When Coffee Meets Music: Evan Taubenfeld’s “Starbucks Girl”

Evan Taubenfeld's "Starbucks Girl"

In 2009, we saw the cutting side of Baltimore-born Evan Taubenfeld – the second one of my 10 Performers to Watch in 2010 to release something new in the last week –  in the intensity of “Cheater of the Year”, and then his playful side in the sing-along of “Boy Meets Girl”.

Now, to kick off 2010,  some sentimentality and romance accompany a great cup of coffee in “Starbucks Girl” (and if you follow Evan on Twitter, he does like his coffee – Tim Hortons in Canada natch!).

If you’re gonna do a double take and go ‘Oh no, AUTOTUNE!” on your first listen, well you’ll just need to give it a few more spins and watch the cute, sincere video clip below (honestly, they don’t make ’em like this anymore!), and you may just listen past it.  You might want to reference a catchy recent tune like Owl City’s “Fireflies”  or look back a few years ago to the equally infectious helloGoodbye’s “Here (In Your Arms)” as companion pieces.  And while “Fireflies” has yet to grab me, “Here” is on my iTouch, as soon will be “Starbucks Girl”.  I do have one request though:  An autotune-less version – maybe a live one – available for all of us that also enjoy Evan’s voice as is – please!

“Starbucks Girl” is the third glimpse of songs that will be part of Evan’s anxiously awaited  Welcome To The Blacklist Club CD when it’s released later this year.  Starbucks has definitely got to appreciate the free plug too!

Under The Microscope: Dan Black’s “Weird Science” mixtape

As I anxiously await his Toronto debut on February 20, one of my 10 Performers to Watch in 2010, Dan Black, dropped his FREE all-things-unusual-and-wonderful mixtape “Weird Science”, in conjunction with the North American release of his debut CD ‘UN’.

Kate Bush? Bruce Springsteen? Bryan Ferry? Madonna?  Missy Elliott?  They’re all here in this very cool mashed up experiment, which will probably be amazingly hot in his club show.

Recommended track:  “Pass That Head Noize”, which bounces and slams along till the break of dawn…

Download FREE right here.  Thanks Dan!!

UPDATE:  Unfortunately the link above is now offline.  If a new one surfaces, I’ll post it here!  You can hear “Pass That Head Noize on his my space site http://www.myspace.com/danblacksounds

Tuned-On! Top 30 #319 – Feb 1/10

As you all know, “Delusional” by Simon Curtis has been monopolizing my chart since before the holidays, and Simon continues a 4th consecutive appearance (that’s 8 weeks!) at the top this week (and just you wait till you hear his upcoming ‘mixtape’ 8Bit Heart!! – more surprises than a barrel of monkeys happy with lots of bananas!).  But Mika’s glorious “Rain” moves to #2 and is about to become a worthy successor to “Delusional” in what looks to be a year of Pop Pop Glorious Pop!  If Lady GaGa can open up the Grammy Awards telecast and have a duet with Sir Elton John in tow (image below), then 2010 looks to be an unforgettable year in Pop Pop Glorious Pop music!

Speaking of Ms G, “Bad Romance” isn’t budging from the Top 5 yet, while the magnificent “Speechless” hustles its way into the Top 10 and pulling “Teeth” seems no mean feat as the song ties as the Fastest Riser on the chart, moving 24-18.

Lifehouse is in Top 5 territory for the first time in almost 5 years as “Halfway Gone” inches up to – #5!  Nelson Clemente’s entry for Microsoft’s Playlist 7 contest ties for Fastest Riser as the many moods of “90 Days” climb 17-11.  The Crystal Method’s Grammy nominated CD has yielded the pairing with Metric’s Emily Haines on “Come Back Clean”, while Dragonette’s “Pick Up The Phone” and John Mayer’s “Heartbreak Warfare” are on the upswing.

Not to sound deliberately like Yoda 😉 , but 4 debuts have we this week.

I thought Blake Lewis’ first album Audio Day Dream was unique and showed a lot of promise, but it honestly didn’t grab me much beyond some initial curiosity.  I thought the trend was continuing with just-okay songs like “Sad Song” and “How Many Words” arriving to promote sophomore effort Heartbreak On Vinyl.  Then comes the title track – and I melt!  Perhaps unknowingly, the song speaks volumes for my generation which is just in the process of losing midsize-to-small record stores across North America, allowing us to shed a few deserved tears as testament to the power they once had.  This vital song debuts at a strong #21.  Good on you, Blake!

