#BILLCSTop30 #472 – December 14/15

Two weeks sometimes goes by in a flash when life keeps you busy… and so we have a busy new chart as well!

The Top 10

  • So North America wasn’t being left out after all, as Adele announced tour dates, including 4 in my city Toronto – next October!  So it should come as no surprise that Adele’s “Hello” remains on top for a third appearance (that’s 6 weeks).  Have you got any money on who might succeed her at the top either in two or four weeks?

  • While Adele calls out from the other side for her former flame somewhere in California, DNCE party it up by the waves with “Cake By The Ocean” being one of 2015’s sheer delights for entertainment value alone, as it holds at #2 for Joe Jonas and company, from the EP Swaay.

  • Cali has it all wrapped up in spades with the Top 3 as it’s summertime in Los Angeles when Matthew Koma and The Knocks search for dream girl in “I Wish (My Taylor Swift)” (video up top), up a notch to #3.
  • Brandyn Burnette’s “Nothing At All” cruises 7-4 to give the chart some edgy, blues-rooted progressive soul for the mind and body 🙂

  • “Black Water” by Lucien Dante lands at #5 just in time for the release of a cool, sometimes head-scratching animated lyric video that definitely helps you understand the song much more.  But it’s Lucien’s vocal that’s one-of-a-kind – alternately forlorn and sexy with bursts of joy and energy.

  • The Top 10 was cleaned out a bit with four new arrivals:
    • There’s no time in a day when the honest emotion of “Lost (Stripped)” by Brandyn Burnette doesn’t strike you.  No matter how you’re feeling or what you’re doing, the song will affect you differently, and that’s part of its beauty.  It soars 12-7.
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    • I still haven’t seen “Spectre”, but I continue to revel in the amazing vocal by Sam Smith in “Writing’s On The Wall”, which rises 11-8.
  •  
    • The wonder of the vocal and lyrics in Mako’s “Smoke Filled Room” always catch my attention, and in its Elephante remix the song climbs 13-9.
  •  
    • New Order acquires its first Top 10 song on my chart since 2005 with “Plastic” from the top notch Music Complete album jumping 14-10.

Movin’ On Up

  • MAX (Schneider) has another EP on deck this month called Wrong, available for pre-order on iTunes.  His pairing with rapper Jared Evan on “Ms Anonymous” climbs 15-11.

  • Clinton Washington’s soaring vocal on “Heart Beats Loud” leaps out of the speakers whenever it’s played, and moves up 19-13 for “The Voice” season 7 contestant.

  • Right behind is the would-be-bitter taste of revenge of “Over” by Goldhouse that’s set to a slamming dance rhythm.  It rises 20-14.

  • Get yourself high with “A Higher High” courtesy of pop singer Nathalie Archangel.  The Billboard Dance Club Play hit climbs 23-18.

  • The fastest riser on the chart is a song that I believe should be played everywhere and anywhere in dance clubs throughout the world.  “The Shadow Of The Moon” by Rozalla and House of Virus has great lyrics with an unbeatable hook, which is why it moves 29-19 🙂

  • Uh-oh… Matt and Kim are now on Snapchat, which can only mean many snippets of fun and mayhem, M&K style.  The frenetic 2:11 of “Make A Mess” climbs 28-21.

  • The gorgeous retro 90’s dance music rhythm and melody blessed with a Bright Light Bright Light vocal spells great things for “Lost In Feelings” by Final DJS, moving 30-23.

Premieres

  • It’s an insane mix of Portuguese lyrics (based on poetry!), an irrefutable guitar hook, and a slinky beat that will draw you on to the dance floor.  By all rights “Drinkee” by New York duo Sofi Tukker should be the talk of clubs, and I’m going to help out with that by premiering it at #20.

  • It wasn’t my most favourite song from River Tiber’s When The Time Is Right EP when it dropped this past Fall, but the hip hop/soul anchor of “Waves” and its graceful flow are completely compelling.  While former #1 “Let You Go” now sits at #6, “Waves” bows at #24 for the Toronto band.

  • Kendal Thompson appeared on this chart last year with the very catchy “Be Mine”.  The Toronto singer is back again at #26 with a soulful slice of pop that would be right up Rihanna’s alley called “Secret” from Kendal’s new EP One.  Give a listen right here.

The Full Chart

Listen to the songs or watch the videos using the links on the pictures on the pretty and detailed web edition of my chartGo on, have a look and listen/watch 🙂

Listen to the BILLCS Top 30 Songs on Spotify!

Click on this link to take you there, and follow me on Spotify 🙂 BILLCS Top 30 Songs

Planet Radio Canada is back!  You can hear me online on http://www.planetradio.ca every Monday at 10:00 pm EST counting down a Toronto Top 10 chart from yesteryear!

#BILLCSTop30 #471 – November 30, 2015

The new chart is crammed with new music on the rise that is deserving of your attention!  Three debuts add to the fun 🙂

The Top 10

  • Yes, I am in Camp “Hello”.  Adele gets a second appearance at the top.  I’m not sure when she will give it up or to whom, always fun to wait and see.

  • Joe Jonas and DNCE get a personal best on my chart with “Cake By The Ocean” rising to #2.  It tops Joe’s own “Make You Mine” from 2012, which peaked at #3.  The band was a wild party in Toronto a couple of weeks back (photo below).  I’m waiting for their new song “Naked” to surface on an upcoming release.

IMG_1491

  • It’s one of those clever songs that you just want to learn the lyrics so that you can sing along.  “I Wish (My Taylor Swift)” by The Knocks & Matthew Koma rises 6-4.

  • While Dan Talevski’s “My Religion” appears to have peaked at #5, I didn’t want to go without highlighting his beautiful, completely on-point recent acoustic cover of Adele’s “Hello”.  Pretty flawless and the best I’ve heard of several.  Available for free download at Dan’s Soundcloud page too!

