BILLCS Music Blog’s Top 75 Songs of 2012 – #75 to #61

As in other years, most of my favourite songs of 2012 boiled down to the following criteria:  Music that makes you feel good and want to dance along, and voices/lyrics that just amazed.  There were several new great voices and faces, some returnees, and of course the completely unexpected.  In order to appear on this list, a song must have appeared and peaked on my personal chart between January 2 and December 17 published charts.  If it hadn’t attained its peak position yet, it will appear on my year end chart for 2013.

Click here to view songs #75 to #61  🙂

Three carryovers into 2012 in our first group of #75 through #61 are The Midway State’s “Fire!”,  Lady GaGa’s “Marry The Night”, and “Angel” by Darren Hayes.  Wrapping up their touring on their Paris Or India album, Toronto quartet The Midway State otherwise took a break from music in 2012, and I hope these talented friends will engage us again next year.  You could hear an excerpt of “Fire!” in Bell Canada commercials, and of course their biggest hit “Never Again” is the ringback for Rogers cellular phones.  GaGa was everywhere in 2012, it’s hard to say where The Born This Way Ball didn’t visit!  But a new Ball is on deck as is her forthcoming album ARTPOP, and I’m expecting a new single sometime in early 2013 to promote her touring in North America.  “Angel” by Darren Hayes was a personal choice to carry over.  You couldn’t possibly ask for a more reverent Madonna cover choice – it kept appearing on my iPod Touch shuffle, and as the vinyl flip side to “Talk Talk Talk”, it landed on my chart after the run of another song on this list, “Stupid Mistake”.  Darren’s Secret Codes And Battleships continued to be one of my most played albums into 2012, and one more carryover from that album is ranked higher on this list.  Watch the stunning video for “Stupid Mistake” and listen to Bright Light Bright Light’s percolating remix below as well.

More than ever, my chart contained a cornucopia of worldwide artists appear more than in any other year in recent memory.  Music has no official borders, only those that the music industry continues to put up which hinders availability of recordings and the ability of performers to tour.  Latvia is represented with singer/DJ/model Markus Riva and his dance rave-up “We Dance 4 Reason”, with another song to follow higher up.  “Turn It Up” is the high energy follow up to “Pitiful” for Portugal’s Carlos Nobrega, who is one of my 13 Performers to Watch for ’13 and has another song much later in the countdown.  The worldwide breakout from France this year is M83 whose hook from “Midnight City” (outstanding video below) is imprinted on the year (and an even better cover version appears higher up on the list), which led to sellout shows around the world.  Canadians Marianas Trench had their most successful year ever with last year’s Ever After album and the single “Fallout” among others.  Lead singer Josh Ramsay not only produced that album but is now a Grammy-nominee for co-writing Canadian label mate Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe”.  German DJ/producers Spencer & Hill paired up with the always amazing US vocalist Nadia Ali for “Believe It”, which is your dance song for weekend release after a hard work week.

There are three UK artists in this group.  Keane had a successful year around the world with their Strangeland album, led by the glorious “Silenced By The Night” this past Spring.  “Lights Out” was the second single from duo Bim’s EP of affecting and emotional electropop, Lifelines.  Bim are another of my 13 Performers to Watch for ’13 And a favourite from her Little Belter shows and the subsequent album, Elouise covered “Could It Be Magic” – less like the Barry Manilow version and more like Donna Summer’s – which turned out to be somewhat bittersweet as the song appeared on my chart at the time of the disco legend’s death.  Elouise is off to dazzle Australian audiences with the Little Belter show in early ’13 – the rest of the world will undoubtedly follow.

Three USA performers round out the list.  L.A. quartet Saint Motel released a quirky but very smart album Voyeur this past summer, and toured to support it.  The band’s singer also is responsible for directing the group’s unique videos, so check out the one for “Benny Goodman” below.  Lana Del Rey’s “Born To Die” dominated airwaves and TV video play at the top of the year and solidified her instant presence on the pop music scene (strangely yielding no Grammy nominations).  And the mixtape Hunter by Baiyu, generating the title song on this list, dazzled enough people to land her as a contestant on The CW’s “The Next” and on my 13 Performers To Watch for ’13 list.

