NYC’s @AndyxSuzuki @andtheMethod crank up a bluesy jam with “Medicine”

ANDY SUZUKI & THE METHOD, “Medicine”

As an introduction to their third album “Alibi”, NYC’s Andy Suzuki & The Method – singer/songwriter/guitarist Andy Suzuki and hand-percussionist/co-writer Kozza Babumba – offer up a bluesy, rhythmic jam with “Medicine”.  This is the kick-ass, guitar-heavy kind of rock music that the duo creates to floor their concert audiences on a regular basis, so you can expect nothing less than similar quality in the rest of the album.  They’ve enlisted producer Juny Mag as a co-writer as well, and if “Medicine” is any indication, their overall sound has been honed tighter than ever.  Kozza’s unique hand-percussion is something rarely heard in pop music these days, and this talent partnered with Andy’s top notch voice should find more new fans and reacquaint older ones – like from their performances on “The Rock Boat” cruises – with songs like “Medicine”.  

Published in: on January 14, 2019 at 11:28 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Meet British folk singer @KateyBrooksOFCL with the compelling and heartfelt “In Your Arms”

KATEY BROOKS, “In Your Arms”

Folk music is hardly what I would call a genre that I actively listen to a lot, but much of today’s pop music was founded on what we would now call the music of folk singers who long preceded the pop and rock era (say, before 1955).  And when a voice is as commanding as that of British singer and guitarist Katey Brooks, then I want you to know about it!  You may hear, as I did, potential influences from classic singers like Joni Mitchell, Judy Collins or Stevie Nicks in “In Your Arms”.  The song starts off so quietly as if to not really want to grab your attention.  But once you start hearing the story, her voice becomes an expressive charmer – duly compared to Florence Welch for power – and there is no turning back.  And then, a bit more than 3 minutes later, the song just stops tidily, leaving you to ponder.  Even though she is British, Katey’s music reminds me of how the songs and poetry of Patti Smith somewhat symbiotically connected with the rock audience of the late 70’s.  In today’s alt-pop and alt-rock, which includes folk music, you’ll find other talented women, and Katey Brooks can certainly compete with the best of them.

Published in: on January 12, 2019 at 9:57 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , , ,

#BILLCSTop30 #552, January 7/19

This is the 21st year of the BILLCS Top 30!!  The new year kicks off with its first chart and a shorter chart blog format.  

The Top 5 was excessively played over the holidays and stays exactly the same, with A-Trak and Todd Terry’s house music truth of “DJ’s Gotta Dance More” staying on top.  There’s nothing to challenge it immediately so it will likely be up top two weeks from now as well.

Jessie Ware’s “Overtime” and Hellberg & Leona Lewis’ “Headlights” each reach new peaks of #6 and #7 respectively.  L.A.’s Mahalo gets his 4th Top 10 entry paired with producer Le:Blanc for “In My Arms” (13-8).  The other new entry is the fastest riser on the chart, “God Damnit” by Illenium featuring the song’s writer, Call Me Karizma on vocals.  It climbs 15-9.  The song gives Illenium concurrent songs in the Top 10 (at #4 with the PatrickReza remix of “Crawl Outta Love”), and it matches the peak of Karizma’s previous Top 10 entry “u suck” from 2016.

A lot of songs get caught with small moves in a tight area of the chart that will likely loosen up in two weeks.  “Play”, the infectious new song by Jax Jones and Years & Years, moves up 20-15.  As “This Feeling” peaks at #8, “Siren” by The Chainsmokers and Aazar climbs 23-18.  Steve Void’s “Closure”, featuring a winning vocal by Andy Marsh, rises 24-19.  The rest of last week’s debuts make smaller moves:  “Flying Away” by NYC-based singer/songwriter Ryan Gibeau moves 25-22, and right behind it is the rollicking new song by The Him called “Look At Us Now”, up 26-23.  Check out the duo’s even more recent release, “Unstoppable”, below.  Molly Moore’s heartfelt “Be Here Now” rises 29-25.

Two debuts grace the chart by new performers.  Australia’s Sam Bluer has a catchy and danceable winner with “Bite My Tongue” at #27, which has a Troye Sivan “My My My!” vibe about it (they just happen to be label mates too) and is an even better follow up to last year’s fine “Body High”.  And there’s another Puth about to find his way onto your playlists.  Younger brother Stephen has a grittier, sparse sound with, guitar-spiced 60’s flavoured production on “Sexual Vibe” at #28.

View the full BILLCS Top 30 right here!  Click on the hyperlink on the song titles to hear the songs or watch the videos!

