It’s 10/10 #5: @nikkiswives @hellbergmusic @aloeblacc @youngbombs @thediscofries @ryshepherdmusic @brucewiegner @partypupils @MAXmusic @differentheaven @rose_annabrown Alex Mali @mainlymali @weareFlightSchl @laurellmusic

10/10 #05

It’s been a while, but the 10/10 (or tenoutoften) feature is back!  In it,  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. 

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. 

tenoutoften

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  • NIKKI’S WIVES, “Girls Just Want To Have Fun”

Fans of the Cyndi Lauper classic may be certainly taken aback by how Canadian trio Nikki’s Wives interprets “Girls Just Want To Have Fun”, but don’t be worried, it’s a slowed-down version that will snuggle up to you.  I was fortunate to see the band perform it live back in the Spring, and the audience ate it up.  Nikki’s Wives taps into the lyrics of the song, wrestles emotion from the gleeful setting, and gives the song a completely different point of view.

  • HELLBERG & ALOE BLACC, “Punching In The Dark”

Swedish producer Hellberg is back with his best release since last Fall’s “Headlights” (with Leona Lewis).  His way to craft a seamless melody jibes so well with the graceful, invested vocal Aloe Blacc provides in “Punching In The Dark”.  Aloe has been popping up everywhere lately, from singing on fine songs from Avicii’s “SOS” to Mathieu Koss’ “Never Growing Up” to Lost Frequencies’ “Truth Never Lies”.  “Punching In The Dark” is anthemic without being overpowering, and you’ll find it stuck in your head more often than not.

  • YOUNG BOMBS, “Don’t Let Them”

Martin and Tristan started off 2019 with a big bang after signing to Astralwerks, home of Halsey and Illenium, and watching their first single “Starry Eyes” become a club and dance radio hit.  The Vancouver producers followed it up with two singles already, the more recent “Loyal”, an emotional electro-ballad, as well as the tropical-tinged “Don’t Let Them”.  They’re both solid, but “Don’t Let Them” has an edge for me with its celebratory vibe amid encouraging lyrics making you think twice about letting people walk all over you and to take a stand instead.  It’s guaranteed to make you bounce and feel so good!

  • BRUCE WIEGNER, “Malicious”

Philly bred, L.A.-based Bruce Wiegner is a new name to get to know as a singer/songwriter/producer with his third solo single “Malicious”.  The song is a sophisticated, melodic electro-pop delight, playfully calling out a former lover amid vibrant synths and percussion.  Backed with a killer funky groove, “Malicious” may very well cause a spontaneous singalong, so don’t say you weren’t warned.

  • PARTY PUPILS and MAX, “Bite My Tongue”

Although his name doesn’t appear on the artwork, I need to point out right away that MAX is the vocalist on “Bite My Tongue” by his fun side project with his very talented buddy Ryan Siegel, Party Pupils.  Fans have seen Ryan supporting MAX in his solo shows where they often add a few Party Pupils performances that truly energize the crowd.  “Bite My Tongue” allows MAX to sink into that comfortable, soulful place where he has ventured successfully on earlier singles like “Wrong” and “Ms Anonymous”, this time set in an appetizing house setting to which dance club DJ’s should direct their attention.

  • DIFFERENT HEAVEN and ROSEANNA BROWN, “Strangers”

Spanish producer Different Heaven (and pro-gamer aka Alvaro Perea) will brighten up your day with a story about falling in love, and wanting to become “Strangers” again just to feel what it’s like all over again.  “Strangers” is instantly likeable and most of us will identify with it.  Sung with vigor by Roseanna Brown, “Strangers” has a dynamic hook which will sell it home to you if the lyrics and melody somehow don’t grab you.  It’s perfectly suited for dance music radio play anywhere.

  • ALEX MALI, “Start It Up”

Alex Mali is a relatively new R&B/pop singer from Brooklyn whose music has quickly been getting traction throughout the US.  That’s not at all surprising, with a voice that is as convincing as Normani and pointed lyrics that recall a less complex H.E.R.  What’s most attractive about Alex’s voice is her sweet tone, which prevails throughout “Start It Up”.  The song is about what you feel you should do when you think you might get hurt before a potential relationship even begins.  This can be frustrating when your heart tells you that someone might be ‘the one’, in the way that past lovers were not, and your head tells you otherwise.  Despite a tough topic, the melody is soothing and the song goes down easy.  It’s from Alex’s new EP Sweet & Sour, and check out the video for “Start It Up” above.

  • DISCO FRIES, “Family Affair”

After the smashing #1 dance club hit “Concrete Heart” which they recorded with Vassy, New York City’s Disco Fries (otherwise known as Nick and Danny) are back this time on Spinnin’ with “Family Affair”.  It’s a pumped up house take on the Mary J. Blige classic from 2001 but this time with uncredited male vocals. “Family Affair” is such a recognizable song and one that needs to be covered in the right way.  Disco Fries put it on a pedestal, not taking too many production liberties with it, and make their version shine, and club play reaction will be instantaneous.  I look forward to seeing “Family Affair” follow “Concrete Heart” up the dance charts.

  • FLIGHT SCHOOL and LAURELL, “Come & Go”

Toronto production duo Flight School (Guillaume and Conor) surprised everyone in Canadian music land earlier this year by scoring a highly rare out of the box Top 20 national radio hit, after winning an iHeart Radio contest, with “Figure It Out”.  The likeable, rough-around-the-edges sound of “Figure It Out” has been succeeded by the more enigmatic deep house of “Come & Go”.  One of the co-writers of the song with Flight School is its singer Laurell, who won a Juno Award as the vocalist of Nick Fiorucci’s “Closer”, and has recorded with other prominent dance producers like Ummet Ozcan, Quintino, and Steve Void.  Her rich and captivating performance should help guarantee “Come & Go” more radio play and garner attention from outside of Canada.  “Come & Go” is international in its accessible dance flavours and sound.  Check out the video above.

