Toronto-based dance producer @Fambamusic returns with future house-flavoured “Games We Play” with vocalists @meubrando and MKLA @okaytolove

FAMBA, BRANDO & MKLA, “Games We Play”

After the resounding success of “Wish You Well”, “Swear to God” and “Still Call You Mine” at radio in Canada and “Storm” on the dance charts, I was pleased to see Halifax-born Toronto-based dance producer Famba take a few steps back and deliver a more edgy, future house-inspired record in “Games We Play”.  It’s a super-quick (2:26) ride but it’s loaded with polish and character, which is helped immeasurably by standout vocalists Brando and MKLA, who is also from Toronto.  The world knows Brando’s voice quite well from singing on Loud Luxury’s “Body”, and MKLA’s voice has been showcased to terrific effect in recent releases by Steve Aoki (a cover of “Losing My Religion”) and Lukas Estrada (“Never Leave You”).  More suited for clubs, “Games We Play” will need some extended remixes for club DJ’s.  I first wrote about Famba in 2016 and as a next step after his EP Wishes Vol. 1, “Games We Play” continues to show the great strides he continues to make.

#BILLCSTop30 #618, July 19/21

If you haven’t already done so, get those dancing shoes ready for the rest of the summer because there is plenty of hot dance music of all sub-genres for you to enjoy, and part of the fun is finding out about it through sources like my blog or the ONLINE RADIO AFFILIATES (see details after the post).  Once again, we have a new #1 from an artist who has been to the top before and just released a new album on Friday!!

That artist of course is Denver-based electronic producer Illenium, whose fourth album Fallen Embers dropped on Friday. While not as strong a release as Ascend, it has plenty of highlights and emotional shifts that will keep you totally engrossed.  Illenium’s recent single “Sideways”, which is now a North American dance radio hit – a bit surprising considering it’s usually harder than what dance radio normally plays – featuring Valerie Broussard’s stunning vocal and production partner Nurko.  You can also check out the album opener “Blame Myself” below, featuring an out-of-character but bang on appearance by Tori Kelly.

Trying to get a place in line for the top is the glorious “The Feels” by Cash Cash and the amazing Alex Newell, which rises 9-4. Though not a single – a strange move by the record company – it can be found on Cash Cash’s latest album Say It Like You Feel It.

Also contending for the top is “Can’t Stay Away” by Sweden’s Darin, his first English language release in about eight years. It soars 14-7.  It’s his highest peaking song since 2009’s “Girl Next Door” (#5).

I’m totally loving Greyson Chance’s quirky and infectious “Hellboy” from his album Trophies, which moves up 11-8 to become his second Top 10 on this chart following last year’s “Dancing Next To Me” (#2).

Arriving in the Top 10 for the first are social media stars Nessa Barrett and jxdn, who have two great voices that deserve attention with “La Di Die”, which climbs 13-10.

The Fastest Riser on the chart is some deep house bliss from England courtesy of Charlie Lane, Gold 88 and vocalist Kate Wild with “Give Me That” zipping up the chart 19-11.

Toronto indie pop/rock duo Crash Adams have a new personal best on the chart.  “Symphony” rises 15-12, surpassing the #13 peak of last year’s “Too Hot To Touch”.

While “Myself In You” yields the pole position to “Sideways”, “Slip Away” by French producer Kislaw and NYC singer/songwriter Victor Perry continues to build momentum, up 17-13.

“You” by Regard, Troye Sivan and Canada’s own Tate McRae is one of the more distinct songs you’ll hear on pop and dance radio, and it climbs 21-15.

The “Reprise version” of Moby’s “Natural Blues” as passionately sung by Gregory Porter and Amythyst Kiah moves up 24-17, from Moby’s recent album of retooled songs called Reprise.

New Toronto solo artist CMagic5 continues to climb with her recent “Love Me If You Can” (23-18) from her independent release Ready To Run.

And look who gets the Highest Debut – Ed Sheeran!! I’m highlighting this because it’s the first time he’s appeared on my chart and “Bad Habits” is one helluva way to do that, bowing at an exceptional #20.  It’s definitely one of the songs of Summer ’21. He’ll continue with the mathematically-titled albums with The Quadratic Formula, coming soon.

Premiering at #28 is one fun song that doesn’t let up, thanks to its party vibe and multi-lingual versus (sung in Portuguese, French, and African language Bambara (check out the cool video above, which just dropped today).  It’s “Mon Cheri” by US dance music mainstays and Grammy nominees Sofi Tukker in collaboration with fellow Grammy-nominated Mali duo Amadou & Mariam.  It’s culled from the new Red, Hot + Free album, which has proceeds going to three LGBTQ2S+ charities: The Trevor Project – http://www.thetrevorproject.org The Ally Coalition – https://theallycoalition.org; and SAGE – https://www.sageusa.org. “Mon Cheri” is Sofi Tukker’s first chart appearance since their 2018 #1 with Benny Benassi “Everybody Needs A Kiss” and fourth overall.

