Inspired Pairing: @DarinOfficial and Eagle-Eye Cherry with “Dream Away”

DARIN & EAGLE-EYE CHERRY, “Dream Away”

I think this inspired recording has fallen under the radar, but the beauty and simplicity of “Dream Away” by Sweden’s Darin and Eagle-Eye Cherry shouldn’t go unnoticed.  It’s a charity single recorded for SOS Children’s Villages, and brings Neneh Cherry’s brother Eagle-Eye back to the forefront where he is known throughout the world of course for 1998’s massive hit “Save Tonight”, which I among many others have in my iPod Touch shuffle for regular play 🙂  Fine showcase as it is for Eagle-Eye, it’s Darin who really scores with a far reaching and soulful vocal.  As far as I know it’s not released in North America so if you’re outside of the continent check your local iTunes or online store.  The clip above is from a Swedish TV show.

Published in: on February 21, 2014 at 11:49 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Your Long Weekend Playlist Part II: Lawson, Lenka, Magneta Lane, Darin, Kim Smith, Josh Kumra, Late Nite Tuff Guy, and tet:Dior

LAWSON featuring B.o.B. “Heartbroken”

In case you haven’t yet had enough of Andy, Ryan, Joel and Adam, the four young men who have had considerable UK success as Lawson, they are dropping this new single featuring rapper B.o.B. which could be the international breakthrough that I thought would happen with “Learn To Love Again”.  The band sways comfortably back and forth with harder-edged rock songs with more thoughtful softer pop ones.  This is as tight as it gets… and the rap by B.o.B. works just fine, as it did with another band – the alternate version of “Walk Away” by The Script.  Watch the video below as well which documents the band’s AustralAsian tour and shows how much synergy they have among each other as band members.  These lads are gonna go far!!

LENKA “Heart to the Party”

US-based Australian singer Lenka is on deck to release her third album Shadows, preceded by a new single “Heart to the Party”.  You probably know Lenka best from her ear candy that was featured in a Windows 8 commercial over the last year, “Everything At Once”.  This new song is a much more gentle, feel good record that wants to take you sunny days where you can forget about everything and feel like a kid again.  Score!

MAGNETA LANE “Burn”

In stark contrast to the above video, is the latest from Canadian trio Magneta Lane, whose EP Witchrock I wrote about earlier this year.  The song lyrics and the video don’t really have anything to do with each other, “Burn” being a scathing breakup song, and instead the video makes a huge and compelling statement about the portrayal of images of women to young girls.  Don’t take the video literally; if you’re a parent of a teen or pre-teen girl (who happens to be a competitive singer/dancer) like me, then you know that videos like this just try to reinforce the message which is an ongoing one throughout the teen years and into the early 20’s.  “Burn” is also a good performance showcase for Magneta Lane despite the obvious focus on the message.  Well done.

DARIN “Check You Out”

I guess it’s time for me to backtrack to Swedish singer Darin Zanyar’s latest release Exit.  Its second single “Check You Out” is indeed a bristling dance number sure to shake your tailfeather and more.   Darin seems to be filling the gap of Swedish male dance pop while Eric Saade is releasing softer R&B-oriented pop songs.  My only complaint, as with many records from the Nordic countries and northern Europe – it’s not released in North America.  Darin could have so much dance club play success with “Check You Out” worldwide.  It’s a strong and unique ready-for-play offering that stands readily next to dance club hits by Jennifer Lopez or Usher.  There’s also a really gleefully grimy-sounding John De Sohn remix on deck (listen to the preview below).

KIM SMITH “Never Ever” (J-Mi & Midi-D’s Highly Improbable Radio Edit)

Fresh from some glorious reviews for his debut pop single “Jealous” comes New York-based Australian singer Kim Smith’s second single “Never Ever”, from his upcoming album.  This song, in its original format, is all about the the sterling vocal performance, as you will find out when it’s released worldwide on iTunes tomorrow.  This J-Mi & Midi-D remix surrounds Kim’s classic voice with all kinds of sneakily creative big-sounding business, which takes the song to a new level on which you will find dance club DJ’s simply wanting more.  Listen below – there’s more to come from this great new talent in 2013!