BILLCS Chart #380

It’s here at long last!  Make Me Believe In Hope, the debut album by Bright Light Bright Light arrives in most places except the USA on Monday June 4 on iTunes (Americans get it on June 26).  The stunning “Waiting For The Feeling” gets a second appearance at the top of my chart, and doesn’t look like it will relinquish #1 any time soon, though a couple of challenges are brewing below.  In anticipation of this feat for BLx2 (aka Rod Thomas), take a listen to one of the new songs from the album below called “Feel It”.  You will revel in a wayback machine journey back 20 years or so when house-y dance hits featured powerhouse vocalists like Martha Wash (Black Box, C+C Music Factory, among others).

River Tiber’s “Symmetry” gets stuck at #2 for a third appearance, while a third song from their CD From Now On arrives on the chart (more on that later).  The fastest riser from two weeks ago, the instantly memorable “One Kiss” by Jeronimo zips up the chart to #3 to become a number one contender.  Jeronimo’s One Kiss album is on release in the Netherlands and Belgium, with other territories to follow.  Also new to the top 5 is “Celeb” by Tao Hypah, from the must-hear compilation This Beat Is Poptronik… Volume One.  And a third song from that album debuts on the chart too.  This is also the first time that I think two Dutchmen (Jeronimo and Tao Hypah) are in the Top 5 at the same time!  Maybe they’re starting a trend 🙂  Rounding out the Top 5 again is “Call It What You Want” by Foster The People, whose Treasure Fingers Preparty remix rings my bell every time.  It also reminds me of Scissor Sisters’ “I Don’t Feel Like Dancing”.  Listen below.

You can view the full chart using the link under ***BILL’S PERSONAL CHART*** to the right, or you can click right hereYou can hear all of the songs on the chart or watch their videos by clicking on the pics on the chart page.  Any free downloads that are identified are sanctioned by the performer.

Speaking of the Sisters, “Only The Horses” gallops to #7 this week as we saw the release of their album Magic Hour.  And it’s a fine and varied affair, definitely a few dances and turns away from  2010’s Night Work.  The Calvin Harris-produced album sees John Legend contributing to what is the most obvious pop radio target, “Baby Come Home”, while the Bee Gees harmonies are abuzz again on “Inevitable”.  The quirky “Let’s Have A Kiki” stays in your head, and the other standout song is “Self Control”.  The songs should make for a grand bit of fun in concert too.  You can listen to the entire album right here.

The tireless Adam Tyler has been home in Kansas City, MO performing this weekend.  And while that’s been happening, “Music Freak” has risen up to #8.  The last new entry to the top 10 is from Frankmusik’s free Vincent Did it project called The SOPA Opera EP.  “Notice Me”, featuring Quigley on additional vocals, is one of Vince’s best songs.  I can’t wait to see what makes the cut for his next full album.

Just outside of the Top 10, several songs continue to move up.  “Warrior” by Mark Foster, A-Trak and Kimbra should bound into the Top 10 in two weeks along with “How It Feels To Be A Man” by Latvia’s Markus Riva, also from the This Beat Is Poptronik release.  I continue to enjoy Keane’s “Silenced By The Night”, though I’ll wait to see what’s in store for single release #2 from Strangeland.  Since this is Bright Light Bright Light’s big week,  the link to his remix of my #13 song, “Stupid Mistake” by Darren Hayes is right here.

While “Prince Of Nothing Charming” sails to #6, Tyler Hilton’s rocking “Loaded Gun” jumps 21-15.  The fastest riser on the chart belongs to the exuberant “All Our Love” by Boston’s Gentlemen Hall, climbing 26-19.  While Sam Sparro’s “Happiness” tumbles to #17, I’m posting the lyrics video to Sam’s next single, “I Wish I Never Met You”.  It’s a scathing change of pace from the joyful “Happiness”.  But the song’s lyrics and execution hit home, particularly if you’ve ever been crushed by love.  I love how bold this song is.