Listen to the BILLCS Top 30 Songs on Spotify! Click on this link to take you there, and follow me on Spotify: BILLCS Top 30 Songs

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

“The Wall” is tough, stirring alt.electro from @PatrickReza

PATRICKREZA, “The Wall”

I’m thoroughly enjoying the evolution of L.A. producer PatrickReza’s alt.electro sound with his originals.  While “Tip Toe” was a less than 2 minute taste, “The Wall” is much more fleshed out and personal.  Heavy on the beats and electric guitar, the arrangement has a psychedelic quality which intensifies the emotion.  And by the end, you’re certainly wondering where the protagonist is heading after being torn apart by a relationship.  So no, this one isn’t really for the dance floor, but those interested in progressive rock-oriented electronic music with lots of retro vibes will certainly have a blast with it.

Published in: on January 5, 2019 at 10:11 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , , ,

#BILLCSTop88of2018

As we head into 2019, 2018 set the foundation for dance music to evolve in a big way – to make people want to dance together again, and to create festive, fun music which moves away from a lot of mid-tempo songs over the past few years. 

Unfortunately it may have taken the death of Avicii to realize how much many of us miss the frenetic synths and arpeggios of dance music of the early part of this decade.  It also made many of us look back in time to soak in what dance and disco music of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s brought us, and how it all made us feel great.  

While dance music is the main genre I listen to, there are other pop, alternative, and R&B/soul songs in my year end list.  These are simply my favourites, in an order that could change at any time in the near future, so for now it’s a snapshot in time. 

Songs that were on the BILLCS Top 30 at year’s end appear on this list if they had 4 appearances or more and may appear on next year’s list too if they end up ranking higher than this year. 

You’ll see some of my favourite performers multiple times – The Chainsmokers, The Him, Miguel, and Bobby Nourmand all have three entries – while there are less remixes on the chart than in recent years. 

And a tip of the hat to the many performers that continue to release excellent music on their own, represented here by the UK’s Sam Dickinson and Lostchild, Florida’s Adam Foster, Philadelphia duo NiGHTS, Germany’s Saxity, US sensation-on-the-rise YEBBA, NYC’s Squired, and even Australia-born actor Keiynan Lonsdale.

I’m in the process of entering all of my year end lists from 2009 to present in a Google Docs spreadsheet, and you’ll find these listings with tabs for each year at this link:

https://tinyurl.com/BILLCSTop88of2018

Spotify playlist – listen to all of the songs! 

BILLCS Top 88 of 2018 

88 BIG FISH featuring MIKE GOMES Moves
87 JYYE Somewhere Else
86 CHICO ROSE featuring DJ AFROJACK 2012
85 TWO FRIENDS featuring KEVIN WRITER Just A Kid
84 ROZES & NICKY ROMERO Where Would We Be
83 SQUIRED Peace Out
82 FELIX CARTAL featuring VICTORIA ZARO Worry
81 BTS DNA
80 SAN HOLO featuring BIPOLAR SUNSHINE Brighter Days
79 SAM SMITH featuring YEBBA No Peace
78 REVELRIES featuring THE BEAMISH BOYS Infinitum
77 LABROSE Gravity
76 EKALI & ZHU Blame
75 RYAN SHEPHERD featuring DIRTY HARY Right Now
74 REIGEN Dreams
73 ARIANA GRANDE Breathin
72 MATOMA featuring MAX Lonely
71 YEARS & YEARS Sanctify
70 MIKA It’S My House
69 BOBBY NOURMAND featuring ADAM ENGLE The Sun
68 BRIGHT LIGHT BRIGHT LIGHT How I Feel
67 FRANK PIERCE featuring MILES B. Do Me
66 SHAWN MENDES Lost In Japan
65 TIESTO & DZEKO featuring PREME & POST MALONE Jackie Chan
64 CADEN JESTER featuring BLAKE ROSE Vacant Love
63 BOBBY NOURMAND featuring LAURENT JOHN Prisoner
62 IDEO featuring J. PAULISHED Multiply
61 HELLBERG & LEONA LEWIS Headlights

