#BILLCSTop30 #605 – January 18/21

2020 favourites are gradually departing the chart to make room for what’s new and fresh. There are five debuts on the new chart, a few that have been waiting through the heavy holiday period to find their way onto the chart.  There’s lots of great music coming in January alone, so the competition for future charts will be particularly fierce.

“Give It Back” by NYC producers The Disco Fries and L.A. production trio Giiants with vocalist/songwriter Allison Park continues its reign at the top.  This one leads the way in the ‘dance banger’ department for me right now, though there are other fun ones further down the chart.

Could “Nobody” by Norway’s NOTD and Catello be the one to succeed “Give It Back” at #1?  Currently experiencing one of the longest stays at #1 on US dance radio in recent memory, I hope “Nobody” is also promoted to pop radio.  It climbs 6-2.

“No One But You” (above), the quiet, beautiful R&B/pop ballad by Toronto’s Justin Nozuka with UK singer/songwriter Mahalia climbs 5-4 from an upcoming EP that will be released in the Spring.  Justin’s latest peaceful and tranquil new single is “summer night 08” – check out the video below.

Like “Bad Decisions”, “Late Night Love” by Toronto’s Francesco Yates has long-lasting power.  This funky, soulful, naughty jam climbs 7-5 to match the peak of “Bad Decisions”.

With the release of their album The Good Times and the Bad Ones, L.A. quintet Why Don’t We arrive in the Top 10 with the rollicking “Fallin’ (Adrenaline)”, moving up 11-8.

Also new to the Top 10, somewhat belatedly, is “Chew On My Heart” by James Bay, which rises 12-9.  James was last in the Top 10 with 2018’s “Pink Lemonade”, which peaked at #2.

Karen Harding is well on her way to having two Top 10’s in a row on this chart. Following last year’s #1 “Undo My Heart”, “Let’s Get Together”, a collaboration with Scottish producers Illyus and Barrientos, zips up the chart 17-12.

The fastest riser on the chart is by the venerable, influential dance group Faithless.  They’ve returned after a long absence with a new album called All Blessed, and “Synthesizer”, featuring singer Nathan Ball, soars 24-16.

With its rather obtuse, mythical-sounding lyrics and futuristic production, Deadmau5 looks to have his biggest hit to date with “Bridged By A Lightwave”, featuring the commanding vocal of Kiesza, up 25-19.

Another innovative production that throws back hard to 90’s techno is “Sinnerman” by England’s Hot Since 82 featuring vocalist/songwriter Ed Graves. From Hot Since 82’s new album Recovery, “Sinnerman” climbs 27-20.

The highest debut is by a performer who effectively replaces himself on the chart.  Illenium’s “Nightlight” (#8) departs in favour of new single “Hearts On Fire”, a collaboration with Canadian producer Dabin and Juno Award winning singer/songwriter Lights.  Also coming in various remixes, “Hearts On Fire” charges on to the chart at #22.  It’s Illenium’s 8th chart entry since 2018.

Premiering on the chart is young French producer Wizzay with the punchy house track “Jealous” at #25 from his debut EP “Who I Am?”.  Chart trivia: The uncredited vocalist on this track also appears elsewhere on this chart as part of a group of producers…

His history on this chart has spanned almost 20 years. In fact, the first time he appeared on the chart, it wasn’t even under his own name.  “Feel Something” by dance music veteran Armin van Buuren arrives at #26.  His first appearance on this chart was in 2002 with the classic “The Sound Of Goodbye” (#4) under the name Perpetuous Dreamer, before Armada Records released its first record.  “Feel Something” marks his 8th appearance under his name, with guest vocals by 2019 Eurovision winner Dutch singer/songwriter Duncan Laurence (“Arcade”).

Brits both, producer Bobby Harvey and vocalist Danny Dearden make their debuts with “Tell Me” at #27.  It’s one of my favourite deep house tracks that had to wait a little longer than usual to premiere on the chart.

At #28 is the fun alt.rock track by Toronto’s grandson called “Dirty”.  The Juno Award nominee reached #1 for three appearances (six weeks) last Spring as the vocalist/co-writer of Whethan’s “All In My Head”. 

