A Swift Bastille Acapella Blast: @Mike_Tompkins Mashes Up “Shake It Off” with “Pompeii”

MIKE TOMPKINS, “Shake It Off/Bastille”

Over the summer, my fellow Canadian Mike Tompkins released an original and very contagious single “YOLO (Sorry I’m Not Sorry)”, which was followed by a tour and very enjoyable show, and somewhere amid it all he co-produced a single by Jennifer Hudson with Timbaland, “Walk It Out”, which appears on her latest album JHUD.  But Mike returns to the acapella form, his unique anchor for success, with the unlikely mashup of Taylor Swift’s “Take It Off” and Bastille’s “Pompeii”.  The mashup does not take away from either song, but like with Mike’s other online works, it almost makes both songs into one new one.  And as before, to introduce new listeners and viewers, Mike informs us after the song about how he creates the layered acapella sounds.  Watch the fun above and I look forward to new and original music from Mike soon.  But I won’t knock these mashups as long as he chooses to create them 🙂  

Published in: on September 29, 2014 at 10:54 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Bill’s Top 75 of 2013 – Songs 40 to 421

My year end countdown continues with songs #40 through 21 🙂

40.  DATABOY  We Can’t Stop Summertime Sadness (PP #6)

Among their many projects amid preparations for their sophomore album, Austin TX duo DATABOY (aka Cameron Maxwell and Adam Bailey) dropped one of the biggest surprises of 2013 – not just a mashup of Miley Cyrus’ “We Can’t Stop” and “Summertime Sadness” by Lana Del Rey, but one that pretty much stands alone as a song itself.  It’s a supurb end of summer song, combining the invincibility of “We Can’t Stop” and the defeat of “Summertime Sadness”.  Plus, as is the theme of this year’s songs, the guys gave one of their best ever vocals, and showed themselves at last in the accompanying video.  Available for free download too.

39.  THE WALLFLOWERS featuring MICK JONES Reboot The Mission (PP #6)

“Reboot The Mission” served as a classy homage to The Clash, what with reference to “the mighty Joe Strummer” in the lyrics as well as supporting vocal from Clash member Mick Jones.  It’s probably one of The Wallflowers’ funkiest numbers too, a real throwback to how The Clash incorporated funk and R&B into their songs like “This Is Radio Clash”, “Rock The Casbah”, and “The Magnificent Seven”.  Jakob Dylan also has never sounded so fine, an enthusiastic yet sultry vocal.

38. OSVALDO SUPINO I Have A Name (PP #5)

“I Have A Name” became the standout song from the blissful dance compilation This Beat Is… Poptronik Volume 2 as the year went on.  It’s as different from Italian singer Osvaldo Supino’s more outrageous songs as it is from his other charting song (the incredibly playful “Ma Radio” at #67).  His vocal here is extremely touching and the beautiful lyrics – the song was written by ace team Charlie Mason, Daniel Volpe, and Thomas Lipp – to me could also serve as a theme of sorts against bullying.

37. ROBIN THICKE featuring T.I. & PHARRELL WILLIAMS  Blurred Lines (PP #4)

There is no denying that “Blurred Lines” is one of the catchiest pieces of business that 2013 offered.  I’m not about to debate the lyrics; to me this is all just fun and other songs have been targeted in the past for their words, yet it didn’t stop radio from playing them either.  Robin Thicke is no stranger to making songs about sex, they comprise pretty much most of his repertoire (and he’s been married for over 20 years too).  It’s great to have him back with some friendly rivalry, he last appeared on my Best of 2008 with “Magic” (in duet form with Mary J. Blige) after first appearing on my chart back in 2002 with his “A Fifth Of Beethoven” mashup, “When I Get You Alone” (billed under his last name only).

36. DAVIS REDFIELD  A World Apart (PP #4)

Davis Redfield is a German DJ/producer who appears to be well-established in Europe.  His song “A World Apart” came to my attention through its impeccable songwriting pedigree (Charlie Mason/Mans Ek/Johan Aberg and Redfield).  It also has a bit of bizarre history to itself as the fantastic (and hitherto unknown) session vocalist bailed from the project after it was recorded, and that’s not her in the accompanying video.  Nevertheless it’s one of the year’s very best dance recordings that should not be disregarded! 🙂

35.  BONGIOVANNI  I Think I Love You (Kwik Fiks & Bongiovanni remix) (PP #6)

It’s Montrealer Victor Bongiovanni’s second entry (the other is much higher up!) on this list, a deep house rework of rapper Dwele’s song that emphasizes over the full song an irresistibly oversized bass sound and atmosphere featuring minimal vocals.  Eventually the full lyrics come along about half way through but by then you are sold entirely.  I heard no other song that was quite like this one in 2013, and look forward to Bongiovanni’s upcoming projects (usually with partner-in-crime Kwik Fiks).

34. ARMIN VAN BUUREN featuring TREVOR GUTHRIE  This Is What It Feels Like (PP #6)

Dutch DJ/producer has been no stranger to my chart over the past 10 years and in fact has scored two #1’s, 2003’s “Yet Another Day” and 2008’s “Going Wrong”.  This time though, “This Is What It Feels Like” crossed over to pop radio around the world thanks to inclusion of the instantly recognizable voice of former soulDecision vocalist, Canadian singer Trevor Guthrie.  It’s garnered the pair a deserving Grammy nod for Best Dance Recording amid a lot of competition.

33. PARRALOX featuring RYAN ADAMES  Silent Morning (PP #5)

It literally took months for me to buy into this song – a return of the Freestyle sound amid so much techno and dubstep through a cover of Noel’s seminal 80’s hit “Silent Morning”??  And the first recorded version of “Silent Morning” by the Australian duo led by John von Ahlen, simply featuring former member Amii Jackson on vocal duty, was just fine.  Then came the brilliant idea of adding rising L.A.-based singer/actor/dancer Ryan Adamés to the mix, and suddenly the record was transformed into something immediately more contemporary, with a video showcasing Amii and Ryan that added a little intrigue to the story.  Many mixes followed, including a rock-inflected one by Cherry Cherry Boom Boom which still turns my head.  “Silent Morning” is also one of the showcase songs from This Beat Is…Poptronik Volume 2.  Parralox also features at #59 with their out-of-the-blue cover of Front 242’s “Headhunter”, sung by John, from their ambitious album of cover songs, Recovery.

