#BILLCSTop30 #601, November 23/20

There continues to be an enormous abundance of fine music out there – all you have to do is look for it and listen!  The BILLCS Top 30 is now in its 22nd year online and continues to act as a guide to steer you in the direction of some great tunes in a variety of pop genres.  The chart has four new entries to tantalize you.

Hanging on to #1 is “House Is Happiness” (above) by German producer and saxophonist Stan Sax, who is one half of the duo Saxity, who themselves move into the Top 10 with “Fantasy” (below), featuring the voices of Victor Perry and Robbie Rosen (13-10).  Stan and Koni are back on another roll of releases, with another brand new one coming this Friday.

His third album Love Goes is receiving fine public and critical response, and Sam Smith has his eyes on #1 in two weeks with his engaging single “Diamonds”, climbing 5-2.

Sweden’s Agnes obtains her first Top 5 song on this chart since 2009 as the zippy “Fingers Crossed” advances 8-5.  Her last song to do this was “Release Me”, which got to #1.

Besides “Fantasy”, the other newcomer to the Top 10 is “Tinseltown In The Rain”, the emotional and intriguing cover of The Blue Nile’s 1984 song by German producer Matt Mancid and California-based vocalist (and multi-instrumentalist) Color Theory.  “Tinseltown”, in its Big Rhythm mix, climbs 11-9.

The Fastest Riser on the chart belongs to Toronto’s Justin Nozuka with British singer Mahalia on “No One But You”.  This romantic R&B/pop ballad moves up 18-11.

It looks like “Nightlight” opened up even a more pop-oriented audience door for Illenium than his last album Ascend.  Recently #1 on the national dance chart for two weeks, “Nightlight” rises 17-13.  The uncredited vocal is by one of its co-writers, and frequent Illenium collaborator, Annika Wells.

I like to think of Canadian singer/songwriter Francesco Yates’ “Late Night Love” as his equivalent of Justin Timberlake’s “SexyBack” – especially since the singer opened for JT throughout one of his recent tours.  This sexy and raucous R&B-flavoured song rises 20-15.

Tyler Shaw is one of Canada’s most versatile performers, who can shift from style to style, including recording in French.  Such is the case with his latest danceable Top 20 pop radio hit “Remember”, which climbs 21-16.

MAX and SUGA’s “Blueberry Lies” continues to lead the last chart’s new entries, and advances 25-19.  Be sure to check out MAX’s excellent album Colour Vision.  I was so pleased to see him perform the entire album in a recent free virtual show.

I currently have the Highest Debut on repeat.  It’s the new house banger “Give It Back” by The Disco Fries and Giiants featuring singer/songwriter Allison Park.  By all rights this song should be huge, and I’m helping to give it that push as it debuts at #20.

Next up at #24 is the first appearance on the chart for Swedish production duo NOTD in tandem with mystery performer Catello on their latest single “Nobody”.  The song has already soared into the Top 10 on national dance charts, and is the logical follow up to last year’s huge hit “So Close”.

Despite having been on release since summer, I can’t let the song that debuts at #25 go without it having a chart run.  British rocker James Bay returns to the chart with “Chew On My Heart” from his most recent EP Turn It Up.  He reached #2 two years ago with “Pink Lemonade”.

The fourth debut is a supurb change of pace for L.A.-based singer/songwriter Lauv, who partners with rising star Conan Gray for “Fake” at #30.  The guys really have great chemistry and make “Fake” a lighter, enjoyable song considering its subject matter.  It’s Lauv’s 4th appearance on the chart, and Conan’s first.

A reminder that the music from my chart and blog are featured regularly on the new online radio station Radio GTA. You can hear their Big 20 on Wednesday evenings with ‘The Musicman’ James Rogers and listen for songs from the chart too 🙂 Scroll down the station’s main page to listen to lots of variety from across the decades!  I’m the new music consultant for the station so you can expect even more in 2021 🙂  You can start by joining Radio GTA’s new interactive Facebook group too!!

View the full BILLCS Top 30 right here!  Click on the hyperlink on the song titles to hear the songs or watch the videos!

Listen to the BILLCS Top 30 Songs on Spotify! Click on this link to take you there, and follow me on Spotify: BILLCS Top 30 Songs

Check out and ‘like’ the BILLCS Music Projects Facebook page 🙂

Want to see what I’ve been listening to and charting for the past 22 years?  Rummage through the BILLCS Top 30 Archive (where you can click on the link within) when you have a chance!! 