“Can’t Say No” by Conor Maynard has a cheery charm to it that keeps me listening, and it moves up to #20.  Andreas Moe’s upcoming single “Collecting Sunlight” debuted on my last chart, and you can watch him perform it live below.  Huge talent in the making, folks!

The highest debut belongs to Daniel Bedingfield, who graced the top of my chart twice back in 2002 with “Gotta Get Thru This” and “James Dean (I Wanna Know)”.  His new songs are decidedly rockier and more emotional, and his new EP Stop The Traffik-Secret Fear, though available for free download, is worth buying to get all seven songs (only five are available on the download).  The dramatic and very well sung “Secret Fear” bows at #22.  Watch Daniel sing it in concert below.

I’ve mentioned the other debuts above.  Whether he thinks it or not, Tommy Paxton-Beesley’s created one of the coolest albums of the year with River Tiber’s From Now On.  No more is this evident in the jazzy “These Are Centuries”, which arrives on the chart at #24.  The only place where you can hear this one online is through iTunes, where you should go and purchase the entire album anyway 🙂 Lastly, our third debut from the This Beat Is Poptronik album belongs to 23 year old former Menudo member Monti Montañez with “Turn Up Your Radio”.  Initially, this was not one of my three favourites from the album; however its insanely catchy chorus has captured me and its 2:30 length just reminds me of the kind of songs radio used to play – short, sweet and memorable.  If you happen to be in Spain on September 1 and 2, Monti is one of the featured performers at the Poptronik festival in Sitges.  Listen right here.

BILLCS Chart #378 – May 7/12

The new chart is anchored at the top once again by Toronto group River Tiber, with the rocking “Someday” at #1 for a third appearance (6 weeks) and the quiet and thoughtful “Symmetry” moving up to #2.  The band is working on their next album, and will be playing in Toronto on Saturday June 16 as a part of NXNE at C’est What restaurant and bar.  Check them out if you’re in Toronto!

Closing in at rapid speed though is “Waiting For The Feeling”, the latest single by Bright Light Bright Light, from the upcoming Make Me Believe In Hope album, due now in a month.  If the lyrics don’t strike you at the first couple of listens, they do hit home not long after.  Hence “Waiting For The Feeling” is the fastest riser on the chart, moving 14-3.  Rod Thomas (aka Bright Light x2) has already had two #1’s on my chart, “A New Word To Say” and “Love Part II”, in 2010.

You can view the full chart using the link under ***BILL’S PERSONAL CHART*** to the right, or you can click right hereYou can hear all of the songs on the chart or watch their videos by clicking on the pics on the chart page.  Any free downloads that are identified are sanctioned by the performer.

Moving along, Toronto’s Colin Munroe is also working on a highly anticipated album, but in the meantime “The Fight Of My Life” climbs to #5, followed behind at #6 by “Call It What You Want”, the insanely catchy song that is the true follow up to “Pumped Up Kicks” by L.A.’s Foster the People.  I’m looking to catch Ryan Star’s show in Toronto on June 5 at Lee’s Palace when he opens up for The Parlotones.  In anticipation of a follow up album to 2010’s 11:59, “Stay Awhile” rises to #9.

Somehow it doesn’t seem quite right that “Happiness” by Sam Sparro and “Could It Be Magic” by Elouise have only inched up to #11 and #12, but there’s a load of competition brewing underneath.  “Prince Of Nothing Charming” by Tyler Hilton jumps to #13 – I have my tix to his May 17 show at The Virgin Mobile Mod Club here in Toronto.  As far as I know, it’s Tyler’s first show in Toronto since 2006.  Adam Tyler’s “Music Freak” can be found mid-way at #15, followed by the soaring “Silenced By The Night” by Keane at #17 (and another Toronto concert on deck, for June 19 at Sound Academy), and the three-fold punch of “Warrior” by Mark Foster/A-Trak/Kimbra at #17.  “Only The Horses” by Scissor Sisters is turning into a current favourite with its bright melody and urgent Jake Shears vocals at #19, followed by “Stupid Mistake” by Darren Hayes at #20 (live clip from his New Year’s show is below).

