And let everybody see / I’m in love again / I’m in love again / And you changed my mind / And took me by surprise / And I’m in love again / I’m in love again…  “Love Part II” is a song that I’ll be listening to years and years from now – it’s one of the sure bets of 2010!  Congratulations, Rod and friends 🙂

With “Love Part II” arriving in the best possible place on the chart, that’s not to slight the gentle and raw emotion of Bim’s “Head Over Heels”, which moves to #3.  Adam Tyler’s “Friction” is a song that will change the mood you’re in with its zesty rhythm, and it moves up to #5.  Lifehouse’s powerful “All In” bounds 12-10, while gorgeous UK pop singer Elouise climbs 15-10 with “Pretender”.  Check out some of these pictures on Facebook from her September 11 show in London !

It appears that I’m not the only one who finds “Start A Fire” as the best new track from Ryan Star’s 11:59 CD.  It’s the Fastest Riser on the chart, headed towards the Top 5 I would say, moving this time from 18-11.  Kylie Minogue’s “Get Outta My Way” continues to rise, 16-13, and courtesy of the noted Arjan Writes, download the Penguin Prison remix .  Into the lower teens, Saint Motel’s “Dear Dictator” is one of the more endearing and quirky songs around, The Script’s “For The First Time” is off to a great start as lead single from Science & Faith, and “Love Part II” B-side “Cry At Films” has a life of its own on this particular chart 🙂

Aside from the debut of “Love Part II”, I blogged specifically about two of our other debuts during the last few weeks.  Darin’s “Lovekiller” is growing and growing on me by the minute (Paul of My Fizzy Pop , of course, is right about this one!), and Russ Chimes’ “Never Look Back” may be the best dance instrumental I’ve heard in years, with extreme pop crossover appeal!  Check out part two of his “Midnight Club” trilogy video series at the bottom of this page, “Tertre Rouge”.  It’s not quite as good as “Look Back” but continues the intriguing story in that video.  Last, UK perveyors of miscellaneous fun pop styles, Jackanory & The Ball arrive on the chart with the indelibly infectious “Audio Precision”, which you can hear on their MySpace page .

You can view the full chart using the link under ***BILL’S PERSONAL CHART*** to the right or save yourself a couple of clicks and view it right here .



New Popervescence from 100 Akres/Roz Bell, Elouise, Russ Chimes!!

100 Akres featuring Roz Bell “Breakup Anthem (We Never Cared)”

The two creative forces that brought us the soulful and stunning “Pink Cadillac” last year (a #1 on my chart) are back with this cheery (?) and playful song about relationships that went south once both sides realized that they never cared anyway.  It makes great company with something equally energetic like Greg Kihn’s “The Breakup Song (They Don’t Write ‘Em)”, an oft-forgotten gem from 1981.  And perfect timing, for end of summer breakups and departures!  I think Keith and Roz need to make a full album together, don’t you?  Download “Breakup Anthem” for free right here.

Elouise “The Winner Takes It All”

Paul of My Fizzy Pop finds out about some glorious musical moments and one of those is Elouise’s upcoming recording of ABBA’s “The Winner Takes It All”.  After all, when was the last time you heard an effective ABBA cover?  The “Mamma Mia” film or show? A Bjorn Again concert?  The sample of “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!” in Madonna’s “Hung Up”?  Well gorgeous Elouise – currently riding my chart with torch song “Pretender” from her Stardust EP – brings it back full proper circle.  I have learned through listening to my daughter (a BIG ABBA fan) sing that ABBA songs are not at all easy, and for whatever we may have thought 30 years ago, Agnetha and Anni-Frid are extremely talented with great voices.  Elouise agrees, and voilà – a faithful, brilliantly sung rendition with contemporary Steve Anderson production that will go a long way.  Seriously, someone better sign Elouise to an international record deal and send her to Broadway.  I haven’t listened to Larry Flick’s interview with her yet, but you can hear the full version of the song at the 23:50 mark right here – and of course listen to the interview too!