  • RYAN SHEPHERD and HEATHER JANSSEN, “Who’s Gonna Love U”

“Who’s Gonna Love U” is a stylish slice of deep house from Canadian producer Ryan Shepherd, whose music has been featured in this blog a number of times over the past few years.  Whereas a number of Ryan’s songs have slammed hard and were tailored for clubs and festivals, in his latest for Armada, “Who’s Gonna Love U” should easily find favour on the radio.  Canadian singer/songwriter Heather Janssen’s voice is alternately delicate and alluring, all the while delivering a strong message to a previous lover – “who’s gonna love U if I don’t love U, nobody else could”.  Some spicy remixes could also help “Who’s Gonna Love U” get the green light from club DJ’s too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

#BILLCSTop30 #552, January 7/19

This is the 21st year of the BILLCS Top 30!!  The new year kicks off with its first chart and a shorter chart blog format.  

The Top 5 was excessively played over the holidays and stays exactly the same, with A-Trak and Todd Terry’s house music truth of “DJ’s Gotta Dance More” staying on top.  There’s nothing to challenge it immediately so it will likely be up top two weeks from now as well.

Jessie Ware’s “Overtime” and Hellberg & Leona Lewis’ “Headlights” each reach new peaks of #6 and #7 respectively.  L.A.’s Mahalo gets his 4th Top 10 entry paired with producer Le:Blanc for “In My Arms” (13-8).  The other new entry is the fastest riser on the chart, “God Damnit” by Illenium featuring the song’s writer, Call Me Karizma on vocals.  It climbs 15-9.  The song gives Illenium concurrent songs in the Top 10 (at #4 with the PatrickReza remix of “Crawl Outta Love”), and it matches the peak of Karizma’s previous Top 10 entry “u suck” from 2016.

A lot of songs get caught with small moves in a tight area of the chart that will likely loosen up in two weeks.  “Play”, the infectious new song by Jax Jones and Years & Years, moves up 20-15.  As “This Feeling” peaks at #8, “Siren” by The Chainsmokers and Aazar climbs 23-18.  Steve Void’s “Closure”, featuring a winning vocal by Andy Marsh, rises 24-19.  The rest of last week’s debuts make smaller moves:  “Flying Away” by NYC-based singer/songwriter Ryan Gibeau moves 25-22, and right behind it is the rollicking new song by The Him called “Look At Us Now”, up 26-23.  Check out the duo’s even more recent release, “Unstoppable”, below.  Molly Moore’s heartfelt “Be Here Now” rises 29-25.

Two debuts grace the chart by new performers.  Australia’s Sam Bluer has a catchy and danceable winner with “Bite My Tongue” at #27, which has a Troye Sivan “My My My!” vibe about it (they just happen to be label mates too) and is an even better follow up to last year’s fine “Body High”.  And there’s another Puth about to find his way onto your playlists.  Younger brother Stephen has a grittier, sparse sound with, guitar-spiced 60’s flavoured production on “Sexual Vibe” at #28.

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 🙂

#BILLCSTop88of2018

As we head into 2019, 2018 set the foundation for dance music to evolve in a big way – to make people want to dance together again, and to create festive, fun music which moves away from a lot of mid-tempo songs over the past few years. 

Unfortunately it may have taken the death of Avicii to realize how much many of us miss the frenetic synths and arpeggios of dance music of the early part of this decade.  It also made many of us look back in time to soak in what dance and disco music of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s brought us, and how it all made us feel great.  

While dance music is the main genre I listen to, there are other pop, alternative, and R&B/soul songs in my year end list.  These are simply my favourites, in an order that could change at any time in the near future, so for now it’s a snapshot in time. 

Songs that were on the BILLCS Top 30 at year’s end appear on this list if they had 4 appearances or more and may appear on next year’s list too if they end up ranking higher than this year. 

You’ll see some of my favourite performers multiple times – The Chainsmokers, The Him, Miguel, and Bobby Nourmand all have three entries – while there are less remixes on the chart than in recent years. 

And a tip of the hat to the many performers that continue to release excellent music on their own, represented here by the UK’s Sam Dickinson and Lostchild, Florida’s Adam Foster, Philadelphia duo NiGHTS, Germany’s Saxity, US sensation-on-the-rise YEBBA, NYC’s Squired, and even Australia-born actor Keiynan Lonsdale.

I’m in the process of entering all of my year end lists from 2009 to present in a Google Docs spreadsheet, and you’ll find these listings with tabs for each year at this link:

https://tinyurl.com/BILLCSTop88of2018

Spotify playlist – listen to all of the songs! 

BILLCS Top 88 of 2018 

88 BIG FISH featuring MIKE GOMES Moves
87 JYYE Somewhere Else
86 CHICO ROSE featuring DJ AFROJACK 2012
85 TWO FRIENDS featuring KEVIN WRITER Just A Kid
84 ROZES & NICKY ROMERO Where Would We Be
83 SQUIRED Peace Out
82 FELIX CARTAL featuring VICTORIA ZARO Worry
81 BTS DNA
80 SAN HOLO featuring BIPOLAR SUNSHINE Brighter Days
79 SAM SMITH featuring YEBBA No Peace
78 REVELRIES featuring THE BEAMISH BOYS Infinitum
77 LABROSE Gravity
76 EKALI & ZHU Blame
75 RYAN SHEPHERD featuring DIRTY HARY Right Now
74 REIGEN Dreams
73 ARIANA GRANDE Breathin
72 MATOMA featuring MAX Lonely
71 YEARS & YEARS Sanctify
70 MIKA It’S My House
69 BOBBY NOURMAND featuring ADAM ENGLE The Sun
68 BRIGHT LIGHT BRIGHT LIGHT How I Feel
67 FRANK PIERCE featuring MILES B. Do Me
66 SHAWN MENDES Lost In Japan
65 TIESTO & DZEKO featuring PREME & POST MALONE Jackie Chan
64 CADEN JESTER featuring BLAKE ROSE Vacant Love
63 BOBBY NOURMAND featuring LAURENT JOHN Prisoner
62 IDEO featuring J. PAULISHED Multiply
61 HELLBERG & LEONA LEWIS Headlights

