Bill’s Top 75 of 2013 – Songs 40 to 421

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

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! ūüôā

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 Adam√©s 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?? ūüôā ¬†“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 ūüôā

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 ūüôā

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! ūüôā

BILLCS Top 30 #410 – July 29, 2013

If you’re a new reader, the BILLCS Top 30 is my personal chart of faves, and this marks the 410th edition since January 1998. ¬†And since September 2009, I’ve been writing these bi-weekly wanderings though my new’n’notables ūüôā

  • First off, and first ūüôā Pet Shop Boys currently rule my iPod Touch! ¬†Electric is very likely my favourite long-player of the year so far, and current single “Vocal” captures the top of my chart for a third bi-weekly appearance, showing no immediate signs of relenting…
  • This is leaving “Begging” by Swedish teen star Anton Ewald, in second place. ¬†And that’s not unfortunate when it’s next to Pet Shop Boys. ¬†“Begging” is from Anton’s EP called A.
  • #3 and #4 follow each other into the Top 5. ¬†I’m looking forward to remixes of Dan Black & Kelis’ “Hearts”, as well as full albums from each (watch the intriguing video below). ¬†And Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” seems to have stirred up a whole lotta fun around the world as sex rules the pop charts more predominately since possibly 1973 (which will be another separate blog post).

  • There’s not a whole lot happening in the first minute and a half of “I Think I Love You”, a rework of a song by Dwele courtesy of Montreal’s Victor Bongiovanni at #6. ¬†But for what it lacks in lyrical substance it totally makes up for with club atmosphere and a most propulsive, seductive bassline.
  • I’m still grooving to “Let The Groove Get In” by Justin Timberlake (below) at #7 from the first part of The 20/20 Experience. ¬†“Take Back The Night” should arrive in this space in two weeks.
  • It’s been one of my most read blog posts these past few months, but it’s quite apparent that Ryan Adam√©s’ deeply warm and fuzzy cover of Justin Bieber’s “As Long As You Love Me” (video at the top of this page – the song is a free download if you ‘like’ Ryan’s Facebook page) is turning heads and getting in some ears. ¬†It’s a stunner and a chart topper contender that bows at #8, while Ryan’s collaboration with Parralox on “Silent Morning” holds steady at #5. ¬†Two concurrent times in my Top 10 for a new performer is a rarity!
  • Two songs from FrankMusik’s Between album continue to rise up the chart while the singer has been on a deserved vacation, after which he now plans to release Between and the acoustic Between Us as a double album in the Fall, preceded by new material due imminently. ¬†“Chasing Shadows” inches up to #10, while “Life (Is My Revenge)” moves to #15.

You can view the full Top 30 using the link under¬†***BILL‚ÄôS 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‚Äôs always a tiny place at the bottom of the blog post with tags and the statement ‚ÄúLeave A Comment‚ÄĚ ‚Äď please feel free to do so¬†:)

  • Two great indie acts are closing in on the Top 10. ¬†It’s taken a while but “Fade Into The Light” by Adam Tyler is at #11, and he is no stranger to the Top 10 with past songs like “Friction”, “I Won’t Let You Go”, and “Music Freak”. ¬†But NYC’s Andy Suzuki & The Method are still fairly fresh new blood, and “Dirty Floors” from Born Out Of Mischief jumps to #12.
  • Lawson’s “Brokenhearted” (featuring B.o.B.) became their most recent UK Top 10 hit, which I’m hoping will lead to its North American release while the band tours here. ¬†It climbs to #14.
  • More indie newcomers to the chart are Killian Wells (featuring Kristinia DeBarge) on the bright and very shiny “Remix My Love” at #16 (above), and Kim Smith, whose “Shooting Star” from debut electropop album Nova soars to #17.
  • Travis Garland’s “Homewrecker” looks to break hearts as the song climbs 24-18 from the free downloadable EP Fashionably Late II, while Kylie Minogue has the fastest riser on the chart with “Skirt” (below) tantalizing dance floors world wide. ¬†It jumps 26-19.
  • Playing it cool in the summer months is studio project Amelia’s Fault featuring Dave Gahan-influenced singer Color Theory with “Colder” at #20.

