Australia’s @Parralox gets it oh so right with reverent cover of Propaganda’s 1985 electronic classic “Duel”

PARRALOX, “Duel”

When not creating innovative original music, Australia’s John von Ahlen and his project Parralox can also create cover versions of classics and lesser known songs from the 80’s and 90’s that come within a few steps of the originals.  On Parralox’s latest album Holiday ’19, along with especially faithful covers of The Human League’s hits “Human” (a #1 in 1986) and “Heart Like A Wheel” (Top 30 in 1988), Parralox tackles “Duel”.  It’s much respected (and often thought to be untouchable) electronic classic from 1985 by the German duo Propaganda and their album A Secret Wish, still heralded to this day, and originally released by Trevor Horn’s ZTT label, which also brought us Frankie Goes To Hollywood.  The vocal for the song by Louise Love is spot-on, and John and team keep the utter essence of the song intact, down to the Fairlight synths and harmonies.  There are a few friendly digressions, and hearing “Duel” receive such a delightful update is simply a treat. 

Published in: on January 12, 2020 at 11:55 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Colorado-based producer/DJ Disco Lines has an earworm in store for you with “Alive” with vocals by @LillyCorsi

DISCO LINES and LILLY CORSI, “Alive”

“Alive” is guaranteed to get stuck in your head while your swaying and making your best moves on the dance floor.  It’s brought to you by Colorado-based producer/DJ Disco Lines, who has frequently appeared on the American festival circuit over the past few years.  Accompanied by an unflappable and sultry vocal by Lilly Corsi, you’ll be wanting to add “Alive” to your regular dance workout playlists.  To me it’s about 30 seconds too long but I’d also like to see how some clever remixes might add to the song’s versatile, timeless appeal.

Published in: on January 12, 2020 at 11:55 pm  Leave a Comment  
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#BILLCSTop30 #578 – January 6, 2020

The new chart is in the end of the year/decade shake down mode, time for old favourites to depart and for new ones to find their way into the chart.  The past few weeks have been relatively quiet new music-wise, given that most people were compiling end of the year/decade lists.  Oh, and if you missed my BILLCS Top 89 of 2019, feel free to check it out as well as other previous years’ lists back to 2009 using the bottom tabs (it’s a Google spreadsheet).  You can also listen to the songs on my Spotify playlist.

So, let’s get back to the music of 2020!  The year and decade kick off with a brand new #1, and a unique one it is!  Austin production duo Tritonal and Australian producer Henry Dark climb to the top with “Shivohum”.  It’s sung in Sanskrit as an empowering mantra, one that deserves to get crowds reeling at festivals this winter.

Another unconventional song that soars 12-3 this week is “Flames” by R3HAB and Jungleboi featuring a potent vocal by Zayn.  Could it follow “Shivohum” to #1?

L.A. singer/songwriter Brandon Colbein’s emotional gem called “Mad” becomes his second Top 5 hit, following 2016’s #1 “So Bad”, moving up 9-4.

Canadian singer/songwriter Peter Foldy may be a veteran of the music business but his contemporary, danceable fable of today called “Toxic World” fits right in the mix, climbing 11-8.

It should be no surprise to you that the Fastest Riser on the chart is by the performer who just finished three appearances (six weeks) at #1.  It’s Harry Styles of course, from his startlingly good Fine Line album, with “Adore You” making short work of the chart by rising 21-9.

Rounding out the busy Top 10 is the first appearance on the chart for L.A. rockers Awolnation, whose majestic-sounding and danceable release “The Best” moves up 16-10.

Scotland’s Ben Davidson and England’s Sean Smith make a compelling duo as their joint, energetic effort “Dirty Mirrors” (in a Matt Pop edit) climbs 25-19.

“Ain’t Deep Enough” is satiny smooth deep house from Chicago duo Autograf featuring a stellar vocal by Jared Lee, and rises 26-20.

Leading the pair of new songs on the chart at #26 is “Starlight”, the delightful, gentle R&B/pop ballad by Germany’s ZEROBADDAYS and NYC-based singer/songwriter Victor Perry.  After a few releases together, this is their best collaboration to date.  ZEROBADDAYS is one-half of production duo Saxity (aka Mr. Stan Sax) who worked with Victor on the #8 “You Found Me”, which was on the chart exactly two years ago (the second of three chart entries for Saxity).  It’s also Victor’s sixth appearance on the chart overall (which includes his side project Labrose).

The second new entry picks up where former #1 “Dreamer” leaves off, as it departs the chart this week.  Australian producer Throttle continues with songs from his EP Where U Are with the introspective and melodic “Japan” at #27.

