SoCal electronic dance producer @JayB1rdmusic scores a personal best with progressive and dreamy “Escape” featuring outstanding soulful vocals by @chrxstalcreates

JAY BIRD and CHRXSTAL SARAH, “Escape”

“Escape” is a heart-wrenching, dreamy, soulful electronic ballad from SoCal producer Jay Bird, about whom I’ve written many times.  Jay has been gradually moving into a more progressive, future bass style with his songs, and “Escape”, which has been released by Adept Records, is his best to date.  And to think that “Escape” might not have seen the light of day.  When Jay took some time away from music to regroup a few years back, “Escape” was written and almost forgotten.  Rediscovering it, he added the glorious new voice of Chrxstal Sarah, and the transformation was complete.  “Escape” has precisely placed beats and drops along with an undeniable hook. Chrxstal’s vocal is a stunner, totally nailing the emotion of the song that will truly resonate with fans of this genre.  

There’s a new dynamite duo in town: @AashMehtamusic and Victor Perry @wallflowerperry pair up for the gentle electronic ballad “Weightless”

AASH MEHTA and VICTOR PERRY, “Weightless”

Well this was an unexpected delight! I’ve been writing about the music of both Chicago-based producer Aash Mehta and NYC-based singer/songwriter Victor Perry each for almost five years.  Little did I know that they were collaborating on new music, and “Weightless” is the first result.  Completely in harmony with each of their styles, “Weightless” is a gentle but progressive electronic ballad that looks on the positive side of heartbreak for fresh starts.  The singular piano riffs at the start leave you to believe you might be in store for something a little more acoustic, but the uplifting synths and beats kick in to underscore the importance of not being afraid of the unknown.  Victor’s softer tones are in beautiful understated storytelling mode, and you will be able to easily visualize hearing “Weightless” amid lights and lasers once concert-going resumes.

Published in: on January 17, 2021 at 11:06 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The one that got away? Ireland’s @DeanRobertmusic ponders the question after the relationship is “Gone”

DEAN ROBERT, “Gone”

“Gone” is the third single release from Berlin-based Irish singer/songwriter Dean Robert, former member of the Irish rock/R&B group IKONICS. It’s different and more introspective than previous Tipsy Records pop bops “Get Up” and “Morning”, with a slinky rhythm that will leave you wanting more. The lyrics unfold a story that some of us have faced – the relationship that could have been. “Gone” muses the regret behind not doing more to make it happen, but the bubbly melody gives “Gone” a real lift, and you can see Dean perform the song in the video above.  I’ll pitch this one to fans of Years & Years and Troye Sivan.

Published in: on January 17, 2021 at 11:06 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Be Somebody” is the new uplifting anthem from @DillonFrancis featuring Australian singer @EvieIrie

DILLON FRANCIS and EVIE IRIE, “Be Somebody”

If you’re looking for an uplifting anthem of encouragement, then listen no further to “Be Somebody” by L.A.-based superstar producer Dillon Francis featuring the voice of young Australian singer/songwriter Evie Irie.  Released on his own IDGAFOS label through Casablanca/Republic, and already breaking out at US dance radio, “Be Somebody” gets right down to business with a brisk rhythm that makes its short two-and-a-half minute length go even faster.  Evie Irie’s down-to-earth vocal sounds like a blend of Billie Eilish-meets-Dua Lipa, and makes you do a double-take in a ‘where have I heard her’ before kind of moment.  “Be Somebody” has a lot of innate charm and Dillon’s slick style makes it all seamless.  I prefer its “VIP” mix, but there’s a slightly pitched up one by Moodshift, as well as a busier transformation by XIE for you to check out in the EP below where you can appreciate it in all of its variations.

“Bring That Back” is the insanely catchy deep house banger from NYC producer @Gattuso_music, Israeli-Belarusian duo @asketanatchaim and Danish singer @NadiaGattas

GATTÜSO and ASKETA & NATAN CHAIM and NADIA GATTAS, “Bring That Back”

“Bring That Back” is a new banger that’s going to quickly get under your skin and stay there.  It’s from the collective global talents of NYC producer Gattüso and Israeli-Belarusian production duo Asketa & Natan Chaim, featuring a rich and memorable vocal by Danish singer Nadia Gattas.  While the song is called “Bring That Back”, you might be temped to call it “Do You Remember”, or ask what that new song that goes “na na na na / na na na na na na” might be.  Because the deep house rhythm track and song structure are so on point, “Bring That Back” escapes being a novelty song or an insipid pop song that was intended to unwillingly crawl under your skin.  It’s a solid dance track that has immense crossover potential to dance radio airplay.