  • Chicago’s Lucien Dante has held a steady pace in the Top 10 as the unique sound of “Black Water” climbs to #6, from his album Our Of We.  “Black Water” is still available as a free download.

  • There’s plenty of competition ahead but Brandyn Burnette’s “Nothing At All” from his Made Of Dreams EP is a force to be reckoned with on the chart as it soars 14-7.

Movin’ On Up

  • It’s been more traditional fare than ever for Sam Smith so it hasn’t really captured the hearts of radio listeners, but you cannot deny his supurb performance on the “Spectre” theme “Writing’s On The Wall”, which moves up to #11.

  • I’m going to take advantage of a live acoustic clip that Brandyn Burnette posted of “Lost (Stripped)”, which rises 20-12.  It features his talented gal Molly Moore (who co-wrote it) – completely honest, earnest talent at work here.  The original appears on Brandyn’s Made Of Dreams EP.

  • The fastest riser on the chart is the joyous Elephante remix of Mako’s “Smoke Filled Room” which vaults 26-13.  It’s one of those unassuming songs in its original mix that benefits from this killer remix, which is also a free download below.

  • Ms Anonymous is the title song from the recent EP by MAX (Schneider) featuring Jared Evan that shoots right up through the middle of the chart, landing at #15 from #25.  MAX is touring throughout the USA in various cities in December.

  • Their new album Astoria definitely harkens back to the Masterpiece Theatre days, full of great songwriting and Josh Ramsay powerhouse vocals.  “One Love” is the single release and it rises 19-16.

  • There’s already a new single coming from Nathalie Archangel, after peaking within the Top 25 on Billboard’s Dance Club Play chart with “A Higher High”, which continues to climb here 27-23.

Debuts

  • I have to recall the fun concert in May by Matt and Kim, who always put on a fine high energy show.  It’s only 2:11 but “Make A Mess” is a bubbly, jazzy, almost ska-sounding bit of fun from their New Glow album, and it arrives at #28.

  • I’m hoping club DJ’s will latch on to Rozalla’s “The Shadows Of The Moon” in the same way they did “If You Say It Again” earlier this year, which got to #3.  This pairing with producer/DJ’s House Of Virus is irresistible for the dance floor, and bows at #29 (from the same songwriting team of Nathalie Archangel’s “A Higher High” too!).

  • The last debut would not have sounded out of place at all on either of Bright Light Bright Light’s album releases to date.  As a featured artist, Rod Thomas teams up with German producer/DJ Final DJS for “Lost In Feelings” at #30.  And it’s a free download too!

The Full Chart

Listen to the songs or watch the videos using the links on the pictures on the pretty and detailed web edition of my chartGo on, have a look and listen/watch 🙂

Listen to the BILLCS Top 30 Songs on Spotify!

Click on this link to take you there, and follow me on Spotify 🙂 BILLCS Top 30 Songs

Planet Radio Canada is back!  You can hear me online on http://www.planetradio.ca every Monday at 10:00 pm EST counting down a Toronto Top 10 chart from yesteryear!

#BILLCSTop30 #468 – October 19, 2015

Despite a bit of a busy spell which meant much less blog posts than usual since the last chart, I hope to make up for that during the next two weeks!  The chart continues to be busy with a new #1 and four debuts.  So without further adieu…

The Top 10

  • “Let You Go”, the R&B-infused single from River Tiber’s When The Time Is Right EP, garners the pole position.  It’s River Tiber’s third jaunt at #1, following 2012’s “Someday” and 2013’s “The City”.  But Tommy Paxton-Beesley is definitely on the right track with his new songs; River Tiber’s recent performance at Adelaide Hall in Toronto to me was a personal best!  Folks, be sure to check out When The Time Is Right on iTunes.

  • Zipping all the way to #6 we go for a new Top 10 entry from Brooklyn’s Great Good Fine OK, who also reside with The Chainsmokers at #3 with the other “Let You Go”.  “Something To Believe In” is the compelling duet with St. Lucia full of gorgeous vocals and instrumentation.  It’s from GGFO’s EP 2M2H.

  • Vancouver’s Tyler Shaw is on point with his current single “Dizzy” from his debut album Yesterday.  You can hear it all across Canada on the radio (all the more reason for international readers to find this out with online radio links).  “Dizzy” climbs to #7.

  • Venturing into my city for a concert with a serious of guest singers is Disclosure, who with Sam Smith glide up to #8 with “Omen”.  It’s their third Top Tenner following last year’s #1 “Latch” (with Sam) and #10 “F For You” (with Mary J. Blige).

  • Also new in the Top 10, following that infectious seductive piece of business called “Guilty As Sin” (which peaked at #3, and falls off the chart) is a soft and sinewy number called “My Religion” by Toronto’s Dan Talevski, climbing 18-9.  Canadians continue to boom in the Top 10, with River Tiber, Tyler Shaw, and Dan all aboard (Dan also co-wrote Tyler’s previous single “House of Cards”).

Movin’ On Up

  • Sugar can get stuck easily but with a little persuasion it can be moved.  After holding at #13, “Sugar” by Robin Schulz and Francesco Yates continues to advance up to #11, with its amusing slapsticky video well worth watching.

  • While Brandyn Burnette’s #1 “I Wanna Be (Free)” had a deservedly phenomenal ride on this chart for the last 20 weeks, it moves down to #2 and will depart the chart, leaving room for the heartfelt and catchy “Life’s A Beach” to continue to rise.  It leaps 22-12.  A reminder – it’s available for free from Brandyn’s website as part of The Bright Side Mixtape.

  • Dance clubs totally get it and the so song is headed for the Top 20 on Billboard’s Dance Club Play chart.  Matthew Koma’s “So F**kin’ Romantic” moves up 17-14 – more Matthew to come!

  • Can you say DNCE?? Well if you like to DNCE then you can say it 😛  Joe Jonas’ new project is well on its way with the carefree “Cake By The Ocean” climbing 25-17.  Check out the new video above, which is light years away from The Jonas Brothers.