32.  MATT BLUE  Outta My Mind (PP #3)

He doesn’t do it very often, but when 21 year old Dutch singer Matt Blue releases something, it’s generally pretty ear-catching and danceable.  Such is the case with “Outta My Mind”, guaranteed to make you smile and give you happy feet, in follow up to his late 2011 #1 on my chart “Can’t Help Myself”.  He’s just released a new song called “Fireworks” and I’m sure I’ll have something to say about it very soon!  But I’m selfishly looking forward to a full EP or album from the talented Mr. Blue.

31.  LAWSON  Learn To Love Again (PP #5)

UK quartet Lawson was one of my bands of the year, even though they haven’t released more than two singles in North America.  I saw them twice in concert this year (along with Canadians Neverest), and they put on a stadium-worthy show for a smallish (350-400) club audience.  Almost all of their songs (ironically except “Learn To Love Again”) have garnered Top 10 status in the UK, and their albums Chapman Square and Chapman Square Part II, have also sold well.  North America has to be their next destination, right Universal Music?? 🙂  “Learn To Love Again” is one of those emotional pop songs that instantly sticks in your head, and it was followed this year by the rocking duet with B.o.B. “Brokenhearted” (#52) and the Bruno Mars-ish ska-inflected “Juliet” (#60).

30. TRAVIS GARLAND  Homewrecker (PP #6)

L.A. based, Texas-bred singer Travis Garland ultimately recorded my favourite album of 2013, his self-titled debut.  Produced along with The Stereotypes, the album offers a diverse R&B/pop sound like no other (no, not even close to Justin Timberlake or Robin Thicke).  Its songs ranged from out-and-out dance, through to sexy balladeering, and then to something as offbeat as “Homewrecker”, a dark tale with production effects that would not have sounded out of place on JMSN’s 2012 album Priscilla.  Nonetheless it’s a captivating song that shows Travis Garland’s versatility and deservedly ranks highly at year’s end.  Travis has one more song, much higher up, on this list 🙂

29. BASTILLE  Pompeii (PP #6)

After hearing “Pompeii” at the time of its UK release and seeing it soar to #2 for the British band Bastille, I was hooked thanks to its unforgettable refrain:

“And if you close your eyes,
Does it almost feel like
You’ve been here before?
How am I gonna be an optimist about this?”

These are some of the best lyrics of the year.  And by year’s end, the rest of the world was catching on as “Pompeii” moved towards the Top 20 in North America.

28. BLAKE LEWIS  Your Touch (PP #5)

“Your Touch” is another song with a memorable refrain, combined with an urgent performance by Blake Lewis, which was a most welcome return for the singer/songwriter whose “Heartbreak On Vinyl” was one of the more touching songs of 2009.

“I’m thinking you and I
Should roll the dice, get lost in love forever
Cause I’m feeling intoxicated
I wanna taste the air that you’ve been breathing

So haunt me, and feel me
I’ve been waiting for your touch”

We’re still waiting for the album Portrait Of A Chameleon to surface, so I’m hoping it’s not buried in record company tape.  “Your Touch” became a Top 40 hit in the UK.

27. KYLIE MINOGUE  Skirt (PP #4)

A gal’s just gotta have some fun, right?  The Aussies got it, dance clubs got it, but very few others did.  “Skirt” is one of Kylie’s more uninhibited numbers (“and then my skirt came down…. down…. down….”), and one of my most favourite, particularly after last year’s glistening “Timebomb”.  And while “Skirt” may have been unjustly ignored, Warner Music decided to add her to their roster, so we should have new Kylie to look forward to in 2014.

26. CHRIS WALLACE  Time Bomb (Walk Away) (PP#4)

“Time Bomb” is Chris Wallace’s 2nd entry on this list, following #44 (and current single/video “Keep Me Crazy) and of course my last year’s #2 favourite “Remember When (Push Rewind)”.  “Time Bomb” is another equally thoughtful and energetic song, which, who knows (and hint, hint) could be the third single from his long-lasting Push Rewind album.  Chris has been performing relentlessly across the USA this year, which has resulted in “Keep Me Crazy” receiving enough airplay to rank in the Top 40 radio songs.  This is helped by the power of an indie label (Think Say) with one or two strong performers on their roster.  More power to Chris and all of them for 2014!  Hope Canada’s on your radar for next year!

25.  TAO HYPAH  Play The Girl (PP#4)

Early 2013 started off with “Play The Girl”, a most danceable and ear-catching song from young Dutch singer Tao Hypah, who graced last year’s list with the memorable “Celeb”.  The video is a great piece of eye-candy with some decent choreography.  Tao Hypah has the intriguing looks and the voice to match, and was willing to take a risk with a song that could be perceived from its title to be about more than what it actually is.  In mid-2013, Tao Hypah auditioned for The Voice of Holland and made it through under his own persona, Darren Van Der Lek (pic below).  He got to the first battle round before being eliminated.  Tao Hypah/Darren definitely has the voice to be successful however he wants to be, and I look forward to more in 2014.

taohypah_darren

24.  ELI ESCOBAR featuring NOMI RUIZ  Somebody To Love Me (PP #4)

I fell in love with “Somebody To Love Me” at first listen, thanks to the breathtaking vocals of Nomi Ruiz from NYC trio Jessica 6, but had no idea that it was a rework/cover.  The original was performed by Mark Ronson featuring Boy George and Miike Snow’s Andrew Wyatt back in 2010 from Ronson’s album at the time.  I only found this out because I was curious why Nomi was singing the song as if she was a boy and figured it must be a cover.  Nonetheless, Eli Escobar fashioned the better version as a showcase for Nomi – probably one of the best dance records of the year that you didn’t hear.