#BILLCSTop30 #604, January 4, 2021

Happy 2021! Let’s hope the worst of everything is over, and that 2021 can be used as a year of healing and revitalization. For the music industry, however, I expect things will take longer before it gets back on its feet in most of the world.  Edition #604 marks the 23rd official online anniversary of this chart, though I did post it in various forms in late 1997 on message boards, etc.

2021 starts with a new number one on my chart, and a first for all three performers.  The efforts of NYC producers The Disco Fries, L.A. producers Giiants, and vocalist Allison Park have paid off as “Give It Back” reaches the top position.  Only two of the members of Giiants have been at #1 before in their previous incarnation as DATABOY.  “Give It Back” is one helluva banger of a house track to start of 2021!

Songs #2 and #3 both fared well on my Top Songs of 2020, in fact they were back-to-back at #33 and #34.  “Tinseltown In The Rain” (Big Rhythm mix) (above) by Matt Mancid and Color Theory moves 3-2, and “Fantasy” (below) by Saxity, Victor Perry and Robbie Rosen advances 4-3. Both songs will also carry over to my Top Songs of 2021 at the end of the year.

Another house banger, “Chasing Feelings” by Jerome Price and Cally Rhodes, leaps into the Top 10, moving up 14-8, with its sights set on the Top 5.

I was very pleased to see Tyler Shaw sing “Remember” on the CBC’s New Year’s Eve telecast, he’s always on his game.  “Remember” climbs 11-9 becoming his second Top 10 on my chart after 2015’s “Dizzy” (#6).

“Good At Goodbyes” from the Fun City album becomes chart regular Bright Light Bright Light’s 18th Top 10 on my chart since 2010 as it moves up 12-10.  Featured vocalist Andy Bell also previously reached the Top 10 as a solo artist outside of Erasure with “Crazy” in 2005 (#7).

It may have charted somewhat belatedly, but I’m still grooving to James Bay’s “Chew On My Heart”, and it moves up 18-12.

The fastest riser on the chart belongs to the triple whammy of Canadian dance producers – duo Loud Luxury and Frank Walker – as “Like Gold” (featuring vocals by Stephen Puth) soars 23-14.

Scotland’s Illyus & Barrientos paired with UK singer Karen Harding is a dream team for the sophisticated deep house of “Let’s Get Together” (24-17).

“Lucid” by Japanese-British pop/dance singer Rina Sawayama makes its presence known on the chart, advancing 26-19.

The carefree and breezy sound of “All About You” moves up 28-21 for the second teaming of The Knocks and Foster The People after 2018’s “Ride Or Die”.

“Synthesizer” marks the fourth chart entry for seminal UK progressive dance group Faithless from their first album since 2004 called All Blessed.  It’s their first chart entry since 2009’s “Sun To Me” and features singer Nathan Ball.  “Synthesizer”‘s retro techno flavours matched with interesting lyrics help it become the highest debut at #24.  Although this chart wasn’t around for 1997’s “Insomnia” (which would have been a #1 for me), Faithless did reach #3 in 1998 with “God Is A DJ”.

Also in a progressive-techno vein is “Bridged By A Lightwave”, the startling single by an unlikely Canadian duo – Deadmau5 and Kiesza!  It arrives at #25, and appears in an EP along with a few remixes.  It’s Deadmau5’s first appearance on this chart, and Kiesza’s second, following 2017’s delightfully wacked out #1 “Phantom Of The Dancefloor”.

Like Deadmau5, another veteran dance music act appearing for the first time on this chart is UK legend Hot Since 82.  His album Recovery has attracted performances by the likes of Boy George and Rudimental, but it’s the intrigue of “Sinnerman”, featuring singer/songwriter Ed Graves, which helps it arrive at #27.