Russ Chimes “Never Look Back”

A story interwoven into a succession of music videos by the same performer is not a new idea.  Think back to the 80’s, to those ZZ Top videos from the Eliminator album, (“Gimme All Your Lovin’”, “Legs”, “Sleeping Bag”, and “Sharp-Dressed Man”, see clip below), as well as many others.  However as videos became more like commercials for the songs, the creativity diminished.  But in the second decade of this century, the creative juices seem to be flowing again.  British producer/DJ Russ Chimes has created a three-instrumental song project called “Midnight Club”, and the first of these is “Never Look Back”.  The song itself sounds like it samples either some British soul tracks or perhaps even snippets of singer Michael McDonald’s voice.  The video (above) keeps your head spinning with the back-and-forward-in-time editing and the alternating scenes of good times and suspense, and it stays in your head long after watching.  You’ll want to see part two and three… One to watch!!  And could Russ Chimes be the new Giorgio Moroder/Cerrone/Alec R. Costandinos that us disco fans have been waiting for lo these many years?


Tuned-On! Roundup!

Roundup Spotlight:

JACKANORY & THE BALL “EP”

I must say, London duo Jackanory & The Ball know how to make one satisfying four song EP.  Singer/songwriter Tom Skelton and producer/DJ/pianist Michael Rendall have a strange kind of fusion going on – and this kind of strange is really strong and entertaining.  I could be wrong, but I think it might start with some jazzy Steely Dan influence, moving through new wave and pop electronica of the 80’s, then into some hip hop and dance club sounds of the 90’s, yielding a pastiche of sometimes humorous pop that sounds as theatrical as it does melodic.  The duo is like a British companion-piece to American veteran duo They Might Be Giants (“Birdhouse in Your Soul”, one of my faves from 1990).  Be sure to check out “Audio Precision”, perhaps the most accessible track – listen for Pac-Man – with bouncy rhythm and sing-along lyrics.  The other tracks – “Not The One”, “Too Long” (the most R&B/hip hop oriented track), “Come Away with Me” – are equally unique, with rich melodic weaves but straight forward words and themes.  All in all, it’s an EP full of promise which lends natural curiosity to how Mssrs Skelton and Rendall can perform these songs in a live show.  Be sure to check them out if you’re in England (and let me know!).


BILLY FRANKS “Euphoria”

UK singer Billy Franks had generously put his Euphoria compilation online for free.  It’s a cozy and energetic 12 song record compiled from six releases from the Faith Brothers leader and creator of the charity single “The Beautiful Game”.  Despite the varying production qualities from track-to-track, Euphoria has a terrific pub-next-door feel – its genuine warmth overall is contagious.  And if you’ve ever heard the Faith Brothers, no one, but no one, writes emotionally rich songs like these like Billy Franks.  With live tracks like “Sleep A Little Easy When It Rains” as well as other songs full of beautiful and brutal honesty like “Just”, “Beautiful Heresy”, “She’s The Messiah In Me”, and “50/50 America”, it’s easy to get caught up in such fine and raw veteran musicianship.  Be sure to provide a donation if you can.

COLIN MUNROE “I Would Die 4 U”

Toronto’s Colin Munroe came to my attention in 2008 with the release of his adventurous mixtape Colin Munroe Is The Unsung Hero, which featured covers as diverse as songs like U2’s “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and originals, sometimes with some better known friends, such as the shouldabeenahit “Will I Stay”, featuring Wale and Dallas Austin.  Well this singer/producer/DJ is back in the aftermath of what sounds like a record deal gone (near?) sour, and he’s boldly chosen a Prince cover to stage his re-entry.  Yes, “I Would Die 4 U” is a favourite of many Prince fans, but Colin has slowed it down a bit to give it more emotional, almost retrospective or even introspective quality.  And no, that is not autotune folks.  It’s free with subscription to Colin’s newsletter – worth it always to find out what he’s up to next!