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JOSH KUMRA “The Answer” (Russ Chimes remix)

Highly reminiscent of classic mid-90’s electro, “The Answer” by 22 year old UK singer Josh Kumra gets its groove on and doesn’t stop.  Russ Chimes’ remix brings it down low and then brings you back and wanting much, much more.  UK chart buffs will know Josh from his vocal on Wretch 32’s #1 hit “Don’t Go” two years ago.  More like this please 🙂

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LATE NITE TUFF GUY remixes JAMIROQUAI’s “Too Young To Die” (LNTG Capricorn High Remix)

Someone who knows how to lock into a groove, reshape and transform it, without taking anything away from the original, is Australia’s Late Nite Tuff Guy.  This talented producer/DJ recently won a contest to remix a song by Jamiroquai, so behold his Capricorn High remix of “Too Young To Die”, which originally appears on Jamiroquai’s 1992 massive debut album Emergency On Planet Earth.  It’s a bit different even for a Tuff Guy remix, very classy electro-disco-jazzy that truly shows off Jay Kay’s vocal.  Everything that a remix should be – I hope it receives official release.

The Tuff Guy also posted about a contemporary electro remix which re-envisions Donna Summer’s “Love To Love You Baby” a year after her passing.  Do take the time to listen to tet:Dior’s “Love2Love” below.  How very fitting considering the good times and influences of disco music are on the rise this year 🙂

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

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

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Gentlemen Hall, “Sail Into The Sun”

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

Andreas Moe, “This Year”

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

Adaku, “Or You Can”

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

Chloe Charles, “Business”

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

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Darin, “Playing with Fire”

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

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Bastille, “Pompeii” (Monsieur Adi remix)

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

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

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

Up-N-Comers featuring Kaya & Pierre Lewis, Kenneth Giles, Darin, Glo, Slakadeliqs & Justin Nozuka, River Tiber, and more

Life seems to go crazy all at once – work gets super busy, personal situations change, and of course in these blink-and-they’re-gone times, new music arrives en masse.  So before I know it, I’m saying “How am I gonna write about all of this great music?”.  So not to give short shrift to any of these fine songs and performers, but today’s Up-N-Comers blog post provides a succinct look/listen about songs and performers that require your attention 🙂

Kaya featuring Pierre Lewis “When I Was Blind”

I tipped you off to this beauty of a ballad a few weeks back, and “When I Was Blind” has officially arrived on iTunes today (February 11).  U.S. beauty Kaya and handsome UK R&B/pop singer Pierre could not sound better together.  The song is written in classic ballad style that you just don’t hear on the radio anymore.  And as a bonus, producer/remixer Florian Maier crunched the song into a dance rendition that even gets a little dub-steppy.  Hear the remix below and download it with an email subscription right here.

Kenneth Giles “Take It Easy”

Kenneth is an Irish singer, dancer and choreographer who has done well in his home country at a young age, already as a judge on Dublin’s Got Talent, performing in the domestic touring show of Glee, and running his own performing arts studio.  “Take It Easy” seems a little plain at the start, but its slinky mid-tempo vibe and chorus will find you humming the song when you least expect it.  This is a promising start and the video offers some eye-catching choreography too.  Get it on iTunes.

Darin “Nobody Knows”

It seemed back in 2008 that Swedish singer Darin Zanyar was Scandinavia’s equivalent of a Justin Timberlake-meets-Jesse McCartney talent, having had lots of Scandinavian success back to 2005.  Domestic and European hits like “Breathing Your Love” (featuring Kat DeLuna, from the Flashback album) and “Lovekiller” (from the 2010 album of the same name) brought his talent to the worldwide stage, showing that he can bridge both dance and pop worlds.  “Nobody Knows” puts him back square in dance club territory, with a song that not only slams but puts his high register to wonderful full use while still focusing on a beautiful melody.  It’s a well-rounded song that puts Darin more head-to-head with someone like Adam Lambert, and that’s not at all a bad thing!  Official release is coming soon… listen to the song below.