60 WHETHAN featuring BROODS Be Like You
59 MADISON MARS Back The Funk
58 SAINT WKND & MAX Survive (PLS&TY Remix)
57 JAMES POOLE Perfectly Me
56 TROYE SIVAN Bloom
55 JESSIE WARE Overtime
54 ADAM FOSTER  Time
53 THE CHAINSMOKERS featuring KELSEA BALLERINI This Feeling
52 THE HIM White Lies
51 SAXITY featuring VICTOR PERRY You Found Me
50 THE KNOCKS featuring METHOD MAN Goodbyes
49 JONAS BLUE featuring JACK & JACK Rise
48 KEIYNAN LONSDALE Preach
47 ROBOTAKI featuring JAMIE FINE & FALCXNE Butterscotch
46 AXEL MANSOOR Talk To Me
45 YEARS & YEARS All For You
44 BOTNEK Days Of Disco
43 WAITWHAT featuring RIELLE Alive
42 JESSE McCARTNEY Better With You
41 MARTIN GARRIX  featuring BONN High On Life
40 PLS&TY Down For Me (Morgan Page Extended Remix)
39 SAM DICKINSON  Wild Sun
38 GROMEE featuring JESPER JENSET One Last Time
37 NORA EN PURE Tears In My Eyes
36 ALYX ANDER & REDONDO featuring MARIA Z Casually
35 NiGHTS Eyes
34 BRANDYN BURNETTE Run
33 SOFI TUKKER Baby I’m A Queen
32 ILLENIUM featuring ANNIKA WELLS Crawl Outta Love (PatrickReza Remix)
31 YEBBA Evergreen

30 LOSTCHILD Blacklist
29 MIGUEL Told You So
28 THE HIM featuring IVY ADARA Everybody Hurts
27 MERCER Fireworks
26 RETROVISION Get Down
25 DAVE EDWARDS featuring MARK ASARI What We’Re Made Of
24 MIGUEL featuring TRAVIS SCOTT Sky Walker
23 GIIANTS Small Talk
22 ARTY Tim
21 DZEKO Crazy (Tiësto’s Big Room Mix)
20 PETER WILSON & SEAN SMITH Verona
19 MK 17
18 TONY MORAN featuring JASON WALKER I’m In Love With You (Victor Dinaire/Bissen Remix)
17 RUFUS DU SOL No Place
16 ROBOTAKI & MANILA KILLA featuring MATTHEW JOHN KURZ I Want You (Spirix Remix)
15 THE CHAINSMOKERS Sick Boy
14 MAKO Breathe
13 BENNY BENASSI & SOFI TUKKER Everybody Needs A Kiss
12 THE CHAINSMOKERS Everybody Hates Me
11 KIESZA featuring PHILIPPE SLY Phantom Of The Dance Floor
10 JAMES BAY Pink Lemonade
09 A-TRAK featuring TODD TERRY DJ’S Gotta Dance More
08 BOBBY NOURMAND Subterranean/Estranged
07 ODESZA Loyal
06 LOUD LUXURY featuring BRANDO Body
05 TROYE SIVAN My My My!
04 DYRISK featuring NIK ERNST Smile
03 MERCER featuring RON CARROLL Satisfy
02 THE HIM featuring PARSON JAMES Broken Love
01 MIGUEL Pineapple Skies

The name is Puth, but this time it’s Stephen – that’s @StephenPuth with gritty “Sexual Vibe”

STEPHEN PUTH, “Sexual Vibe”

Another Puth has quietly emerged in 2018 – following award-winning older brother Charlie’s massive success, this time it may be Stephen’s turn with his introduction of “Sexual Vibe” being part of the revival of the Arista label for Sony.  If Charlie is the likable Shawn Mendes of the family – who can still get his own sexy on just fine thank you, if you’ll recall “Attention” – then Stephen is the grittier, Michael Hutchence-inspired one who takes things a few steps further.  Thus, “Sexual Vibe” doesn’t beat around any bushes.  It’s a mid-tempo alt.rocker with Stephen comfortably resting in his chest voice, recalling Jakob Dylan of The Wallflowers at times.  The second verse of “Sexual Vibe” will have you sold when Stephen croons “your efforts are effortless, so don’t move too fast, cause I like it when you …… fuck with me reck-ol-less [my emphasis]” to the song’s sparse, 60’s sounding melody, which is a real toe-tapper.  “Sexual Vibe” shouldn’t be an inauspicious start to another career but appears to be so for Stephen Puth – just for now.

 

Published in: on December 28, 2018 at 9:44 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , , ,

#BILLCSTop30 #551 – December 24/18

It’s the last chart of 2018 for me, and the new entries continue to be bountiful as 4 more songs are added to the chart.  It’s been a busy, fun-filled year for pop music and 2019 doesn’t look like it will let up.  There’s far too much talent out there and not enough forums in which it can be showcased en masse.

My Christmas #1 though is new to the top and it’s “DJ’s Gotta Dance More” by my fellow Canadian A-Trak and legendary house producer and remixer Todd Terry.  Did you know that Todd was behind the innovative classic mid-80’s slammer “Can You Party” under the name Royal House?  I’m predicting more classic dance music vibes will seep into the mainstream in 2019 to make people feel so good.

