Charlatans leader @Tim_Burgess releases the refreshing alt.rock of “Here Comes The Weekend”

TIM BURGESS, “Here Comes The Weekend”

While he is best known as the lead singer of the British 90’s alt.rock group The Charlatans and has released five solo albums to date, Tim Burgess has also been offering “Tim’s Listening Party” on a regular basis on Twitter for the past two years, which through his many fellow artist connections in the biz, has been welcoming and highly entertaining during the pandemic. With The Charlatans not having released new music since 2017, he turns the spotlight back on his own music with the release of “Here Comes The Weekend”, his first new music in almost two years, supported by the above video directed by Kevin Godley. “Here Comes The Weekend” is a light refreshing rock tune about two people who seemingly can never meet in person and always meet online on the weekend. The song has some lively moments thanks to a very prominent Hammond organ-type of sound, very similar to what was used in early 80’s songs such as Dire Straits’ “Walk of Life”. Nonetheless “Here Comes The Weekend” is all about the good times, even if they are at a distance.

.@ManilaKilla uses drum ‘n bass inspiration for “Take Me Higher” featuring @fknsyd

MANILA KILLA and FKNSYD, “Take Me Higher”

With “Take Me Higher”, dance producer Manila Killa goes down a more progressive electronic path than usual, incorporating drum ‘n bass flavours that really invigorate this release. In fact “Take Me Higher” could easily be a rock and roll record with the addition of live instruments like electric guitar. But with that aside the synth work is really impressive and the song has a fun, frenetic pace to it. He also added vocals by FKNSYD which help make it sound richer with that other layer. “Take Me Higher” more than sustains it’s 4 1/2 minutes length, and the stylistic musical journey of Manila Killa continues to evolve.

Swedish quartet Louis Pax offers up the classic pop flavours in “Get You Off My Mind”

LOUIS PAX, “Get You Off My Mind”

Louis Pax is a Swedish pop band that readers of this blog will already know well from their recent #1 on my personal chart, the instantly engaging and memorable “Bad Things”. “Get You Off My Mind” follows up their last single, the ballad  “Spanish Rain”, and is more of a return to the upbeat pop of “Bad Things”. The band continues to acquit themselves well with their tight, well-honed sound. The dreamy lyrics are instantly relatable as we head into Spring romance season, and you’ll hang on every word once again beautifully sung by Oscar, who has one of the best new voices around. So if you enjoy the music of 5 Seconds of Summer or Why Don’t We, then “Get You Off My Mind” will also fit snugly into your pop playlists.

Australia’s benjamin sings about the helplessness of anxiety in “Spiralling” in collaboration with Singapore producer DSML

BENJAMIN x DSML, “Spiralling”

Australia’s benjamin quickly follows up his taut, funky pop single “Tunnel Vision” with the lyrical and emotional “Spiralling”. In collaboration with Singapore electronic producer DSML, benjamin creates a story that many young people have known all too well during the pandemic, when anxieties take over and you feel helpless and out of control. During this time many people felt that they had to put on a happy face on zoom calls and hide their feelings, which made it more difficult when they were on their own for so many hours on end. benjamin’s vocals are at their best here and “Spiralling” is a deeply personal contrast to the much lighter “Tunnel Vision”. While he has recorded several fine releases as one half of the Beamish Brothers, benjamin is off to a great start with his first two solo releases.

It’s “10/10” #25: Oliver Sim, @Hugelthug & Lovra, @JakLizard @Fatherdude & Julia Zivic, @AJSmithmusic, @_BlackSands & Isadora, Stucker, @LisaWrightuk, @djNiviro & @HarleyBirdmusic, @djCharlesB & @Justmylord

March and April have been chock full of great new songs, so my feature “10/10” returns for a 25th edition!  In “10/10”, 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.  So you get to learn about more new music that I hear but I wouldn’t otherwise get to write about.  Songs often end up on my personal chart, the BILLCS Top 30, or receive airplay on one of the many affiliate online radio stations that are learning about my blog choices and finding them good fits for radio shows such as “Your Weekend New Music Mix” or “The Big 20”!

