The Voice season 9 contestant @Chance_Pena scores with low-fi original “1965”

CHANCE PENA, “1965”

15 year old Texas singer Chance Peña was a dark horse Top 20 contestant on the most recent season of “The Voice”, but you couldn’t help but root for him with his sincere performances that soared beyond his young years.  He was too-harshly critiqued for his performance of Imagine Dragons’ “Demons” (below) on the show – I personally thought it was the best of that night, honest and vulnerable to the core, and it got better as it went along – which was his last until coach Adam Levine knew that Chance had more to offer and brought him back.  And without that, we wouldn’t have got to see Chance’s take on The Civil Wars’ “Barton Hollow”, which stood out as thoroughly unique from the rest of the performances.  Like season 8 winner Sawyer Fredericks, Chance simply cannot be placed in the same pop box as the rest of his fellow contestants.  He is working on new original music, and he’s posted “1965” on Soundcloud above for you to hear.  It’s low-fi but that adds to his touching story-telling charm; a song like this needs no busy arrangement.  While he might be leaning towards folk and Americana as his key sub-genres, I still think Chance has a lot to offer as a diverse pop singer.  Keep your ears out for more new music from Chance Peña.

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BILLCS Chart #391 – November 5/12 – Lose Control with Carlos Nóbrega’s New #1!

Even though we had a song with a video about an alien love story at the top of the chart two weeks ago, my Hallowe’en party song for 2012 is “Music Makes You Lose Control” by Portugal’s Carlos Nóbrega, which climbs to #1 for this edition of my chart, succeeding “Spectrum” by Zedd & Matthew Koma. Carlos is working on an album and I’ll be one of the first to have news on it as it happens. In the meantime buy “MMYLC” on iTunes and support independent music by doing so!

Zooming to #3 to become a real challenge for the top is “Don’t You Worry Child” by Swedish House Mafia featuring John Martin, which looks to replicate its UK #1 status in other countries too. The Mafia are playing to huge crowds on what looks to be a final tour for the trio.  Below is a live clip of the song.  Also joining the Top 5 is “Anything Could Happen” by Ellie Goulding, which still seems to be getting lost in the success of “Lights”. Nonetheless it is one of the more joyous sounding songs of the year.

After coming off of a successful UK tour supporting Scissor Sisters, Bright Light Bright Light continues to rise up the chart to #7 with new single “Feel It”, which features several remixes and a new/old song “Good Times”. Rod Thomas (BLx2) has once again given us a free download of a remix, coupling “Good Times” with Black Box’s “Everybody Everybody” as “Good Body”, below.

Two songs join the Top 10. “Unheard” (#9) by Netherlands singer Jeronimo isn’t a single, but is one of the most enjoyable and irresistible songs from his debut album One Kiss. And “Between The Raindrops” by Lifehouse featuring Natasha Bedingfield is indeed a grower, leaping 18-10, as I look forward to the band’s next album Almeria and perhaps a tour in 2013.  Take a look at a live clip of Lifehouse performing the song, below.

You can view the full chart using the link under ***BILL’S PERSONAL CHART*** to the right, or you can click right hereYou can hear all of the songs on the chart or watch their videos by clicking on the pics on the chart page.  Any free downloads that are identified are sanctioned by the performer.  There’s always a tiny place at the bottom of the blog post with tags and the statement “Leave A Comment” – please feel free to do so :)

Below the Top 10 is a steady busy stream of great music. “Evolved” by Vague-a-bonde moves to #11 as the singer records a new album.  This independent release has a crackling good hook and a soft, winning vocal (listen below).  Jane Badler’s “Yesterday’s Tomorrows” is at #12 and is also featured in the Stormby remix on the compilation Kiss My Lipstick Off. Imagine Dragons’ anthem “It’s Time” is now at #14, while Matt & Kim’s rollicking “Let’s Go” climbs to #15. As the release of Lotus approaches, “Your Body” by Christina Aguilera moves up to #16, and Mika’s “Popular Song” (taking its cue from “Popular” from “Wicked”) is up to #18. Kid Massive & DATABOY have a UK club hit with “Good Girlfriend” at #20, while “Must Be The Love” by Arty, Nadia Ali & BT jumps to #21.

As I expected two weeks ago, the chart got a bit of housecleaning and there are five new entries. It’s no surprise that the highest, at #17, is “Parachute” by Matthew Koma, if you read my rave about it recently. The one newcomer that I haven’t written about yet is “Yeah Yeah” by Willy Moon at #22. You know it as an iPod commercial song. But on its own, it’s a powerful crowd-pleaser from this 23 year old New Zealand native who is currently touring in the UK and Europe opening for Jack White. Watch the stylish, simple and fun choreography in the video below.

