@JarellPerry Takes On A Drake Cover with “Own It”

JARELL PERRY, “Own It”

A new phase for L.A.-based R&B/soul singer Jarell Perry is beginning following the release of his White EP and  album Simple Things with his cover of Drake’s “Own It”.  While Jarell’s version strips away the hip hop flavour and rap lyrics from Drake’s original, he transforms it into a minimalist, street-wise soul recording that keeps the same intent as the original.  It’s accessible alternasoul for anyone interested in something out of the ordinary with a gorgeous vocal.  Bonus:  “Own It” is a free download from Jarell Perry’s Soundcloud page right here.  Watch the understated video above.

 

Published in: on November 8, 2014 at 2:46 pm  Leave a Comment  
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BILLCS Top 30 #421 – December 30/13 – Plus, New Songs by Neverest, Remy Shand, and Matt Blue

The last chart of 2013 is also my first chart of 2014, when last year’s favourites start to fade a bit and new ones start to take charge.

  • The Top 4 are exactly the same as two weeks ago:  Bright Light Bright Light’s “An Open Heart” (#11 for 2013) and “What’s Going On” by Monsieur Adi & A*M*E (#17 for 2013) are still too hard to dislodge, with Anton Ewald’s “Can’t Hold Back” (#21 for 2013) about to give way to Travis Garland’s “Easy”.

  • SIRPAUL busts a move right into the Top 5 with “Every Single Moment” (8-5), which not only can swirl you out onto the dance floor but dazzle you with its excellent lyrics.  It’s a grower, but a winner!
  • I am by no means nowhere near done with Martin Garrix’s “Animals” as it continually lodges itself inside my head.  It would have made for some appropriate party music in last night’s festivities.  “Animals” moves up 11-6.

  • “Gold” by UK singer Eurielle vaults into the Top 10 at #7, from her compelling 3 song EP The Incarnation.  Watch the tantalizing video above.

  • “Breathe Me” is a poignant and minimal cover of the Sia song by Portugal’s Carlos Nóbrega, climbing 15-10 and becoming his second Top 10 placing on my chart.
  • The middle of the chart finds songs still on the rise from Jarell Perry, “Glee”/Adam Lambert, Lady GaGa & R. Kelly and Corey Niles & Dru.

  • Debuts from the last chart are all taking off smoothly.  Bright Light Bright Light’s “In Your Care” is the fastest riser, up 24-16, making this a double whammy week for Rod Thomas who also has the #1 song.  Lady GaGa’s “MANiCURE” and Cage The Elephant’s “Come A Little Closer” (coming closer to becoming a pop hit, I think) climb 28-21 and 29-23.

  • I’ve written about both of our newcomers.  It’s no surprise that “Motel Pool” by Travis Garland bows at #22 complete with its damn proper sexy video.  Travis’ self-titled album is my go-to when I don’t know what to listen to.  The song is also from the new Motel Pool EP available on iTunes.  “Talking To The Walls” got a flood of attention right away when I wrote about it in October, but it’s gone a little too quiet.  I’ve not forgotten about this hypnotic song from new singer Své.  Watch the video below, which has some strange twists and a cameo from “Go For Gold” and former Click Five singer Kyle Patrick.  It debuts on my chart at #28.

EXTRAS:

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  • If you thought Neverest might go back to a ballad for their next single, you might not be prepared for the techno/dubsteppy power in “Take Cover”, which was released today as a free download from their Facebook page (you have to “like” it of course) right here.  Like “Rewind” (my #13 song of 2013), “Take Cover” is an ambitious and tight record that will slide into their set list rather neatly.  Can’t wait to hear it in concert!  There’s no link yet for me to provide – just take my word on this one folks!

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  • Juno Award winning Canadian R&B/pop singer Remy Shand has eased back into the music scene this year after being away from it for a decade.  He’s very active on Twitter, often providing many links to some great obscure and not-so-obscure songs which obviously shape his styles of music.  His new song released today on Bandcamp, “The Best In Me”, starts off with a low vocal register introduction, but doesn’t venture much beyond what he gave us in the past, which is not a bad thing at all.  Slick production and some amazing guitar work that rounds out the end of the song make it more than worthwhile.  You can hear and purchase the song right here.

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  • Dutch singer Matt Blue keeps issuing fine singles that hopefully one day will make an EP or album.  Released on You Tube just before the New Year is “Fireworks”, a bit slighter than past efforts “Can’t Help Myself” and last year’s #32 song “Outta My Mind”, but still in a positive and upbeat vein.  And when there’s such a fine voice singing the song you can’t help but be impressed.

Listen to the songs or watch the videos using the links on the pictures on the pretty and details web edition of my chart.