A reminder that the music from my chart and blog are featured regularly on the online radio station The New Radio GTA. You can hear their Big 20 on Wednesday evenings with ‘The Musicman’ James Rogers and listen for songs from the chart too 🙂 Scroll down the station’s main page to listen to lots of variety from across the decades!  I’m the new music consultant for the station so you can expect even more in 2021 🙂  You can start by joining Radio GTA’s new interactive Facebook group too!!

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 🙂

 

Get to know the surreal melancholic style of NYC-based singer/songwriter @LisaRemar with “Fell Into”

LISA REMAR, “Fell Into”

For those who enjoy complex lyrics, with rich, melodic landscapes, then you should get to know the music of queer NYC-based alt.pop singer/songwriter Lisa Remar with “Fell Into”.  The song is deep, melancholy and layered, with rhythms pointing to the ‘boom bap’ bass-and-drums hip hop style of the 80’s and 90’s, and a basic theme of what to do and think when encountering deceptive people who only care about themselves. That creates an altered perception of those people which can be sometimes surreal and makes you question your own good judgment. Taking cues vocally from artists like Fiona Apple and Lana Del Rey, Lisa has created somewhat of a maze of emotions in “Fell Into”. Half Japanese herself, in the above video shot in Japan, she finds herself alone in somewhat of a distorted reality as she comes to grips with her findings.  And if complex songs are not entirely your thing, you will definitely appreciate the beautiful qualities in Lisa Remar’s voice – fans of the precision of Sinéad O’Connor, Mariah Carey, and Ariana Grande will enjoy.

Published in: on January 16, 2021 at 3:23 pm  Leave a Comment  
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#BILLCSTop30 #604, January 4, 2021

Happy 2021! Let’s hope the worst of everything is over, and that 2021 can be used as a year of healing and revitalization. For the music industry, however, I expect things will take longer before it gets back on its feet in most of the world.  Edition #604 marks the 23rd official online anniversary of this chart, though I did post it in various forms in late 1997 on message boards, etc.

2021 starts with a new number one on my chart, and a first for all three performers.  The efforts of NYC producers The Disco Fries, L.A. producers Giiants, and vocalist Allison Park have paid off as “Give It Back” reaches the top position.  Only two of the members of Giiants have been at #1 before in their previous incarnation as DATABOY.  “Give It Back” is one helluva banger of a house track to start of 2021!

Songs #2 and #3 both fared well on my Top Songs of 2020, in fact they were back-to-back at #33 and #34.  “Tinseltown In The Rain” (Big Rhythm mix) (above) by Matt Mancid and Color Theory moves 3-2, and “Fantasy” (below) by Saxity, Victor Perry and Robbie Rosen advances 4-3. Both songs will also carry over to my Top Songs of 2021 at the end of the year.

Another house banger, “Chasing Feelings” by Jerome Price and Cally Rhodes, leaps into the Top 10, moving up 14-8, with its sights set on the Top 5.

I was very pleased to see Tyler Shaw sing “Remember” on the CBC’s New Year’s Eve telecast, he’s always on his game.  “Remember” climbs 11-9 becoming his second Top 10 on my chart after 2015’s “Dizzy” (#6).

“Good At Goodbyes” from the Fun City album becomes chart regular Bright Light Bright Light’s 18th Top 10 on my chart since 2010 as it moves up 12-10.  Featured vocalist Andy Bell also previously reached the Top 10 as a solo artist outside of Erasure with “Crazy” in 2005 (#7).

It may have charted somewhat belatedly, but I’m still grooving to James Bay’s “Chew On My Heart”, and it moves up 18-12.

The fastest riser on the chart belongs to the triple whammy of Canadian dance producers – duo Loud Luxury and Frank Walker – as “Like Gold” (featuring vocals by Stephen Puth) soars 23-14.

Scotland’s Illyus & Barrientos paired with UK singer Karen Harding is a dream team for the sophisticated deep house of “Let’s Get Together” (24-17).

“Lucid” by Japanese-British pop/dance singer Rina Sawayama makes its presence known on the chart, advancing 26-19.

The carefree and breezy sound of “All About You” moves up 28-21 for the second teaming of The Knocks and Foster The People after 2018’s “Ride Or Die”.