Despite the overhype, Adele’s theme for the new James Bond film “Skyfall” rises above it all, being such a gorgeous piece of drama unto itself, landing at #23 on the chart. At #25 is “Burn” by Bim from their Lifelines EP, which is due for worldwide release this week. This is the opener to the EP but is the core of it, full of intense emotions that could write their own book. The video is intriguing with its comic book theme, and really doesn’t have much to do with the song – watch below. Lastly, “Play The Girl” by another Netherlands singer, Tao Hypah, which I also wrote about recently, debuts at #28 following the #3 success of “Celeb”.

BILLCS Top 30 #390, October 22/12

This edition of my personal chart is top heavy with activity, which means only two debuts and a number of songs which will exit the chart in two weeks (including DATABOY’s magnificent #1 “Dreams Are Gold” (#10), which is at its maximum 10 appearances – 20 weeks).

“Spectrum” by Zedd featuring Matthew Koma slides comfortably into #1 as the German producer continues his tour (stopping here in Toronto on November 2) to promote his new album Clarity. But the song will be battling it out in two weeks with the insanely catchy “Music Makes Me Lose Control” by Portugal’s Carlos Nóbrega, which has been itching to bust a move up the chart these past few weeks, and finally does so, vaulting 6 to 2. This leaves “Remember When (Push Rewind)” by Chris Wallace at #3, “Go For Gold” by Kyle Patrick at #4, and the Green Children remix of “Houdini” by Foster The People at #5.

And there’s no shortage of movement in the rest of the Top 10. “Long Time” by Sweden’s John De Sohn featuring Andreas Moe climbs to #6, “Anything Could Happen” by Ellie Goulding (below) jumps 10-7 despite getting lost in the extended success of “Lights”, and “Feel It” by Bright Light Bright Light featuring Mikal Kilgore is the only new addition to the Top 10 at #9.

You can view the full chart using the link under ***BILL’S PERSONAL CHART*** to the right, or you can click right hereYou can hear all of the songs on the chart or watch their videos by clicking on the pics on the chart page.  Any free downloads that are identified are sanctioned by the performer.  There’s always a tiny place at the bottom of the blog post with tags and the statement “Leave A Comment” – please feel free to do so :)

There’s a bit of a log jam just outside of the Top 10, with “Unheard” by Jeronimo bumped up to #11, and Bim’s “Lights Out” rising to #12. But then we have the fastest riser, “Don’t You Worry Child” by Swedish House Mafia featuring John Martin soaring 24-14 and bound to be a contender for #1 in the coming weeks. Jane Badler’s sensational drama of “Yesterday’s Tomorrows” moves to #15, “Evolved” by Vague-à-bonde (below) climbs to #16 – the lady herself is opening for Diamond Rings in Minneapolis soon – with “It’s Time” by Imagine Dragons and “Between The Raindrops” by Lifehouse featuring Natasha Bedingfield right behind. Lifehouse announced the title of its new album this week, which is called Almeria.

Last week’s debuts make bountiful moves. “Your Body” by Christina Aguilera zips up to #19, with Mika’s “Popular Song” immediately after, and Matt & Kim’s rollicking “Let’s Go” (official lyrics video below) bounding 30-22.

The two debuts this week are guaranteed to make your feet move. The renown BT has teamed up with young Russian DJ/producer Arty and the always marvelous Nadia Ali for “Must Be The Love” at #24. It’s a dandy hybrid of trance and house made even more conspicuous by Nadia’s signature voice, and resonates in the original 12″ version at the top of this page. Both BT and Nadia Ali are no strangers to my chart. Here are their respective chart histories:

BT

Simply Being Loved (Somnambulist), #1, 2003

Superfabulous (featuring Rose McGowan), #1, 2003

The Force Of Gravity (featuring JC Chasez), #3, 2003

Love Comes Again (with Tiesto), #5, 2004

Break My Fall (with Tiesto), #6, 2007

Suddenly (with Christian Burns), #6, 2010

The Emergency, #17, 2011

Nadia Ali and iio

Rapture (Tastes So Sweet) (iio), #3, 2002

At The End (iio), #2, 2003

Smooth (iio), #5, 2003

Is It Love (iio), #21, 2005

Love Story, #3, 2009

Believe It (with Spencer & Hill), #12, 2012

The remaining debut is “Good Girlfriend” by Danish producer/DJ Kid Massive featuring the one and only DATABOY at #25. This song takes a little time to catch on and will finally be available digitally in the coming two weeks. All kids of remixes abound with Alex Van Alff’s currently available as a free download. Do check out the video at the top of the blog. Not only does the song flow really well with the story, you get to see DATABOY’s Cameron and Adam performing (and you can match up the voices to the guys now ;).