60 WHETHAN featuring BROODS Be Like You
59 MADISON MARS Back The Funk
58 SAINT WKND & MAX Survive (PLS&TY Remix)
57 JAMES POOLE Perfectly Me
56 TROYE SIVAN Bloom
55 JESSIE WARE Overtime
54 ADAM FOSTER  Time
53 THE CHAINSMOKERS featuring KELSEA BALLERINI This Feeling
52 THE HIM White Lies
51 SAXITY featuring VICTOR PERRY You Found Me
50 THE KNOCKS featuring METHOD MAN Goodbyes
49 JONAS BLUE featuring JACK & JACK Rise
48 KEIYNAN LONSDALE Preach
47 ROBOTAKI featuring JAMIE FINE & FALCXNE Butterscotch
46 AXEL MANSOOR Talk To Me
45 YEARS & YEARS All For You
44 BOTNEK Days Of Disco
43 WAITWHAT featuring RIELLE Alive
42 JESSE McCARTNEY Better With You
41 MARTIN GARRIX  featuring BONN High On Life
40 PLS&TY Down For Me (Morgan Page Extended Remix)
39 SAM DICKINSON  Wild Sun
38 GROMEE featuring JESPER JENSET One Last Time
37 NORA EN PURE Tears In My Eyes
36 ALYX ANDER & REDONDO featuring MARIA Z Casually
35 NiGHTS Eyes
34 BRANDYN BURNETTE Run
33 SOFI TUKKER Baby I’m A Queen
32 ILLENIUM featuring ANNIKA WELLS Crawl Outta Love (PatrickReza Remix)
31 YEBBA Evergreen

30 LOSTCHILD Blacklist
29 MIGUEL Told You So
28 THE HIM featuring IVY ADARA Everybody Hurts
27 MERCER Fireworks
26 RETROVISION Get Down
25 DAVE EDWARDS featuring MARK ASARI What We’Re Made Of
24 MIGUEL featuring TRAVIS SCOTT Sky Walker
23 GIIANTS Small Talk
22 ARTY Tim
21 DZEKO Crazy (Tiësto’s Big Room Mix)
20 PETER WILSON & SEAN SMITH Verona
19 MK 17
18 TONY MORAN featuring JASON WALKER I’m In Love With You (Victor Dinaire/Bissen Remix)
17 RUFUS DU SOL No Place
16 ROBOTAKI & MANILA KILLA featuring MATTHEW JOHN KURZ I Want You (Spirix Remix)
15 THE CHAINSMOKERS Sick Boy
14 MAKO Breathe
13 BENNY BENASSI & SOFI TUKKER Everybody Needs A Kiss
12 THE CHAINSMOKERS Everybody Hates Me
11 KIESZA featuring PHILIPPE SLY Phantom Of The Dance Floor
10 JAMES BAY Pink Lemonade
09 A-TRAK featuring TODD TERRY DJ’S Gotta Dance More
08 BOBBY NOURMAND Subterranean/Estranged
07 ODESZA Loyal
06 LOUD LUXURY featuring BRANDO Body
05 TROYE SIVAN My My My!
04 DYRISK featuring NIK ERNST Smile
03 MERCER featuring RON CARROLL Satisfy
02 THE HIM featuring PARSON JAMES Broken Love
01 MIGUEL Pineapple Skies

#BILLCSTop30 #551 – December 24/18

It’s the last chart of 2018 for me, and the new entries continue to be bountiful as 4 more songs are added to the chart.  It’s been a busy, fun-filled year for pop music and 2019 doesn’t look like it will let up.  There’s far too much talent out there and not enough forums in which it can be showcased en masse.

My Christmas #1 though is new to the top and it’s “DJ’s Gotta Dance More” by my fellow Canadian A-Trak and legendary house producer and remixer Todd Terry.  Did you know that Todd was behind the innovative classic mid-80’s slammer “Can You Party” under the name Royal House?  I’m predicting more classic dance music vibes will seep into the mainstream in 2019 to make people feel so good.

The Rest of the Top 10

  • France’s Mercer made some of my most favourite house music of 2018, and “Fireworks” (above), currently #3, is right up there.  The prolific producer just dropped a new one for Armada with ATFC called “Twisted” (below).

 

  • PatrickReza’s heavy remix of Illenium’s “Crawl Outta Love” is perfectly in sync with the intent of the original song (and Illenium-approved) so it advances 5-4.  Also, in a similar alt.dance mode and with a heavy rock flavour is Patrick’s brief (1:50!) and eerie “Tip Toe”, below.
  • Sam Dickinson scores his biggest chart entry to date with “Wild Sun” in its Handbag House radio edit, climbing 9-5 from his EP From The Glass House: Part One.  Check out the remix up top and the video below.

  • Two very different songs featuring great UK women vocalist move up into the Top 10.  Jessie Ware’s “Overtime” (above) is very Lisa Stansfield-ish with a lot of 80’s funk elements, and it climbs 11-9.  Leona Lewis packs a punch with her vocal on Hellberg’s “Headlights” (below) which jumps 12-10.  It’s Hellberg’s 4th Top 10 entry and Leona’s 3rd.

Movin’ On Up

  • Mahalo and Le:Blanc’s insanely catchy 2:28 ear candy “In My Arms” is on the move and climbs 18-13.

  • Ending 2018 with rave reviews for his live shows, San Holo rises 17-14 with “Brighter Days” from album1 featuring the distinct voice of Bipolar Sunshine.
  • The fastest riser on the chart is the disco-tastic “Mister Love” from Luxembourgeois producer White Chocolate, which soars 25-16.

  • When she’s not providing vocals from many top dance music producers, Anna Yvette is writing and producing her own, and the uplifting “Shining Star” advances 22-18.

  • I’m looking forward to what Brandyn Burnette, now known as EMAN8, has up his sleeve for his debut album in 2019.  “Amen” is a soulful, psychedelic, diverse slice of pop music that climbs 23-19.  Check out the attention-grabbing video above.

  • UK producer Jax Jones turns back the clock a bit to what Years & Years sounded like at the time of their debut almost 4 years ago with the joyous pop/dance vibes of their collaboration “Play”, which rises 24-20.

