Symmetry In Motion: “What You Wanted” by @Bimmusic

BIM, “What You Wanted”

Ah the beautiful songs of UK duo Bim often leave me sighing in wonder how Becky and Tim can create them with such symmetry.  Lo and behold, the video for “What You Wanted” finds the duo almost identically dressed with two chairs in an empty room.  This is a fairly common scene with choreographed dance but not so much with a video, which allows for some creative editing – and Becky achieving a handstand!  Aside from that, “What You Wanted” tells about the inner-workings of a relationship when you want each other so much but find shortcomings with your partner.  Do you continue?  Hide your feelings?  Tell the truth?  It’s a pensive, honest story to which so many of us can relate, and the duo gives a lovely performance.  “What You Wanted” is from their new album Two, coming very soon!

Published in: on March 8, 2015 at 12:11 am  Leave a Comment  
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Two For The Show: “My Body My Mind” from UK Duo @Bimmusic

BIM, “My Body My Mind”

It’s always a welcome treat to have UK duo Bim (Becky and Tim) back with new music.  “My Body My Mind” is from their forthcoming album Two, and fortunately Bim has not done a complete about face from their first album Scatterheart (gosh, it’s been five years!) and follow up EP Lifelines.  “My Body My Mind” continues the path with gorgeous melody, thoughtful and thought-provoking lyrics, beautiful vocals, and an interesting video.  We are all human underneath and somewhat trapped in our own skin, but would we want it any other way, and how can we achieve that at least temporarily?  I think “My Body My Mind” will be a grower and a fine introduction to album Two.  Can’t wait to hear more!

Published in: on January 29, 2015 at 11:27 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Bill’s Top 75 Songs of 2013 – Part I – 75-41

It Was All About The Great Voices

More than any other year that I can think of in recent memory, 2013’s best songs were all about terrific vocal performances.  Of course, any song with an insanely catchy rhythm can win you over on that alone, with vocals and lyrics coming in distant second and third.  I think what I hear is great singers who really should be receiving far more recognition than they are getting.  They can’t tour much, have dedicated fan bases, and spend a lot of time cultivating their path online.  It’s too expensive for performers to travel great distances to play for 150 people unless they can get a break with the costs involved.

In the commentary that follows, I’m not talking about all of the songs between 75 and 41, particularly those where performers also had songs higher up.  So consider what follows to be some highlights of the year 🙂

  • One performer who set the tone from the beginning to the end of 2013 is FrankMusik.  Granted Vincent Frank does have some moderate success behind him, but to do what he achieved in 2013 stretched his resources.  And achieve he did – two albums, Between and Between Us, an EP Far From Over, as well as two tours in the US and shows in the UK.  I was happy to ride the FrankMusik train in 2013 even though I didn’t get to see him perform this time because you never knew what to expect next.  Plus there’s his unbridled enthusiasm in creating his music, which ranged from frenetic to pensive.  And the stories he told, mainly so very sad but cathartic at the same time.  Two more FrankMusik songs appear higher up on my list. “Chasing Shadows” #72; “Life (Is My Revenge)” #69; “Fast As I Can” #56.
  • Another performer who had a great year, but with all of the bells and whistles possible, is Justin Timberlake.  He hinted that he would release his first album since 2006 at the end of last year, which was quickly followed by his single “Suit & Tie”, featuring Jay-Z (#73).  The powerful R&B/pop album The 20/20 Experience arrived soon after, the best selling album of 2013 no less, full of a varied set of songs that averaged in the 7 minute range, kind of risky in itself, but definitely a whole lot of fun when they weren’t too ambitious like the raucous “Let The Groove Get In” (#53).  By the time second single “Mirrors” arrived, it was already known that The 20/20 Experience Part II was on deck, and the very 80’s and Michael Jackson-influenced single “Take Back The Night” (#49) was upon us.  And with Jay-Z’s Holy Grail album, we were pretty much assured of hearing new Justin Timberlake music every day in 2013.  But even with all of the money behind this project, was it a total success?  I would say Part I achieved what it should have, and more.  I think there were missteps with Part II arriving so soon after Part I even though many of its songs were stronger than those on Part I.  But unlike recordings by independent artists, Parts I and II will pay for each other over time.  It was great to have Justin Timberlake back though as his voice was in fine, fine form.


  • UK soul singer Charlie Brown had been featured on many songs and mixtapes over the last five years, but broke into the UK Top 10 with his uplifting “On My Way” (#75).
  • 17 year old New Zealand singer Lorde topped charts worldwide with her lyrically and melodically clever “Royals” (#68).  I couldn’t get enough of it for the first several weeks before it ran its course and peaked at #11.
  • New York dance duo Ghost Beach arrived on my chart with a unique sound that bridges punk and dance in the Penguin Prison remix of “Too Young”, which is #70 for 2013.
  • 20 year old Florida-born Ariana Grande was already well known to the teen set for her roles on “Victorious” and “Sam and Cat” as Cat Valentine.  But her stunning vocal range came to prominence over the last few years, and her debut album Yours Truly saw release in late summer.  It was however preceded by a winning single called “The Way”, featuring rapper Mac Miller, which got to #8 on my chart and is #66 for 2013.
  • UK pop singer James William has established himself with his Olly Murs tribute shows, but is also quite the astute songwriter as well.  His bright and shiny “Lay Your Love On Me” ranks #54 for 2013.
  • Another UK pop singer draws more from classic R&B influences to arrive at a contemporary sound that recalls Simply Red a lot of the time.  Sam Dickinson released his debut album The Stories That Occurred and “Learn To Wait”, its second single, is #50 for 2013.
  • L.A.-based Jarell Perry released one of the most sensational albums for free download in early 2013, Simple Things.  It’s full of powerful songs that make a really cohesive listening party as an album as a whole, which is unusual considering most performers are opting for EP’s.  The song that stuck with me most throughout 2013 was “9 2 5”, which tells why it’s so important to break out of a regular routine and experience life.  “9 2 5” is #45 for 2013.  Expect great things from Jarell in 2014, starting with the EP White.
  • NYC trio Andy Suzuki & The Method built on their existing east coast following (as well as a dedicated one in Brunei!) by releasing a full album, Born Out Of Mischief, which transcends rock, pop, jazz and country styles, led by fine vocals by Andy Suzuki.  The impressive “Dirty Floors”, which could be the theme song for any indie musician, got to #7 on my chart and is #42 for 2013.

