AXEL MANSOOR, “Father Time” (free DL)
Taking a deliberate stance away from what you might expect to hear on the radio or in a night club, L.A.-based singer/songwriter Axel Mansoor returns with the gentle and acoustic folk-pop of “Father Time”. While I do have my own children in their teens and twenties, it is too hard for my generation to put itself into their shoes, so instead we offer advice and experience, while they, like Axel in song, observe and tell us all about their lives. These days time goes fast at any stage of life you’re in – ask my very healthy 80+ parents – so it’s important to consciously put on the brakes and enjoy and celebrate it whenever you can. “Father Time” is an important reminder that he is always around us and not to take time for granted. Like with his other songs that you know from reading this blog – “Wasted My Love”, “Out Of My Head”, “Talk To Me” – Axel has a unique songwriting approach which sometimes works best, just like with “Father Time”, stripped down to his vocal and guitar. Download “Father Time” for free while you can at the link above.
JAY BIRD, “Up Here” (free DL)
Taking his years of playing in folk/rock band The Jaybirds and applying that style to future bass electronica isn’t an easy feat, but California producer, singer and songwriter Jay Bird has achieved it with “Up Here”. It’s a song that requires multiple listens to embrace its authenticity around the need for escape and fantasy in our lives. We’re still the same people even if we dive into our hobbies and interests for a while, despite what others may think, and you can always find the ‘real’ us – if you really want to. The production is smooth and top notch, you’ll definitely want to sway away to “Up Here” while you hold your significant other tight. However the vocal is raw, not what you’d expect in this kind of production, and you’ll understand why when you listen closely to the lyrics. Jay Bird’s “Up Here” is an out-of-left-field indie alt.electronic charmer and you can add it to your inspiring mid-tempo dance playlist using the Spotify link above. It’s also available as a free download at the Soundcloud link below.
Edition #527 of my chart, now in its 20th year, begs the question: What do you do when you enjoy all of the songs at the top of your chart so much?
The answer: You put them on hold! But something’s gotta give in two weeks 🙂
There are three debuts, including the one right below:
The Top 10
So in a BILLCS Top 30 chart first, songs 1 through 7 remain the same.
- Miguel’s “Pineapple Skies” gets its 3rd appearance (6th week, above) at #1, while Billboard Top 40 hit “Sky Walker” stays steady at #3, and “Told You So” (below) rises 20-17. They’re all from the compelling and enjoyable War and Leisure album.
- YEBBA’s “Evergreen” (above) holds tight at #6, while her duet with Sam Smith, “No Peace”, inches up to #12. This compelling new singer continues to be one to watch, and more proof is available in the form of a song recorded live called “My Mind” (below), which is available for free download, or you can make a donation, with proceeds going to Bring Change To Mind, an organization to assist people with mental illnesses. It’s available from her website right here. Its video has over a million views.
- Nora En Pure’s gorgeous “Tears In Your Eyes” climbs 9-8, and I’d love to see this song set to some lovely choreography 🙂
- New to the Top 10 is SoCal production duo waitwhat with “Alive” rising 11-9 featuring a provocative vocal by Rielle.
Movin’ On Up
The songs just below the Top 10 are kind of stuck this week, slinking up the chart by 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 positions, save one song, the fastest riser.
- The fastest riser on the chart belongs to Mako’s “Breathe” which jumps 25-19. And this is just as Alex’s tour kicks off, with a stop this week in Toronto on Friday January 26, as before, at The Velvet Underground 🙂
- “Moves” will keep you dancing courtesy of Italy’s Big Fish featuring American singer Mike Gomes, rising 26-21.
- It’s a 2-for-4 deal with River Tiber’s “Patience” (above) climbing 24-20, while K-POP stars BTS are up 27-23 with “DNA” (below).
- Keeping the doors wide open is Mika with the jaunty and inspiring “It’s My House” climbing 22-18.