The third debut at #30 is “Back To You” by Chicago electronic dance producer Aash Mehta with fellow producer Charlotte’s ephem, a terrific house track for summer that’s guaranteed to make you dance.  Regular blog readers know I’ve been writing about Aash’s music for about five years and it’s his first appearance on the chart. 

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 🙂

ONLINE RADIO AFFILIATES

Radio GTA – listen to The Big 20 from 10pm to Midnight EST as “The Musicman” James Rogers and I bring you the latest in new songs mixed with classics and songs you haven’t heard in a while.  And on Saturdays and Sundays from Noon to 6pm I bring you “Your Weekend Music Mix” six hours of commercial-free music from the 2000’s including many song choices from this blog.

Halton Hills Online – “Your Weekend Music Mix” has a second home on Saturday and Sunday evenings from 8pm to Midnight! It’s a different mix from Radio GTA’s show, and like that one it is also commercial free, proudly brought to you by Symposium Cafe Restaurant & Lounge in Georgetown, Ontario!

Planet Radio Canada – currently on hiatus but returning in August, listen to the “3D Variety Show” with “The Musicman” James Rogers. I’m featured every Tuesday between 7 and 7:30 pm with my New Music Pick of the Week, and I also join occasionally for looks at music from our past as well as the occasional live segment.

 

With future house rhythms and from-the-heart lyrics, “Don’t Want Perfect” by @Kayliox and @RobbieRosenlive is a winner

KAYLIOX x ROBBIE ROSEN, “Don’t Want Perfect”

If you’re looking for that great dance song that will ultimately let you end up in a warm embrace, then “Don’t Want Perfect” by Kayliox and Robbie Rosen is just for you! Its fast-paced future house rhythms and pulsating synths are just itching to make you groove, while Robbie’s sincere lyrics and golden vocal performance will pull those heart strings. Both artists are on a roll, with Quebec City’s Kayliox following up his late Spring release “Lighter” with Jessica Chertock, while NYC’s Robbie continues to release at least one song per week in a variety of dance styles, with two songs appearing concurrently recently on my personal chart (“When I Lost You” and/or “Waves” and/or “Habits”). Both artists continue to bring you high quality releases but “Don’t Want Perfect” is definitely among the very best of them.

Electric Polar Bears @weareEPBmusic team up with singer/songwriter Tyler Graves for the emotional dance pop of “Back 2 You”

ELECTRIC POLAR BEARS and TYLER GRAVES, “Back 2 You”

“Back 2 You” has an interesting strategy for a dance pop release – it aims for your head and your heart, and then your feet.  This is thanks to the smooth and involving story about a couple who have lost their magic together, and it’s up to one of them to rekindle the sparks.  You might of heard of producer/DJ duo Electric Polar Bears, and their energetic concerts and parties over the past few years where they are masked in LED polar bear helmets, while singer and co-writer Tyler Graves is the pitch-perfect voice behind two Seven Lions favourites, “Only One” and “Senseless”.  Together they’ve created an engaging song inspired by what some people are going through during isolation in lockdowns.  And the video, which stars Instagram and Tik Tok “queen of the shuffle” Elena Cruz, helps take you to a happier, blissful place such as the dance party by the EPB’s, when we will one day be able to celebrate together. The EPB’s future/tech-house mix with familiar pop synths is inspired and stands out from the rest.

“Any Other Way” is compelling melodic future house from Moroccan electronic dance producers @Choujaa_music and Mariline

CHOUJAA & MARILINE and MARIE FONT, “Any Other Way”

“Any Other Way” examines when you’re deep in love and willing to stick it out through the good and bad.  It’s brought to you by two relatively new and promising names in the electronic dance world from Morocco who have previously recorded together, specializing in future house music, Choujaa and Mariline.  Choujaa’s releases have seen support from Dash Berlin, Sander van Doorn, and Lucas & Steve among others, while Mariline had a hot release last year with Florida singer/songwriter Lauren Mayhew in “We Are Home”, which reached #6 on my personal chart.  Rounding out their techno-influenced melodies is the passionate and sincere vocal by Marie Font – actually a better known ‘mystery singer’ taking a pseudonym for this release.  “Any Other Way” is engaging and melodic house music, the kind of which that continues to make you relive the good times that will one day return in clubs and on dance floors.

