California electronic producer @JayB1rdmusic dips into a heavier, rich electronic sound with “Silent”

JAY BIRD and DNAKM, “Silent”

After a few online chats late last year, I’ve been very anxious to hear where California electronic producer Jay Bird (aka Jason Brown) was headed after a number of pop-flavoured dance releases over the past few years as he gradually nails down his own brand.  “Silent” takes a positive turn for a heavier, dubstep-flavoured song with a set of bleaker lyrics than usual (“I don’t want show emotion / When I’m crying out I’m broken / Everyone in slow motion”) which Jay has co-written with singer DNAKM (Donna Kim).  Having previously sung on Jay’s “Alive”, DNAKM provides the knowing vulnerability that cuts through the music and some bigger beats and synths than in the past.  “Silent” definitely allows the music of Jay Bird to reach into a bigger audience within the electronic music genres, one that is there for the big synths and rhythms, but also for the songwriting.

Published in: on April 12, 2020 at 4:31 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Run” by electronic producer @KaiWachimusic and singer/songwriter @itsDylanMatthew turns sadness into release

KAI WACHI and DYLAN MATTHEW, “Run”

Idaho-based electronic producer Kai Wachi is someone you may have encountered either performing at a big festival or supporting Black Tiger Sex Machine on tour.  His latest single, “Run”, mixes earnest sadness with aggressive release, culminating in a fierce synth breakdown at around the three-quarter mark.  He co-wrote the song with singer Dylan Matthew, whose name you will associate with songs particularly by Slander, but he’s also worked with Seven Lions, Crystal Skies, and Dabin among others.  “Run” is a pretty sad and angry breakup song that taps into a genuineness which the electronic dubstep genre of current artists seem to find inside a treasure trove of emotions for their fans.  “Run” is also pretty accessible for those not looking for anything too heavy, but there’s still lots for long-time fans to enjoy as well.

Published in: on April 12, 2020 at 4:31 pm  Leave a Comment  
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It’s 10/10 #9: @BrightLightx2 @MonsieurAdi @SIRPAUL @Biicla @nodisco_mp3 @TafariAnthony @Alice_Triskel #AEORO @Sistek_official @DJSHADESmusic @Tonnermusic

Are you ready for another 10/10 feature, so soon after the last one a week and a half ago?

In 10/10 (or tenoutoften) ,  I write about 10 hot and fresh songs in no particular order, for your kind consideration and attention.

I continue to write individual blog posts about certain songs.  That does not mean that songs in the 10/10 lists are any less than those featured individually.  In fact my recent #1 “Shivohum” by Tritonal & Henry Dark, was included in a previous 10/10, and others are currently on my personal chart too.

Writing 10/10 features means I can cover more songs in one shot.  So you get to learn about more new music that I hear but don’t always get a chance to write about. 

  • BRIGHT LIGHT BRIGHT LIGHT, “This Was My House” (original and Monsieur Adi remix)

Many of us have been waiting for our fix of new music from Wales-born, NYC-based Bright Light Bright Light (Rod Thomas).  He’s been a fixture in my blog and on my chart for the last 10 years, and consistently brings us beautifully sung songs with every release. 

“This Was My House” (above) is from his forthcoming album Fun City, and in the song BLx2 wears some key influences proudly.  Musically, this one is all about early fun and vibrant 90’s dance pop – songs by Madonna, Mariah, CeCe Peniston, Robin S., to name a few.  Lyrically, it’s another astute observation about the demise of a relationship where “it’s cold outside but I can brave the weather” before returning to his house, “a place that I was not supposed to fear” – and I can totally relate to it. 

Heartbreak always sounds great on the dance floor and BLx2 – along with Madonna’s noted, fabulous backup vocalists Niki Haris (herself also featured prominently on pop and dance hits by Natural Selection (“Do Anything”), Snap! (“Exterminate!”), and The Perry Twins’ “Bad Bad Boy”) and Donna DeLory (Madonna even sang back up and co-produced her 1993 dance hit “Just A Dream”!) – moves on to the after party in full force.  Also, a big welcome back to producer Monsieur Adi, who lends his sophisticated sheen to the ultra-club-friendly remix (below).

