Listen to atmospheric “Off To Get Lost” by French duo @Kultursound

KULTUR, “Off To Get Lost”

“Off To Get Lost” is an ideal song to end off an evening of clubbing, where you might head off into the night, with or without others, to wander among the darkness and light, and gear up for that 24 hour diner breakfast that awaits.  I can’t say that French duo Kultur (more members of the Slow Hours collective) really offer anything new here, taking a lot of cues from progressive electronic and ambient music that might go back to the early 80’s.  But “Off To Get Lost” is a very well produced instrumental indeed with trippy vocal effects and melody that will draw out some positive and emotional reactions.  Check out “Off To Get Lost” at the link above.

Published in: on May 19, 2018 at 9:38 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Sophisticated and dreamy: “Eyes” by Philly duo @NiGHTS_official

NiGHTS, “Eyes”

In 2017, Philadelphia duo NiGHTS released a number of singles with a lot of unique flavours, but the one that latched on to me was “P A R T Y”, which ended up being a favourite of mine with its wonky rhythm and soulful but somewhat droll vocal.  The guys show another side to their music with the very chill and sophisticated alt.soul of “Eyes”.  It takes a few listens but it’s well worth it.  “Eyes” has a beautifully light and percussive rhythm, with the vocal here offering a really unexpectedly dreamy quality to the song.  It reminds me of some 70’s or 80’s R&B – Stevie Wonder’s “Send One Your Love” comes to mind – where you just take the graciousness of the song in stride and absorb all of what it offers.  “Eyes” could easily find its way onto a playlist where it could be comfortable side by side with songs by Drake or Janet Jackson (maybe “No Sleeep”).  Check it out at the link above.

Published in: on May 16, 2018 at 10:44 pm  Leave a Comment  
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British singer @JulesRendell has a classic pop voice and positive vibes fill “The Return”

JULES RENDELL, “The Return”

In my world of music, there is always room for fine vocalists who challenge you to get the most out of their songs.  It takes a few listens, and it isn’t always apparent, but Jules Rendell’s “The Return” seems to be about love and being free and confident.  The British singer has a beautiful, classic, versatile pop voice, and it’s the showcase of this particular song.  Its accompanying video is worth checking out as her dancer friends kind of act like a Greek chorus of sorts, accentuating the themes I’ve mentioned with a unified approach that will make you feel good about everything.  “The Return” is the third single from Jules’ new album I M A G I N E, whose overriding theme is mental health awareness.  On her Soundcloud page, there are more originals by Jules but also a few tasty covers from a Candi Staton song (yeah – that soulful edge!) through to ….. James Blake.  Watch “The Return” above, and check out her exceptional and live cover from a few years ago of James Blake’s “Retrograde” below.

Published in: on May 16, 2018 at 10:44 pm  Leave a Comment  
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#BILLCSTop30 #535 – May 14/18

A busy Top 10 on the new chart leaves some songs stranded behind current favourites, but that should change in two weeks.  Plus, among the four debuts, we find two by much respected performers with multiple chart appearances.  

The Top 10

  • Holding at the top for an impressive three appearances (six weeks!) is “Smile”, the quirky alt.electronica song by Norway’s Dyrisk and England’s Nik Ernst.  Think Massive Attack meets MGMT, and you have a strangely fun, sarcastic, and very different winner.  Nik has a new solo release coming in June that is going to be the bookend to “Smile” 🙂  Way to go Tipsy Records!
  • My favourite song that I heard coming out of Miami Music Week in March is Mercer’s “Satisfy”, which advances 5-2 and is a shoo-in for #1 next week.  It features a spot-on vocal by Chicago’s Ron Carroll on what is otherwise a top notch Eurohouse track.

  • The Chainsmokers’ latest songs have gotten big thumbs up from fans like me but I don’t think the audience that loved “Closer” or “Paris” has tapped into them just yet.  Both “Everybody Hates Me” (8-6, above) and former #2 “Sick Boy” contain very real sentiments about observations The Chainsmokers have obviously made in achieving their success.  I truly enjoy this other side of them, but if a club banger might be due, then bring it on 🙂
  • Like The Chainsmokers, Canadian producer Robotaki has ended up with two songs in the Top 10 on this chart.  “I Want You” rests comfortably at #3 while the entirely different, gritty, soulful “Butterscotch” (featuring singer Jamie Fine – of the duo with Elijah Woods, who were one of the winners of Canada’s TV competition “The Launch” – and producer Falcxne) zips into the Top 10, up 14-7.

  • Rounding out the Top 10 are no strangers to the chart.  Dutch producers The Him climb 12-8 with “White Lies”, their 4th Top 10, while England’s Years & Years advances 13-10 with “Sanctify” from their upcoming album Palo Santo (both above).  You can check out The Him’s recent collaboration with Jay Hardway called “Jigsaw” and Years & Years’ bubbly new single “If You’re Over Me”, below.

Movin’ On Up

  • Last week, Jesse McCartney announced his U.S. tour which will take him to just about every major city, so watch for dates near you.  His latest single, “Better With You” rises 18-13.
  • The fastest riser on the chart happens just as the artist’s song “Prisoner” drops from its #7 peak.  L.A.’s Bobby Nourmand has a dark winner with his Subterranean EP, which contains two songs, the title track and the deep and dangerous “Estranged” (both above), which move up together 26-15.
  • As Martin Garrix established almost 5 years ago, the clever dance producer under 20 is a real and more frequent thing these days, and Chicago’s Whethan has his share of fans which helped get him to collaborate with New Zealand duo Broods for “Be Like You”, which rises 22-17.
  • Fresh off of his appearance at Canadian Music Week on Friday is British Columbia native Tyler Shaw with “Cautious” in its remix by Halifax’s Famba, which climbs 24-18.

Debuts

  • Not only is his new single “Run” his 13th solo chart entry here since 2014 – that’s outside of his collaborations with Molly Moore and Elephante and his side project with Molly, Cosmos & Creature – Brandyn also co-wrote Jesse McCartney’s #13 “Better With You” with Molly and Jesse.  “Run” is the introduction to the story that led Brandyn to where he is today, from his upcoming album Emanate, and arrives on the chart at #22.

  • Australia-based singer/songwriter Troye Sivan’s star continues to rise and rise with beautiful songs like “Bloom” which bows at #26.  “Bloom” may have a specific meaning at its source, but it really is a song that anyone can relate to when you find yourself in a position to give yourself to someone in a relationship.  Troye’s upcoming album is also called Bloom, and this is his 6th chart entry including his collaboration with Martin Garrix on “There For You”.
  • A new chart upstart to watch who has been making great house music in Florida these last few years is Adam Foster with “Time”.  You’ll notice instantly that “Time” features the voice of Marvin Gaye.  It’s essentially a clever rework of Marvin’s 1969 hit “Too Busy Thinkin’ Bout My Baby” – one of my personal all time faves – and somehow transforms it into a new song by working its way around the original’s chorus.  “Time” drops onto the chart at #27.

  • I’m fortunate enough to meet and see in performance some very nice and kind folks in the industry from time to time, and two happen to be Norwegian producer Matoma and US singer/songwriter MAX (Schneider).  Then the unthinkable happens – an unanticipated collaboration, which turns out to be golden!  So we have Matoma and MAX with “Lonely”, with an insanely catchy instrumental hook and another brilliant vocal by MAX.  It premieres at #28.  It follows Matoma’s 2016 Top 10 “False Alarm” and is also MAX’s 6th appearance on the chart as either a lead or featured vocalist.  Matoma also is the third Norwegian on the chart – the others being Dyrisk (#1) and Alan Walker (#11).

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 new BILLCS Music Projects Facebook page 🙂

“Run” by @BrandynBurnette contains that hopeful message that everyone needs

BRANDYN BURNETTE, “Run”

If the rest of the songs on Brandyn Burnette’s upcoming debut album Emanate are anything like “Run”, or even better than it, we are all in for one of the tastiest treats of 2018 that has been a long time coming.  While these blog pages are a pretty good document for Brandyn’s progressing career since 2014, nothing will go down better than to hear his story (to date, anyway) in music. 

“Run” is the start of a series of autobiographical songs which form Emanate.  It’s also about what led to creating Emanate – in this case, grabbing the opportunity to become an independent musical entity unto himself after his record deal with Warner didn’t work out, and abandoning a NYU scholarship that wasn’t leading in the right direction for him.  Surrounding himself with amazing people, including his intuitive love and co-writer Molly Moore, breaking down genre walls with Cosmos & Creature too, leading to dance club play all over the world by many famous producers/DJ’s, and of course remaining his talented progressive soulful rocker himself, Brandyn makes songs that are tangible, hopeful, and affecting, to share with you.

“Run” has a knowing confident vocal, a great arrangement and instrumentation (yes, more Ryan Svendsen trumpet!).  Seize that moment and make possibility into reality.  Watch the video above for any more convincing that might be needed.

Published in: on May 3, 2018 at 10:06 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Rockstar” is @CallMeKarizma’s engaging and on-point wake-up call about fame

CALL ME KARIZMA, “Rockstar”

Fame is one nasty bitch that can sneak up on you and bite you in the ass, as would relate the weary, self-imprisoned protagonist albeit a little too late in Call Me Karizma’s “Rockstar” (and, no, nothing to do with Post Malone).  I saw ‘Riz perform this song last Fall and knew that it would be one of his most special releases, which he’s been keeping under wraps obviously for that reason, teasing us with tweets over the last few months, and it’s finally here!  The Minnesota rapper has been regularly and generously offering new songs, but “Rockstar” is one straight-up, on-point message that needs to be heard by more than just his many fans.  There’s even some crunchy rock ‘n roll guitar work to enhance the proceedings which are anchored by ‘Riz’s vivid vocal.  Add “Rockstar” to your Fame Or Infamy playlist using the Spotify link above.

Published in: on May 3, 2018 at 10:06 pm  Leave a Comment  
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#BILLCSTop30 #534, April 30/18

Spring has sprung finally, there is lots of music in the air and on the new chart where there are three debuts.

The Top 10

  • Norway’s Dyrisk holds at #1 with the unconventional and delightfully catchy slice of alt.electronica, “Smile”, as produced by England’s Nik Ernst.  There’s lots more to come from Dyrisk who is a rising talent that you should be keeping your ears out for.  It’s the second song called “Smile” to top my chart in its 20 years, the other being by Mikky Ekko in 2015.

  • I do like The Chainsmokers’ forays away from EDM ballads and bangers with both “Sick Boy” (holding at #2) and the fierce “Everybody Hates Me” (above), soaring 15-8.  Check out their latest below called “Somebody”, featuring vocalist Drew Love of the duo They.

  • It’s one of the simplest and most haunting songs out there right now – “I Want You” (above) in its taut Spirix remix by Robotaki and Manila Killa featuring singer Matthew John Kurz.  It continues to rise, climbing 5-3.  L.A.’s Spirix has his own new original called “This Is What It Feels Like” (not the Armin van Buuren tune) below.
  • Besides “Everybody Hates Me”, the other new addition to the Top 10 is the quirky and fun “Multiply” by Italy’s IDEO featuring American hip hop artist J.Paulished.  It climbs 12-9 and is the first Top 10 for Balmung Digital Recordings.

Movin’ On Up

Oh where to begin… and how to edit this part of the post down…

  • The huge club and dance radio hit “All Falls Down” by Alan Walker featuring Noah Cyrus and Digital Farm Animals continues to reach new heights on this chart, leaping 14-11.
  • Their new album is called Palo Santo, due July 6, which looks to be a more progressive effort for UK trio Years & Years if the lead single “Sanctify” is any indication.  “Sanctify” rises 16-13.

  • The fastest riser on the chart is a slick, languid mix of hip hop, soul and dance music styles.  It’s “Butterscotch”, the second entry by Canada’s Robotaki, featuring vocalist Jamie Fine and producer Falcxne.  It flies up the chart 22-14.
  • Jesse McCartney’s latest single is well on its way and starting to attract radio attention.  Taking cues from his early hit singles, “Better With You” is a charming, low-key winner and climbs 25-18.
  • Shawn Mendes’ new album is called – Shawn Mendes!  Which means his songs might continue to be just as personal as “Lost In Japan” seems.  With its old school vibe, “Lost In Japan” rises 26-20.

3 Debuts

  • While “Prisoner” continues its roost at #7, L.A.’s Bobby Nourmand has created some of the most enjoyably dark house music I’ve heard in quite some time with his recent EP Subterranean.  And seeing that I love both songs from the EP, I’ve created a ‘first’ on the BILLCS Top 30 to add both “Subterranean” (above) and “Estranged” (below) as one entry at #26.  Never listen to these ones nearly alone in a dark club or you may not feel the same again!!
  • On a completely different bent, Australia’s JYYE has a perky, percussive, upbeat electronic sound with his latest single “Somewhere Else” which makes a splash at #27.
  • Ever since I was at Miami Music Week I’ve been wanting EDM artists to throwback to the classic sounds of the 2012-14 era.  A number of artists have since obliged, and I expect there to be more after Avicii’s sudden passing.  Dutch producer Ravitez debuts on the chart with the instrumental “2012” which features his mentor Afrojack, who is about to go on his first North American tour in some time.  It’s Afrojack’s first chart entry since 2014’s smash “Ten Feet Tall” (#8).

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 new BILLCS Music Projects Facebook page 🙂

Watch the haunting, stunning video for “Chess” by @_ANIQO

ANIQO, “Chess”

At the end of last year, I wrote about “New Signs” by German singer/songwriter ANIQO.  She’s followed it up with a haunting, compelling video for “Chess”, also from her upcoming album Birth.  Sounding perhaps most like Sinéad O’Connor with a dash of Björk in this song, “Chess” is a deliberately paced, progressive slice of electronica, also recalling Laurie Anderson’s initial works, which is enhanced greatly by the imaginative visuals in the video.  It’s somewhat reminiscent of the intrigue of changing faces in the classic video for “Cry” by Godley & Creme from back in the 80’s.  Except there’s only one face, or partial face, in the video, and it’s ANIQO.  “Chess” is not for everyone but it’s bold and adventurous to the credit of the singer/songwriter and her video partners.  I would definitely suggest exposure for the video through various competitions such as one I eventually saw at SXSW – potential award calibre material here in my opinion!

Published in: on April 28, 2018 at 11:06 pm  Leave a Comment  
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San Diego’s @InsprdandtheSlp creates a timeless melody with honest lyrics in “First Time”

INSPIRED AND THE SLEEP, “First Time”

“First Time” is an honest slice of danceable alt.rock from San Diego duo Max and Bryce, aka Inspired And The Sleep, who have already made their name through performances in Southern California.  Max is the singer/songwriter/producer while Bryce is the multi-instrumentalist, who together craft a nuanced, fluid sound that draws from inspiration from music as diverse as Jeff Buckley and Patrick Watson as well as more contemporary rhythmic soul like Daniel Caesar.  And those are all great signs of promise for the duo.  “First Time”, at times, reminds me of 90’s songs by Third Eye Blind (such as “Never Let You Go”), who were always fine tunesmiths developing timeless melodies.  And if anything’s going to stick in your head to get you humming about “First Time” it’s the melodic structure.  Add Inspired And The Sleep’s “First Time” to your Melodic Indies playlist using the Spotify link above.

Published in: on April 27, 2018 at 9:32 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Dallas-based indie rock band @NorthernNatl powers ahead with “C.H.A.R.L.I.”

NORTHERN NATIONAL, “C.H.A.R.L.I.”

Dallas quartet Northern National are back with a pulsating song that’s full of energy and determination with “C.H.A.R.L.I.”.  Standing for “changing how a rebel lies inside”, its lyrics are obviously coming from a darker place with the singer challenging himself to rise up and not give up, making the rebel inside a better person.  The fist-pumping drum beats will work you up while the compelling vocal will ring inside your head.  This is all helped immensely by production which doesn’t go over the top and allows the song and its message to be heard, and could be easily replicated in a live show.  Add “C.HA.R.L.I.” to your New Rock Anthems playlist using the Spotify link above.

Published in: on April 21, 2018 at 10:22 pm  Leave a Comment  
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