  • Two more debuts by newcomers grace the chart. ¬†Sam Dickinson’s album The Stories That Occurred is one of the finest sung albums you will hear this year, which will take you to another place within the pop/R&B/soul realm. ¬†His latest single “Learn To Wait” storms the chart at #22

  • New Zealand singer Lorde sneaks under your skin before you know it with “Royals” looking to be a rather conveniently titled pop song that regardless of the birth of Prince George looks to be a hit anyway. ¬†It arrives at #25.

BILLCS Top 30 #409 – July 15/13

petshopboys5

Pardon me while my comments about Electric by Pet Shop Boys take over the top of the chart’s blog post.

Now approaching a 30 year partnership, PSB’s Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe have returned to a variation on the disco/dance sound that made them famous, on their latest album, and one of their best yet, Electric. ¬†Their second lead-in to the album, “Vocal”, has scored #1 on my personal chart again for a second appearance, and doesn’t look like it will be yielding that to another song any time soon. ¬†I’ve already mentioned in weeks past that I think it’s one of their best songs in the last 20 years… a fact that is almost replicated several times over in Electric. ¬†What’s back that has been missing from more recent PSB projects are the witty lyrics, sparkling melodies, and droll vocal, as well as the sheer fun amid the adrenaline rush of most of the songs which are matter-of-factly designed to smash the dancefloor. ¬†And while the songs bring back 80’s and 90’s memories, they are all quite rightly spot-on fresh for 2013. ¬†Besides “Vocal”, you can revel in “Fluorescent”, “Thursday”, and the most one-of-a-kind song within that is simply winning PSB, “Love Is A Bourgeois Construct”. ¬†Electric is one of the year’s best records – I’m so happy to say that about a PSB album too!! ¬†Listen to the entire album right here via Rdio.com¬†– PSB and dance/disco renaissance are here ūüôā

  • Returning to the chart, young Anton Ewald has to settle for second place behind PSB with his contagious European hit “Begging”. ¬†Expect it to be lodged here for a while.
  • New to the top five at #5 is ¬†a rendition of the 80’s freestyle hit “Silent Morning” (below) that will grow on you more and more, as recorded by Parralox with Ryan Adam√©s, both of whom respectively have a new album and new songs due imminently.
  • And new to the top ten we have the smashing duet by Dan Black and Kelis on “Hearts” at #8, fastest riser and worldwide #1 “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke, T.I. & Pharrell Williams at #9, and Bongiovanni’s deep house Quebec dance floor delight “I Think I Love You” (a rework of a song by rapper Dwele) at #10.

You can view the full Top 30 using the link under¬†***BILL‚ÄôS 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‚Äôs always a tiny place at the bottom of the blog post with tags and the statement ‚ÄúLeave A Comment‚ÄĚ ‚Äď please feel free to do so¬†:)

justintimberlake8

  • In the past few weeks we’ve seen an explicit video for “Tunnel Vision” appear from Justin Timberlake, and then that was quickly followed by the spiffy 70’s throwback “Take Back The Night”, from his upcoming album The 20/20 Experience Part II (ab0ve), which might be better than any song on Part I. ¬†In the meantime, the funky “Let The Groove Get In” arrives at #11, which was the peak for “Suit & Tie” earlier this year.
  • FrankMusik recently completed his USA Between States tour, and is preparing to release an acoustic version of his album Between called Between Us. ¬†His current single “Chasing Shadows” lands at #12, followed by punchy album track “Life (Is My Revenge)” at #17.
  • Lawson saw their fifth single, “Brokenhearted”, featuring B.o.B., released at last, and quite fitting it arrived at #6 in the UK singles chart. ¬†And on my chart, it moves up 21-16 (video below).
  • If the phrase ‘indie darling’ could apply to one song right now, it’s the irresistible “Remix My Love” by Killian Wells featuring Kristinia DeBarge, which jumps 26-19 on the chart.
  • I’d really love it if my talented fellow Smith, he being cabaret/electropop singer Kim Smith, would post “Shooting Star” for all to hear online. ¬†The song moves up 28-21.
  • Don’t blame Amelia if your summer gets colder, and if you get wiser or bolder. ¬†As sung by Color Theory (aka Brian Hazard), “Colder” by Amelia’s Fault jumps 27-23. ¬†Fans of Depeche Mode and other mid-80’s electronica performers are most likely to be overjoyed at the sound of this song, which certainly gets under your skin quite easily.