  • SIRPAUL, “Out Of Our Minds”

NYC-based singer/songwriter/producer SIRPAUL has been away from the dance music scene for much too long, with his last album release in 2016.  So it’s wonderful to hear a return that is as chipper and feel good as “Out Of Our Minds”.  His distinct vocal simply speaks for itself, and the 80’s-flavoured melody and beats are refreshing.  Long-time fans may miss the sexy and sensual side of SIRPAUL that has been showcased so well on previous releases, but “Out Of Our Minds” is a charming, welcome, and noteworthy reboot.

  • BIICLA and MODENESS, “Deeper”

Dark and moody, “Deeper” by Russian electronic producer Biicla and vocalist MODENESS uses some interesting methods to draw you in.  The hook is in the synth melody, and usually these kind of repetitive hooks can grate on me. But because Biicla showcases it and then pulls it back and reworks it as kind of a musical underpadding that soaks it up and lets the song evolve.  MODENESS has a kind of gritty, guy-next-door quality with his singing, which helps make “Deeper” a song to remember.

  • nodisco., “Moonlight In My Bedroom”

Hailing from my city of Toronto is another promising DIY talent who calls himself nodisco. with one of a few of his recent single releases, “Moonlight In My Bedroom”.  The song is set when the singer reads a breakup note in the setting of the title.  It’s a wistful, retrospective song and nodisco. has a soulful, Charlie Puth-like voice which is instantly appealing.  He also knows his way around a pop song and with its clever hook, “Moonlight In My Bedroom” more than sustains its three and a half minutes.  

  • TAFARI ANTHONY, “Centerfold”

Another Torontonian, R&B singer Tafari Anthony (his first name is pronounced “ta-far-eye”), joins that city’s flourishing cadre of soulful talents – think The Weeknd, Daniel Caesar, Jessie Reyez, Alessia Cara – with his rich and expressive voice.  “Centerfold” is a no holds barred call-out to the gal who shows her true colours while feeling that she should always be the centre of attention.  Tafari’s voice compares to a Seal-meets-Terence Trent D’Arby likeness, with many influences obviously from other, longtime classic performers.  With Michael Bublé praising him and performances with singers like MAX in his repertoire, Tafari Anthony has the makings of a breakout happening, and “Centerfold” is a worthy song to help make that happen.

  • ALICE TRISKEL, “Conquer”

Alice Triskel is a new singer from Barcelona who is out to slay the electronic dance music genre with her powerful and compelling songs.  She’s released several singles during the last year or so, and her voice has the command of a Florence Welch and the lustre of a Kristine W.  Sometimes the songs go a bit over the top with aggressive production, but “Conquer”, released late last year, offers probably the best balance.  Its interesting story helps show off Alice’s range, and the production breaks away from the vocal showcase with some lovely melodic breaks and flourishes.  With her obvious talents, Alice Triskel should be able to navigate her way through the busy electronic music scene with songs that easily make you stop in your tracks.

  • AEORO, “Slippery”

“Slippery” is a fanciful slice of romantic pop from Florida-based singer/songwriter/ producer AEORO.  I’ve already written about her exploring gentle pop (“Crushing On You”) and being a bit of a rocker chick (“Babe’s A Rockstar”).  And while she explores to find her best brand among all of the different DIY styles, what will always draw you back to her music is that voice.  Dress it up however you like, but her pitch-perfect tones and resonance always shine through the song itself.  Add AEORO’s fun, free-spirited personality to the talents and the potential here is endless.  “Slippery” is a warm, welcome hug waiting just for you.

  • SISTEK and TUDOR, “No Fair Game”

Love may as well be a battlefield when the rules keep changing.  Such is the basis of “No Fair Game” by Chilean producer Sistek with newcomer vocalist Tudor.  “No Fair Game” is a solid electronic alt.pop release that tells it like it is – buddy, you’re f**cked if you crawl back to that person – when you’ve been burned one too many times.  Tudor’s knowing vocal sings that truth while Sistek lays an uncomplicated melody underneath that will have you swaying.