Continuing from 2012…

  • UK duo Bim released their Lifelines EP in late 2012, and one of its best and lyrically most powerful songs was turned into a video featuring comic book images.  “Burn” is #74 for 2013.
  • UK teen favourite Conor Maynard paired up with Ne-Yo for the dance hit “Turn Around”, which is #64, while Ne-Yo himself brought some emotionally-charged R&B/dance to charts with “Let Me Love You (Till You Can Learn To Love Yourself)”, which is #61 for the year.
  • Daniel Bedingfield found much online success with his Secret Fear-Stop The Traffik EP and the award-winning video for last year’s “Secret Fear”, which he also directed.  More good things are coming from Daniel in 2014!  Joining the class of 2013 from that project is “O.V.E.R. U.” at #55.
  • Cambridge, MA quartet Passion Pit continued with singles from their 2012 album Gossamer, which often seemed to offer emotionally loaded lyrics over slight and bright melodies.  “Take A Walk” is a little different and stands out from the rest of the songs on the album.  It reached #6 on my chart and is #46 for 2013.
  • Australian dance duo The Presets offer synth-drenched otherworldly dance music which sounds like nothing else.  Their album Pacifica wasn’t always successful but the focal point to me was the intense album track “A.O.” (which stands for ‘adults only’), which is an unmade science fiction movie unto itself.  It’s #47 for 2013.

Returning Favourites:

  • At end of 2012, US quartet One Republic issued the single “If I Lose Myself”, which was eventually included on the band’s first album in 3 years, Native.  The single signaled a more synth-led sound than usual which I found to be very appealing, though it wasn’t until later in the year with “Counting Stars” that the group once again achieved massive success, reaching #1 in the UK and Top 5 in the US.  “If I Lose Myself” is #71 for 2013 – it may be re-released to follow up “Counting Stars”.
  • 2012 was absent of music from our favourite boy robot, Simon Curtis.  So the singer gifted us with an EP of songs written for others, called WWW, full of the expected electronic pop and dance bliss but somewhat different from what we had heard in RA and 8bit Heart previously.  But “Berlin Wall” (#63) is an unforgettable singalong anthem paired alongside the likes of “Laser Guns Up”, while “Do I Have To Dance” (#48) is a shattering dance epic as the singer pleads “notice me” but alternately screams “how long do I have to dance?” as if it’s the worst thing in the world.  Simon has a new song and dance video funded by fans which will appear in 2014.
  • Adam Tyler has been busy writing and recording his follow up to 2011’s Shattered Ice album after spending a lot of 2012 touring.  He gave us a taste of what he’s working on with the dubstep-influenced “Fade Into The Light” at #58.  The song was also featured on the essential dance compilation This Beat Is Poptronik… Volume 2… along with three others on this list!
  • L.A.-based Semi-Precious Weapons toned down their rowdy rock style a few notches for the anthemic ballad “Aviation High” early in 2013, which also serves as a lead-in to their upcoming release in early 2014.  Can’t wait to hear what these boys have to offer us!  Of note:  Jarell Perry also recorded a spot-on soulful cover of “Aviation High”, proving the song’s instant versatility.
  • And at #41 for 2013 is the Oscar-winning “Skyfall” from Adele, which got to #7 at the top of the year.

SONGS 75 to 41

The prettier web version should be online by the end of Sunday.

74 BIM Burn
73 JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE featuring Jay-Z Suit & Tie
72 FRANKMUSIK Chasing Shadows
71 ONE REPUBLIC If I Lose Myself
70 GHOST BEACH Too Young (Penguin Prison Remix)
69 FRANKMUSIK Life (Is My Revenge)
68 LORDE Royals
64 CONOR MAYNARD featuring NE-YO Turn Around
63 SIMON CURTIS Berlin Wall
61 NE-YO Let Me Love You (Till You Learn To Love Yourself)
60 LAWSON Juliet
59 PARRALOX Headhunter
58 ADAM TYLER Fade Into The Light
57 RIVER TIBER What Are You Afraid Of
54 JAMES WILLIAM Lay Your Love On Me
53 JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE Let The Groove Get In
52 LAWSON featuring B.o.B. Brokenhearted
51 PET SHOP BOYS Love Is A Bourgeois Construct
50 SAM DICKINSON Learn To Wait
49 JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE Take Back The Night
48 SIMON CURTIS Do I Have To Dance
46 PASSION PIT Take A Walk
44 CHRIS WALLACE Keep Me Crazy
41 ADELE Skyfall

MAY DAYS: Willy Moon’s album, Chromatone’s interview, Pierre Lewis’ preview, Bim’s video and demo, and Jeronimo’s B-side


WILLY MOON  Here’s Willy Moon

London-based Kiwi Willy Moon knows a lot about creating a really big sounding, splashy, and stylish debut album.  Here’s Willy Moon finally dropped in my country this past week and it’s guaranteed to turn heads and open ears just like when you first heard breakout single “Yeah Yeah” on the iPod commercials.  Some of the 14 songs (including two bonus tracks) on the self-produced album were already released on his previous self-titled EP so the record as a whole isn’t all new.  It’s a mix of new originals plus 3 cover versions that channel 50s/60s basics – only one song within is longer than 3 minutes – through our contemporary technological sound machine.  Led by Willy’s exuberant vocals, the album works most of the time (only the R&B flavoured opener “Get Up (What You Need)” seems out of place), and as I heard in Austin in March, he can replicate the sound on stage.


