#BILLCSTop30 #570 – September 16/19

Right now I have so many favourites out there.  Just a little insider information – I have a new music playlist of about 60-70 that includes these 30, which I play regularly during the week.  To keep track of my submissions and new songs I want to hear, I have a Spotify playlist – at least for those songs on Spotify.  So I’m usually always checking something out that’s new in the week when I’m not writing!  

The new chart has a lot of smaller moves and songs holding steady that I enjoy, but in two weeks that’s likely all to change, with so many new faves waiting in the wings.

Ukrainian dance group Kazaky hold tight at #1 with the Depeche Mode-influenced “Push”.  The song doesn’t sound like much out there right now, which makes its 80’s and 90’s influences all the more refreshing.

So what is wrong with US radio?  “Higher Love” by Kygo and Whitney Houston should be one of the year’s biggest hits, as it is worldwide, particularly in England, where, like on this chart, it has reached #2.  The dance music crowd loves it though and it is topping dance charts everywhere.  Check out the recent video for the song above.

The cool synths of “Monday Blues” by Eric Sharp and Zhao allow it to continue to move up a notch to #3.

“Tough Love” by Avicii, Agnes and Vargas & Lagola climbs 9-5.  It’s both Avicii and Agnes’ second Top 5 on this chart.  Avicii got to #3 in 2013 with “Addicted To You”, while Agnes reached #1 back in 2009 with “Release Me”.

Canadians Loud Luxury lands in the Top 10 for the 4th time with “I’m Not Alright” (12-8, above) with US vocalist Bryce Vine, while Australian producer Throttle gets his first – outside of his #1 remix of Troye Sivan’s “My! My! My!”  – with the thoughtful “Dreamer” rising 13-9 (below).  Also below, you can check out Throttle’s latest release “Japan”.

 

The fastest riser on the chart belongs to US production duo Midnight Kids with “Those Were The Days”, which soars 18-10.  In the past few weeks, vocalist of the song, Jared Lee, posted a video of him singing the song live in the studio accompanied simply by piano, always a true test to find the great singers behind the complex production of many songs.  Check out the original above, and the acoustic version below.

The deep bass beats of “Give Me Love” continue to climb the chart for producers Ken Summit and Eric Kupper with vocalist Amy Douglas.  The throwback to late 90’s club music rises 16-12.

Another thoughtful song with a really terrific vocal and honest lyrics is “Graduate” by singer/songwriter/author Simon Curtis.  It moves up 17-13.  I can’t tell you how I love that Simon is back making great music after a protracted absence.

All of the previous five debuts move up steadily, and are still led by the fun OKJAMES remix of “Like Like” by UK indie singer/songwriter Lostchild.  It moves up 23-19.

Right behind it is the song that uses a Finnish acapella performance to sample and form its key hook.  It’s called “Run Wild” by L.A.-based producer PLS&TY, and it rises 24-20.

The chart had room for three debuts, and they changed a number of times when creating the chart.  While there are a slew of fantastic new songs that will help last out the year, the three that premiere have all actually been on release for a number of weeks.

First up at #27 is British singer/songwriter Benedict Cork with “Breaking Hearts”, which I have been playing for months and richly deserves more attention as the highest debut.  Benedict has one of those instantly likeable, pristine voices that can make short work of just about any song.  And this original quickly gets stuck in your head.

Next up is the first entry by TheKnocks in 2019, the fun charmer that is “Awa Ni”, featuring singer Kah-Lo, which arrives at #28.  “Awa Ni” appears to be an expression of praise in Kah-Lo’s native Nigerian.  The song’s lyrics have an interesting disconnected train of thought about them, but it all comes together as summery, festive, and joyous. It’s also The Knocks’ 7th entry since 2012.  The prolific duo have released another four singles since “Awa Ni” first appeared in July.

The last debut is a dark and progressive song for late nights that club DJ’s will totally dig.  It’s “Flicker” by NYC-based producers (and brothers) Anden at #29.  Pete and Tom previously appeared on the chart back almost three years ago as remixers of Satchmode’s “Undertow” (#12).