  • SHADES and JUSTIN KIM, “IDK”

Sometimes in relationships there are circumstances where you just shake your head and don’t know what to say, and usually feel badly for it.  In this case that means ‘I don’t know’, stylized as “IDK” by NYC producers SHADES and new vocalist Justin Kim, from the duo’s new album Carousel.  It’s a change of pace for SHADES, who are returning with original music after a number of notable remixes a few years back for songs by The Chainsmokers, XYLØ, Grace Vanderwaal and others, and they spice up the song with some interesting synths and effects.  “IDK” is brooding electronic alt.pop that puts a lot of focus on Justin’s vocal as you wonder if the subject really does know what to say or not, which leads to a bit of an unexpected but satisfying conclusion.  

  • TONNER, “Criminal”

Tonner is a new singer/songwriter currently based in Orlando, Florida.  “Criminal” is a well-written slice of softer alt.rock, all about when you find out that your special someone is not who she says she is.  In this case, Tonner calls her out in the first minute of the song, and the rest of it reconciles what’s going on as the singer will have to move on without her.  Tonner mixes it up, gradually inflicting more emotion into his otherwise warm vocal, and there’s a slick, jazzy guitar playing the notes of sweet heartbreak along the way.

 

 

 

#BILLCSTop30 #579, January 20/20

Older favourites depart to make room for five new songs in this edition of my bi-weekly personal chart.  For those new to reading about my chart, there are very few rules, it’s just a list of my current favourites, stylized after the radio charts of yore.  The only rule is that songs that reach 10 appearances (20 weeks) depart the chart – unless they are rising up the chart, which has only happened once (with Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep”, which had an 11 appearance run).

Two veteran electronic dance acts vie for #1 in two weeks.  For now, “Shivohum” by Tritonal and Henry Dark (above) grabs #1 for a second appearance.  It’s a mellow dance song with a chanting chorus sung in Sanskrit that’s set to a fantastic deep house rhythm, which you will undoubtedly hear at upcoming music festivals.  Moving up 3-2 is the moody but riveting latest release by R3HAB in collaboration with Jungleboi and a stellar vocal by Zayn bringing life to the devil or demon persona in “Flames”

Look who has three songs in the Top 10 – it’s Harry Styles!  Former #1 “Lights Up” is now at #3, while “Adore You” (above) and “Watermelon Sugar” (below) both continue to climb to #7 and #10 respectively.  The last time this happened was back in July 2011, when Simon Curtis was in the Top 10 with “Flesh”, “Superhero”, and “The Puppet Who Gave Himself Strings”.

L.A.-based Canadian singer/songwriter Peter Foldy keeps busy between film-making, photography, and music.  “Toxic World” climbs 8-5 and is starting to receive airplay on some Canadian radio stations thanks to its warm and timely message.  Peter tells me he is working on more new music which we may hear by spring or early summer!

The only other new entry to the Top 10 besides “Watermelon Sugar” is Florida singer/songwriter John.k’s slice of life song “if we never met”, which rises 12-9.  

The Weeknd has an album forthcoming – he’s just not saying what it is or when just yet.  In the meantime, the 80’s retro-tastic “Blinding Lights” advances 18-11.

The Fastest Riser on the chart belongs to “Ain’t Deep Enough” where a classic deep house vibe will grab you underneath the sterling vocal by Jared Lee, courtesy of Chicago duo Autograf.  “Ain’t Deep Enough” climbs 20-12.

“Storm” continues to ride the Top 10 of American dance charts, yet for some reason hasn’t followed up Famba’s Canadian radio hits in his own country (the producer recently relocated from Halifax to Toronto too).  Featuring a vocal by fellow Canadian Kyra Mastro, “Storm” moves up 21-14.

Ekali’s new album A World Away will be dropping soon while the producer teases with previews on social media.  In the meantime, the Vancouver-born Nathan Shaw collaborates with his buddy Illenium for “Hard To Say Goodbye”, featuring the voice of Chloe Angelides, which climbs 23-17.  “Hard” will also appear on A World Away.