Willy’s originals often bask in the classic melodies of the past.  “Fire” is one of the standouts, recalling a song like “Heart Full Of Soul” by The Yardbirds in melody and style, but leaving a unique mark after you hear it.  “My Girl” sounds like Eddie Cochran and Brian Setzer (of the Stray Cats) together, with stylistic whomp courtesy perhaps of 80’s Robert Palmer sounds.  You could visualize hearing “I Wanna Be Your Man” in a 60’s Go-Go club if it didn’t have all of the modern trappings.  Covers of classics “I Put A Spell On You” and “Shakin'” (video below – my favourite version of the latter is the cover by The Blasters in the 80’s), as well as bonus song “Bang Bang” , can easily label Willy as a competitive interpreter.  Second bonus song “Oh Nikki Darling” (co-written and co-produced with Martin ‘Cherry Cherry Boom Boom’ Kierszenbaum) is short and haunting – a sequel to the Prince song of almost the same name, perhaps?

So you can hear where this is heading.  Here’s Willy Moon is definitely one of the year’s boldest debuts by a singer who aims to dazzle from the start.

CHROMATONE, “Fire” – plus an interview!

Chromatone is turning out to be one of 2013’s most promising talents to watch, after getting to know his music a bit last year.  It’s all a plan to lead up to an EP coming this Fall.  Be sure to watch the clip below courtesy of the new Nupe Vibes series.  It features a brand new Chromatone original, “Fire” in a stellar live-from-the-floor performance which just makes me realize how grand his voice will sound when in a studio with added production!  Plus we get to know the man who answers some well-presented questions and you get to find out why he’s so good at making music.  Dynamite stuff, cannot wait for more!!  Also check out the video for his cover of Bruno Mars’ “Locked Out Of Heaven” where he busts out some dance moves (and throws in some Gotye near the end for good measure).

PIERRE LEWIS, Consciousness (preview)

It’s been a while since we heard from UK pop-soul singer Pierre Lewis, who first came to my attention in huge style with his ballad “Broken” (#2 on my chart) in 2009.  Last year we heard his EP Transitions, featuring “Out Of My Mind”, as well as his duet with Kaya in a classic style on “When I Was Blind”.  His new album Consciousness drops next week, and there’s a rich blend of uptempo pop songs as well as softer R&B-influenced songs that so enchant his many women fans 🙂 There are bound to be a few surprises that you don’t hear in the preview below so you can count on me to bring you more very soon.

BIM, “Highlight” (The Barn Sessions video) and “Ghost” (demo)

One of last year’s releases often on repeat on my iPod Touch is Bim’s Lifelines EP.  The UK duo with whom you are well acquainted in this blog keeps taking their music to the next level in different ways.  So now we have “Highlight” (from Lifelines), in a performance video shot inside a barn, which finally gives you a visual of Rebecca and Denmark in what you would likely see in a concert setting.  It’s a passionate performance that brings life to the song that a creative music video can’t do justice.  Then, take a listen to the moving new song “Ghost”, in a pretty convincing demo format, and try to fathom why it shouldn’t be given a full release itself.

JERONIMO, “Fading Memories”

We’ve already been teased by Jeronimo, the Dutch singer with the highly recognizable voice, with an acoustic version of his upcoming single “Flying Solo”.  So then he actually records a video for the song that is the ‘B side’ to “Flying Solo”, “Fading Memories”, which is not only a great idea, but has probably turned out even better than expected!  The singer himself has such a fun personality and is a real cheerleader for having a good time.  So we get treated to both the serious side of Jeronimo in the performance part of the video (and we’ve already seen how well he does this in the videos for “Somebody Who Loves Me” and “Firefly”) for what is really a thoughtful song about moving on, and then the carefree side which appears to show him in historic sites in the Philippines.  To be honest, “Fading Memories” could/should be a single unto itself, it’s certainly a powerful enough song on its own.  This bodes very well for a full upcoming album of Jeronimo songs to follow up last year’s immensely entertaining One Kiss.

Published in: on May 27, 2013 at 9:49 pm  Leave a Comment  
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New Pop Alert: Jake Bugg, Bim, Baiyu, Krewella, Parralox featuring Ryan Adamés, Kim Smith, Pip, and Nick


Jake Bugg “Two Fingers”

Though he’s already had a #1 album in the UK, I’m hoping for big things in North America for 19 year old folk/rock singer Jake Bugg.  He recently performed several showcases at SXSW and his self-titled album will be released here in April.  Ahead of this is a clever lyrics video for “Two Fingers”.  There’s an interesting contrast between the lyrics and the two children in the video, though there is a worthy theme of putting things behind you and moving on to something better that drives the song along.  Jake’s voice stands out in a crowd, his songs are catchy and one-of-a-kind, and I think he should be headlining some club dates in North America during the year.


Bim “Stop You”

UK duo Bim, one of my 13 Performers To Watch For ’13, continue to be on a roll with the songs that they are releasing in anticipation of a full sophomore album.  The ride hasn’t stopped since last Fall’s Lifelines EP release.  Following their recent astute and different interpretation of Chris de Burgh’s “Lady In Red” comes more gripping and emotional pop that they perform so well with “Stop You”.  Rebecca and Denmark have amazing connection that few other duos possess, which always makes their songs such a treat, even if they sometimes send you on a rollercoaster ride, you come back feeling all the better for it!  “Stop You” will be available as a free download from Bim’s website


Baiyu “Surface”

Another of my 13 Performers to Watch For ’13 is New York chanteuse Baiyu.  She never fails do deliver a quality song, and continues to release something new for free download each month.  “Surface” is aggressive mid-tempo EDM along the lines of the title song of her last mixtape Hunter.  That she continues to mix it up style-wise shows her diversity and desire to appeal beyond a traditional pop audience.  If these top notch recordings continue, they will take Baiyu and her amazing voice to the next level.