Glo, “Don’t Believe”

Montreal produces some of the best domestic rock music amid its reputation for top notch electronica.  Glo is a three piece whose album No One Hears Me drops this year.  Taking cues from bands like Keane and All American Rejects, but with a harder edge carrying the melody, “Don’t Believe” is a tidy and punchy single carried by singer Rick Cordi’s versatile voice.  It also has great pedigree with award-winning singer/producer John Nathaniel (Marie-Mai, Long Story Short) at the helm.  You can buy “Don’t Believe” on CD Baby or listen to right here.

Slakadeliqs featuring Justin Nozuka “Keep Breathing”

I previewed Slakadeliqs’ debut album The Other Side Of Tomorrow a while back with another song featuring the ultra-talented Justin called “Love Controls The Sun”, which is a lovely lazy Sunday morning slice of pop.  The other song from the album featuring Justin is “Keep Breathing”, a breezy mid-tempo jazzy-sounding song that reminds me a lot of the Style Council’s mid-80’s output.  Slakah the Beatchild and Justin get their groove on in the video below and it’s positively contagious.  You can download The Other Side Of Tomorrow or any of its songs for free from the Slakadeliqs’ website or you can buy it on iTunes.  Unique and diverse – don’t miss it.

River Tiber “Someday”

River Tiber is the band name for Toronto’s Tommy Paxton-Beesley, who is one of these burgeoning talents-all-in-one just bursting at the seams.  “Someday” shows all too apparent influence from the likes of U2 and Coldplay, with some fantastic guitar work, but there’s a really sweet Jeff Buckley-esque edge to this song that I find incredibly affecting with each listen.  This young man is going places.  Listen to “Someday” below and you can purchase River Tiber’s album From Now On on iTunes.

Feral aka Kinky “Tweet Retweet”

A case is being made for a recent dance music sub-genre called Moombahton, which appears to combine reggae, pop, and electronica.  If you’re interested in sampling this quirky style, check out Moombahton Nation on iTunes.  From that album, “Tweet Retweet” by Feral aka Kinky slices a bright, clubby melody with reggae-stylin’ vocals that draw you in – remember mid 2000’s hits like “Move Ya Body” by Nina Sky, “Never Leave You” by Lumidee, or “Pull Up” by Mr. Vegas”?  Take two steps forward from those records and tilt your head, remaining firmly on the dancefloor.  Listen to “Tweet Retweet” below.

Sintropez “Berlin Girl”

It’s not often these days that the dark post-new wave influences of groups like Depeche Mode or Sisters of Mercy rear their heads in new music.  But if you like that style, you’ll appreciate the lush and languid feel of “Berlin Girl” by Sintropez, a new three piece unit from France led by singer Will Katrine.  Listen below.

And just for fun, “Call Me Maybe” by Canada’s Carly Rae Jepsen (produced by Marianas Trench’s Josh Ramsay) has already reached #1 on Billboard’s Canadian Top 100 and is poised to break out internationally, given tweets of support by the likes of Selena Gomez.  It doesn’t need my thumbs up to help it succeed, but it’s got a great video, so watch below.

Tuned-On! Top 30 #339 – November 8/10

I’m in the mood for some personal “Resurrection” and over the past several weeks the glorious Penguin Prison remix (that’s everything short of a huge mirrored disco ball 🙂 ) of this song by Australia-based The Temper Trap has been very satisfying.  The song takes over the #1 spot on my personal chart from one of my year’s most favourite songs, “Love Part II” by Bright Light Bright Light, which will spend the rest of its chart time likely kicking around in the Top 10.