The Rest of the Top 10

  • France’s Mercer made some of my most favourite house music of 2018, and “Fireworks” (above), currently #3, is right up there.  The prolific producer just dropped a new one for Armada with ATFC called “Twisted” (below).

 

  • PatrickReza’s heavy remix of Illenium’s “Crawl Outta Love” is perfectly in sync with the intent of the original song (and Illenium-approved) so it advances 5-4.  Also, in a similar alt.dance mode and with a heavy rock flavour is Patrick’s brief (1:50!) and eerie “Tip Toe”, below.
  • Sam Dickinson scores his biggest chart entry to date with “Wild Sun” in its Handbag House radio edit, climbing 9-5 from his EP From The Glass House: Part One.  Check out the remix up top and the video below.

  • Two very different songs featuring great UK women vocalist move up into the Top 10.  Jessie Ware’s “Overtime” (above) is very Lisa Stansfield-ish with a lot of 80’s funk elements, and it climbs 11-9.  Leona Lewis packs a punch with her vocal on Hellberg’s “Headlights” (below) which jumps 12-10.  It’s Hellberg’s 4th Top 10 entry and Leona’s 3rd.

Movin’ On Up

  • Mahalo and Le:Blanc’s insanely catchy 2:28 ear candy “In My Arms” is on the move and climbs 18-13.

  • Ending 2018 with rave reviews for his live shows, San Holo rises 17-14 with “Brighter Days” from album1 featuring the distinct voice of Bipolar Sunshine.
  • The fastest riser on the chart is the disco-tastic “Mister Love” from Luxembourgeois producer White Chocolate, which soars 25-16.

  • When she’s not providing vocals from many top dance music producers, Anna Yvette is writing and producing her own, and the uplifting “Shining Star” advances 22-18.

  • I’m looking forward to what Brandyn Burnette, now known as EMAN8, has up his sleeve for his debut album in 2019.  “Amen” is a soulful, psychedelic, diverse slice of pop music that climbs 23-19.  Check out the attention-grabbing video above.

  • UK producer Jax Jones turns back the clock a bit to what Years & Years sounded like at the time of their debut almost 4 years ago with the joyous pop/dance vibes of their collaboration “Play”, which rises 24-20.

Four Debuts

  • “Closure” by Steve Void and Andy Marsh, is a hard one to get out of your head, and a song to which so many of us can relate, and to which we can dance away our troubles.  It arrives on the chart at #24 and is talented Dutchman Steve’s 4th chart entry as a performer.
  • A voice to listen for in 2019 is NYC-based singer/songwriter Ryan Gibeau.  His gorgeous voice shows off his lower octaves in “Flying High”, an emotional song written on a plane after a relationship ended.  It’s from Ryan’s new album Quiet Fall and bows at #25.

  • Dutch duo The Him return to the chart after a successful 2018 releasing songs for Spinnin’ and getting to #1 on this chart with “Broken Love”.  Steven and J are at #26 with “Look At Us Now”, with some big synth riffs designed for festivals, their 7th entry since 2016.
  • Molly Moore also makes a welcome return to the chart with “Be Here Now”, which is one of her most passionate and compelling songs in the aftermath of personal tragedy.  It arrives at #29 and is her 5th solo chart entry.  Of course Molly is one half of Cosmos N Creature with EMAN8 and her songs feature prominently with them as well.

View the full BILLCS Top 30 right here!  Click on the hyperlink on the song titles to hear the songs or watch the videos!

Listen to the BILLCS Top 30 Songs on Spotify! Click on this link to take you there, and follow me on Spotify: BILLCS Top 30 Songs

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

 

 

“Flying Away” is an outstanding new song with a powerful vocal by NYC-based singer/songwriter @RyanGibeau

RYAN GIBEAU, “Flying Away”

For those of us who enjoy songs of loves lost and left behind, accompanied by an amazing vocal and lovely arrangement, “Flying Away” by NYC-based singer/songwriter Ryan Gibeau is your new best friend.  The song actually starts off rather plainly with its first few verses, but then Ryan’s voice shifts into this warm, melt-worthy lower octave, and he draws you in like melting butter on toast.  His voice actually reminds me a lot of Burton Cummings, particularly in The Guess Who’s 1973 hit “Glamour Boy”, and not too many singers get away with a deep mellifluous shift and make it work – think Jeff Buckley or Rufus Wainwright.  The arrangement with electric guitar and strings really kicks the record up a few more notches.  The song itself was written while flying to another city after a breakup.  You can feel both the loss of love and the need to get away echoing seamlessly through the lyrics.  “Flying Away” comes from Ryan Gibeau’s new album Quiet Fall.  It’s one of the best new songs I’ve heard in months.  I’ll be diving into the full album soon.  