“Synthesizer” marks the fourth chart entry for seminal UK progressive dance group Faithless from their first album since 2004 called All Blessed.  It’s their first chart entry since 2009’s “Sun To Me” and features singer Nathan Ball.  “Synthesizer”‘s retro techno flavours matched with interesting lyrics help it become the highest debut at #24.  Although this chart wasn’t around for 1997’s “Insomnia” (which would have been a #1 for me), Faithless did reach #3 in 1998 with “God Is A DJ”.

Also in a progressive-techno vein is “Bridged By A Lightwave”, the startling single by an unlikely Canadian duo – Deadmau5 and Kiesza!  It arrives at #25, and appears in an EP along with a few remixes.  It’s Deadmau5’s first appearance on this chart, and Kiesza’s second, following 2017’s delightfully wacked out #1 “Phantom Of The Dancefloor”.

Like Deadmau5, another veteran dance music act appearing for the first time on this chart is UK legend Hot Since 82.  His album Recovery has attracted performances by the likes of Boy George and Rudimental, but it’s the intrigue of “Sinnerman”, featuring singer/songwriter Ed Graves, which helps it arrive at #27.

Making his 17th appearance on this chart since 2014, including three as featured artists, is L.A.-based singer/songwriter Brandyn Burnette.  He’s back as a solo singer with “Airplane Mode”, the title track from his enjoyable new EP, which bows at #28.  Brandyn has also appeared on the chart as EMAN8 and in one-half of Cosmos & Creature.

A reminder that the music from my chart and blog are featured regularly on the online radio station The New Radio GTA. You can hear their Big 20 on Wednesday evenings with ‘The Musicman’ James Rogers and listen for songs from the chart too 🙂 Scroll down the station’s main page to listen to lots of variety from across the decades!  I’m the new music consultant for the station so you can expect even more in 2021 🙂  You can start by joining Radio GTA’s new interactive Facebook group too!!

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 🙂

Want to see what I’ve been listening to and charting for the past 23 years?  Rummage through the BILLCS Top 30 Archive (where you can click on the link within) when you have a chance!! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Toronto’s @RiverTiber returns to a more progressive rock style with “Hypnotized”

RIVER TIBER, “Hypnotized”

I can’t believe it’s been almost 9 years since I first wrote about Toronto’s River Tiber, which has mainly been a studio project led by multi-instrumentalist Tommy Paxton-Beesley, though there have been a number of live performances over the years but not at least for the last three or so that I can recall.  “Hypnotized”, which is actually a two-song single, also featuring the instrumental “Rainbow Road”, is only River Tiber’s 5th single release since 2016.  But watch out, when Tommy gets on a creative roll, the fine music just pours out.  Pausing the fascination with R&B and hip hop on River Tiber’s most recent releases, “Hypnotized” is a return to the progressive rock of earlier releases out of which you can currently find When The Time Is Right and The Star Falls on streaming platforms.  Its off-kilter, blurry sounds contrast delightful jazzy elements and Tommy’s clear but laid back vocal.  His stellar guitar work sings through, especially around the halfway mark, which will make this song a treat to hear in performance. “Hypnotized” is an intriguing welcome back for River Tiber, and I’m curious where it will lead.

Published in: on January 2, 2021 at 9:33 pm  Leave a Comment  
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After 2020, the music world needs some fun and Toronto’s @ShuffleDemons have got it with “Crazy Time”

SHUFFLE DEMONS, “Crazy Time”

As I witnessed at a free live show in Toronto in summer 2019, Toronto’s alt-jazz troupe Shuffle Demons are still going as strong as ever some 35 years after the seminal “Spadina Bus” became an alternative radio and video channel favourite across Canada.  The bleakness of 2020 has given the guys perfect ammunition to look on the brighter, sillier side of things with “Crazy Time”, the title song and video (above, directed by Kurt Swinghammer) from their latest album.  They choose to skewer fake news and social media stories in particular, and surround it all with their trademark three-saxophone sound, supported by drums and stand-up bass.  If you’re looking for something off the beaten path that will put a smile on your face, then seize the moment and check out “Crazy Time”.