Four Debuts

  • “Closure” by Steve Void and Andy Marsh, is a hard one to get out of your head, and a song to which so many of us can relate, and to which we can dance away our troubles.  It arrives on the chart at #24 and is talented Dutchman Steve’s 4th chart entry as a performer.
  • A voice to listen for in 2019 is NYC-based singer/songwriter Ryan Gibeau.  His gorgeous voice shows off his lower octaves in “Flying High”, an emotional song written on a plane after a relationship ended.  It’s from Ryan’s new album Quiet Fall and bows at #25.

  • Dutch duo The Him return to the chart after a successful 2018 releasing songs for Spinnin’ and getting to #1 on this chart with “Broken Love”.  Steven and J are at #26 with “Look At Us Now”, with some big synth riffs designed for festivals, their 7th entry since 2016.
  • Molly Moore also makes a welcome return to the chart with “Be Here Now”, which is one of her most passionate and compelling songs in the aftermath of personal tragedy.  It arrives at #29 and is her 5th solo chart entry.  Of course Molly is one half of Cosmos N Creature with EMAN8 and her songs feature prominently with them as well.

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 🙂

 

 

#BILLCSTop30 #549, November 26, 2018

This post provides highlights of my biweekly chart, where there is a new #1 and four debuts!  The first of the debuts belongs to an artist already on the chart in collaboration with one who appeared recently; the second had a #1 song last year; the third is a newcomer to the chart but not dance music; and the fourth recently assumed another performing name but is a BILLCS Top 30 veteran!

  • Seattle’s Odesza acquires its first #1 with fan favourite “Loyal”.  It’s one of the most potent dance songs of the year, and has a raucous new Deathpact reprise, available as a free download below!  It’s also the soundtrack to a new Apple commercial I saw on You Tube 🙂

  • Looking to compete with Odesza for the top spot is the engaging classic house of “DJ’s Gotta Dance More” by A-Trak featuring Todd Terry on vocals, which climbs up 6-3.

  • Three songs land in the Top 10 for the first time:
    • Mercer is back, after scoring #1 this year with “Satisfy”, with the 70’s flavoured disco of “Fireworks” moving up 14-7.
    • The Knocks land in the Top 10 for the fifth time with “Goodbyes”, their collaboration with Method Man from the New York Narcotic album, up 11-9
    • The fastest riser on the chart is PatrickReza’s compelling remix of Illenium’s “Crawl Outta Love”, featuring Annika Wells, soaring 20-10.

  • The Chainsmokers are busier than ever with new music.  Not only does “This Feeling”, featuring Kelsea Ballerini, climb 16-12, but they’ve released two new songs  (both below) in the last few weeks, the crunchy “Siren”, which shows our boys haven’t lost any harder core roots, and “Beach House”, which will please those who love their hits “Closer” and “Paris”.

  • I’m totally loving the Handbag House remix of Sam Dickinson’s “Wild Sun”, which comes from his hot new EP From The Glass House: Part One.  Also check out the acoustic “All We Are”, below.

  • The debuts from the last chart are all moving up steadily:
    • Swedish producer Hellberg’s collaboration with Leona Lewis should by all rights be a radio hit.  “Headlights” moves up 22-17.
    • Bright Light Bright Light’s “How I Feel” from the Tough Love EP climbs 25-19 as BLx2 concluded his recent tour.  Check out the 90’s inspired Disco 12″ mix above, also available on the EP.
    • San Holo put on a spectacular, intense show in New York City last week.  “Brighter Days”, from album1 and featuring vocalist Bipolar Sunshine, rises 26-21.  I was amazed at how many people knew the songs from the album and all of the words.  The man is one to watch for the 2019 festival circuit.
  • The highest debut belongs to “God Damnit”, the new collaboration between Illenium and blog favourite Call Me Karizma.  It’s actually a song that Karizma wrote that I featured in these blog pages back in March.  It received an impressive redux from Illenium, which has sent it to #24 on this chart out of the gate.  It’s Karizma’s second entry this year following the #17 “Life Of The Party”, which captured The Chainsmokers’ attention.
  • L.A.-based producer Mahalo returns to the chart this time in partnership with new producer Le:Blanc with the insanely catchy “In My Arms” at #26.  This is 2:28 jam-packed with hooks and a fantastic house rhythm.  Not to be missed!  Mahalo got to #1 last year with “Perfect” featuring Canadian singer/songwriter Cat Lewis.

  • Premiering on the chart is Anna Yvette, the NYC-based vocalist, songwriter and producer who has graced numerous fine songs over the past few years.  “Shooting Star” is the joyous new song to get her onto the chart at #28.

  • Arriving at #29 is “Amen” by EMAN8, who we better know as Brandyn Burnette.  Kicking off this new legacy of songs is the intriguing and very cool video above.  BB recently concluded a stay on the chart with the autobiographical #4 “Run”.

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 🙂

 

#BILLCSTop30 #548 – November 12/18

Some new personal faves make significant moves this week, and there are three debuts.  

The Top 10

  • The smashing two some of Kiesza’s “Phantom Of The Dance Floor” (above) and “Verona” by Peter Wilson and Sean Smith (below) hold on to the pole positions handily, but may have to give them up in two weeks given the challenges being presented immediately below!
  • Seattle duo Odesza had never appeared on my chart before but are slowly taking over with their redux of a festival fave, “Loyal”, which climbs 9-3.

  • Busting the fastest move on the chart for a second time is “DJ’s Gotta Dance More”, the oh-so-true deal from Montreal’s A-Trak and house legend Todd Terry on vocals.  It’s up 13-6 and will definitely give Odesza a run for the top in two weeks.

  • Also new to the Top 10 are Florida producer PLS&TY with “Down For Me” in its splendid Morgan Page extended mix (above), climbing 11-8, and Canadian producers Botnek with the retrotastic “Days Of Disco” (below) rising 16-10.

Movin’ On Up

  • I’m totally digging their second full album New York Narcotic, and The Knocks are closing in on another Top Tenner here with “Goodbyes” featuring Method Man moving up 17-11.

  • Though it’s “Thank U, Next” that’s everywhere, “Breathin” is still my go-to Ariana Grande song, rising 15-12.  Check out its new video above.

  • The Chainsmokers have had a busy few weeks, with several new remixes of “This Feeling” (featuring Kelsea Ballerini) as well as a new video (above).  The song climbs 21-16.  Check out the official remix by Canadian duo Young Bombs below 🙂

 

  • UK singer/songwriter Sam Dickinson is looking to bust out in two weeks with “Wild Sun” (up 23-18) as the Handbag House remix (above) and his EP From The Glass House: Part One are released this Friday.  Ahead of that, Sam has also released a lyric video for the upbeat pop/dance track “Hanging By A Thread” (below), where his high register is in winning Mika territory.  

  • Jessie Ware’s “Overtime” is her best, and funkiest, single in years, and it rises 27-21.

Debuts

  • It’s been a while but Sweden’s Hellberg is back in a huge way, with his new single “Headlights” in a co-billing with none other than the sensational voice of Leona Lewis.  With an intriguing, suspenseful video, “Headlights” arrives at #22.  Hellberg has been to the Top 10 three times including a #1 with Dzeko & Torres with “Care For Me” in 2016.  Leona has been to the Top 10 twice with “Bleeding Love” and “Better In Time”.

  • What would a year be like without a Bright Light Bright Light appearance on this chart?  It’s been the lead off single from his recent EP Tough Love, but it’s grown on me so much with repeated plays that it debuts at #25.  I will be seeing Bright Light Bright Light once again in concert, this time in my city, on Thursday November 15!

  • The next night I will be seeing Dutch producer San Holo in concert for the first time, but in NYC!  His recent pairing with vocalist Bipolar Sunshine on “Better Days” premieres at #26 from San’s acclaimed release Album1.  Can’t wait to hear what it all sounds like in concert!  “Better Days” is San Holo’s second chart entry, following 2016’s #4 “Light”.

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 🙂

#BILLCSTop30 #501 – January 23/17

Here at the BILLCS Music Blog, we continue to burn down discos until the morning comes…

The Top 10

  • Or so sing Pet Shop Boys, as “Burn” from their album Super handily continues its reign at the top.  We’ll have to wait to see if any other song challenges in two weeks.

  • “D E E P In NY”, Bobby Nourmand’s brilliant mix of hip hop and EDM, slides up a notch to #2 to try and rival Pet Shop Boys two weeks from now.
  • Don’t discount Brothers by Saxity featuring Strøm, either, as this carefree song about friendship advances to #3.  The duo have a collaboration on deck with American singer Nathalie Archangel too, with the same songwriters no less 🙂
  • “All The Way”, a fun-loving instrumental by Sweden’s Hellberg, continues to rise up 7-5.
  • Tony Moran & Jason Walker know how to have a blast together making songs, and “Say Yes” is the latest collaboration, moving 9-6.

  • Vancouver’s Felix Cartal has his first of two entries cracking the Top 10 with frequent vocal collaborator Ofelia K on “Drifting Away”, climbing 17-9.
  • “Light” by Dutchman San Holo continues to tread in the Billboard Top 20 Electronic Songs chart, and also continues to advance on this chart too, soaring 18-10.

Movin’ On Up

  • It looks like another young Dutchman, Steve Void, is about to get his first Top 10 here with No Mondays with “Chemistry”, featuring a lovely vocal by Clara Mae.  It rises 13-11.  Steve has been in the Top 10 with remixes last year – SNBRN’s “Beat The Sunrise” got to #5, while “False Alarm” by Matoma & Becky Hill reached #6.
  • L.A.’s Mahalo is on a roll with a splendid remix of ZHU’s “In The Morning” following a couple of originals, one being “Be My Love” (featuring Cat Lewis) which climbs 16-12.
  • The fastest riser on the chart is Phil Good’s ode to “Sleeping In”, which in a Sean Turk bedroom bass remix is more than about just that.  It wastes no time rocketing up the chart 22-13.

  • All of the last chart’s debuts are well on their way.  DNCE’s “Naked” bounds 25-19 (above), with Felix Cartal’s second entry “Keep Up” (featuring Steph Jones in a Ben Zamora remix) jumping 27-20 (below), Throttle’s pairing with Michael Buble for a remix of “My Kind Of Girl” rising 26-22, and would-be sports anthem “#Bomber!” by Italy’s BeatmartHz & DJ Mirko B climbing 29-23.

Three Debuts

  • There is no denying that The Chainsmokers were wise to wait till January to unleash “Paris”, now that “Closer” has hit its stride.  The guys know their audience and wrote another song to which anyone can relate, capturing a snapshot and the accompanying emotion to make the song soar.  Once again Drew Taggart’s vocal totally suits the song and the chorus is a positive singalong that will endure throughout 2017.  It arrives at #15, giving it a good shot at the top… soon!  The Chainsmokers did reach #1 here with “Closer”, as well as #2 in 2015 with “Let You Go” (featuring Great Good Fine OK), and #8 with “Don’t Let Me Down” (featuring Daya).
  • Debuting on the chart is Miami producer Alyx Ander with the seductive “Memories Of You” featuring an amazing vocal by Srey Davi.  This one will get under your skin… it arrives at #27. It’s the first appearance by Nettwerk Records on this chart since 2011 too.

  • The last debut belongs to British producer KDA with “Just Say” featuring rising American vocalist Tinashe.  Not much is known about KDA but he did manage to fend off One Direction and scored a UK #1 in late 2015 with “Turn The Music Louder (Rumble)” (featuring Tinie Tempah and Katy B).  “Just Say” is classic American-style house with European flair, and it’s no surprise it’s already in the Top 20 of the Billboard Club Play chart.

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

Listen for me on http://www.planetradio.ca live on Tuesday evenings, and with my Pick of the Week segment throughout the week 🙂  See below for details!