New to the chart:

  • L.A. based singer Travis Garland just announced a small tour of central/west cities which you can find listed on his Instagram page. ¬†After the well-deserved #1 peak of “Blue Electric Roses”, I’ve delved deeper into his Fashionably Late Part II EP for the most unique-sounding song within. ¬†The intriguing “Homewrecker” bows on the chart at #24.

  • To me, last year’s “Timebomb” was the start of a great new phase for Kylie Minogue, and she continues that aggressive dance sound with “Skirt”, only currently available on Beatport, but arriving at #26. ¬†You can also listen to remixes on Soundcloud via her new label Rising Music, including the Cut Snake remix, available for free download below.

  • Lastly at #28 is “Winning Ground” by Eric Saade, which has been issued as a separate single worldwide to Eric’s Coming Home EP. ¬†It’s the best song of the lot with the potential to be a huge anthem, and you can enjoy watching Eric sing solo decked out in slick denims on the soccer field in the official video below to support women’s soccer in Sweden.

BILLCS Top 30 #408, July 1/13

It’s fitting that the two full months of summer in the western world get started with a blast of dance, plus five new entries on the chart to keep things busy…

  • You can never be sure with my chart, but last week’s #4 debut has yielded the first number one on my personal chart these last 15 years for Pet Shop Boys with the stunning “Vocal” (ab0ve) from their upcoming album Electric, due in two weeks. ¬†Of course PSB would have likely had a gaggle of #1’s on my chart had it existed in their classic heyday. ¬†As I’ve mentioned, “Vocal” is their best song in 20 years and paves the way for a PSB (and disco) renaissance!
  • “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk featuring Nile Rodgers and Pharrell Williams remains at #2, still one of my favourites of the year, as the year end list will likely reflect ūüôā
  • Travis Garland’s “Blue Electric Roses” slides almost prematurely to #3 after a month at the top, but watch for at least another song from the Fashionably Late Part II EP to land on the chart sometime soon.
  • Eli Escobar and Jessica 6 singer Nomi Ruiz continue to climb to #4 with the club raveup “Somebody To Love Me”.
  • “Begging” by Sweden’s Anton Ewald (below) has its eyes on the top of the chart as it vaults 15-5, in a tie for the fastest riser on the chart.

  • “This Is What It Feels Like” by Armin Van Buuren featuring ex-soulDecision singer Trevor Guthrie gets caught between a lot of movement and holds at #6, so we’ll have to see if it rides into the Top 5 in two weeks.
  • The recent cover of freestyle classic “Silent Morning” (intriguing new official video below) continues to turn heads as Parralox featuring Ryan Adam√©s climb to #8. ¬†And if you like Ryan’s vocal on this song, watch for more from him to catch your immediate attention very soon – I’m sure I will have something to say about it when it’s time! ūüėÄ
  • If competition on the chart wasn’t so fierce, two gems, ¬†“9 2 5” by Jarell Perry and “Too Young” (Penguin Prison remix) by Ghost Beach would be higher, but they are only now reaching the Top 10 and hope to stay there in two weeks.

You can view the full Top 30 using the link under¬†***BILL‚ÄôS 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‚Äôs always a tiny place at the bottom of the blog post with tags and the statement ‚ÄúLeave A Comment‚ÄĚ ‚Äď please feel free to do so¬†:)

Some big moves lead the next 20 songs:

  • Montreal’s Victor Bongiovanni and pal Kwik Fiks know how to make chilled out deep house music proud, taking rapper Dwele’s “I Think I Love You” and fashioning it accordingly. ¬†The song (above) soars 20-12.
  • The song that’s in a tie for the fastest riser on the chart is “Hearts”, that rhythmic dance feast from Dan Black and Kelis. ¬†Definitely headed for the Top 5, it climbs 23-13.
  • “Dirty Floors” is one of the most earthy and true-to-life songs amid those in Born Out Of Mischief, the full length album by NYC’s Andy Suzuki & The Method. ¬†It jumps 26-17.

  • Our five debuts are led, a little belatedly, by the #1 song in the world, “Blurred Lines” (above) by Robin Thicke featuring T.I. and Pharrell Williams. ¬†Robin Thicke, son of my fellow Canadian, actor Alan Thicke, is no stranger to my chart. ¬†“Blurred Lines” in fact is his 9th chart entry since 2002, but first since 2009. ¬†His biggest feats have been “Wanna Love U Girl” (also featuring Pharrell, #4) and “Lost Without U” (#5), both from 2005/06. ¬†T.I. has had three appearances himself, with Justin Timberlake (“My Love”, “Dead and Gone”) and Rihanna (“Live My Life”) respectively. ¬†And Pharrell has seen #1 with his project N.E.R.D. back in 2003 with “Rock Star”, and has been featured on other songs by Mika (“Celebrate”) and Snoop Dogg (“Beautiful”). ¬†It will be no surprise if “Blurred Lines” doesn’t make even a bigger presence on the chart in two weeks ūüôā
  • Next up is an album track from Between, the third release from FrankMusik. ¬†“Life (Is My Revenge)” is possibly the fiercest song on the album several listens later, it is an anthem about moving forward with life, definitely the best kind of way to say ‘I told you so’! ¬†It bows at #24.

I’ve¬†written about the next three independent releases already, and am so glad that they are making quick headway on to the chart ūüôā :

  • “Remix My Love” by Killian Wells and Kristinia DeBarge (above) is possibly the sunniest sounding song of summer to arrive recently, with a gloriously colourful and fun video. ¬†It debuts at #26.
  • Completely the opposite, “Colder” (below) by Amelia’s Fault featuring a supurb vocal by singer Color Theory is definitely chilly electro to keep you calm and collected (and maybe a tad frosty) during the hot months to come. ¬†And if it doesn’t, well then you can just blame Amelia. ¬†“Colder” arrives at #27.
  • Lastly, from the dynamic album Nova comes the thoughtful and energetic “Shooting Star” which takes cabaret pop into electropop courtesy of the very talented Kim David Smith at #28.

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 ūüôā

You can view the full Top 30 using the link under¬†***BILL‚ÄôS 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‚Äôs always a tiny place at the bottom of the blog post with tags and the statement ‚ÄúLeave A Comment‚ÄĚ ‚Äď 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 ūüôā

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 ūüôā
  • 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‚ÄôS 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‚Äôs always a tiny place at the bottom of the blog post with tags and the statement ‚ÄúLeave A Comment‚ÄĚ ‚Äď 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 Adam√©s, 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 ūüôā

Spring Popervescence #1 – Armin van Buuren & Trevor Guthrie, Bongiovanni, Jonas Brothers, The Wanted, and previews from Adam Tyler and Jeronimo

When several songs all go ‘pop’ at once in my books, then it’s time for our seasonal Popervescence collection!

ARMIN VAN BUUREN featuring TREVOR GUTHRIE “This Is What It Feels Like”

Dutch producer/DJ extraordinaire Armin van Buuren has been no stranger to my chart and playlists over the last decade. ¬†He has a knack for crafting wicked melodies and pairing them with great singers and lyricists who tap into the offen emotional content of the songs. ¬†He’s had two #1’s on my chart – “Yet Another Day” (featuring Ray Wilson) in 2003 and “Going Wrong” (featuring Chris Jones) in 2008. ¬†He’s eyeing that upper chart territory again with “This Is What It Feels Like”, and brings back M.I.A. soulDecision vocalist Trevor Guthrie in the process. ¬†Trevor last posted some songs online in 2009, and one of my first blog posts was about that. ¬†It’s one of my most-hit posts to date, and so I’m hoping that his appearance in this song will not only quench his fans’ appetites but also kickstart a solo career for the talented Canadian. ¬†soulDecision created one of my favourite songs of the last decade with their international hit 2000’s “Faded”. ¬†Armin takes Trevor’s voice to a place where we least expect it, and it’s a beautiful job by all.

BONGIOVANNI “I Think I Love You”

Hot on the wings of the gliding chilled out deep house song “Lifted”, currently gracing #1 on my chart, comes another rework, remixed by Canadians Kwik Fiks & Bongiovanni, this time it’s Detroit rapper Dwele’s “I Think I Love You”. ¬† You know Dwele best from his ear-popping appearance in Kanye West’s “Power”. ¬† This is a slick transformation, perhaps not near as well known as “Lifted”‘s variation on Baby Bash’s “Suga Suga”, but compelling nonetheless, with Victor Bongiovanni’s distinct mellow voice making the song his own. ¬†These guys are on a roll… keep going! ¬†It’s also a free download.

JONAS BROTHERS “Pom Poms”

A couple of weeks after it suddenly appeared as an independent release, I get to chime in my thoughts on the JoBros “Pom Poms”. ¬†It has the same vibe as a male version of Toni Basil’s “Mickey” of course in principle. ¬†It’s one of the best songs that the trio has released and elevates them from the teen boy band du jour scene. ¬†I’ve always liked the Jonas Brothers, and have thought they got a bad rap with excessive hype overshadowing their talents. ¬†That became all too apparent with Joe’s solo pop/electronic album Fastlife, which is nothing like “Pom Poms”. ¬† Here’s hoping the summer months keep room for this catchy tune.

THE WANTED “All Time Low (The Live Experience)”

It’s not new to the rest of the world (reaching #1 in the UK in 2010 as their first single), but may seem new to North American audiences as a stop-gap between the The Wanted’s last release and their upcoming TV show, for which they say there will be a new song which will be an official single. ¬†So for now “All Time Low” makes an entertaining behind-the-scenes and performance video. ¬†I wish more support would have been thrown behind “I Found You” and its Sam Sparro-esque harmonies, which kind of fell through the cracks. ¬†The Wanted has a very dedicated audience, as well as some strong voices, so with a TV show and new tunes ahead, they should hardly be dismissed.

PREVIEWS!!  From two young singers who both have tremendous outreach to their fans.

ADAM TYLER “Fade Into The Light”

L.A. based Adam Tyler looks to have a winner up his sleeve with his brand new song “Fade Into The Light”, which follows up his 2011 album Shattered Ice as well as many live concert appearances over the last few years, including a couple of high school tours in California. ¬†Adam’s a fixture on my chart with Top 10’s like “Friction”, “I Won’t Let You Go”, “Music Freak”, and “Like A Drug”. ¬†The slick new image also looks promising. ¬†Can’t wait for the full album. ¬†“Fade Into The Light” drops on iTunes on April 22.

JERONIMO “Flying Solo”

Dutch singer Jeronimo follows up his One Kiss album from last year (and its joyous title song, reaching #1 on my chart) with “Flying Solo”, which instantly made me think of Jason Derulo’s “Ridin’ Solo” but will obviously have Jeronimo’s unique vocals all over the full song to prevent that from happening. ¬†Being the station ID voice of The Cartoon Network in the AustralAsia part of the world, it’s so appropriate for his blog to feature an impressive anime-looking version of himself ūüôā If “Flying Solo” and other new songs are as great as those on One Kiss, I’m hoping to see Jeronimo have success worldwide.

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400th Edition – BILLCS Top 30 – March 11/13

15 years and 2 months later, and my bi-weekly online chart is at edition 400 ūüôā Because I’m not home though, it’s a no frills edition.

You can view the full Top 30 using the link under¬†***BILL‚ÄôS 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‚Äôs always a tiny place at the bottom of the blog post with tags and the statement ‚ÄúLeave A Comment‚ÄĚ ‚Äď please feel free to do so¬†:)

I will have to double check when I get home, but I believe the last time two songs by Canadians held the top two spots on my chart was last Spring, when I believe River Tiber’s “Someday” and “Symmetry” were the Top 2 at one point. ¬†Before that, I’m not sure when it happened last, or when the performers were different. ¬†In this case “The City” by River Tiber is on top for a second appearance, and it’s joined at the summit by Kwik Fiks & Bongiovanni, whose deep house rendition of ¬†“Suga Suga” by Baby Bash moves to #2, and looks to succeed River Tiber in two weeks. ¬†Listen to both below. ¬†Zedd & Foxes hold at #3 with the propulsive “Clarity”, while another song brimming with energy, “A World Apart” by Davis Redfield, advances to #4.

It’s all about the action in the lower half of the Top 10. ¬†The Wallflowers, featuring Mick Jones in what is clearly a song inspired by The Clash’s “This Is Radio Clash”, move up to #6 with the funky “Reboot The Mission” (watch the video below). ¬†The rest of the songs within the Top 10 are new to the top end of the chart. ¬†Lawson’s memorable “Learn To Love Again” climbs to #7, while Gentlemen Hall move up quickly to #8 with “Sail Into The Sun”. ¬†Talented UK teen Conor Maynard’s “Turn Around” (featuring Ne-Yo) glides to #9, while “Keep Me Crazy” by Chris Wallace (live performance from the Jimmy Kimmel show) inches up to #10 to make it 3 Top Tenners for 3 for Chris, following #1 “Remember When (Push Rewind)” and #3 “Time Bomb (Walk Away)”. ¬†Chris is getting around the USA to promote the long-lasting “Remember When” and his album.

The fastest riser on the chart is “Map” by FrankMusik (19-11, video below), which will be included on his upcoming album Between. ¬†Also included will be song #18, the frenetic “Captain”, as well as song #29 “Fast As I Can”. ¬†Between will not hold back any punches ūüôā

Justin Timberlake, who is everywhere, seems to be leading a classy softer style that is appealing to the younger crowd as they see him perform on shows like Saturday Night Live. ¬†“Suit & Tie” climbs to #13; I’m anxious to hear what else is in store on The 20/20 Experience.

Songs 16 through 22 are looking to bounce higher on the chart in two weeks. ¬†“Reverie” by River Tiber is looking to take advantage of songs moving down. ¬† Then we have the stunning and futuristic “A.O.” by Australian duo The Presets, AVAN LAVA’s finger-snapper “It’s Never Over”, the breezy-sounding “Carried Away” by Passion Pit (video below), classic Top 40 pop in the form of “Lay Your Love On Me” by UK singer James William (listen below), and in advance of their album Delta Machine, “Heaven” by Depeche Mode.

There’s a line up of songs waiting to land on the chart, and sometimes it makes me want to change it to a Top 40, but then I get talked out of that. ¬†So for now, two songs I wrote about recently make their debuts. ¬†Willy Moon is playing in Austin this week, and I hope to catch his show tomorrow night if I can get in. ¬†His stylish video for “My Girl” below helps the song debut at #25. ¬†Ever wonder what rock stars do in bed? ¬†The fun video for “It’s Alright” by Matt & Kim might answer a few questions below. ¬†It debuts at #26.

BILLCS Top 30 #398 – February 11, 2013

The news on my latest chart is about all of the new songs that look like they will take over within the next few weeks, along with a few asides into songs not on the chart by FrankMusik and (a cover by) Neverest. ¬†Exciting! ¬†You can view the full Top 30 using the link under¬†***BILL‚ÄôS 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‚Äôs always a tiny place at the bottom of the blog post with tags and the statement ‚ÄúLeave A Comment‚ÄĚ ‚Äď please feel free to do so¬†:)

If you watched the Grammy Awards last night, you will have seen a slim young gent sitting next to Carly Rae Jepsen, who alas didn’t win any of the categories in which she was nominated. ¬†That is indeed Matthew Koma, who still resides at the top of my chart with the crunchy rocker “1998”. ¬†The challenge in two weeks is to hold on to it against one of the most beautiful songs on release right now. ¬†That’s “The City” by Toronto’s River Tiber (below), edging up to #2 (they also have songs at #7 and #20!). ¬†“Time Bomb (Walk Away)” by Chris Wallace is up to #3 and you can see Chris again on TV in North America on the Kelly & Michael morning show on ABC in 9 days on Wednesday February 20. ¬†Rounding out the Top 5 is another top of the chart contender, “Clarity” by Zedd featuring Foxes.

Passion Pit comes to my city next weekend in a sold out show, and “Take A Walk” climbs to #6, while newest single from their Gossamer album, “Carried Away”, bows at #30. ¬†New to the Top 10 are the dance raveup “A World Apart” by Davis Redfield at #9, and “If I Lose Myself” by One Republic at #10 – still waiting for a video for the song as well as the Native album to arrive.

Holding at #8 and not on his upcoming EP Far From Over (due on February 14), but still available as a single on iTunes is “Fast As I Can” by FrankMusik. ¬†Far From Over looks to be one of the most riveting releases of 2013. ¬†FrankMusik has returned to the inventive electronica that won over so many fans with Complete Me in 2009, after heading in a more pop-oriented direction in 2011 with Do It In The AM. ¬†It appears to be about being lost in personal and professional turmoil, only to be rejuvenated and found again by returning to his humble beginnings, recording the EP entirely back in Croydon, England after being in L.A. for three years. ¬†The first single, “Map”, is as visceral as it is evocative of his earlier style – old becomes new again! ¬†I’ll be writing more about the EP after its release on Thursday. ¬†To whet your appetite, below is the artwork for Far From Over.

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While the middle part of the chart sees songs on the rise from Ne-Yo, Conor Maynard featuring Ne-Yo, Chris Wallace (“Keep Me Crazy”), The Wallflowers featuring Mick Jones, Mika featuring Ariana Grande, ¬†Eric Saade, and Justin Timberlake & Jay-Z’s “Suit & Tie”), the fastest riser on the chart belongs to “Learn To Love Again” by UK foursome Lawson, who have found themselves in the UK Top 20 this week. ¬†I had the pleasure of seeing the lads in concert on February 2, and they performed a crisp, solid and generous 75 minute set which won over anyone who didn’t know what to expect – considering their album Chapman Square is still not on release over here (memo to Universal Canada: Make it happen!). ¬†First, here’s a snap of the band by yours truly.

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A bonus to seeing Lawson for the first time in our country was to find out a week before the show that Toronto quartet Neverest would be opening. ¬†While they didn’t play for long (20-25 minutes), they sounded in fine voice and very tight musically after working on their new record. ¬†We got to hear their hits “About Us” and “Everything”, and even though I got burned on this song with all of its radio play, Neverest made Taio Cruz’s “Dynamite” sound fresh and engaging again. ¬†Video below – looking forward to Neverest’s next release… and more shows!

So, it was time for a little house cleaning on the chart, and the five remaining debuts should definitely go places, not only on my chart, but in the music world. ¬†I simply can’t get enough of “Lifted” by Kwik Fiks & Bongiovanni, which I wrote about last week, so it arrives as the highest debut at #24. ¬†This is a chilled out, deep house version of “Suga Suga” by Baby Bash & Frankie J, which got to #11 on my chart back in 2003. ¬†It’s available as a free download right here. ¬†“Sail Into The Sun” by Gentlemen Hall has such a shiny, clear sound, you can hear it beckoning Spring to arrive. ¬†It premieres at #25 and you can get it as a free download or buy it on iTunes. ¬†It follows The Hall’s 2012 appearance on the chart with “All Our Love”, which peaked at #7. ¬†While “Youth In Trouble” disappears from the chart after peaking at #20, a much stronger song from The Presets’ Pacifica album is the positively epic “A.O.”, which bows at #26. ¬†This one sounds like Blade Runner met Star Wars in a discotheque, with triumphant vocals and a steady build up reminiscent of the duo’s earlier songs like “My People”. ¬†Watch the live clip below.

Rounding out the debuts, at #28 is “Heaven” by Depeche Mode, which I wrote about recently, becoming the venerable band’s third song to appear on the chart since its inception (the first being the #1 “Dream On” in 2001) and their most recent being 2005’s “Precious” (#3). ¬†AVAN LAVA is a Brooklyn, NY pop/dance band that arrived on the scene in 2008 and has steadily built a following. ¬†I don’t think I’m too late to the game by debuting “It’s Never Over” on the chart at #29 about a year after the release of their EP Flex Fantasy. ¬†The trio hovers between beautiful lush pop and gritty nu-disco funk – I’d describe “It’s Never Over” as somewhere between Prince and his proteges and early 90’s pop such as Tara Kemp’s “Hold You Tight”. ¬†Watch the video below and download the song for free right here. ¬†AVAN LAVA headlines a show on March 2 in Brooklyn at the Music Hall of Williamsburg along with Nomi Ruiz of Jessica 6. ¬†Get to that show if you can (simply because I can’t!!).