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 🙂

 

 

Here’s to “2020” with an R&B-flavoured pop release by NYC’s @GreatGoodFineOK

GREAT GOOD FINE OK, “2020”

“2020” starts off with a silky smooth Jon Sandler vocal, recalling much of their early music which won me over back about six years ago.  Along with keyboard wizard Luke Moellman, Great Good Fine OK has established a career with numerous fine and diverse, mainly danceable original recordings that have found release on Sony and Ultra along with collaborations with the likes of The Knocks and St. Lucia.  “2020” is a slower, warm R&B flavoured song that will be a welcome draw in concert, where Great Good Fine OK becomes a tight four-piece unit, amid their many higher energy songs.  Along with their work as go-to remixers, Great Good Fine OK have set a welcome tone for the year ahead, which I expect is going to be very good to them!

Great Good Fine OK plays The Garrison in Toronto on Saturday January 18

Published in: on January 5, 2020 at 6:48 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Miami-based producer @Ebaniez works the dance floor with sturdy house rhythms of “Here For Me” featuring vocals by Naomi V

EBANIEZ and NAOMI V, “Here For Me”

It’s always cool when an artist works hard to confidently release music that will appeal to their target audience.  Such is the case with Miami-based newcomer Ebaniez, who has carefully been honing his craft for the last few years.  He has resurfaced with “Here For Me”, a sturdy house track that will immediately draw you in with an infectious first two minutes and a crystalline, wistful vocal by Naomi V.  “Here For Me” pleads with club goers to stay on the dance floor to share in the story.  Ultimately the song is a tad too long with little more to say beyond three and a half minutes to warrant its length.  But more conciseness will come in time and Ebaniez delivers a solid song for your listening and dancing pleasure.

Published in: on January 5, 2020 at 6:48 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“A Night That’s Never-Ending” has retro early 90’s dance appeal by UK belter Sonia @soniaevanssonia in a @MattPopofficial radio edit

SONIA, “A Night That’s Never-Ending” (Matt Pop radio edit)

For the 5 years between 1989 and 1994, the voice of Sonia on UK radio was a fierce and unmistakable one, starting with the classic #1 “You’ll Never Stop Me From Loving You” when she was just a teen.  Sonia acquired 10 more Top 40 UK hits, and to appease her many fans has released some new music over the past few years.  “A Night That’s Never-Ending” is too good to resist, a classic slice of songwriting by Gordon Pagoda (known for his work with Steps) and Joe Faraci that is given even more buoyance and pizzazz in the hands of producer Matt Pop.  Sonia’s voice soars gloriously and suddenly it’s 1989 again with 2020 bells and whistles, and it all does not disappoint.  You can also check out the holiday edition of the song, appropriately called “A (Christmas) Night That’s Never-Ending”.

Published in: on January 3, 2020 at 10:17 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Atlanta’s @Popeska saves his best one for the end of 2019 with “Like This”

POPESKA, “Like This”

While I’ve been somewhat critical of his latest ‘comeback’ songs, Atlanta house producer Popeska’s “Like This” is easily his best release of the year.  It’s carried by an engaging uncredited female vocal, a chorus that could easily become a sing-a-long, and a synth hook that will have heads bobbing on the dance floor.  When I’m not writing about songs I love outright, I’m always looking for potential.  Popeska has the pedigree from the early part of the decade, which needed to be translated into music that will last beyond 2019.  “Like This” is even quite radio friendly, with a big, effortless sound that will pull in listeners, and will appeal to fans of Zedd, Kygo and Kaskade.

Published in: on December 28, 2019 at 2:38 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Collusion” is the diverse new progressive/future bass EP from veteran Russian producer @Proxxxy

PROXY, Collusion (EP)

With his new EP Collusion, veteran Russian dance producer Proxy brings you four songs with fellow conspirators DZA, Armadine, The Paxmen, and the world renown A.C. Slater for a variety of dance music flavours in the progressive and future bass genres.  And I’ve gotta say that the joint experiences between Proxy and A.C. Slater are in full bloom on “Have Some Fun”, which is a no-brainer for clubs.  It’s one rollicking progressive house track that doesn’t want to let up, reminding me of some songs by Australian duo The Presets.  Proxy and The Paxmen also create a fun dance floor trip with “Fitness”, which offers up the humour you’d find in a Showtek track carried by infectious an infectious rhythm and a quirky female vocal that says the title as “feet-ness”.  Proxy’s collaboration with Armadine, “No More”, is slick UK-influenced house, but “Poltora” with DZA misses with being a bit too obtuse for me.  Proxy has proven himself over the years at many of the biggest worldwide festivals and although he’s never really been away from the scene, there’s no doubt that this EP will re-establish him with club DJ’s and attract many new fans.