PETER KATZ “Dangerous”

The iTunes single of the week feature often brings intriguing tracks and artists to the attention of the public, and being from Canada I see a regular and different selection.  Toronto-based Peter Katz’s “Dangerous” is edgy, thoughtful folk/pop that stays in your head, and reminds me of Michael Penn’s best efforts of the early 90’s.  It’s from his fourth release, and first through Sony, called First Of The Last To Know, and you can hear tracks from it at his website .  And it looks like he’s touring a lot, so check out his tour schedule too.

DARIN  “Lovekiller”

OK hit me over the head with a large plank or something, but after many repeated plays, Darin’s “Lovekiller”, a Swedish #1 hit, has finally sunk in.  I thought the song was perhaps too derivative of too many other songs that I could think of  (including the beginning, sounding a lot like INXS’ “Never Tear Us Apart”, or as a male version of “Unfaithful” by Rihanna), but the slow-burning mystery appeal has finally sunk in.  Strange, because I was a big fan of 2008’s “Flashback”, which featured the Kat DeLuna duet “Breathing Your Love” and the “Just Dance” soundalike “Girl Next Door”, both of which landed in the Top 5 on my chart.  But the new record is definitely more mature and better written, and perhaps I just wasn’t expecting that.  Darin should be Sweden’s next natural pop export.  I can’t see why this song shouldn’t do well internationally.


ADAM TYLER “Over The Top”

Ah yes LA’s Adam of the “Friction”, one of my current favourite songs, alerted me a few weeks back through Twitter that “Over The Top”, one of the songs recorded for his upcoming Lullabies for Rattlesnakes release, had been leaked online.  It’s a mid-tempo pop/dance track not too far removed from “Friction”.  It has an undeniable hook but could benefit from a perkier remix.  You can either check out a clip of the song from Adam Tyler’s official site or try to locate it in its leaked version online.

SHANE HARPER “Dance With Me” and “Good Friends”

Another new guy from LA, Disney Channel fans already know singer/actor/dancer Shane from a supporting role in the new show “Good Luck Charlie”.  And his first could-be hit “Dance With Me” is pure teen/tween late-night-on-the-beach confection, sort of what Jesse McCartney started a few years back before the more grown up Departure album.  Top marks though for Shane’s very good voice and dance moves in the video.  As a bonus, he’s made the ballad “Good Friends” available as a free download with an email subscription to his newsletter .  Shane Harper definitely has my curious ear at hand – and I like triple threats!


THE SCRIPT’s “Science & Faith”

The Irish trio’s sophomore album after its very long-lasting 2008 debut has joined what looks like a wonderful week of record releases starting September 13 (also including Bright Light Bright Light’s “Love Part II” and Brandon Flowers’ “Flamingo”).


CLAYTON SENNE’s “And Her Name Is Music”

Kansas-born but Florida-based piano man Clayton Senne tweeted a few weeks back that he would release his second album on January 1, 2011 – for binary code fans that’s 010111 🙂 On Saturday, August 29, he performed a new song full of urgency with oodles of potential called “Floodgates” on Orlando Live Streaming , during which he also announced that the title of said release would be “And Her Name Is Music”.  I hope to be blogging a bit more about this talented new artist and this record in the coming months, so watch for it!  In the meantime, check out his official site.


RICHARD BARONE “Glow”

The former Bongos member and creator of a number of fine solo albums, including 1990’s Primal Dream and 1994’s Clouds Over Eden, is back with his new CD “Glow” (also due next week, on September 14), and will be performing several club dates in the New York/New Jersey areas.  I saw Richard in concert many years ago in Toronto and he can captivate an audience very easily.

Tuned-On! Top 30 #334 – August 30/10

As the end of summer approaches, another season of music begins, and I’m pleased that it includes the artists of my top two songs.