And despite having both a #1 and a #2 hit on this chart in 2010, Penguin Prison is more of a force to be reckoned with in this chart edition.  His early 80’s flavoured remix (I keep hearing Loleatta Holloway’s “Love Sensation” as an inspiration??) of Jamiroquai’s latest single “White Knuckle Ride”, advances to #3.  And not only this, but his new single “Golden Train” gets a high new chart entry at #21, a few weeks in advance of its official release.  You can download the smashing Royal Palms remix for free right here.  Penguin Prison has signed to the Wall of Sound UK label for a full album release in 2011, so I hope a North American release is in the works too!

LA based Christian TV has lots to be happy about these days.  For someone from Detroit, being signed to Universal Motown has to be a thrill, though there’s not much left in the current Motown part of that label, just so much amazing history.  I’ll have some comments about his new mixtape, the DJ Skee-hosted Who The Fuck Is Christian TV?, later in the week.  Fortunately “When She Turns 18”, which rises to #7 on my chart, is in the mixtape, which you can download for free right here.

The gentle and happy sound of Richard Barone’s “Glow” finds its way into the Top 10 at #9.  The indelible power of this song to make you smile and be at ease is remarkable.  It’s heading for the Top 5.

The activity within the Top 10 as caused a traffic jam mid-chart.  So Darin’s “Lovekiller” seems stuck at #10 (but isn’t – and take a look at the video), and other songs by Jackanory & The Ball, 100 Akres & Roz Bell, Andrea Lewis, Sweet Thing, Far East Movement, and Adam Tyler must wait two more weeks for next moves.  Brandon Flowers’ inventive “Jacksonville”, however, cuts through and becomes the fastest riser, up 25-16.  Don’t forget that this track is only available on the deluxe edition of Brandon’s Flamingo album.

There are two remaining debuts.  Paul van Haver is a 25 year old Belgian singer of Rwandan descent, and he’s otherwise known as Stromae.  As I mentioned on Twitter last night, I love French culture and style, as well as droll humour, and his song and video (at the top of this page) “Alors on danse” both give nods to all of them and debuts at #20.  “Alors on danse” has been on release for a while now but I think this can be a worldwide smasheroo in more time.  Listen for it!  Pink hadn’t appeared in my chart for nearly 6 years before “Glitter In The Air” arrived earlier this year and peaked at #17.  She’s back with what sounds like a stylistic salute to all of her more recent hits with “Raise Your Glass”, which appears on her Greatest Hits… So Far! album and debuts at #28.  It’s better than all of her recent big hits combined, so I hope I don’t tire of it.

You can view the full chart using the link under ***BILL’S PERSONAL CHART***  to the right, or simply click right here.  Enjoy! Don’t forget to post any comments you might have 🙂

Tuned-On! Top 30 #336 – September 27/10

It’s finally on release tomorrow!  “Love Part II” is a glorious homage to 80’s and 90’s electro-pop from Bright Light Bright Light (aka Rod Thomas) and holds strong at #1 for a second chart appearance.  Brandon Flowers’ “Crossfire” and Bim’s “Head Over Heels” hold in the runner-up spots too, but the rest of the Top 10 has been turned inside out and sideways.

Adam Tyler’s “Friction” slides upward to #4 – I’ll be blogging about his newest song “Operation” soon (and you can get it free with a subscription right here)!  “Pretender” by Elouise reaches through a hole in the Top 10 to land at an impressive #5 – it’s one of the best ballads of the year.  Right behind is power in a more rockin’ way as “Start A Fire” by Ryan Star lands at #6.  Then the surprise – quirky ol’ “Dear Dictator”, in a wonderfully warped 70’s disco remix by Sam Sparro, takes LA’s Saint Motel from 16-7!  Bringing up the rear in Top Ten Land are Kylie Minogue’s ever perky “Get Outta My Way” and Chris Mann’s fun take on George Michael’s “I Want Your Sex”.  Tally:  5 Yanks, 4 Brits, and an Aussie!  Aside from Toronto’s Roz Bell, my chart is so lacking my own country’s content!