23. FRANKMUSIK  Captain (PP #4)

Oh what a year for FrankMusik, who has already placed three other songs (out of 5 – still one more to go!) in my Top 75.  I remember him posting a clip of the instrumental track for “Captain” before it was released, and I was wondering how he could possibly write a lyric to overlay on top of such a frenetic melody.  But he did, and “Captain” is one of the key songs from the Between album, it is the storm that’s raging while you are in the throes of trying to salvage a relationship.  You want someone to steer it for you, but the two of you are the only ones to do that.  It’s such a difficult subject, and part of the amazement of hearing the Between and Between Us projects is to live through the painful, sad lyrics with Vince, often set to unbridled and happier-sounding melodies.  “Captain” is one crazy story and tune – listen to the bare-bones acoustic version on Between Us for full effect.

22.  DAN BLACK featuring KELIS  Hearts (PP#3)

After his smashing debut album UN from 2009, and a few guest appearances here and there since, Dan Black quietly resurfaced (after starting a family) with “Hearts” this past Spring.  It was accompanied by a very creative video which used time lapse photography having been shot over 24 hours.  Incorporated into the mix is an appropriately dry vocal by Kelis that acts as a perfect foil to Dan’s ideas.  It’s such a shame that this was all we heard and saw in 2013 and 2014 could use more  Dan Black on the music scene 🙂

21.  ANTON EWALD  Can’t Hold Back (PP#3)

While Sweden’s reigning king of pop, Eric Saade, delved into quieter, personal pop rather than continue with dance-oriented, synth-heavy songs, his young friend Anton Ewald surfaced at Melodifestivalen and won over Swedish audiences with his TV-ready personality and some slick dance moves (he’s also a choreographer).  This led to the release of his EP called A, and every song within hits the same places that Eric found with his Saade Volumes 1 & 2 albums.  “Can’t Hold Back” should have done better as a second single with its snappy melody and singalong chorus.  It’s also strange how his music is released internationally yet we in North America are unable to see some of his videos.  I’d love for Eric Saade and Anton Ewald to tour outside of the Nordic countries on a double bill!  What exposure! 🙂

Remixes Galore: The Rise of @MonsieurAdi

MONSIEUR ADI, Remixes and “What’s Going On” (featuring A*M*E)

Beyoncé, “Grown Woman”; Mikky Ekko, “Kids”; Bastille, “Pompeii”; Capital Cities, “Safe & Sound”; Seal, “Crazy”; Jamie N Commons, “Rumble Away”; Say Lou Lou, “Julian”; Swiss Lips, “U Got The Power”; Laura Mvula, “Green Garden”; Lana Del Rey, “Summertime Sadness”; Don Diablo featuring Noonie Bao, “M1 Stinger”; Lana Del Rey, “Born To Die”.

I’m so very pleased to have heard the rise of 26 year old French producteur, remixeur, et magicien des electroniques, Monsieur Adi, over the past three years with his own songs like “We Are The Romans” and the aggressive instrumental “Chariot”, as well as initial remixes like the heavily 80’s flavoured “Situation” by New York singer Javi Silva.

Since that time, le Monsieur has gradually become the go-to-guy for unique and very personalized remixes for the likes of Ellie Goulding, Darren Hayes (who have both lavished praise upon him in social media), and Lana Del Rey among others.  He released his own EP last year called Fire Fire Fire, and it’s all resulting in an hour long A-list of remixes (which you can hear streamed above) as well as enhancing songs by newer performers like Swiss Lips and Say Lou Lou.

In particular, I’m really impressed with his takes on the new Beyoncé song “Grown Woman”, and Mikky Ekko’s solo bid for stardom after being featured in Rihanna’s “Stay”, “Kids”.  His remix of “Pompeii” by Bastille got me into that song, and it looks like the same will happen with the current hit “Safe & Sound” by Capital Cities.  But most outstanding of late has been his collaboration with young UK-based chart topper A*M*E, “What’s Going On”, below, which completely transforms one of my favourite late 80’s smashes, Soul II Soul’s “Back To Life”, with A*M*E amply filling the big shoes of Caron Wheeler.  SMASH.  And more to come, OUI OUI! 🙂

BILLCS Top 30 #407 – June 17/13

Travis Garland’s sweet and sexxy “Blue Electric Roses” holds on to #1 on my personal chart for a second appearance with ease, but that could change in two weeks!

  • Will it be Daft Punk’s huge hit featuring Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers, “Get Lucky”, that gets to the top?  The song advances 4-2.  But another song is brewing below.
  • Will it be the spectacularly high debut for “Vocal” by Pet Shop Boys at #4 (above)?  I still call it their best song in about 20 years, when you consider their classic heyday with songs like “It’s A Sin”, “What Have I Done To Deserve This”, “West End Girls”, their mashup “Where The Streets Have No Name/Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You”, “Can You Forgive Her”, “Heart” and lesser known gems like “Love Comes Quickly”.  “Vocal”, however, is this year’s anthem for music lovers (particularly EDM/dance/disco/electronica).
  • Will it be the enticing “Somebody To Love Me” by Eli Escobar featuring Nomi Ruiz, which climbs 8-5?  Only “Outta My Mind” by young Dutchman Matt Blue seems to have peaked at #3.

And here’s where some rising songs get stuck and others start to fall because of the incredible competition in the Top 5.