 

 

#BILLCS Top 30 #600, November 8/20

After reaching a milestone of 2,500 blog posts last week since I began writing the BILLCS Music Blog in 2009, I’ve also hit another milestone with the BILLCS Top 30.  It’s edition #600, which would be over 1,200 if it was weekly.  The chart first began online in January 1998 and the first published #1 was “Angel” by Canadian singer Joée.  I had previously posted Top 10 versions of the chart on a few websites or message boards, starting in September 1997.  The chart remained a Top 10 until the edition of August 31, 1998, when it was extended to a Top 30.

There are 5 debuts on the chart, and we have a new #1 song in edition #600.  It’s an exhilarating instrumental called “House Is Happiness” by German producer and saxophonist Stan Sax, who is one half of the duo Saxity, and also records under the name of ZEROBADDAYS.  “House Is Happiness” is a real toe-tapper and you’ll have a tough time staying still.  It’s yet another independently released song to reach #1 on my chart.

Sweden’s Pawl & Discrete have another snappy house record that will vie for #1 with “Type Like That”, making another big bold move, advancing 10-3.

But the one to watch is the glorious “Diamonds” by Sam Smith, from his excellent new album Love Goes.  “Diamonds” soars 17-5, the Fastest Riser on the chart, among a bunch of fine breakup songs in Love Goes.  “Diamonds” features one of Sam’s best vocals, and it’s his highest placing on this chart since 2014.

Two songs arrive in the Top 10 for the first time.  Sweden’s Agnes obtains her fourth Top 10 song on this chart with “Fingers Crossed” (13-8, above), most recently reaching #3 on “Tough Love” by Avicii.  Singer/songwriter/producer Lauren Mayhew and Moroccan teen producer Mariline debut in the Top 10 with the warm and fuzzy progressive dance track “We Are Home” (11-9), which was written by Lauren at the Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE).

Stan Sax’s other project, Saxity, climbs 16-13 with “Fantasy”, featuring outstanding vocals by Victor Perry and American Idol alumnus Robbie Rosen.  You can see all three gents in the video above.

Denver producer Illenium has a new personal best this week as “Nightlight” (21-17) becomes the #1 song at Dance Music Radio in the USA.  

Out of four debuts two weeks ago, “No One But You” by Toronto’s Justin Nozuka with British singer/songwriter Mahalia leads the way, climbing 24-18.  Be sure to download Justin’s APP from the App Store, and you’ll find a list of all of his major concert performances over the years, plus some new exclusive acoustic clips to keep you entertained during these strange times.

The highest debut belongs to the ever-so-talented (and dad-to-be) MAX, from his excellent album Colour Vision, with “Blueberry Eyes”, featuring singing by his buddy SUGA of BTS.  This song, written for MAX’s wife Emily, arrives at #25, and joins MAX’s collaboration with Jonas Blue, “Naked” (#15), on the chart.  “Naked” recently peaked at #4.  BTS previously appeared on the chart in early 2018 with “DNA”, which peaked at #13.

Next up is another artist currently on the chart, NYC-based Welsh singer/songwriter Bright Light Bright Light.  His outstanding duet with Erasure’s Andy Bell called “Good For Goodbyes” arrives at #26 (above) and has also been released as an extended remix created by Grammy Award winner Tracy Young (below).  Tracy in fact appeared on the chart back in 2002 with her radio edit of Cyndi Lauper’s “Shine” (#5).  “It’s Alright, It’s OK” by Bright Light Bright Light and Montreal trio Caveboy also climbs 18-16.

Making their chart debut is the L.A. quintet Why Don’t We with the rock-flavoured “Fallin’ (Adrenaline)” at #27.  This single by the group of early 20-somethings follows up their 2018 debut album 8 Letters.  And with “Fallin'” already brewing at Top 40 radio, I’m sure another album is not far behind.

Also making his chart debut is British electronic dance producer Jerome Price, with vocalist Cally Rhodes, on the irresistible dance banger “Chasing Feelings”, which bows at #28.