01 01 AN OPEN HEART Bright Light Bright Light
02 02 WHAT’S GOING ON Monsieur Adi F/ A*M*E
03 03 CAN’T HOLD BACK Anton Ewald
04 04 EASY Travis Garland
08 05 EVERY SINGLE MOMENT   SIRPAUL
11 06 ANIMALS Martin Garrix
13 07 GOLD Eurielle
05 08 I HAVE A NAME Osvaldo Supino
07 09 DO I HAVE TO DANCE Simon Curtis
15 10 BREATHE ME Carlos Nóbrega
06 11 WE CAN’T STOP SUMMERTIME SADNESS   DATABOY
14 12 4TH OF JULY Jarell Perry
18 13 MARRY THE NIGHT Glee Cast F/ Adam Lambert
09 14 JULIET Lawson
19 15 DO WHAT U WANT Lady Gaga F/ R. Kelly
24 16 IN YOUR CARE Bright Light Bright Light
22 17 ROLLERCOASTER Corey Niles F/ Dru
20 18 KEEP ME RUNNING Andy Suzuki & The Method
21 19 I CAN’T HELP IT Dangerous Muse
10 20 BERLIN WALL Simon Curtis
28 21 MANiCURE Lady Gaga
New 22 MOTEL POOL Travis Garland
29 23 COME A LITTLE CLOSER Cage The Elephant
12 24 SOMEBODY LOVES YOU Betty Who
16 25 ADORN Miguel F/ Jessie Ware
17 26 APPLAUSE Lady Gaga
23 27 IMPOSSIBLE Ryan Star
New 28 TALKING TO THE WALLS Své
25 29 HEADHUNTER Parralox
26 30 MA RADIO Osvaldo Supino

 

Bill’s Top 75 Songs of 2013 – Part I – 75-41

It Was All About The Great Voices

More than any other year that I can think of in recent memory, 2013’s best songs were all about terrific vocal performances.  Of course, any song with an insanely catchy rhythm can win you over on that alone, with vocals and lyrics coming in distant second and third.  I think what I hear is great singers who really should be receiving far more recognition than they are getting.  They can’t tour much, have dedicated fan bases, and spend a lot of time cultivating their path online.  It’s too expensive for performers to travel great distances to play for 150 people unless they can get a break with the costs involved.

In the commentary that follows, I’m not talking about all of the songs between 75 and 41, particularly those where performers also had songs higher up.  So consider what follows to be some highlights of the year 🙂

  • One performer who set the tone from the beginning to the end of 2013 is FrankMusik.  Granted Vincent Frank does have some moderate success behind him, but to do what he achieved in 2013 stretched his resources.  And achieve he did – two albums, Between and Between Us, an EP Far From Over, as well as two tours in the US and shows in the UK.  I was happy to ride the FrankMusik train in 2013 even though I didn’t get to see him perform this time because you never knew what to expect next.  Plus there’s his unbridled enthusiasm in creating his music, which ranged from frenetic to pensive.  And the stories he told, mainly so very sad but cathartic at the same time.  Two more FrankMusik songs appear higher up on my list. “Chasing Shadows” #72; “Life (Is My Revenge)” #69; “Fast As I Can” #56.
  • Another performer who had a great year, but with all of the bells and whistles possible, is Justin Timberlake.  He hinted that he would release his first album since 2006 at the end of last year, which was quickly followed by his single “Suit & Tie”, featuring Jay-Z (#73).  The powerful R&B/pop album The 20/20 Experience arrived soon after, the best selling album of 2013 no less, full of a varied set of songs that averaged in the 7 minute range, kind of risky in itself, but definitely a whole lot of fun when they weren’t too ambitious like the raucous “Let The Groove Get In” (#53).  By the time second single “Mirrors” arrived, it was already known that The 20/20 Experience Part II was on deck, and the very 80’s and Michael Jackson-influenced single “Take Back The Night” (#49) was upon us.  And with Jay-Z’s Holy Grail album, we were pretty much assured of hearing new Justin Timberlake music every day in 2013.  But even with all of the money behind this project, was it a total success?  I would say Part I achieved what it should have, and more.  I think there were missteps with Part II arriving so soon after Part I even though many of its songs were stronger than those on Part I.  But unlike recordings by independent artists, Parts I and II will pay for each other over time.  It was great to have Justin Timberlake back though as his voice was in fine, fine form.

Newcomers:

  • UK soul singer Charlie Brown had been featured on many songs and mixtapes over the last five years, but broke into the UK Top 10 with his uplifting “On My Way” (#75).
  • 17 year old New Zealand singer Lorde topped charts worldwide with her lyrically and melodically clever “Royals” (#68).  I couldn’t get enough of it for the first several weeks before it ran its course and peaked at #11.
  • New York dance duo Ghost Beach arrived on my chart with a unique sound that bridges punk and dance in the Penguin Prison remix of “Too Young”, which is #70 for 2013.
  • 20 year old Florida-born Ariana Grande was already well known to the teen set for her roles on “Victorious” and “Sam and Cat” as Cat Valentine.  But her stunning vocal range came to prominence over the last few years, and her debut album Yours Truly saw release in late summer.  It was however preceded by a winning single called “The Way”, featuring rapper Mac Miller, which got to #8 on my chart and is #66 for 2013.
  • UK pop singer James William has established himself with his Olly Murs tribute shows, but is also quite the astute songwriter as well.  His bright and shiny “Lay Your Love On Me” ranks #54 for 2013.
  • Another UK pop singer draws more from classic R&B influences to arrive at a contemporary sound that recalls Simply Red a lot of the time.  Sam Dickinson released his debut album The Stories That Occurred and “Learn To Wait”, its second single, is #50 for 2013.
  • L.A.-based Jarell Perry released one of the most sensational albums for free download in early 2013, Simple Things.  It’s full of powerful songs that make a really cohesive listening party as an album as a whole, which is unusual considering most performers are opting for EP’s.  The song that stuck with me most throughout 2013 was “9 2 5”, which tells why it’s so important to break out of a regular routine and experience life.  “9 2 5” is #45 for 2013.  Expect great things from Jarell in 2014, starting with the EP White.
  • NYC trio Andy Suzuki & The Method built on their existing east coast following (as well as a dedicated one in Brunei!) by releasing a full album, Born Out Of Mischief, which transcends rock, pop, jazz and country styles, led by fine vocals by Andy Suzuki.  The impressive “Dirty Floors”, which could be the theme song for any indie musician, got to #7 on my chart and is #42 for 2013.