(Psssst watch Twitter and Facebook for what will be surely some online celebrations of Darren’s 40th birthday on Tuesday May 8!)

I’m hopeful for some success of the five very strong debuts which have hit the chart.

My raving about the supurb dance compilation This Beat Is… Poptronik Volume One continues, as some favourites from that record have surfaced to rank alongside the six songs on the record that have already appeared on my chart during the last year.  There are so many great songs inside that I play regularly, but there are two that I’m going to more often.  The one that’s grabbed me and won’t let go is the Lindsay Lohan-inspired “Celeb” by half-Dutch, half-Japanese singer Tao Hypah, which bolts onto the chart at a stunning #14.  The bouncy and fun vibe of this song is worth your time as Tao Hypah prepares to release more new songs, including his latest “Play The Girl”, whose video will be online in a few weeks (pic from the video is above).  In the meantime, you can get “Celeb” on the Poptronik release, though it has been available as a free download on Soundcloud for quite sometime as well and you can get it right here.

Also very impressive and bowing at #27 from the Poptronik album is “How It Feels To Be A Man” by Latvian sensation Markus Riva.  Markus is a true DIY performer – already a noted singer, actor, and model in his home territory – so “How It Feels” serves as a sturdy breakout for him (he also directed the video, above).  Some genuine lyrics carried by Markus’ rich voice, which reminds me a lot of British singer Peter Murphy’s low timbre (listen to “The Sweetest Drop” for example), make the theatrical-sounding song highly recognizable.  I’d love to hear some remixes too!

Two songs immediately carry over from my last post to arrive quickly on the chart.  Jeronimo’s “One Kiss” spells Mass Appeal and has the potential for worldwide success.  It’s from Jeronimo’s upcoming album and bows at #24.  “Can’t Say No” by UK sensation Conor Maynard is a nice companion to “One Kiss” with its good-natured fun, and premieres at #28.

Lastly at #25 is a song whose intriguing video of psychological drama (ab0ve) I wrote about a few months backQuigley (aka Casey Carlson) hits the chart with “Inkblot Game”, from her brand new EP Pleiades.  Pleiades is a star cluster within Taurus, hence why lovely Quigley released the EP on her Taurian birthday!  The EP is available for free download at http://www.quigleyofficial.com and “Inkblot Game” arrives concurrently with her featured vocal on “Notice Me” by Vincent Did It (aka FrankMusik) moving up to #22.  Of course “Inkblot Game” and the two other gorgeous songs in Pleiades (which all also appear in instrumental form) are all produced by FrankMusik.  The music of Quigley and Frankmusik will not be free forever.  This is high quality craftmanship most deserving of way more than online success.  FrankMusik has also posted a few more of his demos for you to hear on his Soundcloud page.  I just can’t get enough 🙂

Final chart geek note:  You’ll notice on my chart that “Memorize Me” by Rune RK & Databoy has hit the magic mark of 11 appearances (22 weeks) on the chart.  One of my few rules is that songs drop off after a 10 appearance run, but because “Memorize Me” has had two non-consecutive runs, it continues past the 10 appearances 🙂

BILLCS Chart #377 – April 23, 2012

With Springtime just brimming with new music, this new edition of my chart was pretty decisive.

Up top for a second appearance at #1 is a song that doesn’t look like it will let go, unless it yields to another song by the same performer:  “Someday” from River Tiber’s independent album From Now On.  Another brilliant and totally different song from the album, “Symmetry”, soars 7-3.  You can get From Now On (cover below) on iTunes and find out more about River Tiber at http://www.rivertiber.com (including a free download of the EP Massachusetts).  Sandwiched in-between is Eric Saade’s long-lasting “Backseat”, while the Swede sensation’s “Fingerprints” falls to #5.  “Glad You Came” by The Wanted holds steady at #4.