 

 

#BILLCSTop86Songsof2016

Trying to find time to write everything I want is always an issue.  I present to you my Top 86 Songs of 2016, with this blog post based on the radio program which aired on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day on http://www.planetradio.ca 🙂  Here’s my commentary on my Top 30 Songs with the complete list following.  Links to my Top 10 Songs are featured further down…

#30:  Brandyn Burnette’s “Made Of Dreams”, the title song from his first EP, and the first of four songs by or featuring him on this year end list. The song was greatly enhanced by a feel-good tropical mix from Chicago remix duo Win & Woo collaborating with Kiso Armic, also from Chicago.

#29 – L.A.-based singer/songwriter Simon Curtis with “Super Psycho Love” from his album Super 8bit Heart, first of two songs from that album in this list. That album was a 2016 reimagining of Simon’s 2010 free online mixtape still available from his website called 8bit Heart, which to me is one of the most endearing recordings of the decade. “Super Psycho Love” benefited most from an update and appeared on my chart for the first time.

#28 – courtesy of Canadian duo Young Bombs, who also have two remixes in my list. They brought the bounce to a fine record out of Norway from a young newcomer named Jesper Jenset called “High”.

#27 – belonging to Canadian brothers Chris and Alex from Orangeville Ontario – DVBBS! They’ve been on this list before (in 2015 and 2014), but this year they included Toronto’s Dante Leon on vocal for the toe-tapper “Angel”.

#26 – a taste of 80’s flavoured funk courtesy of NYC producer/remixer Jenaux with the rollicking original “Get It On”. Jenaux also partnered with Texas duo Tritonal for the song “Broken” (#45), and has another remix in this list.  

#25 – more Canadians 🙂 with a creative and funky remix by Chicago’s Snøwmass of a song by Montreal production duo Sterling Grove who are paired with Toronto pop/jazz vocalist Ellyn Woods for the mysterious “Sound Of Home”.

#24 – one of the most provocative and surprising albums of 2016 was Blue Neighbourhood by South Africa-born, Australia-based singer Troye Sivan, who had a world-wide following on You Tube before making records. It consists of beautifully crafted, poignant songs which meant a lot particularly to many teens, and scored the Top 20 hit “Youth”. I dove deeper into the album for the evocative “Talk Me Down”.  My bigger list also includes “Wild” (#35)  and “Fools” (#40), all BILLCS Top 30 Top 10 songs.

#23 – belongs to California duo Mako with their dance radio hit “Smoke Filled Room”. As remixed by Elephante, who appears two more times in this list, “Smoke Filled Room” set the stage for a crush of a now-grown up woman.

#22 – on the rise in 2016 was L.A. producer and singer Mi Disguise (aka Louie Garcia), and with his pal Rouse created a wonderful dance mix EP called NGHT LFE for summer clubbing. Their song “Her And Him” is an inspiring song for late night romance.

#21 – the song I liked best on Adele’s album 25 next to last year’s “Hello”, “All I Ask” is another knockout performance and stood out from the rest of the songs on the album.

#20 – if there was any song in 2016 that would instantly make you feel good it’s one by veteran producer Tony Moran and singer Jason Walker and his amazing range. “So Happy” was a deserved #1 Billboard club hit.

#19 – I was wowed by MAX when I saw him perform in October 2015, and since then he has been a steady presence on the BILLCS Top 30. Singer and actor Max Schneider brought us a full album called Hell’s Kitchen Angel. The album contained a sweet ballad called “Lights Down Low”, but it was the smashing uptempo remix by L.A. duo Two Friends that took it to new heights. It’s the first of two in this list by MAX.

#18 – producer/remixer Tim Wu calls himself Elephante and from his EP I Am The Elephante recorded “Plans” featuring BILLCS favourite Brandyn Burnette on vocals, and I hope the pair will repeat this collaboration soon.

#17 – back and as grand as ever in 2016 was the classic dance duo Pet Shop Boys from their album Super with the lead off single “The Pop Kids”, which got club goers out onto the dance floor in the Spring.

#16 – a very distinct song that found its way out of its native Norway to become a worldwide pop and dance club hit. Featuring a unique vocal by a singer named Iselin Solheim, it’s “Faded” by newcomer Alan Walker.

#15 – Dutch duo The Him released an irresistible deep house club hit “Balance”, which features L.A. based Dutch singer/songwriter Oktavian. Watch for more great music from The Him in 2017 as they wrapped up the year opening for The Chainsmokers on their European tour.

#14 – one of the most poignant songs of 2016 is based on a coincidence of real-life events of loss, by Brandyn Burnette called “Lost” from his EP Made Of Dreams. Brandyn auditioned for American Idol at the top of the year and took a risk by performing this original, which the judges loved, though Brandyn chose not to continue on the show. “Lost” is the third of four songs in the Top 30 by or featuring Brandyn.

#13 – preceding Hell’s Kitchen Angel in 2016 was MAX’s EP Wrong. The title song is a hip hop flavoured rave up featuring rapper Lil Uzi Vert who scored with his own album and songs in 2016 as well. A BILLCS Top 30 #1.

#12 – featuring an incredible gritty vocal by American singer Brayton Bowman is “Shy” by Belgian producer The Magician, who released “Shy” and songs by others in 2016 on his own label Potion Records. Watch for more of this incredible music from The Magician and his stable of artists in 2017.  A BILLCS Top 30 #1.

#11 – “Kiss The Sky” by NYC duo The Knocks featuring none other than The Fugees’ Wyclef Jean on vocals. The Knocks created a grand party when I saw their show in January, proving themselves to be slick entertainers as well as producers. Their album 55 continued the dance party, and they found themselves opening for Justin Bieber on his European tour in the latter part of 2016. “Kiss The Sky” is sheer dance music escapism at its best.  A BILLCS Top 30 #1.

#10 – the third entry on the list by Elephante is “Closer”, which became his signature song after being heard in many remixes which included worthy ones by the likes of producers Aash Mehta and Speaker Of The House. The vocalist on “Closer” is Portland, Oregon’s Bishøp and it’s one of the best of 2016. 

#9 – “Dreamin’” by British producer/remixer Embody featuring fellow Brit vocalist Camden Cox. It’s somewhat hard to believe that the song that could transport you most to a hot beach party in 2016 was brought to us from two talented Brits. “Dreamin’” is 2016’s best tropical mix.