Next up, and equally vital in obvious ways, is the stunning performance that is “Hallelujah” by Justin Timberlake and protege Tennman Records signee Matt Morris, along with veteran guitarist Charlie Sexton.  The Internet came along too late to chart Jeff Buckley’s essential version of Leonard Cohen’s poetry for me – though I could have in retrospect if I wanted.  But this new version fits the moment and shows the diversity that is now Justin Timberlake.  I’ve heard some of Morris’ debut release but it’s understated in a Joshua Radin-kind of way, so I think I have to give its songs another few listens because I’m probably missing something I didn’t think of at the time.  And Sexton is deservedly upfront after years of behind-the-scenes work – I still have his 1985 debut album, and you don’t have to look past the pop gloss to see the superstar guitarist in the making at age 17.

Then we have Norwegian singer Annie, who’s had some Scandinavian success during the past 10 years.  At age 31, she reinvents herself for the world with the Pop Pop Glorious Pop of the danceable “Don’t Stop” (and yes, it rhymes) at #26.  Lastly, Jason Derulo proves that autotune does not a sole hit make (there’s that Yoda again…).  “Whatcha Say” is nice enough, but “In My Head” delivers the real goods, and this 20 year old bows at #27 on the chart.

And with images of the latter two below, don’t forget to view the entire chart right here or click on the link under ***BILL’S PERSONAL CHART*** to the right.

Twitterwatch: Sam Taylor’s Next Song

Back on January 23, British singer Sam Taylor – who is one of my 10 Performers to Watch in 2010 – tweeted that “come 2000 followers my new song shall be posted”.  Now it doesn’t say that it will be FREE now folks – though that may be the best way to go to raise Sam’s profile in the international Interweb music world.

But really, it’s been about a year now since “Run Away” (my #1 song of 2009) and “Sometimes I Need You” grabbed my undivided attention as a part of the soundtrack to the UK TV show “Beautiful People”.  A few other fleeting songs on Sam’s MySpace page only whetted my appetite for more from this amazing new talent.

So the solution?

Follow Sam on Twitter @sammytaylor – currently he has 699 followers!!

You too can be part of the big plan when his new tunes begin to arrive.  Sam describes his next group of songs to be a mix of ballads and uptempo tracks – think One Republic’s Ryan Tedder in one direction, and Justin Timberlake’s “LoveStoned” in the other – absolutely cannot wait!!

I’ll defer to this video by our blogger of the Grammys, Arjan Writes, who interviewed an extremely modest and low key Sam.

From My iTouch Shuffle…

Sometimes it’s fortunate when you’re on a long drive home from work in bad traffic that iTouch shuffle actually cooperates and sends some good tunes your way.  Here’s my hour long drive home today (an iTouch on the retro side 😉 ):

Heatwave “The Groove Line (Dance mix)” (1978)

Patrick Wolf  “The Magic Position” (2008)

Desmond Dekker & The Aces “Israelites” (1969)

Johnny Hates Jazz “Shattered Dreams” (1988)

Dire Straits “Expresso Love” (1980)

Eurythmics “Who’s That Girl” (1984)

Janet Jackson “Weekend” (I think this was a free download a few years back)

Naomi Striemer “Let Me Go” (2005)

Alphaville “The Mysteries Of Love” (1986)

Marmalade “Reflections Of My Life” (1970)

Share your own shuffles and playlists if you wish 🙂

Free Remix of “90 Days” by Nelson Clemente

South Africa-based Australian pop/dance singer Nelson Clemente has had his song “90 Days (DJ Shpank remix)” chosen by Microsoft Windows 7 as a part of their Playlist 7 program, so congratulations Nelson 🙂

To celebrate, you can download a FREE copy of this remix right here.   Me, I’ve already bought the “90 Days” EP on iTunes, which includes all of the remixes, such as my favourite the “SoundBaker mix”. But download the remix and you will assist Nelson with getting some studio time! Because Nelson’s a whiz in the studio, he’ll concoct something wonderful with all his hard work in no time.  Follow Nelson on Twitter @thegt !

This is a song that was a long time coming, and it debuted at an impressive #17 on my personal chart, so look for it to make a good leap forward with the new chart coming this weekend!

Stay Tuned… Till Later in the week

Sorry if this blog has seemed to go quiet within the last week.  There is a lot currently going on in my life and it’s difficult to write about something that you love when things are not going well.  I’ve heard some great music by people like Annie, The Editors, Jason Derulo, and it’s weird how something like a Timbaland/Miley Cyrus combination is one of the best tracks on Shock Value II.  My ears are still all on songs by Simon Curtis, Lady GaGa, and Mika… they give me much-needed energy.  And my real job – which I don’t really talk about here – will be going more than full-tilt in February.