#BILLCSTop30 #577, December 23/19

My last chart of the year, and decade, is here, which means my year end Top Songs list will be following on December 31.  What a year it’s been for music! Though it doesn’t compare as much to other years in this decade, it still had so much to offer.  There are four debuts on this new chart, and a contender for the top in two weeks.

A reminder that the music from my chart and blog will be 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!!

It’s Harry Styles Week in most of the world, at least according to the album charts.  Fine Line is the top album in North America and elsewhere in the world, and deservedly so with its find blend of contemporary and many past styles which make an incredibly diverse album that goes down really easy.  Oh, and can I mention Harry’s super vocals yet again?  🙂 Not only does “Lights Up” (above) get a third appearance (6th week) at #1 on this chart, but “Watermelon Sugar” advances 25-19 and “Adore You” (below) has the highest debut two positions down at #21!

It seems likely that Tritonal and Henry Dark could take Harry Styles away from #1 in two weeks as the new Sanskrit-chanted festival anthem for 2020, “Shivohum”, soars 9-2. This riveting song keeps your ears glued and your feet very happy.

I never thought I’d see Dolly Parton in my Top 5 in the 2010’s or 2020’s, but here she is with dance superstars Galantis retooling John Hiatt’s “Have A Little Faith In Me” into the jubilant and fun dance track, “Faith”, rising 7-5.  Dolly’s classic, recognizable vocal goes so well with Mr. Probz’s soulful one too.

Speaking of soul on a dance music song, Aloe Blacc lends his trademark voice to Hellberg’s “Punching In The Dark”, which glides 11-7.

Also new in the Top 10 are “Mad” by Brandon Colbein (12-9, above, with a tender, acoustic, stripped down version), his second following the #1 “So Bad” in 2016 (billed then as Brandon Skeie), and Sam Smith’s glorious cover of Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love” (13-10, below).  It’s Sam’s tenth top tenner here, including his featured vocals with Disclosure on “Latch” and “Omen”.

Peter Foldy’s “Toxic World” is a wonderful new release by the veteran Canadian singer/songwriter and it rises 15-11.

The Fastest Riser on the chart belongs to R3HAB, Zayn and Jungleboi with the short but deeply involving “Flames”, which goes into fast gear, up 20-12.  Zayn with his compelling vocal as a demon or the devil?  Yes please!!

L.A. indie alt.rock quartet Awolnation has one of the most infectious songs out there with “The Best”, which climbs 22-16.

I’m hoping that pop radio will jump all over “if we never met” by Florida-based singer/songwriter John.k soon.  It moves up 21-17.

Halifax dance producer Famba acquires his first American dance radio Top 10 hit with my second new entry, which is “Storm”, featuring vocalist Kyra Mastro at #27. It’s from Famba’s upcoming release Wishes Vol. 1, due just after the new year, and follows his Canadian radio hits “Wish You Well” and “Swear To God” (which peaked at #3 on this chart).  I’m waiting for Canadian stations to jump all over it – what are you waiting for?

I’m also surprised that radio in general is ignoring Adam Lambert’s sensational performance in covering Cher’s “Believe”, brought to life over a year ago at the Kennedy Centre Honours performances (above), and bows at #28.  It’s Adam’s first appearance on the chart since 2016, which was on the last charting hit by our #2 song’s lead act Tritonal called “Broken” (#4).  Fascinatin’ fact:  “Breaking Hearts” (#15) singer Benedict Cork co-wrote Adam’s single from earlier in the year “Feel Something”.

Pulling in at #30 is “Hard To Say Goodbye”, another in a series of excellent emotional electronic songs, this time in collaboration with Vancouver’s Ekali and Denver’s Illenium, and a heart-wrenching vocal by Chloe Angelides.  It’s Ekali’s second chart entry following last year’s #12 “Blame” with ZHU, and is Illenium’s 6th chart appearance (including the current #8 “Broken Ones”).

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 🙂

 

 

 

 

Soon to be a winter festival fave, @ChetPorter scores with jubilant melodic house of “Secrets”

CHET PORTER, “Secrets”

While most of Canadian producer Chet Porter’s releases thus far have focused on outstanding, gorgeous melodies, Chet wraps up his new song “Secrets” with all that and big beats too.  Thus, we have a new winter music festival favourite in our midst.  Between the choir-like vocals, the old school European melodic house styled backdrop, and some truly wicked synth work with futuristic house elements. “Secrets” will reel in not only Chet’s many fans, but club DJ’s and house music fans too.  Don’t let this one slip by – “Secrets” is a winner!

Published in: on December 14, 2019 at 10:40 pm  Leave a Comment  
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