More Simon Curtis Excellent Internet Adventures

So it’s two Mondays after Billboard dropped the first teaser mix of Simon Curtis’ upcoming album called R∆… I look at my cell phone Twitter feed after work today and it’s flooded with tweets about the second teaser, this time courtesy of blogger extraordinaire Arjan Writes.  The songs featured, “Chip In Your Head”, “Soul4Sale”, and “Get In Line” sound darker and similarly aggressive to the four songs featured in the first mix.  What I like the most about what I hear in these songs is the in-your-face brutal honesty of some of the lyrics, as well as some of the creative verses which simply exclaim “Score!!!”.  Read all about it and listen right here!

I’m attending the Superfraiche show at which Simon is playing in Brooklyn NY on Friday April 1.  It’s one of my most anticipated events in years and I think will prove to be memorable in many ways.

Two years after “Spectacular!” and a year after “8-bit Heart”, and our Boy Robot has come such a long way 🙂

Tuned-On! Top 30 #349 – March 28/11

As much as I can’t resist the laid back and mysterious charm of Jamie Woon’s “Night Air”, the song gives way to the summit of my personal chart after one appearance in favour of the positively infectious, can’t-stand-still hedonism of Christian TV’s “Love 2 Baby”, whose video was featured two weeks ago in these pages.  “Love 2 Baby” should by all rights be a must-play this Spring and Summer, so listen for it and get it on iTunes in advance of Christian’s upcoming album.

That leaves Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep” holding in third place this week, while Frankmusik’s supurb ballad “Hurt You Again” climbs to #4 – if you thought Mr. Frank was only a remixer and dance artist, this song proves what an amazing voice he has.  And the Top 10 is packed with fine vocalists.  Adam Tyler’s Euro-inspired pop dance song “I Won’t Let You Go” continues to climb, with Dan Black complementing Aussie producers Bag Raiders on “Sunlight”, and the Red One Jimmy Joker remix of Usher’s “More” right behind.  Adele’s current UK chart topper – her 5th week at the top there – “Someone Like You”, is the lone new entry into the Top 10.

The feel good vibe of Andy Grammer’s “Keep Your Head Up” is paying off slow and steady as the song’s about to crack my Top 10, with the Richard X remix of Patrick Wolf’s “The City” in tow in anticipation of his upcoming album Lupercalia.  “Born This Way” by Lady GaGa hasn’t worn on me and it jumps to #13, while Enrique Iglesias’ party-hardy “Tonight” also rises up to #16.

The song that has grown on me the most these past few weeks is the fastest riser on my chart.  Kyle Brylin is a new singer from Wisconsin and his alternately hypnotic and eerie “Everything I’m Missing” soars 24-17.  Double back to the video featured a few weeks back while you’re at it.  BT’s warm electronica of “The Emergency” cracks the Top 20 along with the softer sound of “How To Make A Heart” by Bright Light Bright Light.  I think Brandon Flowers’ fans should convince Island Records to release “Jilted Lovers and Broken Hearts” as a single to extend the life of his fine Flamingo album.  The song rises to #21 this week.

Our four new entries are led by Sweden’s Eurovision entry – which I think has a great shot at winning the whole deal.  I was so glad to see Eric Saade’s “Popular”  (arriving at #18) take home the Melodifestivalen award – it could very well be one of the finest songs of the year, and I’m going to say again that it has immense international potential, now all Eric’s handlers have to do is get him on Twitter and use this opportunity to promote the hell out of this song.  Check out that starmaking video again from a few weeks back.  Next is the second single from Jamie Woon’s upcoming Mirrorwriting album.  I wasn’t sure what to make of it right away, but like so many UK soul-inspired records over the years, its understated appeal and the contemporary dubstep rhythm make “Lady Luck” (debuting at #22) unique, and you can view its video at the bottom of this page.

Further down, I’m bucking the singles that have been released from The Script’s sophomore album Science and Faith in favour of an extra song on the North American version of the album.  I think the pairing of rapper B.o.B. with the band has given their song “Walk Away” an extra boost, and it arrives on this chart at #26.  Listen to the song right here to see what I mean.  And last is a singer from the Toronto area who first appeared on this chart in late 1999 with a slice of pop/electronica called “Don’t Wanna Lose You”, and then again in 2002 with “Get Ready”, both of which got to the Top 5.  After that I thought a lot of his songs began to sound awfully similar, so I was glad to see a new approach with his latest album Fresh.  Shawn Desman is back with the fun “Electric” at #27, and you can view the video mashup with “Night Like This” right here.

You can view the full chart using the link under ***BILL’S PERSONAL CHART*** to the right, or you can click right here.  Be sure to leave any comments you might have, and thanks for reading 🙂

Bill’s Fun 90’s Dance Mix!!

Listen to my half hour Fun 90’s Dance Mix!! if you:

  • have pent up energy that needs to be released on the dance floor (or your living room or basement floor will do)
  • want to hear some songs you haven’t heard in a long time or perhaps not at all
  • need a distraction from a difficult day

Guaranteed to put you in a better mood, at very least 🙂 I’m not a pro, and these aren’t what I would call ‘correctly beat mixed’, but not too shabby at all.

You can leave some comments to identify the 15 songs… once the majority are identified I’ll post the listing.

Have fun… and if you like it you can download it 🙂

Canadian Music Week Follow-Up: Long Story Short and John Nathaniel

Connection makes the world go round.  Through my love of music, and particularly in the last 5 years through social networking, I’ve been able to hear music and meet people that never would have happened before that.  On March 12, I took in an evening at a small club in Toronto called The Central for a brief set by Canadian/US duo Long Story Short accompanied by their producer and co-songwriter John Nathaniel.  Here are my comments about recent releases by both.

Long Story Short “What A Scene”

Montrealer Daniel Luka and L.A.’s Nicky James are Long Story Short, and have been writing songs together for about the last year and a half.  Their debut independent release What A Scene is thoughtful adult contemporary pop with an edge, featuring songs that would not be at all out of place next to ones from Lifehouse, The Fray, fellow Montrealers Mobile, and The Script.  The CD kicks off hard and in your face with the rockin’ “Fall Awake” and “Caved In”, certainly one of the record’s best tracks which won second place in the Canadian Radiostar songwriting competition during Canadian Music Week.  Softer and romantic songs find their way into the music later on, such as the touching “What Mattered Most” (my favourite song, (which Daniel said began as a melody when he was in the shower – had to get out to write it all down!), “Forever” (which Daniel says has already been played at weddings!), and “Someone”.  The duo both play piano and sing, with Daniel’s lead vox reminiscent especially in his lower range from songs by Howie Day (“Collide”, “She Says”) from a few years back.   All in all, with sparkling production by John Nathaniel, What A Scene comes off as slick and savvy.  It’s available on iTunes Canada and you can visit the duo’s Facebook page right here.  Hear “What Mattered Most” and see a pic of the duo below.

John Nathaniel featuring Phoebe Sharp “Undecided”

Montreal singer/multi-instrumentalist/ and award-winning producer (Pat Groulx, Marie-Mai) John Nathaniel was one of the first indie artists that I encountered when I joined MySpace back in its 2006-08 heyday.  John had already used that site in his campaign to promote music that would end up on two records, Crash and Burn as well as Shades Of Grey, in 2008, and he acquired over 100,000 friends which led to numerous fan sites being developed throughout the world.  This led to a third album, Overdrive.  Most recently, John has issued a single with U.S. singer Phoebe Sharp called “Undecided”.  Much different from his quieter songs (“Ever” is my favourite and reached #6 on my chart in 2008) or Collective Soul-inspired rock (such as “Crash and Burn”), “Undecided” starts off as a rocker that whirls into a duet that has this Big Movie Feel – you can visualize it being played over the opening credits of a major movie, reminding me of songs like Train’s “Ordinary” (from “Spider-Man 2”).  All of John’s records are available through iTunes Canada, and you can visit his MySpace site right here.  Listen to this interesting pairing below and see a pic of John below.