So as they say in radio… stay tuned for more 🙂

Tuned-On! Top 30 #318 – January 18/10

January is usually a quite month for music, basically a time to play catch-up on stuff that I’ve heard during the last six weeks while keeping up with newer songs as well.

The release date for Simon Curtis’ ‘mixtape’ 8Bit Heart is getting closer and believe me Simon has some interesting songs in store for you.  For now it will have to suffice that “Delusional” (available for a free download right here) maintains its grip on #1 for a third consecutive pair of weeks.  It’s hard to get this song out of my head with its very happy home on my iTouch but a new challenger has arisen these past few weeks.

With the gift of Mika’s The Boy Who Knew Too Much over the holidays, I blogged this week about the massive appeal of “Rain”, which debuted two weeks ago on the chart.  It outdoes previous singles “We Are Golden” and “Blame It On The Girls” (still at #5!) by bounding right into the Top 5, moving 19-3 as the Fastest Riser on the chart.  It will be a close call in two weeks for the top spot!

All of this activity leaves Lady GaGa’s “Bad Romance” stranded at #4, and has stalled the movement of “Halfway Gone” by Lifehouse, “Black & Blue” by Miike Snow, and Mitchell Hunter’s “Someone Else’s”.  Pet Shop Boys however make really good on their redux of Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida” as that song in a medley with a few lines from PSB’s “Domino Dancing” lands at #8.  Michael Buble’s dramatic cover of “Cry Me A River” ascends into the Top 10.

The biggest moves outside of the Top 10 come from two of last week’s debuts.  The Crystal Method’s track with Metric’s Emily Haines, “Come Back Clean” climbs 27-19 to match the peak of 1998’s “Comin’ Back”.  And I am one of many fans of The Fame Monster going GaGa for “Speechless”.  That song is quite a change of pace for her away from the upbeat territory of “Bad Romance” and “Just Dance”, so we’ll see if it gets promoted to pop radio.  Nonetheless, “Speechless” climbs 21-13.

The four new entries on the chart belong to Nelson Clemente’s “90 Days”, internationally known Canadian dance/rock band Dragonette with “Pick Up The Phone”, the title track from John Mayer’s “Heartbreak Warfare”, and more GaGa, this time with “Teeth” – try to check out the King Skat remix if you can.

View the full chart using the link under ***BILL’S PERSONAL CHART*** to the right or click right here.

Mika “Rain”

The hits from Mika’s CD The Boy Who Knew Too Much just keep-a-comin’!

I know for most listeners, Mika’s first CD, the award-winning Life In Cartoon Motion, set a benchmark with the UK #1 “Grace Kelly”.  But other than “Relax (Take It Easy)”, the songs from that CD to me pale in comparison to those on the new one.

Mika’s voice is at his best, the melodies soar, and the variety within the songs – from theatrical to anthemic – is extremely effective and infectious.  And with its contagious falsetto chorus, “Rain” may be the best of his new songs yet – pour it on!!

Nelson Clemente “90 Days”

I think I first heard Australian singer Nelson Clemente (now based in South Africa!) when I was first discovering MySpace a few years back.  I remember exploring someone’s list of friends, checking out those who were making music.  At the time Nelson was working on his first EP 6th Perception, which was released in 2008 featuring the sensitive and danceable ode “You Me Us We”, the reflective “It’s All My Fault”, and the song that made my year end Best list two years  in a row (the original in 2008 and the Spekr Freks remix in 2009), the mysterious and compelling “You Want Me Don’t You”.

Nelson is back to kick off the new decade with a similarly mysterious, melodic, and attractively sung new song called “90 Days”.  I love pop music that makes you think, through a story however vague it might be, accompanied by a strong voice and great melody.  That it’s now available on iTunes and Amazon is a bonus – and we get remixes right away!  I like the Sound Baker mix best; it seems to have carefully captured the essence of the original while making it clubworthy.  The other two mixes (the Electro Freak mix and Shpank’s Summer Anthem Radio Edit) are also quite good.

With the talk of summer in the lyrics and it having a Summer Anthem edit, for those of us in the West you just have to remember that it’s Summer in the East.  “90 Days” will help get the rest of us to warmer months indeed!  A You Tube link is below… you can catch up with Nelson at his My Space site as well.