BILLCS Top 30 #389 – October 8/12

While the rest of my personal chart is stunted with pent-up activity from songs on the rise, the songs at the top of the chart pretty much stay intact.  So that means we have the very talented Chris Wallace gracing #1 for a fourth time with “Remember When (Push Rewind)”, and you can watch for another song from the Push Rewind album to debut in these parts in two weeks.  

Zedd has been on Lady GaGa’s lips a lot lately, if you happened to miss the “High Princess/Stache” mashup on the weekend (it’s below).  So featuring Matthew Koma’s dulcet boyish tones, the German producer claims #2 with “Spectrum”, which looks to succeed “Remember When” at the top.  

“Go For Gold” holds steady at #3 for Kyle Patrick, while “Dreams Are Gold” by DATABOY (#4) continues to hang in the Top 5  – where it has been for all of its appearances but one (it debuted at #8) – while the loveable “Genius” continues to rise at #8.  “Houdini” by Foster The People holds tight at #5 with the free download of the Green Children remix, which is just cause for lots of random dancing.

There’s a long stretch of songs on hold or rising between #5 and #15, so I’ll touch on the bigger moves.  “Music Makes You Lose Control” by Carlos Nóbrega (below) moves 8-6, hovering  just below the Top 5 in anticipation of a bigger move in two weeks – can it get to #1?  I have been saying it since I first heard it – Hallowe’en dance parties, this is YOUR song!  

Vaulting 12-7 is the emotional Swedish dance music that is currently so appealing by way of “Long Time” by John De Sohn featuring Andreas Moe.  Another dance floor filler is Markus Riva’s “We Dance 4 Reason”, holding at #9.  And then Ellie Goulding’s “Anything Can Happen” arrives at #10 just as her Halcyon album hits stores tomorrow in North America.  Let’s get those remixes onto iTunes as well, shall we?

You can view the full chart using the link under ***BILL’S PERSONAL CHART*** to the right, or you can click right hereYou can hear all of the songs on the chart or watch their videos by clicking on the pics on the chart page.  Any free downloads that are identified are sanctioned by the performer.  There’s always a tiny place at the bottom of the blog post with tags and the statement “Leave A Comment” – please feel free to do so :)

The fastest riser of the lot is “Feel It” by Bright Light Bright Light featuring Mykal Kilgore, which soars 18-11.  Bright Light Bright Light has scored opening UK concert dates for Scissor Sisters, which I hope will translate into a second go round for the Sisters in North America.  Their “Let’s Have A Kiki” is still on the pulse of dance clubs right now, and BLx2’s own mashup of it and “Feel It” (“Let’s Have A Feel”) continues to put a smile on my face, prompting me to want to lock the door and lower the blinds… Listen below.

While we do not have a video for Colin Munroe’s triumphant “Over It” (up 17-13), we do have one for previous Top 5 single “The Fight Of My Life” from his mixtape Unsung Hero, so give it a view below.  There’s some intriguing imagery completely befitting of the song.  Well done!

That smashing duo from the UK, Bim, currently has “Lights Out” climbing the chart, moving 19-14, but in preparation for their stunning Lifelines EP (now on pre-order on iTunes – you can read my initial thoughts on it right here), the pair have a new video on deck below for next single “Burn”, which remembers those fond days when we as children could be superheroes for just one day.  There’s some pretty impressive graphic artistry, see the poster below as well.

“Yesterday’s Tomorrows” by Jane Badler climbs 21-17, but that captivating Stormby’s Drama mix of the song is now also featured on the compilation Kiss My Lipstick Off, now available on iTunes and featuring other fine folks like Liz Primo, Spray, and Nathalie Archangel.  Last week’s debuts all get stuck together temporarily at songs #20-22, waiting for a gap in the chart to occur (likely in two weeks), so be sure to check out indie release “Evolved” by Vague-a-bonde (watch for the video soon but in the meantime listen to the song below), Imagine Dragons’ “It’s Time”, and “Between The Raindrops” by Lifehouse featuring Natasha Bedingfield (video also due soon).