I was fortunate enough to see Brandon Flowers in concert on Wednesday, August 25 at the Mod Club in Toronto.  It was a good – but not great – 50 minute show to focus on his upcoming solo debut Flamingo (picture of deluxe version cover above), which drops on September 14.  There are definitely some solid songs which I’m looking forward to hearing on my stereo  – Jilted Lovers and Broken Hearts, Playing With Fire, Magdalena.  Brandon was in good voice but his Killers band members were sorely missed.  In any event, “Crossfire” is still the best song of the bunch thus far, and it retains its #1 status on my personal chart this week.  At the bottom of this post are some pics from the concert 🙂

Rod Thomas aka Bright Light Bright Light (or Bright Light x 2) is one of 2010’s pop music treats, and I can’t wait enough for a full album.  Former #1 “A New Word To Say” holds tight at #2, while “Cry At Films”, the B-side of the forthcoming “Love Part II” single, arrives on the chart at #25.  For me, the ‘B-side’ no longer has the same meaning as the halcyon days of 45 vinyl singles.  Rather than filler, sometimes the B-side is better than the track being promoted.  And while that’s not the case – as you’ll find out in two weeks, when “Love Part II” is released and debuts on my chart 😉 – it’s easy to revel in the soft, emotional, and danceable qualities that Rod brings on “Cry At Films”.

The Top 10 has a change-up that still allows Two Door Cinema Club’s “Something Good Can Work” – one of the more chipper songs of the year – to advance to #3.  British duo Bim – whose lush and emotional album Scatterheart you must check out – score in the Top 5 with “Head Over Heels”, and L.A.’s Adam Tyler’s “Friction” is contagious enough in its Ricardo Autobahn edit to become the Fastest Riser on the chart, up from 14 to 7.  Toronto’s Roz Bell is one of Canada’s most interesting and underrated talents, whose third effort Songs For Leaving will be well worth the wait when it arrives.  In the meantime, bask in “Endless Summer Night”, which climbs to #8.

I expect a chart housecleaning in two weeks, which will get rid of a log jam of wonderful songs stuck behind each other in the Top 20.  I’m eyeing songs by Chris Mann, Elouise, Ryan Star, and perhaps Hanson to bust out and eventually they all may land in the Top 10, pending competition.  And Billy Franks’ “The Beautiful Game”, now at #17, keeps reminding me that humility and a great tune will do wonders with each listen.  Maroon 5’s fun “Misery” lands at #20… which feels somewhat underwhelming for such a good band, but there are indeed many stronger songs out there, and we’ll have to see how powerful the other songs are on the forthcoming Hands All Over album.

“Dear Dictator” by Saint Motel continues to get stuck in my head and advances to #21, with The Script’s “For The First Time” not behind at #23.  The other new songs this week arrive in a revisit to Lady GaGa’s The Fame Monster album, allowing “Dance In The Dark” to bow at #24.  And at #26 is a new Detroit-raised singer who comes via L.A. with a great summer song.  Christian TV’s flirty and maybe a tad naughty “When She Turns 18” is a grower and may yet become a hit going into the Fall months.  Check out the video below.

Despite the lack of blogs within the last two weeks I have been listening to a lot of music, and expect to update you all on some of the better ones over the next few days.  Enjoy!


Tuned-On! Top 30 #333 – August 16/10

Elouise

It’s now a few weeks away for the release dates of what could be a few of the year’s great records.  One of those belongs to Killers singer Brandon Flowers – his solo debut Flamingo is due September 6, and “Crossfire” has wasted no time in attaining the pole position on my chart.  It steals it away after one appearance from Bright Light Bright Light’s “A New Word To Say”, which slips to #2, but Rod Thomas and friends of course have the utterly brilliant “Love Part II” coming for official release on September 13.  Expect that song to chart here in two weeks.