The Top 10 continues to be super busy.  Toronto’s Colin Munroe has another collaboration on deck with RZA called “Invincible” which you will hear more about soon, but in the meantime his pairing with Pusha-T on “The Fight Of My Life” rises to #6.  You can get both for free with an email subscription at http://www.colinmunroe.com.  The release of the Promising Promises album is coming up within a month, and Jon McLaughlin & Sara Bareilles’ duet of “Summer Is Over” climbs to #7.  Turns out I like The Knocks’ cover of “Midnight City” better than the M83 original.  Featuring rousing vocals by Mandy Lee, it rises to #8.  The exuberance of “Call It Want You Want” by Foster The People sends it to #9, and “Stay Awhile” by Ryan Star moves up to #10 as he is about to begin another tour on May 17.  Watch the video for “Stay Awhile” below.

Moving on, Sam Sparro’s perfectly joyful slice of retro soul “Happiness” jumps to #12, while the fastest riser on the chart is by the performer pictured at the top of this post.  Welsh singer Rod Thomas is Bright Light Bright Light, and his long-awaited album Make Me Believe In Hope is due June 4.  Rod specializes in melancholy dance-pop that always has a bright side to it.  Thus we have one of his best releases to date “Waiting For The Feeling”, moving up 23-14, with an EP of remixes on deck on April 30.  To celebrate the upcoming album release, Rod is releasing limited pink cassette bootleg versions of his album which feature some ‘special’ versions of his songs.  So to coincide with the appearance of “Disco Moment” on the stunning This Beat Is Poptronik compilation,  there is “Gypsy Moment” by Bright Light Bright Light vs. Crystal Waters!  Listen below and download for free!

Last week’s other debuts all move up four spots on the chart:  “Music Freak” by Poptronik featured performer Adam Tyler is at #20, Keane’s “Silenced By The Night” is at #21, and Scotland’s Aerials Up rises to #22 with “I Am”.  Watch for these songs to make impressive moves in the coming weeks!

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.

As I said earlier, the chart was pretty decisive, and I’ve written about all of the chart’s debuts before, the highest two just two weeks ago.  The unique blend of talents that is Mark Foster (of Foster The People) plus DJ/producer A-Trak plus Kiwi sensation Kimbra is featured on “Warrior” (#23), which is a free download courtesy of Converse and Journeys.  Independent of the raucous video, the song is extremely catchy and is definitely hit-worthy unto itself!  Then we have a song whose interest to me was reignited by its stunning video.  That’s “Stupid Mistake” by Darren Hayes which bows at #24 as the fourth single from Secret Codes And Battleships, which contains some of Darren’s best ever vocals.  Then we have the perfect pairing of Vincent Did It, the alter-ego of Frankmusik, and Quigley, who is his gal Casey Carlson (you may have seen her on tour with him when he wasn’t singing with Colette Carr).  From Vince’s free download of The SOPA Opera EP is the beautiful “Notice Me” (#26).  Vince needs no major record label to continue creating stunning new music.  Lastly, from the much-awaited forthcoming album Magic Hour is Scissor Sisters with the Calvin Harris co-production “Only The Horses” at #27.  This instant ear-grabber should put the Sisters back on the map outside of dance clubs.  It’s a perfect pop radio confection – let’s hope it gets there.

BILLCS Top 30 #376 – April 9/12 plus Stunning New Videos from Darren Hayes and Mark Foster/Kimbra/A-Trak

The new chart has another changeover at the top and four debuts, plus I have comments on two new videos in what will likely be my only blog post till the weekend.

Being a former college radio programmer, I have always been a huge supporter of independent music.  And while independently released music has appeared in my chart over the years, it wasn’t until around 2009 when the calibre and quantity of quality independent music appeared to dominate the commercial releases through major record labels.  So more than half of my current chart currently consists of independently released songs or ones that are not yet available in North America.