You can watch the video for the lead debut on the chart (#24) at the top of this post.  While I’ve enjoyed the music of Axwell, Sebastian Ingrosso and Steve Angello over the years in solo and various other projects, their Swedish House Mafia project never really got on my radar till this year.  And apparently their album Until Now and sell out tour represent an end to the project.  I never believe ‘never’ in the music business, but in the meantime we can all enjoy “Don’t You Worry Child”, once again featuring outstanding urgent and emotional vocals by another of Sweden’s go-to-guys, John Martin.

I’ve long appreciated the powerful and soulful voice of Christina Aguilera, though her songs have not always been consistent and therefore haven’t appeared in this chart until more recently.  But every time a song has charted (this is the 7th time), it has reached my Top 10.  We’ll see if that happens with the outrageous but fun “Your Body”, which bows at #25 with the accompanying entertaining video.  It’s from her upcoming 5th studio set (excluding Latin, Christmas, and Best Of compilation) called Lotus.

I recently wrote about Mika’s The Origin Of Love album, which is a diverse collection that may take a few listens to grow on you.  One aspect of the record that is very appealing is how it lets loose on a couple of the songs.  So two songs debut on this chart, the quirky “Wicked” inspired “Popular Song” at #26, and then his duet with Pharrell Williams (himself no stranger to the chart, having appeared with Snoop Dogg on “Beautiful” and Robin Thicke on “Wanna Love U Girl”, as well as with his trio N.E.R.D. on the #1 “Rock Star” and “Hypnotize U”) on “Celebrate” at #29.  These songs mark Mika’s 7th and 8th appearances, with his most successful being in 2009-10 when “Rain” got to #1 and “Blame It On The Girls” and “We Are Golden” reached #2 and #3 respectively.  Watch the joyous video for “Celebrate” below.

And at #30 is “Let’s Go” by Matt & Kim, the lead single from their fourth album Lightning, which hit stores last week.  I caught them in concert last week and will have my thoughts about that show and their album in the coming week.  The duo have worked exceptionally hard to make all of their music accessible in various formats, and have created lyrics videos for each song on the new album.  Watch the video for “Let’s Go” below – I’m sure we’ll be seeing and hearing more from Matt & Kim as their tour progresses.  The Brooklyn, NY duo have previously reached the Top 5 on the chart with “Daylight” and “Block After Block”.

15th Anniversary Edition: BILLCS Top 30 #388 – September 24/12

In some ways it seems like a lifetime ago, in other ways it’s like yesterday.  15 years ago this week I began posting my personal chart online on a regular basis.

As I was discovering the ‘Net through our dial-up connection in 1996/97, I was able to find message boards and chart sites where, yes, there were actually music chart geeks like me, who created their own lists of favourites, or sometimes a list of songs that were heavily influenced by radio play of the day.  I had compiled my own charts back in the 70’s, but abandoned that when I joined my university radio station, where I influenced their chart and my fellow DJ’s, and eventually became in charge of producing their chart!  I continued to assist with this well past graduation and into my free-lance writing days.  After that, I still produced my own lists but they weren’t charts, just a way to keep track of what I liked and what was current.

So the rabid presence of all kinds of music on the Internet has been and will continue to be a blessing for me, and I’ll keep on producing my chart as long as people are interested in reading it and chatting with me about it and its songs.  I posted charts now and again throughout 1997 online, but I don’t have copies of any of those charts until January 1998 when I began saving them and documenting them, because I just knew this wasn’t going to go away, though “Turn My Head” by Live was my #1 in September 1997.  So I’m 388 bi-weekly editions in (the first 8 months had a Top 10 only), and here’s what’s happening 🙂

His Push Rewind album goes several songs deeper, but “Remember When (Push Rewind)” by Chris Wallace holds at #1 for a 3rd appearance (6th week), with “Dreams Are Gold” by DATABOY not giving up second place yet.  This makes it difficult when two fun and engaging songs, “Go For Gold” by Kyle Patrick, and “Spectrum” by Zedd & Matthew Koma, each advance within the Top 5.  They are joined by “Houdini” by Foster the People, making it 3 for 3 for the trio following fellow Top Fivers “Pumped Up Kicks” and “Call It What You Want”.  Also – Mark Foster’s tweets under @FosterThePeople are so worth following.  He’s definitely got interesting opinions but also tweets about great things, including the challenge he gave to a photographer to lose weight over a number of months, with the reward being a financial amount from Mark himself.  Inspiring!

You’ll notice that “Spectrum” by Florence & The Machine is now out of the Top 5 at #7 and “Timebomb” by Kylie Minogue rests at #14.  But despite reaching #3 and #4 respectively, both songs will rank highly at year’s ends, possibly higher than some of my #1’s!  We’ll see!  Markus Riva’s “We Dance 4 Reason” climbs to a new peak at #9.