Continuing from 2012…

  • UK duo Bim released their Lifelines EP in late 2012, and one of its best and lyrically most powerful songs was turned into a video featuring comic book images.  “Burn” is #74 for 2013.
  • UK teen favourite Conor Maynard paired up with Ne-Yo for the dance hit “Turn Around”, which is #64, while Ne-Yo himself brought some emotionally-charged R&B/dance to charts with “Let Me Love You (Till You Can Learn To Love Yourself)”, which is #61 for the year.
  • Daniel Bedingfield found much online success with his Secret Fear-Stop The Traffik EP and the award-winning video for last year’s “Secret Fear”, which he also directed.  More good things are coming from Daniel in 2014!  Joining the class of 2013 from that project is “O.V.E.R. U.” at #55.
  • Cambridge, MA quartet Passion Pit continued with singles from their 2012 album Gossamer, which often seemed to offer emotionally loaded lyrics over slight and bright melodies.  “Take A Walk” is a little different and stands out from the rest of the songs on the album.  It reached #6 on my chart and is #46 for 2013.
  • Australian dance duo The Presets offer synth-drenched otherworldly dance music which sounds like nothing else.  Their album Pacifica wasn’t always successful but the focal point to me was the intense album track “A.O.” (which stands for ‘adults only’), which is an unmade science fiction movie unto itself.  It’s #47 for 2013.

Returning Favourites:

  • At end of 2012, US quartet One Republic issued the single “If I Lose Myself”, which was eventually included on the band’s first album in 3 years, Native.  The single signaled a more synth-led sound than usual which I found to be very appealing, though it wasn’t until later in the year with “Counting Stars” that the group once again achieved massive success, reaching #1 in the UK and Top 5 in the US.  “If I Lose Myself” is #71 for 2013 – it may be re-released to follow up “Counting Stars”.
  • 2012 was absent of music from our favourite boy robot, Simon Curtis.  So the singer gifted us with an EP of songs written for others, called WWW, full of the expected electronic pop and dance bliss but somewhat different from what we had heard in RA and 8bit Heart previously.  But “Berlin Wall” (#63) is an unforgettable singalong anthem paired alongside the likes of “Laser Guns Up”, while “Do I Have To Dance” (#48) is a shattering dance epic as the singer pleads “notice me” but alternately screams “how long do I have to dance?” as if it’s the worst thing in the world.  Simon has a new song and dance video funded by fans which will appear in 2014.
  • Adam Tyler has been busy writing and recording his follow up to 2011’s Shattered Ice album after spending a lot of 2012 touring.  He gave us a taste of what he’s working on with the dubstep-influenced “Fade Into The Light” at #58.  The song was also featured on the essential dance compilation This Beat Is Poptronik… Volume 2… along with three others on this list!
  • L.A.-based Semi-Precious Weapons toned down their rowdy rock style a few notches for the anthemic ballad “Aviation High” early in 2013, which also serves as a lead-in to their upcoming release in early 2014.  Can’t wait to hear what these boys have to offer us!  Of note:  Jarell Perry also recorded a spot-on soulful cover of “Aviation High”, proving the song’s instant versatility.
  • And at #41 for 2013 is the Oscar-winning “Skyfall” from Adele, which got to #7 at the top of the year.

SONGS 75 to 41

The prettier web version should be online by the end of Sunday.

75 CHARLIE BROWN On My Way
74 BIM Burn
73 JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE featuring Jay-Z Suit & Tie
72 FRANKMUSIK Chasing Shadows
71 ONE REPUBLIC If I Lose Myself
70 GHOST BEACH Too Young (Penguin Prison Remix)
69 FRANKMUSIK Life (Is My Revenge)
68 LORDE Royals
67 OSVALDO SUPINO Ma Radio
66 ARIANA GRANDE featuring MAC MILLER The Way
65 MATTHEW KOMA One Night
64 CONOR MAYNARD featuring NE-YO Turn Around
63 SIMON CURTIS Berlin Wall
62 SEMI-PRECIOUS WEAPONS Aviation High
61 NE-YO Let Me Love You (Till You Learn To Love Yourself)
60 LAWSON Juliet
59 PARRALOX Headhunter
58 ADAM TYLER Fade Into The Light
57 RIVER TIBER What Are You Afraid Of
56 FRANKMUSIK Fast As I Can
55 DANIEL BEDINGFIELD   O.V.E.R. U.
54 JAMES WILLIAM Lay Your Love On Me
53 JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE Let The Groove Get In
52 LAWSON featuring B.o.B. Brokenhearted
51 PET SHOP BOYS Love Is A Bourgeois Construct
50 SAM DICKINSON Learn To Wait
49 JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE Take Back The Night
48 SIMON CURTIS Do I Have To Dance
47 THE PRESETS A.O.
46 PASSION PIT Take A Walk
45 JARELL PERRY 9 2 5
44 CHRIS WALLACE Keep Me Crazy
43 WILLY MOON My Girl
42 ANDY SUZUKI & THE METHOD Dirty Floors
41 ADELE Skyfall

Reflections on a Relationship: @JarellPerry’s “Braindead”

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JARELL PERRY, “Braindead”

Some really contemporary and complimentary production enhances Jarell Perry’s “Braindead”, another thoughtful reflection on a past relationship and miscommunication, which comes from Jarell’s upcoming EP White.  The man has an affecting and classic R&B voice that gets across exactly the intent of his songs.  Of course you may have already downloaded his glorious free album Simple Things from earlier this year, as well as other songs he’s released such as the oh-so-poignant “4th of July” (currently on my chart).  You can also download “Braindead” for free from Jarell’s Soundcloud below, along with a couple of other songs previewing the EP White.  Big things are in store for Jarell Perry in 2014, I can just feel it!

Published in: on November 13, 2013 at 11:42 pm  Leave a Comment  
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BILLCS Top 30 #416 – October 21/13

Number One:

  • In a powerful Top 5 last week, I was uncertain who would emerge at #1 on the new chart.  But it’s Neverest whose latest single “Rewind” moves 3-1 this week.  Neverest is in good company with River Tiber and Kwik Fiks & Bongiovanni as Canadian performers with #1’s on my chart this year.  The quartet is also on a triple bill with Shawn Desman and Tyler Shaw at The Mod Club on November 16 in Toronto.  Do catch their show if you haven’t!  Always full of surprises and positive energy.  PLUS near the bottom of this post (but before you look at the full chart) I am featuring a new song by the writer of “Rewind”!

The Rest Of The Top 10:

  • Ryan Adamés has a 3rd appearance at #2 with his warm and fuzzy cover of Justin Bieber’s “As Long As You Love Me”.  That song is suddenly emerging on many TV talent shows but none of the covers that I’ve heard have the unique appeal of this rendition.  It’s available for free if you go and like Ryan’s Facebook page 🙂

  • ARTPOP and new single(s) approach in the coming weeks, but Lady GaGa’s “Applause” is still climbing my chart at #3.
  • It looks like Miguel & Jessie Ware’s duet of “Adorn” is eye-ing #1 in two weeks.  My excuse for being a latehead on the song earlier this year 😛 It climbs 8-4.
  • Kaden’s “Black Light” falls to #5, but he has another song, the title track from the compilation Fuel For The Machine on deck!  You can listen to a preview of it right here.
  • Betty Who’s “Somebody Loves You” is one of the most joyous songs you’ll hear this year, and the Aussie-born New York-based singer climbs 10-6.

  • While we await what sounds like will be a compelling video for his song “Lift Your Head”, Sam Dickinson’s soulful and energetic “Learn To Wait” climbs another notch to #8.
  • Pet Shop Boys score their second Top Tenner from Electric with the sublime “Love Is A Bourgeois Construct” at #9.
  • Australians Parralox created one of the most interesting album of cover versions this year with Recovery.  Excellent choices include Front 242’s memorable industrial club hit “Headhunter”, here given a full blown electronica dance treatment.  It lands at #10 on the chart 🙂

Fast Risers:

  • The more I listen to Osvaldo Supino’s “I Have A Name”, the more I appreciate the honest beauty of the lyrics and the arrangement.  It’s the fastest riser on the chart, soaring 21-11, while Osvaldo-with-a-boombox creates fun and havoc with “Ma Radio” further down at #15.

  • I can’t wait for more new music proper from DATABOY, but in the meantime their stellar mashup “We Can’t Stop Summertime Sadness” is doing the trick just fine thank you, and moves up to #12.
  • FrankMusik’s gorgeous “Hymn” from his acoustic piano album Between Us rises to #17.  He’s playing two shows in NYC this week, on Thursday October 24 at Rockwood (which I will miss, dammit, because I arrive in NYC the next evening 😦 ) and Saturday October 26 for a Hallowe’en DJ set at Fox & Jane.  More stops in Washington DC and Philadelphia afterwards for you fans!

  • “Can’t Hold Back” by Anton Ewald is the last fast riser, moving 28-21.  I’m thoroughly impressed with his EP, called A.  It’s really contemporary and diverse pop, and only the Swedes can seem to get this right!!

New to the Chart:

As older songs reach their maximum amount of appearances (10 = 20 weeks) and drop off, it helps make way for lots of fresh new tunes to dazzle you.

  • It’s no surprise to regular readers of this blog that two new songs by Simon Curtis make their debuts.  Last week Simon unleashed a free mixtape called WWW which I wrote about.  Forever our boy robot, Simon continues to impress – and this is the music that didn’t make the cut for his upcoming album, but were songs instead written for others.  Fans are so glad these are available for download through the MuuMuse website.  First at #19 we have the unexpected, hypnotic, and stunning dance epic “Do I Have To Dance”.  Further down it’s a call to arms once again for the raucous, energetic “Berlin Wall” at #28.

  • I actually wrote about this next debut quite a while back, but the more I hear it, the more it resonates with me.  It’s also one of the rare songs that leaves a big lump in my throat at the end every time after “I want it more than ever”, followed by the saddest firework sounds you’ll ever hear.  Beautifully sung by LA-based singer Jarell Perry, “4th of July” debuts at #25.  And it’s also a free download right here.
  • Travis Garland is on tour and is coming to my town on November 7!  Ticket bought!  His Spanish-flavoured, seductive disco in the form of “Easy” is a departure for him in the songs on his self-titled album, but it works beautifully and bows at #26.

  • The final debut at #30 comes from a NYC dance troubadour whose songs are most often about fun and sex, and fun and sex 🙂 Nothing wrong with that.  His new album is on deck for a November release called Seventh Star, and I’m talking about SIRPAUL with his single “Every Single Moment”, which I wrote about recently.  You can buy it on iTunes.  Two of SIRPAUL’s songs are also available on both volumes of This Beat Is…Poptronik 🙂

Bonus Feature:

The writer of Neverest’s “Rewind” is former basketball player and Toronto singer Corey Niles.  Having a mentor in fellow Canadian singer Dru (noted for his own hits “She Can Ride” as well as his appearance on Doman & Gooding’s dance smash “Runnin'”, which got to #15 on this chart in 2009) who is featured in Corey’s song “Rollercoaster” is a huge plus.  Don’t underestimate the presence of this song.  It’s going to lend a fresh urban sound to radio here in Canada that you don’t get to hear much by Canadians beyond songs by Drake.  “Rollercoaster” does not let up, it slams pretty hard in a sizzling blend of contemporary R&B styles, and gives a great introduction to the solo Corey Niles.  Watch for what sounds to be an intriguing video debuting this week on MuchMusic.  Listen and watch the lyric video below.  BOOOM!

Listen to the songs or watch the videos using the links on the pictures on the pretty and details web edition of my chart.

Here’s the full BILLCS Top 30 :)

03 01 REWIND Neverest
02 02 AS LONG AS YOU LOVE ME Ryan Adamés
04 03 APPLAUSE Lady Gaga
08 04 ADORN Miguel F/ Jessie Ware
01 05 BLACK LIGHT (Stormby remix) Kaden
10 06 SOMEBODY LOVES YOU Betty Who
07 07 TAKE BACK THE NIGHT Justin Timberlake
09 08 LEARN TO WAIT Sam Dickinson
12 09 LOVE IS A BOURGEOIS CONSTRUCT Pet Shop Boys
15 10 HEADHUNTER Parralox
21 11 I HAVE A NAME Osvaldo Supino
18 12 WE CAN’T STOP SUMMERTIME SADNESS   DATABOY
11 13 ROYALS Lorde
16 14 I REMEMBER Nick Pes
17 15 MA RADIO Osvaldo Supino
05 16 SKIRT Kylie Minogue
20 17 HYMN FrankMusik
06 18 HOMEWRECKER Travis Garland
New 19 DO I HAVE TO DANCE Simon Curtis
14 20 PROBLEM (Kat Krazy remix) Natalia Kills
28 21 CAN’T HOLD BACK Anton Ewald
24 22 IMPOSSIBLE Ryan Star
26 23 JULIET Lawson
27 24 REPLAY Zendaya
New 25 4TH OF JULY Jarell Perry
New 26 EASY Travis Garland
13 27 VOCAL Pet Shop Boys
New 28 BERLIN WALL Simon Curtis
19 29 DIRTY FLOORS Andy Suzuki & The Method
New 30 EVERY SINGLE MOMENT   SIRPAUL

Getting To See @JarellPerry in the Video for “Getaway”

JARELL PERRY, “Getaway”

Through the successful independent and free download release of his album Simple Things, one of the year’s best records, I will reiterate that Jarell Perry has proven that great songs carried by a magnificent voice can lead the way without the aid of visuals.  So somewhat belatedly we now have the video for one of that album’s songs “Getaway” to make the package complete.  For those of you unfamiliar with Jarell, “Getaway” is a most worthy introduction, though to me there are other better songs on the album (“9 2 5”, “Awkward”, “Perfect”).  Nonetheless by the end of 2013 Jarell Perry will be considered among the many fine vocalists who have surfaced with new music over the past year or so, whether they be relative newcomers like Frank Ocean or Miguel, or powerhouses like Justin Timberlake and Usher.

Published in: on August 3, 2013 at 7:29 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Summer Indievescence!! featuring Jarell Perry, Baiyu, Vanessa Elisha, Grids, and Dame

Because of technology and social media, there is so much well done indie music out there just dying to be taken to the next level.  That means someone has to generally invest in it so that tours, merch, radio play, etc. etc. all happen.  Unfortunately, in the music industry there is just no middle class, as Jay-Z has so aptly displayed recently!!  So that leaves it to us bloggers and music fans to spread the word because Jay-Z doesn’t need our help… I bring you Indievescence!!

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JARELL PERRY  “4th of July”

Earlier this year, LA-based R&B/pop singer Jarell Perry released his album Simple Things for free download.  It’s one of the best records of 2013 (a bizarre oversight on my part to my last blog post), and he keeps sending high quality freebies our way.  The latest, in time for the US Independence Day holiday, is “4th of July”, which is the scene for a love that has ended, but which the singer still wants to have.  Like many of the songs in Simple Things, “4th of July” is an emotional affair, flawlessly sung and produced.  If a major label does come along and take Jarell out of indieland one of these days, they will have a huge hitmaker on their hands.  Download “4th of July” using the Soundcloud link above.

BAIYU “Fire”

New York singer Baiyu has been releasing one song a month for free since January, and “Fire” is not only one of her most different and haunting songs, but it’s also one of her best.  To me, a song like “Fire” takes the balladeer Baiyu to another level, which was sometimes achieved in last year’s Hunter mixtape.  It’s got a very low key but dirty synth line that carries the imagery through to the obvious theme of playing with fire.  Baiyu can kill a regular ballad with ease, but hearing a song like “Fire” is much more of an adventure.  You can download it for free in the You Tube link above.

VANESSA ELISHA, Don’t Go (EP)

In follow up to her single “Home To Me”, beautiful Australian singer Vanessa Elisha has released a five song pop/R&B EP, Don’t Go, which includes that lush song still playing on repeat on my iPod.  And if you enjoy the music of the aforementioned Baiyu, then Vanessa Elisha’s songs will resonate with you in a similar way in addition to songs by the likes of Anita Baker, Toni Braxton, Jill Scott… a pleasing hybrid of traditional and new.   You can download the entire EP for free using the above Soundcloud link.  Next best to “Home To Me” would be the memorably understated “Waiting”, though the title song probably features Vanessa’s best vocal.  I’d love to hear Baiyu and Vanessa in a duet *hint hint*

Grids

GRIDS, Grids (EP)

Today, Toronto quartet Grids officially released their debut self-titled EP.  What’s most ear-catching about the music of this guitars-bass-drums outfit is a raw, gritty rock sound that you might associate more with the early 90’s onset of grunge – and in Canada that means early sounds of bands like Sloan, The Doughboys, Econoline Crush, and I Mother Earth – all popular when these early 20’s guys were just kids.  You can hear all four of the songs yourself and download them for free through the band’s Bandcamp page.  The song that sticks in my head is the tightly played “Bathroom Tiles”, which somehow manages to combine the rawness of 90’s Seattle sound with the flourish of early 80’s post punk, and bassist Sean McKee’s voice has Bono moments reminiscent of U2’s Boy or October albums.  Download “Bathroom Tiles” right here.  Grids plays Toronto club Double Double Land on Saturday July 13 along with one of my ongoing favourites, fellow Toronto band River Tiber, so if you’re in Toronto it’s a mere $6.00 cover.

DAME, “Holy Moly”

Dame is an L.A. based singer (née Michelle Armstrong) whose voice is just waiting to be heard.  Think of a blend of Kelly Clarkson-meets-Sheryl Crow-meets-Pink-meets-Amy Lee and you can get an idea of the kind of power and range she puts forth in “Holy Moly”, from her EP Preventions Of Heartbreak.  It’s an interesting juxtaposition to feature a slight kind of phrase like holy moly in a serious song where the singer is looking for her would-be beau to commit to her and not take the relationship for granted through lust – and she’s even willing to wait for him to come around, too.  The video (above) through many close-ups brings this across beautifully and the performance pieces show an earnest style which signals that Dame could be well-positioned for some success soon.  I’m looking forward to seeing where Dame’s songs take her next.  “Holy Moly” is a grower and a keeper.  As a side note, Dame is the companion of TV hunk Matt Lauria (Parenthood, Friday Night Lights) 🙂  

Published in: on July 12, 2013 at 10:15 pm  Comments (1)  
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Voices Carry: Betty Who, Sam Dickinson, Lawson, Simon Curtis, Bac2ssential with Charly Mae, plus My Favourites of the First Half of ’13

It’s summer and the best voices soar on a clear sunny day…

BETTY WHO  “Somebody Loves You”

Australia has given us another divine new voice in the form of singer Betty Who, who dropped her EP The Distance amid oodles of praise.  Add my endorsement – “Somebody Loves You” is a sparkling single that could weave its spell in the same way that Katy Perry’s best singles can overtake you.  And while this single just glows, the EP, which is free for the downloading right here, shows much depth that will make her a keeper in the pop world.

SAM DICKINSON “How It Used To Be”

Sam Dickinson is a new British blue-eyed soul singer based out of Newcastle.  Stop.  “New British blue-eyed soul singer” is almost always a good sign for me with music, but even with that positive heads up, young Sam has a unique, powerhouse voice that will blow the roof off your local club.  Take heavy doses of 80’s Simply Red and Style Council via contemporary dance tunes and add significant inspiration from the Atlantic/Stax era of the late 60’s, and you will hear where Sam Dickinson is coming from in “How It Used To Be”, from his forthcoming album The Stories That Occurred, which is due in two weeks.  I will have the scoop on that album for you closer to that time.

LAWSON “Missing”

Just in advance of yesterday’s official UK and Australian release of “Brokenhearted” (featuring B.o.B.) (which I wrote about right here), promising UK quartet Lawson treated us to an acoustic performance of Everything But The Girl’s classic 1995 hit “Missing”.  This is particularly impressive because the original version of  “Missing”, from EBTG’s Amplified Heart album, was acoustic.  But all eyes and ears are on singer Andy Brown, who embodies this cover with passion and desperation, very unlike the original.  I hope they perform it in concert when I see them again in late August.  In fact, the boys can take it as an official request – pretty please 🙂

SIMON CURTIS “Meteor”

Lately, one of our favourite American wunderkinds of this decade, Simon Curtis, has been chatting on Twitter about how one of his songs called “Meteor” was excerpted in a new TV show called “Twisted”.  Yesterday, he let on that the song was available on the Internet to hear, for those that could find it!  Always up to a challenge, I have indeed located this frenzied bit of arpeggio-laden Swedish-influenced pop, which according to the Soundcloud link was discreetly posted about 10 months ago.  Even if it may not receive official release, it’s certainly way beyond a lot of the fluffy Europop that will grace your ears this summer. A very shiny sign of good things to come from Simon’s work-in-progress.

BAC2SSENTIAL featuring CHARLY MAE “Waiting For You”

Though I’m still digging her anthemic “Girls Go Hard”, UK singer Charly Mae has lent her big, big voice for the first time to a deep house club banger courtesy of Bac2ssential called “Waiting For You”.   It’s got that familiar, infectious house bounce that is slayed by Charly Mae’s engaging vocal.  Dance club DJ’s shouldn’t overlook this one.