- Putting a huge wrinkle into the chart which will ultimately play out in two weeks is Troye Sivan’s new single “My My My!” (at the top), which soars into the chart at #16. It would have been higher had most of the songs above it not been frozen this week. This is the breakthrough single that everyone had hoped for, a joyous mid-tempo dance song that sees Troye flashing his moves in the fun video. It was immediately followed up this week by the more pensive “The Good Side” (below performance from Saturday Night Live).
- Arriving at #26 is NYC singer Reigen with “Dreams”. I wrote about this cover of The Cranberries 1994 hit shortly before the sudden passing of its singer, Dolores O’Riordan. Reigen recorded it as an ode to the marriage of his friends. While his version has suddenly taken on a bittersweet quality with Dolores’ passing, Reigen’s cover should always be regarded for what was intended. It’s Reigen’s second chart appearance, following 2014’s #2 “Come Back To Me”.
- Debuting on the chart as lead artists rather than remixers are L.A. duo Two Friends with “Just A Kid” at #27, featuring a playful vocal by singer Kevin Writer. Matt and Eli have already been to the Top 10 twice with their fine remixes of Mako’s “Way Back Home” (#10) and MAX’s “Lights Down Low” (#3), which looks to finally crack the Billboard Top 40 after nearly two years on release!!
View the full BILLCS Top 30 right here, and be sure to click on the photos to hear all of the songs.
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 new BILLCS Music Projects Facebook page 🙂
PAUL VENICE & DAN BOUJEE, “My Time Will Come” (free DL)
New German production duo Paul Venice and Dan Boujee are off to a great start out of the gate with “My Time Will Come”. It’s an inspiring slice of folk story pop that happily marries dance rhythms to a memorable guitar-driven melody rather than the usual dose of synths. What it also offers is an inspiring story of confidence and determination, which no one can get enough of these days. The vocals are a bit on the raw side but after repeated listens you realize they totally suit the production and the approach of the song. Best of all it’s a free download. Add it to your story-telling dance playlist on Spotify or download it right here.
JUSTIN NOZUKA, High Tide (EP)
It’s so hard to believe that Justin Nozuka’s first album Holly was released 10 years ago this Fall, and the thoughtful and emotion-wrenching lead single “After Tonight” became one of my go-to songs for not only the next year but forever more, it has endured so very well. Flash forward and we’re now at the start of a fourth album release for Justin. He’s chosen to release it in EP parts instead of all at once, so the first three-song offering is called “High Tide”. It’s a gracious blend of folk and pop and rock like no one else is making. Inspired greatly by love and nature, you can feel the gentle power particularly in “No Place In Mind”, which reminds me a lot of songs from Justin’s 2010 album You I Wind Land & Sea. Opener “All I Need” is satisfying and slicker pop, and could be a nice slice of ear candy for pop/adult/alternative radio. “Hourglass” takes some kind early advice from parents to reflect on and use as empowering self-realization. High Tide is a true pleasure to hear, with a lot to say crammed into the thoughts of three songs. You can check out the entire EP at the Spotify link below, but be sure to pick it up at your favourite digital store too.
KIDSWASTE featuring HUNTING STORIES, “Fade”
French producer Kidswaste (Quentin Beauvois) returns to stretch the edges of pop and electronic dance music once again, this time with the anthemic “Fade”, featuring New York vocal duo Hunting Stories. His EP from earlier this year, “Spleen”, was ambitious and accessible enough to catch the ears of Ultra Records, chock full of sophisticated electronic pop. And Kidswaste also surprised us with a sparkling (but unofficial) redux of Lemaitre’s “Playing To Lose”. “Fade”, however, is entirely different – an electronic folk-pop hybrid which might have you recalling songs from Avicii’s landmark True album in terms of style and intent but without the big beats. A more current potential companion song from these blog pages comes more quickly to my mind – Lars Beck & Henri Purnell’s “Silent Games”, which features the folk storytelling anchor of vocalist Zekt. The guys in Hunting Stories also give “Fade” its earnest beating heart while Kidswaste builds his complimentary musical storyboard around it. “Fade” is not entirely an easy sell and you have to stick with it. But once you do, I can guarantee repeated plays will occur! Counter Records – home of Giraffage, ODESZA, and RAC – steers the ship for this one.