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 🙂

 

 

 

#BILLCSTop30 #569 – September 2/19

September marks a big change-up on the new chart.  Not only is there a new #1 which more people need to discover, there are five new entries.  And it was a tough decision as to which songs debuted as there is quite a line-up of chart-worthy recent releases.  So while leaves will begin to tumble and the cooler air sets in where I am in Toronto, the music on the chart is free-flowing and most deserving of your attention!

It’s Ukrainian dance ensemble Kazaky who reign supreme on the chart now with “Push” and its stunning video (above).  It’s rare that you will see such physical choreography, and much of it danced in stilettos, so these guys must be so disciplined and committed.  Plus it’s a great song with early 90’s Depeche Mode all over it married with modern synths.

Kygo’s redux of Whitney Houston’s 1990 recording of “Higher Love” climbs to #2.  I must say I’m calling out radio in North America for not supporting such a great record.  The rest of the world indeed has much better taste these days, and so do dance clubs, where it’s already been a #1 hit.

“Time” is my favourite song from the Emanate album by EMAN8 (Brandyn Burnette). He’s been in my Top 10 numerous times over the last five years, but “Time” rises 9-6, his first time this high on the chart since “Run” got to #4 a little over a year ago.

Three songs climb into the Top 10, and they are Sam Dickinson’s joyous “All We Are” (11-7, above – all of Sam’s charted songs have reached the Top 10!), Avicii’s “Tough Love” (13-9, also above) and Italian musical mirth-makers Eric Zava & DJ Mirko B with “Even In Confusion” (12-10, below).

There’s lots of activity immediately below the Top 10, as the dark and mysterious deep house of “Alone Again” (above) by Mahalo and Polish producer Milkwish climbs 16-11.  Right behind is Loud Luxury and Bryce Vine with their huge Canadian radio hit that deserves to spread worldwide, “I’m Not Alright” (below), moving up 18-12.

The fastest riser on the chart is the highest debut from two weeks ago, “Dreamer” by Australian producer Throttle, which soars 22-13.  I’m hoping this is Throttle’s breakout record – dance music radio really needs to jump all over its refreshing sound.

The other debuts from the last chart also make progress.  Nashville duo Apollo LTD have one of my favourite albums of the year called Out Of Body, and their song “On The Way Up 2.0” (above) rises 24-20.  Then the unexpected dream team of Tiësto, Jonas Blue and Rita Ora move up 26-21 with “Ritual” (below).

The highest of five premieres this week belongs to England’s Lostchild with the charming and fun “Like Like” in its OKJAMES remix arriving at #23.  Lostchild reached #5 last year with the equally engaging “Blacklist”, so watch for great things for “Like Like”.  Both OKJAMES remix and the video for the original version of the song are above.

Someone else who is no stranger to this chart is Florida-born producer PLS&TY, whose latest engaging single “Run Wild” bows at #24.  Its repeated sample of a Finnish acoustic song is infectious and refreshing.  The Morgan Page of PLS&TY’s “Down For Me” got to #6 last year.

Chicago’s Win & Woo make their debut on the chart as lead performers with possibly their best single to date so far, which is the biting “Here U R”, featuring and co-written by singer Sara Skinner.  It arrives at #26.  Win & Woo’s other chart appearance was in 2016 providing a good-natured remix of Brandyn Burnette’s “Made Of Dreams” (#5), which I still play a lot.

Australia’s Peter Wilson returns to the chart after getting to #2 last year with Sean Smith in the unique duet called “Verona”.  It’s the Stormby edit of “Don’t Break My Heart Again” that bows at #27 from the EP of remixes for the song.  You’ve also seen Stormby on this chart before, with one of my favourite remixes of this decade, Kaden’s “Black Light”, which got to #1 in 2013.

The fifth debut will keep the heat of the summer continuing, in music anyway.  It’s the soulful, lazy melody of “Poolside Vibe” courtesy of two gents usually known as producers, Pretty Sister (Zak Waters) and MarcLo (Marc Lomax of The Monsters & The Strangerz collective), entering at #29.

