Toronto’s @Beatchild & @TheSlakadeliqs are back featuring @JustinNozuka in the 60’s throwback “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  
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

“High Tide” is gentle and inspiring folk/pop EP from Toronto’s @JustinNozuka



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


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  
Tags: , , , , ,

Serene Scenes: “Sweet Lover” by @JustinNozuka


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  
Tags: , , , , , ,

Welcome Back @JustinNozuka with “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  
Tags: , , , , , ,

Justin Nozuka – New Album On The Way


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:


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. 




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

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.

Up-N-Comers featuring Kaya & Pierre Lewis, Kenneth Giles, Darin, Glo, Slakadeliqs & Justin Nozuka, River Tiber, and more

Life seems to go crazy all at once – work gets super busy, personal situations change, and of course in these blink-and-they’re-gone times, new music arrives en masse.  So before I know it, I’m saying “How am I gonna write about all of this great music?”.  So not to give short shrift to any of these fine songs and performers, but today’s Up-N-Comers blog post provides a succinct look/listen about songs and performers that require your attention 🙂

Kaya featuring Pierre Lewis “When I Was Blind”

I tipped you off to this beauty of a ballad a few weeks back, and “When I Was Blind” has officially arrived on iTunes today (February 11).  U.S. beauty Kaya and handsome UK R&B/pop singer Pierre could not sound better together.  The song is written in classic ballad style that you just don’t hear on the radio anymore.  And as a bonus, producer/remixer Florian Maier crunched the song into a dance rendition that even gets a little dub-steppy.  Hear the remix below and download it with an email subscription right here.

Kenneth Giles “Take It Easy”

Kenneth is an Irish singer, dancer and choreographer who has done well in his home country at a young age, already as a judge on Dublin’s Got Talent, performing in the domestic touring show of Glee, and running his own performing arts studio.  “Take It Easy” seems a little plain at the start, but its slinky mid-tempo vibe and chorus will find you humming the song when you least expect it.  This is a promising start and the video offers some eye-catching choreography too.  Get it on iTunes.

Darin “Nobody Knows”

It seemed back in 2008 that Swedish singer Darin Zanyar was Scandinavia’s equivalent of a Justin Timberlake-meets-Jesse McCartney talent, having had lots of Scandinavian success back to 2005.  Domestic and European hits like “Breathing Your Love” (featuring Kat DeLuna, from the Flashback album) and “Lovekiller” (from the 2010 album of the same name) brought his talent to the worldwide stage, showing that he can bridge both dance and pop worlds.  “Nobody Knows” puts him back square in dance club territory, with a song that not only slams but puts his high register to wonderful full use while still focusing on a beautiful melody.  It’s a well-rounded song that puts Darin more head-to-head with someone like Adam Lambert, and that’s not at all a bad thing!  Official release is coming soon… listen to the song below.

Glo, “Don’t Believe”

Montreal produces some of the best domestic rock music amid its reputation for top notch electronica.  Glo is a three piece whose album No One Hears Me drops this year.  Taking cues from bands like Keane and All American Rejects, but with a harder edge carrying the melody, “Don’t Believe” is a tidy and punchy single carried by singer Rick Cordi’s versatile voice.  It also has great pedigree with award-winning singer/producer John Nathaniel (Marie-Mai, Long Story Short) at the helm.  You can buy “Don’t Believe” on CD Baby or listen to right here.

Slakadeliqs featuring Justin Nozuka “Keep Breathing”

I previewed Slakadeliqs’ debut album The Other Side Of Tomorrow a while back with another song featuring the ultra-talented Justin called “Love Controls The Sun”, which is a lovely lazy Sunday morning slice of pop.  The other song from the album featuring Justin is “Keep Breathing”, a breezy mid-tempo jazzy-sounding song that reminds me a lot of the Style Council’s mid-80’s output.  Slakah the Beatchild and Justin get their groove on in the video below and it’s positively contagious.  You can download The Other Side Of Tomorrow or any of its songs for free from the Slakadeliqs’ website or you can buy it on iTunes.  Unique and diverse – don’t miss it.

River Tiber “Someday”

River Tiber is the band name for Toronto’s Tommy Paxton-Beesley, who is one of these burgeoning talents-all-in-one just bursting at the seams.  “Someday” shows all too apparent influence from the likes of U2 and Coldplay, with some fantastic guitar work, but there’s a really sweet Jeff Buckley-esque edge to this song that I find incredibly affecting with each listen.  This young man is going places.  Listen to “Someday” below and you can purchase River Tiber’s album From Now On on iTunes.

Feral aka Kinky “Tweet Retweet”

A case is being made for a recent dance music sub-genre called Moombahton, which appears to combine reggae, pop, and electronica.  If you’re interested in sampling this quirky style, check out Moombahton Nation on iTunes.  From that album, “Tweet Retweet” by Feral aka Kinky slices a bright, clubby melody with reggae-stylin’ vocals that draw you in – remember mid 2000’s hits like “Move Ya Body” by Nina Sky, “Never Leave You” by Lumidee, or “Pull Up” by Mr. Vegas”?  Take two steps forward from those records and tilt your head, remaining firmly on the dancefloor.  Listen to “Tweet Retweet” below.