Although their set was sabotaged by poor sound, Long Story Short have great potential, and it was terrific to spend some time with Dan, Nicky, and John afterwards.  Sometimes I think it’s best to see sets like this first in a small club setting. I was also very pleased with calibre of talent that Canadian Music Week put together for this evening.  Enjoyable sets by 17 year old Maddy Rodriguez, Montreal’s Matt Stern, and Vancouver’s Steph MacPherson all followed.

It’s Almost Herrrre… Billboard Spotlight on Simon Curtis and Preview of “R∆”

The various social networks are all abuzz this afternoon with Billboard’s spotlight on Simon Curtis and a preview of his upcoming album, which he has called “R∆” – I’m sure we’ll find out what that all means in due time.  In the meantime, the preview contains snippets of “Don’t Dance”, “Enemy”, “Pit of Vipers”, and “Laser Guns Up”, some of which fans have already heard at Simon’s recent shows and sound like much more aggressive, in-your-face electro pop than in the music and themes from “8-bit Heart”.

AND… speaking of shows, Simon is playing at Superfraiche, the amazing concert series by noted blogger Arjan Writes, this time in Brooklyn NY on Friday April 1.  I’m hoping to find out later this week if I can splurge and go.

All in all… not to be missed.

Here’s the link to the Billboard article and the preview of “R∆”…

Reintroducing This Blog… and the Tuned-On! Top 30 #348 – March 14, 2011

While my new personal chart is hopping with activity, it’s generally been pretty quiet in the music world these past few weeks, and both Canadian Music Week and SXSW are in progress.  So for those who are unfamiliar with this blog, allow me to reintroduce it for you.

BillcsIsTuned-On! the blog began in September 2009 as my outlet for selective things good and musical and mainly current that I enjoy and would like to share with others.  Like other bloggers, the benefit of others discovering the music that we are talking about – even if we aren’t the first to talk about them – is the reward of writing this blog.  The blog also frames the bi-weekly publication of my favourite 30 songs of the moment, the Tuned-On! Top 30, which I have been producing online since late 1997 and is now in its 348th edition.  Like everyone, I have my favourite singers and performers.  Unlike many bloggers, I have over 30 years of music fandom, college radio and writing experience.  I love documenting the history of music and compiling lists, and this forum is one way I can share this kind of information with you as well.

Meanwhile, back on the Top 30 🙂  When I look at the current chart, it makes me wanna be at SXSW so much.  I’ve been to Austin TX and enjoy it a whole lot.  Combine that ‘weird’ city with artists on my chart who are performing there – Jamie Woon, Frankmusik, Duran Duran, Andy Grammer, Bright Light Bright Light, and Penguin Prison – and I guess I’ll just say that I’m there in spirit.

Jamie Woon fortunately is coming to my town (Toronto) on March 25 and I’m hoping to catch his show.  “Night Air” climbs to #1 this week a month before his CD Mirrorwriting is due in the U.K.  Can’t. Wait.  I posted a preview of the video for “Love 2 Baby” by Christian TV a few weeks back.  The song scores a very competitive runner-up spot on the chart.The full video debuts on Monday March 14 and I will post that clip once it’s available.  EDIT!  The video’s below 🙂

Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep” climbs easily to #3, while Ro Danishei and Simon Curtis stay at a strong #4 with “Michelle”.  There’s double Frankmusik, with “The Fear Inside” slipping from the top to #5 and glorious ballad “Hurt You Again” moving to #6.  Far East Movement and Ryan Tedder get stuck at #7 with “Rocketeer”, and three songs make their first appearances in the Top 10.