While “Dancing Next To Me”, one of my favourites of 2020, departs the chart after a maximum 10 chart stay (20 weeks), Greyson Chance returns immediately to maintain the flow at #29 with his latest single “Bad To Myself”.  This one has a lot of personal and earnest touches, referencing Greyson’s recent bout with anorexia.

 

A reminder that the music from my chart and blog are featured regularly on the new online radio station Radio GTA. You can hear their Big 20 on Wednesday evenings with ‘The Musicman’ James Rogers and listen for songs from the chart too 🙂 Scroll down the station’s main page to listen to lots of variety from across the decades!  I’m the new music consultant for the station so you can expect even more in 2021 🙂  You can start by joining Radio GTA’s new interactive Facebook group too!!

View the full BILLCS Top 30 right here!  Click on the hyperlink on the song titles to hear the songs or watch the videos!

Listen to the BILLCS Top 30 Songs on Spotify! Click on this link to take you there, and follow me on Spotify: BILLCS Top 30 Songs

Check out and ‘like’ the BILLCS Music Projects Facebook page 🙂

Want to see what I’ve been listening to and charting for the past 22 years?  Rummage through the BILLCS Top 30 Archive (where you can click on the link within) when you have a chance!! 

 

 

Soft, romantic, and ever-so-sweet: “No One But You” is new R&B-pop for your soul by @justinnozuka and @mahalia

JUSTIN NOZUKA & MAHALIA, “No One But You”

I’ve noticed in the past several months, there has been a real absence of romantic songs, probably in keeping somewhat with the current ongoing situation. So bravo to Toronto’s Justin Nozuka for releasing his first new music in over two years in the form of an R&B-pop ballad with UK singer Mahalia that recalls his cover of Sade’s “By My Side” called “No One Like You”. In years past, this would be called a ‘quiet storm’ track, and could easily be played next to classics of that sub-genre. It’s a lusciously simple song about anyone’s special someone, and it’s complimented by its video above, which reminds us of all of the gentle, sensual, romantic, and often basic aspects of a relationship that take place. “No One Like You” is pop music soul food. This collaboration with Mahalia is certainly one-of-a-kind. She has had her own major label album release to show off her Erykah Badu-meets-Lauryn Hill style, and has recorded with Jacob Collier, Ty Dolla $ign, Kranium, Ella-Mai, and more. I’m so glad to hear new music from Justin, who is always unpredictable but creates from the heart. Listen for more coming soon.

Published in: on October 18, 2020 at 10:18 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Toronto’s @Beatchild & @TheSlakadeliqs are back featuring @JustinNozuka in the 60’s throwback “The Only Difference”

BEATCHILD & THE SLAKADELIQS featuring JUSTIN NOZUKA, “The Only Difference”

There are a lot of parallels between the late 60’s and the late ’10’s, mainly the aftermath of unfortunate politics prompting songwriters to focus on writing on songs about love, peace and understanding.  And Beatchild & The Slakadeliqs, in their first release in some time, are all about that, along with featured vocalist Justin Nozuka on “The Only Difference” (as with late 2011’s “Love Controls The Sun”, which I wrote about in a post right here).  So not only thematically is it a throwback to the 60’s, but in my estimation (and I could be wrong) the music, with its simple piano melody, and the harmonic vocals full of symmetry, recall many soul groups of that era like Five Stairsteps, The Delfonics, The Intruders and so on.  The rest of the music is terrific collaborative jamming, making “The Only Difference” go down very easy, and having me wonder what it would all sound like in a live setting.  Check it out at the Spotify link above. 

Published in: on December 2, 2017 at 8:30 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“High Tide” is gentle and inspiring folk/pop EP from Toronto’s @JustinNozuka

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JUSTIN NOZUKA, High Tide (EP)

It’s so hard to believe that Justin Nozuka’s first album Holly was released 10 years ago this Fall, and the thoughtful and emotion-wrenching lead single “After Tonight” became one of my go-to songs for not only the next year but forever more, it has endured so very well.  Flash forward and we’re now at the start of a fourth album release for Justin.  He’s chosen to release it in EP parts instead of all at once, so the first three-song offering is called “High Tide”.  It’s a gracious blend of folk and pop and rock like no one else is making.  Inspired greatly by love and nature, you can feel the gentle power particularly in “No Place In Mind”, which reminds me a lot of songs from Justin’s 2010 album You I Wind Land & Sea.  Opener “All I Need” is satisfying and slicker pop, and could be a nice slice of ear candy for pop/adult/alternative radio.  “Hourglass” takes some kind early advice from parents to reflect on and use as empowering self-realization.  High Tide is a true pleasure to hear, with a lot to say crammed into the thoughts of three songs.  You can check out the entire EP at the Spotify link below, but be sure to pick it up at your favourite digital store too.