MY FAVOURITES OF THE FIRST HALF OF 2013

Songs (in alphabetical order)

BEGGING  Anton Ewald

BLUE ELECTRIC ROSES  Travis Garland

CAPTAIN  FrankMusik

THE CITY  River Tiber

CLARITY  Zedd featuring Foxes

GET LUCKY  Daft Punk featuring Nile Rodgers & Pharrell Williams

LEARN TO LOVE AGAIN  Lawson

LIFTED  Kwik Fiks & Bongiovanni

MAP  FrankMusik

MY GIRL  Willy Moon

1998  Matthew Koma

OUTTA MY MIND  Matt Blue

PARACHUTE  Matthew Koma

PLAY THE GIRL  Tao Hypah

SAIL INTO THE SUN  Gentlemen Hall

SOMEBODY TO LOVE ME  Eli Escobar featuring Nomi Ruiz

VOCAL  Pet Shop Boys

A WORLD APART  Davis Redfield

YEAH YEAH  Willy Moon

YOUR TOUCH  Blake Lewis

Albums (alphabetical by performer)

MATT DUSK  My Funny Valentine: The Chet Baker Songbook

FRANKMUSIK  Between

TRAVIS GARLAND  Fashionably Late II (EP)

MATTHEW KOMA  Parachute (EP)

MIGUEL  Kaleidoscope Dream

WILLY MOON  Here’s Willy Moon

JARELL PERRY  Simple Things (EP)

THE PRESETS  Pacifica

RIVER TIBER  Synapses

KIM SMITH  Nova

ANDY SUZUKI & THE METHOD  Born Out Of Mischief

BILLCS Top 30 #408, July 1/13

It’s fitting that the two full months of summer in the western world get started with a blast of dance, plus five new entries on the chart to keep things busy…

  • You can never be sure with my chart, but last week’s #4 debut has yielded the first number one on my personal chart these last 15 years for Pet Shop Boys with the stunning “Vocal” (ab0ve) from their upcoming album Electric, due in two weeks.  Of course PSB would have likely had a gaggle of #1’s on my chart had it existed in their classic heyday.  As I’ve mentioned, “Vocal” is their best song in 20 years and paves the way for a PSB (and disco) renaissance!
  • “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk featuring Nile Rodgers and Pharrell Williams remains at #2, still one of my favourites of the year, as the year end list will likely reflect 🙂
  • Travis Garland’s “Blue Electric Roses” slides almost prematurely to #3 after a month at the top, but watch for at least another song from the Fashionably Late Part II EP to land on the chart sometime soon.
  • Eli Escobar and Jessica 6 singer Nomi Ruiz continue to climb to #4 with the club raveup “Somebody To Love Me”.
  • “Begging” by Sweden’s Anton Ewald (below) has its eyes on the top of the chart as it vaults 15-5, in a tie for the fastest riser on the chart.

  • “This Is What It Feels Like” by Armin Van Buuren featuring ex-soulDecision singer Trevor Guthrie gets caught between a lot of movement and holds at #6, so we’ll have to see if it rides into the Top 5 in two weeks.
  • The recent cover of freestyle classic “Silent Morning” (intriguing new official video below) continues to turn heads as Parralox featuring Ryan Adamés climb to #8.  And if you like Ryan’s vocal on this song, watch for more from him to catch your immediate attention very soon – I’m sure I will have something to say about it when it’s time! 😀
  • If competition on the chart wasn’t so fierce, two gems,  “9 2 5” by Jarell Perry and “Too Young” (Penguin Prison remix) by Ghost Beach would be higher, but they are only now reaching the Top 10 and hope to stay there in two weeks.

You can view the full Top 30 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 :)

Some big moves lead the next 20 songs:

  • Montreal’s Victor Bongiovanni and pal Kwik Fiks know how to make chilled out deep house music proud, taking rapper Dwele’s “I Think I Love You” and fashioning it accordingly.  The song (above) soars 20-12.
  • The song that’s in a tie for the fastest riser on the chart is “Hearts”, that rhythmic dance feast from Dan Black and Kelis.  Definitely headed for the Top 5, it climbs 23-13.
  • “Dirty Floors” is one of the most earthy and true-to-life songs amid those in Born Out Of Mischief, the full length album by NYC’s Andy Suzuki & The Method.  It jumps 26-17.

  • Our five debuts are led, a little belatedly, by the #1 song in the world, “Blurred Lines” (above) by Robin Thicke featuring T.I. and Pharrell Williams.  Robin Thicke, son of my fellow Canadian, actor Alan Thicke, is no stranger to my chart.  “Blurred Lines” in fact is his 9th chart entry since 2002, but first since 2009.  His biggest feats have been “Wanna Love U Girl” (also featuring Pharrell, #4) and “Lost Without U” (#5), both from 2005/06.  T.I. has had three appearances himself, with Justin Timberlake (“My Love”, “Dead and Gone”) and Rihanna (“Live My Life”) respectively.  And Pharrell has seen #1 with his project N.E.R.D. back in 2003 with “Rock Star”, and has been featured on other songs by Mika (“Celebrate”) and Snoop Dogg (“Beautiful”).  It will be no surprise if “Blurred Lines” doesn’t make even a bigger presence on the chart in two weeks 🙂
  • Next up is an album track from Between, the third release from FrankMusik.  “Life (Is My Revenge)” is possibly the fiercest song on the album several listens later, it is an anthem about moving forward with life, definitely the best kind of way to say ‘I told you so’!  It bows at #24.