  • “This Is How It Feels Like” by Armin Van Buuren featuring Trevor Guthrie (above) inches up to #6 but should still get to the Top 5.  It was a homecoming for Canadian Guthrie, performing at Canada’s Much Music Video Awards this past weekend.
  • “Your Touch” by Blake Lewis and “Pompeii” by Bastille are much played on my iPod Touch but tumble a few notches in the face of (gasp) stronger songs.
  • “One Night” by Matthew Koma from his upcoming album Arcadia slides into the Top 10 at #10.  Watch Matthew perform Zedd’s “Clarity” below 🙂

You can view the full Top 30 using the link under ***BILL’S PERSONAL CHART*** to the right, or you can click right here. You can hear all of the songs on the chart or watch their videos by clicking on the pics on the chart page.  Any free downloads that are identified are sanctioned by the performer.  There’s always a tiny place at the bottom of the blog post with tags and the statement “Leave A Comment” – please feel free to do so :)

  • They move up 2 + 2 + 2 and closer to the Top 10, all very unique songs:  “Too Young” (Penguin Prison remix) by Ghost Beach, Parralox & Ryan Adames with “Silent Morning”, and “On My Way” by Charlie Brown – 12, 13, and 14 respectively.
  • The fastest riser on the chart is rising megatalent from Sweden, Anton Ewald with the insanely catchy “Begging”, bounding 27-15 (below).
  • Right behind are JT’s “Let The Groove Get In” at #16, FrankMusik’s beautifully vocalized “Chasing Shadows” at #17, and “Fade Into The Light” by Adam Tyler at #18.
  • Continue to climb are Bongiovanni’s bass thumping deep house song “I Think I Love You” at #20, soulful Slow Knights with “Shame” at #21, and “Brokenhearted” by Lawson and B.o.B. at #22.

Aside from “Vocal” by Pet Shop Boys crashing the chart way up at #4, there are two other fine debuts:

  • He’s back!!  Musical alchemist Dan Black teams with Kelis for “Hearts” at #23 (ab0ve).  Mr. Black took over my chart back in 2009/10 with two #1’s, “Symphonies” and “Alone”, #2 “Pump My Pumps”, and #7 “U + Me”, all from his debut album UN, and then guested on Bag Raiders’ “Sunlight” (#7, 2011).  Kelis is no stranger to the chart either, particularly with her 2010 #3 “Acapella”, which gives great voice to all us single folks.
  • I just raved about their album Born Out of Mischief, so it shouldn’t be much of a surprise to see my favourite song from that album bowing on the chart.  NYC’s Andy Suzuki & The Method arrive with the impressive rocker “Dirty Floors” at #26 (below).

BILLCS Top 30 #406 – June 3/13

A new number one song and four debuts highlight this edition of my personal chart 🙂

Chart Highlights

Top 10:

  • By the end of 2013, I think a whole lot more people will know the name Travis Garland.  Big things are in store for this young talent!  From his still-free download EP Fashionably Late Part II is the stunning and original ballad “Blue Electric Roses” (new video above), which now leads the chart 🙂
  • FrankMusik’s “Map” leaves number one but will endure throughout the year as his third album Between approaches release next week!  More good news for Vince further down the chart…
  • It’s hard to resist the cheery and summery sound of Matt Blue’s “Outta My Mind”, which advances to #3.
  • Not surprisingly, even though the album Random Access Memories is somewhat disjointed and puzzling, Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” is one of the year’s most infectious singles and moves up 7-4.
  • “Your Touch” by Blake Lewis (below)  is finally about to be released to radio in the U.S. and jumps to #5.  Listen for it on your radio soon, it is radio-ready!!
  • With a new North American EP out just last week called Haunt, UK’s Bastille is still on the rise with “Pompeii” at #6.
  • It’s both a dance floor filler and a radio playlist delight, particularly in the UK and Canada – “This Is What It Feels Like” by Armin Van Buuren & Trevor Guthrie is new in the Top 10 at #7.
  • The fastest riser on the chart, moving 15-8, is an amazing slice of NuDisco called “Somebody To Love Me” (below) by DJ/producer Eli Escobar and featuring the mesmerizing vocals of Jessica 6 singer Nomi Ruiz.

You can view the full Top 30 using the link under ***BILL’S PERSONAL CHART*** to the right, or you can click right hereYou can hear all of the songs on the chart or watch their videos by clicking on the pics on the chart page.  Any free downloads that are identified are sanctioned by the performer.  There’s always a tiny place at the bottom of the blog post with tags and the statement “Leave A Comment” – please feel free to do so :)

11-30:

  • One of the year’s most gorgeous new voices belongs to L.A. R&B singer Jarell Perry whose poignant “9 2 5” comes in just shy of the Top 10 at #12.  It’s from his free download album Simple Things.
  • New York duo Ghost Beach climbs to #14 with the rollicking original “Too Young”, abetted by a Penguin Prison transformation to keep your feet very happy.
  • One of the year’s most interesting prospects is the cover of the 80’s Freestyle dance hit by Noel, “Silent Morning”, with splendidly unique vocals by Australian duo Parralox and Puerto Rican-American breakout Ryan Adamés, soaring to #15 – check out the many remixes on iTunes including the rock-inflected Cherry Cherry Boom Boom remix below.

  • Charlie Brown’s “On My Way” and “Kiss My Lipstick Off” by Georgia Haege both continue to make headway, rising to #16 and #18 respectively, and I’m still surprised Charlie’s song hasn’t been promoted in North America, it’s such a feel good anthem!
  • Last week’s debuts all push up the chart:  “Let The Groove Get In” by Justin Timberlake is now at #19, “Fade Into The Light” by Adam Tyler moves to #21, and “Shame” by Slow Knights (a Del Marquis multi-artist project) rises to #24.

Debuts:

I’ve written about all of our debuts previously, as recently as last week for one!

“Chasing Shadows” by FrankMusik is an aftermath to many of the songs on his Far From Over EP that will also be featured on the Between album.  It contains one of the singer’s best vocals and truly stands out in a crowd.  It arrives at #23 and I can’t wait to hear the full album and the songs that Vince has had to hold back from us amid all of the free songs he offers online.  He’s currently roughing it from show to show in the U.S. – be sure to follow him on Twitter for the full account of his diary!