Published in: on January 2, 2021 at 9:33 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Arizona’s @Devoramusicxo lives life fast and furious in rocking “Not Dead Yet”

DEVORA, “Not Dead Yet”

If you like your guitar-filled rock fast and furious but outside of the heavy/death/speed metal sub-genres, then you’ll find a treat in “Not Dead Yet” by Arizona singer/songwriter Devora.  She coins the phrase “outlaw pop” to describe her music, and in “Not Dead Yet” if you don’t keep up you’ll be left in the dust. It’s about living life fast and furious, and not giving up – you can still keep going because you’re not dead yet. It’s a challenge for you as the listener to buy into this philosophy and enjoy the ride, but to think about what you really want and keep striving to attain those goals even if it means travelling into the dark unknown.  Devora’s voice is Joan Jett-meets-Suzi Quatro with a dash of Gwen Stefani in her No Doubt days, and is definitely a tad left of centre from what other women are recording in pop music.  Devora’s ambitious style and the zeal in her messages should continue to attract attention in the coming year.

Published in: on January 2, 2021 at 9:33 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Meet London-based Ukrainian electronic producer/songwriter @Sleep_woka with “Together We Are”

SLEEPWOKA, “Together We Are”

“Together We Are” calls for a united, loving front for all music listeners around the world during these strange times.  Its passionate lyrics are brought to you by new London-based Ukrainian producer Sleepwoka, who creates retrotastic soundscapes using analog synthesizers that take you back to the early 80’s new wave days of Depeche Mode and Simple Minds. He plays on the rock elements of that style rather than fusing it with more contemporary dance or house flavours.  The vocal tones are rather simple but expressive at times in order to stress the important message of the song, which gives it kind of a ‘root for the underdog’ appeal. With only a handful of singles on release since 2019, Sleepwoka has latched onto a good thing that is worth following.

Published in: on January 2, 2021 at 9:33 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“B4U” offers a glimpse of another side of L.A.-based performer @KINGMALAmusic

KING MALA, “B4U”

I’ve written a few times this past year about L.A.-based singer/songwriter KING MALA, who I’ve described as having a tough exterior and aggressive alt.rock style (“KING MALA” means “bad bitch” in Spanish).  “B4U” sheds some new light on that persona, and it’s culled from her recent EP Gemini, whose title offers somewhat of a giveaway (and being a Gemini myself, I know a lot about it!).  “B4U” is softer in vocal approach – kind of Suzanne Vega meets Amy Winehouse at times – but doesn’t hesitate to make deliberate choices in harsher words that create some vivid imagery, which delivers a song that is both vulnerable and unapologetic.  KING MALA’s unconventional, thought-provoking approach is something to continue to watch in 2021.

Published in: on December 28, 2020 at 10:09 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Philadelphia duo @NiGHTSofficial unveil themselves and call out a lover in “Selfish”

N i G H T S, “Selfish”

During the past four years or so, Philadelphia duo N i G H T S have released a series of sometimes intriguing singles that are often rooted in R&B and pop of yesteryear.  2018’s stunner “Eyes” recalled mid-90’s R&B ballads, while 2017’s “Party” had wry lyrics set to an alternately sultry and offbeat arrangement.  Their latest single “Selfish” discovers out a lover who spends too much money and doesn’t care about anyone else.  The ever-distinct vocal and some humorous lyrics make this one a real kiss-off at only 2:04.  And finally, the mystery guys in N i G H T S unveil themselves, of sorts, coming out of the shadows of their photos in a basic, nicely silhouetted live performance above for you to watch and hear.

Published in: on December 23, 2020 at 10:53 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Love Again” is the striking R&B-influenced single from Las Vegas singer/songwriter @Sabrielmusic

SABRIEL, “Love Again”

“Love Again” as sung by Las Vegas indie songwriter Sabriel (pronounced ‘shä brē el’) captures the essence of all-girl R&B groups of the 60’s (The Ronettes, The Shangri-Las, and of course The Supremes) and inserts it into the more contemporary, bolder world of Erykah Badu, Macy Gray, and H.E.R.  Sabriel creates a dreamy, wondrous world of self-discovery as she comes to terms with healing herself in order to move forward into other relationships.  Her voice is unique and touching, and by the end of the song you may sense that a butterfly is now taking flight.  There’s plenty to enjoy in “Love Again” and I look forward to more new songs from Sabriel.

Published in: on December 23, 2020 at 10:53 pm  Leave a Comment  
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