Songs 8 through 1 all were BILLCS Top 30 #1’s 🙂

#8 – belonging to my fellow Canadian The Weeknd, whose real name is Abel Tesfaye, and Abel grew up not far from where I grew up, but in a community of 90’s Ethiopean immigrants, which makes his success all the more formidable. The Weeknd collaborated with the award-winning French duo Daft Punk for “Starboy”, from the diverse album of the same name, which also gave him his first Billboard #1 hit. 

#7 – Brandyn Burnette has his final song of 4 in the Top 30 (and 8 on the full list, plus one by his duo Cosmos & Creature with his gal Molly Moore) from his special EP Made Of Dreams with “Nothing At All”. It’s a sparse production that brings out the progressive soul vibe of the song, which made the Made Of Dreams EP all the more listenable. Brandyn’s putting finishing touches on his third release due in January.

#6 – one of the most emotional songs of the year, the second one on the list called “Lost”, this one by British Columbia native Connor Phillips. In its original version, the song is a short acoustic ballad, but Canadian remix duo Young Bombs once again gave their redux an extra wow factor by washing it in enough synths to make your eyes wet. If you find yourself wanting to hug someone, blame it on the power of music.

free download:

#5 – the second song from Super 8bit Heart on this list is “8bit Heart”, a personal favourite of mine from 2010 that was redone for 2016. “8bit Heart” is a song like none other to me, it’s a song full of love and heart that totally captivated me 6 years ago in its original version, and was my #4 song of that year. Simon kept it real in 2016 and made the redux of “8bit Heart” the lead companion song for his book Boy Robot. 

#4 – released in late July, it was hard to believe that “Closer” by The Chainsmokers featuring Halsey would become one of the biggest hits of the decade, with 12 weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. The Chainsmokers, who are the NYC duo of Alex Pall and Drew Taggart, appeared on my list last year but more than any act in 2016 outdid themselves with their relentless performing and recording schedules. But the best of it all, is that they remained truly down-to-earth and supportive of other breaking acts in the dance community. “Closer” resonated with me too.

#3 – this song really kicked a funky butt into the proceedings in 2016, being the song that followed The Chainsmokers’ “Closer” at #1 on my regular chart of the BILLCS Top 30. It’s “Native Son Prequel” by producer/remixer Gramatik featuring London-born American vocalist Leo Napier. It’s a song told from the perspective of a pimp, and aside from that odd story angle, NYC remixer Jenaux gave it a spirited 70’s funk flavour that could only make you think of the character Huggy Bear from TV’s Starsky & Hutch 😛 

#2 – Toronto duo Dzeko & Torres collaborated with Sweden’s Hellberg for their free download release of “Care For Me”, which is my #2 song of 2016. While the performers may have considered “Care For Me” to be a great free promotional vehicle for their music in 2016, it was in fact a fabulous arrangement featuring an uncredited vocal, whose lyrics also struck an emotional nerve with me. Dzeko & Torres have since decided to pursue other efforts, with Julian Dzeko continuing to record while Luis Torres ventures into the production side of things, and I’m glad I caught their show in Toronto in April. Jon Hellberg on the other hand featured prominently on the BILLCS Top 30 in 2016 with both “Synchronize” and “All The Way”.

#1 – my favourite song of 2016 was brought to my attention courtesy of an excellent innovative remix, one of the best of the year, by relative newcomers EDWYNN x TIKAL (also known as Swedes Thor Lundberg and Leonard Palmberg) and Spirix (who is American producer/remixer Devain Doolaramini). The song is “So Bad” by L.A. singer/songwriter Brandon Skeie, who didn’t release more than a handful of songs in 2016 but is set out to conquer 2017. A protege of Semi-Precious Weapons frontman and noted songwriter Justin Tranter, who co-wrote Justin Bieber’s “Sorry” and Fall Out Boy’s “Centuries” among others, Brandon has an amazing high register, which helped send “So Bad” into the history books for me. It’s one of the best songs ever about longing for someone who you may or may not get to have in your life. 

Original:

Remix (free download):  

The full list, web version:  BILLCS Top 86 Songs of 2016

Spotify playlist of most of the songs:  BILLCS Top 86 Songs of 2016

#BILLCSTop30 #499 – December 26/16

As my bi-weekly chart heads towards its 500th edition in two weeks, it looks like the top of the chart will be shaken ‘n stirred a bit.  I keep the chart to a Top 30 but my new music iPod playlist is around 80 current songs 🙂  Two Canadians lead the new list!

The Top 10

  • The Weeknd and Daft Punk score the top spot again with “Starboy”, which will cause it to rank highly in my upcoming Top 86 of ’16 list 🙂
  • The big question is, which song will follow “Starboy” at #1 in two weeks?  Songs 2, 3 and 4 all make big cases to succeed it.  Another Canadian, Halifax’s Famba, rises 3-2 with his funky and fun “Right Here Right Now”.  L.A.’s Bobby Nourmand climbs 5-3 with his EDM and hip hop mix “D E E P In NY”, featuring rappers D.O.C. and Goodmorning.  Both are above.  And the venerable Pet Shop Boys score their second Top 5er this year with “Burn” (below), moving 6-4.

  • NYC’s Stefan Alexander’s “Skeleton” busts upward 9-6 – check out the intriguing new video below.

  • I had a little hand in connecting lyricist to performers/producers with the song “Brothers” which evolved out of the collaboration.  Germany’s Saxity brought in Norway’s Strøm for the vocal, and the rest is history as the passionately performed song climbs 16-8.
  • The fastest riser on the chart is a vibrant and happy instrumental by Sweden’s Hellberg called “All The Way”, and it vaults 19-9.
  • The last of three new entries to the Top 10 is the infectious, 90’s influenced song “The Thirst” by Eric Sharp featuring vocalist Zhao, rising 14-10.

https://soundcloud.com/ericsharp/eric-sharp-the-thirst-ft-zhao

Movin’ On Up

  • Victor Perry is headed for his second Top 10 song on this chart with his brilliant soft piano-led cover of Everything But The Girl’s “Missing”, which moves up 23-14.  Get it for free on his Soundcloud page!
  • It recently went to #1 on Billboard’s Dance Club Play chart, but Tony Moran & Jason Walker’s “Say Yes” is so bright and bubbly it deserves to stick around for longer.  It climbs 24-16.

  • Kid Cudi’s new album Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin’ should be an interesting listen if its lead single “Surfin'” (featuring Pharrell Williams) is any indication, and it jumps 25-17.

  • Canadian Felix Cartal is one of the most prolific dance producers/performers around in 2016.  His uplifting single “Drifting Away”, featuring Ofelia K., rises 28-22.

Premieres

  • The Netherlands’ San Holo has offered up some often infuriatingly experimental progressive EDM of 2016, so it was intriguing to see him land near year’s end with a gorgeous chilled out pop record called “Light”, which arrives at #23.  It’s also on its way up the Billboard Dance/Electronic Songs chart, where it resides in its Top 20 🙂  You can still get it for free, for now, via his Soundcloud page above.  It’s also a feather-in-the-cap for new label Bitbird!
  • Molly Moore’s songs have a way of sticking in your head.  So with recent outstanding remixes by teenager Pluto and duo-on-the-rise Telykast (both above and free downloads), “Imaginary Friends” (initially from her Now You See Me EP) began to resonate with me more.  The song in all of its versions bows at #26.
  • Another teen debuting on the chart is Germany’s JPB, who has released a debut three song EP called For You, and the title song, featuring increasingly in-demand British vocalist Luke Cusato, debuts at #27 from the Heroic label.  The song is also available for free download at the Soundcloud link above.

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

Listen for me with my Pick of the Week at 2:20/6:20/10:20 AM/PM EST on http://www.planetradio.ca most days Monday through Sunday, and my flashbacks to a Toronto Top 10 of yesteryear Tuesdays at 9pm EST! :)

#BILLCSTop30 #498 – December 12/16

The top of the chart becomes unzipped after a slew of long-lasting favourites give way, resulting in some huge moves, and other favourites depart, meaning that there are six debuts on the new chart, giving us a good sign of what’s in store for 2017 🙂

The Top 10

  • #1 and #2 duke it out and once again “Starboy” by The Weeknd featuring Daft Punk stays ahead of “Plans” by Elephante featuring Brandyn Burnette.  What a fine pair of songs to lead a very busy pack below!
  • The fastest riser on the chart belongs to Halifax’s Famba, whose fun and mainly narrated “Right Here Right Now” soars 16 to 3.  The song would make a good mix with 90’s hits “The Rockafeller Skank” by Fatboy Slim or “People Are Still Having Sex” by LaTour, to name two tunes that come to mind…
  • Amid the three songs that vault into the Top 10, “Just A Dream” by Molly Moore featuring Brandyn Burnette finds its way to #4, from Molly’s terrific Now You See Me EP.
  • Also sailing into the Top 5 from #17 is “D E E P In NY” by Bobby Nourmand featuring rappers DOC and Goodmorning.  “D E E P” is a unique record, originally a house instrumental that has been taken to another level with the hip hop vocals, and has found a place on Pete Tong’s renown show!  More to come I’m sure of it!
  • Pet Shop Boys look like they could be headed to the top with third single “Burn” from their album Super.  “Burn” ignites and rises 18-6.

  • Hey even Rihanna is in the picture – her gorgeous “Love On The Brain” moves 9-7.

  • Also new to the Top 10 is NYC singer Stefan Alexander with his pensive “Skeleton” climbing 15-9.
  • The 5th debut in the Top 10 belongs to Fabian Luttenberger whose laid back grower “Vague” climbs 11-10 in a Stan Sax remix.

What else could be movin’ up?

  • “The Thirst” is an infectious house track by Eric Sharp featuring vocalist Kenny Zhao that rises 20-14 with much thanks to some guitar effects which sound like Stardust’s classic “Music Sounds Better With You”.
  • “Brothers” by German duo Saxity featuring Norway’s Strøm on vocals is a sax-led dance track to warm your soul at this time of year.  It soars 25-16.

https://soundcloud.com/hellbergmusic/allthewayvip

  • “All The Way” by Hellberg continues to have long legs after premiering this past summer, climbing 26-19, and now the prominent Swedish producer has released a VIP mix to add to the fun.  Check it out above.

SIX Debuts

  • What a way to lead a fine group of debuts than with American pop/R&B singer Victor Perry’s beautiful rendition of Everything But The Girl’s “Missing”.  The piano-led cover bows at #23 and is available at Victor’s Soundcloud page above as a free download 🙂

  • It quickly scurried to #1 on Billboard’s Dance Club Play chart this past week, and like with its predecessor, the #1 “So Happy”, Tony Moran and Jason Walker have created another instantly memorable, fun, upbeat song with “Say Yes”, which arrives at #24.

  • Kid Cudi makes his debut on this chart with a somewhat provocative but good timey single “Surfin'”, featuring Pharrell Williams, and it premieres at #25, in advance of an album due next year.
  • I wrote about “Chemistry” by talented and affable young Dutchman Steve Void & No Mondays back in the Fall, but it has endured, and recently Epic Records picked it up for release!  After winning a remix contest, Syence presented their version this past week too.  “Chemistry”, featuring singer Clara Mae, bows at #26.  Listen to the original and remix above:)
  • L.A. producer Mahalo and vocalist Cat Lewis are quite the pair with a great song called “Be My Love”, which lands at #27 out of the gate.

https://soundcloud.com/felixcartal/drifting-away

  • After a great year of songs it seems only fitting that Canadian Felix Cartal should appear on the chart with the pop radio-worthy “Drifting Away”, featuring frequent vocal collaborator Ofelia K.  It debuts at #28.

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

Listen for me with my Pick of the Week at 2:20/6:20/10:20 AM/PM EST on http://www.planetradio.ca most days Monday through Sunday, and my flashbacks to a Toronto Top 10 of yesteryear this Wednesday (December 14) and next Tuesday (December 20) at 9pm EST! :)