After spending all of but one of its 9 chart appearances (18 weeks) in the Top 10, 3 at #1, “Lifted” by Kwik Fiks & Bongiovanni tumbles to #13.  I wrote about another chilled out bass-heavy rework of Dwele’s “I Think I Love You” awhile back that the duo have created.  So billed strictly as by Bongiovanni, “I Think I Love You” premieres at #25.  Crank your car stereo for this one for full effect!  It’s also a free download!

If there’s one song so far this year that should have HIT stamped all over it – despite noticeable lack of North American release of their music – it’s Lawson’s new single “Brokenhearted”, featuring B.o.B.  Check out the new video for the song above.  It bows at #26 on the chart, as “Learn To Love Again” (#5) leaves the chart at #30.

Lastly, it’s already reached #2 in Sweden, but Melodifestivalen hit “Begging” by 19 year old singer/dancer/choreographer Anton Ewald shouldn’t go unnoticed worldwide.  That show often creates star-making performances and Anton’s (above) is one of them.  “Begging” debuts at #27.  Go ahead, borrow that Swedish male pop crown from Eric Saade 🙂

BILLCS Top 30 #405 – May 20/13

With so much new music arriving on the chart over the past month, there is considerable activity!

Amid it all, though, FrankMusik holds at #1 with “Map” (ab0ve), as the release date for Between as well as Frank’s US tour approach.  But it’s being immediately challenged by “Blue Electric Roses” (6-2, below), my favourite song from Travis Garland’s magnetic free download Fashionably Late II EP.  Travis’ song “Homewrecker” got a huge unexpected endorsement on Twitter this weekend by pop singer Richard Marx!!  “Lifted” by Kwik Fiks & Bongiovanni slips to #3 but seems very attached to the top portion of the chart 🙂 “Outta My Mind” the Europop dance hit by Dutch singer Matt Blue jumps 10-4, while Willy Moon’s “My Girl” hangs in at #5 as his album Here’s Willy Moon looks to be released in North America soon.

You can view the full Top 30 using the link under ***BILL’S PERSONAL CHART*** to the right, or you can click right hereYou can hear all of the songs on the chart or watch their videos by clicking on the pics on the chart page.  Any free downloads that are identified are sanctioned by the performer.  There’s always a tiny place at the bottom of the blog post with tags and the statement “Leave A Comment” – please feel free to do so :)

Songs 6 through 12 are all on the upswing, which of course means that no song within the Top 5 is truly safe.  “Your Touch” by Blake Lewis is deservedly right at the heels of the Top 5, and it’s followed by the fastest riser on the chart, “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk, which climbs 16-7.  Could “Get Lucky” be one of the songs of Summer ’13?  Watch below, and check out the splendid alternate unreleased version with Sam Sparro on vocals.

Ariana Grande & Mac Miller’s “The Way” inches up to #8, while both Bastille’s “Pompeii” and “Aviation High” by Semi-Precious Weapons arrive at last in the Top 10.  Almost there are the radio-cranker “This Is What It Feels Like” by Armin Van Buuren & former soulDecision singer Trevor Guthrie (18-11, below), and “One Night” by Matthew Koma (14-12), which arrives in new remixes tomorrow on iTunes.  It’s from his upcoming album Arcadia.  Cherrytree Records has posted them on their Soundcloud site.

Meanwhile, “Somebody To Love Me”, the dance club rave-up by Eli Escobar featuring Jessica 6’s Nomi Ruiz soars 23-15, and Jarell Perry’s pensive but uptempo “9 2 5” jumps 20-16.  Ghost Town’s edgy “Too Young” in a definitive Penguin Prison remix rises 25-18, while both “On My Way” by Charlie Brown and “Kiss My Lipstick Off” by Georgia Haege (both below) land in the Top 20 finally.  And our third debut of last week, “Silent Morning” by Parralox featuring Ryan Adames, a cover of Noel’s classic mid-80s dance hit, moves up 26-21, with new remixes in tow on iTunes (including that crunchy rock-oriented one by Cherry Cherry Boom Boom).

At least one of my three debuts might be of surprise to you.  I’ve been fighting with myself about what song from Justin Timberlake’s The 20/20 Experience would succeed the #11 charting “Suit & Tie”.  Initially I was wrapped up in the beautiful “Strawberry Bubblegum”, but with all of the dance music energy on the chart right now the rump shaker and 70’s R&B-inspired “Let The Groove Get In” has won out and bows at #24.

Absolutely no stranger to the chart over the past three years is Adam Tyler, whose new and creative “Fade Into The Light”, especially with the huge dub-steppy break in the extended version, lands on the chart at #27.

I also can’t get enough of the song “Shame” by Slow Knights, a project spearheaded by Scissor Sisters’ Del Marquis – again the powerful R&B vocal and groove get stuck in your head and make you move.  It’s from the project’s Cosmos album and bows at #28.

BILLCS Top 30 #404 – May 6/13 – Mapping His Way to the Top Again!

This edition of my personal chart is full of ups and downs with only a handful of songs staying static.

That of course means a new #1 song.  It’s very fitting that FrankMusik’s “Map” should grab the top spot (his third time, following “The Fear Inside” and “No ID”) with the imminent arrival of his album Between, and another of acoustic songs, Between Us.  In a case of great timing, Vince posted his acoustic version of “Map” (below) on Soundcloud last night, and it’s a lot more raw and cutting (and I mean, ouch!) than the original version.  The frenetic “Captain” also climbs to #4, and new single and video “Chasing Shadows” is on deck.  There’s so much happening with FrankMusik that it seems absolutely crazy, but I’m happy to be along for the ride 🙂

You can view the full Top 30 using the link under ***BILL’S PERSONAL CHART*** to the right, or you can click right hereYou can hear all of the songs on the chart or watch their videos by clicking on the pics on the chart page.  Any free downloads that are identified are sanctioned by the performer.  There’s always a tiny place at the bottom of the blog post with tags and the statement “Leave A Comment” – please feel free to do so :)

This means that “Lifted by Kwik Fiks & Bongiovanni surrenders to second place after 3 charts (6 weeks) at #1.  Gentlemen Hall’s “Sail Into The Sun” holds steady at #3 – I hear some radio stations are now playing it, probably wise since it’s been all over TV for the last two months!  I can’t wait to hear more new music from the Boston sextet.  Willy Moon’s highly contagious “My Girl” (video below) soars to #5, and thank goodness it’s available as a single here since Universal Canada has not got around to releasing the Here’s Willy Moon album…

The Top 10 got turned inside out, with James William’s “Lay Your Love On Me” and “The Way” by Ariana Grande & Mac Miller each advancing one position.  They had to contend with the soon-to-be unstoppable force that is Travis Garland, whose stunning and direct blue-eyed soul ballad “Blue Electric Roses” is the fastest riser again, this time vaulting 18 to 6.  And right behind is “Your Touch”, whose song and groove are embedded in my head now, courtesy of Blake Lewis, climbing 16-7.  Then there’s also the irresistible dance fest that is “Outta My Mind” by young Dutch singer Matt Blue (video below), already advancing to #10 in its second appearance.

Also on the rise and likely headed for the Top 10 are “Pompeii” by UK sensations Bastille, Semi-Precious Weapons’ “Aviation High”, “One Night” by current travelling man Matthew Koma, “Heart Attack” by Demi Lovato (loving the remixes, video and remix below), plus huge movers “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk (27-16), “This Is What It Feels Like” by Armin van Buuren & Trevor Guthrie (25-18) which has become a massive radio hit in Canada, and the thoughtful ode about being stuck in a “9 2 5” (28-20) world by the new R&B singer with the amazing voice, Jarell Perry.

While “On My Way” by Charlie Brown and “Kiss My Lipstick Off” by Georgia Haege may seem stuck below #20, they will still likely move up in two weeks and attempt to hang around amid fierce competition, which includes three new entries, about which I’ve already written.

I love how DJ/producers like Eli Escobar are re-inventing Disco in the NuDisco format, deep house music mixed with old school disco, techno and trance at times.  His collaboration with Jessica 6’s Nomi Ruiz is a stunner, and “Somebody To Love Me” arrives at #23.  It appears on Eli’s EP Feel It.

Like Eli Escobar and Nomi Ruiz, the guys (Josh Ocean and Eric “Doc” Mendelsohn) who comprise NYC duo Ghost Beach seem to mesh the past with the present with ease.  To think they were in town a couple of weeks ago, when I had just found out about the Penguin Prison remix of “Too Young”, which bows at #25.  What makes this record are the vocals which remind me of late 70’s Joe Jackson meeting Justin Tranter of Semi-Precious Weapons about halfway.  Listen below and pick up the remix as part of the duo’s EP Modern Tongues Remixed.

Lastly, it’s been a big week for Aussie duo Parralox and rising US singer Ryan Adamés and their wonderful team.  Parralox’s John Von Ahlen has unleashed an eye-popping animated lyric video (below) for their rendition of Noel’s seminal 1987 freestyle classic “Silent Morning”.  And as I wrote about earlier in the week, Cherrytree Records prez and Interscope Records VP Martin Kierszenbaum, aka Cherry Cherry Boom Boom, remixed the song to give it a punchier alternate identity (also below).  In either version, the song is a huge grower and I hope that dance clubs fawn all over it in the coming months.  It debuts on my chart at #26.

BILLCS Top 30 #402 – April 8/13 – Six Songs Debut!

The newbies are taking over, sending some songs that should have peaked higher down or off the chart.  And you’ll be more than a little bit surprised at some of the chart entries as I haven’t yet written about them 🙂

You can view the full Top 30 using the link under ***BILL’S PERSONAL CHART*** to the right, or you can click right hereYou can hear all of the songs on the chart or watch their videos by clicking on the pics on the chart page.  Any free downloads that are identified are sanctioned by the performer.  There’s always a tiny place at the bottom of the blog post with tags and the statement “Leave A Comment” – please feel free to do so :)

It’s a no brainer that “Lifted” by Kwik Fiks & Bongiovanni reigns supreme for another chart… with nothing below it really challenging to take its place in two weeks.  Good thing for our boys Danny and Victor, who are recording some follow up songs to this one 🙂  Right below, #1 Dance Club Hit (and now charting on the Billboard Hot 100 too) “Clarity” by Zedd & Foxes ascends to runner-up status, while the summertime smash-in-waiting “Sail Into The Sun” by Gentlemen Hall (above) climbs to #3.  Lawson’s “Learn To Love Again” moves up to #5 as a fifth single “Gone” will be released from their UK gold record Chapman Square.

FrankMusik has a double headed for the Top 5, as “Map” and “Captain” (both above) are now back-to-back at #6 and #7 respectively, while Mr. Vince Turner finalizes his new album Between.  The Presets are coming! The Presets are coming! Back to my city on their tour on May 10, with Dragonette opening!  The otherworldly “A.O.” becomes their second Top Tenner on my chart at #9 following “If I Know You”, which got to #4.  Willy Moon is on deck with Here’s Willy Moon arriving in most places around the world tomorrow, and “My Girl” follows “Yeah Yeah” into Top 10 status at #10.

And here’s where I have to choose what not to write about… a busy chart with six debuts.  3 of our last chart’s debuts make significant inroads.  Semi-Precious Weapons soar with “Avaition High” at #15, while Jerry Reid’s mysterious rocker with great lyrics “Tell The Night” follows suit at #16.  Bastille’s irresistible pop rocker “Pompeii” (above) is the chart’s fastest riser, moving 28-20.