Krewella “Alive” (Pegboard Nerds Remix)

Chicago dance trio Krewella are out to conquer with their latest release as they make their way across North American slaying audiences in concert.  “Alive” is one of the most boisterous rock/EDM songs to come along in 2013 that looks like it will also be a proper pop crossover hit.  The video of this vibrant remix is nothing short of joyful unbridled chaos.  Watch below.



Parralox featuring Ryan Adamés, “Silent Morning” 

I already wrote about “Silent Morning”, the mid 80s freestyle pop hit by Noel, as covered by Aussie duo Parralox, back in January.  What will now be the official release of the single features handsome L.A. singer Ryan Adamés in a pairing sure to cause intense dancefloor bliss.  In fact you can catch Parralox and Ryan performing in Miami tomorrow night at Twist Sound Beach to launch this sparkling rework.


Kim Smith “Jealous Out Of My Head” (Midi-D’s Bootleg Mashup)

It’s a brilliant idea – blend New York-based Aussie singer Kim Smith’s pop-savvy “Jealous” with “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head” by fellow Aussie Kylie Minogue.  The Vibe Kings remix is every so deserving of big city club play, but so is this mashup, which will keep heads spinning while feet dance merrily away into the night.

Cue two more inspired cover versions!


First up, we have season two contestant from The Voice, 20 year old Pip, who has his ear to the radio and provides a beautiful soulful edge to his version of none other than Chris Wallace’s “Remember When (Push Rewind)”.  He and his band mates take a few liberties with some of the choice of instruments they use to support Pip on the song, but the spirit of the song is more than intact.  Good on you, Pip!  Pip’s 6 song EP No Formalities is currently available on iTunes.


Second, I get to post this the day before the official release of The 20/20 Experience by Justin Timberlake.  There’s no one better suited-and-tied (hence an older pic of him above) to cover “Suit & Tie” than sweet-voiced Nick, in anticipation of his own upcoming project.  I’m actually hoping that JT himself gets to hear this version – even though it sounds a bit rough in spots, Nick’s vocal finesse (including the rap) just nails it and the man himself would be proud of that.

Winter Popervescence #3: Pop Gets Smeared by ‘Kiss My Lipstick Off’, plus Willy Moon, Bim, Ryan Silverman, Matthew Kurz, Kim Smith, James William, and Brendan Maclean

I’m getting in my Popervescence dibs while it’s still Winter with lots of great songs to warm you up…


Kiss My Lipstick Off (compilation)

The creators of 2011’s sensational Ballroom Remixed album are back with another compilation set for some real razzle dazzle.  All kinds of pop gets smeared by Kiss My Lipstick Off, which naturally focuses on some mighty talented ladies.  Like any other compilation, not all of the songs work as well as others, but the fact that so many do means that it’s worth your precious dollars.  The songs vary from pure upbeat pop and electronica to those that have a more serious bent about them.

Give me dirty, grimy disco any day with a deep synth line, and here it comes in the form of “XTC” by lovely Liz Primo, who gave us some Hallowe’en tinged fun last year with “The Devil In Me”.  “XTC” is for the late night dance crowd and would make a sensationally sexy mashup with 90’s hit “A Little Bit Of Ecstasy” by Jocelyn Enriquez.  Georgia Haege’s title song is quite the tease that will instantly grab pop radio listeners’ ears with its Eurotastic rhythm and Kylie-esque vocal.  “You Can Always Come Home” is lighter, lyrical fare whose melody recalls another Kylie song – “The Locomotion” – albeit slowed down.  Producer Stormby has paired with singer Roz for “Twisted”, which also gets its sexy on.

I was already pre-disposed to the grandeur that is “Yesterday’s Tomorrows” by the lovely Jane Badler, which reached #8 on my chart last year.  Stormby is also in the picture here – the version of the song is his “Drama” remix which throws the into stage musical mode.  And Nathalie Archangel’s “Next To Me” is back in a new and much improved Ricardo Autobahn Electropop version, such a delight of a simple song set to help relaunch Nathalie’s new album Raven 25 years after her debut release.  Martha Wash did it recently too, so Nathalie is in great company.

Four of the songs already have videos, and you can watch those by Spray (animated video), Nathalie, Jane, and Georgia (featuring comedian Stevieweevie) below.  Hats off to the singers and creators for an impressive release.

Willy Moon, “My Girl”

I give Willy Moon a lot of credit for blending current electro-pop with a variety of 50’s and 60’s approaches – mainly having to do with fashion, hobbies (billiards, bowling), and short, short songs.  His iPod theme “Yeah Yeah” recently got to #2 on my chart – bested only by songs by Matthew Koma.  His debut album Here’s Willy Moon is on its way to us on April 1 and it’ll be preceded by another brief but big-sounding pop blast as the next single, “My Girl”.  Willy’s got a niche all his own right now and I can see many people finding it very attractive.  Listen to “My Girl” below as well as a sampler of the upcoming album.

Bim, “Lady In Red”

Ironically, “Lady In Red” originator Chris de Burgh (a singer frequently on my turntable from mid-70s to mid-80s) has a new record out, so it’s an unlikely tribute to the song that finds UK duo (and one of My 13 Performers To Watch For ’13) putting their own spin on the classic 1986 hit for Valentine’s Day.  If it was a straight cover I don’t think it would work and purists would complain.  So by making it a duet and changing the tempo, Bim doesn’t take anything away from the original at all, has fun with it, and allows it to offer up its own share of delights.  Watch below and download the song for free from Bim’s website.