Sintropez “Berlin Girl”

It’s not often these days that the dark post-new wave influences of groups like Depeche Mode or Sisters of Mercy rear their heads in new music.  But if you like that style, you’ll appreciate the lush and languid feel of “Berlin Girl” by Sintropez, a new three piece unit from France led by singer Will Katrine.  Listen below.

And just for fun, “Call Me Maybe” by Canada’s Carly Rae Jepsen (produced by Marianas Trench’s Josh Ramsay) has already reached #1 on Billboard’s Canadian Top 100 and is poised to break out internationally, given tweets of support by the likes of Selena Gomez.  It doesn’t need my thumbs up to help it succeed, but it’s got a great video, so watch below.

Fall Popervescence Too: Nick Hagelin, Adam Tyler, and Introducing: Stone Walters, The Slakadeliqs, and SoSo

Yes, please, we will be delighted to have more Nick Hagelin in 2012.  And judging from what’s seen and heard in the above preview, 2012 could be a breakout year for the Georgia resident who has charmed us with acoustic covers of “Marry You”, “The Story Of Us”, and especially “Sometimes I Cry”, plus the soul-pop in his debut EP Take Off.

Stone Walters “Home”

Sometimes there are songs that are so special they move you to tears.  And that’s what “Home” by UK singer Stone Walters did to me.  It strikes an important chord for not only me but many others, especially at this time of year.  Of course it helps that Stone has a to-die-for voice heavily influenced by the likes of Al Green and Stevie Wonder, but he really has the quiet power of someone like Marvin Gaye or Seal to me.  What seals the deal for me with this song is the simple melody, with soulful high notes preceding some classic piano chord changes.  It’s a little bit of magnificence in 2:41!  Stone had a song called “Trouble” played on the BBC2 in 2009, and is now-financing his album project from believers through the Indiegogo site.  In the meantime, you can get “Home” for free through an email subscription from his website.  Stone Walters is a name to watch for and a voice to hear.

The Slakadeliqs featuring Justin Nozuka “Love Controls The Sun” 

“Love Controls The Sun” is a soulful and jazzy preview of The Slakadeliqs’ upcoming free album due January 17 called  The Other Side of Tomorrow.  The Slakadeliqs is the latest project from Toronto’s Byram Joseph, aka Slakah The Beatchild, who was previously a member of Art of Fresh and won a Juno Award for producing Divine Brown’s Love Chronicles album in 2009.  Add the multi-talented Justin Nozuka into the mix and you have a breezy and carefree song to help get you through the day.  You can download “Love Controls The Sun” for free right here.

SoSo “Who’s Gonna Love Me”

There’s more to Sweden than dance pop!  SoSo is Sophia Somajo, who has put together “Who’s Gonna Love Me” entirely on her own, incorporating a rich instrumentation into a more alternative pop setting.  She’s got a splendid voice that makes “Who’s Gonna Love Me” stay in your head and want more.  You can download “Who’s Gonna Love Me” at the link above.

And the Christmas songs keep coming:

Adam Tyler’s favourite Christmas song is “O Holy Night”, which also happens to be one of mine too.  And he absolutely nails it.  Be sure to download it for free on Adam’s Soundcloud page below.

Published in: on December 10, 2011 at 11:49 pm  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

#MusicMonday Roundup

We’ll start our Music Monday Roundup today with the latest video from Justin Nozuka’s You I Wind Land and Sea album, “Heartless”.  This is a solid, emotional pop/rock release that may have longer lasting legs than “My Heart Is Yours”.  And it’s not a cover of the Kanye West song!

Our friends at Pop Justice have unveiled their new record label, Popjustice Hi-Fi, to be distributed (at least in the UK) by Virgin.  Their first two records are from Swedish singer Rosanna and wonderful Bright Light Bright Light (aka Rod Thomas), whose introductory single “A New Word To Say” is one of my 10 current favourites.  Congrats!

The official album cover for Flamingo by Brandon Flowers is:

A view of Las Vegas from a certain hotel, perhaps?  The full album is due on September 6.

I am still in the process of digesting Kylie Minogue’s Aphrodite album, however it is much better than I thought.  Not to slight it, but it’s Madonna’s Confessions On A Dancefloor-lite – it simply is not as robust but full of potential singles and dance floor hits.  So far I like “Get Outta My Way” (the reported second single) and “Cupid Boy” the best.

New UK duo Bim (below) have issued a fabulous free download of the track “Head over Heels” from their upcoming album Scatterheart that is well worth the subscription to their newsletter at their official website.  This song puts ‘gorgeous’ back into current pop music!

Published in: on July 12, 2010 at 12:14 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , , , , ,