BILLCS Top 30 #464 – August 24/15

This week’s new chart sees one of my most favourite songs of 2015 yielding to another.  Either way, both songs have a lock on the Top 2.  And strangely enough many songs stay still – probably because I can’t get enough of them, as well as the songs above them on the chart, which also explains why there is so much activity in the Top 10.  There are no bad songs ever on this chart.  Even if a song lands on the chart for one appearance at #30, I still enjoy will enjoy it evermore 🙂  So on to the new chart…

The Top 10

  • Years & Years score their second #1 with the brilliant “Shine” from the album that is currently stuck in my head, Communion.  Their September 14 Toronto show cannot come soon enough, I’m itching to hear all of what they have to offer in concert.  Watch the excellent video above.
  • Brandyn Burnette’s EP Made of Dreams is coming soon, but “I Wanna Be (Free)” is one of my most played songs right now, and has left #1 after 4 appearances (8 weeks).  It is really in an ongoing battle with “Shine” for the top.

  • “Guilty As Sin” by Dan Talevski has a lot of immediate competition to face below, but still hangs on to #3 for another chart.  I write about Dan’s new song “My Religion” the other day and the intriguing and sexy video has also landed at the top of the Music page at http://www.much.com.

  • In just about any other year, the very hot “Kiss Me Quick” by Nathan Sykes would be at the top of my chart, but currently advances 6-4.

  • Also new to the Top 5, but no surprise, is “Show Me The Way” by Penguin Prison from the sophomore album Lost In New York.  The last time PP was in the Top 5 was three years ago as featured in RAC’s “Hollywood”.
  • Francesco Yates’ debut EP, featuring production and co-writes with Pharrell Williams, is due September 11, also featuring new Canadian single “Call” and another new song “Honey I’m Home” (also below – you can get it instantly when ordering the EP on iTunes).  In the meantime, the well-served “Better To Be Loved” climbs 9-6, and Francesco also features in another song on the chart.

  • “Take Out Of Me” is a soulful slice of energetic R&B Britpop by Martin Luke Brown, and it moves up 11-8.

  • The fastest riser on the chart is the propulsive club-banging Tiesto remix of “Let You Go” by NYC’s The Chainsmokers, featuring fellow NYCers Great Good Fine OK, vaulting 22-9.  The Chainsmokers have launched a new tour which will hit Toronto on November 7, featuring many special guests.  Great Good Fine OK also debuts on this chart with one of their own songs!

  • The last new Top 10 entry belongs to L.A.-based producer Mi Disguise with his unique east side/west side story for dance clubs, “East Side Bay”, up 12-10.

Movin’ On Up

  • Slinking up the chart is “Uma Thurman” by Fall Out Boy (14-11), which is definitely a grower that will stick with you, and that riff from “The Munsters” TV show is a hoot.

  • Despite a lot of the songs in holding below, “Walking Through The Fire” by Cobi Mike climbs a notch up to #12, while his fellow former members of Gentlemen Hall also debut with their new band name.

  • It’s only a very temporary thing when you see the songs by Eric Saade, Janet, Trevor Guthrie, Molly Moore, and J-Mi & Midi-D all holding steady, but it’s also a very good thing!  We’ll see who continues to advance in two weeks.
  • Meanwhile, NERVO’s “The Other Boys” gets stuck as well, moving up 23-20, so look for their guest-filled collaboration – with Kylie Minogue, Scissor Sisters’ Jake Shears, and Nile Rodgers – to get un-stuck in two weeks.

  • Both Robin Schulz & Francesco Yates’ “Sugar” and Disclosure & Sam Smith’s “Omen” advance four positions to #23 and #24 – seems like a small start, but watch the chart in two weeks to see what might happen!

Debuts

Watch for great things from these debuts in the coming weeks!

  • I’m not quite sure why Island Records hasn’t dove into this song as a single release, so perhaps it’s a matter of time.  But “Pain Told Love” is the emotional centrepiece and standout on Tribe Society’s debut EP Lucid Dreams, and has Kiesza no less on featured vocal.  The rest of the former Gentlemen Hall have a winner here and it bows at #25.  As the song’s lyrics sink in, expect to find yourself reaching for a tissue every now and then!

  • Arriving at #26 is “Something To Believe In” by Great Good Fine OK from their EP 2M2H (‘too much to handle’ – also a song on the EP).  The song also features the Brooklyn-based (but South Africa born) electronica performer St. Lucia (who is also due for a new record of his own!).  It’s a fine blend of voices and style, the key song on the EP.

  • The last debut marks the third appearance on the chart for the actress, and also singer, Jane Badler.  The original version is from last year’s album Opus (also featuring “Losing You”), but producer/DJ Eel Eye has sparkled up “Dead Eyes” with some early 90’s dance club flavour, which enhances the sinewy, mysterious lyric of the song.  “Dead Eyes” premieres at #28.

The Full Chart

Listen to the songs or watch the videos using the links on the pictures on the pretty and detailed web edition of my chart. Go on, have a look and listen/watch 🙂

You can hear me online on http://www.planetradio.ca every Monday at 10:00 pm EST counting down a Toronto Top 10 chart from yesteryear!

#BILLCSTop30 #463 – August 10/15

The amount of posts I write seems to have slowed down, but I do make them count 🙂 And my chart brings some of them full circle and also introduces you to some songs I adore that I haven’t written about (usually major name performers).  So the new chart has five debuts – don’t let the lower chart position belie how well these five will do in the coming weeks 🙂  As usual, current faves have to give up the ghost first!

The Top 10

  • What more can I possibly say about Brandyn Burnette’s “I Wanna Be (Free)”?  How about a fourth appearance (eighth week) at #1!  Just in time for the remix by The Bravos which I wrote about recently.  It’s going to be very hard to beat the Top 2 songs in this chart at year end!

  • And then there’s “Shine” by UK trio Years & Years.  I can’t understand why radio will not play this one in North America.  There’s a really powerful emotional undercurrent to “Shine”, which didn’t sink in until well after I stopped hearing it with one ear on a similar-sounding melody to Erik Hassle’s “No Words”.  It holds at #2 again, but “Shine” is looking to take over from “I Wanna Be (Free)” whenever that song surrenders #1.

  • It does have an ‘earworm’ of a chorus as my friend David kindly put it.  Toronto’s Dan Talevski has released a follow up called “My Religion” which I have not heard yet (but will in the next while undoubtedly), probably because I’m too wrapped up in “Guilty As Sin”, which rises to #3 for the talented singer.

  • I get the feeling of triumph every time I hear “Beauty Never Lies” by Serbia’s Bojana Stamenov.  The Eurovision finalist climbs up to #5 to anchor the Top 10 midway point 🙂

  • There is no doubt that “Kiss Me Quick” by Nathan Sykes (which climbs to #1 on Billboard’s Dance Club Play chart this week) has its druthers aimed for the top spot on this chart, and for now it bounds 12-6 while the UK singer continues to promote the song throughout the US.

  • Toronto quartet Smashing Satellites follow up their #3 chart hit “Waterfall” with the very different and ebullient “What It’s All About”, which has taken its time but lands at #8.

  • Rounding out the trio of Torontonians in the Top 10 is star-on-the-rise singer/songwriter/guitarist Francesco Yates with “Better To Be Loved” at #9.  Francesco sings on one of the debuts too!
  • The fastest riser on the chart belongs to Penguin Prison with the effortless-sounding and breezy “Show Me The Way”, soaring 22-10, and the Top 10 is no stranger to PP who have cracked #1 twice before.  In the US, you can catch “Show Me The Way” in the latest Hulu ad 🙂  Not yet a single, but soon-to-be… I hope… pretty please…

Movin’ On Up

  • I can’t get enough of UK singer Martin Luke Brown’s vocal on “Take Out Of Me”.  This searing piece of soulful pop rises 19-11.

  • Another unique vocal appears in “East Side Bay” by L.A.-based producer/DJ – and yes vocalist – Mi Disguise.  This is one sneaky club track that deserves exposure, and climbs 15-12.

  • Amid fierce competition, Cobi Mike’s thoughtful and affecting “Walking Through The Fire” continues to move up 14-13 – check out the intriguing video (you’ll get past the point that the singer is naked throughout, really, you will).

  • When in doubt gain brownie points by using your country in your latest song title 😉  Seriously, “Girl From Sweden” by Eric Saade is a catchy singalong, and I’m sure you’ll find the singer dancing in the Swedish countryside one day with pretty girls in hand 😉  The song rises 18-15.

  • Performers who collaborate with their significant others often make fine music together.  Such is the case with Molly Moore, whose “Natural Disaster” climbs 25-19 (Brandyn Burnette is a co-writer).  I wrote about another top notch song by Molly not long ago called “Don’t Believe It”, which saw official release on iTunes last week. Much more new music to come!

  • Canadians J-Mi and Midi-D are off to a great start with their recent single “So Much For That”.  Not only is it loads of fun, with its 90’s Europop backdrop, but these underdogs, remixers and ravers alike, have created a song that absolutely anyone can identify with.  The video is a hoot and the nerd in us all will appreciate it.  “So Much For That” climbs 26-21.

Those 5 Debuts

  • I must admit to have been totally blown away by the collaboration of New York producer/DJ’s The Chainsmokers with fellow New Yorkers Great Good Fine OK on “Let You Go”.  But the song IMO has been immensely improved with a throttling Tiesto remix which is available for free download on Soundcloud!! “Let You Go” is the highest debut, arriving at #22.

  • It was a fine few weeks for dance music and NERVO land their first chart entry with “The Other Boys” at #23 from their new album Collateral.  The powerful mix plus Kylie Minogue and Jake Shears on vocals, carried by propulsive guitar work by Nile Rodgers should send this to the top of the national dance charts in short order.  I wish that pop radio would be open to playing it but alas I expect not.

  • The Weeknd doesn’t need my blog’s help with all of his success, to be seen in December come Grammy Awards nomination time.  His latest single, “I Can’t Feel My Face”, from the upcoming Beauty Behind The Madness (which I predict will be the #1 album of 2015), arrives at #25.  Despite all of his obvious influences, The Weeknd makes every song his own and that’s part of his appeal!  That he comes from my part of Toronto speaks volumes too 😀

  • Meanwhile, back to Francesco Yates… who sings lead on the latest single from Grammy nominee Robin Schulz on “Sugar”, the title song from Robin’s upcoming album.  The inclusion of lyrics from Baby Bash & Frankie J’s “Suga Suga” is a bonus, but kind of interesting in a roundabout way when you think that Francesco himself (who is 19) was a mere lad when the original came out in 2003.  “Sugar” premieres at #27 and the video is quite slaptsticky-funny if you suspend your disbelief.

  • The final debut belongs to Disclosure featuring Sam Smith once again on “Omen”.  This trio must get into a room and just know when they’ve written a hit.  Although “Latch” did take a while to catch on in North America (eventually climbing to #1 on this chart), “Omen” arrives signed and sealed for success.  It debuts at #28 and comes from Disclosure’s forthcoming album Caracal.

The Full Chart

Listen to the songs or watch the videos using the links on the pictures on the pretty and detailed web edition of my chartGo on, have a look and listen/watch 🙂

You can hear me online on http://www.planetradio.ca every Monday at 10:00 pm EST counting down a Toronto Top 10 chart from yesteryear!

#BILLCSTop30 #462 – July 27, 2015

There’s lots of movement within the Top 10, and four new entries, three by chart newcomers!

The Top 10

  • Brandyn Burnette once again reigns at #1 with the joyous and heartfelt “I Wanna Be (Free)”.  It’s my go-to song on my iPod right now!  Good news for Brandyn fans – the powerful “Stand Down (2150 AD)” will be his follow up single, due for release on August 4, from the upcoming EP Made Of Dreams.

  • If not for “I Wanna Be (Free)”, “Shine” by Years & Years would be at #1, but must settle for #2, perhaps only for now, we’ll see.  The trio’s entire Communion album is fantastic, also watch “Foundation” below.

  • Antonio Giacca’s unusually addictive “Sensation” is one dance song you shouldn’t miss.  It climbs up 5-3.

  • Like with Years & Years, Adam Lambert’s The Original High is one of my favourite albums of 2015.  I have many choices as to what will follow “Ghost Town” on to the chart in the coming weeks, but for now the song moves up 6-4.  Who wants a solo tour from Adam?? 🙂

  • Another song on a high is Dan Talevski’s “Guilty As Sin”, which soars 8-5.  The Toronto singer recorded the video for his next single “My Religion” in Spain these past few weeks.  Can’t wait to see what’s in store for us.  “My Religion” arrives July 31.

  • “Beauty Never Lies” continues to make its presence known on my chart!  As sung by Serbia’s Bojana Stamenov, the song advances 10-7.

  • UK quartet Lawson obtains yet another Top 10 entry with their latest single “Roads” at #10.  The band has just begun its U.S. tour opening for Australia’s Sheppard.

Movin’ On Up

  • Nathan Sykes managed to take over Times Square in New York City this week for a video shoot.  I’m glad to see his spry song “Kiss Me Quick” is getting so much attention.  It’s the fastest riser on my chart this week, vaulting 20-12!!

  • In case you missed it, Canadian singer Francesco Yates is the featured vocalist on Robin Schulz’s excellent new single “Sugar” (below).  In the meantime, Francesco’s “Better To Be Loved” (above) climbs 16-13.  Yesterday in concert in Toronto, he dropped some songs (including a few written with Pharrell) that are going to pop big time!

  • “Walking Through The Fire” by Cobi Mike rises 17-14.  It’s accompanied by a compelling and thought-provoking video too.

  • L.A. based producer Mi Disguise is recording more music for his album which will be on its way this Fall.  Do check out his unique EDM single “East Side Bay” which climbs 19-15.

  • You want to dance like “Uma Thurman” too, don’t you? 😛  The fun single by Fall Out Boy continues to advance, with that surfin’ groove from the 60’s TV show “The Munsters” used to great effect.  It moves up 21-16.

  • Janet Jackson fans are soaking in her first single in 7 years in advance of her tour and the Unbreakable album.  The sexy quiet storm ballad “No Sleeep” rises 25-20.

  • The good-natured and energetic “Summertime” by Vancouver’s Trevor Guthrie is well on its way, climbing 27-21.

The New Stuff

  • It was released last March but one of the reasons my chart is here is to bring you new found talent that I enjoy.  And such is “Take Out Of Me” by UK singer Martin Luke Brown, which is certain to grab your ears from above just like it did me.  It bows on the chart at an impressive #19.  Also take a look at the video below for the emotional follow-up single “Scars On Scars”.  Think Mikky Ekko meets Sam Smith!

  • Penguin Prison’s concert in Toronto a few weeks back reinforced that “Show Me The Way” is my favourite new song from his new album Lost in New York, bowing at #22 on my chart.  The crowd reacted to it most favourably on the dance floor – as much as Penguin’s encore cover of Lionel Richie’s “All Night Long”.  It’s Penguin Prison’s 10th chart entry summarized as follows: 🙂
    • Something I’m Not, #2, 2010
    • The Worse It Gets, #1, 2010
    • Golden Train, #1, 2010
    • Multi-Millionaire, #7, 2011
    • Fair Warning, #6, 2011
    • Don’t Fuck With My Money, #3, 2011
    • Hollywood (with RAC), #5, 2012
    • Hang On To Your Love, #19, 2014
    • Calling Out, #13, 2015

  • I’ve already written about L.A.-based singer Molly Moore a number of times this year.  But I’m pleased to say that her song that I wrote about back at the top of 2015 has now received official release.  “Natural Disaster” (co-written with her guy, Brandyn Burnette) is a winner both in its original and laid back, tropical Win & Woo remix, and arrives on the chart at #25!