“I Won’t Let You Go” is one of Adam Tyler’s best songs and it leaps to #8 – I’m so looking forward to his debut album Lullabies for Rattlesnakes.  “Sunlight” by Bag Raiders featuring Dan Black will be more effective with Spring around the corner and moves 16-9.  “More” by Usher continues to impress me with the singer’s delivery and the production, and it becomes his first Top 10 hit on the chart (his 9th entry) since “Yeah” reached the summit in 2004.

Songs by Andrea Lewis, Andy Grammer, Alphaville, Neverest, and BT all move up, but surround songs that make greater gains.  “The City” by Patrick Wolf is Top 10 bound as it jumps 20-14, and “Tonight” by Enrique Iglesias & Ludacris (in whatever version you prefer) moves 26-20.  But the song that has captured music fans’ attention the most this Winter is also the fastest riser, and that’s “Born This Way” by Lady GaGa, up 25-17.

Three of the four chart debuts have already been mentioned previously.  Don’t get me started on Adele’s “Someone Like You”.  The song makes a splashing debut at #12, and continues as the deserved UK #1.  It looks to be one of the best songs of the year from the 21 album, which could be the best album of the last several years.  Further down at an impressive #23 is “How To Make A Heart” by Bright Light Bright Light – don’t forget to watch the sad but entertaining video.  On a danceable but totally different bent is Kyle Brylin’s “Everything I’m Missing” at a smashing #24, a song that I’ve found to be quite contagious over the past few weeks.  And yeah check out the video again, while you’re at it, and then pick up the song as a free download right here.  Lastly, as “Jacksonville” departs so continues the presence of songs from Brandon Flowers and the enduring Flamingo album on this chart.  One of the best songs he performs live in concert is at #27, “Jilted Lovers & Broken Hearts” – watch the clip below.

You can view the full chart using the link to the right under ***BILL’S PERSONAL CHART*** or just click right here.  Enjoy and post your comments 🙂

The Netherlands’ Matt Blue is a Cancer Survivor

New talent 18 year old Matt Blue, whose striking cover of Jason Derulo’s “What If” was featured in this space last month, did a TwitCam chat this afternoon.

He revealed that an album is being recorded in Belgium, that he’s in talks with major labels about the record, and that he has performed live in and outside of the Netherlands.  I asked:

@billcs: @mattbluemusic What was the turning point that made you want to sing, perform and record?

@mattbluemusic: @billcs Well i was diagnosed with cancer last year that made me wanna sing for a living

@mattbluemusic @billcs I fought it and it’s cured now!

Congratulations Matt!!  That is always so amazing for me to hear.  As you all know our favourite 8-bit Heart guy, Simon Curtis, also beat cancer but at a younger age.  And my 17 year old son has a close friend who had cancer at age 11 and is now clean.

You can hear Matt’s music on You Tube at

The pic  below is from a print screen shot of Matt, so you can have a good look at him 🙂

Heading into Spring Popervescence!

I could certainly write paragraphs gloating over Adele’s ginormously supurb 21 album, and in particular the UK #1 single “Someone Like You”, or I could go on and on about how I think Britney’s “Till The World Ends” should be the 2011 World Cup soccer theme but retitled “Till The Game Ends”.  But instead I’ve got some wonderful new music to tell you about and a couple of tidbits about some upcoming shows in my town (Toronto).

Kyle Brylin “Everything I’m Missing”


Kyle Brylin “Committed”

After reading glowing reviews over U.S. singer Kyle Brylin’s songs over the past couple of years, and being lukewarm about them, you have no idea how happy I am to praise his latest efforts “Everything I’m Missing” and “Committed”, from his upcoming album Make It So.  These songs are so different from anything on the InterWeb now, and that’s pretty hard to achieve.  You might think at first: Too Much Flippin’ Autotune.  Maybe.  But there’s something utterly hypnotic and otherworldly about “Missing” in particular that got my eyebrows arched last week and now tugs on my ears regularly.  Then there’s “Committed”, which has this smashing hook and less autotune, but doesn’t quite hold the same interest all the way through.  Last, there are the videos.  The video for “Missing” seems pretty typical, until you notice one feature:  Excessive amount of eyeliner.  And just with all that black, the imagery turns somewhat sardonically sinister, despite Kyle’s great smile and overall seductive tone of the song.  The video for “Committed” is impressive in a different way.  Call it Bold Chair Calisthenics.   Terrific job.  Keep this great music coming and Kyle Brylin will be the toast of the pop/dance club scene.