  • OLIVER SIM, “Romance with a Memory”

Until I saw the video, all I could think about was how splendidly Prince-influenced “Romance with a Memory” sounds, as recorded by The xx bassist and vocalist Oliver Sim. It’s an unconventional song musically and lyrically, and perhaps not what The xx fans might expect. Oliver has a marvelous voice to be now front and centre, and the deeper vocal touches near the end provide an interesting contrast. The video features “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and “Dragula” performers Charity Kase, HoSo Terra Toma, and Gena Marvin decked out in a variety of odd outfits performing to the song. And as a solo artist, Oliver Sim is one to keep a close ear on.

  • HUGEL & LOVRA, “Madonna”

“Madonna” is a fun track that I heard while watching French producer Hugel spin a set during Miami Music Week. In collaboration with female German producer Lovra, “Madonna” is a scrappy, manic dance track that will have prospective dancers moving within about 20 seconds. There isn’t much to it lyrically, with a sneering, edgy vocal that will grab you as being a little out of the ordinary for this kind of record. All in all “Madonna” is loads of high energy fun that will rev up a set.

  • JAK LIZARD, FATHERDUDE & JULIA ZIVIC, “Ride Home”

Home is where the heart is, and NYC’s Jak Lizard knows that in spades as he expresses in his new single “Ride Home”. The first artist it reminded me of is Arrested Development, the now seldom-heard Grammy-winning 90’s R&B group who for a while dominated with their unique, often chill spin on life with songs like “Tennessee”. “Ride Home” is similarly easy going, with delightful features from Julia Zivic and go-to guy Fatherdude. Jak Lizard’s influences are rooted in classic R&B like Sly & The Family Stone, and the welcoming groove and lyrics of their music is felt in “Ride Home” too. If you’re looking for a classy soulful spin on pop/R&B, then look no further.

  • A.J. SMITH, “Nobody”

While in Miami last month, I heard one of A.J. Smith’s earlier songs “Misfits” while having lunch at a cool cafe I found on a previous visit, so I decided to check out more of his songs. This is one of those happy cases where I’m glad I did, otherwise I wouldn’t have heard the delightful whimsy in “Nobody” or got to see his clearly “Bridgerton”-inspired video. It turns out A.J. is New York-based, hailing originally from Denver, who can play 10 instruments and has a Master’s Degree in songwriting from NYU. Like many others with the passion to create perform, he has chosen the artist path, which so far has led him to open up for the likes of The Eagles and Lindsey Stirling, and to perform off-Broadway too. “Nobody” is an inspiring song for the underdogs of the world, and the twists and turns of events in the video provide a surprising and satisfying finale.

  • BLACK SANDS and ISADORA, “Deserve”

American electronic producer Black Sands returns with a refreshing pop and R&B mix in the form of “Deserve”, featuring Australian R&B singer Isadora. While Black Sands – aka Andrew Balfour – put a nice spin on The Weeknd’s soulfulness in last year’s “Used To It” (featuring Weeknd soundalike Martino) – “Deserve” is brighter and more playful, and harkens back to Ariana Grande’s duet with The Weeknd on “Love Me Harder”. But lyrically, Black Sands is in a different place, wanting to embrace dark and light, with a swaying rhythm intended to move like the ebb and flow of the sea. So “Deserve” will keep you listening with a bang-on vocal by Isadora and some slick harmonies.

  • STUCKER, “Exhale”

“Exhale” is hard alternative rock from Stucker, a new five piece band hailing from Belgium. Their influences range from Arctic Monkeys to Queens of the Stone Age, so you’re in for some jagged, tight guitar-filled music with an angst-ridden vocal that doesn’t let up, that sometimes reminds me of Canada’s Billy Talent. So just when you might think the song sounds a little ordinary, the band members switch things up lyrically or musically to sustain your interest. Stucker is a band determined to bring the flavours of 90’s alternative rock back to the forefront, and hey with Nirvana’s “Something In The Way” getting new life through “The Batman” movie and even an Illenium remix, their approach may be timely. “Exhale” will help keep you rocking.