  • Canadian producers/remixers (as well as ravers and gamers) J-Mi and Midi-D debut at #26 with their move-on-let’s-party anthem “So Much For That”, which I wrote about on its day of release last week.  Check it out for a lot of 90’s Swedish dance-pop inspiration!

The Full Chart

Listen to the songs or watch the videos using the links on the pictures on the pretty and detailed web edition of my chartGo on, have a look and listen/watch 🙂

#BILLCSTop30 #460 – June 29, 2015

It’s been a busy few weeks in my household both at work and at home, so now it’s time to get caught up with new music on edition 460 of my personal chart 🙂

Listen to the entire chart on Spotify!!

The New #1

  • I’m a few days early in advance of the official video, but Brandyn Burnette garners his second #1 of 2015, moving from 6-1, with the thought-provoking, dreamy, and laid back “I Wanna Be (Free)”.  It is definitely one of my key songs for the Summer of ’15, and I hope it might turn into one of yours (listen up top).  It’s from Brandyn’s much-awaited forthcoming EP  Made Of Dreams.  Show your support and pick up this one on iTunes!  One of my favourite parts of the song is the piano especially during the first minute 🙂

The Top 10

  • With “I Wanna Be (Free)” taking over at #1 so quickly, that left “No Words” by Erik Hassle nowhere else to go but to #2.  I’m still hoping this song will catch on at radio for the summer months.

  • It’s taken longer than usual for a Brandon Flowers song to make its presence known on my chart but “Can’t Deny My Love” is on its way to the Top 5 following a pair in 2010 – #1 “Crossfire”and #3 “Jacksonville”.

  • Producer/DJ Antonio Giacca’s riveting and funky instrumental “Sensation” bounds into the Top 10 at #8.  Do check out the head-scratcher of a video which totally suits the song 🙂

  • It’s kind of no surprise but “Shine” by Years & Years is indeed the fastest riser on this chart, vaulting 19-9 to become the trio’s third Top Tenner.  And I’m so glad I’ve got a ticket to their September 14 show here in Toronto 🙂 I’m not so sure why North American audiences aren’t warming up to Years & Years as the rest of the world.  Olly Alexander’s vocal on “Shine” is one of the best of the year, and the video keeps you glued as to what’s happening next!

  • Rounding out the new entries to the Top 10 is Adam Lambert’s “Ghost Town” at #10.  Not all of the songs on his album The Original High are successful, but man, what a production, which zeroes in on making Adam’s voice more versatile than ever.  Gone are the days of the limiting “American Idol” image.  Watch the “Ghost Town” video below but also check out my other current favourite which is the bass-laden “The Light”.

Movin’ On Up

  • Another album I’m enjoying is Giorgio Moroder’s first album in 30 years, Déjà Vu.  The title song featuring an alternately wistful and powerful vocal by Sia rises to #12.  The album succeeds in some places that I didn’t expect – the songs featuring Kelis and Marlene, as well as his update of “Tom’s Diner” with Britney Spears – whereas the songs featuring faves-of-mine Mikky Ekko and Matthew Koma are either dull or maybe just need a few more plays.  Plus there are Giorgio’s instrumentals “74 Is The New 24” and “La Disco” which showcase his definitive sound.  But my next favourite after “Déjà Vu” and “Right Here, Right Now” (his previous #4 hit with Kylie Minogue) is “Wildstar” featuring none other than Foxes!  Listen below.

  • The chart would be many plays less fun if it wasn’t for Matt & Kim’s “Hey Now”.  The song has taken its time but moves up to #13.

  • Just as bold as her vocal, Bojana Stamenov’s Eurovision entry for Serbia, “Beauty Never Lies”, advances a whopping 20-14, with eyes firmly on the Top 10!

  • Another song not moving up as fast as it could due to competition is Lawson’s “Roads” at #15.  It recently became the band’s latest Top 15 hit in the UK, peaking at #11.