Eric Saade “Popular”

The songs to date from 20 year old Swedish pop star Eric Saade have been catchy, but other songs have tended to capture my interest more.  That is, until “Popular”.  This song is a Finalist in Sweden’s annual Melodifestivalen contest.  This show has some of the best performances for a televised event that I’ve seen in years.  Young Mr. Saade’s compelling performance of “Popular” so reminds me of the star-making performance by Mans Zelmerlow two years ago.  While Mans hasn’t broken into the international market, “Popular” is more accessible and screams International Pop Winner.  Good luck to Eric this coming weekend *fingers crossed*

Collin McLoughlin “Back To The Wall”

Collin McLoughlin is a 22 year old singer from New York who previously played hip hop/pop/rock music in a band called Nautical Young.  With a few connections such as producers One Love (B.o.B.’s “Airplanes”), Collin has branched off into a solo career focusing on pop/rock with a soulful but commercial edge.  That’s attracted a lot of interest among a fervent fan base at his live shows.  A recent single from his upcoming album is “Back To The Wall”, which has a streetwise sound that wouldn’t sound out of place at a sporting event in a large stadium.  Sometimes big can be better and it sure looks like Collin McLoughlin’s career is getting bigger by the moment.

Toronto Tidbits

It doesn’t seem long ago that Toronto-based quartet The Midway State released its debut full length album Holes.  But actually that was in 2008!  Enduring singles “Never Again” and “Change For You”, a performance with Lady GaGa in 2009 for a cover of Peter Gabriel & Kate Bush’s “Don’t Give Up”, as well as constant touring have built a loyal following which led to two Juno Awards nominations and well-attended gigs just about everywhere.  Amid all of this the band has recorded its follow up album Paris Or India, due on May 31, and will showcase songs in Toronto at a St. Patrick’s Day show (March 17) at The Ballroom.  Find out more about the show at the band’s website – a good show by these four nice guys is well worth checking out!

He’s gonna be more than a flavour of the moment:  UK pop/soul guy Jamie Woon is performing a handful of North American shows, including one in Toronto on March 25 at Wrongbar.  You can hear a new track below by Jamie called “Lady Luck”, which exudes its own charm, and is totally unlike my recent chart fave “Night Air”.

Shhh… here’s the clip from the Brit Awards of Adele singing “Someone Like You”.  Couldn’t resist – so heartwrenching 🙂

And finally… dance your ahhhsss off to an amazing 90’s megamix courtesy of Bright Light Bright Light 🙂

Tuned-On! Top 30 #347 – February 28/11

My newest personal chart is a busy one despite the lack of debuts.  Continuing to lead at the summit is the top notch “The Fear Inside” by Frankmusik, while Mr. Frank’s ballad “Hurt You Again” soars into the Top 10 at #8 as the Fastest Riser on the chart.   Inching up to runner-up spot is “Night Air” by UK singer Jamie Woon, who has some North American show dates on deck, including SXSW in Austin and one in my town on March 25 🙂  Making the Top 3 songs extremely competitive is the irresistible “Love 2 Baby” by Christian TV, whose video is in the works as you can see in the behind-the-scenes preview at the top of this page.  We’ll see who places first in two weeks.

Continuing its impressive rise is the scorching “Michelle” by Ro Danishei featuring Simon Curtis, now entrenched in the Top 5.  And joining it is Adele’s soulful “Rolling In The Deep”, from her brand new album 21.  Besides “Hurt You Again”, the Top 10 has a change up with three additional debuts.  “Rocketeer” by Far East Movement featuring Ryan Tedder (which Frankmusik is performing on tour instead, since the Far East guys are his label-mates) climbs 13-7, while Duran Duran’s “All You Need Is Now” and “Ice Melts” by Matt & Kim (who were recently in Europe) round out the Top 10.  Duran Duran are also featured in SXSW next month.