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 🙂

It’s 10/10 #5: @nikkiswives @hellbergmusic @aloeblacc @youngbombs @thediscofries @ryshepherdmusic @brucewiegner @partypupils @MAXmusic @differentheaven @rose_annabrown Alex Mali @mainlymali @weareFlightSchl @laurellmusic

10/10 #05

It’s been a while, but the 10/10 (or tenoutoften) feature is back!  In it,  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. 

Writing 10/10 features means I can cover more songs in one shot.  So you get to learn about more new music that I hear but don’t always get a chance to write about. 

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  • NIKKI’S WIVES, “Girls Just Want To Have Fun”

Fans of the Cyndi Lauper classic may be certainly taken aback by how Canadian trio Nikki’s Wives interprets “Girls Just Want To Have Fun”, but don’t be worried, it’s a slowed-down version that will snuggle up to you.  I was fortunate to see the band perform it live back in the Spring, and the audience ate it up.  Nikki’s Wives taps into the lyrics of the song, wrestles emotion from the gleeful setting, and gives the song a completely different point of view.

  • HELLBERG & ALOE BLACC, “Punching In The Dark”

Swedish producer Hellberg is back with his best release since last Fall’s “Headlights” (with Leona Lewis).  His way to craft a seamless melody jibes so well with the graceful, invested vocal Aloe Blacc provides in “Punching In The Dark”.  Aloe has been popping up everywhere lately, from singing on fine songs from Avicii’s “SOS” to Mathieu Koss’ “Never Growing Up” to Lost Frequencies’ “Truth Never Lies”.  “Punching In The Dark” is anthemic without being overpowering, and you’ll find it stuck in your head more often than not.

  • YOUNG BOMBS, “Don’t Let Them”

Martin and Tristan started off 2019 with a big bang after signing to Astralwerks, home of Halsey and Illenium, and watching their first single “Starry Eyes” become a club and dance radio hit.  The Vancouver producers followed it up with two singles already, the more recent “Loyal”, an emotional electro-ballad, as well as the tropical-tinged “Don’t Let Them”.  They’re both solid, but “Don’t Let Them” has an edge for me with its celebratory vibe amid encouraging lyrics making you think twice about letting people walk all over you and to take a stand instead.  It’s guaranteed to make you bounce and feel so good!

  • BRUCE WIEGNER, “Malicious”

Philly bred, L.A.-based Bruce Wiegner is a new name to get to know as a singer/songwriter/producer with his third solo single “Malicious”.  The song is a sophisticated, melodic electro-pop delight, playfully calling out a former lover amid vibrant synths and percussion.  Backed with a killer funky groove, “Malicious” may very well cause a spontaneous singalong, so don’t say you weren’t warned.

  • PARTY PUPILS and MAX, “Bite My Tongue”

Although his name doesn’t appear on the artwork, I need to point out right away that MAX is the vocalist on “Bite My Tongue” by his fun side project with his very talented buddy Ryan Siegel, Party Pupils.  Fans have seen Ryan supporting MAX in his solo shows where they often add a few Party Pupils performances that truly energize the crowd.  “Bite My Tongue” allows MAX to sink into that comfortable, soulful place where he has ventured successfully on earlier singles like “Wrong” and “Ms Anonymous”, this time set in an appetizing house setting to which dance club DJ’s should direct their attention.

  • DIFFERENT HEAVEN and ROSEANNA BROWN, “Strangers”

Spanish producer Different Heaven (and pro-gamer aka Alvaro Perea) will brighten up your day with a story about falling in love, and wanting to become “Strangers” again just to feel what it’s like all over again.  “Strangers” is instantly likeable and most of us will identify with it.  Sung with vigor by Roseanna Brown, “Strangers” has a dynamic hook which will sell it home to you if the lyrics and melody somehow don’t grab you.  It’s perfectly suited for dance music radio play anywhere.