You can view the full chart using the link under ***BILL’S PERSONAL CHART*** to the right, or you can click right here. You can hear all of the songs on the chart or watch their videos by clicking on the pics on the chart page.  Any free downloads that are identified are sanctioned by the performer.  There’s always a tiny place at the bottom of the blog post with tags and the statement “Leave A Comment” – please feel free to do so :)

The fastest riser on the chart, for a second time, is the completely crazy and irresistible “Music Makes You Lose Control” by Carlos Nóbrega, which leaps over his own “Turn It Up” (at #11), to move 17-8.  You can listen to the full song near the top of this post or below on Soundcloud.  Once “MMYLC” grabs you, it doesn’t let go, so you can find it on iTunes – and right now I’m waiting for remixes!  Carlos is just finishing off his album, and you’ll know more about that from me as it happens.  Joining “MMYLC” in the Top 10 for the first time is the irrepressible “Genius” by DATABOY at #10.  That song can also be found on the duo’s Dreams Are Gold album.

Lots of great new songs continue to move up.  A massive hit in Sweden, “Long Time” by John De Sohn & Andreas Moe climbs to #12.  Andreas also recorded an acoustic version on his Collecting Sunlight EP which I wrote about a while back.  “Anything Could Happen” by Ellie Goulding is whetting fans’ appetites while she’s on tour in anticipation of the Halcyon album, and rises to #13.  Jeronimo’s “Unheard” isn’t released as a single anywhere, but it’s my next favourite song to the title track of his album One Kiss and jumps to #15.  “Unheard” is just one of those singalongs where the lyrics just find their way easily into your mouth.  Jeronimo is starring in a new movie called “My Dad’s A Detective – The Battle”, and a video for his beautiful ballad “Firefly” includes snippets of scenes from that movie.  I’m not sure if we’ll see this movie in North America, but our young Netherlander is obviously a double threat!  Watch the video below.

Songs 16 through 21 keep the chart looking busy – as they should because every song on this chart is a winner regardless of where it peaks.  The offbeat melodies and lyrics of songs on Saint Motel’s Voyeur album are really appealing to me, and the clarinet-sample-led “Benny Goodman” is at #16.  “Over It” by Colin Munroe looks to follow “The Fight Of My Life” into the Top 10 and rises to #17.  “Feel It” is the latest single by Bright Light Bright Light, featuring Mykal Kilgore, and soars to #18.  Of course, Rod Thomas (aka BLx2) has double-whammied us once again with a new video for the song, and a mashup for free download called “Let’s Have A Feel”, which has great fun in setting Scissor Sisters’ #1 club hit “Let’s Have A Kiki” to the music of “Feel It”.  Watch the video and listen to the mashup below.

UK duo Bim are busy working on an album, and you’ll find out more when you go to their website and download “Lights Out”, which resides at #19.  Despite the blond look on the cover of his EP We Should, Kyle Brylin has returned to short brown hair for a new single, the piano ballad “Ain’t The Same” (which you can hear below and download for free from Soundcloud right here).  In the meantime, the chart sticks to the electro-house of the poignant “Hurricane”, which climbs to #20.  There’s always a place for a theatrical sound on my chart from time to time, and “Yesterday’s Tomorrows” by Jane Badler nails it in spades and rises to #21.

Rounding out the chart are three debuts.  I wrote about “Evolved” by Minnesota singer Vague-à-bonde (aka Nicole Brenny) a little while back.  The combination of soft, genuine vocals and one of the best chorus hooks you’ll hear this year sends the song into the chart at an impressive #24.  You can download it for free right here.  It’s taken a little longer than usual for “It’s Time” by Imagine Dragons to sink in, but the opening episode of this season’s “Glee” has kept the song in my head (especially in its Penguin Prison remix, which you can get on iTunes).  “It’s Time” bows at #26 (watch the video at the bottom of the post if you’re not yet familiar with it).  And this past week I wrote about “Between The Raindrops”, the single from the upcoming new Lifehouse album, which features Natasha Bedingfield in a well-placed guest appearance.  The song arrives at #27 and is Lifehouse’s 9th entry on the chart since debuting back at the end of 2000 with one of my all time favourite songs, “Hanging By A Moment”.  Here’s the complete list:

“Hanging By A Moment”, #1, 2001
“Sick Cycle Carousel”, #20, 2001
“Everything”, #3, 2001
“Spin” #1, 2002
“You And Me”, #3, 2005
“Halfway Gone”, #3, 2010
“Had Enough” (with Chris Daughtry), “#11, 2010
“All In”, #8, 2010