  • Like Brandyn Burnette and Great Good Fine OK, Sam Smith has two entries in the chart, the latest being the theme from the upcoming James Bond movie “SPECTRE”, “Writing’s On The Wall”, which moves up 23-19.

  • “Bow Tie” by Diego Gomes (another Canadian!) gets far too easily stuck between your ears thanks to a snappy vocal and clever lyrics.  It rises 27-21.

Premiering

  • Leading the debuts is “I Wish (My Taylor Swift)”, a special pairing off DJ/producers The Knocks and singer Matthew Koma at #24.  Despite its title and subject matter, it’s a really clever song with a laid back, dreamy melody.  It’s the second appearance for The Knocks on this chart, following their 2013 cover of M83’s “Midnight City” with Mandy Lee (#8).

  • Arriving for the first time since 2005’s “Krafty” (#5) on this chart is enduring UK quintet New Order, one of my favourite bands of all time who have recorded many must-have’s in my book – “Blue Monday”, “The Perfect Kiss”, “Fine Time”, the list goes on and on.  Their latest album and first for Mute Records is Music Complete – their best IMO since 1989’s Technique.  “Plastic” is the second single, which bows at #25.  It’s New Order creating dance music at its best, drawing from numerous influences through the 70’s to their own music and perhaps even Bernard Sumner’s 90’s side project Electronic.  Turn it up loud and move those feet!

  • Bowing at #28 is a duet between 17 year old Swedish star Zara Larsson and new UK sensation MNEK with “Never Forget You”.  The pairing is just dynamite, and I predict great things for both song and singers.  Readers of this blog know that I’ve written about MNEK several times since 2012, when the talented singer/writer/producer – who recently co-wrote and sang on Madonna’s “Living For Love” (!) – was also just 17.  He’s since been similarly behind the scenes for UK #1’s by Oliver Heldens, Little Mix, and Duke Dumont, too.

  • Rounding out the chart at #29 is the latest single from Years & Years’ still-stunning debut album Communion.  The gorgeous ballad “Eyes Shut” debuts as long-lasting #1 “Shine” leaves the chart.  It’s the group’s fourth chart entry also following “King” (#1) and “Desire” (#7).

You can hear me online on http://www.planetradio.ca every Monday after 10:00 pm EST counting down a Toronto Top 10 chart from yesteryear!

#BILLCSTop30 #467 – October 5, 2015

It’s Fall in North America and new music is plentiful!  Old favourites exit to make room for six FAB new tunes this week!  And there’s a surprise for you at the top…

The Top 10

  • Brandyn Burnette returns to the top for a 5th non-consecutive appearance (10th week) with “I Wanna Be (Free)”.  This is the first time that a song has spent longer than one chart appearance (2 weeks) to return to the top – and after Years & Years held court for 3 appearances (6 weeks) with “Shine”.  It’s also the first time a song has held #1 for 5 appearances since Darren Hayes did it (and twice in one year!) with “How To Build A Time Machine” at the end of 2007.  Listen and watch for a different take on “I Wanna Be (Free)” featuring rapper Nevelle.  It just goes to show how diverse and open to interpretation the song is – which is a great thing for Brandyn Burnette and his songwriting!

  • Most likely to succeed “I Wanna Be (Free)” at the top now is last week’s high flying debut “Let You Go” by Toronto’s River Tiber, which soars 10-3.  Maybe we will see River Tiber (aka Tommy Paxton-Beesley) in the Top 10 national charts one day with Drake and The Weeknd too, given this week’s Canadian domination of the Billboard Top 10.  “Let You Go”, one of those strange, paradoxical love stories, is culled from River Tiber’s latest and best record to date, When The Time Is Right.

  • Right behind “Let You Go” is our other “Let You Go” – the free download by The Chainsmokers featuring hot R&B/pop band Great Good Fine OK at #4.  Wait for that Tiesto rave up to get going and then it’s non-stop party!

  • Advancing to #5 is “Pain Told Love” by Tribe Society featuring Kiesza.  If you pay close enough attention to this one, you will need a few tissues handy.  It’s a beautiful, idiosyncratic perspective on our opposite sentiments and how they sometimes need to come together to prevent us from losing grip on everything that is good about living.

  • Finally in the Billboard Dance Club Play Top 10 – NERVO/Kylie/Jake/Nile and “The Other Boys” – climbing up to #6.

  • New to the Top 10 at #10 for his first appearance on this chart is the impressive “Dizzy” by British Columbia native – and former MUCHMusic Covers winner – Tyler Shaw!

Movin’ On Up

  • Jane Badler’s dark and slinky “Dead Eyes” (Eel Eye Club Mix) from her latest album Opus is on a roll, rising 18-15.  Could it become her third Top 10 on this chart, following “Yesterday’s Tomorrows” and “Losing You”?

  • While I’m also loving Matthew Koma’s whimsical collaboration with The Knocks on “I Wish (My Taylor Swift)”, his own “So F**kin’ Romantic” continues to climb up 19-17 as we await his new solo album.

  • The remaining debuts from last week are all off to fantastic starts and they follow each other up the chart 6 places – “My Religion” by Toronto pop/soul singer Dan Talevski at #18, “Wildstar” by Giorgio Moroder featuring a vibrant Foxes vocal at #19, and at #20 Adam Lambert’s dance rave-up “The Light”, though his record company has opted to release “Another Lonely Night” as the next single from The Original High.

SIX debuts!!

  • At #22 is a song that’s been around for a while (I wrote about it in September 2014), but now also available for free as a download from Brandyn Burnette’s website as a part of The Bright Side mixtape.  Check out “Life’s A Beach” and revisit the warm-hearted video.  It will help us bide our time till new Brandyn music when his EP Made Of Dreams is released.