LARS BECK & HENRI PURNELL featuring ZEKT, “Silent Games” (free DL)
“Silent Games” is one of those understated surprises that only comes along once in a while. It’s a gem of a direct storytelling folk song that is amazingly married with a buoyant tropical house rhythm that equals sing-a-long/dance-a-long 🙂 I’m not familiar with Lars Beck but Germany’s Henri Purnell collaborated with Dutch teen producer Teison last year on the enjoyable pop/EDM “Your Loving”. Zekt is a Honolulu-based singer who is a real find with his unique gruff vocal style, perfectly suited for “Silent Games”, with its interjection of a few swear words to catch your attention. “Silent Games” is highly recommended, so get the free download above and enjoy 🙂
ANDY SUZUKI & THE METHOD, The Glass Hour
After previewing two outstanding singles “Fight” and “I Need You More (The More You Leave)” in earlier blog posts, Andy Suzuki & The Method’s sophomore album The Glass Hour has arrived.
You can generically label it a Rock album if you wish, but it’s a complimentary fusion of styles which lead through the guitar wizardry of John Mayer through the story-telling of Joshua Radin through softer R&B ballad tones of John Legend, and then inject some gospel flavour that Kirk Franklin fans would appreciate. It’s all well-connected together through Andy Suzuki’s committed vocals and passionate guitar work, and Kozza Olatunji-Babumba’s drum and percussion work is totally on the same level.
The album to me is at its best when it’s skewing R&B on “Shelter” and “Overtime” as well as the tight, danceable pop of “I Need You More”, likely the most radio-friendly song. But then there’s the power and urgency of “Fight” and “Come Forward”, as well as the deep sentiment of “Mama Told Me”.
All in all, The Glass Hour has a vibrancy and zeal for tantalizing your musical taste buds with variety plus, and it all works. You can hear it all in a show coming near you, so be sure to check out their website for tour dates. Give The Glass Hour a listen below and then be sure to pick it up at any online digital store.
ANDY SUZUKI & THE METHOD, “Fight”
Can it be four or five years now since I first heard “Fairytale” by NYC’s Andy Suzuki & The Method? Riding high on devout fandom from the Malaysian country of Brunei, the duo of singer/songwriter/guitarist Andy Suzuki and songwriter/percussionist Kozza Babumba (grandon of Grammy-winning Nigerian drummer Babatunde Olatunji) returned to their city, playing club gigs around the USA to support their EP Ghost Stories. Come 2014 they issued a top notch mix of country, folk, rock, and pop in their album Born Out Of Mischief, and I caught the hella-nice pair performing in NYC on one of my visits. Up next, after touring on rock music cruises as well as with Joshua Radin, Marc Broussard, Amanda Palmer, and others, is a brand new album in early ’17 called The Glass Hour. In advance of the album we have post-USA election encouragement with “Fight”, sure to be a crowd-pleaser. I particularly enjoy the arrangement, which sends the bass in and out of the mix to focus on the high end of the song. This is definitely not the diverse kind of rock music you’ll hear on the radio, but it has everything it needs to attract more new fans, and maybe even get them back to Brunei 🙂 Check out “Fight” at the link above.
All eyes on the top of the chart in this edition as there’s a new #1 and loads of activity. As a result, newer songs make smaller moves, and even the fastest riser on the chart only moves up 5 places. I like a good competition! 🙂
The Top 10
- It was only a matter of time, but either in its original version or its love struck-sounding remix by EDWYNN x TIKAL and Spirix, Brandon Skeie’s “So Bad” (above) displaces Connor Phillips’ “Lost” (Young Bombs remix) at #1. With Eli Lieb, Brandon also co-wrote and sang “Pulse” (below) during the past two weeks, a warm and inspiring song written in the aftermath of the Orlando tragedy.
- It’s summer in the western world and no song on the chart suits the summer months better than “Dreamin'” by Embody featuring Camden Cox, which climbs 7-3.
- Another romance-oriented remix by Speaker Of The House surfaced to show what a great, diverse song Elephante has in “Closer” (featuring Bishøp). “Closer” really does deserve to be a pop hit. It moves up 6-4.
- Jenaux’s powerfully funky and fresh “Get It On” arrives in the Top 10 at #8. Got any platform shoes handy? 😉
- It says something when you get to play a free show in Times Square, and NYC natives The Chainsmokers are doing just that tomorrow (Monday June 27). If they perform “Don’t Let Me Down” perhaps Daya will be present too. The song rises 12-9
- The Knocks and Semi-Precious Weapons singer (and now noted songwriter) Justin Tranter are a great pairing, and “Tied To You” becomes The Knocks’ third song from their album 55 to grace the Top 10, climbing 13-10.
Movin’ On Up
- Tom Odell’s winning new composition “Magnetised” gets stuck outside of the Top 10 due to fierce competition. Thanks to a bass-synth driven Kat Krazy remix it continues to get attention in the club scene. “Magnetised” jumps 15-11.
- It’s a fantastic, vivid story that will hold your interest throughout – Toronto-bases singer Joël’s “You Fucked Up” rises 14-12.
- Ariana Grande’s “Into You” is one of her best songs, yet it seems to be still stuck behind many better ones! We’ll see if she surpasses the #8 peak of “The Way” in the coming weeks. “Into You” moves up 20-16.
- The fastest riser on the chart is the gloriously feel good #1 dance anthem “So Happy” by Tony Moran featuring Jason Walker, which jumps 23-18.
- Hand in hand with Embody’s “Dreamin'”, Rain Man has done exactly what his song says. “Bring Back The Summer” (featuring Oly) is meant for sunshiny days and moves 24-20.
- Nik Ernst’s “Stronger” is British deep house at its best, and given a slick edit by Dutchman Steve Void. It climbs 25-21.
- Built By Titan’s collaboration with Jesse McCartney on “Dangerous” is definitely turning heads as it bubbles under in the pop and dance genres. “Dangerous” moves up 26-22.
- “Take Me Apart” is a thoughtful original by producers/remixers LZRD and Spirix featuring the flattering voice of Remmi. Spirix of course is part of the teenage remix duo who bring us “So Bad” by Brandon Skeie at #1 too. “Take Me Apart” is one of the most impressive new songs I’ve heard all year, so expect great things to happen for it in the coming weeks. It arrives at #23 and is a free download – for now!
- “Open Your Mind” by Chicago producer/remixer Megaphonix follows up his remixes of songs by Zedd, Jack Ü, and others which have got worldwide attention. “Open Your Mind” is a joyous original slice of house which is perfect for Pride events. It’s a free download and bows at #25.
- “Worship” by Brandyn Burnette arrives at #28 from the freshly minted State I’m In EP which was released this past Friday. “Worship” stands out as one of Brandyn’s best compositions, but there are many more to meet the ears in State I’m In which I haven’t yet written about, such as “Inner Child”, “Closer” (with John Lock), in which I keep hearing vocal phrasing from both MGMT’s “Electric Feel” and DNCE’s “Cake By The Ocean”, and “Set In Stone”. State I’m In is another fantastic effort for Brandyn, admirably following up Made Of Dreams. It’s available to buy on all platforms.
Listen to the songs or watch the videos using the links on the pictures on the pretty and detailed web edition of my chart. Go on, have a look and listen/watch
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
http://www.planetradio.ca is back! Listen for my Pick of the Week at 2:20/6:20/10:20 AM/PM EST Monday through Sunday (that’s 42 times in a week!), and my flashbacks to a Toronto Top 10 of yesteryear on Tuesday evening at 9pm EST