  • LISA WRIGHT,  “Ready Now”

“Ready Now” is powered by an excellent vocal by its singer/songwriter, Essex-born Lisa Wright. Her commanding, vulnerable presence on this song could easily hush a room, so it’s no wonder the BBC are supporting her as an emerging British talent. Lisa has a voice that could sing any kind of song, and though she indicates she is influenced by the likes of Carole King and Alison Krauss, I’ll bet she could handle a traditional country song, a Broadway ballad, or a sultry soul number with ease. The song is about getting up the courage to fall in love again, and your ears will be glued to it as Lisa’s story unfolds.

  • NIVIRO and HARLEY BIRD, “The Edge”

Give me a well-done early 2010’s-influenced melodic house track, and I’m a happy camper! Belgian dance producer Niviro and L.A. vocalist Harley Bird team up for “The Edge”, which has early Avicii and Hardwell to thank, adding some equally punchy, energetic rhythms which are saturated in exuberant, splashy synths. You heard Harley Bird recently on his song with Jay Bird and TWSTD ZOO’s called “Float”, which got to #3 on my personal chart. “The Edge” is a different but equally suitable setting for his voice as Niviro also twists and alters it to great effect.  Add a compelling and cathartic story about finding yourself standing at the edge of something critical in life, and you’ll find plenty to enjoy in “The Edge”.

  • LUCY WROE, “Same World”

“Same World” is the title song from an EP by new London singer/songwriter Lucy Wroe. It’s classic R&B-influenced upbeat pop that goes down as easily as you might take in songs by Jessie Ware and YEBBA. “Same World” is buoyed by an insistent guitar hook, and the sparse but tight arrangement gives plenty of room to showcase Lucy’s sparkling vocal. “Same World” also has a refreshing theme of the wonder of a new relationship as it’s starting out, a break away in general from many songs about them falling apart. 

  • CHARLES B & JUSTMYLØRD, “Losing My Mind”

“Losing My Mind” is a percolating slice of deep house from French producers Charles B and Justmylørd. Both gents have already received support from the best producers in the biz and have released on most of the prominent dance labels – Spinnin’, Revealed, and more. “Losing My Mind” is an intense song for late nights led by an uncredited female vocal, and when the beat kicks in you can just picture all of those flashing lights on the dance floor. It’s polished songs like “Losing My Mind” that could easily help producers like Charles B and Justmylørd to another level of international recognition.

Norway’s @Matomamusic and New Jersey trio @ARIZONA are formidable forces together for “Heart So Big”

MATOMA and A R I Z O N A, “Heart So Big”

“Heart So Big” is the latest in four recent pop/dance releases by Norwegian producer Matoma which I’ve written about that ooze positivity and warmth, while still providing enough melodic bounce to keep you dancing. To recap, the others are “Never Surrender”, “Beautiful Wave”, and “Summer Feeling”. This time Matoma is joined by New Jersey electronic trio A R I Z O N A, who came a long way very quickly with two major-label albums, hits like “I Was Wrong” and “Oceans Away”, and features on songs by the A list of dance producers including Avicii, R3HAB, Don Diablo, and Louis The Child. The fusion of the combined talents of Matoma and A R I Z O N A in “Heart So Big” helps make the simple message of the song really stand out. It’s a welcoming song sure to make you smile, which will prompt repeated plays.

The legendary @ATrak is back with the manic but fun “Spit”

A-TRAK, “Spit”

It’s always nice to slip into the imaginative music of Montreal-born dance music legend A-Trak. This time he’s back with the manic but enjoyable “Spit” from his recent EP 10 Seconds Vol. 1. This hip hop and disco-flavoured house track will beckon even the most reluctant club goer to the dance floor with its edgy rhythm and busy song structure, which even includes a well-placed sample from the 70’s #1 “Fly Robin Fly” by Silver Convention.  “Spit” is a song that’s meant to be played at the height of a party and its fun, unbridled and unconventional nature is guaranteed to show you a great time.