And still more action, just below the Top 10… More Bright Light Bright Light too, always a good thing, Rod’s third appearance with “Cry At Films” (which appears on the “Love Part II” single), which you can also download for free right here.  Then we have Sweden’s Darin, who has already had two Top 5 hits on this chart in 2009 with his duet with Kat Deluna, “Breathing Your Love”, and then “Girl Next Door”.  Now “Lovekiller” makes a bold jump, rising 24-12… North American release, pretty please??

But still, the fastest riser on the chart this week belongs to the highly infectious instrumental dance track “Never Look Back” by Russ Chimes.  Two weeks ago I gave you the link to part two (“Tertre Rouge”) of his video trilogy, which started with “Never Look Back”, and now Russ brings you the conclusion with “Targa” – which has a couple of intriguing ‘aha’ moments to wrap up the story.  It’s all a bit visually busy and has layers of complexity, but they warrant the multiple viewings just to get it all sorted out in your head.  View the video at the top of this page.  Well done!

Amid other respectable chart moves for “When She Turns 18” by Christian TV – which I still think is a hoot whether you’re watching the ‘photocopier’ video or not – and the theatrical “Audio Precision” by newcomers Jackanory & The Ball, you will find four debuts.

Welcome back Jay Kay and Jamiroquai, and whatta way to drive back onto the dancefloor in style than in the limo that is the 70’s flavoured Penguin Prison remix of “White Knuckle Ride”, from Jay’s upcoming album Rock Dust Light Star.  It’s Jamiroquai’s first appearance on my chart since 2002’s “You Give Me Something”, though I did really enjoy the High Times compilation which featured some terrific extended mixes of 90’s hits.  I am hoping for a 2011 tour!

Then courtesy of his CD Flamingo comes Brandon Flowers’ “Swallow It”.  Now when I saw Brandon in concert last month I really did not come away from the show liking this song, but it really is one of the most engaging songs on the album, and it’s also the new single.  I love how Brandon flexes his lower register, giving the song a more modern Lou Reed feel.  And it’s also much more playful than I thought initially.  I’m still wanting to collect my thoughts on Flamingo for a separate blog…

Next up is a track I featured in my blog a few weeks back.  100 Akres and Roz Bell make such a great, creative team, and their latest “Breakup Anthem (We Never Cared)” is absolutely no exception.  It hits the nail on the head about the subject matter and still comes across as being fun and anthemic.

Last but not least, our favourite troubadour king of chamber pop, Richard Barone , is back after many years of recorded absence, despite keeping very active in the music biz.  Richard’s career began in the early 80’s with New Jersey new wave band The Bongos, who released a few well-respected albums, with “Numbers With Wings” still receiving play on alt.rock stations.  Richard began releasing solo albums in the late 80’s with the live ‘Cool Blue Halo’, then triumphing particularly for me with songs like “Native Tongue” and “River To River” from 1990’s Primal Dream, and the title track and “Nobody Knows Me” from 1994’s conceptual, very-Beatles influenced tribute to writer Nicholas Schaffner, Clouds Over Eden”.  As I tipped a few weeks back, Richard is back in solid form – guitar work and strings intact – in his new CD Glow, which is produced by the legendary Tony Visconti.  I’ll write more about Glow in a separate blog, but the title track has definitely gotten under my skin and debuts on the chart.  Having just recently been to New York City, there’s something very special about this song, conceived after a walk through Manhattan, these many years after 9/11.  Last year’s NYC theme was Jay-Z & Alicia Keys’ “Empire State Of Mind”.  For 2010, could it be “Glow”?  It’s certainly how NYC makes me feel after two consecutive visits… thank you Richard.  Here’s a live clip of the song from earlier this year:

I have so much more to blog about and so little time… so stay tuned!!