Making his 17th appearance on this chart since 2014, including three as featured artists, is L.A.-based singer/songwriter Brandyn Burnette.  He’s back as a solo singer with “Airplane Mode”, the title track from his enjoyable new EP, which bows at #28.  Brandyn has also appeared on the chart as EMAN8 and in one-half of Cosmos & Creature.

A reminder that the music from my chart and blog are featured regularly on the online radio station The New Radio GTA. You can hear their Big 20 on Wednesday evenings with ‘The Musicman’ James Rogers and listen for songs from the chart too 🙂 Scroll down the station’s main page to listen to lots of variety from across the decades!  I’m the new music consultant for the station so you can expect even more in 2021 🙂  You can start by joining Radio GTA’s new interactive Facebook group too!!

View the full BILLCS Top 30 right here!  Click on the hyperlink on the song titles to hear the songs or watch the videos!

Listen to the BILLCS Top 30 Songs on Spotify! Click on this link to take you there, and follow me on Spotify: BILLCS Top 30 Songs

Check out and ‘like’ the BILLCS Music Projects Facebook page 🙂

Want to see what I’ve been listening to and charting for the past 23 years?  Rummage through the BILLCS Top 30 Archive (where you can click on the link within) when you have a chance!! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Savour the sweet and sensual soul vibes of “Arms Around Me” by Toronto’s @officialDixon

D!XON, “Arms Around Me”

“Arms Around Me” is a new pop-R&B hybrid that will have you swaying to its irresistible rhythm, while you enjoy its sensual, lush, all-embracing message of love.  It’s performed by non-conforming 2SLGBTQ+ multi-talent D!XON, a Torontonian of Trinidadian and Guyanese descent who is already noteable as the creator of the City of Toronto’s Drag Masterclass which featured Priyanka, the winner of Drag Race Canada. D!XON has amazing presence as a performer, as you will see in the video above for “Arms Around Me”.  His soft tones are reminiscent of an amalgam of Michael Jackson, Prince, and The Weeknd, while his striking appearance recalls Janet Jackson, Ginuwine and the late Jermaine Stewart. In the video, you’ll see a variety of cameos, including celebrity director Dan Lemoyne, Hollywood Jade (Drag Race Canada resident choreographer) and Marc Andrew Smith (Drag Race resident stylist). “Arms Around Me” succeeds with D!XON’s inspiring intentions with his music.  I’m hoping in the new year it may ind its way to Canadian radio stations.  D!XON is a dynamic and diverse performer to watch.

Published in: on December 28, 2020 at 10:09 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Italy’s @DJMirkoB reworks his own “Let Me In” for a 2020 techno-inspired eurohouse rave up

DJ MIRKO B and GRETA, “Let Me In 2020”

It’s not often that DJ/producers look back into their own repertoires with a view to making one of their older songs sound fresh and new. Italy’s DJ Mirko B chose “Let Me In” (featuring vocalist Greta) from 2013 to rework its anthemic, arpeggio-laden backdrop into something a little different. So he’s lifted a lot of the techno flavours from the original to make it the focus of “Let Me In 2020”, giving it enticing early 90’s eurohouse feels.  It works like a charm, still full of what I call ‘festival power’ but with wider appeal for pop audiences.

Published in: on December 28, 2020 at 10:09 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Seminal UK electronic music group @Faithless returns with “Synthesizer” featuring @NathanBallHQ in a @cometoButch remix

FAITHLESS and NATHAN BALL, “Synthesizer” (original and Butch remix)

Their music has lived on in dance clubs for over 20 years, but British electronic music legends Faithless hadn’t released an album of new songs for 13 years until All Blessed surfaced this year.  It’s an adventurous and atypical record which, like Inner City, brings back strong techno flavours to the 2020 music scene.  l had to go back to “Synthesizer” (original mix and video edit, both above) a few times before I realized it was the highlight of the album.  Led by a wicked vocal by British singer Nathan Ball, it’s accompanied by a droll sense of humour in its lyrics, an unconventional arrangement, and luminous synths that show that Faithless continue to be electronic wizards of the best order.  Its recent remix by Butch (below) strips away some of its unconventional layers in favour perhaps of a tight, fluid mix more suited to dance music radio.  Both versions stand on their own merits and are most worth of dance music fans’ attention.