Also on the rise for a sunny Spring and looking good for Top 10 status soon include Adam Tyler’s europop flavoured “I Won’t Let You Go”, “Sunlight” by Australia’s Bag Raiders featuring Dan Black (video at the bottom of the page – love the use of the word iridescence!),  “Keep Your Head Up” which has L.A.’s Andy Grammer (another SXSW performer) accentuating the positive, Alphaville’s update of their 80’s eurodisco with “I Die For You Today”, and the sparkling Richard X mix of “The City” by Patrick Wolf.

The newbies on the chart this week are actually huge hits which I’ve already discussed in previous blogs:  Lady GaGa’s forever anthem “Born This Way”, and “Tonight” (in whichever version you want) by Enrique Iglesias and Ludacris.

You can view the full chart using the link to the right under ***BILL’S PERSONAL CHART*** or click right here.  Please post any comments you might have – thanks for reading 🙂

New Songs from Nelson Clemente, Bright Light Bright Light, and newcomer Matt Blue

Nelson Clemente “Love.Feel.Dangerous.” (EP)

I’ve been thoroughly enjoying Australian electropop singer Nelson Clemente’s songs since I first heard them three years ago.  Alternately tantalizing us with mystery, intrigue, sexual innuendo, and that simple act of being human, Nelson’s latest and free download EP release continues with the simplicities and complexities of life.  My favourite song within is “You’re A Star”, which starts off with a Darren Hayes-ish vocal but gradually captivates the listener with the basic sense of wonderfulness that the song conveys.  It’s not quite as simple/sparse as Nelson’s own “You Me Us We” but like that song its message is convincing.  We also have two more mysterious and layered songs, “No Protection” and “Unsaveable”.  “No Protection” is somewhat like last year’s “90 Days” (also in the EP in its original and excellent Soundbaker remix), it has a sinewy hook that gets under your skin.  “Unsaveable” is quieter food for thought and shows off Nelson’s flair for a lovely melody while name checking the title of the EP, the essence of all of the songs within.  Enjoy all of these songs by downloading them right here.

Bright Light Bright Light “How To Make A Heart”

Our favourite current one man show, Welsh singer/producer/DJ Rod Thomas, continues to impress with every record he releases in anticipation of his full length album Make Me Believe In Hope.  In the first of a series of animated videos, we have a sad robot starring in “How To Make A Heart”, one of BLx2’s more elegantly beautiful songs which I first enjoyed on a limited EP purchased at the end of BLx2’s late 2010 UK tour.  I enjoy how each release is a project unto itself because by the time we have the full album in our hands it is sure to be one of 2011’s very, very best.  Not too much you can say about this one except to soak in the video clip above.  For anyone in New York City or at SXSW in Austin, TX in March, Rod will be performing some gigs to both showcase his wonderful songs and his DJ skills which you can hear in some mixes he’s posted at

Matt Blue “What If”

Who is Matt Blue, you may ask?  Well all that I know is that he’s 18 years old, resides in the Netherlands, seems to have a loyal Twitter and Facebook fanbase, and has a penchant for spot-on cover versions of recent songs, though I understand he writes his own stuff too.  But that’s all I know, and once I know a little more I will update you.  Until that time, I must admit that I am totally astonished at his cover version of Jason Derulo’s “What If” – to me, it’s better than the original.  And when you have a voice THAT good, as you can hear above, the world simply will not wait.  Matt Blue is one to watch for 2011!

Simon Curtis show alert:  If you happen to reside near Cornell University in Ithaca NY, you can find Simon performing a set at the university’s “Filthy/Gorgeous” show at 10:00 pm on Saturday, February 26.  Event info is right here.