Tuned-On! Top 30 #335 – September 13/10

It’s somewhat of a no frills blog this week, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t much to chat about or that the chart isn’t any less active…

There’s a new #1 song on top.  And it’s the second time this year, and only the third time since 2007, that a song has debuted at the top.  Rod Thomas and the folks at Popjustice Hi Fi made a good decision to debut Bright Light Bright Light’s “Love Part II” online this summer, followed by the video at the top.  For “Love Part II”, simply put, is one of the most glorious, revelatory songs of 2010.  It has a melody that sings by itself under the vocal, which in turn sings this absolutely fantastic chorus:  Do what you want with me / And let everybody see / I’m in love again / I’m in love again / And you changed my mind / And took me by surprise / And I’m in love again / I’m in love again…  “Love Part II” is a song that I’ll be listening to years and years from now – it’s one of the sure bets of 2010!  Congratulations, Rod and friends 🙂

With “Love Part II” arriving in the best possible place on the chart, that’s not to slight the gentle and raw emotion of Bim’s “Head Over Heels”, which moves to #3.  Adam Tyler’s “Friction” is a song that will change the mood you’re in with its zesty rhythm, and it moves up to #5.  Lifehouse’s powerful “All In” bounds 12-10, while gorgeous UK pop singer Elouise climbs 15-10 with “Pretender”.  Check out some of these pictures on Facebook from her September 11 show in London !

It appears that I’m not the only one who finds “Start A Fire” as the best new track from Ryan Star’s 11:59 CD.  It’s the Fastest Riser on the chart, headed towards the Top 5 I would say, moving this time from 18-11.  Kylie Minogue’s “Get Outta My Way” continues to rise, 16-13, and courtesy of the noted Arjan Writes, download the Penguin Prison remix .  Into the lower teens, Saint Motel’s “Dear Dictator” is one of the more endearing and quirky songs around, The Script’s “For The First Time” is off to a great start as lead single from Science & Faith, and “Love Part II” B-side “Cry At Films” has a life of its own on this particular chart 🙂

Aside from the debut of “Love Part II”, I blogged specifically about two of our other debuts during the last few weeks.  Darin’s “Lovekiller” is growing and growing on me by the minute (Paul of My Fizzy Pop , of course, is right about this one!), and Russ Chimes’ “Never Look Back” may be the best dance instrumental I’ve heard in years, with extreme pop crossover appeal!  Check out part two of his “Midnight Club” trilogy video series at the bottom of this page, “Tertre Rouge”.  It’s not quite as good as “Look Back” but continues the intriguing story in that video.  Last, UK perveyors of miscellaneous fun pop styles, Jackanory & The Ball arrive on the chart with the indelibly infectious “Audio Precision”, which you can hear on their MySpace page .

You can view the full chart using the link under ***BILL’S PERSONAL CHART*** to the right or save yourself a couple of clicks and view it right here .



Tuned-On! Roundup!

Roundup Spotlight:

JACKANORY & THE BALL “EP”

I must say, London duo Jackanory & The Ball know how to make one satisfying four song EP.  Singer/songwriter Tom Skelton and producer/DJ/pianist Michael Rendall have a strange kind of fusion going on – and this kind of strange is really strong and entertaining.  I could be wrong, but I think it might start with some jazzy Steely Dan influence, moving through new wave and pop electronica of the 80’s, then into some hip hop and dance club sounds of the 90’s, yielding a pastiche of sometimes humorous pop that sounds as theatrical as it does melodic.  The duo is like a British companion-piece to American veteran duo They Might Be Giants (“Birdhouse in Your Soul”, one of my faves from 1990).  Be sure to check out “Audio Precision”, perhaps the most accessible track – listen for Pac-Man – with bouncy rhythm and sing-along lyrics.  The other tracks – “Not The One”, “Too Long” (the most R&B/hip hop oriented track), “Come Away with Me” – are equally unique, with rich melodic weaves but straight forward words and themes.  All in all, it’s an EP full of promise which lends natural curiosity to how Mssrs Skelton and Rendall can perform these songs in a live show.  Be sure to check them out if you’re in England (and let me know!).