But it’s those debuts that have my attention right now.  19 year old Ariana Grande’s “The Way” is one of the most instantly likeable songs out there right now, and the song (featuring rapper Mac Miller) bows at a spectacular #13.  It’s from the Victorious star’s upcoming debut album Daydreamin’.  That’s an interesting title.  Ariana’s ultra sweet vocal on “The Way” immediately captured Mariah territory comparable to her 90’s work.  Of course one of Mariah’s albums is called Daydream (not to mention one of my fave Aretha songs is “Day Dreaming”).  I think the reason I enjoy this song the most is that it’s the teen version of Estelle & Kanye’s 2008 hit “American Boy”.  But the gal has the built in goods in her voice, I have heard her sing live and she is the real deal.

Down further at #21 is one of the better known American Idol contestants, 31 year old Blake Lewis, with his latest single “Your Touch”.  This song has grown on me immeasurably over the last month, and it’s chorus is loud flat out belt-worthy with such a feel good vibe.  It’s from Blake’s upcoming third album Portrait Of A Chameleon, and it’s his first chart entry here since 2009’s classic “Heartbreak On Vinyl” got to #4.

I just wrote about it yesterday, but Matthew Koma’s “One Night” has wasted no time in debuting at #22.  Let’s see how good a job it does in two weeks trying to take over the chart as his most recent #1, “1998”, leaves after the mandatory 10 appearances (20 weeks).

First Ariana Grande, and now… X Factor judge Demi Lovato makes her first chart appearance here with “Heart Attack” at #24.  Her voice keeps getting better and better, so her new album, Demi, will be well worth hearing.  She attacks the cutting and biting lyrics like there is no tomorrow, and that’s exactly what was required for the song.  Bravo.

I’ve already been raving about Travis Garland’s Fashionably Late Part II EP being one of the best of 2013 so far.  My favourite song from it is “Blue Electric Roses” at #25 – the kind of innovative song that I was expecting on Justin Timberlake’s latest album.  But sometimes the innovation has to be left to others and I think Travis is on the right track for making the right kind of big splash soon.  The EP is available for free download at Travis’ website.

The last debut at #27 belongs to Mr. Charlie Brown, whose “On My Way” got to #7 in the UK last week.  He will be touring with Craig David in the UK soon, and I’m hoping his management has big things planned for a North American debut.  This is soulful pop at its best from someone who should have broke out four years ago.  Charlie is very big on interacting with fans on Twitter too @CharlieBrownLDN 🙂

BILLCS Top 30 #401 – March 25, 2013

With travelling and illness being the order of March for me, I plan to write briefer and more frequent posts.  When great new music stacks up, it just shouldn’t wait!! :)

That having been said, there’s a new chart on deck brimming with all kinds of upward movement.

You can view the full Top 30 using the link under ***BILL’S PERSONAL CHART*** to the right, or you can click right hereYou can hear all of the songs on the chart or watch their videos by clicking on the pics on the chart page.  Any free downloads that are identified are sanctioned by the performer.  There’s always a tiny place at the bottom of the blog post with tags and the statement “Leave A Comment” – please feel free to do so :)

Independently released music continues to score big time on my chart.  Toronto’s Danny Voicu meets Montreal’s Victor Bongiovanni as Kwik Fiks & Bongiovanni for “Lifted” (ab0ve), a beautiful chilled out deep house take on Baby Bash’s 2003 hit “Suga Suga” that is also a free download.  It reaches the summit this week, sending pals River Tiber to #2 with “The City”.  Big dance music tunes “Clarity” by Zedd and Foxes, and “A World Apart” by Davis Redfield, remain at #3 and #4.

Gentlemen Hall’s “Sail Into The Sun” (above) exploded into American Target commercials these past few weeks and moves up 8-5.  When I was in Austin, just before I left to go to the airport on March 13, I was walking to the back of a local Target store and I could hear this familiar song singing out to me… you just kind of had to be there :)  “Keep Me Crazy” is apparently the next single from Push Rewind for Chris Wallace, and it rises to #8.  The only newbie to the Top 10 is the sensational “Map” by FrankMusik at #9, which looks like it’s Top 5 bound.

Every song between #11 and #22 is on the way up, making the chart an interesting blend of multiple competitions!  So we have Justin Timberlake scratching at the Top 10 with “Suit & Tie”, just ahead of more frenetic FrankMusik and The Presets with “Captain” and “A.O” respectively.  “Lay Your Love On Me” by UK singer James William (above) is a slick slice of pure pop available on iTunes if you like what you’ve been hearing by Chris Wallace or Matthew Koma.  James also recently posted a well done original, “No Regrets”, which you can also hear above.

The fastest riser on the chart is pop with a difference, and lots of style to boot.  “My Girl by Willy Moon (above) moves 25-16, looking to join “Yeah Yeah” as his second Top 10 hit on my chart.  Judging by one of his Austin shows two weeks ago, Willy delivers the goods in concert and leaves you wanting much more after a half hour set.  “It’s Alright” by Matt & Kim glides into the Top 20, while I thought “Heaven” by Depeche Mode (also above) would be a lot further along by now, slow and steady is the pace with the release of Delta Machine this week.

As I threatened two weeks ago, there has been a mini-house cleaning, resulting in five debuts.  I’m loving the flow of “Aviation High” by Semi-Precious Weapons (above) in powerful anthemic love ballad style.  It’s so different from their other songs and arrives at #21 as we await their new album and more tour dates.  You can also find a beautiful recent cover by R&B singer Jarell Perry (who I will be writing more about 🙂 ), also above, available for free download.  Detroit rocker Jerry Reid returns after 2011’s “Out Without Your Boyfriend”, which got to #3 as a part of the Ballroom Remixed compliation.  An equally striking new song, “Tell The Night”, bows at #22.  The only place you can hear an excerpt of it is on Amazon at this time.  The song is also noteworthy for featuring background screaming by P.J. Soles of “Rock & Roll High School” movie fame.