Look out 2021, Alison Wonderland @awonderland is about to take over the electronic dance music world with songs like “Bad Things”

ALISON WONDERLAND, “Bad Things”

There is no denying that Alison Wonderland has paid her dues in her 11 years in the music business to become the superstar producer and performer that she is today. The L.A.-based, Sydney, Australia-born producer is the benchmark for fellow women in electronic dance music, thanks to scoring two #1 electronic dance albums and giving numerous well-received (by fans and critics) performances at festivals over the past few years. With 2020 being a transitional year for music, it was refreshing to hear her surface in the atypical duet with Chet Porter on “bummed” earlier this year, and take part online in performance to the delight of her fans as well – her excellent Digital Mirage set is below. Enter her new single “Bad Things”, and you can just envision a new festival set in your mind. The song features magnificent synth work and production, and a chorus that will have you swaying. I can’t wait to hear what’s in store for Alison Wonderland next year. Check out the intriguing video above.

US producers @itsCrystalSkies continue with consistent melodic approach to electronic dance music with “Collide”

CRYSTAL SKIES, “Collide”

“Collide” is the title song from the US production duo Crystal Skies’ latest EP. Britian and Aaron are definitely on a roll with a variety of melodic results in the EP to keep their increasingly large fan base very happy. Although the heavier, future bass-driven “Requiem” comes close, and “This Moment” features a beautiful vocal by now-regular Gallie Fisher, it’s “Collide” that stands out the most on the EP. It’s a neat companion piece to Porter Robinson’s latest music with its dreamy vocal approach which leads up to some brilliant big synths and beats. Though perhaps not as razor-sharp as last year’s Constellations EP, Crystal Skies consistently prove themselves to be leaders of their genre who grow with each release.

Meet producers Denis Palesso and FALCO with dark deep house vibes of “Falling Down”

DENIS PALESSO and FALCO, “Falling Down”

“Falling Down” nicely captures the aftermath of a crazy evening when you’ve teetered over the edge and know it. It’s brought to you courtesy of an intriguing pairing of Belarus electronic dance producer Denis Palesso and young Portuguese producer FALCO. Little is available online about Denis, who has been releasing music that has been picking up listeners over the years. FALCO however in two short years has picked up support from veterans like Hardwell and has seen releases on a number of the major dance labels. Together they mesh well and “Falling Down” is a quirky but memorable slice of deep house that’s worthy of your attention.

‘Tis the season for #Ultra2020 @Ultramusic, featuring “So Blue” by @Sondrofficial

VARIOUS ARTISTS, Ultra 2020

Compilation albums seem to be coming a thing of the past.  After all, aren’t streaming playlists essentially the same thing?  I’ve long been of the mind that these compilations should be focused on similar styles of dance music to appeal to those who enjoy it.  But for those who want to taste a little bit of everything in the dance music scene and still like to purchase their music, Ultra 2020 is definitely for you, and you’ll almost always find something you really enjoy.  So for me the highlights here are:

  • “So Blue” by British duo Sondr, likely the best of the 22 songs within, which could be a surprising floor filler thanks to the use of some of the lyrics and a pitched down melody from Eiffel 65’s “Blue” (and thankfully minus most of the ‘Da Ba Dee”‘s)
  • Steve Aoki’s second high-powered collaboration with South Korea’s BTS, “Waste It On Me”
  • Sofi Tukker’s playful “Swing”, for fans of songs of theirs like “Batshit”
  • The slick electronic pop of “25 Miles To Vegas” by The Tribe Of Good
  • The deep down and dirty “Tits On A Tricycle” by SNBRN, which reminds me of something Showtek would record
  • The dreamy electropop of Dutchkid’s “Flight”
  • “GOMF” (featuring BRIDGE), which has already become a hit for DVBBS in our native Canada
  • “Pica” by Deorro and Henry Fong, spiced up with an Elvis Crespo vocal
  • And Chet Porter’s beautifully melodic and unique mini-epic “The Longest Day Ever”, which I wrote about a while back

The rest I could take or leave.  But regardless if you’re looking for an enjoyable stocking stuffer for your dance music-loving friend or family member, you can’t go with an Ultra compilation like 2020.

Warm, down-to-earth lyrics guide the dance track “Here” by San Francisco-based producer @officialSawGent featuring singer Cammie Robinson @UKCammie

SAW GENT and CAMMIE ROBINSON, “Here”

“Here” has an interesting blend of lyrics and music which is atypical to the dance music genre.  For me, it’s a terrific song first and foremost, with touching lyrics that are brought to life warmly with yet another fine vocal by UK singer Cammie Robinson, who you know from songs by MonoVerse and Blinded Hearts.  It’s augmented by futuristic synth work and beats courtesy of San Francisco-based producer Saw Gent.  While only appearing in 2019 as a dance music artist and lead act, Saw Gent is a music industry professional after many years in the biz during which time he ‘ghost’ produced several songs.  That expertise and prowess really gets a showcase in “Here”.  And as much as dance music lovers will enjoy this one in clubs, I’d love to hear an acoustic version of it.