  • The triple-threat of some guys with great voices who debuted two weeks ago makes its impact as all songs advance into the Top 20.  Torontonians Dan Talevski and Francesco Yates are back to back again at #18 and #19 with “Guilty As Sin” (with its spicy video!) and “Better To Be Loved” respectively, while ex-Gentlemen Hall singer Cobi Mike climbs 26-20 with his indie release “Walking Through The Fire”.

Premieres

  • It’s taken a little while to arrive on the chart after I wrote about it in the Spring, but L.A.-based producer/DJ -and in “East Side Bay”, vocalist! – Mi Disguise gets his second chart entry at #24.  It follows his #15 collaboration with Adam Tyler from earlier in the year, “Alive”.  “East Side Bay” really gets going after a minute.  Still with it as Mi Disguise’s vocal has a unique charm about it that totally suits the song.  I’d love to see club DJ’s get behind this one like they did ZHU’s “Faded” (though that got major label support too) 🙂

  • Making their first appearance on my chart is Fall Out Boy!  The quartet borrows the surfer-guitar riff from the theme from the 60’s show “The Munsters” for “Uma Thurman”, and between the lyrics and musical antics, the fun just doesn’t stop while the song’s playing.  It’s a great summer tune, from the quartet’s latest album American Beauty/American Psycho, and arrives at #26.

  • As Eric Saade’s punchy “Sting” sails off the chart after peaking at #4, the Maroon 5-ish “Girl From Sweden” makes its debut at #29.  So now all you folks can go off to the Swedish countryside in search of Eric dancing with pretty girls in the fields…

The Full Chart

Listen to the songs or watch the videos using the links on the pictures on the pretty and detailed web edition of my chartGo on, have a look and listen/watch 🙂

It’ll get inside your head: The video for @CobiMike’s “Walking Through The Fire”

COBI MIKE, “Walking Through The Fire” (video)

It was about exactly a month ago that I brought to your attention “Walking Through The Fire” from ex-Gentlemen Hall vocalist Cobi Mike (full name – not surprisingly – Jacob Michael).  It’s resurfaced again in these pages because of its recent compelling video whose intent is to get inside your head and make you find yourself when you need yourself the most.  I’ll get this out of the way right from the beginning:  the singer is naked in a desert throughout the video.  For those of you who haven’t stopped breathing, or perhaps need to recompose yourselves before proceeding, you’ll find that the video is a very well-directed, smart story.  Here, the protagonist almost gets drowned by an ex-love, almost gets beaten-to-death by a former rival, and then has to think his way through difficult times as if he’s winning an important game.  Then what’s in the box… is to be continued (and I’m not giving away the ending by saying that).  “Walking Through The Fire” has grown on me greatly over the last month, so do yourself a favour and pick it up on iTunes.  

Published in: on May 26, 2015 at 8:04 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Ex-Gentlemen Hall vocalist @CobiMike soars solo with “Walking Through The Fire”

COBI MIKE, “Walking Through The Fire”

It’s always sad when a fine band like Boston’s Gentlemen Hall calls it quits after being on the bubble these last few years.  But onward and upward we go, as most of the remainder of the band has now formed Tribe Society, while former vocalist Cobi Mike (he of those anchoring lower notes in songs like “Take Me Under” and “Gravity Will Break Our Bones”) has gone solo with the latest of two singles being “Walking Through The Fire”.  Don’t let the deliberate pacing of this song fool you.  It keeps taking you through next levels of solo, harmonies, emotion, and power.  It’s a quieter anthem for those times when you think the rest of the world is totally out of reach and you’re hidden, in this case by a wall of fire.  The tall, dark-haired Cobi Mike has great stage presence from what I recall when seeing Gentlemen Hall a few years back, so catch him in a club show to check out his new songs.  “Walking Through The Fire” is a fine introduction to his solo career, carrying on what was honed in Gentlemen Hall and taking it all to new places.

Published in: on April 26, 2015 at 10:32 pm  Comments (1)  
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