Published in: on December 23, 2020 at 10:54 pm  Leave a Comment  
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#BILLCSTop30 #603, December 21/20

Many of us are having to make the most of what’s going on in our municipalities.  I can’t be more grateful that we have an overabundance of music to keep us company.  I can’t imagine my life without it.  There’s a lot of activity brewing in the new chart, with two additions joining in all the activity.  I wish everyone a safe, restful and happy holiday and a Merry Christmas to those who celebrate it with me.

Closing out the year at the top is “Diamonds” by Sam Smith from their excellent third album Love Goes.  Even the best singers have to admit that Sam’s performance here is pretty unbeatable.  I think the public-at-large associates Sam with sad songs, which they also sing so well, and which make up most of the album.

Soaring from 9-2, in a tie as the Fastest Mover on the chart, is “Give It Back”, a new dancefloor banger that requires your attention!  It’s brought to you by The Disco Fries and Giiants with vocals by Allison Park.  It’s the highest that The Disco Fries and Giiants have reached on the chart, though two thirds of Giiants reached #1 three times as DATABOY in 2011-13.

Cover songs rarely appear on this chart, and I must say one by The Blue Nile is a great choice by producers Matt Mancid and Color Theory.  It’s “Tinseltown In The Rain”, which originally appeared on The Blue Nile’s 1984 album A Walk Across The Rooftops.  The “Big Rhythm” mix climbs 5-3, with vocals by Color Theory (Brian Hazard).

Climbing 7-4 is “Fantasy” by the dynamic collaboration of Saxity, Victor Perry and Robbie Rosen.  It’s Saxity’s second Top 5 entry following #3 “Brothers”, and Victor’s fourth, most recently reaching #2 with “What I Deserve”.

Tying for the Fastest Riser is another danceable favourite, “Nobody” by Sweden’s NOTD with vocals by Catello, rising 14-7.  “Nobody” also reached #1 this week on Mediabase’s national dance airplay chart.

Toronto’s Francesco Yates obtains his third Top 10 on this chart with the steamy “Late Night Love” (13-9) from his EP Bad Decisions.  It’s been amazing to hear his growth as an artist on this enjoyable EP.

“Good At Goodbyes” by Bright Light Bright Light and Erasure’s Andy Bell closes in on the Top 10 as this multi-faceted track from the Fun City album moves up 18-12.

The fun and energetic “Too Hot To Touch” by Toronto’s Crash Adams rises 16-13 and gives you another reason to check out their ‘in office’ video.

L.A. quintet Why Don’t We have a new album coming in January called The Good Times & The Bad Ones, which will include their current rollicking pop hit “Fallin’ (Adrenaline)”, which moves up 21-16.  The band also made available a hologram of sorts of themselves on Snapchat, where you can place them virtually in your room with you.

I’m fond of the messaging in “Fake” by Lauv and Conan Gray as much as I am of its cool music track and its colourful video.  It climbs 25-19.

The highest debut belongs to Japanese-British singer/songwriter Rina Sawayama with her first entry, “Lucid” at #26.  This Lady Gaga influenced track should be her big breakthrough.  It’s the lead track from her recent album called Sawayama.

The second entry is the latest collaboration between NYC producers The Knocks and rock group Foster The People with “All About You” at #28.  It’s The Knocks’ 8th song to appear on this chart (they reached #1 in 2016 with “Kiss The Sky” with Wyclef Jean), and it’s Foster The People’s fourth but first since 2012.

A reminder that the music from my chart and blog are featured regularly on the online radio station The New Radio GTA. You can hear their Big 20 on Wednesday evenings with ‘The Musicman’ James Rogers and listen for songs from the chart too 🙂 Scroll down the station’s main page to listen to lots of variety from across the decades!  I’m the new music consultant for the station so you can expect even more in 2021 🙂  You can start by joining Radio GTA’s new interactive Facebook group too!!

View the full BILLCS Top 30 right here!  Click on the hyperlink on the song titles to hear the songs or watch the videos!

Listen to the BILLCS Top 30 Songs on Spotify! Click on this link to take you there, and follow me on Spotify: BILLCS Top 30 Songs

Check out and ‘like’ the BILLCS Music Projects Facebook page 🙂

Want to see what I’ve been listening to and charting for the past 22 years?  Rummage through the BILLCS Top 30 Archive (where you can click on the link within) when you have a chance!!