Down further at #26 is everything that a bluesy/jazzy R&B-infused rock song should be.  It’s an album track by Lifehouse from Almeria called “Right Back Home” which features none other than 70s hit maker Peter Frampton (who I saw in concert – and got drenched during a storm – back in 1981) alongside blues singer Charles Jones.  Combined with Jason Wade’s vocal and a melody that brims along, and Lifehouse delivers a southern piece of good time honky tonk.  And who expected this?

At #28 is UK sensations Bastille with “Pompeii” from their new album Bad Blood, which hasn’t yet seen release around other parts of the world like North America.  I felt bad when I had to miss their 1:00 a.m. Austin set due to illness.  But “Pompeii” is more greatness in a small package, and you can get it on iTunes on the Remixes EP, featuring reduxes by the likes of Monsieur Adi and Kat Krazy (this remix is below).  Premiering at #30 is “Kiss My Lipstick Off”, the bubbly and naughty song by Liquid Diet’s Georgia Haege (you will remember last year’s memorable “Hand Dance” by Liquid Diet) from the equally bubbly and naughty compilation of the same name.

Winter Popervescence #1: Gentlemen Hall, Andreas Moe, Adaku, Chloe Charles, Darin, Bastille, and Max Schneider

Two more of my 13 Performers To Watch for ’13  also have new music for us already  – Gentlemen Hall and Andreas Moe – making it five (the others being River Tiber, Lawson and Baiyu).

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Gentlemen Hall, “Sail Into The Sun”

The sharp melody of “Sail Into The Sun” will come at you from all directions, which is probably why Samsung has chosen to feature it in their 30 second ad for their smart camera.  So you’ll be hearing the song for the better part of the year, and thus it’s perfect for pop radio.  Aside from that melodic razzle dazzle, the song is as tight as anything you might expect from the Boston sextet, whose When We All Disappear EP continues to be a free download from their website.  “Sail” and other songs from Gentlemen Hall’s upcoming album should put them all over the international map this year.  “Sail” is also a free download from the band’s Soundcloud page below.

Andreas Moe, “This Year”

Swedish singer/songwriter Andreas Moe continues with the upbeat, melodic, and acoustic-based sound he began with on last year’s Collecting Sunlight EP with “This Year”, also the title of a new EP just released in Scandinavia, with the rest of the world to follow in March.  Andreas has the fantastic ability to create music that anyone can relate to, and make it sound unlike anything out there, with sparkling multi-octave vocals, standing out as a rich effort in a crowded playing field.  Watch “This Year” and listen to three other snippets from songs from the EP below.

Adaku, “Or You Can”

I first wrote about this song by Nigerian-born singer/songwriter Adaku last July, when its unique sounding take on retro R&B styles (and a catchy, singalong chorus) caught my ears.  It’s taken sometime, but a video for the song surfaced last week, and I must say it’s one of the most enjoyable, best-directed videos I’ve seen in quite sometime.  Rather than focus on a story based on the lyrics, the video has a 50s/60s look with an easy-going but engaging storyline that simmers along, making you unsure about what will happen until the last few frames.  Both the song and video are such winners, watch below and spread the word!  Adaku is currently working on a full album release.  Fans of Jill Scott, Corinne Bailey Rae, and Norah Jones will particularly enjoy this.

Chloe Charles, “Business”

Canadian singer Chloe Charles has already established a solid following in eastern Europe, particularly Germany.  Her classical jazz-influenced pop sound will appeal to those of you who enjoy Rufus Wainwright, Regina Spektor, and Kate Bush in “Business”, from her upcoming album Break The Balance (already on release in eastern Europe).  Chloe is also a classically trained guitarist who has already been written up in major press worldwide.  Watch for her to make a splash domestically in March (she’ll also be performing during Canadian Music Week).  A bit of interesting trivia: She’s a step-sister of Julian Lennon, her mother being Cynthia Lennon.

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Darin, “Playing with Fire”

There was a bit of a gap between recent single “Nobody Knows” and “Playing With Fire”, but the latter has now been released in Scandinavia in anticipation of the singer’s new album Exit, due on January 30.  Darin Zanyar has been poised for international success since 2008’s Flashback album, but it hasn’t materialized after oodles of hits in Scandinavia and Germany, including “Breathing Your Love” (with Kat DeLuna) and “Lovekiller”.  He’s shifted his style from being Europe’s equivalent to Jesse McCartney to a more dance-oriented pop sound this time around.  Thematically, “Playing With Fire” is nothing new but Darin’s commanding vocal puts it over the top.  I’ll be interested in hearing more from Exit to see if this will be the record to break him outside of Europe.

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Bastille, “Pompeii” (Monsieur Adi remix)

Perhaps I’ve missed the initial buzz about this new UK quartet that has apparently signed with Virgin/EMI, but what better way to find out than through an exceptional 90’s sounding house-y Monsieur Adi remix?  “Pompeii” scores big with Dan Smith’s Chris Martin-ish vocal and a verse (“How am I going to be an optimist about this?”) as they parallel being in the crumbling title city to the collapse of a relationship.  Original version and remix are below for you to hear.  Bastille’s album Bad Blood is due in March and they are playing SXSW.

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Max Schneider, “Quicksand” and “So Sick” (cover)

Youngins will know New York-born Max as one of the featured cast of Nickelodeon’s now-cancelled “How To Rock” TV show, others will know him from being featured in a prominent Dolce & Gabbana campaign with Madonna a few years back (he also looks a bit like Nick Jonas).  Well young Max has a fine, big, soulful voice that stands alone without special effects thank you, and he’s also a talented songwriter, composing songs for his former show, “Shake It Up”, and the TV movie “RAGS”.  An album is due this year, and if its songs will be of the same calibre of “Quicksand” and his cover of Ne-Yo’s “So Sick” (with Kurt Schneider and Sam Tsui), then you can look for more about Max Schneider in this space.