Ryan Silverman, “If Only In My Mind”

In between stints on Broadway, current “Passion” star Canadian-born Ryan Silverman has been dropping videos that I’m hoping will ultimately extend to a full album release for this multi-talented guy.  “If Only In My Mind”, like Ryan’s last video “The Crossing Tree”, is a co-write from Ryan in which the director delights in taunting Ryan as to whether or not his relationship in the video is real or not.  Watch below and pick up tickets for “Passion” if you happen to be in New York City 🙂

Matthew Kurz, “Dancing On My Own” (Robyn cover)

He hasn’t officially released anything new yet in 2013, but American singer/songwriter Matthew Kurz, another of my 13 Performers To Watch For ’13, has been busy with viral covers, the best of which recently has been his acoustic take on Robyn’s beloved “Dancing On My Own”.  His diverse voice gives this rendition a genuine and gentle appeal all its own.  Listen below.

Kim Smith, “Jealous” (Vibekingz Remix)

It’s getting closer!  The long awaited release of Australian-born New York City-based cabaret singer Kim Smith’s pop album Nova is almost here.  Although it wasn’t what I expected to usher in its release, this Vibekingz remix of “Jealous”, with a fantastic dubsteppy break,  is about to charge full steam ahead through dance club doors with intent on slaying audiences worldwide.  Listen below, and don’t say you weren’t warned.

James William, “Lay Your Love On Me”

James William appears to be the new name for Manchester-based James Hutchinson, who has been performing in the UK and Germany for the last 10 years in different settings.  Another multi-talent, James looks poised to break out with a contemporary male pop sound in “Lay Your Love On Me”.  This could easily be a companion piece to the likes of Chris Wallace, Matthew Koma, and Kyle Patrick, who have continued to grace these blog pages and my chart.  Like them, James has an immediately identifiable voice and the song itself is pure ear candy.  Thanks to EQ Music Blog for the tip – you can get this song for free via Tweet For A Track, or you can listen to it below.  Like me, I expect you will listen to this one over and over again once you hear it.

Brendan Maclean, “Stupid”

It has taken me a number of viewings, but I think I finally get it.  Australian singer/dancer/actor Brendan Maclean’s video for his new song “Stupid” portrays him in a Mika-esque mode while emotions fly around the room – the singer performing his song and parading around the room; the balloons and “Congratulations” sign still up long after everyone has left; the lone other guest clearly heartbroken  despite Brendan performing and whatever has just transpired.  This is a promising start for the singer who will appear in the upcoming Baz Luhrmann film “The Great Gatsby” and is highly endorsed by fellow Aussie Darren Hayes, which speaks volumes.  Watch below – be prepared to be mesmerized into unexpected deeper thought.

I leave you with the artwork for the just-announced FrankMusik album, titled Between, due on April 1.


BILLCS Top 30 #396 – January 14, 2013


There continues to be a significant one! two! three! punch leading my personal chart.  Two of those come in the form of soon-to-be-powerhouse Matthew Koma, whose “Parachute” leads the way with “1998” at #3 and a contender for #1 in the coming weeks.  Slotted in-between is “Yeah Yeah” by Willy Moon, which seems to be picking up more fans as the weeks go on.  “Play The Girl” by Tao Hypah – who has another new song coming for you soon, glides to #4 (video below, if you haven’t yet seen it), while “Time Bomb (Walk Away)”, my choice for single #2 from Chris Wallace’s Push Rewind album, moves up to #5.  Chris seems to be popping up everywhere in the USA; an L.A. show is on deck.

You can view the full chart 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 :)

Making news in these pages again but this time on the chart is Toronto band River Tiber (pic at the top of this page), whose second album Synapses is available for free download from their website.  In it you will find the song now at #10, “What Are You Afraid Of”, but becoming a huge deal with a debut at #6 is far and away one of the most unique songs of 2013, “The City”.  I can’t provide you with a link to hear it online, so you’ll just have to take my word for it 😉 but perhaps Tommy Paxton-Beesley will offer something up in the near future 😀 Nevertheless, it’s a quiet but heartfelt song about moving on, set to a nifty electronic backdrop.  River Tiber played an excellent set at The Drake Hotel on January 7 to an unexpected packed room.  It’s amazing how far River Tiber has come since I saw them during Canadian Music Week in a 3 a.m. show.

Bim’s gorgeous and emotional “Burn” rises to #9 this week, while “O.V.E.R. U.” by Daniel Bedingfield becomes the second top tenner from Secret Fear-Stop The Traffik at #8.  A video is in the works but below is a new official lyrics video that was introduced recently for the song.

I’m currently wading through the complexities that comprise Passion Pit’s sophomore album Gossamer.  It has the unusual mix of highly personalized lyrics by leader Michael Angelakos along with an eclectic, fanciful blend of rock and electronica – nothing out there quite sounds like Passion Pit.  And when you hear “Take A Walk” (below) it commands attention and heads start to bob.  The song advances to #12, and after catching a repeat of Passion Pit’s songs on Saturday Night Live, I’m even more looking forward to seeing them in concert in February.  Also playing on that bill in Toronto will be Matt & Kim, whose “Now” rises to #16.

The lower part of the chart is brimming with entries from the last few charts.  Ne-Yo’s “Let Me Love You” is up to #17, with more Chris Wallace in the form of album track “Keep Me Crazy” at #18.  The fastest riser is the unanticipated electronica-heavy “If I Lose Myself” by One Republic at #19.  It looks like more than a smattering of influence of Swedish House Mafia has rubbed off on Ryan Tedder and band – you can kind of hear the melody of “Save (The World Tonight)” inside of “If I Lose Myself”.  “Youth In Trouble” from The Presets’ latest album Pacifica lands at #20 (listen to the epic Green Velvet remix below – you can download it with your email addy for free right here), while “Reboot The Mission” by The Wallflowers jumps to #22.