Two Door Cinema Club’s Tourist History is quietly becoming one of the albums that should be heard right now.  The Irish band is coming to my city (Toronto) in October, complete with Penguin Prison as opener!!  “Something Good Can Work” finds a weak part of the Top 10 and takes advantage of it, moving 9-4.  Evan Taubenfeld’s “Pumpkin Pie” and David Guetta’s “Gettin’ Over You” both move up a notch.  Three new songs join the Top 10 – the sublime 70’s disco influence of Goldfrapp’s “Dreaming”, the modern electro-punk energy of “Your Body Is A Machine” by The Good Natured, and the tears behind the pop smile of Bim’s “Head Over Heels”.

The middle of this chart continues to be log-jammed with great songs.  The ones more likely to cut through are this edition’s fastest riser, the gorgeous Steve Anderson-produced torch song “Pretender” by UK’s Elouise, climbing 27-18.  Londoners be sure to check out her show for me on September 11 at the Tabernacle! Then we have boy power pop courtesy of Adam Tyler’s “Friction” and its free propulsive Ricardo Autobahn edit.  Still awaiting the Lullabies for Rattlesnakes album! The Top 10 will also have to make way for Roz Bell’s should-be-summer-anthem “Endless Summer Night”, while other songs by Reni Lane, Lifehouse, Chris Mann, Hanson, and Kylie Minogue are all just plain solid.  Maroon 5’s “Misery” pulls up the rear and advances 28-24.

I’m going to continue to plug “The Beautiful Game” by UK singer Billy Franks, which moves up to #19.  It has a lot of hidden quiet power in its melody and emotion, and proceeds go to a charity set up by Prince Harry to help African children, and you can purchase it on iTunes.  Billy – the former leader of one of the 80’s treasures called The Faith Brothers – has also made available for free download a full album of music called Euphoria, which I expect to blog about in the coming weeks.  Download it right here.

On to the debuts.  Surely it’s no surprise after his August 3 concert that another track from Ryan Star’s 11:59 appears (while “Breathe” tumbles to #8)!  And yes it’s “Start A Fire”, which is about to blaze a path of glory in these parts, arriving at #22.  Then we have the fun and slightly eccentric dance sounds of Saint Motel.  The LA quartet lands at #27 with the Sam Sparro remix of “Dear Dictator”.  Finally, The Script haven’t been away from this chart for long, as the long legs of the band’s self-titled debut album have proven a lasting commercial success.  From their upcoming sophomore record Science and Faith comes “For The First Time” at #28.  It’s very samey-sounding to songs off the debut record but it certainly grows on you, and their audience sure enjoys the earnest and emotional style of this Irish trio.

It’s been a quiet, dull live concert scene in Toronto for me this summer.  Most of the artists I’ve wanted to see did not come to my town.  A whole bunch – Two Door Cinema Club, Penguin Prison, Florence & The Machine, Matt and Kim, Miike Snow – are coming within weeks of each other in October – and Brandon Flowers is performing a show for Virgin Mobile members only (you must be a member – which I am 🙂  – to enter the contest, so I’m crossing my fingers!!).  And I’m hopeful that others like Lifehouse, The Script, and Ryan Star, will find there way here to make the winter months more pleasant.

Quirky & Quiet Retro iTouch Shuffle Mix

Sometimes letting the iTouch go to shuffle comes up with some interesting mixes of music that you wouldn’t put together yourself.  Here’s what I heard on the drive to work this morning.  Pretty quirky and quiet until the last songs – makes me wonder what I’ll hear on the drive home 🙂

Michael Buble “Sway (Ralphi’s Salsation vox edit)” (2004)

Andy Bell “Crazy” (2005 – Electric Blue album)

Tony Stone “This Is Serious (extended mix)” (1988)

Fashion “Dressed To Kill” (1982 – Fabrique album)

Steve Winwood “The Finer Things” (1987)

Jai “Cry Me A River” (1998 – Heaven album)

Book Of Love “I Touch Roses” (1986)

Kaiser Chiefs “Thank You Very Much” (2007 – Yours Truly, Angry Mob album)

Madonna & Justin Timberlake “4 Minutes” (2008)

I’ll try and post links to a few of the more obscure songs later.