  • Sam Smith has managed to claim the latest James Bond movie theme all to himself – and “Writing’s On The Wall” (#23) is every bit as good as Adele’s “Skyfall”, and managed to get to #1 in the UK, which “Skyfall” did not.  Next stop:  Oscar? Grammy?  Who knows.  Sam’s been to #1 four times here with “Stay With Me”, “Money On My Mind”, “I’m Not The Only One”, and his collaboration with Disclosure on “Latch”.  And of course he is at #11 with Disclosure with “Omen”.

  • Joe Jonas is large and in charge with the vibrant “Cake By The Ocean” by his new band DNCE, so the song bows at #25.  Joe has had three previous solo entries on the chart:  “Make You Mine” (#3), “Not Right Now” (#6), and “Just In Love” (#13).

  • I’ve enjoyed every Marianas Trench album since Fix Me bowed in late 2006 for the British Columbia based band.  They’re back with album four called Astoria, also released Stateside by Cherrytree/Interscope, and the latest single from that is a softer song for them that shows off Josh Ramsay’s restraint and range, “One Love”, which arrives at #26.  Of their 9 chart appearances, he Trench’s best showing on this chart to date has been with “Masterpiece Theatre Part 1”, which reached #4 in 2009.

  • Last but by no means least is the fun-tastic “Bow Tie” by Toronto’s 18 year old Diego Gomes which lands at #27.  The winner of Canada’s The Next Star back in 2010 is well on his way with a great song like this.

You can hear me online on http://www.planetradio.ca every Monday at 10:15 pm EST counting down a Toronto Top 10 chart from yesteryear!

Catch the sneaky dance vibe of @JoeJonas’ return with @DNCE and “Cake By The Ocean”

DNCE, “Cake By The Ocean”

“Cake By The Ocean” by new quartet DNCE must have been brewing behind the scenes for a while but exploded seemingly out of the blue on to social media a few weeks ago, so I wanted to give it a bit of time to sink in before writing about it.  I was a fan of songs from Joe Jonas’ 2011 solo album Fastlife – not the singles that were released from it but rather the deeper EDM/R&B-influenced songs like “Make You Mine” and “Not Right Now” which featured some excellent vocals that reinforced my opinion about the singer’s talents.  So DNCE has allowed him once and for all to break free of the Jonas Brothers’ Disney-confined sound and life, much like brother Nick did with his solo album last year.  “Cake By The Ocean”, with its slinky riffing, anthemic/shouty chorus, and some not-out-of-place swearing, kind of takes you to the Fastlife side of Joe (who is now 26 😮 ) that his solo album wanted to be.  He’s helped out here by guitarist JinJoo Lee, bassist/keyboardist Cole Whittle (a familiar face to all of you Semi-Precious Weapons fans while that band is on legal-imposed hiatus), and Jack Lawless, once a drummer with the JoBros.  It might be a battle for this to get attention at radio, but “Cake By The Ocean” should certainly be embraced by clubs especially if there are remixes coming.  I definitely admire this new start for Joe and his band.

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BILLCS Music Blog Top 75 Songs of 2012 – #20 to #11

#20  Foster The People “Houdini” (Green Children remix)

The art of the remix will be mentioned in this next list of songs as sometimes (but not always) can a remix improve on a song.  Foster The People have been known to dabble in remixes themselves, and when I heard this remix in a store one day I didn’t even realize it was them during the first minute of the song.  The Green Children remix dazzles by grabbing you from the very start and not letting you go till the end.  It’s also important to note that the duo remixed this for the SOS Children’s Village charities too.  Foster The People’s lyrics are quite inspiring – encouraging young folks to “focus on your ability” rather than disappearing because of fear.  I don’t know how that all fits into their own odd but innovative Grammy-nominated video.  You can watch the animated one to the Green Children remix as well as the original below.

 

#19  Eric Saade “Fingerprints”

I’ll bet regular readers of this blog were wondering when Le Saade would appear, right?  “Fingerprints” is one of three songs from Saade Volume Two to grace this list and reach the Top 3 on my chart.  Somehow the Swedish star’s glory needs to spread outside of the Nordic countries, and I thought the propulsive electronica from that album would have been a sure thing – and it might have, had the album been released in more places.  Nonetheless, “Fingerprints” is a great story (“there’s no face in the mirror / your image is the killer”) and guaranteed to make large crowds bounce along.

 

#18  Joe Jonas “Make You Mine”

If people would have told me two years ago that some of my favourite songs of 2012 would have been by Joe Jonas, I probably would have given them strange looks.  But here it is at #18, the best song from Joe’s Fastlife album “Make You Mine”, a smartly written and romantic (“Gonna rock with you til sunrise /Can I, let me do all the little things you like”) slice of pop/electronica with a driven melody and couldn’t-be-better vocal from Joe.  Should. Have. Been. A. Single.

 

#17  Kyle Patrick “Go For Gold”

This free download and precursor to Kyle’s self-titled EP finds the 26 year old Georgia born singer of The Click Five continuing with his energetic brand of power pop that has given him and his band much success in Southeast Asia, where he has continued to tour throughout most of 2012.  Why this couldn’t have spread more to the rest of the world is a little beyond me.  “Go For Gold” in fact is the perfect song for any Olympics celebration.  Its upbeat singalong message is simply contagious and inspiring (“Chasing every heartbeat / We can feel it starting” “Chase it till we own it / Living in the moment”).  Kyle acquitted the song perfectly in the video (also available in 3D!!), which didn’t look like it had a lot of edits, giving it a free-flowing roam-around-a-set feel.

#16  Lana Del Rey “Blue Jeans” (Penguin Prison remix)

Remix case-in-point #2.   Take Lana Del Rey’s dreamy and flowing “Blue Jeans” from her Born To Die album, throw in a funky backdrop to continue to highlight her Stevie Nicks-ish sounding vocal on the song and layer some lush keyboards around it, and you have the basis for Penguin Prison’s sexy remix, which to me blows the original out of the water.  This remix of “Blue Jeans” continues to be one of my most-played songs even though it arrived for free online late last year.  And I had the pleasure of seeing Penguin Prison perform the remix in concert twice this year.  Check out all three – original video, remix, and Penguin Prison’s performance – below.