I’ve written about the next three independent releases already, and am so glad that they are making quick headway on to the chart 🙂 :

  • “Remix My Love” by Killian Wells and Kristinia DeBarge (above) is possibly the sunniest sounding song of summer to arrive recently, with a gloriously colourful and fun video.  It debuts at #26.
  • Completely the opposite, “Colder” (below) by Amelia’s Fault featuring a supurb vocal by singer Color Theory is definitely chilly electro to keep you calm and collected (and maybe a tad frosty) during the hot months to come.  And if it doesn’t, well then you can just blame Amelia.  “Colder” arrives at #27.
  • Lastly, from the dynamic album Nova comes the thoughtful and energetic “Shooting Star” which takes cabaret pop into electropop courtesy of the very talented Kim David Smith at #28.

BILLCS Top 30 #406 – June 3/13

A new number one song and four debuts highlight this edition of my personal chart 🙂

Chart Highlights

Top 10:

  • By the end of 2013, I think a whole lot more people will know the name Travis Garland.  Big things are in store for this young talent!  From his still-free download EP Fashionably Late Part II is the stunning and original ballad “Blue Electric Roses” (new video above), which now leads the chart 🙂
  • FrankMusik’s “Map” leaves number one but will endure throughout the year as his third album Between approaches release next week!  More good news for Vince further down the chart…
  • It’s hard to resist the cheery and summery sound of Matt Blue’s “Outta My Mind”, which advances to #3.
  • Not surprisingly, even though the album Random Access Memories is somewhat disjointed and puzzling, Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” is one of the year’s most infectious singles and moves up 7-4.
  • “Your Touch” by Blake Lewis (below)  is finally about to be released to radio in the U.S. and jumps to #5.  Listen for it on your radio soon, it is radio-ready!!
  • With a new North American EP out just last week called Haunt, UK’s Bastille is still on the rise with “Pompeii” at #6.
  • It’s both a dance floor filler and a radio playlist delight, particularly in the UK and Canada – “This Is What It Feels Like” by Armin Van Buuren & Trevor Guthrie is new in the Top 10 at #7.
  • The fastest riser on the chart, moving 15-8, is an amazing slice of NuDisco called “Somebody To Love Me” (below) by DJ/producer Eli Escobar and featuring the mesmerizing vocals of Jessica 6 singer Nomi Ruiz.

You can view the full Top 30 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 :)

11-30:

  • One of the year’s most gorgeous new voices belongs to L.A. R&B singer Jarell Perry whose poignant “9 2 5” comes in just shy of the Top 10 at #12.  It’s from his free download album Simple Things.
  • New York duo Ghost Beach climbs to #14 with the rollicking original “Too Young”, abetted by a Penguin Prison transformation to keep your feet very happy.
  • One of the year’s most interesting prospects is the cover of the 80’s Freestyle dance hit by Noel, “Silent Morning”, with splendidly unique vocals by Australian duo Parralox and Puerto Rican-American breakout Ryan Adamés, soaring to #15 – check out the many remixes on iTunes including the rock-inflected Cherry Cherry Boom Boom remix below.

  • Charlie Brown’s “On My Way” and “Kiss My Lipstick Off” by Georgia Haege both continue to make headway, rising to #16 and #18 respectively, and I’m still surprised Charlie’s song hasn’t been promoted in North America, it’s such a feel good anthem!
  • Last week’s debuts all push up the chart:  “Let The Groove Get In” by Justin Timberlake is now at #19, “Fade Into The Light” by Adam Tyler moves to #21, and “Shame” by Slow Knights (a Del Marquis multi-artist project) rises to #24.

Debuts:

I’ve written about all of our debuts previously, as recently as last week for one!

“Chasing Shadows” by FrankMusik is an aftermath to many of the songs on his Far From Over EP that will also be featured on the Between album.  It contains one of the singer’s best vocals and truly stands out in a crowd.  It arrives at #23 and I can’t wait to hear the full album and the songs that Vince has had to hold back from us amid all of the free songs he offers online.  He’s currently roughing it from show to show in the U.S. – be sure to follow him on Twitter for the full account of his diary!

After spending all of but one of its 9 chart appearances (18 weeks) in the Top 10, 3 at #1, “Lifted” by Kwik Fiks & Bongiovanni tumbles to #13.  I wrote about another chilled out bass-heavy rework of Dwele’s “I Think I Love You” awhile back that the duo have created.  So billed strictly as by Bongiovanni, “I Think I Love You” premieres at #25.  Crank your car stereo for this one for full effect!  It’s also a free download!

If there’s one song so far this year that should have HIT stamped all over it – despite noticeable lack of North American release of their music – it’s Lawson’s new single “Brokenhearted”, featuring B.o.B.  Check out the new video for the song above.  It bows at #26 on the chart, as “Learn To Love Again” (#5) leaves the chart at #30.

Lastly, it’s already reached #2 in Sweden, but Melodifestivalen hit “Begging” by 19 year old singer/dancer/choreographer Anton Ewald shouldn’t go unnoticed worldwide.  That show often creates star-making performances and Anton’s (above) is one of them.  “Begging” debuts at #27.  Go ahead, borrow that Swedish male pop crown from Eric Saade 🙂