“Starlight” continues to be off to a great start for Germany’s ZEROBADDAYS and U.S. singer/songwriter Victor Perry, and rises 26-19.

While she awaits the birth of child #2, England’s Jessie Ware is releasing some of the best songs of her career, with R&B flavours that only seem to get captured by the best British women singers – Dusty Springfield, Lisa Stansfield, Beverley Knight, Corinne Bailey Rae, and Mica Paris to name a few.  “Mirage (Don’t Stop)” follows up last year’s “Overtime” and “Adore You” – it might be the best of the bunch and bows at #23.  It’s her 7th appearance on this chart, which started with a featured vocal on an alternate version of Miguel’s “Adorn” in 2013.

The next two entries are guaranteed to shake the snow off those winter boots and get you dancing.  Veterans Chocolate Puma and Firebeatz (who I saw perform in Miami last year) join forces for a fantastic house track, “Soul Fifty” (above) at #24.  NYC-based, Montreal-born A-Trak is on a real roll with releases on his Fools Gold label.  Essentially a double “A” sided single with “What Can I Do” (featuring Loods), “Blaze” (below) is the epitomy of slick house and features Friend Within.  “Blaze” arrives at #25.

To date, Vancouver production duo Young Bombs have only appeared on this chart as remixers, including with a #1 for Connor Phillips with “Lost” in 2016.  The lads had a Canadian radio hit and US dance hit last year with “Starry Eyes” after signing with Astralwerks.  Their latest single “Better Day” (#27) offers brightness and positivity in the bleaker months of winter, and brings us another dynamic vocal by Aloe Blacc, still on the chart with Hellberg’s “Punching In The Dark” at #20.

The fifth debut belongs to Canadian duo Homestead with “Lifeline” at #28 from their debut EP Beacon.  The duo of Liam DeBoer and Joël have been collaborating for years, withJoël first appearing on this chart in 2016 with the fantastic storytelling of “You Fucked Up” (#12).  “Lifeline” is much edgier musically, featuring standout guitar work and Joël’s fiery vocal style alongside a danceable rhythm.

A reminder that the music from my chart and blog are featured regularly on the new online radio station 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 2020 🙂  You can start by joining our 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 🙂

 

L.A.-based producer @Whethanmusic shows massive growth on “Stay Forever” with STRFKR @Starfucker

WHETHAN and STRFKR, “Stay Forever”

To say that “Stay Forever” doesn’t sound like anything that Whethan has offered to date is a bit of an understatement.  The 20 year-old Chicago-born, L.A.-based producer opted not to tour last year to address personal issues and record his upcoming album, probably a very wise move.  “Stay Forever” brings us an alt.rock flavoured sound to the electronic backdrop like some past releases, but the aim is a progressive edge that stands out from the rest.  Other producers like PLS&TY, Pluko and Robotaki also have made this conscious decision with results in unique music that provokes your senses and isn’t always about big synths and beats.  Whethan is paired up with veteran Portland, Oregon trio STRFKR here and their collaboration is seamless and complementary.  The full album should be a treat, and Whethan is returning to touring, but in more biteable chunks, which I’m sure will expand closer to the time of the album’s release.  

Published in: on January 18, 2020 at 6:23 pm  Comments (1)  
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L.A.’s @meuBrando is back and we’re hearing double – his own “Look Into My Eyes” and @DonDiablo’s “Congratulations”

BRANDO, “Look Into My Eyes”

DON DIABLO and BRANDO, “Congratulations”

You likely first heard L.A. singer Brando’s voice on Loud Luxury’s “Body”, which grew into a massive worldwide pop and dance hit two years ago.  He’s off to a great start this year with two fine new songs, his own “Look Into My Eyes” (above) and one that will become a staple for  Don Diablo fans, “Congratulations” (below).  “Look Into My Eyes” should find its way to pop radio thanks to its interpolation of the hook and chorus of Charles & Eddie’s huge 1992 pop hit “Would I Lie To You”.  But Brando’s top notch, warm vocal connects you to the new lyrics that surround it, and the song stands alone as a result.  “Congratulations” is a snappy rave-up that you’ll undoubtedly hear at clubs and festivals throughout the winter, so remember who is singing it!  As a world renown Dutch producer and songwriter, Don Diablo has the great knack of bringing in partner performers who meld with his music and Brando is no exception.

“Hello” is the first taste of the new progressive electronic project by L.A. producer @Prizmofficial with vocals by @McEwenofficial

THE PRIZM and McEWEN, “Hello”

Last year I previewed some songs by L.A. mystery electronic producer The Prizm which showed a lot of interesting potential while he figured out where this new project was heading.  So I’m now pleased to introduce you to the first single from his upcoming untitled release, which is “Hello”.  It’s a rather uncomplicated first taste of what’s to come, with a straight forward melody which finds its way through some complex synths and heavier beats.  The pitched up, unrecognizable vocal belongs to McEwen, otherwise known as Adam Tyler, a long-time favourite in these blog pages.  The Prizm uses McEwen’s appearance to unlock the door to the rest of his release, which fans of Illenium or Seven Lions will want to hear.  So say “Hello” to The Prizm, with much more to come in 2020.

Published in: on January 12, 2020 at 11:55 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Canada’s @DrOziofficial takes you on a wild electronic ride with “Youth In Asia”

DR. OZI, “Youth In Asia”

India-born, Toronto-based electronic producer Dr. Ozi will push your limits with “Youth In Asia”.  It’s a colourful, herky-jerky track that will keep your attention and impress you with how deftly he moves between rhythms and styles, all in one song!  It’s more apt to please folks who like their electronic dance music on the heavy side, with lots of familiar dubstep moments to ride along the way.  It’s also incredibly melodic and detailed, so it’s no wonder he’s attracted attention from the likes of Zomboy (for whom he opened on a recent tour).  “Youth In Asia” is a feast for your ears if you like your dance music on the progressive side and your electronic music riddled with all kinds of sounds.

“Another Dimension” mixes old school trance with contemporary progressive house, courtesy of German’s @MartenHorger

MARTEN HØRGER, “Another Dimension”

If you’re looking for music mixed with old school trance by the likes of The Chemical Brothers or early BT, but mixed with contemporary progressive house that you’d hear on a Fisher release, then Marten Hørger’s “Another Dimension’ will have no problem winning you over.  It’s familiar but incredibly playful, as you’ll find when you reach the halfway mark and this remarkable, attention-grabbing pause occurs and then rebuilds over 40 seconds, reminding me a lot actually of the mid-section of “Setting Sun”.  Club DJ’s will enjoy how the song will keep their crowd on the dance floor not knowing what to expect next.  “Another Dimension” is the kind of song that will gain traction over the coming months and into winter festival season.

Published in: on January 3, 2020 at 10:17 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Wow” by NYC-based producer @NeilJacksonNY and rapper @Daytonaofficial surprises with infectious fusion of hip hop and bass house

NEIL JACKSON and THE KID DAYTONA, “Wow”

While there are many performers finding an interesting path with mixes of hip hop and electronic music, there are only a few that cut their way through a lot of similar-sounding songs and create some tantalizing fresh vibes.  Such is the case with “Wow” by NYC-based producer Neil Jackson and hip hop artist The Kid Daytona, which I must admit takes a few listens to appreciate where the song is heading.  Just when you think it’s getting comfortable in a contemporary hip hop style at the start, Neil turns the song almost sideways with big bass beats and synths while The Kid Daytona’s flow gets amped up and wraps itself tight around the electronic rhythms.  By the time the song reaches just under the 2 minute mark, there is no turning back, the groove is secured, and the convincing is over.  Bass house is one sub-genre you don’t usually find locking horns with hip hop but Neil Jackson and The Kid Daytona definitely have a winning combination that will appeal to fans of both styles.

Published in: on December 6, 2019 at 11:41 pm  Leave a Comment  
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