BILLY FRANKS “Euphoria”

UK singer Billy Franks had generously put his Euphoria compilation online for free.  It’s a cozy and energetic 12 song record compiled from six releases from the Faith Brothers leader and creator of the charity single “The Beautiful Game”.  Despite the varying production qualities from track-to-track, Euphoria has a terrific pub-next-door feel – its genuine warmth overall is contagious.  And if you’ve ever heard the Faith Brothers, no one, but no one, writes emotionally rich songs like these like Billy Franks.  With live tracks like “Sleep A Little Easy When It Rains” as well as other songs full of beautiful and brutal honesty like “Just”, “Beautiful Heresy”, “She’s The Messiah In Me”, and “50/50 America”, it’s easy to get caught up in such fine and raw veteran musicianship.  Be sure to provide a donation if you can.

COLIN MUNROE “I Would Die 4 U”

Toronto’s Colin Munroe came to my attention in 2008 with the release of his adventurous mixtape Colin Munroe Is The Unsung Hero, which featured covers as diverse as songs like U2’s “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and originals, sometimes with some better known friends, such as the shouldabeenahit “Will I Stay”, featuring Wale and Dallas Austin.  Well this singer/producer/DJ is back in the aftermath of what sounds like a record deal gone (near?) sour, and he’s boldly chosen a Prince cover to stage his re-entry.  Yes, “I Would Die 4 U” is a favourite of many Prince fans, but Colin has slowed it down a bit to give it more emotional, almost retrospective or even introspective quality.  And no, that is not autotune folks.  It’s free with subscription to Colin’s newsletter – worth it always to find out what he’s up to next!

PETER KATZ “Dangerous”

The iTunes single of the week feature often brings intriguing tracks and artists to the attention of the public, and being from Canada I see a regular and different selection.  Toronto-based Peter Katz’s “Dangerous” is edgy, thoughtful folk/pop that stays in your head, and reminds me of Michael Penn’s best efforts of the early 90’s.  It’s from his fourth release, and first through Sony, called First Of The Last To Know, and you can hear tracks from it at his website .  And it looks like he’s touring a lot, so check out his tour schedule too.

DARIN  “Lovekiller”

OK hit me over the head with a large plank or something, but after many repeated plays, Darin’s “Lovekiller”, a Swedish #1 hit, has finally sunk in.  I thought the song was perhaps too derivative of too many other songs that I could think of  (including the beginning, sounding a lot like INXS’ “Never Tear Us Apart”, or as a male version of “Unfaithful” by Rihanna), but the slow-burning mystery appeal has finally sunk in.  Strange, because I was a big fan of 2008’s “Flashback”, which featured the Kat DeLuna duet “Breathing Your Love” and the “Just Dance” soundalike “Girl Next Door”, both of which landed in the Top 5 on my chart.  But the new record is definitely more mature and better written, and perhaps I just wasn’t expecting that.  Darin should be Sweden’s next natural pop export.  I can’t see why this song shouldn’t do well internationally.


ADAM TYLER “Over The Top”

Ah yes LA’s Adam of the “Friction”, one of my current favourite songs, alerted me a few weeks back through Twitter that “Over The Top”, one of the songs recorded for his upcoming Lullabies for Rattlesnakes release, had been leaked online.  It’s a mid-tempo pop/dance track not too far removed from “Friction”.  It has an undeniable hook but could benefit from a perkier remix.  You can either check out a clip of the song from Adam Tyler’s official site or try to locate it in its leaked version online.

SHANE HARPER “Dance With Me” and “Good Friends”

Another new guy from LA, Disney Channel fans already know singer/actor/dancer Shane from a supporting role in the new show “Good Luck Charlie”.  And his first could-be hit “Dance With Me” is pure teen/tween late-night-on-the-beach confection, sort of what Jesse McCartney started a few years back before the more grown up Departure album.  Top marks though for Shane’s very good voice and dance moves in the video.  As a bonus, he’s made the ballad “Good Friends” available as a free download with an email subscription to his newsletter .  Shane Harper definitely has my curious ear at hand – and I like triple threats!


THE SCRIPT’s “Science & Faith”

The Irish trio’s sophomore album after its very long-lasting 2008 debut has joined what looks like a wonderful week of record releases starting September 13 (also including Bright Light Bright Light’s “Love Part II” and Brandon Flowers’ “Flamingo”).


CLAYTON SENNE’s “And Her Name Is Music”

Kansas-born but Florida-based piano man Clayton Senne tweeted a few weeks back that he would release his second album on January 1, 2011 – for binary code fans that’s 010111 🙂 On Saturday, August 29, he performed a new song full of urgency with oodles of potential called “Floodgates” on Orlando Live Streaming , during which he also announced that the title of said release would be “And Her Name Is Music”.  I hope to be blogging a bit more about this talented new artist and this record in the coming months, so watch for it!  In the meantime, check out his official site.


RICHARD BARONE “Glow”

The former Bongos member and creator of a number of fine solo albums, including 1990’s Primal Dream and 1994’s Clouds Over Eden, is back with his new CD “Glow” (also due next week, on September 14), and will be performing several club dates in the New York/New Jersey areas.  I saw Richard in concert many years ago in Toronto and he can captivate an audience very easily.

Tuned-On! Best of 2009, Part 1 (50-26)

To me, 2009 was the year that pop music exploded online.  Sure music has been available for many years online, and iTunes legitimized online sale of music downloads near the beginning of the decade.  But never in all these years has music been so close to listeners that they can practically taste it (and maybe that’s next!).

It has recently become a reasonable business strategy to make music available for free as a promotional tool, to attract listeners and fans to various websites and of course to iTunes, Amazon, CD Baby, or their local music store to download or buy CD’s.  And is it just me, or is the world even that much closer now?  Never have I been in contact with more people around the world than just through this 40 year old hobby of mine, which I transformed from website and message board to a blog this past Fall.  I’m absolutely loving it.

Music for me in 2009 stayed on the pop-rock-dance tip, with only a handful of modern-alt.rock tunes sustaining my interest.  Literally fantastic singers are now everywhere, waiting to be heard, and I’m so glad I found some of them.  For every enjoyable favourite who returned with new music, such as Chris Isaak, Duncan Sheik, or Pet Shop Boys, there were new stars glimmering like the UK’s LaRoux, Sam Taylor, Florence & The Machine, Gary Go, and Dan Black; Ireland’s The Script; Australia’s Presets and Nelson Clemente; Sweden’s Darin, Mans Zelmerlow, and Agnes Carlsson; Canada’s Colin Munroe and Noah; and the USA’s Evan Taubenfeld, Val Emmich, Matt & Kim, and Keri Hilson.  Dig deep enough online and you’ll find free downloads for Dan Black’s “Symphonies”, Matt & Kim’s “Daylight”, Munroe’s “Will I Stay”, Clemente’s “You Want Me Don’t You (Spekr Freks mix)”, 100 Akres & Roz Bell’s “Pink Cadillac”, and Newton White’s “Breathless” that are all artist-approved.  And online remixes even made it to national radio, witness the frenetic redux of The Fray’s “You Found Me” by Lenny B – a song I didn’t like in its original version instantly became one of my favourites of the year!!

So in this blog filled with lists I will add another list of favourites that will hopefully stand the test of time in some ways.  I’ll start with the first half, from 50-26, the rest will appear tomorrow with additional thoughts about some of the songs.

You can view the full list right here.

Tuned-On! Top 300 of the 2000’s, Part 3 (200-151)

Let’s see – a few amazing dance anthems/comebacks (“It’s All True”, “Stamp Your Feet”, “Night Of My Life”), a solo debut (“Like I Love You”), two songs that re-entered my chart (“Last Train Home”, “You Want Me Don’t You” – the latter as a remix), doubles from Rufus Wainwright, Coldplay, Kanye West, and Marianas Trench, plus wondrous stuff from Tyler Hilton, iio, Darin, Blue Man Group, Mans Zelmerlow, Gary Go, Jamiroquai, Josh Kelley, and more!

You can find the updated list right here – don’t forget to leave your comments!