Advancing to the top therefore is the independent release of “Someday” by Toronto band River Tiber.  “Someday” is a song that slowly draws you in, basking in some great guitar work, and then takes you on a little journey that keeps you hanging in till singer Tommy Paxton-Beesley’s last breath at the end.  River Tiber also has a quieter more moody song in the Top 10 at #7 with “Symmetry”.  This one relies on a vocal climax followed by relaxing jazzy instrumentation and has an incredibly dreamy feel-good vibe.  Be sure to buy River Tiber’s From Now On album on iTunes.  You can view the videos for both songs by reading my comments about From Now On right here.

All eyes are on One Direction and The Wanted right now, but the latter’s “Glad You Came” has won me over and soars to #4 on my chart.  Ya gotta admit – everyone has their favourite boy-band songs.  For me, the last one that was special was the BT-produced “Pop” by N Sync, which got to the top of my chart for a month in 2001.  In addition to “Symmetry”, song on the rise in the lower Top 10 include “Something” by JMSN at #6 (the drums/percussion arrangement alone is outstanding), “Summer Is Over” by Jon McLaughlin & Sara Bareilles at #8, and Colin Munroe’s magnificent “The Fight Of My Life”, featuring Pusha-T at #9.  I can’t wait for more from the talented Colin, including perhaps a video for this song?  Listen below.

The rest of the chart is jam-packed with great songs, some of which by all rights should be in my Top 10 if there wasn’t so much fantastic music out right now.  As M83’s “Midnight City” slides down the chart, the unique cover by The Knocks featuring Mandy Lee is the fastest riser, climbing 19-11 and about to pass the #10 peak of the original.  Nadia Ali is one of the busiest female singers in dance music today, and she lends her many talents to Spencer & Hill’s “Believe It” which ranks #12.  Ryan Star is about to embark on another tour in support of his upcoming album, led by the single “Stay Awhile”, which climbs to #13.  

“Could It Be Magic” by Elouise revives Barry Manilow and/or Take That via Donna Summer’s rendition at #15, followed by “Happiness” by Sam Sparro (making us anxiously wait for the Return To Paradise album) at #16, Foster The People’s “Call It What You Want” at #17 (which makes a great mix with Scissor Sisters’ “I Don’t Feel Like Dancin'”), Kaya & Pierre Lewis’ beauty of a ballad “When I Was Blind” at #18, “Hand Dance” by that tantalizing teasing trio Liquid Diet at #19, and “Prince Of Nothing Charming”, the understated lead single from Tyler Hilton’s top notch Forget The Storm.  I’ll have my own review of Forget The Storm soon – I didn’t realize it until reading further about it, but Tyler released Forget The Storm through his own Hooptie Music label (whose name comes from Tyler’s song “When it Comes”).

Debuting in this edition though are four songs, the first of which you can view at the top of this blog post.

Rod Thomas under his Bright Light Bright Light moniker is a performer whose releases I always listen for since I first heard “A New Word To Say” more than two years ago.  “Waiting For The Feeling” is classic Bright Light x2 as Rod always finds those moments in time in-between everything and captures them beautifully in words and music.  His Make Me Believe In Hope is now due in June and I just can’t wait to hear it in full.  “Waiting For The Feeling” debuts at #23 and will undoubtedly join his best songs near the top of my chart very soon.

Next up is “Music Freak” by Adam Tyler from his Shattered Ice album.  As “Like A Drug” departs my chart (but is still in the midst of full-on promotion thanks to its compelling video), I’m adding “Music Freak” because over the several months since the release of Shattered Ice, the lyrics of this song have become increasingly important to me as a music fan.  Being a music freak myself, I can’t let it hide in the midst of several strong songs on the album, so “Music Freak” debuts at #24.  You can listen to it right here.

I’ve already posted blogs about the next two songs, but they bear repeating!  Keane has come out of the gate blazing with “Silenced By The Night” at #25, the first gorgeous single from the upcoming Strangeland album.  Watch the video below.  And lastly, Scotland’s Aerials Up is a talent to watch for with their independent release of “I Am” at #26 – video is posted again below.