 

#15  Swedish House Mafia featuring John Martin “Don’t You Worry Child”

Sometimes we all need a positive message and when it’s set to some rich EDM it makes the experience even better!  Such is the case as Swedish House Mafia apparently close the door on their project with this worldwide smash, featuring powerful and touching vocals by singer John Martin.  “Don’t You Worry Child” held court at #1 on my chart for 2 appearances (4 weeks) starting in late November.  It’s a Grammy nominee for Dance Recording of the Year.

 

#14  Kylie Minogue “Timebomb”

I continue to ask myself why Kylie’s best and most accessible record in 10 years did not become a major hit outside of Australia.  Despite raves from bloggers and music fans, the song disappeared in short order, which is a shame.  It’s a fun song, a terrific dance floor filler, and a great companion to something like “Till the World Ends” by Britney Spears.  I think time will serve this song well!  Fun video, too, below.

 

#13  Florence & The Machine “Spectrum” (Calvin Harris remix)

Always a favourite song of mine from Florence’s sophomore album Ceremonials, “Spectrum” somehow managed to be improved with the help of a Calvin Harris remix, which sent it to #1 in the UK among other places (it was also a #1 US dance club play smash).  The remix takes advantage of what a big and dynamic song it is, with a smashing vocal performance that cannot be bested (despite game attempts in viral covers, including on “The Voice”).  I’m glad the group ended up with two Grammy nominations this year, as did Harris for Best Dance Recording for “Let’s Go” (but, oddly enough, not for Remixer).

 

#12  Penguin Prison “Don’t Fuck With My Money”

Strangely enough, by the time Penguin Prison’s album surfaced in mid-2011, I think I was still caught up in songs like “Multi-Millionaire” and “Golden Train”, though I had heard this song already in concert.  Being the album’s opener, though, it does set a tone, and by late last year its anthemic  urgency had won me over big time, becoming impossible not to sing along with it at a Penguin Prison concert.  Audiences and club DJ’s agreed, and it became a Top 10 Billboard Dance/Club Play hit that will endure.  I can’t wait for more new music from Chris Glover and Penguin Prison in ’13.

 

#11  River Tiber “Symmetry”

From Now On, the debut album from Toronto band River Tiber, who are one of my 13 Performers To Watch For ’13, is my current go-to album when I want to drift away with songs that have glorious mood changes and deliberate moments of quiet.  “Symmetry” is one of the songs that contains exactly that, with a charming and subtle vocal by Tommy Paxton-Beasley till he sings “I thought I could fall in to you” half way through, which actually becomes the uncharacteristic climactic point of the song, allowing you to drift along with it like you would in a really solid good dream.  “Symmetry” (in a chart geek moment 😉 the only song this year to peak at #2 on my chart) is the first of two songs on this list from River Tiber, whose next album Synapses drops on January 1.

BILLCS Music Blog’s Top 75 Songs of 2012 – #40 to #31

#40 Labrinth featuring Tinie Tempah “Earthquake”

“Earthquake” is a carry over from last year, when it was a #2 hit in the UK.  Europe still gets what North America doesn’t:  Labrinth (aka 23 year old Timothy McKenzie) created a complicated landscape which stands out from so many other dance/EDM records of the past year.  Tinie Tempah’s rap blends into the proceedings quite nicely, and the song is matched with an appropriately snazzy and other-worldly video.  Boom! Shake the room.

 

#39 JMSN “Something”

One of the most compelling records of the year, if not always an easy listen, is JMSN’s †Priscilla†.  The lengthy album features R&B-oriented pop songs about heartbreak, loss, loneliness, self-doubt, and self-realization.  But JMSN (Christian Berishaj) executes his songs with such finesse, well-structured vocals, and arrangements to die-for that you are drawn into the concept rather than shoved away from it.  “Something” is the album’s stunner, full of longing and grim truth that echoes like the hefty amount of percussion in the backdrop.  JMSN has been playing shows this year primarily in Los Angeles, and I’m hoping his next effort in ’13 will take him across North America (perhaps with his friend Daniel Bedingfield?  More about that further on.).  Watch the video below; it will make you squirm but it’s hard to look away.

#38  Bright Light Bright Light “Moves”

#35  Bright Light Bright Light featuring Mykal Kilgore “Feel It”

Nary a day has gone by in the last three years when the music of Bright Light Bright Light hasn’t been heard in my household or in my car or on my iPod.  Regular readers will already know that Wales-born London-based BLx2 (Rod Thomas) creates wise and romantic soundscapes that draw heavily from disco and 90’s dance pop.  “Moves” and “Feel It” are two of three songs in this year end listing from BLx2’s debut album Make Me Believe In Hope – and Rod will convince you.  “Moves” (live performance video below) is disco heaven featuring a backdrop of 70’s flourishes while “Feel It” pulls up to the bumper with its funky heat and supurb featured vocals by mister Mykal Kilgore that would not sound out of place on a Black Box single.  To cap it all off, Rod created one of his now famously generous mashups with “Feel It” and Scissor Sisters’ “Let’s Have A Kiki” which puts a smile on my face – and anyone else’s who I’ve played it for – every time.  

#37  Adam Tyler “Like A Drug”

Another album that has songs split between last year and this year is Shattered Ice by Adam Tyler.  L.A.-based Adam’s been a mainstay in these parts for the last three years, continuing with the seductive “Like A Drug”, which took a bit longer to resonate with me than some of his other songs, but nonetheless it did, and Adam scored with a slick, impressively choreographed video.  Adam also released an EP of stripped-away renditions of some of the Shattered Ice songs called Acoustic Ice, whose proceeds go to charity.  One more Adam song – making it four that charted from Shattered Ice –  is still to come in this countdown!