  • ALEX MALI, “Start It Up”

Alex Mali is a relatively new R&B/pop singer from Brooklyn whose music has quickly been getting traction throughout the US.  That’s not at all surprising, with a voice that is as convincing as Normani and pointed lyrics that recall a less complex H.E.R.  What’s most attractive about Alex’s voice is her sweet tone, which prevails throughout “Start It Up”.  The song is about what you feel you should do when you think you might get hurt before a potential relationship even begins.  This can be frustrating when your heart tells you that someone might be ‘the one’, in the way that past lovers were not, and your head tells you otherwise.  Despite a tough topic, the melody is soothing and the song goes down easy.  It’s from Alex’s new EP Sweet & Sour, and check out the video for “Start It Up” above.

  • DISCO FRIES, “Family Affair”

After the smashing #1 dance club hit “Concrete Heart” which they recorded with Vassy, New York City’s Disco Fries (otherwise known as Nick and Danny) are back this time on Spinnin’ with “Family Affair”.  It’s a pumped up house take on the Mary J. Blige classic from 2001 but this time with uncredited male vocals. “Family Affair” is such a recognizable song and one that needs to be covered in the right way.  Disco Fries put it on a pedestal, not taking too many production liberties with it, and make their version shine, and club play reaction will be instantaneous.  I look forward to seeing “Family Affair” follow “Concrete Heart” up the dance charts.

  • FLIGHT SCHOOL and LAURELL, “Come & Go”

Toronto production duo Flight School (Guillaume and Conor) surprised everyone in Canadian music land earlier this year by scoring a highly rare out of the box Top 20 national radio hit, after winning an iHeart Radio contest, with “Figure It Out”.  The likeable, rough-around-the-edges sound of “Figure It Out” has been succeeded by the more enigmatic deep house of “Come & Go”.  One of the co-writers of the song with Flight School is its singer Laurell, who won a Juno Award as the vocalist of Nick Fiorucci’s “Closer”, and has recorded with other prominent dance producers like Ummet Ozcan, Quintino, and Steve Void.  Her rich and captivating performance should help guarantee “Come & Go” more radio play and garner attention from outside of Canada.  “Come & Go” is international in its accessible dance flavours and sound.  Check out the video above.

  • RYAN SHEPHERD and HEATHER JANSSEN, “Who’s Gonna Love U”

“Who’s Gonna Love U” is a stylish slice of deep house from Canadian producer Ryan Shepherd, whose music has been featured in this blog a number of times over the past few years.  Whereas a number of Ryan’s songs have slammed hard and were tailored for clubs and festivals, in his latest for Armada, “Who’s Gonna Love U” should easily find favour on the radio.  Canadian singer/songwriter Heather Janssen’s voice is alternately delicate and alluring, all the while delivering a strong message to a previous lover – “who’s gonna love U if I don’t love U, nobody else could”.  Some spicy remixes could also help “Who’s Gonna Love U” get the green light from club DJ’s too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

#BILLCSTop30 #568 – August 19/19

As the ides of August pass by, a close battle for the top on this new chart did not change too much. 

For with the arrival of his new album Ascend, Illenium along with vocalist Jon Bellion once again take #1 with “Good Things Fall Apart”.  That makes it 5 appearances – 10 weeks – at the top, which has only been achieved by one other record in this decade, and that is “I Wanna Be (Free)” by Brandyn Burnette (now recording as EMAN8, and in the chart at #9 with “Time”), my #1 song of 2015.  After listening to Ascend, I am very lost for words and it needs another go through.  But it’s an outstanding record sonically, musically, and lyrically, with many fine collaborations.  

That means that “World At Our Feet” has another close call for #1 but stays at #2 for a 3rd appearance for Australia’s Timmy Trumpet.  Still, it’s a true favourite of mine for ’19.

Unless “World At Our Feet” succeeds “Good Things Fall Apart” at #1, then it should be Push by Ukrainian dance music group Kazaky that gets there next.  “Push” would sound great next to any late 80’s or early 90’s Depeche Mode song, and it climbs 8-3.  And watch the video to see what these five guys do with choreography and huge stiletto heels!