Irish/UK house duo @Menrvamusic are back with smooth and polished “Never Forget” with singer/songwriter SOLAH

MENRVA and SOLAH, “Never Forget”

“Never Forget” will strike you right from the inset with its buoyant house rhythm and a fine, familiar-sounding and ear-catching vocal, on release by Oliver Heldens’ OH2 label. It’s brought to you courtesy of Irish/UK duo Menrva, who recently reached #2 on my personal chart with “Play It Cool” featuring Island Banks. This time the vocalist is British singer/songwriter SOLAH, who is recognizable from her vocal on Shane Codd’s massive “Get Out Of My Head”. The chemistry here is obvious as they create a smooth, polished house track that can fit into any set and provide a welcome bounce. The song’s also co-written by another familiar name – producer/songwriter Alex Adair, who has also seen his fair share of chart success over the years. And congratulations to Menrva who have recently signed to Capitol Records.

Get to know the spirited alt.rock sound of L.A. duo @LoudForestmusic with “I Don’t Want To Go Home”

LOUD FOREST, “I Don’t Want To Go Home”

There are a lot of songs about loneliness that are written by artists from L.A., for some strange coincidental reason. The duo Loud Forest put their own spin on this, and out pops an indie rock anthem called “I Don’t Want To Go Home”. The purveyors of the well-honed, spirited rock sound of Loud Forest are married couple Bernard and Rachel Chadwick, whose inspiration seems to have a basis in 80’s pop/rock artists like The Go Go’s, Joan Jett, and X, but also feeds off of the styles and melodies of Avril Lavigne, Mumford & Sons, and Ed Sheeran. “I Don’t Want To Go Home” is full of the anger of being seemingly alone in a confusing world, but it’s channeled through a high energy, guitar-based sound with exuberant vocals, which makes the song more about finding one’s own place in the world rather than about being in deliberate isolation. This is the kind of indie alt.rock that goes over well in live performance, and with their informed messaging and tight musicianship, Loud Forest are ones to watch.

#BILLCSTop30 #637 – April 11/22

This new edition of the chart was a particularly tough one to compile. It’s because there’s so much music out there that I enjoy, even beyond those songs that I write about. So what happens is that the songs now move up and down and off the chart quickly. The oldest songs now in my Top 30 are 16 weeks old (8 appearances) – from the first chart of this year! – and just about any artist with a song on the chart for 10 weeks (5 appearances) has already released one or more songs in follow up. Songs deserve a longer shelf life – the maximum a song can remain on my chart is 20 weeks (10 appearances), and songs don’t reach 10 appearances very much anymore. The music industry currently alludes that the more you write and release, the more money and exposure you might get. At one level perhaps that’s true, but I don’t think that’s the case at all with most indie artists. This is a model that is fracturing that the music industry will have to mend soon. It means burnout – physical and financial – for indie artists, and a short life span for some very worthy songs. 

That being said, there’s a new #1 and four debuts!

Make sure you read about my ONLINE RADIO AFFILIATES (see details after the post)!

Washington electronic duo Odesza achieve something rare on the chart – two consecutive number ones, nearly four years apart, which are their only chart appearances to date. Their jaw-dropping rework of Bettye LaVette’s 1965 R&B hit “Let Me Down Easy”, as “The Last Goodbye” (which will be the title of their upcoming album) charges up the chart 4-1, following the lead of their now-classic “Loyal” in the Fall of 2018. And yes, I’ve got my ticket to their concert in my city on their summer tour. Watch the magnetic video performance above too.

That means “High” by The Chainsmokers holds at #2, but it’s in great company, because next to their three number ones on the chart, it becomes their fourth #2, following “Let You Go”, “Sick Boy”, and “Everybody Hates Me”.  Their new album So Far So Good arrives on May 13.

Frankmusik’s gorgeous “The Half Moon Came Up In The Sky” advances 6-3, becoming his highest reaching chart entry since 2013’s #1 “Map”.

One of the most melodic pop singles out there is “Don’t Wake Me Up” by Jonas Blue and Why Don’t We, which rises 7-5.  It’s the second Top 5 entry for Jonas Blue, following 2016’s “Fast Car” (#3).