RyanGibeau

Published in: on December 16, 2018 at 11:26 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , , , ,

“These Hands” by England’s @CoreyLayzell is not your typical pop/dance love song

COREY LAYZELL, “These Hands”

The first thing that will strike you about “These Hands” by Essex-born singer Corey Layzell is his voice.  Think of everyone who might have stood out because they didn’t sound like anyone else.  Corey reminds me of MNEK without soulful power but with a lot of pop potential in a Bastille kind of way.  “These Hands” is about fighting for love, and it’s set to an engaging and complimentary pop/dance synth track.  It’s no wonder that Sia is a vocal influence for Corey.  “These Hands” is everything that you enjoy about pop music that’s unmistakably unconventional and dance music is the perfect genre to host it.  I’m predicting we’ll be hearing much, much more from Corey Layzell very soon!

Published in: on December 14, 2018 at 12:35 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , , , ,

#BILLCSTop30 #550 – December 10/18

The Top 10 of this edition of the chart is a dancin’ fool’s dream, just chock full of classic house, disco, trap, and of course what would be more likely labelled as pop/dance. But there are many soulful and hip hip influences embedded, along with the presence of a singer normally associated with the country genre.

The Top 10

  • Odesza’s “Loyal” crushes it again at the top, with a feverishly paced song that just makes your heart race and leaves you with an incredible rush at the end. How many other songs could do that this year?

  • The presence of A-Trak and Todd Terry in “DJ’s Gotta Dance More” (3-2) is an inspired collaboration which honours classic house and helps to make that style of dance music even better, by inspiring those who play it!
  • Mercer’s 70’s flavoured house of “Fireworks” (above) races 7-3 to join the dance festivities as he releases another new single called “Boss” (below).
  • PatrickReza’s taut remix of Illenium and Annika Wells’ “Crawl Outta Love” soars 10-5 to give presence to this fine song.
  • These are hardly the last “Days Of Disco” but Canadian duo Botnek definitely have catchy business happening with this song which moves up 8-7.
  • Soulful UK singer/songwriter Sam Dickinson scores his third Top 10 here with “Wild Sun”, which in its Handbag House radio edit should by all rights be played in any club, anywhere that has great taste!  It climbs 13-9.

  • Of course it’s The Chainsmokers who paired with country singer Kelsea Ballerini for another treat for us this year with “This Feeling” rising 12-10.

Movin’ On Up

  • From a great go-to EP called Tough Love, Bright Light Bright Light’s “How I Feel” climbs 19-13.
  • If there’s such a thing as alt.soul.pop then singer Victor Perry and producer Ficci may have coined it in their project called Labrose with “Gravity”, up 20-15.

  • The good-natured vibes of San Holo’s “Brighter Days” definitely creep under your skin and stay there thanks to a totally in sync vocal by Bipolar Sunshine.  The song is from San’s release called Album1 and moves up 21-17.
  • Possibly the tightest and most irresistible song on the chart at only 2:28 is “In My Arms” by L.A.-based producer Mahalo in partnership with newcomer Le:Blanc.  It’s the fastest riser on the chart, soaring 26-18.
  • Illenium entry #2, “God Damnit” as written and sung by Call Me Karizma, wastes no time landing in the Top 20, up 24-19.

4 Debuts

  • As “All For You” exits the chart, Years & Years maintain a presence, this time courtesy of UK producer Jax Jones on “Play” at #24.  “Play” is featured on Jax’s compilation EP called Snacks.
  • Another disco-tastic track to grace the chart is “Mister Love”, by Luxembourg-born producer White Chocolate, which arrives at #25.
  • And as the long-lasting “Infinitum” leaves the chart, so “Naked” by Revelries featuring Romanian vocalist Jeoko arrives to take its place.  The exotic song, tapping into Revelries Emerati roots, lands at #26 out of the gate.

  • More Chainsmokers anyone?  Yes, please!  The guys know when to let loose and show their progressive side, and “Siren”, featuring Aazar is a shining example.  “Siren” debuts at #27.

View the full BILLCS Top 30 right here!  Click on the hyperlink on the song titles to hear the songs or watch the videos!

Listen to the BILLCS Top 30 Songs on Spotify! Click on this link to take you there, and follow me on Spotify: BILLCS Top 30 Songs

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