You can view the full chart using the link under ***BILL’S PERSONAL CHART*** to the right, or you can click right hereYou can hear all of the songs on the chart or watch their videos by clicking on the pics on the chart page.

Darren Hayes “Stupid Mistake”

I got up this morning to find that Darren had posted his new video for “Stupid Mistake”, which I had heard was to be the fourth single from the singer’s fourth brilliant solo album Secret Codes And Battleships.  The video is captivating in its simplicity, which shows Darren alternately in stage make up or in the process of removing it.  In relationships whether we know it or not we all put on masks, which eventually get stripped away like make up.  And if you keep the mask on too long, then you lose yourself in your daily life which becomes a performance and ultimately will hurt the ones you love.  Watch it all the way through, it’s amazing!  Those of you who have had long-term relationships end will completely relate.

Mark Foster + Kimbra + A-Trak = “Warrior”

It’s a sly bit of promotion for Chuck Taylor Converse shoes and Journeys, but what a cool way to do it!  Who’d have ever thought Foster The People’s Mark Foster, New Zealand singer Kimbra, and Canadian DJ extraordinaire A-Trak would all get together for a project, let alone film a highly entertaining video?  “Warrior” is a must-view and listen, and could be a sneaky hit in the making for the trio.  I seriously wonder how many bruises were achieved during the making of the video.  I’m not into watching wrestling but the entire concept is spot on.  Best of all, you can download “Warrior”for free from the Journeys website right here.  Kudos to whoever planned this project – more please!

Buh-Bye Winter Blahs with new music from In My Coma, Keane, Alex York, Baiyu, Low Level Flight, and Andy Grammer

The sounds of the post-grunge mid-90s appear to be getting a second lease on life, if music from In My Coma’s new album Magnets & Miracles is any indication.  The tight and melodic three piece band out of Toronto, consisting of powerful lead vocalist and guitarist Jasper James, bassist/vocalist Laura Doll, and drummer Mike Paterson, brings that sound up to date, fuses it with other 80s and 90s influences ranging from The Smiths to Tool, and marries it all with interesting and original lyrics.  Best songs within are the radio-worthy “Believe Me” (check out the imaginative video below), the R.E.M. meets I Mother Earth stylings of “Losing Sleep”, “Hit Them Down Kid”, and “Lined Up Locked Away”.

With other noteworthy supporters like new music guru Alan Cross touting their talents, it’s no wonder that In My Coma has the professionalism to get themselves gigs in Toronto no less than three times this week.  It’s refreshing to hear some rocking domestic ear candy like In My Coma.  Get Magnets & Miracles on iTunes and listen to it below streaming on Soundcloud.  Check out In My Coma on Sunday March 18 at The Rivoli, Wednesday March 21 at The Ballroom as part of Independent Music Night 2012, and Thursday March 22 at The Painted Lady as part of Canadian Music Week.

Keane “Silenced By The Night”

After three terrific albums, I felt that British quartet Keane had a bit of a boring sidestep two years ago with the EP Night Train, which stylistically seemed all over the map.  They’ve returned to true pop form on “Silenced By The Night”, which is from the upcoming Strangeland album due in May.  It’s classic Keane, right on par with the songs from their first two records, with a beautiful melody and compelling lyrics.  The band is as tight and tidy as ever with an especially strong return-to-form for singer Tom Chaplin.  Look for this and hopefully other songs from Strangeland to help dominate your playlist for the rest of the year.

Alex York, “Tokyo Heartbreak” and “Change”

New York singer Alex York has done something just a little out of the ordinary – he’s found an audience in the Japanese language pop market.  He’s released his debut independent album Tokyo Heartbreak along with the infectious singalong title pop song for the English language crowd.  But with donations going to the Japan disaster relief fund, he’s also released a digital single and video for “Change”, which is primarily sung in Japanese.  Alex is obviously a diverse talent and crowd pleaser who has already acquired a significant online following.  Check out “Tokyo Heartbreak” and “Change” below, and purchase the songs and the album on iTunes.