The Fastest Riser on the chart soars 25-8, and it’s “Aretha” by French dance producer Mercer. It’s his third Top 10 entry on the chart.

“Oxygen” climbs 11-9, becoming the 4th Top 10 on the chart for German producers Saxity, and it’s also their third Top 10 with Victor Perry on vocals.  For Victor however, it’s his 13th Top 10 entry. Still, it’s hard to beat a team like this!

Rounding out the Top 10 is “Reflection”, a deep cut from Years & Years’ deluxe edition of the Night Call album, which moves 12-10. It’s Olly Alexander’s 10th song to reach the Top 10.

“Hold Me Down” by Italy’s Luca and Giam with vocal by Florida’s Sam Merkin is quickly becoming one of the chart’s highlights as it rises 19-11.

Florence Welch hasn’t sounded as good in years as on “My Love” (above), from Florence & The Machine’s upcoming album Dance Fever. The song climbs 28-17, and was recently remixed simply as the “Dave Glass Animals Remix”. You can check out what a fine job Dave did below.

“Tuff” by VASSY and gt_ofice is a fun national dance radio hit and moving up the chart nicely, as it advances 27-21.

To the surprise of no one, the highest debut on the chart belongs to Harry Styles with the magnetic “As It Was” at #25.  It now has the task of following 2019/20’s “Lights Up” and “Adore You” to the top of the chart. Think Harry can do it again? “As It Was” also continues to prove what a great voice he has. It’s from his forthcoming album called Harry’s House.

At #27 is “First Time” by L.A.’s Damon Sharpe in collaboration with the #1 future house producer/DJ in Asia, Tokyo-based VIVID. “First Time” follows up last year’s “15 Minutes” (#5) by Damon with The Disco Fries.

“Fall Into Me” is destined to be an inescapable progressive electronic song of the summer for festival goers and fans of its L.A.-based producers, NGHTMRE and SLANDER, and its vocalist, Dylan Matthew, who all appear on the chart for the first time. “Fall Into Me” bows at #28.

Completing the chart at #30 is Toronto area native Ryan Shepherd with vocalist Bella Renee on their single “The High”.  It’s Ryan’s fourth chart entry, and he’s playing an already sold-out show at The Garrison in Toronto on May 7 with LUN and Glass Petals.

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! You can also follow me on Spotify at the following link:  BILLCS Top 30 Songs.

Check out and ‘like’ the BILLCS Music Projects Facebook page 🙂

ONLINE RADIO AFFILIATES

You can hear me and many of my blog choices on this growing list of online radio stations and features!

Radio GTA – listen to The Big 20 from 10pm to Midnight EST on Wednesdays as “The Musicman” James Rogers and I bring you the latest in new songs.  And on Saturdays and Sundays from Noon to 6pm I bring you “Your Weekend New Music Mix” six hours of commercial-free music from the 2000’s including many song choices from this blog.

Halton Hills Online – “Your Weekend Music Mix” has a second home on Saturday and Sunday evenings from 8pm to Midnight! It’s a different mix from Radio GTA’s show, and like that one it is also commercial free, now brought to you by the Appalachian Pub & Eatery in Georgetown, Ontario!

The 3D Variety Show by Planet Radio Canada –  I’m featured Tuesdays between 7 and 7:30 pm with my New Music Pick of the Week on “The 3D Variety Show” with “The Musicman” James Rogers, and I also join occasionally for looks at music from our past through some live segments.  A repeat of “The 3D Variety Show” now airs on Wednesdays at 7pm EST on Radio GTA .  NOTE: The show will not air on April 12 and 13.

My New Music Pick of the Week also now airs on Radio GTA Wednesdays at 11:00 pm EST, Saturdays and Sundays at 3pm EST, on Halton Hills Online on Saturdays and Sundays at 10pm EST, on Mix88.ca‘s “Addictive Energy” show with Hunter Wilbur on Saturdays at 9pm EST, and now on WXNZ, community radio in Maine!