Besides River Tiber’s “The City”, three other songs debut on the chart.  Zedd & Foxes team up for “Clarity” at #21, soon to be one of my most played songs of the year, which I wrote about just recently.  I also wrote about the dance explosion that is “A World Apart” by European producer/DJ Davis Redfield, featuring a fantastic yet hitherto unknown female voice, and it arrives at #27.  At #29, somewhat belatedly but definitely a grower, is “Turn Around” by Conor Maynard featuring Ne-Yo.  Conor already has chart experience in these pages with last Spring’s “Can’t Say No”, and this third single from his Contrast album definitely makes ears perk up when you find out how good the voices of Conor and Ne-Yo sound together (despite the weak-ish video below).  This young English buck has the vocal chops, and his next album should really tell the tale.

BILLCS Top 30 #395 – December 31/12

We interrupt our year end countdown with this less flashy post to bring you my last personal chart of 2012 and the first that will count towards year end for 2013. Three performers return to the chart after long absences.

After a mediocre start with “Feel Again”, the second single from One Republic’s upcoming third album Native is a stunner.  “If I Lose Myself” (#26) is a sleeping slice of soft electronica that returns to the familiar sound of recent hits such as “Good Life”.  Since singer/songwriter Ryan Tedder has been involved in a lot of dance/EDM projects recently, it’s no surprise for the influence to spill over to One Republic.  But overall “If I Lose Myself” is a better song, which returns the band to my chart since 2008 after three Top 10 hits, including the #1 “Apologize”.  

With even a longer gap on the chart, The Wallflowers are back for the first time since 2005 with the funky “Reboot The Mission” (#28), which was originally made available as a free download.  With guitarist Mick Jones from The Clash and Big Audio Dynamite successes on board, you can hear the distinct presence of songs like “This Is Radio Clash” or “Rush” in the music.  The video (above) is also filled with great, seemingly impossible choreography too.  The Wallflowers had my favourite song of 1997, the equally rhythmic “One Headlight”.  

Shiny Toy Guns were Grammy nominees back in 2007 and with their new album III they are now among the better known indie scene.  Making their first appearance since their Top 10’s (“You Are The One” and “Le Disko”), the band returns with the highly engaging “Somewhere To Hide” at #30. 

The fourth debut on the chart could actually be a re-entry if it wasn’t re-recorded.  Aiming at a younger market by including top notch vocalist Ariana Grande (from TV’s “Victorious”), Mika’s “Popular Song” is back on the chart at #29.  The original version got to #18; I expect this new one will do better.

Highlighting key moves on the chart, “Yeah Yeah” by Willy Moon moves to #2 to attempt to dethrone “Parachute” by Matthew Koma, which is #1 again for a second appearance.  Matthew is also right behind at #3 with album track “1998”, while Tao Hypah’s supremely catchy “Play The Girl” becomes his second Top 5 hit at #5.  “Time Bomb (Walk Away)” by Chris Wallace soars into the Top 10 at #6, with other new entries to the Top 10 by Kid Massive & DATABOY “Good Girlfriend” at #9 and “Burn” by Bim at #10.  

River Tiber’s “What Are You Afraid Of” is the fastest riser, gliding 22-14, with other big moves from songs by Daniel Bedingfield, FrankMusik, Passion Pit, Chris Wallace (with “Keep Me Crazy”), Ne-Yo, and The Presets.

You can view the full chart 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 :)

BILLCS Music Blog’s Top 75 Songs of 2012 – #75 to #61

As in other years, most of my favourite songs of 2012 boiled down to the following criteria:  Music that makes you feel good and want to dance along, and voices/lyrics that just amazed.  There were several new great voices and faces, some returnees, and of course the completely unexpected.  In order to appear on this list, a song must have appeared and peaked on my personal chart between January 2 and December 17 published charts.  If it hadn’t attained its peak position yet, it will appear on my year end chart for 2013.

Click here to view songs #75 to #61  🙂

Three carryovers into 2012 in our first group of #75 through #61 are The Midway State’s “Fire!”,  Lady GaGa’s “Marry The Night”, and “Angel” by Darren Hayes.  Wrapping up their touring on their Paris Or India album, Toronto quartet The Midway State otherwise took a break from music in 2012, and I hope these talented friends will engage us again next year.  You could hear an excerpt of “Fire!” in Bell Canada commercials, and of course their biggest hit “Never Again” is the ringback for Rogers cellular phones.  GaGa was everywhere in 2012, it’s hard to say where The Born This Way Ball didn’t visit!  But a new Ball is on deck as is her forthcoming album ARTPOP, and I’m expecting a new single sometime in early 2013 to promote her touring in North America.  “Angel” by Darren Hayes was a personal choice to carry over.  You couldn’t possibly ask for a more reverent Madonna cover choice – it kept appearing on my iPod Touch shuffle, and as the vinyl flip side to “Talk Talk Talk”, it landed on my chart after the run of another song on this list, “Stupid Mistake”.  Darren’s Secret Codes And Battleships continued to be one of my most played albums into 2012, and one more carryover from that album is ranked higher on this list.  Watch the stunning video for “Stupid Mistake” and listen to Bright Light Bright Light’s percolating remix below as well.