Check out the soothing, gentle “Chestnut Spoke to Maple” by Toronto’s @Justin Nozuka

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JUSTIN NOZUKA, Chestnut Spoke To Maple (EP)

I didn’t see this one coming when it dropped early last month, but immensely talented Toronto singer/songwriter Justin Nozuka released Chestnut Spoke To Maple, a four-song EP, kind of out of nowhere, and not really as a follow up to 2014’s bold and experimental Ulysees. It was recorded after a series of acoustic shows which Justin performed throughout last year, as well as opening for the likes of Brian Wilson.  There’s always a lot of deliberate quiet and rawness in some of Justin’s songs, and this EP basks in peace, tranquility, love, and being at one with nature.  The gentle zinger here is a stripped down rendition of Sade’s By Your Side (originally from the 2000 Lovers Rock album) which Justin reinterprets and makes his own.  The EP is rounded out by the soothing ear candy of “September Grass” and “Moonlight”, while only “Willow” seems to fade into the background well before it ends.  Overall though, Chestnut Spoke To Maple is the kind of record to play when you need a distraction or to relax, knowing that someone like Justin Nozuka can make it all feel better for its duration.

Published in: on January 5, 2016 at 8:26 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Serene Scenes: “Sweet Lover” by @JustinNozuka

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JUSTIN NOZUKA, “Sweet Lover”

Canadian singer Justin Nozuka released an album of mainly quieter songs that is not necessarily for everyone this past Spring called Ulysees.  It’s a brave move for sure on his third full release, but the 25 year old seems to actively promote peace, love, kindness, beauty and a host of other wonderful states of mind and being that we often take for granted.  “Sweet Lover” is one of the more striking songs on the record, and what better way to cross-promote the song than with a soothing, peaceful well-shot video that captures earth and nature at its most serene.  The few times that Justin uses his high register are goosebump moments, and if you saw his show on his recent tour, you’ll know that those moments in this song easily silenced the noisiest club goers.  The production is layered and crisp, very reminiscent of the Wall of Sound style of the 60’s.  Justin Nozuka is carving out a unique style for himself and his fans are loving it.  You can purchase Ulysees on iTunes.

Published in: on July 3, 2014 at 2:07 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Welcome Back @JustinNozuka with “Right By You”

JUSTIN NOZUKA, “Right By You”

It’s been almost four years since Toronto singer Justin Nozuka’s second album, the well-received You I Wind Land & Sea, and I think the last time I heard him on record was singing on The Slaqadeliks’ “Love Controls The Sun” back in late ’11.  Justin’s third album Ulysees is on deck soon (and available for pre-order on iTunes), and preceding it is “Right By You”.  Initially, and to everyone but JN fans, it will appear like an odd duck of a song.  But it works in the less-is-more aspect of making music, with minimal sounds in the background, allowing major focus on Justin’s flourishing and soulful vocal.  

“Right By You” is the kind of song that will put an entire club audience into a hushed state with its bluesy sense of immediacy and closeness.   Think of 70’s R&B songs like Major Harris’ “Love Won’t Let Me Wait”, “Why Can’t We Live Together” by Timmy Thomas, or “Love Don’t Live Here Anymore” by Rose Royce, all of which thrive on their vocals and their messages.  On a side note, I understand that our friends in Toronto band River Tiber have had a hand in Justin’s new songs – always a good thing.  Watch for Ulysees on April 1.

Published in: on February 16, 2014 at 10:56 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Justin Nozuka – New Album On The Way

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He’s been awfully quiet of late, but talented Canadian singer 24 year old Justin Nozuka has been recording his third album, following 2007’s Holly and 2010’s You I Wind Land & Sea.  I know fans of Justin read this blog, so here’s what he posted on Facebook today:

Hi, 

We have been working on the new album and are still in the creation process. We are looking forward to releasing it soon. Thank you. 

Sincerely 

Justin

 

Published in: on March 15, 2013 at 12:44 pm  Leave a Comment  
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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.