The cool, relaxed vibe of “Monday Blues” helps send this dance track up 7-5 for L.A. producer Eric Sharp and vocalist Kenny Zhao.  Play it after “Cola” by Camelphat and Elderbrook and you’ll see what I mean.

Showtek and Leon Sherman’s “Listen To Your Momma” (A-Trak remix) continues its journey into the Top 10 landing at #8.

Sam Dickinson’s beautiful and affecting “All We Are” will become the UK singer/songwriter’s fourth Top 10 entry on this chart in two weeks, but for now it climbs 14-11.  Sam has a new single coming called “Diamond Skin” and Pt. 3 of his EP trilogy From The Glass House.

Cutting loose through the middle with a lovely orchestral hook is “Tough Love” by Avicii featuring Swedish chanteuse Agnes plus Avicii’s long time collaborators Vargas and Lagola.  It rises 19-13.

It was never an issue if “Alone Again” by Mahalo and Milkwish would leave the lower 10, it was just a matter of time, amid fierce competition on the chart.  “Alone Again” rises 21-16.

Right behind “Alone Again” again is “Flying On My Own” by Celine Dion, which also makes its presence known, climbing 22-17.

The Fastest Riser on the chart is “I’m Not Alright” by Canadians Loud Luxury with vocalist Bryce Vine.  It’s one for the lazy, hazy end of summer days and moves up 26-18.

The Highest Debut belongs to Australian producer Throttle with “Dreamer” at #22.  This one’s a real grower and you pick up the sincerity in the song as you hear it more.  Plus it’s got a knockout beat to keep you grooving.  It’s also a rare appearance on this chart for Canadian dance music label Monstercat, which previously charted with Hellberg’s “Synchronize” (#8) in 2016.  “Dreamer” is Throttle’s second appearance on the chart following his playful take on Michael Bublé’s “My Kind Of Girl” (#21) in 2017, but don’t forget he also had a #1 remix with Troye Sivan’s “My! My! My!”.

The next new arrival is at #24, Nashville duo Apollo LTD’s “On The Way Up 2.0” from their wonderful album Out Of Body.  These guys know how to write songs and put together an album that flows from song to song.  The “2.0” in the title does signal a new version of a previous single that perhaps sounded initially too much like an Imagine Dragons kind of song.  Keeping the anthemic appeal intact, “2.0” takes the song down a few notches and lets us bask in its fine melody and great vocal.

The third debut will become an easy go-to record for me.  It’s “Ritual”, a collaboration of Tiësto, Jonas Blue and Rita Ora, which arrives at #26.  While Tiësto and Jonas Blue are no strangers to the chart, it is Rita Ora’s first entry and definitely one of her best vocals.  The hook in “Ritual” is just insane and had me singing along right away.

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 🙂

It’s downright cool to be “Peachy” as sung by L.A.-based songwriter and producer @EMMinreallife

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EMM, “Peachy”

Don’t be fooled by its title – “Peachy” is a powerhouse alt.rocker that is all about empowering yourself to be just your cool self.  And let it sink in because it should be nothing more than “Peachy” to be you, like it is for the pop chameleon that is Michigan-born, L.A.-based EMM, despite any ongoing hardships.  There are so many people in the world with anxieties and pressures, many of which are a result of other people diminishing their self-worth.  “Peachy” puts that all to bed with a ferocious vocal and melody that definitely recall No Doubt, Blondie, and Cyndi Lauper.  EMM refuses to compromise her touch-edged lyrics, which makes the song even more powerful.  The musical arrangement is a catchy but haunting contrast to the song’s message.  Listen to the song at the link below and you’ll understand why “Peachy” fits for EMM as well as for others.