#36  Andreas Moe “Collecting Sunlight”

One of the year’s utterly joyful delights is “Collecting Sunlight” by Swedish singer/songwriter (and one of my 13 Performers to Watch in ’13) 24 year old Andreas Moe.  The song tells a simple story that is brought to life by Andreas’ affecting vocal and subsequently by a literal but engaging animated video.   But this time, watch the live performance clip below.

 

#34 Joe Jonas “Not Right Now”

I didn’t latch on to Joe’s Fastlife album until late last year after the first two singles from the album failed to register much with me.  But upon hearing his third single, the R&B-oriented ballad “Just In Love”, I ventured into the album, and found it filled with intensely edgy danceable pop with a heavy influence from the current EDM scene.  That led to two other non-singles arriving on my chart (one will follow later on in this list), so first we have “Not Right Now”, which is a pretty damn fierce cha-cha if you ask me.  This is hardly what Jonas fans could have expected (and perhaps album sales suffered for that), but its smart arrangement and urgent vocal will certainly keep Joe Jonas on my radar for his next release.

 #33 Vincent Did It featuring Quigley “Notice Me”

While we anticipate FrankMusik’s third album next year, he did offer us (under the guise of Vincent Did It) a still-free EP early on in the year called The SOPA Opera.  It contained a diverse collection of electronic dance pop songs, including this gem, a duet led by Quigley (aka Casey Carlson) released in advance of her FrankMusik-produced EP Pleiades.  Follow Frank on his journey on Twitter and take the opportunity to drop into the adventurous proceedings in his studio when he streams his works-in-progress.

#32 Ellie Goulding “Anything Could Happen”

Unlike her massive hit “Lights”, which took well over a year to gel with radio stations in North America, the sparkling and uplifting “Anything Could Happen”, from Ellie’s sophomore album Halcyon, is a no-brainer.  Ellie performs a striking vocal in this song, which should by all rights be a bigger hit as it just jumps out of the radio when you hear it.  I also wrote about its inventive remix by Birdy Nam Nam which generated quite a flurry online a few months back.  Ellie has the potential to be the Kate Bush of the current generation.

#31 Daniel Bedingfield “Secret Fear”

Being a fan of his earlier hits, I was very pleased when Daniel Bedingfield was released from record company hell to bring us up to date on the music he’d been writing for the last eight years.  Understandably, this comeback was not going to be Gotta Get Thru This part two.  In fact Daniel’s album Secret Fear-Stop The Traffik contains intensely personal and emotional ruminations on love, relationships and most apparently, sex.  “Secret Fear” is the dramatic, cathartic lead off song, which Daniel transformed into a claustrophobic but most watchable video that he also directed.  Shows in Los Angeles and South Africa received raves from those who attended; let’s put him on a double bill with his friend JMSN for a tour, shall we?

BILLCS Chart #375 and Canadian Music Week Update

My new personal chart is taking a backseat to my Canadian Music Week update.  Despite lots and lots and lots of walking as well as shifting my regular body clock a few times to accommodate some shows, I was really glad I decided to purchase a Canadian Music Week wristband this year.  I had been to shows during CMW in the past but I really had the urge to get out and see some shows, since my winter months were pretty concert-deprived.

As much as I love the dance music that takes regular residence on my chart, getting away from autotune and seeing mainly raw live performances was well worth it.  I got to meet a lot of great people which shows me that the people making music out there are still the ones I enjoy most.  There are many talented people behind the scenes, but too much of a requisite amount of a-holes.  I used to find that with performers, too, but not in recent years.

So here are my highlights – if you follow me on Twitter, you pretty much realized that I needed to be cloned 😉

THE TEMPER TRAP:  The Aussie quintet is back with its self-titled follow up to Conditions due this Spring.  The group provided an entertaining mix of savvy pop, rock and dance music, capped with its big hit “Sweet Disposition”.  The new songs sound very gripping and I can’t wait to hear them.  Dougy Mandagi is an engaging front man.  Check out the video for new single “Need Your Love” below.

MARTHA WAINWRIGHT:  It was way too long since I last saw Martha open up for her brother Rufus in one of his shows about 7 or 8 years ago.  I saw an in-store 20 minute acoustic set, and she was very inspiring and in fantastic voice.  Another upcoming album that will be well worth the wait.

AERIALS UP:  The first of my pop collectives, as I blogged about last week, the 7 piece Scottish unit led by Alan Kemlo offered up one of the very best shows I saw with a perfect balance of instrumentation.  The band was totally wrapped up and in the moment on stage, and the songs from their upcoming album due in April sounded fabulous.  Despite an effort to see them a second time that was screwed up from wrong information I received from the venue, I will look forward when Aerials Up return to Toronto.  I think they made a whole lot of fans here.

GENTLEMEN HALL:  Despite mediocre and sometimes distorted sound, the 6 piece Boston rock band led by Gavin Merlot and Cobi Mike who were my second pop collective stirred up a tempest on stage.  With synthesizers prominently in the mix, the band did not hesitate to add heavy guitars or some lovely melodies for a diverse set.  I got new appreciation for their song “Gravity Will Break Our Bones”.

IN MY COMA:  Though I didn’t get to see their CMW show, I did catch a set by the three piece Toronto band led by Jasper James that I wrote about recently a few days before CMW.  The band is tight with a rich contemporary take on post-grunge rock that is presented in their finely crafted CD package Magnets And Miracles.

BIG SCARY:  Big Scary is a duo from Australia comprising Tom Iansek and Jo Syme.  Lest you think that a the market for a two piece band with a female drummer comprised The (now defunct) White Stripes and Matt & Kim, we’ll you’re wrong.  Big Scary indeed does have a big rock sound (guitar/keyboards/drums) that takes inspiration from post 80’s new wave.  There seems to be lots of room for anything in their mix so I’ll look forward to hearing songs from their recent album Vacation.