Baiyu, “Take A Number”

Baiyu is another singer from New York who is also involved in Japan’s disaster relief by donating all of the proceeds from her EP Fan Fair to that fund.  I introduced you to this burgeoning talent last August with her feel-good video for “Together”, and then again in November as a featured singer on Tana’s “Live In The Past”.  Her latest video for “Take A Number” is full of eye-catching appeal that puts Baiyu on the bubble with her Beyoncé-meets-Keri Hilson influences with a twist.    Download Fan Fair right here  (it’s a torrent) and watch the video for “Take A Number” below.

Low Level Flight, “Brooklyn Radio”

After debuting with their edgy rock album Urgency in 2008 and a compelling presence in concert, Kingston’s Low Level Flight returns with sophomore effort Through These Walls and the single “Brooklyn Radio”.  The song finds season one Canadian Idol winner Ryan Malcolm and band in pensive form with a softer guitar-led song and a video with an interesting storyline.  Low Level Flight creates their brand of pop/rock seamlessly which puts them comfortably alongside fellow Canadians Hedley (featuring fellow Canadian Idol alumnus Jacob Hoggard – who finished third in season two) and Marianas Trench.

Andy Grammer, “We Found Love”

With cheery, upbeat singles finding fans such as “Keep Your Head Up” and “Fine By Me”, Andy Grammer has decided to channel his stage presence into audio form with the release of his EP Live From L.A.  With all of the viral videos covering songs like Rihanna’s “We Found Love”, it’s admirable for Andy to tackle it and still be able to give his own feel to the song, which translates absolutely beautifully through the clip below.  Andy’s been touring actively with the likes of Ryan Star so you might find him on your town’s doorstep sometime soon.

Published in: on March 17, 2012 at 10:58 pm  Comments (2)  
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Tuned-On! Top 300 of the 2000’s, Part 4 (150-101)

As the numbers get smaller, so the songs begin to be increasingly difficult to talk about without going into many superlatives, so I will probably save those for the Top 50 or so.   When I look at this group of 50 songs, I see mainly songs that energize me or affect me emotionally.  So for every rave up that is Madonna’s “Sorry” or George Acosta’s remix of “Just Another Day” or Nadia Ali’s “Love Story” or Ricky Martin’s “She Bangs” or Alex Gaudino & Crystal Waters’ “Destination Calabria”, there is JC Chasez’s totally underrated and hurtin’ “Until Yesterday”, Stabilo’s almost-sinister “Flawed Design”, Darren Hayes’ very dark “I Like The Way”, Mary J. Blige & The Game’s heartfelt mashup “MJB Da MVP”, the emotions-run-wild in Mika’s “We Are Golden”, Florence & The Machine’s gothic “Rabbit Heart”, and the teen love’s growing pains in David Archuleta’s “Crush”.  Don’t discount the fabulous one-off’s that are “Jerk It Out” by The Caesars or “Summer Jam” by The Underdog Project either!

This will be my last update of this list until after December 29.  I’ll be away after Christmas for a few days but may blog about this and that if I have time.  Merry Christmas to all who celebrate it!

You can find the updated list right here – don’t forget to leave your comments!

Tuned-On! Top 300 of the 2000’s, Part 2 (250-201)

From big worldwide hits (“Yeah”, “Naughty Girl”, “Can’t Get You Out of My Head”) to more localized hits (“That Girl”, “The Way (Put Your Hand In My Hand)”, “Alone In The Universe”), to club smashes (“Planets of the Universe”, “My My My”) to rock tracks (“Sometimes”, “Load Me Up”) to first timers (“There You Go”), to CD only tracks (“I’ll Do Anything”, “Hot Mess”) – you’ll likely find something you like a lot on this list.

You can find the updated list right here – don’t forget to leave your comments! 🙂