Winter Popervescence #2 featuring Kwik Fiks & Bongiovanni, Nick, Travis Garland, Collin McLoughlin, Cheesa & Charice, and Ashton Zanecki

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Kwik Fiks & Bongiovanni, “Lifted”

It’s a gem just waiting to happen. ¬†“Lifted” is a totally cool rework of the 2003 Top 10 hit by Baby Bash & Frankie J, “Suga Suga”. ¬†Kwik Fiks is producer/remixer Danny Voicu (you may have downloaded his highly futuristic-sounding remix EP of songs from River Tiber’s From Now On EP) along with Montreal based Victor Bongiovanni. ¬†“Lifted” is chilled out deep house that is meticulously produced and will keep even the most casual dance music listener on board. ¬†The future is now, folks. ¬†When I tweeted about the song last night, I included Baby Bash in a mention. ¬†And the highest endorsement can only come from the man himself who said “That was pretty dope!” ¬†“Listen below and download it for free!

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Nick, “Love and War”

While we await what is anticipated to be a spectacular debut album, Nick Hagelin has dazzled us again with a sparkling cover of Tamar Braxton’s “Love and War”. ¬†‘Blue-eyed soul’ and falsettos are two of my weaknesses so I’m akin to coming back for more and more. ¬†And the world is waiting for more Nick. ¬†Listen below.

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Travis Garland, “Didn’t Stand A Chance”

After encountering and writing about his dynamic mashup of “Adorn” and “Diamonds” recently, I took to downloading Travis Garland’s free EP Fashionably Late from his website. ¬†Resembling Enrique Iglesias at times, Travis has made quite the progression from a few years back when I saw him performing “Believe” on TV. ¬†Like Nick Hagelin, it turns out that Travis has a lovely falsetto and the EP is full of R&B and hip hop inspired tunes, the best of which is this shiny ballad, made even better by his acoustic performance below. ¬†

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Collin McLoughlin, “If I Lose Myself”

It’s always a daunting task to record a cover of a current favourite of mine, but former “The Voice” contestant Collin McLoughlin has a knack for making songs his own. ¬†I think TV show song choices prevented him from advancing further in “The Voice” competition, but Collin definitely has a bright future ahead if his self-produced cover of One Republic’s “If I Lose Myself” is any indication. ¬†Without the fancy high gloss of the original but with added soulful grittiness in Collin’s vocal, this is a mighty noteable alternate version. ¬†Not stuck on the video for it but regardless give a good solid listen.

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Cheesa featuring Charice, “I’m Not Perfect”

In a most ear-catching pairing we find another “The Voice” contestant, Cheesa (pronounced “Chessa”), matched up with singer/actress Charice (from TV’s “Glee” as Sunshine a few years back). ¬†The vocals are highly complimentary but it’s definitely Cheesa’s showcase as “I’m Not Perfect” shows off both her power and restraint. ¬†And there’s a sublime, punchy, dubsteppy Max Stark remix that’s just been released to add to the fun. ¬†Listen below to both the full song and a teaser of the remix.

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Ashton Zanecki, “Want U Back”

Sometimes you have to look past the song choice and go right for the gusto. ¬†I’ve never cared for Cher Lloyd’s “Want U Back”, but Pennsylvania singer Ashton Zanecki from Wilkes-Barre obviously does, and he has managed to make the song his own. ¬†My friends at EQ Music Blog first took notice, and I’m quickly and happily following along. ¬† Ashton proves that his imperfectly perfect voice – and I love voices that have that raw appeal *UHHH* – can deliver the goods. ¬†It’s a fantastically good natured, fun video too, and you will be smiling afterwords. ¬†Watch for yourself and be convinced (he begins singing after a minute of introductions). ¬†You Tube viral cover talent scouts, Ashton Zanecki is someone you shouldn’t miss out on.