THE SLAKADELIQS:  I’ve written about this Toronto outfit led by Slakah the Beatchild twice now, and was fortunate to catch their premiere public show.  Despite being sabotaged by poor sound, the band invited guest vocalists up on stage, to give their show a real community vibe.  This in turn was enhanced with their guitar players alternating with some fantastic dual cello work!  Best of all at the end came Justin Nozuka, who lifted the set into an entirely different game with his vocals for “Keep Breathing” and “Love Controls The Sun”.

RIVER TIBER:  It was very cool for me to actually meet Tommy Paxton-Beesley at The Slakadeliqs show, before I saw his band play their own set in a well-attended graveyard shift (3:00 a.m.) the next night.  River Tiber delivered the goods in performance especially on “Someday”, “These Are Centuries”, and a well-chosen rendition of The Beatles’ “Here Comes The Sun”.  As I wrote a few weeks back, River Tiber’s From Now On is one of the few Must Hear records of 2012 thus far.

With that having been said, let’s move into chart mode 🙂

I could not leave Eric Saade stranded at #2 with “Backseat” after 10 weeks.  The last song I remember in a similar situation was “Crush (1980 Me)” by Darren Hayes, which got one appearance at #1 in 2002, but became one of my 10 favourite songs of the last decade!  I love the rock flavour and sexual undertones in “Backseat”.  If you haven’t heard it yet, listen below.  His other song on the rise on the chart, “Fingerprints”, slides up to #3 too.

Then back we go to Tommy Paxton-Beesley and River Tiber.  “Someday” is currently taking over my iTouch and it climbs 11-2 to challenge for #1 in two weeks.  Not only that, but another River Tiber song “Symmetry” will grab you when you’re not looking.  It debuts at #12.

The rest of the Top 10 shapes up with single point gains with songs by Graffiti6, JMSN, and Joe Jonas.  M83 enters at #10 with “Midnight City”, but it’s The Wanted that unexpectedly storm the Top 10 with “Glad You Came” at #9.  Oh, and boy bands are NOT back.  They never went away.

As the release of his Promising Promises album arrives in May, the stirring duo of Jon McLaughlin with Sara Bareilles on “Summer Is Over” inches towards the Top 10 at #11.  On a different bent, Colin Munroe’s inspiring “The Fight Of My Life” draws me in listen after listen and moves up to #13.  Last week’s other debuts all fare well.  The Knocks’ take on “Midnight City” rises to #19; “Could It Be Magic” is transformed by Elouise and climbs to #20; “Happiness” by the ever-talented Sam Sparro jumps to #22 (video is below); Kaya and Pierre Lewis  take “When I Was Blind” to #23; and “Call It What You Want” is at #24 for Foster The People.

It’s been almost 5 years since Tyler Hilton appeared in my chart with “You’ll Ask For Me”, but in the interim he’s been busy performing both on stage and on camera in film and on TV (“One Tree Hill”).  It’s hard to believe that Forget The Storm will only be his sophomore full album release, his first being 2004’s The Tracks Of Tyler Hilton.  But if the pensive and laid back “Prince Of Nothing Charming” (debuting at #26 – his 7th entry on my chart though!) proves anything it’s that Tyler Hilton is on his way to continuing to please his many fans and expand worldwide.  Watch for the release of Forget The Storm on April 3.

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.

BILLCS Top 30 #374 – March 12/12

As the top 5 songs on my chart remain exactly the same (that’s 4 appearances – 8 weeks – at #1 for “Memorize Me” by Rune RK & Databoy, plus 5 appearances at #2 for Eric Saade’s “Backseat” – and both songs are still red hot!), the rest of the chart gets a shake-up with 6 additions.  I’ve chatted about all of these songs before except the highest debut.

While the regular big hits from TV’s “Glee” now seem to have stopped, that doesn’t prevent the show from helping the original versions of some  of the songs they are performing to become huge hits in North America.  How many of you knew “We Are Young” by fun. featuring Janelle Monae before you saw the “Glee” performance”?  It’s currently #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.  And not too far behind it is “Glad You Came” by The Wanted.  There’s nothing complex about this one – a simple unadulterated catchy fun song that deserves to be a hit.  It bows at #22 on my chart, yes a little belatedly, but nothing stops a good song.

In a bit of a chart first from these last 14 years, I’m charting the same song by two different performers.  “Midnight City” by M83 in its original version slides up comfortably to #12, but the version I premiered a few weeks back by The Knocks featuring Mandy Lee has its own vibe and merits and debuts at #23.  Plus – it’s a free download 🙂

The next two debuts don’t have official videos and both hail from the UK.  I do say it’s time for a revival of the Barry Manilow/Take That hit “Could It Be Magic”, this time as performed by captivating chanteuse Elouise.  Read my last blog post about her album Little Belterthe song debuts at #27.  It’s her 6th entry in my chart world – 2010’s “Pretender” even got as high as #2.  Then we have a chart premiere for young American singer Kaya with “When I Was Blind”, which has a preview on You Tube but is also available on iTunes in its original ballad form.  It features talented UK singer Pierre Lewis in a truly harmonious vocal pairing.  Pierre got to #2 in 2009 on my chart with “Broken” and has come close again with some other recent songs.  But “When I Was Blind” is a beautiful, classic ballad with loads of potential.  You can get the Florian Maier dance mix for free right here.  The song arrives at #28.

A video is forthcoming for Sam Sparro’s “Happiness”, from his upcoming Return To Paradise album, which premieres at #29.  Sam has just been back to his native Australia and is now poised to offer up lots of “Happiness” to the rest of the pop world 🙂  The last debut has been kicking around in my head, well at least since last November when I wrote about it.  I think I’ve still been a bit attached to “Pumped Up Kicks”, and while “Helena Beat” was promoted as the follow up I think the true successor is still “Call It What You Want” and its imaginative video.  It steps onto the chart at #30.