More than ever, my chart contained a cornucopia of worldwide artists appear more than in any other year in recent memory.  Music has no official borders, only those that the music industry continues to put up which hinders availability of recordings and the ability of performers to tour.  Latvia is represented with singer/DJ/model Markus Riva and his dance rave-up “We Dance 4 Reason”, with another song to follow higher up.  “Turn It Up” is the high energy follow up to “Pitiful” for Portugal’s Carlos Nobrega, who is one of my 13 Performers to Watch for ’13 and has another song much later in the countdown.  The worldwide breakout from France this year is M83 whose hook from “Midnight City” (outstanding video below) is imprinted on the year (and an even better cover version appears higher up on the list), which led to sellout shows around the world.  Canadians Marianas Trench had their most successful year ever with last year’s Ever After album and the single “Fallout” among others.  Lead singer Josh Ramsay not only produced that album but is now a Grammy-nominee for co-writing Canadian label mate Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe”.  German DJ/producers Spencer & Hill paired up with the always amazing US vocalist Nadia Ali for “Believe It”, which is your dance song for weekend release after a hard work week.

There are three UK artists in this group.  Keane had a successful year around the world with their Strangeland album, led by the glorious “Silenced By The Night” this past Spring.  “Lights Out” was the second single from duo Bim’s EP of affecting and emotional electropop, Lifelines.  Bim are another of my 13 Performers to Watch for ’13 And a favourite from her Little Belter shows and the subsequent album, Elouise covered “Could It Be Magic” – less like the Barry Manilow version and more like Donna Summer’s – which turned out to be somewhat bittersweet as the song appeared on my chart at the time of the disco legend’s death.  Elouise is off to dazzle Australian audiences with the Little Belter show in early ’13 – the rest of the world will undoubtedly follow.

Three USA performers round out the list.  L.A. quartet Saint Motel released a quirky but very smart album Voyeur this past summer, and toured to support it.  The band’s singer also is responsible for directing the group’s unique videos, so check out the one for “Benny Goodman” below.  Lana Del Rey’s “Born To Die” dominated airwaves and TV video play at the top of the year and solidified her instant presence on the pop music scene (strangely yielding no Grammy nominations).  And the mixtape Hunter by Baiyu, generating the title song on this list, dazzled enough people to land her as a contestant on The CW’s “The Next” and on my 13 Performers To Watch for ’13 list.

13 Performers To Watch for ’13

One of the most popular blog post’s I’ve written – even these past three years, it still receives many views – is 10 Performers to Watch in 2010.  I revived the format of that post for 2013, as there are too many promising performers who should not go without notice.  My criteria for this list is that the performer is releasing songs either for purchase or free download, and did not just issue one song in 2012.  The performer could be releasing a debut or sophomore album, and may already be signed to a major label.


BAIYU   exquisite vocalist to soar beyond “The Next”

I was absolutely delighted when New York singer Baiyu was set to appear as a contestant on the CW’s talent contest “The Next”.  She also released a high quality mixtape called Hunter, which contained beautiful ballads, such as the duet with American Idol contestant Paul Kim on “Make Believe” (video below), and sinewy uptempo songs such as the title song.  She didn’t win the New York auditions on “The Next” (to me the show compromised the singer’s style with what they wanted to show on TV) but received exposure to-die-for, and recorded a few other viral cover versions including Melanie Fiona’s “4 AM” and even the Jonas Brothers’ “Paranoid” to tantalize Jonas Brothers fans who got to know her through “The Next” (since Joe Jonas was a judge).  I’m not sure what Baiyu has planned for ’13, but I expect it will be well-planned and chosen, and I can’t wait.  Her gorgeous Beyoncé-like voice at times could put her easily in the big leagues.


CODY BELEW  our likeable multi-talented underdog from “The Voice”  

Nobody, but nobody, captured my attention on this past season of “The Voice” like Cody Belew.  From his initial performance of “Hard To Handle” (which caused coach Cee-Lo Green to turnaround at the last moment) through compelling renditions of “Jolene”, “Somebody To Love”, the deliberately and massively campy “Crazy In Love” (video below, because it’s just so much fun), and especially George Michael’s “One More Try”, it was easy to root for Cody, who just seized every opportunity to win over both coaches and fans alike.  The transition to nation-wide concerts will be easy, but more critical will be what he records.  All eyes and ears on Cody in ’13!


BIM   UK duo flaunts their emotions

As I predicted last September, Bim’s EP Lifelines has become one of my favourite and most consistent records of 2012, and their second album is on deck for early ’13.  I stand by my earlier statement that every song within Lifelines – particularly “Lights Out”, current single “Burn” (video below), and “Scream” – is full of intense emotion, powerful vocal interaction, and key lyrical moments that resonate long after the song is over.  Rebecca Rosier and Denmark Davis are a dream team, and I for one can’t get enough.


GENTLEMEN HALL  Boston collective’s fans are its anchor

After catching the sextet’s appearance at Canadian Music Week in March, I found their EP When We All Disappear growing on me throughout the year, and it is one of my most played records.  The multi-layered instrumentation (including glorious flute) and compelling lead vocals from Cobi Mike and Gavin Merlot made each song from the record a rich experience, especially “All Our Love”, “Blush”  (below), and “Take Me Under”.  Gentlemen Hall has a dedicated following, and quite frankly they could be contently touring every club in North America to appease their fans instead of signing their lives away to a record deal.  But I think the right deal will come along in ’13 for Gentlemen Hall that will take them to the next level for which they clearly are more than ready.


IN MY COMA  Toronto trio brings out the rocker in you

It’s been on release for more than a year now, but Magnets & Miracles, the debut album by Toronto rockers In My Coma, definitely has durability with its contemporary take on 90’s alt.rock styles through songs like “Believe Me” (video below), “Dreamers”, “Hit Them Down Kid”, and “Losing Sleep”.  Part of the reason for the appeal, which seems to be increasing month-by-month, is the band’s ability to connect with fans and pull out the rockers in them which keeps them coming back to their shows, to the point where they won a contest to open for Sum 41 in Toronto in the Fall.  Keeping this strategy in place, the next logical step is a new record of songs, always tough to do when gigs are what bring fans to the table.  Timing will be everything for In My Coma in ’13 to maintain their momentum – but with their determination they can do it!