Published in: on August 17, 2019 at 10:32 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Meet new French-American rocker @NordiBlu with her striking debut single “Skin”

NORDI BLU, “Skin”

“Skin” by Nordi Blu impresses right out of the gate as a debut single with powerful, multi-layered production that showcases this rocker’s larger than life persona.  But this French-American singer/songwriter, raised in Berlin, is no newbie.  For as Marie-Claude Rubin, European fans of the TV show “The Voice Of Germany” saw her perform a few years back as part of Mark Forster’s team, where she advanced to the quarter-finals.  It was wise to use that experience as a jumping off point for reinvention, and thus we have Nordi Blu making a striking arrival with “Skin”.  She has a diverse voice full of personality that will make you recall songs by Melissa Etheridge and Alanis Morissette.  I’m particularly taken with how she stays in a low chest voice range during a good part of the song, making the refrain of “you got no skin in it” particularly memorable. A full album is set for late 2019 release.

Published in: on August 11, 2019 at 10:34 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Meet new French-American rocker @NordiBlu with her striking debut single “Skin”

NORDI BLU, “Skin”

“Skin” by Nordi Blu impresses right out of the gate as a debut single with powerful, multi-layered production that showcases this rocker’s larger than life persona.  But this French-American singer/songwriter, raised in Berlin, is no newbie.  For as Marie-Claude Rubin, European fans of the TV show “The Voice Of Germany” saw her perform a few years back as part of Mark Forster’s team, where she advanced to the quarter-finals.  It was wise to use that experience as a jumping off point for reinvention, and thus we have Nordi Blu making a striking arrival with “Skin”.  She has a diverse voice full of personality that will make you recall songs by Melissa Etheridge and Alanis Morissette.  I’m particularly taken with how she stays in a low chest voice range during a good part of the song, making the refrain of “you got no skin in it” particularly memorable. A full album is set for late 2019 release.

Published in: on August 11, 2019 at 10:34 pm  Leave a Comment  
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SoCal duo Inspired & The Sleep @insprdandtheslp help us out with “Getting Through”

INSPIRED AND THE SLEEP, “Getting Through”

Although the lyrics are perfectly serious, SoCal duo Inspired And The Sleep (Max and Bryce) are determined to help us all out with “Getting Through”.  Its empowering message compels you to listen, which is countered by a soothing melody carried throughout by a some chipper piano chords, giving it a 1970’s Doobie Brothers kind of vibe (think of songs like “Minute By Minute” or “It Keeps You Runnin'”).  Max’s vocal really shines as well, making “Getting Through” likely the best release I’ve heard from them to date.  It’s definitely indie alternative, and college radio stations should enjoy this one immensely.  But it’s also unique pop music that will stand apart from the rest in a set, not an easy thing to do these days.

Published in: on August 11, 2019 at 10:34 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Always listen to those voices: “Sounds Like An Anthem” comes from Canadian-German synth duo @LolaDutronic

LOLA DUTRONIC, “Sounds Like An Anthem”

It’s been a while since Richard Citroen and Stephanie B. have graced us with new music as Lola Dutronic, but they return with the engaging “Sounds Like An Anthem”.  They encourage us to listen to the voices in our heads because they could certainly mean something important to either ourselves or someone else.  The duo continue to provide chic 60’s style and sensibility paired with contemporary dance rhythms which seem to be influenced by 80’s artists like Talk Talk or OMD.  While I think “Sounds Like An Anthem” is infectious, if a little long, it might benefit from a remix or two which might help it find its way deservedly into clubland where I would hear it as an anthem for the nightlife.

Published in: on August 11, 2019 at 10:34 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“We Out Here” by @AlmostOwenmusic is fun, summery memory-making music

ALMOST OWEN, “We Out Here”

It’s short and sweet at only 2:06 but boy does Boston’s Almost Owen cram a lot of detail into such a quick song.  “We Out Here” is meant to be played loud, and it’s a raucous and upbeat song about when we are at our most vain and ridiculous – take the “Old Time Rock & Roll” scene from Tom Cruise’s movie “Risky Business” and run with it.  You’re in command of your own setting and fun when you’re by yourself or with a good friend, and some of those times create some unique memories.  Following up the rocker “One Lucky Man” and the acoustic “One In A Million”, both of which I have written about, Almost Owen continues to impress with “We Out Here” with the best kind of diverse fun.

Published in: on August 9, 2019 at 10:27 pm  Leave a Comment  
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