There’s still some impressive movement happening on the rest of the chart.  I like the sound of Graffiti 6 at #6, as “Free” continues its ascent.   Joe Jonas still has a two-fer in my Top 10 with “Make You Mine” hanging at #3, and “Not Right Now” now moving up 10-7.  JMSN’s “Something” climbs 14-8 as the singer prepares some more thought-provoking videos for our entertainment.  “Fallout” by Marianas Trench becomes their fifth top tenner at #9, and “Better Than I Know Myself” lands at #10 for Adam Lambert – very interested in hearing the other songs from his upcoming album Trespassing.  Last week’s new ones all made some fine gains this week.  Ryan Star’s “Stay Awhile” rises 25-18, while “The Fight Of My Life” by Colin Munroe featuring Pusha-T jumps 27-19.  Liquid Diet, who performed their first live show last night in New York City, slide up 29-24.

However, it’s “Someday” by River Tiber that you must keep your eyes and ears on.  A huge 26-11 jump smells of a #1 contender once the current dance music up top takes a break.  I’ll have lots more to say about Tommy Paxton-Beesley and his band in the coming week as River Tiber performs a couple of shows in my city.  I’ve been listening steadily to River Tiber’s From Now On album and the new EP Massachusetts, and have plenty to talk about once I collect my thoughts.  In the meantime, here’s that video for “Someday” again…

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.

BILLCS Top 30 #373 – February 27/12

Much of my personal chart stays the same in this end of February edition, but there are always the requisite new songs on the rise.  The big mover on this week’s chart is the increasingly infectious “Free” by Graffiti 6, which jumps 20-8.   The British duo of Jamie Scott and Tommy Danvers comes off with a unique pop sound amid so much autotuned dross on the charts.  As testament to this, you’ll find an acoustic video of “Free” below as well as the official video.  As bloggers have claimed for the last few years, Graffiti 6 continues to impress and acquire new fans (me, among them).

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.

The top of the chart continues to be a friendly battle between “Memorize Me” by Rune RK & Databoy, which continues in the lead, and “Backseat” by Eric Saade.  The former’s intriguing story sweatered in electropop and the latter’s rock-flavoured sensual dance pop are both fantastic detours in the current pop world.  Not far behind is “Make You Mine” by Joe Jonas at #3, which like “Backseat” throws a little aggression into the mix.  The sensitive old-school R&B/pop of “Home” by Stone Walters continues at #4, and then it’s that guy Saade again at #5 with the mysterious and danceable singalong that is “Fingerprints”.  Aside from “Free” by Graffiti 6, the only other new entry to the Top 10 is another Jonas-should-be-smash done up as a break-up cha cha called “Not Right Now” at #10.

While the fine “Fallout” by Marianas Trench (video below) and “Born To Die” by Lana Del Rey each inch up a notch, Adam Lambert’s “Better Than I Know Myself” comes up the middle as Top 10 bound at #12.  JMSN’s intriguing “Something” is on the move at #14 (yes, more weird and wonderful videos are on the way), with “Summer Is Over” by Jon McLaughlin & Sara Bareilles climbing to #16.  M83’s “Midnight City” continues to get stuck in my head for long periods of time and jumps to #17, while Fallulah’s “Out Of It” as remixed by the ingenious Monsieur Adi is equally captivating at #20.  The crowd pleasing “Believe It” by Spencer & Ross and Nadia Ali rounds out the songs to watch at #21.

I’ve already written about our four debuts in past posts.  But in case you haven’t got the tip from the above paragraphs, a lot more rock flavour seems to be finding its way into my personal chart.  Three out of the four debuts can attest to this.

At #25 is New Yorker Ryan Star, whose songs have fared extremely well on the chart since 2008, all reaching the Top 5:  “Right Now” (#2), “Start A Fire” (#3), “Last Train Home” (#4), and “Breathe” (#5).  “Stay Awhile” is no exception – a fine emotionally-charged and thoughtful rock ballad.  The video is below, as is Ryan’s rendition of “I Won’t Back Down”, a late 80’s hit for Tom Petty.

Then we have River Tiber, the band name for Canada’s Tommy Paxton-Beesley, which hits with “Someday” at #26.  It’s another song with genuine emotional fervour and highly-charged guitar playing that is made even better by Tommy’s Jeff Buckleyesque vocals which now give me goosebumps.  Catch the video below and become a believer, along with another one of River Tiber’s songs called “Symmetry”.  Be sure to download a new EP, hot off the presses, called Massachusetts, from River Tiber’s website.

Bowing at #27 is “The Fight Of My Life” by Colin Munroe featuring Pusha-T.  The duo concocted a wicked blend of pop, rock, R&B, and rap in this powerful song, which should put Toronto’s Colin back into the international scene handily.  A lot of people, myself included, can relate to the lyrics and Colin’s soulful and honest vocal.  Colin’s had two chart entries, “Will I Stay” (#8) and “Bulletproof Monster” (#12).  Listen to “The Fight Of My Life” below, as well as lending an ear to Colin’s affecting revox of Sky Ferreira’s “One”.

The last debut at #29 focuses on a retro new wave vibe, in a kind of Animotion-meets-Divinyls kind of way (and they would do a great version of the former’s hit “Obsession”, hint hint).   I’m talking about fun trio Liquid Diet, who have released a 3 song self-titled EP that puts ears foremost on “Hand Dance”, their ode to self-pleasure.  It’s kitschy for sure but not only instantly likeable but hard to get out of your head, and before you know it you’ll want more… And that must be why the duo also recorded a danceable cover-with-a-twist of George Michael’s “Father Figure”.  As with “Hand Dance”, vocalists Georgia and Billy trade off well and what sounds like it could have been a train wreck in principle actually works out just fine thank you.  The EP rounds out with “Nude”, which manages to name-check bloggers among a cast of thousands.  Watch the video for “Hand Dance” below and listen to “Father Figure” as well.