MATTHEW KOMA  major pop voice sounds like no other

Regular readers will know that part of the last quarter of 2012 was spent with me raving about Matthew Koma, his collaboration with Zedd on Billboard’s #1 Dance Club Play chart single of the year “Spectrum”, and his diverse EP Parachute.  Matthew is Major Pop 2012, signed to Cherrytree/Interscope, and his distinct voice sounds like no other – in fact you might think on “Spectrum” and other songs that he is a teen instead of a mid-20-something.  Matthew’s finishing off his upcoming album which is a high priority for me to hear in 2013.  That he is also guy-friend to my fellow Canadian Carly Rae Jepsen is pretty sweet, too.


MATTHEW KURZ  supurb singer/songwriter has it almost in spades

Matthew Kurz has tantalized me throughout the last two years, first with his free mixtape from last year featuring the gripping and emotional “Fix Me”, and then with a series of originals and cover versions that were posted through You Tube.  Though he hasn’t released much for commercial sale or for free this year, 2012 is pointing in all of the right directions for Matthew with “Moving On” (available on iTunes), but most particularly “One Night (Damn!)” (below), and an absolutely stunning rendition of David Guetta & Sia’s “Titanium”.  While the latter wisely does not attempt to replicate Sia’s higher register, Matthew makes the song his own with its raw urgency.  While I believe he has a songwriting publishing deal, Matthew Kurz’s many talents and music should find a wider audience in ’13.


LAWSON  UK quartet on the bubble for North America

While the year started off with talented UK foursome Lawson opening in North America for The Wanted, the band was also in the process of recording its debut album for Polydor/Universal UK, Chapman Square.  So once that was done they made a retreat to their native UK to promote singles  “When She Was Mine” (video below), “Standing In The Dark”, and “Taking Over Me”, all significant hits in the UK.  Chapman Square was released… but not in North America.  But upcoming club dates over here should draw out the fans who have become familiar enough with this band that writes its own songs and plays its own instruments to divert their attention from One Direction and The Wanted.  Lawson has the goods and 2013 should be a breakout year for them.


ANDREAS MOE  can sing anything. writes his own songs too.

2012 has been a whirlwind for Swedish singer/songwriter Andreas Moe.  Dance music fans discovered him as a featured vocalist on songs by Avicii (with whom he performed in Japan!) and John De Sohn (“Long Time” is one of the biggest hits of the year in Sweden).  But Andreas wisely used these successes as a springboard for his own solo work, captured beautifully in his EP Collecting Sunlight, and especially on the title song (animated video below), “My Side Of The Bed”, and his acoustic rendition of “Long Time”.  He even posted a sparkling acoustic performance of Justin Bieber’s “Boyfriend” right after its release.  But Andreas has one of those grounded and diverse voices that can sing anything.  I think greater things are in store for him as both a songwriter and a performer in ’13!


CARLOS NOBREGA  balancing the pop and EDM worlds and more

Like a few other performers this year, I first discovered Portugal’s Carlos Nóbrega through the essential dance compilation This Beat Is… Poptronik Volume One, where his plaintive pop song “Pitiful” was featured.  With the EDM community embracing the singer as a result of this affiliation, Carlos next released “Turn It Up” in June, and the infectious chorus of this song will lift you up and keep you on a high.  Then he collaborated with producer/DJ Sky Santos for the sultry “I Miss You”, which led in nicely to one of the best (and still somewhat undiscovered) dance party songs of the year, “Music Makes You Lose Control”, a record that reached #1 on my personal chart.  Carlos is another performer who can do it all – sing, write, act, dance, and release all of his songs independently.  The sheer quality of his releases and his determination should make heads turn when his album is released in 2013.


RIVER TIBER  engaging and unique talent not to be missed

The music of Toronto’s River Tiber has been discussed at length in these posts since the Spring, after I became acquainted with their album From Now On, from which three songs landed on my personal chart, with “Someday” at #1 for six weeks and “Symmetry” reaching #2.  Three concert performances later, and the third one, which I wrote about right here a few weeks ago, speaks for itself.  River Tiber releases its next effort Synapses on January 1, and there will be much more influence in this record by experimental electronica than in From Now On.  It is not to be missed.  Let the additional raves begin.  Watch out 2013!


STONE WALTERS  honest-to-goodness earthy UK soul

One of the first free downloads I heard to make its way up my personal chart in 2012 was “Home” by Stone Walters.  The song has lyrics rooted in values that anyone can relate to – you know the same ones that you feel at the end of “The Wizard Of Oz”.  Stone has one of those silky smooth voices that could be as easily influenced by classic Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding and Stevie Wonder, as it could by more contemporary singers like Terence Trent D’Arby or Jay Kay of Jamiroquai.  Stone also showed that his boundaries stretch beyond soul with the pop tune “World Keeps Turning” and his softened-down version of Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing In The Dark”.  While he had a taste of some success a few years back, his more recent songs sound more honest-to-goodness.  Stone Walters deserves another shot as he will easily find an audience that will gravitate to his style and music.


ZAC POOR  no vocal talent contest required

L.A. based singer/songwriter Zac Poor came to my attention a few years back with an initial release of his own songs such as “She’ll Be Breaking Hearts” and “Silver Screens”, which all attracted some significant buzz… and then it went quiet for a bit.  I think Zac has either a songwriting or record deal that has not yet come to fruition.  But two cover songs he released this past year will surely change that.  The first one is his take on Demi Lovato’s “Skyscraper”.  It’s been oft-covered, but never this well, and it totally blows the doors off of the original with a vocal performance that is sheer perfection, and understated production by MdL.  Had it seen proper release, it could have been a hit all on its own!  Next up was an appealing version of Ed Sheeran’s “Lego House”.  All of this bodes very well for something significant to happen for Zac Poor in ’13.